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December 17, 2006


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Sean Stannard-Stockton

Is the Lifestyle of Giving an affluent lifestyle? It seems clear to me that Mother Theresa lived a Lifestyle of Giving. I think it is also clear that these magazines will target an affluent readership. I do know that they are striving to be much more than glossy society party reports. Generocity talks about targeting the "emerging philanthropists", but thinks about those as people who give over $1,000 a year.

These early attempts at donor focused publications are going for the low hanging fruit. But I would think that if they are successful we will see other publications launch which target other socio-economic groups.


Interesting. I agree with your definition of "giver," but wonder if the philanthropy mags will turn out to be like Worth and the Robb Report which target the wealthy, and deliver an upscale demographic for advertisers. Maybe there is a niche for Utne reader types?


Hey Phil,

Though I may have written with a little "sass" about these pubs on my blog last week, am still very interested to see how they mature. Benefit is the one I’m most familiar with, since it is published in San Francisco where I live. The latest issue featured back-to-back 6 page photo spreads of individuals experiencing homelessness and debutante-types shopping for gala clothes. Of course, the former was shot in B&W and the later in color.

Fundraising for Nonprofits


Thanks, Gayle. How do advertising supported media, directed to the wealthy, confront issues like poverty, or injustice, or the commercialization of everyday life? The contrast you describe in the photo spreads in Benefit are maybe "perspective by incongruity," making a savage moral point, or just a byproduct of the genre, rich people helping poor people, with photos from both groups, neither be judged, both just juxtaposed, with one perhaps a bit glamorized?

My question, not having seen the issue, is whether the contrast you speak of was "thematized," brought to the surface and embraced as the "thrust" of the editorial work, or just there to be noticed and passed over?

Albert Ruesga

I see a photo shoot with yards and yards of satin wrapped around a 100-foot-tall dollar sign, throngs of emaciated models in polo outfits at its base self-assembling into the opening lines of The Wealth of Nations.


As much as they might try to make it otherwise, the advertising supported business model will gradually force them into a style best suited to luxury products and their purchasers. ("Yeah, we can give you access to people so rich and stupid they actually give money away!") I welcome the mags, though, because it will give us a baseline against which giving blogs can be measured. I suspect that this is one field in which "talented amateurs," and insiders mouthing off on their own time, can compete well with the professional writers, not because we are better at it, but because we don't have an editor fidgeting over our shoulder, concerned with whom we might be offending, who will cancel a subscription, who will take their advertising dollars to the Trump's Apprentice instead. There are plenty of giving blogs these days who wish they were a mag supported by advertisers, and maybe one or two who are. The philanthropy bloggers, a number of them, are trying their best to write like upbeat ninnies. Fools among Knaves.

Countess Appraxina?

, where are you?

Albert Ruesga

I just heard from her.


Devastating. Thank you for fostering her philanthropic fashion consulting practice here in America. The Empire will be the better for it.


Q: My question, not having seen the issue, is whether the contrast you speak of was "thematized," brought to the surface and embraced as the "thrust" of the editorial work, or just there to be noticed and passed over?

A: Passed over for sure.


A very difficult thing, to get the tone right, if your audience includes both the givers and recipients of philanthropy. That makes me think that we will have the givers and the admirers as audience, but few whose point of view is that of the disenfranchised or forgotten. What I think is new is how many of us even in the middle class now feel that we are on the edge all the time, working with the wealthy, perhaps, but not financially secure ourselves. As safety nets fray, and markets shoot up and down, who knows who will have "enough"? The divide between those with more than enough and those with little grows, and as the wealthy population grows, so there will be more magazines catering to them, with themes including giving. But can those magazines address the divide without alienating readers and advertisers by creating a sour atmosphere?

Would these magazines publish a contemporary who wrote like Veblen?

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