I am Director of the Centre for Philanthropy, at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. I also teach a postgraduate module on Fundraising and Philanthropy, and an undergraduate module on volunteering.
I have written a wide range of research reports on issues related to charitable giving and philanthropy, including:
- 'Richer Lives: why rich people give', a book exploring the motivations and giving behaviour of wealthy donors
- 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: a 3 year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to study the personal and social skills of fundraisers; 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.
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 211
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
back to top
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.
From 2013-2016 I have 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 will explore the art of fundraising and the personality traits of successful fundraiser.
I have 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.
From 2008-2013 I was a researcher within the national Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (CGAP), which was funded by the ESRC, the Office of Civil Society, the Scottish Executive and the Carnegie UK Trust.
The four projects I undertook within CGAP were concerned with donors’ awareness of the nature and distribution of charitable benefit; the role that perceptions of need plays in donors’ selection of beneficiaries; relationships between givers and receivers and the social space bridged by donations; and the representation of need in charitable appeals and its impact on beneficiaries.
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.
back to top
I convene SO839 Fundraising and Philanthropy. This MA module provides an up to date overview of current academic knowledge about philanthropy, and industry knowledge regarding fundraising practice.
Students will gain an understanding of historical and contemporary issues relating to philanthropy and fundraising, 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 and fundraising.
Students also have the opportunity to achieve a professional qualification in fundraising.
I also convene SO670 Kent Student Certificate in Volunteering, Platinum award.
I deliver a series of lectures on the UK voluntary sector, with a focus on the role of volunteering, emphasising its benefits to society and to the volunteer. I also support students in the 100 hours of volunteering required to pass this module, which involves successfully completing three placements in voluntary organisations.
Students on this course also have the opportunity to achieve a professional qualification in fundraising.back to top
- Co-founder of the Centre for Philanthropy, at the University of Kent.
- Member of the Philanthropy UK Editorial Board.
- Publications Editor, Philanthropy UK.
- Member of the NCVO Advisory Council.
- 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
- 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