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Strategic Giving

The Art and Science of Philanthropy

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.

448 pages | 15 line drawings, 4 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2006

Sociology: Social Institutions


"Thought-provoking . . . [Strategic Giving] makes an extremely strong case for so-called planned giving."

Christopher Ondaatje | Times Higher Education Supplement

"A very useful and highly pragmatic book about American philanthropy that should be welcomed by all students of foundations and not-for-profit institutions."

Helmut K. Anheier | American Journal of Sociology

"Frumkin’s book is impressive in its scale and depth. It contains something for every type of reader--seasoned scholars of the field, old and new practitioners, and those who want to begin an education about issues of philanthropy. . . . A major contribution to the field. With it, Frumkin develops a theoretical framework from which we can all learn."

Andrew Rich | Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly

"This book represents a major contribution to the analysis of philanthropic giving in the United States. . . .  The most important contribution of Strategic Giuving is that it conceptualises philanthropy. By doing so it helps to show its limits as well as its strengths. Frumkin identifies the distinctive featue of phlanthropy in the the fact that this allows private resources to be used to enact a private vision of the public good."

Francesca Borgonovi | Social Policy

"The fundamental questions that Peter Frumkion raises in this book are important, very timely, and crucial for any student of philanthropy. . . . When the next congressional committee to study the role of philanthropy in the American society convenes, Strategic Giving . . . will be its first and foremost source of guidance. This book is a must for all students of the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, as it covers new territories and opens a plethora of new intellectual challenges."

Ram Cnaan | Journsal of Sociology and Social Welfare

“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

Table of Contents

1. Philanthropy and the Public Sphere
2. Central Problems in Philanthropy: Effectiveness, Accountability, and Legitimacy
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


Public/Nonprofit Division of the Academy of Management: Best Public/Nonprofit Book Award

CASE: Grenzebach Award

Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA): Outstanding Book in Nonprofit & Voluntary Action Research
Honorable Mention

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