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About Steven L. Meyers
When published in 2015, Personalized Philanthropy presented the first and only viable alternative to conventional institution-focused fundraising. Sad to say, it still is the first and only. But personalized philanthropy is a fully formed paradigm for a new kind of practice - with foundational concepts, design apps and gift strategies with focus on where donors are, rather than your fundraising department. Personalized philanthropy still is the first to show gift officers how to break free from their silos and the same old gifts every time.
While the fragmented conventional model will always dominate, there are some green shoots taking root that are well worth noting. Most important, the emerging concept of "enlightened generalist" that continually pushes back against the overspecialization and channeling that hobbles real planning. The American College's Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) designation is proof of a rising culture of a multiskilled practitioners. The phenomena of blended gifts and the quest for new metrics follows closely. If you can count it in multiple dimensions, so can you design it. Another sign is the alliance with software vendors who effectiveness measures of lifetime value of individual donors, not merely the transaction of the present moment. These are just the first signs. And, in ways that are very real, these rising trends can trace to Personalized Philanthropy.
This is still the only field-tested viable alternative to the ubiquitous conventional fundraising matrix. If you already have found your "why," here is your "how." Leave the channels and department siloes behind. Find "the grail of fundraising" and design gifts with impact that starts now. Deploy the three killer apps with their infinite variations. Most important, discover and cultivate your own "enlightened generalist." Build a new kind of practice and unleash your full capacity for good. Begin here to restore creativity, effectiveness - even joy - to your practice.
As one professional wrote on finding her path for merging philanthropy and financial planning wrote, "I have embraced your ideas and now have clarity about the kind of fundraiser I would like to be."
In this book Steven covers:
Chapter One--The Two Cultures of Fundraising: Preparing to Crash Your Fundraising Matrix
Chapter Two--Matrix-Killing Apps of Personalized Philanthropy
Chapter Three--Radically Rethinking Endowment: Powerful Examples in Practice
Chapter Four--Moving Beyond Conventional Solicitation - New Best Practices for Personalized Philanthropy
Chapter Five--Counting, Numbers, Value and the Big Picture
Chapter Six--Being the Change and Making your Own Shift
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Personalized philanthropy is a radical new approach to what we traditionally called planned giving. After decades of "it's all-about-our-organization fundraising," charities thought it wise to take into account what donors might need from the gift transaction. For a long time, this meant little more than applying planned giving techniques, many of which provide payments or an income to the donor in exchange for giving up an asset. More recently, and a bit more expansively, the question has grown to include what donors need, not only from a financial perspective, but from a mission perspective-the donor's mission, not just the charity's.
But while that's the better idea, until now it's been pretty much only an idea. The words donor-focused philanthropy sound nice, but there hasn't been much to concretely define them or put them to some strategic use.
Steven Meyers has finally broken through the linguistic and strategic logjam to make sense of connecting donor and charities in a way that will, and already does at some organizations, change the way money is raised. It's not just a new twist to take into account a roller-coaster economy and it's not just a new gimmick to address what has come to be known as the great generational wealth transfer. Using a metaphor of an imprisoning Matrix—the typical development office with its goals and deadlines—Steve artfully and persuasively works through and explains three concepts: virtual endowments, philanthropic equity gifts, and step-up gifts. Each captures what's wrong with the current fundraising model and provides a basis for improving it.
This is not to say that fundraisers today are doing a poor job. Quite the contrary: those who work at charities are doing yeoman's work to make their organizations better as they pursue their missions. But it is also true that development offices can be bureaucratic and, because of inherent limitations, much more could be done. In fact, as donor-focused philanthropy has been a personal cause of mine for many years, I have seen how many organizations limit their ability to raise funds simply because they are not fully engaged with the donor's needs or desires. But to be engaged, fundraisers need to ask a whole different set of questions. Steve guides us through those questions and helps us make meaning of the responses we are likely to get from donors. Doing that, of course, will enhance donors' appreciation for the work charities do and, yes, increase their support.
This, Steve calls personalized philanthropy. As he says, "I want to know why all philanthropy is not already personalized philanthropy." You should ask yourself this question as well.
In this book Steven covers:
The Two Cultures of Fundraising: Preparing to Crash Your Fundraising Matrix
Matrix-Killing Apps of Personalized Philanthropy
Radically Rethinking Endowment: Powerful Examples in Practice
Moving Beyond Conventional Solicitation - New Best Practices for Personalized Philanthropy
Counting, Numbers, Value and the Big Picture
Being the Change and Making your Own Shift