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Emma Beeston & Beth Breeze – Advising Philanthropists

In this episode Rhod talks to philanthropy adviser Emma Beeston and academic Dr Beth Breeze about their new book Advising Philanthropists.


  • What are some of the key elements of philanthropy advice?
  • How much is philanthropy advice about objective, technical things (e.g. tax, structures etc) and how much is it about subjective things (about finding purpose, understanding values etc)?
  • At what stage in their ‘philanthropic journey’ are donors most likely to seek advice?
  • Where do donors tend to get philanthropy advice from? What impact does the source of the advice have on the nature of the advice?
  • Is philanthropy advice normally a one-off or time limited service, or an ongoing relationship?
  • To what extent do advisers see their role as neutral agents servicing the demands of donors vs active agents challenging them/shaping their approach?
  • What factors make for a successful donor/adviser relationship?
  • What does “success” look like for a philanthropy adviser? (i.e. more giving, ‘better giving’, both?)
  • What are some of the biggest challenges/frustrations for philanthropy advisers?
  • How common is it for private banks/wealth management firms to offer philanthropy advice?
  • When they do, is this seen as a business proposition (i.e. by increasing client retention, strengthening relationships etc), or part of the company’s social responsibility?
  • What are the core skills you need to be a philanthropy adviser?
  • What is the relationship like between philanthropy advisers and fundraisers? Do the latter see the former as useful points of contact with wealthy donors, or unhelpful gatekeepers?
  • What role can philanthropy advisers play in helping to manage the transfer of wealth between generations?
  • Are there any signs that next gen donors are more or less willing to seek advice on their giving?
  • Are next gen donors looking for the same kind of advice as previous generations or different kinds?
  • How much power do advisers have to shape donor’s giving?
  • Does this bring responsibilities (e.g. to be transparent about who they are, and what role they play?)
  • How many advisers see it as part of their role to make donors aware of critiques of philanthropy and offer them ways of addressing them?

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