February 23, 2023

The 7 Faces of Philanthropy


Giving Trends

Have you ever wondered how your organization can better-connect with donors? Authors Russ Alan Prince and Karen Maru File postulate that there are seven main types of donors in their book, The Seven Faces of Philanthropy: A New Approach to Cultivating Major Donors.

First published in 1994, The Seven Faces of Philanthropy continues to be the standard methodology for understanding and addressing major and planned giving.

The seven archetypes are:

  1. The Communitarian: Doing Good Makes Sense
  2. The Devout: Doing Good is God’s Will
  3. The Investor: Doing Good is Good Business
  4. The Socialite: Doing Good is Fun
  5. The Altruist: Doing Good Feels Right
  6. The Repayer: Doing Good in Return
  7. The Dynast: Doing Good is a Family Tradition

Why This Matters

When you deeply understand who your donors are and why they give, you can connect with them in the way they desire with meaningful information. For example, if you know your donor is an altruist, then it’s smart to point out how their giving impacts others. However, if your donor is a devout then your communication would focus more on aspects of faith and obedience.

Next Step

If getting to know donors is a goal for this year, then consider conducting surveys with open-ended questions, hosting donor events, using donor analytics tools, making discovery calls, or working with non-profit experts to help you with research, empathy mapping, campaign development, and more.

To learn more about these seven donor personas, and keep them top of mind, click here.
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