Author Archives: carolinefiennes

Why are there so many charities?

This article first published in the Financial Times. Donors encourage smaller organisations — but does that help beneficiaries? There are 165,000 registered charities in England and Wales alone, which people often say is a lot. But is it? Moreover, it … Continue reading

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Don’t spread the love with your Christmas charity giving

This article first published in the Financial Times. One big donation will be more effective than several smaller ones Would you prefer to receive one big present this Christmas, or lots of little ones? Your inner child will tell you … Continue reading

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How we could can impact measurement more useful

This article first published in Civil Society Magazine.  Most of the impact data charities gather does not help raise funds or improve performance This opinion piece is a response to an article titled How do you measure the value of … Continue reading

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What makes philanthropy succeed? – potentially revealing analysis

Remarkably little is known reliably about how to do philanthropy well – how to use it to achieve particular aims – despite philanthropy’s long and varied history. Giving Evidence (and others) is trying to fix this – to create reliable … Continue reading

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When charitable donations cost more than they give

Popularity contests for funding waste time and resources This article first published in the Financial Times. Some charitable donors are a net drain: they cost organisations they seek to help more than they contribute. Others come pretty close, costing nearly … Continue reading

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Creating a sector-wide research agenda: Industrial Farm Animal Production

‘Ask an important question an answer it reliably’ is a central tenet of medical research. Yet  much ‘impact research’ in the charity and social sectors (including monitoring and evaluation’) isn’t like that. Instead, we ask lots of questions, and answer … Continue reading

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What is evidence-based giving and why does it matter?

Interview with Caroline Fiennes, Director of Giving Evidence (16 mins):   This interview was made possible by the Skoll Foundation. It was recorded in Oxford in April 2015, in a single take and with no notice of the questions. More … Continue reading

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Avoiding waste in medical research

This article first published in the Financial Times. The news that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla are putting $3bn towards “ending all disease” has renewed the spotlight on the giving of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest. They are not alone in … Continue reading

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What would have happened otherwise?

First published in the FT. Did the charity make it happen, or would it have happened anyway? The purpose of a charity’s work — and your support for it — is to create a benefit beyond what would have happened … Continue reading

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The evidence system in the mental health charity sector

UK non-profits delivering mental health services are not great at producing or using scientific evidence. This is the main finding of a new study by Giving Evidence. We interviewed 12 such organisations to understand their ‘evidence system’, i.e., how evidence is: Produced … Continue reading

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