Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world



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.

Contact Information


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

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Eikenberry, A. and Breeze, B. (2018). Growing Philanthropy through Giving Circles: collective giving and the logic of charity. Social Policy and Society [Online] 17:349-364. Available at:
Breeze, B. and Wiepking, P. (2018). Different Drivers: Exploring employee involvement in corporate philanthropy. Journal of Business Ethics [Online]. Available at:
Breeze, B. and Jollymore, G. (2017). Understanding Solicitation: beyond the binary variable of being asked or not being asked. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing [Online] 22. Available at:
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] 21:57-70. Available at:
Hogg, E., Kendall, J. and Breeze, B. (2015). The Third Sector and the State in England. Sociologia e Politiche Sociali [Online] 18:27-50. Available at:
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. Available at:
Breeze, B. (2013). How donors choose charities: the role of personal taste and experiences in giving decisions. Voluntary Sector Review [Online] 4:165-183. Available at:
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. Available at:
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. Available at:
Breeze, B. et al. (2011). What Role for Public policy in Promoting Philanthropy? Public Management Review [Online] 13:1179-1195. Available at:
Book section
Breeze, B., Halfpenny, P. and Wilding, K. (2015). Giving in the UK: Philanthropy Embedded in a Welfare State Society. in: Wiepking, P. and Handy, F. eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Global Philanthropy. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, pp. 285-306. Available at:
Breeze, B. and Scaife, W. (2015). Encouraging Generosity. in: Handbok of Global Philanthropy. Basingstoke, Great Britain: Palgrave.
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. (2011). Philanthropy. in: Southerton, D. ed. Encyclopaedia of Consumer Culture. SAGE Publications Inc.
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. Available at:
Breeze, B. (2001). 'Annie Besant'. in: Rosen, G. ed. Dictionary of Labour Biography. Methuen Publishing Ltd.
Breeze, B. (2017). Good Asking: the role of research in efficient, effective and enjoyable fundraising. Institute of Fundraising. Available at:
Breeze, B. and Flaxman, K. (2017). Coutts Million Pound Donor report 2017. Coutts & Co. Available at:
Body, A. and Breeze, B. (2015). Rising to the Challenge: Fundraising for Unpopular Causes. University of Kent. Available at:
Breeze, B. (2014). Philanthropic Journeys: new insights into the triggers and barriers for long-term giving and volunteering. Pilotlight. Available at:
Breeze, B. (2014). Great British Philanthropy: Growing a fellowship of donors to support local communities. UK Community Foundations. Available at:
Breeze, B. (2013). Corporate philanthropy on the shop floor: what drives employee fundraising?. Charitable Giving and Philanthropy.
Breeze, B. (2012). Donor and Governmental Perceptions of Philanthropy. Alliance Publishing Trust. Available at:
Breeze, B. and Dean, J. (2012). User Views of Fundraising: A study of charitable beneficiaries' opinions of their representation in appeals. Alliance Publishing Trust. Available at:
Breeze, B. (2010). The Coutts Million Pound Donors Report. Coutts and Co, London. Available at:
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. Available at:
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. (2009). Natural Philanthropists: Findings of the Family Business Philanthropy and Social Responsibility Inquiry. Institute for Family Business (UK).
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. Available at:
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. Available at:
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. Available at:
Breeze, B. (2017). The New Fundraisers: Who organises charitable giving in contemporary society?. [Online]. Bristol, UK: Policy Press. Available at:
Moody, M. and Breeze, B. (2016). The Philanthropy Reader. London: Routledge.
Mohan, J. and Breeze, B. (2015). The Logic of Charity: Great Expectations in Hard Times. [Online]. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan. Available at:
Lloyd, T. and Breeze, B. (2013). Richer Lives: Why Rich People Give. [Online]. London: Directory of Social Change. Available at:
Edited book
Moody, M. and Breeze, B. eds. (2016). The Philanthropy Reader. [Online]. London, UK: Routledge. Available at:
Internet publication
Breeze, B. (2015). Coutts Million Pound Donors Report 2015 [Web report]. Available at:
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. Available at:
Breeze, B. ed. (2017). Understanding Fundraising: Special edition of the International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing [Online] 22. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 42 [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

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.

Current research

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.

Past research

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.

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Professional activities


  • 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
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  • The following is a lecture about the kind of people who raise money for good causes (a Think Kent video, 2017)


Please also see In the News on the Centre for Philanthropy website.

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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: 21/05/2018