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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

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Nov 27, 2019

In episode 61, Rhod reports back on a recent trip to the 48th annual ARNOVA conference in San Diego - one of the main global events for philanthropy and non-profit researchers. Including:

  • What were the key themes being discussed at the conference?
  • What came up in the main plenary debate on “promises and perils of philanthropy in a polarized world?”
  • Highlights from other paper sessions and debates, including:
    • Findings on public trust
    • Young people’s attitudes to charity representations on social media
    • A fascinating historical example of radical movement funding
    • How representative bodies can shape our understanding of what the charity sector is.
  • How much do US non-profit issues and critiques apply elsewhere?
  • What can we do to connect the academic study of philanthropy better with practice and policy?
  • How can academics get better at disseminating their work to practitioners, and how can practitioners get better at paying attention to academia?
  • Is there an important role for non-profit “think tanks” in bridging the gap?
  • What does the academic study of philanthropy encompass?
  • Does philanthropy suffer from cutting across traditional academic disciplines?


Related Content:

When White Philanthropy Funded Black Power”, SSIR article on Claire Dunning’s research in Boston


Previous Podcast episodes:

Participatory Philanthropy, with Rose Longhurst

Giving done right, with Phil Buchanan

Philanthropy, civil rights and movement capture, with Megan Ming Francis

Studying and teaching philanthropy as an academic discipline, with Beth Breeze

Philanthropy, democracy and inequality, with Rob Reich

Learning from the history of philanthropy, with Ben Soskis