Big Society or better society?
New report calls for ‘proper discussion’ on charitable giving in the UK
Charitable giving in the UK needs powerful new perspectives if the government’s hopes for a Big Society are to be successful.
While philanthropy plays a vital part in society, its contribution is limited by the values of donors. Hence, donor decision-making needs to be directed at areas where giving is most needed and in ways that lead to greater inclusion, diversity and social justice.
These are the conclusions of a new report from the ESRC Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP), a consortium of universities and NCVO co-ordinated at Cass Business School, part of City University London. The report brings together leading CGAP academic experts to discuss the opportunities and challenges for philanthropy under the Big Society umbrella.
It also states that corporate giving is guided by the values of a company’s board and does not necessarily reflect the needs of the local area.
The authors argue that the sector needs to focus on entrepreneurial philanthropy. Charitable start-ups answer specific needs within a community and, as such, have the capacity to grow and develop into strong resources which will help to moderate the individualism that characterises much of today’s charitable giving.
Professor Cathy Pharoah, Co-Director of CGAP said:
“Philanthropy is increasingly vital to people at the sharp end of current economic and social upheaval. Our work shows that we need to re-think how to direct our help to where it is most needed. There are many new opportunities to get involved in philanthropy, and in making a difference to society, and Government and others are supporting some dynamic initiatives. It’s about much more than giving money, it’s about sharing views, visions and values for a better big society.”
Philanthropy and a better society
Historical legacy and trends in philanthropy
2 ‘World‑making’ and major philanthropy (pdf)
Mairi Maclean, Charles Harvey, Jillian Gordon and Eleanor Shaw
Commitment, concern and morals
5 Unmasking the institutional formations of giving (pdf)
Distribution of resources
9 Business and the Big Society (pdf)
The future of philanthropy
10 The role of community foundations in the Big Society: taken for granted? (pdf)
Hannah Pavey, Jenny Harrow and Tobias Jung
12 The future of philanthropy: the role of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial philanthropy (pdf)
Eleanor Shaw, Jillian Gordon, Charles Harvey and Mairi Maclean