At a time when people are being forced to stretch their philanthropic dollar, philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Jeffrey Solomon have written the definitive guide to getting the most out of one’s giving. Part “how to” and part memoir, The Art of Giving: Where the Soul Meets a Business Plan (November, 2009) is a must-read book for aspiring philanthropists, wealth managers, nonprofit professionals, and anyone who simply wants to make his or her philanthropic effort the most meaningful and impactful that it can be.
Bronfman and Solomon (Chairman and President of The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies respectively) show through sound argument and a wealth of personal stories that truly impactful philanthropy can only be achieved when donors are fully aware of their personal motivations, and combine them with smart, technical business plans. The authors then thoroughly and systematically offer step-by-step instructions for developing both sides of that equation.
The Art of Giving is divided into three parts, covering the essential elements that a donor needs to understand to make the most effective and satisfying gifts.
Part One, “The Donor,” begins by asking readers to take a critical look inside themselves. The authors state clearly and unapologetically that “philanthropy is not altruism.” They go on to say that philanthropy is about finding satisfaction, fulfillment, connection, meaning, and purpose. Only through intense self-examination will an aspiring philanthropist be equipped to make the many other difficult business and financial decisions that inevitably follow.
Part two, “The Partner,” focuses on organizational structures and potential partners that will help donors extend their philanthropic impact. This section
teaches how to identify and approach the right nonprofit agencies; how to navigate the waters of board politics; and when and how to establish a family
foundation that unites several generations in a common cause.
In section three, “The Gift,” the authors address the many complexities of the donation itself, providing an overview of the various types of donations, as well as the legal, financial, tax, and practical implications associated with each.
Bronfman and Solomon together bring a rare and powerful insider’s perspective to philanthropy, built on their respective areas of individual expertise and
the insights garnered from twelve years of successful collaboration. As a member of the Seagram’s corporate family, the first chairman of the United
Jewish Committee, and a member of numerous boards including Mount Sinai Hospital and Brandeis University, billionaire Charles Bronfman has amassed a
trove of insights and anecdotes about the pleasures and pitfalls of giving.
Jeffrey Solomon, president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies and recognized expert on philanthropy, has written eighty articles on the
subject for professional and popular audiences, and has taught it at New York University. For over a decade, Bronfman and Solomon have together led
successful philanthropic efforts on a global scale, while teaching countless others how to get the most out of their giving. This is their first book together on the subject.
You can read an excerpt from an interview with the authors on our post, Where The Heart Meets The Mind.