Caroline Greenhalgh

‘Seeing is believing’

How do High Net Worth Individuals utilise evidence to inform their philanthropy?

To date there has been some excellent research conducted into the motivations of high net worth donors, which has found that many new philanthropists place a great emphasis on the need to rigorously assess the impact of their giving (Bishop & Green 2015; Breeze 2014; Edwards 2002 and Lincoln & Saxton 2012).  However, very little research has been conducted into how HNWDs use evidence to help inform their philanthropy, the quality of the evidence they utilise and how they measure the performance of the charities to which they are donating.  The use of high quality evidence is clearly of great importance if the aim of these philanthrocapitalists to maximise their social impact is to be realised.  

The author proposes to address this gap in the research by conducting a qualitative study of a number of HNWDs, with a view to ascertaining: whether they utilise evidence in their decision making and if so, what their perception of what constitutes evidence is; what they understand to be high and low quality evidence and whether they seek to differentiate between these; how they utilise evidence in reaching decisions about whether or not to fund a particular charity; what other factors impact on their decisions; and how they measure success in their giving.

Supervisor: Professor Paul Montgomery and Professor Karen Rowlingson 


Caroline is the Head of Development for The Childhood Trust. The Childhood Trust is a charity supporting vulnerable children living in poverty in London. They make grants and empower grassroots projects to provide children with practical, emotional and inspirational support to alleviate the impact of child poverty.

Carolines background is as a charity and philanthropy professional and she has significant board level experience in fundraising, development and evaluation and specific expertise of working with high net worth donors. 

Caroline has both a practical and academic interest in trends in philanthropic giving and in particular, how donors engage with philanthropy and conceptualise and measure the effectiveness of their giving.  

Caroline is currently researching for my PhD at the University of Birmingham in which she seeks to examine how high net worth individuals utilise evidence to inform their philanthropy. Caroline is an Associate Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford and a member of the board of the Global Fund for Human Rights.


  • MSc (Oxon)
  • LLM (Leicester)
  • LLB (Guildhall)

Research interests

  • Philanthropy
  • Evidence
  • Child Poverty
  • Evaluation of Charities


Twitter: @carogreenhalgh
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