By: Erin Williams

I recently read “The Seven Faces of Philanthropy”. This way of analyzing a donor’s motives is very effective for fundraisers because it provides a framework for understanding the diverse motivations and personas of donors, enabling fundraisers to tailor their approach, improve communication, and build stronger relationships, ultimately leading to more successful fundraising efforts.

  1. Donor-Centric Approach: The book emphasizes the importance of understanding donors’ individual motivations and values. By categorizing donors into these seven faces, it helps fundraisers tailor their approach to each donor’s unique profile, creating a more donor-centric fundraising strategy.
  2. Improved Communication: The insights from the book enable fundraisers to communicate with donors more effectively. For example, a socialite donor may appreciate public recognition, while an altruist may value personal stories of impact. Fundraisers can use this knowledge to craft more compelling messages.
  3. Targeted Appeals: By identifying the donor’s face, fundraisers can craft targeted appeals that resonate with their specific motivations. This can increase the likelihood of successful fundraising efforts.
  4. Enhanced Relationship Building: Understanding a donor’s motivations and the face of philanthropy allows fundraisers to build deeper and more meaningful relationships. This can lead to longer-term engagement and increased giving over time.
  5. Strategic Planning: The book’s framework can help organizations create more strategic philanthropic plans. For example, understanding investor-type donors may encourage an organization to provide more data and impact metrics.
  6. Donor Retention: Tailoring your approach to match a donor’s face of philanthropy can improve donor retention rates. When donors feel that their motivations are understood and valued, they are more likely to continue their support.


Prince, Russ Alan, and Karen Maru File. 2001. The Seven Faces of Philanthropy: A New Approach to Cultivating Major Donors. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.