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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.

Oct 30, 2018

In episode 36, we look at the relationship between risk, innovation and philanthropy. The ability to take risks and innovate is often claimed to be on of the key strengths of philanthropy, but is this really true? How does philanthropy innovate? Why can it take risks? And what makes it different to state or private sector approaches? Topics we cover include:


- What kinds of risk can philanthropy take?

-Why is it able to take these risks?

-Does philanthropy find innovative new ways of achieving social outcomes?

-What is the exit for philanthropic innovation once it has been proven to work?

-Is philanthropy losing its control of social innovation to the public and private sector?

-How has philanthropy itself innovated over time? From the rise of associational philanthropy in the 18th century to the development of mass-market giving in the 20th century.

-Social investment and blended approaches

-Micro donations and automated philanthropy

-Innovation in causes: philanthropic campaigning and public opinion

- When does innovation become self-indulgence? Silicon Valley philanthropy and private space travel.


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