Finding Your Philanthropic Style
By Christian Braemer
Cofounder & CEO, Benefunder
Throughout human history, some of the greatest advancements have been funded through good samaritans and philanthropists. Whether we're talking about the early explorers of the new world or the most advanced medical breakthroughs, philanthropy's mark has been significant, and its role in society is only increasing. Most people have a basic desire to do good and many who do describe their giving experience as fulfilling -- validating the true value of their wealth.
Today, donors expect a personalized and impactful approach to their giving, and they need someone to guide them through their charitable endeavors. Tailored philanthropy packages are being developed based on an individual donor's interests and desired level of support.
Patronage is not necessarily how much you give, but how you give and how you match your giving with what you care about. At Benefunder we help donors give according to their personalities and values.
Below are some very high level descriptions of giving executed by some of history's greatest philanthropists, all of whom have very different giving styles.
Cosimo d' Medici, a great patron of learning, the arts and architecture, emphasized the pursuit of fundamental new ideas. He recognized the importance of fundamental intellectual inquiry and the ornamental power of individuals such as Galileo. This approach favors breakthroughs and big-picture thinking over more immediate and tangible results.
aimed to reinforce philanthropy in fundamental rather than translational research by providing unrestricted funding for basic research to promising young scholars. This approach reinforces government support of foundational projects and provides an important point of distinction to the more traditional, investigator-driven grant making process. It follows more popular areas of funding, at an earlier stage, allowing researchers to experiment and change directions.
Bill & Melinda Gates' approach provides later-stage funding in areas where traditional sources are insufficient. While governments and other sources provide low levels of funds in certain areas, Gates' funding explicitly and dramatically transformed the overall level of support in these same areas. They clearly emphasize impact-oriented, translational research that identifies and fills knowledge gaps in order to rapidly advance the field.
All of these styles represent equally important and very different approaches to solving some of society's biggest challenges. Each approach requires a unique target, strategy and timeline as a starting point. Incidentally, this is exactly what we at Benefunder are doing. We are helping donors understand their giving options and allowing them a platform to create a unique, tailored giving plan that suites their interests, style, and aspirations.