Support Us

Benefactor's Board © RAI

The RAI is an entirely independent charity which has been in existence for nearly 150 years, thanks to the generosity of its benefactors. Donations and legacies allow us to sponsor cutting edge anthropological research, which is hard to finance by other means. Our benefactors also enable us to give much needed funds to help final year research students complete their PhDs, give out prizes for outstanding scholarship and conserve our invaluable archival, photo and film collections for future generations. We welcome any contributions, large or small, towards these endeavours. We also welcome contributions to our fundraising for our future flagship project, the creation of an RAI Research Centre. Anthropology is a discipline that tackles issues of universal concern such as ‘human nature’, gender and sexuality, health, nutrition, indigenous rights, globalisation, multiculturalism and development. It has a key role to play in the education of globally informed citizens, as well as practical applications in areas such as government, medicine, tourism, international aid and law. We believe its continued practice is of vital importance.

If you are interested in giving us a donation, or leaving us a gift in your will, we would love to hear from you. Enquiries can be made in confidence to the Director, Dr David Shankland on, +44 (0)20 7387 0455, 50 Fitzroy Street, London, W1T 5BT.

More specific information about leaving us a gift in your will is available here.

Of course, one of the best ways to support us is to join as a Member or Fellow of the Institute and play an active part in our community. For more information about joining us visit our Joining pages. With donations over £2000 you have the option of a Life Fellowship of the RAI gratis, so that you can keep in touch with us and our work. Fellowship includes print and online subscription to our journals, the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute and Anthropology Today, as well as reduced admission to RAI events and free access to the archives.

What could your gift achieve?

Your donation or legacy could contribute to the charitable work of the Institute in various ways.

Books © RAI

A gift of £50 could purchase a book for the Anthropology Library held at the British Museum. The Anthropology Library is free and open to members of the public for reference. RAI Fellows can borrow books. The library is one of the largest and broadest collections of anthropological reference materials in the world.




The Fagg Library © RAI

A gift of £200 could purchase a day of an archivist’s time to help assist the Royal Anthropological Institute with the important task of archiving and digitalising our extensive collections. This is an area where support is always appreciated and can make a significant difference. We have several important collections in need of archiving, as well as thousands of rare photographs in need of digitisation. These collections are not just of importance in terms of historical record, but can have direct contemporary relevance, for example we are currently revisiting the work of our blood group research committee from the 1950s (Mourant).

Donations allow us to expand the proportion of collections easily accessible to researchers. For example, an endowment trust is currently paying for an archivist to catalogue and make available to the public the collections of W.B. Fagg in the Fagg Library held on the premises.

A gift of £500 could enable us to offer a travel bursary for a filmmaker to attend our biennial RAI Film Festival.

RAI Archivist Sarah Walpole at the RAI Oral History Day © RAI

A gift of £1000 could enable us to buy much needed equipment to assist the work of the archivist, for example specialist equipment to process larger scale items such as ethnographic drawings and maps.






Breaking the Chains Q and A with Director Erminia Colucci at the RAI © RAI

A gift of £3000 could sponsor a dedicated seminar series, or themed film screening series.






Visual anthropologist Martha-Cecilia Dietrich Ortega at work in the Peruvian Andes © Andy Lawrence

A gift of £5000 could sponsor a small research grant, enabling a researcher to conduct a piece of contemporary and relevant fieldwork that they are unable to finance by other means. For example, a gift is currently allowing us to sponsor an exploratory research trip to the Caucasus, Armenia by an anthropologist working in collaboration with the World Land Trust, to explore the impact of conservation programmes on local communities. 



A gift of £25,000 could provide an Urgent Anthropology Fellowship, which focuses on research on disappearing indigenous cultures, languages, and ecologies. This unique scheme, privately funded by anthropologists (founding sponsor: Dr George Appell) has been running since 1995. For a list of past Urgent Anthropology Fellows and their work click here.

A gift of £200,000 would enable us to offer a new initiative of a fully costed post-doc Fellowship for three years, based at the Institute. With opportunities for full time paid academic positions increasingly restricted for PhD graduates, a contribution to this scheme could make a real difference. The RAI has an emphasis on facilitating publicly engaged anthropology and applications to the scheme would be required to demonstrate the contemporary relevance and importance of their project.

Radcliffe-Brown’s war census record © RAI

A gift of £2,000,000 could create an endowed fund for anthropological research. Endowed funds are when the capital of the gift is invested and produces an annual income for a specific activity. Endowed funds have been essential to the ongoing existence and work of the Institute. Notable endowments include the Radcliffe Brown Trust, Emslie Horniman Anthropological Trust, and the Esperanza Trust which support anthropological fieldwork and research at various levels. For more information about our research grants see here.

A gift of £10.000,000 would enable us to create a new RAI Research centre. This is part of a long-term vision of the Royal Anthropological Institute to create an independent space to allow for cutting-edge, publicly relevant and timely research.