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How the wealthy give

26 January 2022

Philanthrocapitalism – the application of business-based tools and techniques to philanthropy – has been offered as a more effective and efficient approach to philanthropy. From Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg, the world's wealthiest and most vocal philanthropists have celebrated philanthrocapitalism. Yet questions remain regarding how philanthrocapitalist ideas are put into practice.

In her doctoral research at the School of Management, Dr Steph Haywood sought to understand how and why wealthy philanthropists take this kind of approach. She interviewed 42 high-net-worth-individuals in the UK, to examine their motives, perceptions and experiences of philanthropy.

By combining insights from Bourdieu's capital theory with social relations theory, Dr Haywood explored how wealthy individuals engage in philanthropy and what influences their strategy. She found that the language, attitudes and resources that wealthy individuals bring to their philanthropy are shaped by their professional backgrounds. Her work offers insights and implications for charities seeking funding from wealthy donors, and for policymakers developing incentives and regulatory policies for the sector.

Dr Haywood submitted her thesis in September 2021 and had her virtual viva shortly thereafter, in December. Her thesis was examined by the School of Management's Dr Alina Baluch and Dr Gemma Donnelly-Cox of Trinity Business School.

Dr Haywood is currently working as a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham's Third Sector Research Centre. She is working on a Wellcome-funded research project examining charity and philanthropy in the NHS.

Dr Steph Haywood