What is charity? How does it operate, who does it benefit and what should we expect it to do? This important book helps to tackle the most common misunderstandings and misconceptions of charitable activity in contemporary British society, especially insofar as these affect the thinking of politicians and policymakers. The authors present and discuss over a dozen studies, including public attitudes to giving, large datasets on the geography and funding patterns of third sector organisations, and interviews with a wide range of donors, charity leaders, fundraisers and philanthropy advisers. This data enables them to explore the logic of charity in terms of the distribution of resources across causes and communities in the UK, and the processes behind philanthropic decision-making, to reveal a picture of charitable activity at odds with widespread assumptions.