Why was this playbook created? Is this a useful tool for my organization? What are family philanthropy services and how do we get started? Read this quick introduction to the goals and resources of this first-of-its-kind guide.
Module 1: Planning & Preparation
What’s your plan for serving philanthropic families? What assumptions are driving that plan? And, is your foundation internally aligned around the risks and rewards of providing deeper services to families? Answers to these and other strategy questions take time and internal deliberation. This module contains tools to help you develop and test your strategy for family philanthropy services:
- Tools and advice for assessing your goals and readiness for delivering family philanthropy services.
- A business plan template, based on the popular Business Model Canvas. The template links to the relevant Playbook units.
- An outline of a Case Statement to help strengthen your pitch to your board and/or external donors to expand your services to families.
- Information on identifying and assessing potential risks in the work
- Advice from peers.
Assessing Readiness & Goals
Is your foundation in the exploratory or early planning stage of delivering family philanthropy services? Have you started services but want to test your internal capacity and alignment for expanding them? This unit provides tools and stories to get you started.
Business Model Canvas
NCFP based the structure of this Playbook on the Business Model Canvas, a one-page visual chart capturing brief answers to essential questions about customers, value proposition, resource uses, and more.
An effective family philanthropy program requires more than a strategy. It requires the support and buy-in from your community foundation’s executive leadership and board. This unit helps you create an internal case statement to build support for your program.
Risks and Roadblocks
Providing enhanced services to generous families can differentiate your foundation from your competition. Doing so can also strengthen donor retention and asset development strategies. But doing so requires assessing potential roadblocks in your organizational culture, risk tolerance, and policies and practices. The tools in this Unit can help you think through the tradeoffs.
Advice From Peers: Planning & Preparation
What advice do other community foundations have on offering family philanthropy services? You’ll find some good ideas in this Unit and you’ll see quotes embedded in other Units as you review them.
Module 2: Customers
As with other community foundation products and programs, family philanthropy services vary based on the demands and opportunities of local markets and customer segments. In this Module, you’ll find research on typical customers and example stories from other community foundations; and tools for understanding your own customers and prospects.
Introduction and Key Questions: Customers
What motivates your customers to engage and retain your services?
Donors of all means want to pass on the spirit of generosity to future generations. What motivates the wealthier of those individuals and families to do so, and to seek help in doing so?
Between 2002 and 2013, the number of family foundations grew by 44%, and 70% of them are under $10 million in assets. They’re seeking conversations and relationships that are more creative than “convert to a DAF.”
What desires are driving your customers’ interest in family philanthropy? What prevents them from achieving those desires?
Understanding Customers: Advice from Peers
What advice do your peers have for segmenting their audiences?
Diverse Donors and DEI
What are your peers and NCFP learning about working with a more diverse donor pool and helping donors understand diversity, equity, and inclusion issues?
Module 3: Social Value Proposition
What unique combination of benefits will you offer to overcome problems your customers have? Which service or product will most fulfill their desires?
Introduction and Key Questions: Social Value Proposition
Your Social Value Proposition (SVP) is the list of what you offer to a customer segment, described through their eyes and hopes.
Getting Started with Your Social Value Proposition
Community foundations vary in their goals, capacities, and value propositions to engage and retain donor families. This unit will help you frame your Social Value Proposition and suite of philanthropic services.
Even small-staffed community foundations can offer an annual family philanthropy event. It could be a speaker addressing founding generations’ interest in involving their successors or an interactive event for the whole family.
Community foundations can help generous families discern and refine their values, principles, vision, interest areas, goals, and more. Some provide off-the-shelf materials for donors to use, some provide customized templates to discuss with staff, and others provide workshops.
Youth and Successor Generations
Community foundations support successor generations’ philanthropic journeys through peer-to-peer programs and through intergenerational programs. Those successors could be children, teens, and/or young adults. Use examples in this unit to inspire your own programs.
Strategic Granting, Leadership, and Impact Investing
Family philanthropy services can include helping donor families define larger impact strategies and lead through use of their financial, social, human, and intellectual capitals. In this unit, you will find guides and examples for helping families make an impact.
Supporting Collective Giving
How are your peers supporting collective and engaged giving programs, such as giving circles, as part of their philanthropic services offerings?
Module 4: Impact Measures
Family philanthropy services can have measurable benefits for three audiences – the community foundation, the extended donor family, and the community. In this module, you’ll find information to help you develop your own framework for assessing your progress and impact.
As you review the resources in this Module, keep in mind these key questions:
- Are you clear about your primary goal for adding family philanthropy services?
- How do your prospects and customers define progress and success?
- Are staff and board members aligned around progress measures and benchmarks in three areas: benefits to the foundation, benefits to donor families, benefits to the community?
- How will you measure the results? Is it realistic to do so and report them to the board?
Getting Started: Impact Measures
In 2006-08, a group of community foundations worked with The Philanthropic Initiative to define a framework for success measures for family philanthropy services.
How should you measure the progress and success of your suite of family philanthropy services – your Social Value Proposition?
How do your donors and prospects measure progress and success in their giving? Will their spouses, partners, and relatives use the measures?
How might family philanthropy services impact the broader community? How might more actively generous families impact the community?
Advice From Peers: Impact Measures
What advice do your peers have about assessing progress and impact?
Module 5: Relationships and Channels
High-quality relationships and customer experiences will differentiate you from other options families have for learning about and practicing philanthropy, including doing nothing at all.
Introduction and Key Questions: Relationships and Channels
Offering family philanthropy services means thinking and acting more like a professional services firm than a charitable organization’s fundraising team.
What type of relationship does each of your customer segments want with your foundation? What type of relationship do you want with them? Some donors desire transactional relationships with no commitment while others may want proactive concierge treatment. This unit helps you define types of relationships and their related customer expectations.
Quality of customer experience – perception of interactions with your foundation – drives satisfaction and ultimately loyalty. How will you ensure a high-quality customer experience throughout the lifecycle of your relationship with donors and their families?
Channels are how your services are communicated and delivered to your customers. They’re defined by customers’ interactions (or “touchpoints”) with your foundation throughout their relationship.
Module 6: Core Capacity
What core capacity will you need to deliver on the Social Value Proposition you’re promising to philanthropic families? That core capacity includes your staff, their knowledge and skills, proprietary tools or data you have, and even the physical space to host family gatherings. This module offers help in preparing your staff for family philanthropy services. Future additions will cover physical space and other assets.
As you review the units, keep in mind these key questions:
- Does our board and CEO support a culture of advising and discernment?
- What is our multi-year plan for professional development of our team?
- Which skills will we develop in-house and which will we leave to trusted partners?
Getting Started: Core Capacity
In this unit, you’ll learn how other community foundations are staffing their philanthropic services work and the key characteristics and skills they seek in those staff.
This unit provides resources for learning and practicing fundamental skills in advising families, asking good questions, and understanding generational styles.
This unit helps you understand the basics of family systems and family dynamics, the meaning of wealth, and succession planning.
This unit helps you learn and practice skills in facilitating family conversations and meetings. Some foundations choose to hire external experts to manage longer or larger family meetings rather than develop and maintain internal expertise.
Module 7: Support Activities
Your Social Value Proposition is what you do to support philanthropic families. Your Support Activities in this module are how you do that work and how the work integrates into the rest of the foundation.
The success of your family philanthropy services depends on the support of other functions in your foundation – grantmaking and community knowledge, governance and executive team, data and technology management, communications, finance, and more.
What can you do to ensure that the whole organization is prepared to support your expanded philanthropic services and that other staff are aligned around effectively serving donors and fund advisors?
This unit will help you develop your marketing plan and provide you with examples of how some community foundations are marketing their family philanthropy services.
Module 8: Partners
You can’t successfully serve families on your own. Your services will intertwine with professional advisors, on-call experts, external resources, and suppliers. As you plan your family philanthropy services, you’ll want to identify those key partners, your reason for working with each, and the type of relationship you want to grow.
As you review the units, keep in mind these key questions:
- Which trusted partners and crucial suppliers do we need to serve our customers?
- What type of relationship do we want with each partner and supplier?
- How can we work in a team with a family’s other advisors?
Getting Started: Partners
Your list of partners in delivering family philanthropy services will include professional advisors, other allied experts, resources such as NCFP, technology vendors, and more.
Attorneys, wealth managers, accountants, and other advisors are paying more attention to helping families properly steward the intergenerational transfer of wealth.
As a family adds wealth and generations, its circle of professional advisors grows, as do opportunities for conflicting advice and communications about legacy and philanthropy.
Key partners beyond your typical list of professional advisors help you deliver on the rest of your business model and value proposition.
Module 9: Financial Model
As much as donor families might love free family philanthropy services, someone at some point is paying the bill. This module helps you think about structuring the revenues and costs for your services.
As you review the units, keep in mind these key questions:
- For what value are our customers really willing to pay, and how does that compare with options offered by peers and competitors?
- What’s our mix of ongoing revenues (e.g. fees on funds or subscriptions) vs. one-time payments (e.g. events or “a la carte” services)?
- What are the most important costs involved (delivery of value proposition, internal resources, support activities, partners)? Which are fixed costs vs. variable costs?
- What is our desired timeline for break-even or net revenues? Are there economies of scale that can be achieved later?
Getting Started: Financial Model
This unit grounds you in basic concepts in financial modeling in general and in the business models of community foundations and their family philanthropy services.
Community foundations are still highly reliant on administrative fees to pay for philanthropic services, but an increasing number are experimenting with other ways to pay for specialized family philanthropy services.
Advice From Peers
Your peer community foundations have offered insights into the choices they’ve made about their business models for family philanthropy services. Their decisions are based on factors beyond asset and staff size, including market opportunity, customer demand, board strategy, and more.