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Place-based giving schemes positively affect local philanthropy, report finds

Place-based giving schemes positively affect local philanthropy, report finds

schemes in England are having a positive effect on local philanthropy, according to a study commissioned by the , Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The research, Place-based Giving Schemes Funding, engaging and creating stronger communities, was authored by Dr Catherine Walker, Director at The Researchery with Rhodri Davies, Head of Policy at Charities Aid Foundation as Policy Advisor on the project.

It uncovered a large and growing number of place-based giving schemes, with 13 case studies included in the report. These reveal a high level of collaborative working between funders and other organisations spanning the private, public and third sectors, including local councils, local and metro mayors, independent grant-making foundations, businesses and local residents.

According to the report, place-based giving schemes in England currently include 21 London Borough Place-based Giving Schemes; 43 Community Foundations; 69 giving circles; plus a number of other forms, differing greatly in approach, scale and maturity.

The study also found a strong desire to see more place-based schemes developed, providing they are not seen as a ‘magic bullet’ for solving all issues. In addition, the research suggests there is significant potential to harness people’s sense of identity and community to drive more locally focused charitable giving around the country.

However, a number of challenges were highlighted in the research. The most frequently mentioned factors were practical considerations, with funding taking centre stage. Interviewees mentioned the importance of both seed funding and ongoing core cost funding, in part to overcome capacity issues and also to fund a dedicated development worker.

Other challenges schemes face included building partnerships: with funders, including corporates, and the local community; building a reputation and track record; evaluating impact; establishing and communicating a brand; and avoiding unhelpful competition with already established local charities.

The research also looked at civic philanthropy programmes supported by local mayors. Here it found that while there is currently some partnership working and collaboration between place-based funders and schemes,  there is considerable scope for more, as well as a role for greater collaboration with place-based schemes in many mayoral functions.

Rhodri Davies, Head of Policy at CAF, said:

“The obvious enthusiasm for the idea of a renewed culture of civic philanthropy is great to see. And the introduction of new forms of local political power such as directly elected mayors offers real opportunities to move this agenda forward. If we can use new place-based models and approaches to harness more giving, it could play a huge role in reinvigorating towns and cities around the UK, and helping them to prepare for the challenges and opportunities the future will bring.”

The report will be available to read in full online from today.

As a result of the research, the Office for Civil Society promised in the recently published Civil Society Strategy that over £750,000 will be invested in the growth of place-based giving schemes before 2020, to support civic philanthropy.

Author of the report, Dr Catherine Walker of The Researchery, said:

“It was a real eye-opener to see the number and variety of place-based schemes happening all over the country, and I’m thrilled that on the back of this research the government has announced, as part of the new Civil Society Strategy, a new pot of money to help more place-based schemes develop.”



Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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