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Welcome to the Giving Thought Podcast, a bi-weekly exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society from the Charities Aid Foundation’s in-house think-tank, Giving Thought.

In each episode your host Rhodri Davies (formerly with co-host Adam Pickering) explores a big issue, theme or trend and analyses what it means for philanthropy and civil society around the world.

Be sure to check the show notes for each podcast and find blogs, reports and videos from Giving Thought and do get in touch if you have questions or suggestions at

Finally, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or your podcast provider of choice.

Sep 12, 2017

In episode 9 of the Giving Thought podcast, Rhod and Adam look at some of the psychological motivations that drive philanthropy, including:


  • Social Status: Is a desire for enhanced social status part of the “warm glow” that people get from giving? How has the relationship between philanthropy and social status played out through history? Does highly visible giving place greater expectations on the donor, as well as bringing improved social status? And what impact will social media have on the way we feel about promoting our own giving?


  • Proximity: We look at the “proximity effect” - the idea that actual physical proximity and contact with the symptoms of social problems is an important determining factor in people’s willingness to give. Does increasing physical distance between rich and poor communities undermine the philanthropic instinct? And will new technologies like conversational interfaces and augmented/virtual reality distance us even further from the world around us and thus make us less likely to give?


  • Victim Blaming: Does our perception of whether the victims of social and environmental disasters can be held as partly to blame for their own misfortune affect our willingness to give We look at the difference between responses to “man made” and “natural” disasters, and what this tells us about how charities should talk about their work.


Related Content from Giving Thought:


- Philanthropy and the City of London

- Uncomfortable reality: 3 ways Augmented and Virtual Reality could change charitable giving

- Is technology making us care less about each other?

- Reciprocity and Altruism

- WhDonors prone to blaming the victims of man-made humanitarian disasters