Fundraising is certainly not a new profession, but the study of it is. As Ben Rymer pointed out in his recent blog post “if money is power, why has philanthropy not been a more popular field of inquiry for social scientists?”
Between the jaw-droppingly huge philanthropic initiatives that have been recently announced, the rise of impact investing, venture philanthropy, and the political and social implications this new stratosphere of evolutionary philanthropy brings, we need intelligent commentary and creative centers of study to help translate what all of this means.
Fortunately, as Ben points out, there are a growing number of centers of study specifically focused on philanthropy and fundraising. Even better, these centers have blogs and resources worth being aware of – and following – on social media.
We need more than just the dissemination of academic research, though. In science they call it translational research – taking the information found and moving it forward to find solutions to problems.
It’s the responsibility of these centers to engage with and lead our sector by informing and providing practical guidance to all of us – funders and nonprofits alike. If you don’t know their work already, here are two important centers of philanthropic study for you to discover.
How can we interact with them? What do we want them to study and teach us? What do we need to know in this swiftly-changing environment?
Their research and leadership could not come at a better time.
The Stanford Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society
Research, white papers, newsletters, a quarterly magazine, webinars, podcasts, conferences and more. The aim of the Center is sharing the results of research on current trends in the area of social impact and philanthropy.
The Center is on Twitter at @SSIReview, but follow luminaries Lucy Bernholz (@p2173) and Rob Reich (@robreich) for up-to-the-minute breaking philanthropy news, reports, and trend info.
The University of Plymouth (UK) Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy
The Hartsook Centre is part of the university’s business school, and its philanthropy think tank is called Rogare (in Latin: “to ask”).
Led by respected philanthropy scholar Adrian Sargeant (on Twitter at @AdrianSargeant) and managed by philanthropy communicator Ian MacQuillin, Rogare’s focus is on translating academic study and social trends to identify best practice – specifically to help fundraisers and improve fundraising itself.
The Centre is still relatively new, but they have white papers, such as Relationship Fundraising: Where Do We Go From Here, and a blog, Critical Fundraising, which explores news, opinion, and practical knowledge. Follow the Centre on Twitter at @RogareFTT.