Understanding Major Donors

I just finished reading The Seven Faces of Philanthropy by Russ Alan Prince and Karen Maru File.  This is a great resource for understanding the different personality types of major donors, and what specific motivations encourage giving for each personality type.

This book is a must read for any charity CEO, board member or fundraiser.  Anyone involved in philanthropic gift solicitation can benefit from the insights in this book.

In The Seven Faces of Philanthropy, Prince and File break major gift donors into the following cohorts, and provide concrete examples of each group, as well as strategies to engage each.

Communitarians: Doing Good Makes Sense
The Devout: Doing Good is God’s Will
The Investor: Doing Good is Good Business
The Socialite: Doing Good is Fun
The Altruist: Doing Good Feels Right
The Repayer: Doing Good in Return
The Dynast: Doing Good is a Family Tradition

Rather than approaching every wealthy donor in the same way, and with the same assumptions (i.e., “You have a lot of money, and we need a lot of money – we’ve got a match!”), this work will help you and your staff focus in on the specific personality traits and factors that can help you bond with major donors and craft a gift solicitation that is much more tailored to the donor’s needs, wants and desires.  Ultimately, this should help you close more gifts and generate more income for the important work you’re doing!

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