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The Seven Faces of Philanthropy: A New Approach to Cultivating Major Donors

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Available for the first time in paperback, Seven Faces of Philanthropy introduces to you the Seven Faces approach―a powerful tool that enables development professionals to maximize their effectiveness when approaching major donors for gifts. The authors identify and profile seven types of major donors and offer you detailed strategies on how to approach them. Both novice and expert fundraisers will find this framework a valuable supplement to existing strategies and techniques.

219 pages, Paperback

First published September 7, 1994

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Russ Alan Prince

55 books3 followers

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5 stars
29 (25%)
4 stars
40 (34%)
3 stars
37 (31%)
2 stars
10 (8%)
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Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 reviews
7 reviews
January 7, 2021
A landmark book in the field of development. The seven faces defines donor centered approach to philanthropy. Helping understand some broad categories to what motivates donors is a useful tool set.

The last 1/3 of the book was a little disappointing as the applications feel flat and were uninspring. Still a worthwhile read.
Profile Image for Emily Laney.
92 reviews
October 11, 2021
Pretty good overall, but it felt really dated. I’d love an updated version with web based fundraising and communications included
Profile Image for Matt.
2,408 reviews29 followers
June 9, 2016
I'm new in a my role in a fundraising department, and I had to read this book for work, so my 3-star rating is more based on my level of enjoyment rather than the quality of the information. I think the information is worthy of a 5-star rating, but I had a 3-star amount of fun while diving into this data.

If you've ever read "The Five Love Languages," then you would be familiar with the concept of this book. In the same way that people need to receive love in different ways, there are different types of givers, and they respond to different types of messaging.

The Seven Faces of Philanthropy (or different types of givers) are:

-Communitarians – 26% - “Doing good makes sense”
-Devout – 21% - “Doing good is God’s will”
-Investors – 15% - “Doing good is good business”
-Socialites – 11% - “Doing good is fun”
-Repayers – 10% - “Doing good in return”
-Altruists – 9% - “Doing good feels right”
-Dynasts – 8% - “Doing good is a family tradition”

This book mainly uses survey results to makes its points. Inside the book, we find tons of quotes from real life donors, and the quotes are used strategically to prove that the authors’ arguments for each category are correct.

Here are some bullet points I found interesting:

-It was interesting to hear that some people work as Philanthropic Consultants, advising wealthy people on the best organizations to give to and invest in.

-Pages 136-137 have a nice chart that show how different philanthropic personalities respond to different positive messaging. The chart shows which areas scored highest for each personality type.

-Researchers have developed a “foot-in-the-door” theory that hypothesizes that people are more likely to give large, major gifts after first establishing a relationship with the organization by giving smaller gifts.

-Increased involvement with an organization increases a donor’s commitment, which increases their giving.

-In order for an organization to get the most money, donor relationships are usually long-term relationships that are built over many years, after a foundation of trust and affinity have been established.
Profile Image for Bethany.
880 reviews22 followers
February 6, 2015
This book changed the lens through which I see the world.

It gave me a perspective of donors' motivations in a way that was based on heavy longitudinal research, yet easy to apply. In the same way the MBTI provides a framework for understanding dynamics of personalities, and specific ideas for understanding and approaching people, this book gave me a framework for understanding dynamics of donors and "philanthropic personalities," and specific ideas for approaching them.

There are seven. They are easy to understand, and once you read the first few chapters, it was easy to form a picture of who I know that operates from each paradigm.

My only hesitancy with the book, the reason I wavered between four stars and five, is that it lost steam exactly 2/3 through the book. Maybe it's because I had enough information at that point to form some conclusions, which gave me enough work for the next couple years. At the 2/3 point, you have a solid understanding of each personality and how to identify them. The last third was understandably heavier in the application, but nothing that was as earth-shattering as the first 2/3.

I'd love to see more on this research, especially whether the same holds true for lower level donors (this book is based on millionaires).
Profile Image for Stephen Burk.
4 reviews
May 14, 2008
A must read for anyone in the field of development or non-profit philanthropy.
The authors are quite well known in the field, and Russ Allen-Prince is particularly well published in the areas of wealth consulting, and the affects of wealth on the families of the affluent.
This book will help you identify and understand what donors and philanthropists desire in their support of an organization. Many of the reasons are unexpected and profound.
Profile Image for Don.
1,074 reviews11 followers
January 28, 2010
It is a text for my class, but it is interesting. How unusual...
7 reviews
January 9, 2014
The classic analysis of how donors think and what they value. Practical tips on how to communicate effectively and build more joy into helping donors achieve their philanthropic goals
Profile Image for Dianna.
19 reviews1 follower
February 21, 2013
This was a good book. Very useful in thinking about how we communicate with benefactors. There are no one-size-fits-all messages.
Profile Image for Paul Charles.
21 reviews4 followers
May 30, 2013
Definitely a worthwhile read concerning the various types of donors you will meet, and what motivates them to give.
Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 reviews

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