Since last summer, I have immersed myself in the emerging field of philanthropic magazines. I’ve met or had phone conversations with the people behind Giving, Generocity and Benefit, and have done research on Contribute and Good.
In the interest of full disclosure I want to let everyone know I’m now collaborating with Benefit Magazine in a couple of ways. I’m a regular guest on Benefit Radio and appear as “Benefit Magazine’s Giving Expert” on the show’s weekly “Giving Minute”. I wrote an article for them about The Second Great Wave of Philanthropy that will appear in the next issue of the magazine. Ensemble Capital has an advertisement running in the magazine. And I have been actively introducing the Benefit team to people I think can help them (potential advertisers, partners, content providers).
As the Benefit team says, “154 publications cover the fashion industry, a $30 billion a year business. Donors give $260 billion a year and until recently there were no donor-centered publications”. I think that there is room in the “philanthropy magazine” category for a number of successful publications. Contribute seems to be producing some good material and Good is tackling the whole issue from a unique point of view. I think that Benefit is doing the best job of making their content appealing to the nonprofessional donor, the people they describe as leading The Lifestyle of Giving. But they are also committed to educating their readers and helping them make better decisions around how they engage in and execute their Giving. They have a very smart, experienced and dedicated staff.
If The Second Great Wave of Philanthropy is to be led by a huge group of smaller donors, these donors are going to need media publications directed at them. These donors do not read the Stanford Social Innovation Review or The Chronicle of Philanthropy. However, the once a year philanthropy issue of Town & Country or the annual Giving section of the New York Times isn’t enough for them.
Here’s to the success of Benefit Magazine, as well as the rise of a whole new category of philanthropy focused media.