Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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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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Why do so few charities have their meetings in public?

All charities and charitable foundations exist to serve the public good. Most of them are subsidised by the public, through various tax breaks. Whereas any company must have a meeting at least annually at which the directors are held to account … Continue reading

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Be a flexible friend

This article first published in the FT. Toilet roll seems an unlikely emblem of effective philanthropy. Yet I’ve heard of a donor who specifically funds loo rolls in London museums and galleries on the simple grounds that this kind of donation … Continue reading

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Results of systematic review about outcomes for young people

Like those of many social programmes, the goals of Sail Training voyages are long-term: In this case, to improve young people’s life chances, involvement in employment and training, and sound mental health. However, many organisations which provide Sail Training cannot conduct or … Continue reading

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Science and philanthropy: podcast

A lovely interview on US radio station The Business Of Giving with Denver Frederick. We discussed lessons for philanthropy / nonprofits from Galileo, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; how nonprofits sometimes harm, how we don’t yet have good frameworks for … Continue reading

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The Magic Impact Fairy will ensure that your research really changes something

Many charities’ theory of change is: ‘here’s that document you didn’t ask for’ I want to introduce you to someone: the Magic Impact Fairy. Her job is to take all the research that people do and the reports they write, … Continue reading

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2015: Giving Evidence’s Year In Brief

We were busy this year! Pushing forwards substantially on improving the quality and use of evidence in our three areas of interest: assessing interventions, assessing charities, and assessing ways of giving. Read our 2015 Year In Brief.

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Talk of charities ‘proving their impact’ is dangerous and misleading

Proof is a big concept, and in social science – which is what impact research is – it almost never happens Suppose you hear of a new intervention that’s never been tried or tested before. What are the chances of it … Continue reading

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Dear Santa, please bring us some curiosity!

In 1929, Werner Forssmann, a junior doctor in Eberswalde, Germany, found in an obscure 19th century journal a diagram of a man passing a tube through a horse’s jugular vein into its heart to measure changes in ventricular pressure. He wondered if … Continue reading

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