My firm, Ensemble Capital Management, advertises our services for philanthropists on Google. We’ve found that most people googling words like “private foundations” or “donor advised funds” are looking for eduction, not a sales pitch. So we’ve crafted this landing page for people looking for private foundation info and this one for donor advised fund info.
Occasionally we have people contact us who want to start a nonprofit, not a grantmaking organization. While doing some research on which resources I could point one of these people to I ran across a google ad for the keywords “how to start a nonprofit”. The ad was placed by The Wallace Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the country. The ad leads to this “knowledge center” web page maintained by the Wallace Foundation.
The information is about a variety of topics, but included a report called “More than Grantmaking”, about how private foundations are deploying “direct charitable activities” to further their mission. I shared this report with one of my private foundation clients last year as they contemplated the use of this tactic.
In my push for large foundations to share their knowledge with individual donors, I’ve often been told that it is not foundations’ job to help other donors. So I was struck to see the Wallace Foundation actively advertising their knowledge center. By taking out a google ad, they are actively competing against for-profit companies to educate donors about philanthropy.
Interesting… I love it.