Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world


Dr Beth Breeze

School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research - Senior Lecturer in Social Policy

01227 82(4303)


I am Director of the Centre for Philanthropy, at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. I also teach a postgraduate module on Fundraising and Philanthropy, and an undergraduate module on volunteering.

A review of the first three years of the philanthropy research centre is available here and a leaflet celebrating our first 5 years of activity is available here.

I have written a wide range of research reports on issues related to charitable giving and philanthropy, including:

Current projects include: a 3 year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to study the personal and social skills of fundraisers; ongoing updates of the annual Million Pound Donor Report, funded by Coutts Bank; and a study of giving circles and collaborative giving in the UK.

I began my career as a fundraiser for a youth homelessness charity, the Cardinal Hume Centre and spent a decade working in a variety of fundraising, research and charity management roles, most recently as Deputy Director at the Institute for Philanthropy. I co-founded the Centre for Philanthropy in 2008.

I completed my PhD in Sociology at the University of Kent, my MSc in Voluntary Sector Organisation at the London School of Economics, my Certificate in Fundraising Management at the Open University and my MA in Social Anthropology at the University of St. Andrews.


Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Body, A. and Breeze, B. (2016). What are 'unpopular causes' and how can they achieve fundraising success? International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing [Online].
Eikenberry, A. and Breeze, B. (2015). Growing philanthropy through collaboration: The landscape of giving circles in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Voluntary Sector Review [Online] 6:41-59.
Breeze, B. (2013). How donors choose charities: the role of personal taste and experiences in giving decisions . Voluntary Sector Review [Online] 4:165-183.
Wiepking, P. and Breeze, B. (2012). Feeling Poor, Acting Stingy: the effect of money perception on charitable giving. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing [Online] 17:13-24.
Breeze, B. and Dean, J. (2012). Pictures of Me: User views on the representation of need in homelessness fundraising appeals. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing [Online] 17:132-143.
Breeze, B. et al. (2011). What Role for Public policy in Promoting Philanthropy? Public Management Review [Online] 13:1179-1195.
Beth, B. (2015). The Logic of Charity: Great Expectations in Hard Times. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.
Lloyd, T. and Breeze, B. (2013). Richer Lives: Why Rich People Give. [Online]. London: Directory of Social Change.
Book section
Breeze, B. and Scaife, W. (2015). Encouraging Generosity. in: Handbok of Global Philanthropy. Basingstoke, Great Britain: Palgrave.
Breeze, B. (2011). Philanthropy. in: Southerton, D. ed. Encyclopaedia of Consumer Culture. SAGE Publications Inc.
Breeze, B. (2011). Is there a ‘New Philanthropy?’. in: Rochester, C. et al. eds. Understanding Roots of Voluntary Action; Historical Perspectives on Current Social Policy. Sussex Academic Press.
Breeze, B. (2009). ‘Andrew Carnegie’ and ‘Marcel Mauss’ . in: Anheier, H. K. and Toepler, S. eds. International Encyclopedia of Civil Society. Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
Breeze, B. (2008). The problem of riches: is philanthropy a solution or part of the problem? in: Maltby, T., Kennett, P. and Rummery, K. eds. Social Policy Review 20: Analysis and debate in social policy. Oxford University Press.
Breeze, B. (2001). ‘Annie Besant’ . in: Rosen, G. ed. Dictionary of Labour Biography. Methuen Publishing Ltd.
Internet publication
Breeze, B. (2015). Coutts Million Pound Donors Report 2015 [Web report].
Breeze, B. (2014). Philanthropic Journeys: new insights into the triggers and barriers for long-term giving and volunteering. Pilotlight.
Breeze, B. (2013). Corporate philanthropy on the shop floor: what drives employee fundraising?. Charitable Giving and Philanthropy.
Breeze, B. and Dean, J. (2012). User Views of Fundraising: A study of charitable beneficiaries’ opinions of their representation in appeals. Alliance Publishing Trust.
Breeze, B. (2012). Donor and Governmental Perceptions of Philanthropy. Alliance Publishing Trust.
Breeze, B. (2010). How donors choose charities: Findings of a study of donor perceptions of the nature and distribution of charitable benefit. Alliance Publishing Trust.
Breeze, B. (2010). The Coutts Million Pound Donors Report. Coutts and Co, London.
Breeze, B. (2009). “I can’t afford to support every worthy cause”: The role of donor taste, beneficiary need and nonprofit competence in selection of recipients for charitable donations. Economic and Social Research Council, UK.
Breeze, B. (2009). Natural Philanthropists: Findings of the Family Business Philanthropy and Social Responsibility Inquiry. Institute for Family Business (UK).
Breeze, B. and Morgan, G. (2009). Philanthropy in a Recession: An analysis of UK media representations and implications for charitable giving. Sheffield Hallam University/University of Kent.
Breeze, B. (2008). Investment Matters: In search of better charity asset management. Institute for Philanthropy: London.
Breeze, B. and Thornton, A. (2006). Raising a Giving Nation: A report on 3 years of research and activity with young people and schools by the Giving Nation programme. The Citizenship Foundation.
Breeze, B. (2006). Robin Hood in reverse: exploring the relationship between income and charitable giving Papers,Voluntary Sector Working 3. Centre for Civil Society, London School of Economics and Political Science. Centre for Civil Society, London School of Economics and Political Science.
Research report (external)
Breeze, B. (2011). The Coutts, Million Pound Donors Report 2011. Coutts & Co.
Breeze, B. et al. (2011). Giving in Evidence: Fundraising from Philanthropy in European Universities . [Online]. European Commission.
Total publications in KAR: 29 [See all in KAR]


Research interests

My research interests focus on philanthropy, charitable giving, and the charity sector.

I work within the Centre for Philanthropy, which explores philanthropic activities, social patterns of giving and the redistributive impact of transfers from private wealth to the public good. I also have an interest in the impact of philanthropy on social policy and political processes, and vice versa.


From 2013-2016 I have a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to undertake a project called 'The Formation of Fundraisers: the role of social skills in asking for money'. This study will explore the art of fundraising and the personality traits of successful fundraiser.

I have received funding from the European Commission to undertake a study of the role of philanthropic fundraising in universities across the European Union, and I have funding from Coutts & Co bank to write an annual report on UK charitable donations worth £1 million or more.


From 2008-2013 I was a researcher within the national Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP), which was funded by the ESRC, the Office of Civil Society, the Scottish Executive and the Carnegie UK Trust.

The four projects I undertook within CGAP were concerned with donors’ awareness of the nature and distribution of charitable benefit; the role that perceptions of need plays in donors’ selection of beneficiaries; relationships between givers and receivers and the social space bridged by donations; and the representation of need in charitable appeals and its impact on beneficiaries.

My doctoral thesis, completed in 2009, investigates the meaning and purpose of philanthropy in contemporary UK society. Based on secondary analysis of the public statements and giving patterns of 170 of the most significant philanthropists operating in the UK today, it argues that philanthropy is primarily a social relationship between givers and receivers, rather than merely a financial transaction, and that the philanthropic acts of the wealthy are part of a strategy - conscious or otherwise - to find meaning and purpose in their life whilst creating and communicating a positive identity to themselves, their loved ones and the wider community.



I convene SO839 Fundraising and Philanthropy. This MA module provides an up to date overview of current academic knowledge about philanthropy, and industry knowledge regarding fundraising practice.

Students will gain an understanding of historical and contemporary issues relating to philanthropy and fundraising, the various theories and ideologies regarding the existence of philanthropic behaviours and the role of government and policy-makers in shaping the legal, fiscal and cultural context for philanthropy and fundraising.

Students also have the opportunity to achieve a professional qualification in fundraising.

I also convene SO670 Kent Student Certificate in Volunteering, Platinum award.
I deliver a series of lectures on the UK voluntary sector, with a focus on the role of volunteering, emphasising its benefits to society and to the volunteer. I also support students in the 100 hours of volunteering required to pass this module, which involves successfully completing three placements in voluntary organisations.

Students on this course also have the opportunity to achieve a professional qualification in fundraising.


Professional activities


  • I write regularly for national and charity sector media, in order to disseminate research findings as widely as possible to relevant audiences
  • In addition to the charity sector press, my research has featured on:
    • Radio 4 (including the Today programme, The World at One, You and Yours)
    • Channel 4 News
    • Regional BBC radio (Kent, Devon, Leeds, London and Scotland)
    • The Financial Times
    • Daily Telegraph
    • The Guardian
    • BBC Online
    • Guardian Online
    • New Statesman
    • Prospect magazine

Contact information

Please contact me by email

Office information

Room CNE 211
Cornwallis North East
University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF
Tuesdays 11.00-12.00, or by appointment

Telephone: +44(0)1227 823072 Fax: +44(0)1227 827005 or email us

SSPSSR, Faculty of Social Sciences, Cornwallis North East, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF

Last Updated: 03/12/2015