Advising Donors - SOCI9620

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


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.


Contact hours

Contact time: 43
Private study hours: 157
Total hours: 200


MA in Philanthropic Studies. Also available as a Wild Module.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay, 2,000 words (40%)
Book review, 2,000 words (40%)
Online forum participation (20%)

Reassessment methods

100% Coursework

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

The intended subject specific 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.

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. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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