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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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Apr 10, 2018

In this episode, Rhod looks at whether philanthropic giving is always a choice on the part of the donor, or whether it can sometimes be compelled. Topics covered include:


-Compelled by your peers: We look at the part peer pressure plays in philanthropy, both at a micro level (i.e. the effect that "being watched" has on prompting giving) and a macro level (i.e. the notion of a social contract). We also consider a bit of history (including a scathing attack on the culture of giving in Victorian England).


-Compelled by a higher authority: We consider the role governments have played a role in shaping philanthropy through charity law: from the 1601 Statute of Charitable Uses to the emergence of "GONGOs" in modern China. We look at the idea of "percentage philanthropy", and whether it should be seen as philanthropy at all, or merely a form of tax. We also touch on obligations to give in various major religions and what role these play in driving philanthropy.


-Compelled by your own mind: We explore unusual cases of "pathological generosity", where people with brain damage find themselves compelled to give to such a degree that it can adversely affect them and their families.



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