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Giving Stories

I’ve interviewed over 25 different people about giving for the #WineGrants podcast that I hosted and another half dozen major philanthropists for my new podcast Open Door Philanthropy (stay tuned for updates as we’ll be releasing them soon). Before podcasting I worked as a major donor fundraiser for a decade and had countless conversations with philanthropists trying to figure out why they give and what drives them.

Some questions I like to ask include: How do you say no to requests you won’t fund? What causes do you support? Who taught you have to give? What problems can philanthropy realistically solve. Etc. There are many great questions to ask a philanthropist. Their answers can lead to insight into their giving and I hope that their answers help my listeners become better fundraisers.

For this video campaign – we’re asking my favorite questions. We gathered some philanthropists and entrepreneurs of all stripes and asked one simple question: do you remember your first gift?

We set up our booth at a salon event at Busboys & Poets in Takoma Park near Washington, DC and partnered with the Nexus community of young philanthropists and entrepreneurs to hear their answers. I encouraged each participant to think back to their first memory of a philanthropic act. Some knew the answer right away and others struggled. As adults with our own bank accounts giving can become quite transactional. Like paying bills or visiting the ATM. Children don’t think this way and when we remember our first gifts we tap into the origins of our generosity.

I hope you enjoy these videos and that they inspire you to ponder your own giving motivations.

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