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  • Writer's pictureCharity Chat Podcast

E205 - Philanthropy with Dr Ewan Kirk

“… for charities themselves, they need to be willing to join with other charities, work together to multiply their own resources… they need to attack a problem which is within their resources… and try and raise money for doing things a little bit differently, that’s what philanthropy is good at doing.” - Dr Ewan Kirk

In this episode we speak with Dr Ewan Kirk, a successful technology entrepreneur and founder and co-Chair of Turner Kirk Trust. We talk about why philanthropy should be more than writing a cheque, how we can put innovation and collaboration at the heart of everything we do, and why it’s important to experiment and try out new ideas even if they might fail.

1. Why philanthropy should be more than writing a cheque

One of the problems is sometimes people do unstructured giving. This isn’t something that Dr Kirk likes to do – he prefers to structure his giving and get the best value out of what he is donating.

Systemic and wide-spread problems may not be things that some philanthropists might want to fund. Seeing the impact of giving is important to philanthropists as much as it might be for the best of us.

2. How we can put innovation and collaboration at the heart of everything we do

There seems to be a role for philanthropists to act as helping charities to think innovatively and make this thinking worthwhile. Collaboration between charities is equally important to thinking about new ways of getting things done, and addressing bigger problems that philanthropists can have some agency in supporting them to address.

Asking experts, rather than generalists is one way that charities can seek to innovate their work. And this is advice that philanthropists should take too. Neither charities nor philanthropists need to come into the field of doing good with an open ear and a willingness to ask others.

3. Why it’s important to experiment and try out new ideas even if they might fail

As Dr Kirk says, when somebody gives money to a charity they want to see that that money is doing good. There are some things that are hard to get funded and there seems to be a lot of potential to encourage new thinking to improve efficiencies and develop new and effective solutions.

This episode of Charity Chat has been brought to you by our platinum sponsor Work for Good. Work for Good believes everyone should be able to turn the work they do into good. Through their fundraising platform, they offer charities a way to engage and work with small businesses, including founders, owners and sole traders who want to make an impact for charities through their sales. To find out more, please visit

We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

Related episodes that you may be interested in:

E189 - Theory of Change with James Noble -

E175 - A career in Philanthropy with Sybil Ackerman-Munson -

E158 - Entrepreneurialism in the Charity Sector With Bill Woolsey -


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