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What Donors Value: How Community Foundations Can Increase Donor Satisfaction, Referrals, and Future Giving

To better understand how community foundations can best respond to the current environment, CEP asked donors about how satisfied they are with the community foundations with which they work. What matters most to them? What do these donors want from their community foundations? The research reveals that donor satisfaction is vital for community foundations. Donors who are more satisfied with their community foundation are more likely to indicate that they plan to continue giving and more likely to recommend the foundation to others. The data also show that the strongest predictors of donor satisfaction are donors’ sense of the foundation’s Read more





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Nonprofit Due Diligence: Donor Decision Tool

Deciding the level of nonprofit research your grant warrants will help you focus on the most important questions and be efficient with your time (and the potential grantee’s). On this webpage are a list of documents that focus on varying degrees of research. Choose the “Light-Touch Approach” for grants that are smaller or less critical, then move to a more intensive approach as your grant warrants.  





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Assessing Impact

This guide reviews various ways to assess philanthropic impact. It looks at what assessment can accomplish and what it has difficulty measuring. It sets out a series of questions donors can ask as they consider how to proceed with their philanthropy. And finally, it details some of the limitations inherent in trying to understand exactly how donors’ dollars are working.







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Next Gen Philanthropy: Finding the Path Between Tradition and Innovation

This guide offers another series of questions that every next generation donor should carefully consider, as well as recommendations based on the past experiences of other next gen donors. It is not designed to tell you what to do or how to think. On the contrary, it starts from the assumption that you are the captain of your destiny when it comes to philanthropy.





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Should we be afraid?

At the end of last October, David Callahan, editor of the Inside Philanthropy blog, posted his five ‘scariest’ trends in philanthropy. Callahan’s ‘trends’ all relate to philanthropy in the US. Are these specifically US trends, we wondered, or are they happening more widely? In either event, how scary are they? We asked a number of observers from around the world – from India, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa and the UK – for their reactions. In spite of Callahan’s injunction to ‘be afraid’, few of them seem inclined to quake in their boots, even where they see similar tendencies Read more





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Why do dictators lock up the poets first?

Why should philanthropists fund the arts? Some have argued that as art is of lesser importance than basics like food, shelter, health and so forth, there is no justification for funding art until world hunger is solved. How then can one justify spending on so-called high arts? Can the arts be seen as effective tools to bring about personal and social change? Is art transformative? Our subject for this Alliance special feature is philanthropy’s attitudes to and role in funding ‘arts and social change’.







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WiserGiving Wizard

This quiz will condense expertise from leading philanthropic, legal, and wealth advisors into valuable insights for you. In just seven questions, the Wizard matches your charitable, financial, and personal goals with the right charitable giving vehicles.  







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1st Annual Report on America’s Giving Style

A collaborative study from Bolder Giving and WiserGiving, America’s Giving Style analyzes the strategies and approaches that donors use to solve complex problems through their charitable giving. Most donors are focused on fixing immediate problems but typically will use a combination of strategies to effect long term, sustainable change. Furthermore, most sophisticated donors try to align their giving with their beliefs, though for many their current giving habits do not match their ideals and ambitions.  





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Next Gen Donors Report

This project is a partnership of The Frey Chair for Family Philanthropy program at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, and 21/64, a nonprofit consulting practice specializing in next gen and multigenerational strategic philanthropy. These two organizations, although different in form and scope, share a focus on understanding and improving family philanthropy.  







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“Working with Financial Professionals”

This issue of More than Money, “Working with Financial Professionals” offers practical advice for finding a good fit with financial professionals. Writers describe recognizing a disconnect between their values and the values of professionals who may have been inherited with the wealth from the prior generation. Tips for being a good client. Tips for managing financial professionals. Two readers share the unorthodox practices of professionals they depend on, letting readers know that there are alternatives to growing principal and reducing taxes as the goals of wealth management.





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“How Much is Enough?”

This issue of More than Money, “How Much is Enough?” offers guidance for forming a realistic assessment of your assets. Because there is no objective definition of enough, and because there will always be others who have more. Millionaires and those with far less net worth can share similar anxieties about having enough.





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“Partners in Social Change”

This issue, “Partners in Social Change,” of More than Money offers stereotype-busting profiles of rich people who share power and resources and work passionately for the common good. One writer describes becoming a successful businessman specifically so that he would have more money to give away. Others describe the process of donating money and resisting the temptation to become controlling or patronizing of those who receive the resources. Alternative formats for foundations and finding grantors are detailed. Writers describe including spouses as partners, learning activism (or teaching activism) to their partners. A family confronts its political polarity, finding acceptable middle ground on Read more





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“How Much to Give?”

This issue, “How Much to Give,” in More than Money, discusses the challenges to define how much is enough to give. Enough is subjective, arbitrary. Trying to apply a formula is ultimately unsatisfying, as the circumstances surrounding wealth are different for everyone. This issue details specific creative approaches for individuals arriving at their own definition of how much is enough to give.





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“Creative Giving”

This issue on “Creative Giving” in More than Money, offers a comprehensive look at giving. Who gives, how much, where to, and why. Sprinkled with statistics and analysis, powerful individual stories describe giving outside the lines. Writers talk about giving money unconventionally, seeking ways to give, and seeking gift recipients by their own rules, not according to established giving norms. Some giving alleviates the loneliness often endemic to inheritors. Others seek to share the joy in giving. Models for giving beyond that which supports culture, arts, education and policy institutions that serve the donors lifestyle. Compare your giving habits: amounts, Read more





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“What Makes Giving Satisfying?”

This issue of More than Money, “What Makes Giving Satisfying?” offers an academic perspective classifying types of giving styles, opportunities for ‘team giving,’ democratizing funding choices by involving others in funding decisions, using foundations to identify individual activists, and tips for creating donor-advised funds.





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A Hedgehog Moment: The Roles and Pitfalls of Strategic Philanthropy for Family Foundations and Donors

The growing quantity of giving has not been matched by improved quality. The growth in the quantity of new philanthropy and the search for more effective philanthropy has now produced a “significant moment in the marketization of philanthropy.” A recent outpouring of books by foundation officials, consultants and academics has broadly emphasized the idea that “strategic philanthropy” in some form promises significant improvements. With these books, then, do donors, family foundations, and philanthropy generally have new usable knowledge to meet the challenge of quality grantmaking?





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Next-Generation Philanthropy: Examining a Next-Generation Jewish Philanthropic Network

As a result of mobility, philanthropy among a Millennial group of Jewish donors is becoming divorced from the communities in which their parents live. This group’s members generally perceive themselves as thinking and acting more strategically than past generations. They expect philanthropic organizations to operate with increased transparency, and those entities will need to adapt to these expectations in order to thrive. The characteristics that define the Millennial generation – open-mindedness, a desire for meaningful employment and philanthropic activity, technological adeptness, innovation – are changing philanthropy. Despite those changes, philanthropic priorities among families remain substantially constant and transcend generations.





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I’m Not Rockefeller: Implications for Major Foundations Seeking to Engage Ultra- High-Net-Worth Donors

This article describes how a group of 33 ultrahigh- net-worth philanthropists (UHNWPs) approach their giving. A few key areas dominated their giving priorities: education; health; poverty and social welfare; and children/youth initiatives each were a priority for more than a quarter of participants – with education expressed as an interest of 55 percent. A third of the 24 who responded to the question spent less than 10 percent of their full working time devoted to philanthropy, and 13 dedicated less than 20 percent of their working time. UHNWPs view their peers as their most trusted information resource. After peers, the Read more





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The Education Collaboration Fund: Possibilities and Limitations of Pooled Funds

Raising money for a pooled fund is time consuming and requires expertise with the funding topic and the target audience. Yet the process of shopping around a pooled fund or collaborative concept can be valuable in its own right, even if most do not participate. Shared interest around a topic or community is a necessary but insufficient reason for participating in a pooled fund. A pooled fund provides an opportunity for individuals and family foundations to learn and grow as donors. Someone with passion, organizational skills, and persistence needs to drive the process forward or it will likely fall by Read more





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Insights on Arab American Giving

This report is the first initiative of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy. It is a program to promote strategic philanthropy in the Arab American community nationwide. While there are many challenges and barriers to Arab American giving, the research shows a strong demand for support to donors and broad recognition of the potential for philanthropy to strengthen and showcase Arab American civic participation.





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The Complete Guide to Grantmaking Basics: A Field Guide for Funders

The Complete Guide to Grantmaking Basics brings together and updates the information, guidance, and tips found in Grantmaking Basics I and II with more essential tools for grantmakers. This book is a practical guide to honing your grantmaking effectiveness and adapting to the changing nonprofit world. It tells you how to evaluate your results and how to educate new board members. You will also have a step-by-step guide to setting a path to success by aligning mission, vision, goals, and strategy.





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High Impact Philanthropy in the Downturn: Focus on Housing, Health, and Hunger (A Guide for Donors)

Given the breadth and severity of the current economic downturn, where can individual donors make a significant difference in addressing the suffering caused by the economic crisis? This guide was written for individuals seeking to turn their philanthropic capital into a meaningful difference in people’s lives.





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Donor Education Seminar

This donor education seminar is an invitation-only, purely educational effort to inform participants about the latest research, biggest ideas and best efforts underway in four key areas: 1) Access to food; 2) Housing; 3) Health; 4) Economic success for vulnerable families. On Sunday, November 7th and Monday, November 8th, 2010, we brought together experts in these four areas to highlight proven, high impact strategies that individuals can implement to achieve greater impact through their giving. We believe this seminar represents a new approach to donor education that provides information that people cannot get easily or anywhere else in a safe Read more





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“I’m not Rockefeller”: 33 High Net Worth Philanthropists Discuss Their Approach to Giving

This report describes findings from a study conducted by the Center for High Impact Philanthropy to determine how high net worth philanthropists are making their gift choices and the limitations they confront.





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The Donor-Grantee Trap: How Ineffective Collaboration Undermines Philanthropic Results for Society, and What Can Be Done About It

A guide for nonprofit leaders, their boards, and their donors.What’s needed is more effective donor-grantee collaboration, so that philanthropists and the nonprofit organizations they support can get the absolute most from every scarce dollar they invest. Reduced to the essentials, there are three imperatives of true collaboration—for which both donors and grantees must share responsibility.





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Giving Toolkit: Risk More

When we encourage givers to “risk more,” what we really mean is, “Let your giving become an adventure!” Does this appeal? If your giving often feels just routine, or burdensome, or anxiety-producing, perhaps you’d like to venture outside your habits and try something really different and better for yourself. Here are some ideas to get you started. This exercise invites you to step outside your current giving style.





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“Public or Private? The Empowered Choice”

This article in More than Money, discusses how the choices we make about being public or private donors depend on the intricate web of factors that define our own lives. For some, the “right” choice is to be blatantly “out”; for others, it is to be intensely private; for still others, it’s a middle ground – more open in some contexts, more private in others. The key is to choose in an empowered way-with deliberate and aware intention, so that other people’s opinions, your own fears and emotions, societal pressure, or circumstances beyond your control are not making your decisions Read more





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Giving Toolkit: Inspire More

No matter how much money or how little money you personally have to give, you can increase your impact a thousand-fold by inspiring the giving of others. (Look at Bill Gates! Even he felt that his best contribution would be to encourage his peers to give, and so he started a 50% Giving Pledge for his fellow billionaires.) We’ll help you explore a variety of ways to inspire the giving of others.





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Quick Experiments in Bolder Giving

Many donors have asked us for quick-and-easy ways to experiment with giving levels. In these two pages of the Bolder Giving Workbook, we share some of the giving experiments that creative givers have tried. We illustrate each option as though implemented by a fictional character: Julia Harlow, single, age 32, freelance software consultant with net earnings of $50,000 a year who also inherited $1.4 million from her grandparents. (Your financial situation may differ dramatically from hers, but some of the ideas for giving may still be useful.)





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Story Library

In Bolder Giving’s story library, you can browse over 180 stories of extraordinary givers — people who have given at least 20%, and often 50% or even 90% of their income (for three years or more), assets, or business profits — and who embody our “risk more, inspire more” qualities. We are all influenced more by what is “normal” among our peers; without even noticing it, we judge what is possible by what we see around us. Browsing stories of Bold Givers opens our mind and heart to new possibilities. Who are you curious about? People similar to you? People Read more







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“Effective Giving”

In this issue on “Effective Giving” in More than Money, people with surplus income talk about what they’ve learned about giving–what’s satisfying, what’s hard, what makes giving most effective. You’ll hear from “ordinary people,” as well as well known philanthropists. From Steve Kirsch, large-scale venture capitalist with his own multi-million dollar foundation, to Wayne Muller, who advocates giving small and simply on a local scale, this issue invites you to explore the range of available options –and find out what giving effectively means you.







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Global ‘next gen’ trends

Jason Franklin explores the meaning of ‘next gen’ donors: I’ve been a ‘next gen’ donor for 13 years, ever since I began getting involved in philanthropy after discovering as a graduate student that my family had a small foundation. Slowly philanthropy began to permeate every part of my life. Even as I continued working as a community organizer it emerged as part of my academic work, where I began to research the impact of philanthropy on policy change; as a volunteer, I became a deeply engaged board member of several foundations. Finally, in 2010, I shifted my professional work into Read more





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Place-Based Philanthropy: Investing in Community Change

This article discusses how a growing number of family foundations have taken a commitment to geographic location to another level, and made the strategic decision to engage in place-based philanthropy, dedicating the majority of their giving and personal involvement in a specific community.    





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CEO Transitions in Family Foundations

Among the most important tasks that any board confronts is the choice of head staff person. If anything, this decision has even greater significance in family foundations. Whether the position is vacant because of the retirement of a beloved CEO or the departure of a problematic one, CEO transitions in family foundations typically have three major stages: clarifying the foundation direction identifying a suitable successor realigning the foundation’s strategies and/or programs as necessary





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Your Philanthropy Roadmap

This is the first in a series of guides to engage and educate donors – notably new and emerging donors – in planning, implementing and sustaining effective philanthropy programs. Part of our Philanthropy Roadmap resources to support effective giving by donors worldwide, this guide sets up the framework for the topics in the series, as well as introduces the approach RPA has been using successfully for some time to guide donors along their philanthropic journey.





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What Is My Giving Style?

If you were to ask a donor, “What type of donor are you,” he or she might pause and respond with another question: “What kinds of donors are there?” A number of observers of philanthropy have written about different types of philanthropists. While categorizing donors into types may be useful, most philanthropists’ gifts will fall along a spectrum of giving styles. Donors may find themselves pulled to supporting direct services and write a check to an organization whose sole purpose is to feed the hungry. Later, they may be moved to make a gift that addresses the root causes of Read more





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Factors Influencing Donor Partnership Effectiveness

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) produced six case studies on jointly funded programs related to the environment, global health, and information technologies in developing regions around the world. A two-dimensional tool probing eight factors that influence donor (funder) partnership performance and interinstitutional communication was developed and used in conjunction with a Partnering Process Model to guide the preparation of the case studies. The case studies demonstrated that communication is important externally, that is, among donor partners, and internally, that is, within the various divisions of IDRC. With the use of this tool, it was possible to observe how communication Read more





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Gender Transformative Giving The Next Phase in Feminist Philanthropy?

The report calls for a new philanthropic approach that addresses not only gender equity for women and girls, but also rigid gender norms of masculinity and femininity. It encourages a deeper gender analysis that engages men and boys, along with a strong “intersectional” analysis that integrates issues like race, class, sexual orientation and gender identity.