Here’s some of the results from the Tactical Philanthropy Reader Survey:
Of the people who responded, 87% read the blog at least once a week. So these answers reflect the opinions of my dedicated readers.
Readership was split very evenly between foundation employees, nonprofit employees and consultants or other for-profit entities who serve nonprofits, foundations or donors. About 1/3 of readers fell into each group.
75% of readers said that they generally or very strongly agree with the views expressed here. The rest were neutral with only 3% saying they disagreed. Frankly, I’d rather more dissenting readers participated in this discussion.
Although a few readers have emailed me asking that I move the “links list” posts to a sidebar, the overwhelming majority of readers asked that I keep the feature and leave them in the main blog area.
When asked “why do you read Tactical Philanthropy?”, the most common theme was based around “staying abreast of innovation and new ideas in philanthropy”. Recently, I’ve had feedback from some people suggesting that I am too focused “over the horizon” rather than at what works right now. To tell the truth, I think that there are people in philanthropy who have been in the field much longer than I have who are better positioned to discuss the current situation. I’m personally more interested in where philanthropy is going. That being said, I am going to try to spend more time discussing actually examples of innovation (such as VolunteerMatch’s prospectus rather than discussing these concepts in theory).
When I asked for readers’ single biggest criticism, I got the following:
“He should cover the wider landscape of the philanthropic world”
“sometimes gets a bit navel gazing and takes itself too seriously”
“Hasn’t yet addressed business models
that support the economic viability of donor educators/researchers who
do not get commissions. NGO’s and many wealthy expect to get donor
education materials free and a value for value exchange hasn’t yet been
“Tactical Philanthropy is sometimes too
clinical and sometimes can get very high-minded and removed from what I
think philanthropy is about. I think of non-profit organizations as a
community response to a problem or need. It’s about will and momentum
and resources coming together, and managing all of the diverse
interests can be really tough. On the one hand, I wish more of my
non-profit peers read this blog, because we are spending the money you
and your peers deign to share with us, and on the other hand, I know
most of them would dismiss you as being lucky that get to have these
discussions. Perhaps I have a chip on my shoulder, but sometimes I look
for a sign that you respect non-profit leaders for doing the work they
do, even if you are also critical of that work. At least they are doing
it, so you have something to be critical of! (Let me add that I like
this blog a lot, that its been helpful to me and that I’m impressed
that you are doing a survey like this one.)”
“I wish you didn’t try to explain away every comment made by everyone who disagrees.”
“[You]don’t at all talk about how
philanthropy and nonprofits connect to policy. Strategic or tactical
philanthropy is not just about nonprofits that innovate or go to scale.
It’s about nonprofits that impact policy.”
Thank you to everyone who participated in this survey. Writing a blog is interesting because on the one hand I get to connect with a huge range of people who I might otherwise never meet. Yet on the other hand, it can be hard to know how people are reacting to the things I write. I might get 1 or 2 positive comments, but for all I know a bunch of readers are yelling at their computer screens in total outrage over my posts. It was nice to see that the large majority of readers who took the survey really enjoy the blog. It was also good to get some feedback on things I could do differently.