Advising Donors - SO962

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Summer 7 20 (10) DR B Breeze checkmark-circle


This module will give an advanced level overview of the current state of philanthropy advising in the UK. Aimed at those working in or seeking to work in the voluntary sector, especially in roles that involve working directly with individual philanthropists and institutional donors, it will cover a range of topics that will facilitate a detailed and critical analysis of the role of philanthropy advising. It will allow students to explore this knowledge through its application in real life contexts that are encountered in professional practice. Academic approaches to advising donors from a range of perspectives including structural issues (tax, legal and wealth management) and strategic approaches (theory of change, goal-setting and distributional consequences) will be covered in order to fully understand and reflect on the role of philanthropy advisers.

To enable this advanced level knowledge to be used in practice, we will explore the current debates in advising donors, including the different approaches, outcome-orientations, methods of measurement and impact assessment. Students will gain from all of this a critical understanding of philanthropy advising and its role in society, and the ways in which private philanthropists and institutional donors are, and can be, supported.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Hours of study: 200 hours

Contact time:

This module will have one study day (6 hours); 10 online forums (20 hours); 30 short lectures/videos (10 hours); 10 podcasts or audio recordings (5 hours) and; tutor telephone and email mentor sessions and personal support (2 hours); Total 43 hours.

Private study:

157 hours of private study including reading materials, research and assignment preparation time.



Method of assessment

100% coursework comprising:

A 2,000 word coursework essay (40%), a 2,000 word book review (40%), and an online forum participation mark (20%).

Indicative reading

Connolly, P. M. (2011). The best of the humanistic and technocratic: Why the most effective work in philanthropy requires a balance. The Foundation Review, 3(1 & 2), 120-136.

Daly, S. 2011 'Philanthropy, The Big Society and Emerging Philanthropic Relationships in the UK'. Public Management Review 13:8, 1077-1094

Frumkin, P. (2006). Strategic Giving: the art and science of philanthropy. Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press.

Leslie, B., Noonan, K. & Nohavec, C. (2015) Understanding Philanthropy Consulting: A tool to identify the roles and capabilities needed from external support. The Foundation Review. vol 7 (1)

Scott Sibary (2006) Counselling Philanthropic Donors. Ethics and Behaviour, vol 16 (3), pp. 183-197

Tierney, T. J., & Fleishman J. L. (2011). Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results, New York: Public Affairs Books

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1. Demonstrate an advanced critical understanding of the range of theories and key conceptual approaches to advising donors.
8.2. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the evolution of philanthropy and the role of advisors in the United Kingdom and beyond, and be able to critically evaluate the impact of this on current debates and future directions.
8.3. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the role of the environment in which philanthropy advising exists and the role of different actors and how they interact to shape the legal, fiscal and cultural context of philanthropy.
8.4. Systematically evaluate the literature on the existence and role of philanthropic intermediaries.
8.5. Evaluate the different models and methods of supporting donors and be able to produce reasoned and justified opinions on a range of contemporary issues relating to advising individual philanthropists and institutional donors.
8.6. Act autonomously in creating and presenting critical ideas for applying theoretical, empirical and practical knowledge in the tackling and solving of tasks related to advising donors.

9. The intended generic learning outcomes.

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1. Make critical evaluations in order to effectively gather appropriate and reliable library and web-based resources for postgraduate study
9.2. Act autonomously in using web-based resources to augment knowledge gained from online seminars and web-based study materials
9.3. Demonstrate self-direction, critical judgement, and theoretical knowledge in accessing, interpreting and analysing data
9.4. Use selected resources to construct critical arguments and be able to communicate these conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
9.5. Apply problem solving skills in the planning and implementation of professional practice based tasks
9.6. Apply critical reflection to both individual and organisational practice.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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