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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.

Jan 7, 2020

Happy New Year! In episode 63, we gaze into our crystal ball and proffer some predictions for what the first year of the new decade might hold for philanthropy and civil society. Including:


Politics & Economics

  • Greater UK political stability? (i.e. political landscape now fixed for 5 yrs)
  • Increased or reduced division? (i.e. post-Brexit healing, or ongoing animosity?)
  • Focus on service delivery rather than campaigning?
  • International development & aid under fire?
  • Localism and devolution?
  • US election- big impact, whatever the result




  • Increasing focus and sense of urgency
  • UK hosting 2020 UN Climate Summit (Glasgow)
  • More prevalent sense that environmental issues are cross-cutting and therefore the concern of all CSOs/funders
  • Increasing pressure on charities/funders to demonstrate environmental commitment



  • More commercial platforms adding giving functionality
  • Deepfakes and challenges to online authenticity
  • Surveillance tech and civil liberties/human rights
  • Centralised cryptocurrencies (e.g. Libra)
  • Blockchain continue to bubble under surface
  • Less magical thinking around AI (more focus on what it actually is, and what it can do)
  • Optimizing for voice controlled interfaces
  • Pushback on “AI ethics”- more focus on traditional mechanisms of legislation and regulation
  • CSOs & funders ramping up efforts to engage in “fourth industrial revolution” issues
  • Continued growth of networked digital movements and decentralised organisational structures
  • Rediscovering the downsides of decentralisation?



Philanthropy & Civil Society

  • Addressing the decline in charitable giving
  • How do traditional forms of giving/charity interact with new possibilities (social investment, cause-related marketing, networked social movements, crowdfunding etc)?
  • Continuing criticism of philanthropy
  • Scrutiny of sources of wealth
  • Pushback on criticism of philanthropy
  • More focus on power & participation in philanthropy
  • Trust & accountability to public opinion
  • Focus on volunteering (as a result of Olympics, Euro 2020 etc)

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