Is giving a gender game?

A recent study covered by Mail Online claims that women are more likely to avoid giving to charity than men if they have the option.

Researchers from the University of Chicago and University of California Berkeley conducted several experiments on raising money door-to-door.

In the group given an ‘opt-out’ option in advance of the fundraiser coming to call, women were much more likely to tick the box and avoid giving a donation.

I always find it interesting reading about these little nuances in giving behaviour – particularly when they involve real world experiments such as this.

Our recent research report on ‘nudge’ theory with the Cabinet Office conducted many behavioral experiments, looking at how even the smallest of changes to the wording and presentation of material can have a big effect on how much we give.

However, the conclusion drawn from this new American study that men are generally more generous doesn’t really reflect what we’ve seen over the years in the UK.

Looking at our annual World Giving Index 2012, mapping giving across the world, Britain actually has the 3rd most generous women when it comes to giving money away – beaten to the post only by Australia and Ireland.

There is also a significant difference between the genders - 77% of British women giving money compared to 68% of men.

Surprisingly, this is drastically different in the US, where men give marginally more than women – 59% compared to 55%.

Other pieces of our research – including UK Giving, as well as a recent poll on running for charity – all show women in the UK are more likely to be charitable than men.

In another recent survey of young people, teenage girls were also much more likely to aspire to work for a charity than teenage boys.

It would be interesting to conduct a similar experiment on door-to-door fundraising in the UK as demonstrated by these American universities and see if it yields similar results.

Rather than pointing to an ungenerous spirit among American women, this experiment may  show that men and women respond differently to different fundraising tactics.

Personally I’m pretty averse to making snap decisions on giving to charity and perhaps many other women of a similar mindframe would want to dodge the door to door fundraiser.

Merely looking at door to door fundraising gives a rather skewed perspective. To build on the results of the US experiment it would be worth looking at how men and women respond to a variety of fundraising strategies.

After all, our research repeatedly points to British women far outshining men in their generosity,  so perhaps the real question that needs to be addressed from this experiment is whether different methods of fundraising have different appeals to men and women, or whether this points to an interesting transatlantic gulf in the giving behaviours of women.

Emily Gorton

Ireland Top Eurogiving List

We thought it would be fun to put a slightly different spin on Eurovision this year by asking how the finalists would fare in a competition of generosity.

Our annual World Giving Index report maps the giving of 146 countries, coming up with an overall ‘generosity’ score based on the percentage of the population who give money, volunteer or help a stranger.

Turning this into a ‘Eurogiving’ ranking, looking specifically at those countries competing in the Eurovision final, yields an interesting breakdown of giving in Europe.

Despite their disappointing last place on the night, Ireland is the runaway winner when it comes to giving. They top every possible table, being the most generous at giving time, money and helping a stranger. They are actually the most generous in the world when it comes to donating cash, and second in the world overall. That’s definitely something for Ireland to be proud of!

Although the UK is up towards the top as well, coming third overall, if you look at volunteering alone we fall down to 7th. Belarus – although 16th in the table – are the third most likely to volunteer.

And this year’s Eurovision winners? Denmark are fourth on our table, scoring particularly highly on donating money and helping a stranger – so not a bad effort all round.

It’s surprising that there are significant disparities between giving cultures across Europe – and that these are not necessarily connected to the overall wealth of each country.

We’re in the midst of a major project examining global philanthropy trends and how governments around the world can make the most of them. Take a look -

Here’s our full Eurogiving table:


These figures are all based on the World Giving Index 2012 – which can be viewed in full on our website.

Now that’s what I call Philanthropy and Social Investment 9: Best of the web 10/5/13

OK- so this “weekly” round up is in serious danger of being accused of flagrant false advertising at this point… Perhaps it would be less of a hostage to fortune if I re-labelled it a “regular” (or even “occasional”) round up instead? In any case, I have managed to find time to do sufficient web scouring to bring you my five best stories of the week (with a reasonably heavy social investment flavour this week).

1) First up is an interesting snippet from New Scientist asking “does online slacktivism reduce charitable giving?” (Slacktivism, for those of you who don’t spend all your time reading articles about trends in social action, is the fairly loathsome neologism describing the sort of social activism that consists mainly of signing online petitions, liking Facebook pages and retweeting things). This is a question I have considered a bit in the past, when wondering whether new forms of “low-friction” giving will have a negative impact on traditional donations (see this blog post for more info).

 2) This week saw the first anniversary of Big Society Capital, which it marked by producing its first annual report. An interesting article on Pioneers Post by social investor James Perry took an objective look at the progress BSC has made so far and the challenges it faces.

 3) Further afield, there was some intriguing impact investing news from India, where a group of nine of the country’s leading impact investors have come together in an attempt to self-regulate their nascent industry. There are particular cultural concerns in India, where the recent experiences of failures in the microfinance industry have left many scarred and cynical about attempts to add a commercial edge to traditionally charitable endeavours. These impact investors have drawn up a charter in an attempt to nip such concerns in the bud. It will be fascinating to see how this develops.

 4) Another interesting story highlighted the intersection between cutting edge CSR and social investment, with the news that outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia is launching an in-house $20m impact investing fund. This will invest solely in companies that share Patagonia’s social and environmental values, and looks like a fascinating model of the way that CSR could be done in the future.

5) And finally… bringing together the clothing company and philanthropy theme is the news that the founder of underwear maker Spanx has become the first female billionaire to sign the Giving Pledge. Apparently not content with helping millions of women through the medium of body-sculpting pants, Sara Blakely now wants to commit over half of her $1 billion fortune to women’s causes around the world.

 Rhodri Davies

Now That’s What I Call Philanthropy & Social Investment 8: Best of the web 05.04.13

I realise that once again this “weekly” update has slipped to being fortnightly, so apologies for that. In my defence though, this time it was Easter weekend that got in the way, rather than my own shoddy timekeeping. In any case, I’m back in the game now, so here are this week’s picks:


1)      Up first is an update from the Wall St Journal on the proposals to cap tax deductions on charitable giving in the US. This is something we should keep a close eye on in the UK, as if such a change is introduced in the US it makes it far more likely that there will be some sort of new attempt to introduce a cap on charitable tax relief over here in the future.


2)      A blog on the Huffington Post posed the intriguing question “Is there a role for philanthropy in a Socialist State?” The author bases most of her analysis on a recent visit to Cuba and doesn’t draw any firm conclusions, but there is some decent food for thought on what I think is a fascinating topic.


3)      More evidence of the growth of social investment in Australia with the publication of a government-commissioned report on “Impact investing in an Australian context”. (You can download the whole report here). It certainly seems as though there is a lot of enthusiasm for social finance down under at the moment.


4)      ESPN carried an investigation into sport stars’ charities in the US, which found that many of them do not meet basic standards of governance or efficiency. I was particularly interested because we spent a bit of time looking at the philanthropy of Premiership football stars in the wake of the ‘David Beckham giving his PSG wages to charity’ story (hence this blog), and that made me wonder what a similar investigation in the UK would find…


5)      And finally… I loved this article from Wired detailing the ways in which sci fi and fantasy geeks are using their love of fictional worlds as the basis for charitable acts in this one. (I feel fine using the word “geek” as I would class myself as one- as demonstrated by my excitement at the fact that Patrick Rothfuss was quoted in this article…)

Rhodri Davies

Budget 2013: definitely better than last year…

The annual ritual of crowding around the office TV, listening to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement to see if there are any mentions of charities is now over for another year. And the snap judgement on this year’s Budget is… pretty good, to be honest.

imageCharities weren’t front and centre like they were in 2011, but then neither were they presented with a nasty surprise as they were with 2012’s charity tax debacle. This year, there were a few announcements on charities and social investment and they all seemed pretty positive.

I want to focus on two announcements: on digital Gift Aid and on a new tax incentive for social investment (not because the fact that charities will be eligible for a new £2,000 employer allowance against National Insurance Contributions is not important, but merely because I don’t have anything much to say except “er, that sounds good?”).

Digital Gift Aid

At CAF, we have been banging on for years about the need to reform the Gift Aid system to make it fit for the 21st century and ensure that it works with new forms of technology-enabled donations. imageSo it was great to see that not only have the Government committed to a full consultation on changes to Gift Aid by Summer 2013, but that they specifically mentioned the idea of “enabling donors to complete a single Gift Aid declaration to cover all their donations through a specific channel”. Further clarification from HMRC makes it clear that the prospect of a “universal Gift Aid declaration” linked to a donor database is also still on the table.

We have long argued that the ambition for Gift Aid should be to combine a one-off universal declaration with a simple form of unique identifier and a database of donors who had signed up for the system. This would enable charities to cross-reference donations against the central database to see who was signed up for Gift Aid. If the identifier was something that could be linked automatically to donations made through certain channels (which would certainly be possible for mobile and online giving), the whole process could happen in way that meant the donor experience was almost frictionless.

Obviously this vision is still a long way off, and one swallow doth not a summer consultation make, but this is a promising first step on the road to getting Gift Aid fit for the 21st century.

Social Investment tax relief

The other big news that caught my eye was the announcement that “the Government will introduce a new tax relief to encourage private investment in social enterprise”. imageThis is another thing that CAF has been calling for for some time, and I have been involved in various working groups and reviews on the issue for a couple of years. I have to say that I was quite pessimistic about there being any positive news in this year’s Budget, so I am happy to be proved wrong!

There is no suggestion at this point of what form this relief might take- will it be a truly new tax incentive solely targeted at social investment, or an extension of an existing relief (such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme or Venture Capital Trust) to cover social as well as commercial investment? However, a commitment to introducing a new relief of this kind (whatever form it takes) is definitely positive news. CAF will be working with the Treasury and with others in the social investment sector to help shape the new incentive over the coming months.

Rhodri Davies

Now That’s What I Call Philanthropy & Social Investment 7: Best of the web 15.03.13

Some great bits of philanthropy and social investment news this week, although you wouldn’t necessarily know it from looking at my Twitter feed as i’ve been a bit busy with real world work to do much tweeting. Not to worry though- I have saved the best bits up for this weekly blog post:

1) Unashamedly up first is the launch of CAF’s own “Growing Giving” campaign, which will investigate what can be done to encourage people to give throughout their lifetimes. We announced this week that we will be running a cross-party Parliamentary Inquiry, chaired by David Blunkett MP with help from Andrew Percy MP and Baroness Tyler (check out the campaign website for more info). We also released our “Growing Up Giving" report, which looks at the attitudes of primary and secondary school children to charitable giving. We even made it on to BBC Newsround as a result!

2) Also big news in the UK philanthropy world was the launch of NPC’s major new report into the motivations and attitudes of donors, “Money for Good”. This contains a wealth of fascinating findings, including that less than half of people think that there is a moral obligation to give if you have the money (which is both surprising and slightly depressing).

3) Some fairly technical but potentially very significant social investment news, with the announcement that the European Parliament has voted in favour of a new Bill that will make it easier for social investment fund managers to market funds across borders within the EU.

4) Fascinating article on the ongoing challenges facing civil society in China, where a new law has been proposed that would treat giving as a mandatory “tax” that would go to government controlled charities. More grist to the mill of our Future World Giving research project.

5) And finally, without making any judgments about the rights and wrongs of the situation,this story has a headline worth the price of entry by itself: “Holidaymaker who wrestled shark sacked by charity”.

Rhodri Davies

Now That’s What I Call Philanthropy & Social Investment 6: Best of the week 08.03.13

Hello again Friday philanthro-socinv fans! Apologies that there hasn’t been a web round up for while, but I have been off for a few weeks. Rest assured that I’m back now though, and have rolled up my sleeves and sifted through the Internet (yep, the whole thing) to find the best stories about philanthropy and social investment which I present here for your delectation:

1) At number one is a good article from Forbes India about growing philanthropy in Asia. I was particularly interested to see how closely this echoes the recently-released first report in CAF’s Future World Giving series, which assesses the potential rise in philanthropy that could  result from the boom in the the global middle class.

2) A great blog by the Institute for Government’s Adrian Brown suggested that the UK Government’s enthusiasm for Payment by Results might be waning in the wake of disappointing intital results form the flagship Work Programme. PbR is something I have been intersted in for a while (see CAF’s Funding good Outcomes report for more on this if you’re interested).

3) A major new report this week from Big Society Capital and the City of London attempted to make the case for the importance of tax incentives in encouraging social investment. It estimated that an additional £480m of social investment could be unlocked if the right incentives were put in place. I will be analysing these findings in more detail in a separate post.

4) And while we’re talking impressive-sounding estimates of the potential for social investment, the Rockefeller Foundation suggested this week that social investment (or “impact investing” to use their more American term) in India is likely to grow at 30% a year. If this proves true, India could become a massive global player in the social investment area.

5) In the “And Finally” slot this week is news that filmaker George Lucas has proposed making an extraordinary gift that could be worth more than $1bn in the long-term, to fund a museum devoted to the art of visual storytelling. If there is any truth in the idea that philanthropy can be used to absolve us of our earthly sins, then this just about starts to atone for The Phantom Menace…

Rhodri Davies

The philanthropic Brits are coming…

Today Bill Gates and Warren Buffetts’ Giving Pledge announced the addition of 12 new signatories. These are some of the world’s highest profile mega-rich, all of whom are promising to give away at least half of their wealth to good causes over their lifetimes.

Among the new pledges are five names from the UK:



This is potentially a hugely exciting development for philanthropy in the UK. One of the things that often seems to hold back the growth of major giving here is the reluctance of millionaires and billionaires to be open about their giving. This may be for cultural reasons (we Brits really don’t like talking about money- it’s frightfully gauche…) or it may be due to concerns about adverse publicity or cynicism from the general public about their motivations- who knows?

What is encouraging about today’s announcement is that it suggests that at least some of our wealthiest people (who are already known to be philanthropic by those who follow these things) are willing to put their heads above the parapet and make a public declaration of their charitable ambitions. The Giving Pledge may have played a key role here by having amassed sufficient signatories in the US that there is a sense of “safety in numbers”, and UK donors (and those elsewhere) are happy to be public about their giving in a way they would not have been in the past.

CAF has always thought that there is real power in philanthropists being willing to act as role models for others and establish social norms around the relationship between wealth and giving, and we have said in the past that a UK version of the Giving Pledge would be an incredibly positive thing. Today’s announcement is therefore something that we really welcome, and I for one hope that it is the start of a revolution in the way that UK philanthropists approach the visibility of their giving.

Rhodri Davies

Now That’s What I Call Philanthropy & Social Investment 5: Best of the Week 15.02.13

Happy Friday to all the philanthro-convert and philanthro-curious web surfers out there! It’s time for another whistle-stop tour of the best of this week’s philanthropy and social investment stories on the web, as I found them. Hope you enjoy…

1) Firstly, the interesting results of a conference in the US, where government officials say that philanthropy should do more to try and influence public policy, arguing that foundations and other non-profits can play a key role in transforming public perceptions on social issues.

2) More from across the pond, and an article highlighting the fact that major donor giving in the US is still not back up to 2007 levels, which also gives a good run down of what some of the nation’s biggest philanthropists give to.

3) An absolutely fascinating article on the challenges facing civil society organisations in Russia, and how the Putin administration is undermining the develpment of domestic philanthropy.

4) Following the backlash of cynicism about David Beckham’s announcement that he would be giving his wages at Paris St Germain to charity, Huffington Post carried an interesting perspective from a charity celebrity liaison professional, who argues that celebrities are damned if they do give and damned if they don’t.

5) And finally: news that David Cameron is going to use this year’s G8 presidency to put forward the case for social impact bonds and impact investing. I’m not that sure this will actually result in any tangible action, but it will definitely boost the profile of social investment around the world, and that can only be a good thing.

Rhodri Davies

Now That’s What I Call Philanthropy & Social Investment 4: best of the web 8/2/13

Well, it seems as thought these weekly pentads of interesting philanthro-social finance (nope- still not nailed that description) nuggets have found a reasonably appreciative audience, so I will keep doing my best to unearth five little gems each week.

If you come across any stories you think I have missed, then do let me know via this blog or on Twitter (@Rhodri_H_Davies). I’m always up for interesting philanthropy/social investment tales!

1) A bit of a charity fairytale from the US this week, in which a low-profile Washington D.C. millionaire who had given small amounts to a local charity during his life then left them $28m in his will. An object lesson in treating all supporters well, because you never know!

2) Allia, a UK social investment organisation, launched this week what may be the world’s first true retail social investment product. This will allow members of the public to invest indirectly in a Social Impact Bond that has been issued by Essex Council.

3) The news of a $50m donation by Billionaire Graham Tuckwell to the National University of Australia sparked an interesting public debate about the potentially distorting effect philanthropy can have on public spending.

4) A quartet of wealthy Indian donors announced that they would be funding a $6m “X prize”, aimed at rewarding innovative ideas for social change in India.

5) The “And finally…” story this week is this little tale about a US sci fi author who has taken a novel approach to turning a feud with an internet troll into a drive to give more to charity.

Rhodri Davies