Strategic giving revisited for France and Europe

ERNOP Science and Society Seminar: Strategic giving revisited for France and Europe

By Professor Arthur Gautier from the Philanthropy Chair at ESSEC Business School

Discussant: Carola Carazzone, Dafne/Assifero

September 21, 2021, 10.00-11.00 AM (CET)

About this seminar

When we make a donation for a good cause, like fighting poverty or reducing school attrition, we might think that the hardest part is making the decision to donate. However, the complicated part about donations is figuring out how to donate, or rather “donating effectively”, meaning donating in a way that provides the most positive impact for the beneficiaries. For even with the best of intentions, a donation can be redundant, ineffective, or even destabilizing for the beneficiaries… this means that it is not just a matter of “doing good”, but also “doing it well”! 

Much like how entrepreneurs and business leaders use a strategy to achieve their goals, philanthropists can also develop strategic thinking. The goal of this is to maximize the positive impact of the donation for its beneficiaries, the cause they are supporting, and society in general.

In this seminar, Arthur Gautier from the Philanthropy Chair at ESSEC Business School adapt the philanthropic model developed by Peter Frumkin to a French (European) context and explain how to develop a philanthropic strategy that can optimise one’s positive impact on society. 

After listening for years to scores of individual and institutional funders discuss the challenges of giving wisely, Frumkin argued 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.

As such, it enables foundations and individual philanthropist more strategically, and fundraisers to provide more tailored propositions to potential donors who use a strategic approach. It can be used by philanthropists and foundation executives as a framework to get a better sense of what they want to achieve with their giving, and how to achieve their goals.

About the Philanthropy Chair at ESSEC Business School                                     

ESSEC’s Philanthropy Chair is a research team whose members aim to strengthen the social impact of individual donors, corporate donors, foundations and impact investors. We do this by producing and sharing research about philanthropy, primarily in France and Europe. Founded in January 2011 at ESSEC Business School, it matches a growing need for research and knowledge about a burgeoning international movement. 

The goals of the chair are to contribute towards scholars and practitioners’ understanding of contemporary philanthropy, promote more clear-sighted, strategic and effective philanthropy and to reinforce philanthropy’s contribution to today’s pressing social problems. They do so by bringing together academic and applied research; through dissemination and by offering teaching activities, through the efforts of a cross-disciplinary and international team and by involving highly engaged partners in regularly held committees and seminars.

About Professor Arthur Gautier

Arthur Gautier is Assistant Professor at ESSEC Business School and Executive Director of the ESSEC Philanthropy Chair. He teaches for the Master in Management and at ESSEC Executive Education. He is the Academic Director of the French Fundraising Certificate.

He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) de Paris (2009) and is an alumni from ESSCA School of Management (2005).

Prof. Gautier’s research focuses on philanthropy and more broadly on private initiatives for the common good, from organizational, sociological, psychological and historical perspectives. He studies the emergence and the institutionalization of individual and corporate philanthropy, both as concepts and practices. He is also interested in hybrid philanthropic practices combining multiple institutional logics, such as impact investing, crowdfunding, and foundation-owned companies.

About Carola Carazzone

Carola Carazzone is the Secretary General of Assifero since 2014. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of DAFNE (Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe) and she serves as Advisory Board Member of Ariadne (European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights),  of ECFI (European Community Foundation Initiative), and the Alliance Magazine Editorial Board. She serve also as a member of Ashoka Italia’s Advisory Committee.

She is an Italian lawyer specialised in human rights at the René Cassin International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Carola Carazzone moved to the philanthropy sector after fifteen-year professional experience in 18 countries, working with civil society for the promotion and protection of human rights, at both national and international level.

About DafneDonors and Foundations Network in Europe

We bring together 30 national associations from 28 countries across Europe, representing over
10.000 public-benefit foundations, big and small, who want to make a difference in society. We
have created an alliance for collaboration across philanthropy networks in Europe to address big
philanthropy questions of our time in a coordinated and effective manner. We lead, strengthen
and build the field for the common good in Europe. We believe that an independent and
courageous philanthropic sector can be a catalyst for a just and equitable society, where all can
participate and prosper and have a voice, from the most marginalised to the most privileged.
Philanthropy is vital for a resilient, inclusive and sustainable Europe. More info:

About Assifero

Founded in 2003, Assifero is the national association of Italian grantmaking foundations and institutional philanthropy organizations. Assifero has become the reference point for private philanthropy in Italy, encompassing 120 of the leading private foundations (family foundations, corporate foundations and community foundations) and other institutional philanthropy organizations. Its mission is to increase information sharing, the exchange of knowledge, innovative approaches and impact assessment methodologies, to build relationships and collaboration in order to make the Italian institutional philanthropy more informed, connected and effective.