Philanthropists Should ‘Talk’ Giving
18 April 2013 at 11:07 am
Australian philanthropists should talk about their giving to prompt others to follow their lead, according to international philanthropy expert, Roberta d’Eustachio.
Touring Australia as a guest of the Australian Communities Foundation, d’Eustachio told Pro Bono Australia that role models in philanthropy are needed to give others the confidence to share aspects of their giving.
“It’s not rocket science, it’s very simple. If I talk out loud about my giving and it’s picked up in the media someone might relate to it as an individual,” she said.
“They might learn from it. They might even say ‘she’s like me’ or ‘that’s what I’d like to do’ and that’s how we learn – from other stories that are real and new.”
d’Eustachio says that many people are reluctant to discuss their philanthropy.
“If no one talks about giving then there are no role models created. We learn from role models – across all age groups. The giving pledge started with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and now billionaires around the world – the Foresters, Richard Branson, Ted Turner – are donating half their fortunes to charity,” she said.
“Americans weren’t always openly talking about their donations. That’s changed in the past 15 years. These role models are not egotistical, but they show they have confidence and business nous.
“Being a philanthropist is good business. And philanthropists are really the entrepreneurs of new ways of thinking.”
d’Eustachio, who has worked with numerous community foundations around the world, says it is critical that the Australian Government supports philanthropy with modern, transparent and strategic giving policies.
“In the United States, they have government regulations that encourage people to be philanthropic, but 95 per cent of countries don’t have this.”
She also believes that the ‘giving world’ has moved on from traditional family trusts and that a new style of philanthropist has emerged.
“They are more entrepreneurial, self-made and are getting pleasure and satisfaction from their philanthropy,” she said.
“They don’t feel obliged to donate directly to charities so they are getting smart and collaborating with community foundations, who will spend their money wisely.
“The foundations have done due diligence on all the charities and know about many that may not be in the mainstream.”
In the mid-1990s d’Eustachio founded the hard copy magazine, American Benefactor. Following her work as a philanthropic adviser she decided to found international digital magazine, Giving Magazine.
Launching in November 2013, Giving Magazine: The Philanthropists Voice, already has a subscriber base of five million with ambitions to grow to 20 million over three years.
“I know it might sound off the charts but when you look at the amount of nonprofits in the world you only have to look at the connections they’ve made and the way in which they want to advance their own donors,” she said.
“It [the magazine] advances the knowledge base of philanthropists by seeing all these people [doing the same as them].
“Donors are getting information from the charities but the charities can’t afford to publish very high level media for donors. And you have to compete with sophisticated stories that compete with anything else they pick up off the table.”
With a theme of ‘Changing the world through philanthropy’, the International Ambassadors Tour is organised by the Australian Communities Foundation which will see d’Eustachio, alongside fellow American Kevin Murphy, speak to philanthropists, foundations, business and donors about international giving trends.
“Our mission is to generate and distribute philanthropic resources that match donor interests to emerging social issues and needs of communities,” ACF Chief Executive Clare Brooks said.
d’Eustachio says that with this new style of philanthropy comes a new style of communication – philanthropists talking about their giving.
“It’s not about showing off, it’s about doing,” d’Eustachio said.
“The new wealthy want to share ideas and thanks to the internet, this is global. The world is now on our doorstep.
“We need more role models who are willing to talk about their charitable giving. Whether someone is 30 years old or 90 years old they become a role model for society and it gives others the confidence to share.”