Fundraising or promoting philanthropy? A qualitative study of the Massachusetts Catalogue for Philanthropy

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International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing





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Philanthropic institutions are increasingly involved in efforts to promote or expand philanthropy in the US, yet little research has been done in relation to such efforts within the “new philanthropy” environment. This qualitative study examines one such effort: the Massachusetts Catalogue for Philanthropy. The study focuses on understanding what key individuals associated with the Catalogue think about its purpose(s) as a means of beginning to answer the underlying questions: How are these new philanthropy promotion projects different from traditional fundraising and to what degree are they contributing to a new philanthropic paradigm? Results and data analysis indicate that participants have varying opinions about the purpose of the Catalogue that come from two perspectives. One sees the Catalogue as a tool for institutional fundraising for small charities featured by the Catalogue in the annually published Catalogue for Philanthropy; the other sees the Catalogue as a mechanism for the overall promotion of philanthropy in the state by educating donors, creating a new conceptualization of philanthropy, and strengthening philanthropy.