Hartsook and the UMKC Henry W. Block School of Management hosted

The Power of Philanthropy Virtual Summit 2020

The following are key takeaways discussed in breakout groups following two sessions:
Understanding the Philanthropic Mindset
and Psychology of Giving

“The power of philanthropy is unleashed when donors, volunteers and nonprofit professionals work together to achieve goals they cannot on their own. Donors are most fulfilled when their philanthropy enables things that are personally important to them – acts only possible when volunteers and staff are involved. Similarly, volunteers find greatest satisfaction when they use their talents and relationships to advance causes that are important to them and enable others to give meaningfully. And nonprofit professionals – whether executive directors, fundraisers or program managers – are optimally engaged when they bring donors and volunteers together to achieve individual goals that rely on the others’ involvement. When we unleash the power of philanthropy, the sum is greater than its parts.”

Matthew J. Beem, Ph.D., CFRE, Chairman and CEO, Hartsook




Session 1:
Understanding the Philanthropic Mindset

A panel of philanthropists and high-level fundraisers offered their personal experiences of the power of philanthropy and shared insights into what works (and what doesn’t) regarding cultivation, solicitation and recognition from a donor’s point of view.

In addition to board members, donors want to hear from staff, volunteers and individuals impacted by the mission.

Cultivate donor relationships well before the ask; this includes foundations. Make it personal. Know what funders care about, do your homework and close the connection.

“We need money” isn’t compelling. Tell funders what you’ve done that worked, and how you adapted and adjusted to get things done.

Stay focused on the mission; don’t veer off course through mission-creep, crisis or controversy. For example, everything doesn’t need to be aboutCOVID.

COVID has sparked great innovation and creativity. Keep that part going.

Be honest, transparent and authentic. It’s better to share things up front than have funders find out later. Never say, “We’re going to do X with the money,” but do Y, instead. Don’t lie.

Funders want the nonprofits they support to succeed. This means coming to them with a well-prepared plan, needs assessment, strategic vision and long-term outcomes.




Session 2:
Psychology of Giving

A leading researcher, presenter and author presented tips for using science to create more memorable giving experiences that genuinely contribute to the well-being of supporters and the latest experimental science to grow the human capacity to love.

Love your donors. Money will follow.

The science and psychology of giving is powerful.

The words we use, especially the adjectives, matter a lot.

Words should be influenced by how our donors see themselves as people and as supporters of the nonprofit.

Nonprofits must ask questions, listen to donor feedback and leverage that information for good.

What words would our donors use to describe themselves as individuals and as supporters?

Think in terms of how the nonprofit can love its donors.

Don’t focus on your own feelings (about the nonprofit). Don’t focus on how you think donors feel, either, but on how donors see themselves as supporters.

Lift donors up with personal and positive adjectives that resonate.

Nonprofits using this research have identified major gifts through unsolicited responses, i.e. donors thanking the nonprofit for making them feel loved and appreciated.




“Our nonprofit sector is more critical today than ever, and the role of fundraising and philanthropy is essential
to the health of this sector. We, here at Bloch, were delighted at being able to partner with Hartsook in offering
The Power of Philanthropy Virtual Summit. Both organizations are committed to supporting the nonprofit
community, and we look forward to continued partnerships to address the needs of this community.”

Brian Klaas, Ph.D., Dean, UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management


If you participated in the Power of Philanthropy Virtual Summit or viewed the full video recordings, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts here.

To learn what Hartsook can do for your organization: [email protected]

To contact the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management: [email protected]

P.O. Box 410046 | Kansas City, MO 64141 | Tel: 866.630.8500
hartsook.com | email: [email protected]

Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership UMKC Bloch School of Management
4747 Troost Ave, Ste 207 | Kansas City, MO 64110 | Tel: 816.235.5720
mcnl.org | email: [email protected]