I got a great response to my post last week about philanthropy publications from Tim Ogden, VP of communications at Geneva Global and Managing Editor of Beyond Philanthropy. Tim took me to task for ignoring the large number of industry publications:
“While the Benefit statistic is interesting, it’s also somewhat off the mark. First, you have to break down the $260 billion market. 77% is individuals, the rest is from Corporate, Foundations, etc. Those portions of the market have a number of publications, e.g. Chronicle of Philanthropy, Foundation News & Commentary (which has shut down for 6 months as they review what they’re doing and how they’re doing it) and Philanthropy Digest. Then there’s reports from all of the foundations and places like Council on Foundations.
Returning to the Individual donor community — a large chunk of those donations go to Community Foundations. Many of these have in-house pubs. Another large chunk are from "major" donors who belong to donor organizations (The Philanthropy Roundtable, Givers for Effective Organizations, Wealth and Giving Forum) that have their own in-house publications.
So the real way to compare the two industries (philanthropy and fashion) is to look at target audience for those pubs vs. the size of that part of the industry. I would call that the "middle market" — folks donating $5,000 to $50,000 a year — and guess that it accounts for about $80 billion of donations.”
Tim makes a great point. However, it is the targeting of a mainstream audience that I believe is so new and important. There is no lack of published information about philanthropy. I couldn’t possible read everything I want to about the industry. You should see the stack of reading on my desk and the backlog of websites I need to get to. But all of this is written with “philanthropy professionals” in mind. In addition to the 154 publications on fashion, I’m sure that industry has hundreds of publications targeted to fashion professionals. This is the case in financial services as well. For instance while mainstream readers are familiar with the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and The Economist, there are also industry publications like On Wall Street, Financial Planning and Wealth Manager.
So while Tim makes an important point, I think that the new magazines I talked about are targeting the individuals who are totally unaware of the industry publications and would be bored silly by them anyway. Anyone overhear the cocktail party chatter of that stirring Trusts & Estates article regarding Technical Advice Memorandum 200628026 and the donor’s use of their charitable remainder trust as a personal checking account? I read it, but I would be a bad guest if I brought it up at the holiday party!