The Giving Green Paper sets out the Coalition Government’s initial ideas for building a stronger culture of giving time and money to start a national debate on our society’s attitude to giving. It proposes a new role for the government as a facilitator of giving, making it easier for philanthropists, volunteers and charities to form partnerships. The Government wants to develop low-cost but highly effective ideas for large organisations to support charities. As part of the green paper process, a number of respected leaders and thinkers from a wide range of fields were asked to share their thoughts on the subject of giving. This essay looks at how venture philanthropy (VP) applies the approach of the hands‐on investor to philanthropy: the idea is to provide a combination of substantial capital, expertise, targeted support and rigorous performance monitoring. Typically the VP approach helps smaller, growth‐oriented charities and social enterprises to scale up their work and impact over a number of years.