I am Director of the Centre for Philanthropy, at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. I teach Masters-level courses on ‘The Art and Science of Fundraising’ (SO958) and ‘Advising Donors’ (SO962), and I contribute to undergraduate teaching on Volunteering (SO670) and the Third Sector and Society (SO645).
I have written four books:
- The New Fundraisers, to be published by Policy Press in Autumn 2017
- The Logic of Charity, co-authored with John Mohan
- The Philanthropy Reader, co-edited with Michael Moody
- 'Richer Lives: why rich people give', a book exploring the motivations and giving behaviour of wealthy donors
as well as a wide range of research reports on issues related to charitable giving and philanthropy, including:
- 'Good Asking: the role of research in efficient, effective and enjoyable fundraising'
- 'Rising to the Challenge' - Fundraising for Unpopular Causes, with Alison Body
- 'Great British Philanthropy' report
- The annual ‘Million Pound Donor Report’
- ‘How Donors Choose Charities’
- User Views of Fundraising
- ‘Giving in Evidence: Fundraising from Philantropy in European Universities’
- ‘Natural Philanthropists: Findings of the Family Business Philanthropy and Social Responsibility Inquiry’
- ‘The Blueprint for Giving’, the final report of the Giving Campaign co-written with Professor Adrian Sargeant;
- ‘Robin Hood in Reverse: exploring the relationship between income and charitable giving’, published by the LSE
- ‘Investment Matters’, a study of charity asset management
- ‘Raising a Giving Nation’.
Current projects include: 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.
Centre for Philanthropy documents
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.
Room CNE 109
Cornwallis North East
University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF
Tuesdays 11.00-12.00, or by appointment
Please contact me by email
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
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.
I am continuing to focus on major donors, in 2017 I am completing the 10th edition of the annual Million Pound Donor research as well as continuing to study those who ask for these largest gifts.
I also maintain an interest in collective giving, especially giving circles, and the broader topic of the science of fundraising.
From 2008-2013 I was part of the ESRC centre on Giving and Philanthropy, and from 2013-2016 I held 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 explored the art of fundraising and the personality traits of successful fundraiser and the findings will appear in a book called The New Fundraisers, to be published by Policy Press in November 2017.
I have also 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.
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.
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I am a member of the teaching team on the MA Philanthropic Studies, convening two modules:
- The Art and Science of Fundraising (SO958), in which students gain an advanced level overview of the current state of fundraising in the UK, including the evidence-based techniques and strategies endorsed by the professional bodies (the ‘science’ of fundraising), and the latest research on the personal attributes of fundraisers that are understood to lead to successful outcomes (the ‘art’ of fundraising).
- Advising Donors (SO962), which provides a detailed and critical analysis of the role of philanthropy advising, allowing students to explore this knowledge through its application in real life contexts that are encountered in professional practice.
I also contribute lectures to the undergraduate module ‘The Third Sector, Charities and Social Enterprises in Modern Societies’ (SO645) and offer placement advice and assessment support on the ‘Kent Student Certificate for Volunteering: Platinum Award’ (SO670).
I supervise Undergraduate and Masters dissertations on a range of topics, often related to charities, philanthropy and the voluntary sector.
I am qualified to lead PhD supervisory teams, and am currently supervising PhD students writing theses on philanthropy in Higher Education and the everyday practices of fundraisers.
- Director of the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent
- Member of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly editorial board
- 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
- The following is a lecture about the kind of people who raise money for good causes (a Think Kent video, 2017)
- Beth Breeze on whether charitable giving is altruism or ‘savvy PR’ in the light of the actress Amber Heard giving her $7m divorce settlement to charity, BBC Radio Kent (from 10:07), 19 August 2016
- Beth Breeze interviewed by Clare McCullagh of Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy, May 2016
- The following is a lecture on £1million donors (a Think Kent video, 2016)
- Interview with Beth Breeze, Centre for Philanthropy, University of Kent
- Interview: Beth Breeze at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Civil Society and Volunteering
- Beth Breeze is interviewed in The New Philanthropists, The Guardian, March 2012
- Beth Breeze contributes to media discussions of charity tax cap proposal, Financial Times, April 2012
- Beth Breeze writes about the lasting damage caused by the charity tax cap proposal, Third Sector, July 2012
- Beth Breeze quoted in a BBC News online article about Past Philanthropists: How giving has evolved
- Beth Breeze writes about how donors choose charities, The Guardian, September 2011
- Beth Breeze writes about the new philanthropy advice industry, STEP Journal, June 2010
Please also see In the News on the Centre for Philanthropy website.