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Iceberg Philanthropy

publication date: Sep 15, 2011
author/source: Lisa MacDonald

The premise of Iceberg Philanthropy is based upon two ideas held jointly by the books three authors; Fraser Green, Beth McDonald and Jose van Herpt.  Their "big hairy ideas" as they call them are simply this:

  • Most ordinary donors will make extraordinary gifts in the latter stages of their life
  • There is great fundraising potential in marrying major gift strategy with direct marketing tactics

Seem simple?  It's not, but Iceberg Philanthropy walks the reader through it - beginning with today's charitable marketplace, moving through types of donors and the things that motivate them,  on to  the quantitative and qualitative research that have led them to this strategy.

The old give and take

According to authors Green, McDonald and van Herpt there are four categories of charitable giving. Together the four methods form a sort of food chain or ladder - with each step being more meaningful and committed than the one before.  This list starts at the bottom and works its way up.

Tippers:  This is the "spare change" kind of gift you make with hardly any thought or consideration.  You're asked for something small and often you comply because it's just easier to say yes.

Buyers: This is a combination of giving and receiving. You give some of your money. A portion of that money goes to the charity or cause, but some of it comes back to you in the form of a benefit. A classic example of this is the charity golf tournament.

Donors:  As we move from buyer to donor, we're moving further of the ladder from self-interest to philanthropy. A donor is defined as someone who gives simply because she supports the mission and program of the charity and wants to do her part to help.

Investors: Ever heard the expression "give till it hurts?" Investors make gifts that are more sacrificial.  They are serious about making a difference.  They're committed to your organization and your cause. They want to be partners and stakeholders - and not just supporters.

Identifying types of givers is truly just the "tip" of this iceberg. Order now to get the whole story of Iceberg Philanthropy for only $20. 

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