by Angela E. White
Engaging donors can be an interesting puzzle; what works for one will likely not work for the next. But knowing what type of donor you are working with can make your job much easier. When creating strategies for donor engagement, I still find the 1994 book by Russ Alan Prince and Karen Maru File entitled The Seven Faces of Philanthropy very helpful. In this book, Prince and Maru outline the 7 types of major donors and what motivates them to give – the Communitarian, Devout, Investor, Socialite, Altruist, Repayer, and Dynast. These motivations are based upon a comprehensive study of wealthy donors and are still very relevant today, some 16 years later.
Adding to this mix, there is a new study out based upon analysis of 500 high net worth individuals, conducted by Ledbury Research on behalf of Barclays Wealth. This new research identified six typologies of high net worth donors: Privileged Youth, Eco Givers, Altruistic Entrepreneurs, Reactive Donors, Cultured Investors, and Professional Philanthropists. This research can be found at the following link: http://www.barclayswealth.com/about-us/news/barclays-wealth-identifies-philanthropists-characteristics.htm. Understanding of various types of donor motivations does not override personal contact and relationship building but does help frame some of the issues to be considered when strategizing donor engagement. I would encourage you to revisit The Seven Faces and check out this new research, too.
Let Angela know how helpful The Seven Faces of Philanthropy is for your organization and share your results by posting in the JGA comments section below.