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Strategic Giving: The Art and Science of Philanthropy [Kindle Edition]

Peter Frumkin

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Book Description

The philanthropic landscape is changing dramatically as a new generation of wealthy donors seeks to leave its mark on the public sphere. Peter Frumkin reveals in Strategic Giving why these donors could benefit from having a comprehensive plan to guide their giving. And with this thoughtful and timely book, he provides the much-needed framework to understand and develop this kind of philanthropic strategy. 

After listening for years to scores of individual and institutional funders discuss the challenges of giving wisely, Frumkin argues here that contemporary philanthropy requires a thorough rethinking of its underlying logic. Philanthropy should be seen, he contends, as both a powerful way to meet public needs and a meaningful way to express private beliefs and commitments. He demonstrates that finding a way to simultaneously fulfill both of these functions is crucial to the survival of philanthropy and its potential to support pluralism in society. And he goes on to identify the five essential elements donors must consider when developing a philanthropic strategy—the vehicle through which giving will flow, the way impact will be achieved, the level of engagement and profile sought, the time frame for giving, and the underlying purpose of the gift. Frumkin’s point is that donors must understand strategic giving as the integration of these five critical dimensions to giving. 

Essential reading for donors, researchers, and anyone involved with the world of philanthropy, Strategic Giving provides a new basis for understanding philanthropic effectiveness and a promising new way for philanthropy to achieve the legitimacy that has at times eluded it.

Product Description


"Peter Frumkin has written an important and provocative book that will be read and debated for years to come. "Strategic Giving" is both a comprehensive, critical analysis of modern philanthropy and a useful guide for wealthy donors who want to distribute their money to meet public needs as effectively as possible."--Pablo Eisenberg "Stanford Social Innovation Review "

About the Author

Peter Frumkin is professor of social policy and faculty director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, both at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of "Strategic Giving" and "The Essence of Strategic Giving."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3962 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (15 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001R4BR5A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #363,380 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book for donors who want to be (or are) engaged in philanthropy 19 Oct. 2006
By Jeff Lippincott - Published on
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is good, well written, and includes lots of thought. Clearly much time was spent writing it.

This book is not for the philanthropist who merely gives a little. And it is not a guide for major donors who want to give effectively and in an informed and strategic way. Instead, this book is for major donors to read and learn more about the donor world that exists today. It provides a comprehensive theoretical framework of that world along with analysis.

I just got done reading Tracy Gary's "Inspired Philanthropy" written in 2002 (ISBN: 0787964107) which covers the same subject material, but in a different perspective. Instead of going heavy on the theoretical framework of the donor world as Frumkin does, Gary provides a guide to creating one's "giving plan." In a way I think "Inspired Philanthropy" and "Strategic Giving" are companion books even though different authors write them. By reading Frumkin's book along with Gary's book major donors can BETTER create a giving plan.

The book has the following 10 chapters:

1. Philanthropy and the Public Sector

2. Central Problems in Philanthropy

3. Donors and Professionals

4. The Idea of Strategic Giving

5. Dimensions of Philanthropic Value

6. Logic Models: Theories of Change, Leverage and Scale

7. Institutions and Vehicles

8. Giving Styles

9. Time Frames for Giving

10. Measuring, Knowing and Acting

I found the first three chapters to be my favorite. It is where the author explains that the nonprofit sector lacks much accountability and thus donors who donate blindly may be throwing their money into black holes. Maybe enough people will read the book and try to effectuate change so there will be more accountability in the future?

Chapters 4 through 10 are the chapters that seriously supplement Gary's book by providing prose on the art and science of philanthropy. If you are a major donor, then seriously consider giving both these books a read. You won't be disappointed. 5 stars!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finally, some systematic thinking about philanthropy 30 July 2008
By Elisabeth Bosch - Published on
Highly recommended reading: esp. chapter 2 which addresses critical areas in philanthropy: effectiveness, accountability, legitimacy. The empirical scope is US only but very much up to date (and Europeans like me expect somewhat similar developments in our countries, so we can learn lots from current US discourses).

It's a relief to see themes addressed with some clarity that are often talked about, but - since they really ARE difficult and touch on sensitive power issues - tend to get washed over: what really is effectiveness for a foundation? A donor? Does it lie mostly with the grantees' effectiveness? Frumkin's emphasis on "mission effectiveness" points to a more comprehensive, and more honest, self evaluation.

Or: who are donors and foundations accountable to? What would such accountability consist of? Just transparency? How could peer accountability be achieved?

On the positive side, what are the advantages in a field of activity based on voluntary acts, how can pitfalls be avoided and these advantages be strengthened?

One question mark: Frumkin does mention social change funding trends ("alternative funds") that take accountability and legitimacy very seriously and, e.g., stressed funding eye to eye with the fundations' constituencies, but he relegates them to the past. Is he not aware of the women's funding movement? WFN now has 128 member organizations with $450 mio. working assets and, more importantly, involving thousands and thousands of staff and volunteers in social change giving. Here in Germany we register steady interest in this funding model which provides relatively good answers to the issues Frumkin puts his finger on.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Critical reading 2 Dec. 2010
By Buyer anoymous - Published on
This book addresses the key issues of targetting your recipient. The book U.N. a Cosa Nostra demonstrates how wrong good intentions can turn out when applied to the wrong charity...U.N. a Cosa Nostra: The workings of an organization 'helping' the poorest of the world (Volume 1)L'Empire De La Honte (Le Livre de Poche) (French Edition)
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