Beth Breeze is Director of the Centre for Philanthropy, which she co-founded in 2008. Beth began her career as a fundraiser for a youth homelessness charity, and spent a decade working in a variety of fundraising, research and charity management roles, including as deputy director at the Institute for Philanthropy in London. Motivated by the lack of substantive research underpinning practice, Beth completed a PhD on contemporary philanthropy at Kent in 2011, and has been working here ever since.
Beth has written and edited four books: Richer Lives: Why Rich People Give (2013, co-authored with Theresa Lloyd), The Logic of Charity: Great Expectations in Hard Times (2015, co-authored with John Mohan) and The Reader on Philanthropy (2016, co-edited with Michael Moody). Her latest book, The New Fundraisers: who organises charitable giving in contemporary society? (2017), won the AFP Skystone Research Partners book prize.
Beth has also written a wide range of research reports including ten editions of the annual ‘Coutts Million Pound Donors Report’, ‘How Donors Choose Charities’ and 'User Views of Fundraising'. She has worked on studies of giving circles, fundraising for ‘unpopular’ causes, philanthropy across the life-course and corporate philanthropy on the shop floor.
Having launched the first Masters degree in Philanthropic Studies outside North America in 2016, which is taught by distance learning to meet the needs of busy professionals, Beth is now Director of Studies of that programme.
Beth has served as trustee for the Cardinal Hume Centre for young homeless people, as a Commissioner on the Commission for the Donor Experience, as publications editor of Philanthropy UK, as a member of the President's advisory council at NCVO; and am currently a member of the Advisory Group of the Charity Tax Commission.
Beth is keen to take ideas and research findings to a wide audience. She frequently speaks at charity sector events around the country, and has contributed to discussions about philanthropy and charitable giving in a range of media including TV, radio, online news, broadsheet and tabloid newspapers and all the UK charity sector publications.
Room CNE 109
Cornwallis North East
University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF
Tuesdays 11.00-12.00, or by appointment
Please contact Beth by email
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
Beth's research interests focus on philanthropy, charitable giving, and the charity sector.
She works 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. She also has an interest in the impact of philanthropy on social policy and political processes, and vice versa.
Beth is continuing to focus on major donors. In 2017 she completed the 10th edition of the annual Million Pound Donor research as well as continued to study those who ask for these largest gifts.
She also maintains an interest in collective giving, especially giving circles, and the broader topic of the science of fundraising.
From 2008-2013 Beth was part of the ESRC centre on Giving and Philanthropy, and from 2013-2016 she 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.
She has also received funding from the European Commission to undertake a study of the role of philanthropic fundraising in universities across the European Union, and has funding from Coutts & Co bank to write an annual report on UK charitable donations worth £1 million or more.
Her 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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Beth is Director of Studies for the MA Philanthropic Studies, convening four modules:
- Fundamentals of Philanthropy (SO840), in which students gain an up to date overview of current academic knowledge about philanthropy. The module covers historical and contemporary issues relating to philanthropy, 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.
- Global Philanthropy: Comparative Perspectives (SO959), in which students gain an advanced level overview of the nature and practice of contemporary philanthropy across the world, achieving a broader understanding of philanthropy beyond their own culture, and the growing role of philanthropic institutions in eliciting global change.
- 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.
Beth supervises Undergraduate and Masters dissertations on a range of topics, often related to charities, philanthropy and the voluntary sector.
Beth is qualified to lead PhD supervisory teams, and is 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
- Member of the Advisory Group for the Charity Tax Commission
- Beth writes 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, her 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.