How can more people help to solve today’s challenges? How can we mobilise resources and build partnerships to create a better future? How do we ensure our giving is effective?
A new book by experts from a leading business school and a top philanthropy advisory firm seeks to answer those questions by helping more families make a difference through giving, drawing on decades of experience working with philanthropists around the globe.
On this episode I am joined by Peter Vogel. Peter is Professor of Family Business and Entrepreneurship, Director of the Global Family Business Centre at IMD Business School in Switzerland and the co-author of the book The Family Philanthropy Navigator.
We discuss how philanthropy has evolved throughout history and look at the latest trends in this fascinating area.
We talk about how you as a family would decide on the types of philanthropic activity you want to pursue and where to start when looking to begin your giving journey.
We also explore the wider benefits to your family enterprise of having a structured approach to your philanthropic activities.
You can buy the book by visiting this web page:
You can find out more about Peter here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vogelpeter/
You can email him: email@example.com
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Russ Haworth: Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of The Family Business Podcast. My guest this week is Peter Vogel. Peter is a professor of family business and entrepreneurship, and the director of the Global Family Business center at the IMD business school in Switzerland. He’s also the co-author of The Family Philanthropy navigator and Debiopharm Chair for Family Philanthropy. So Peter firstly, welcome to the show and thank you for joining us today.
Peter Vogel: Thanks, Russ for having me.
Russ Haworth: Now we have just talking about a subject today that I think is fascinating. It’s very interesting, but I have to be honest with you and our listeners. I struggle pronouncing the word ‘philanthropy’.
I don’t know why it’s always been a word that I’ve not really been able to grasp. It’s not particularly complex, so it’s just a mental block. So if I pronounce it wrong during this episode, I apologise. Maybe we just refer to it as giving and simplify things for me, but let, let’s go with, with, the, the topic of philanthropy.
And before we get into some of the questions about that, could you give the audience a bit of background about your history, your work and how you came to be doing what you’re doing now?
Peter Vogel: Yeah, very with, with great, great pleasure. So, as you said, I’m Professor of Family Business and Entrepreneurship at IMD.
I joined IMD three years ago and took over the global family business centre last year.
The Debiopharm Chair for Family Philanthropy was endowed three years ago by a family, the Mauvernay family that is philanthropically very active, and having been in some of our programs came to the realisation that families tend to talk very openly with each other on certain topics, such as governance and succession and other things. But not so much about philanthropy and in our family office program, where they had participated, they started talking informally with some other families and, and came to realise that actually everybody was philanthropically active, but nobody talked about it.
So they said, if this is so important for all of us, how come we don’t speak more openly about it in particular in Europe and other cultures in the US and in the UK, I think families are more open about it. So they, they started endowing this chair and then, then I joined IMD into that role. It’s a topic that is incredibly important for me.
While historically, I’ve been more on the entrepreneurship side. I always had an angle on social entrepreneurship and social ventures. Thinking about what are some of the big issues in the world.
So, on the one side I work in the field of entrepreneurship. New ventures, new business opportunities to tackle some of the big societal environmental challenges, but on the other side, working with enterprising families and the family offices as well.
And I think at the nexus of also where I think a lot of the innovation and disruption is happening, which is also what fascinates me a lot. so, so that is that those are really the two hearts in, in, in my chest is, is the world of innovation and entrepreneurship and disruption. And on the other side of the world of tradition and legacy and family, business, and family offices.
What motivated you write about Philanthropy?
Russ Haworth : Excellent. Thank you. And what in particular motivated you to write a book about philanthropy?
Peter Vogel: Yeah. So, you know, I think evidently there are many, many books out there on the market and every year there are plenty of books published on, on any given topic. Now, what we found missing in this space was a book that is, you know, very practical and hands-on and fun and based on activities and helping families really engage in a conversation about this topic.
It’s not about, you know, I read something to myself and then I’m a smarter person. It’s really about how can I as an individual, but also how can we as a family, go through a journey together?
And we felt that in this space, a book. Following this approach was still missing. we sought inspiration from books like The Business Model Canvas from Alex Osterwalder, but also other books that, that have followed that book, in other domains. And we felt that there was a space in the field, with such a practical hands-on book.
So, we started three years ago actually by creating a beta version of the Navigator Toolkit. That we started testing, at a, at a number of workshops with families. And during those workshops, we came to realise that actually this tool could trigger amazing conversations among family members, where they started opening up within the family, but also across families and, and.
Just started dialoguing in a way that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. So we got the confirmation that, that there is a need for this kind of toolkit and framework. And then over time through a series of workshops, but also in-depth research, where we literally interviewed over 70 families from around the world about their philanthropic identities and patterns. And, and to understand the whole complexity and diversity of philanthropy, we then started crafting this book and, trying to, to serve the variety of philanthropists that are out there because we came to realise that there are as many ways of doing philanthropy as there are philanthropists, very much similar to, to the world of family office as well.
So there’s a huge variety of identities and patterns as we call them. And in the book, we we’ve uncovered over 30 different what we call trade-offs. These are kind of decision points where you have to say, do I go left or right. And, and, and through that, you can already see the complexity of this space and, that motivated us to write this book to help families, but also individuals, not just families, initiate or improve their giving journey.
Why don’t we talk about Philanthropy?
Russ Haworth : You mentioned it in the, sort of introduction side of things is. That, that is a topic that perhaps we’re not as good at talking about as we should be considering what it is that we’re talking about.
I mean, we’re, we’re effectively talking about utilising wealth that’s been generated by us as, as a family to help improve the lives of others. I don’t know whether that’s an official kind of description, but that, that’s my perception of what we’re talking about in terms of philanthropy. But, but if people are at the beginning of that kind of discussion, and don’t really know where to turn.
Don’t really know how to structure that. And. sitting down and starting that conversation, it’s it can be like opening Pandora’s box because your then presented with this huge amount of options, huge amount of complexity. So w would it be fair to assume that the people who might be looking at this book would be people at that stage of their journey rather than those that are fully established in their philanthropic, identity?
Or is it a combination of the two?
Peter Vogel: Yeah. So, we’ve written the book in a way that it attracts, or it should be attractive to both, novice philanthropists, but also established philanthropists. And the reason being you know, you, you, you fill in this navigator toolkit to think about effectively the why, the, what, the who, and the how of your giving journey.
But that is kind of just a snapshot in time. It’s a moment in time that you write this down and as you engage in philanthropic giving, you will learn you over time. You will learn and you will make adjustments. You will improve just like we made adjustments to our toolkit. Having had a beta version three years ago, we then engaged in conversations with philanthropist.
And we came to realise that maybe we need other boxes, maybe we need other questions in there. And I think it’s very much the same for philanthropy. It’s a journey and it’s a learning journey for family. So you engage and you say, you know, I’m passionate about this cause, and I think it’s for these and these reasons.
So why don’t we support this organisation or this, entity doing X. And then over time, maybe you come to realise that, you know, while I might still be focused on that at that issue, maybe it would be more effective and efficient to, to help another organisation or to help both, or maybe other family members get implicated in your giving and they want to do something else.
So maybe you broaden the scope of your giving or you focus on different pillars or you pivot completely. Or if there’s a succession process in a family from one generation to the next. Maybe the children want to focus on different issues, different regions, different causes. So, so philanthropy is a journey and it’s an evolution.
And hence I think it’s very important also to, to not see philanthropy as something that is put in stone forever. And that is one of the evolutions also that we see in the world of modern philanthropy is that it’s a much more living and breathing type of activity where families go back and challenge their assumptions.
Also, on a regular basis. So yes, it’s for sure geared towards novice philanthropists to start their giving journey. But as much as it is for the novice, it’s also for the established to challenge the status quo, to challenge their assumptions. And we’ve actually devoted an entire chapter of the book to learning and how you can go back and challenge your assumptions and to then engage in a discussion and say, well, you know, if we want to change the focus of our giving to causes, we support, how does that influence the resources we allocate? The governance structures we need to have in place? The way we partner inside the family, but also outside the family, because all of these dimensions are intertwined and interconnected.
So yes, it’s for both. And, and we very much hope that that both novice and established philanthropists find inspiration in the book.
How has Philanthropy evolved throughout history?
Russ Haworth: As you mentioned, philanthropy has evolved throughout history is something that has changed, even in the sense of the kind of organizations that have been philanthropic over, over time.
And could you give a bit more in terms of what’s changing in that environment in terms of how it’s evolved throughout history and, and perhaps some of the latest trends and developments you’re seeing in the area.
Peter Vogel: Yeah, with pleasure. So I think humanity has always been charitable or philanthropic in some way.
So philanthropy literally means ‘love of humanity’.
Now, evidently philanthropy is not just about doing good to humans. I mean, there’s philanthropy about environment and philanthropy about animals and, and, and wildlife, et cetera, but effectively, that’s what it means coming from the Greek.
And we observe and you know, we’re not historians, but we observe kind of three waves of philanthropy where historical philanthropy was very much focused and triggered by religious beliefs, and, and giving to religious structures, which was kind of before the 18th century or mid 18th century.
Then you have the wave of industrial revolution, the first industrial revolution, where you have a new breed of affluent individuals and upper class individuals and families and the industrial families. That’s, you know, the, the, the Rockefeller’s, the Carnegie’s, which of course, reached a very, very significant wealth over, over their time as entrepreneurs, as business people. And they then said, I want to give back.
And, and, and these kinds of individuals. Then started to put some structures around their giving. They started to institutionalise their giving through foundations. And those were really in the 18th and 19th century that these first really structured philanthropic organisations, non-religious organisations started.
Then I think that has been philanthropy very much for, for the last hundred, hundred 50 years. Until, you know, over the last, and it’s difficult to put a clear date on it, but I would say the last two, three decades, maybe coinciding a little bit with the introduction of the internet as well, where we say there’s, there’s a much more modernised way of, of engaging in philanthropy, where digital technology is enabling all of us to be globally connected, be globally mindful of issues.
So, to be hyper aware of what’s going on in the world. but also, you know, if you look at what has, what have been the biggest evolutions and trends over the last 50, 60 years, you know, massive population growth around the world, carbon emissions, all of the issues that, that, that came up as a result of this rapid increase in population globally.
Which also led to the sustainable development goals in some way where we say we need to get our act together. If we want to continue to live on this planet, which so far is the only one we have. So, so we better be more mindful of it. And I think there is a transformation in the way we give and the way we think about philanthropy and giving and, you know, philanthropy is not only regarded as something good.
There, there are many critiques and criticisms around philanthropy in particular. Also for example, in the West, where many say, Oh, this is just a tax evasion opportunity instead of giving to the State that then distributes it across everything. But. You know, I think in this modern approach to philanthropy, we are, we’re really looking at things in a, in a much more holistic way.
And I think a very exciting way, in a way where, you know, you asked me about what are the big trends that we see. And I think on the one side, Philanthropy is becoming much more inclusive, inclusive meaning, it’s no longer just these industrialists and the wealthy families that have their foundations.
It’s you it’s me. It’s everybody who can also through crowdfunding crowd lending, micro credits systems on the web. You can, you can give, you can give small amounts, to causes that are not just back door to your house. Then we see a massive trend and transformation in that the next generation of givers, the millennials, the digital natives, which are also the recipients of massive wealth, because we’re going through this massive transfer of wealth right now, they think fundamentally different to previous generations.
They, they want to effectively be seen as agents of change and to do good to the world and to tackle these big issues. They want to right the wrong in the world. Then we see that there is due to the internet, real-time global awareness. Awareness of what’s going on. We have metrics, we have real-time data on climate change on all of these things.
We know exactly what’s going on. And I know exactly where I can be most effective in my giving. That is something that was not there 50 years ago. We see that as a result of that, more and more, philanthropists are focusing on issues, concrete issues, rather than places saying I want to give to the village where I grew up or so, so they focus on issues.
They say, I want to combat this. I want to get rid of COVID. I want to, you know, if you think about bill and Melinda Gates and, and, and, you know, polio, and, and I think there are just more and more initiatives like that, or the migration or the climate or this, and as a result of that, because we see.
A rise of mega donors. historically wealth was built up across generations. And today we see many, many individuals reaching sudden wealth in is in one or two decades more than they can spend in, in, in mobile double lives. And they say, I want to, I want to use this wealth to right the wrong, whatever that is.
And, and as a result, instead of having also more and more perpetual funds, they want to spend down, they say, there’s an issue. I want to fix this issue now in a very entrepreneurial way. Now there’s a problem. I want to fix it. And if I, if I give a million, I don’t want to just invest the proceeds. Now, if it’s a percent, that’s 10,000 a year, but Hey, I want to spend this million now and I want to fix this issue.
Now that’s a big trend that we see as well. Then maybe, maybe three last points also trends that we see, we see that more and more multi-stakeholder efforts. Collaborative efforts are, are coming about where, where philanthropists, NGOs, social ventures, government bodies, companies are working together. To tackle some of these big issues because they can be, they are too big for, as that one stakeholder can address them alone.
Yeah. So multi-stakeholder initiatives are on the rise, we also see that, more and more, philanthropists are, are driven by impact driven giving. Not to be confused with impact investing. This is a separate issue. Evidently they’re blurring boundaries are things like venture philanthropy and bonds, and so on.
However, impact driven and giving meaning. I want to, I want to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of my giving, even though I don’t expect the monetary return and last but not least. We see that. And I think this is very important. We see that more and more families are looking at a cohesive, collective doing good strategy, which is no longer, you know, we do business here and, and, you know, if this harms the planet kind of, we don’t care.
And then we give, through the philanthropy side, we see now that they’re starting to think in a much more cohesive way. Thinking about what is our collective impact as a family, including our business, including our investment activities. And of course, including our philanthropic side, what is our strategy collectively and how can we leverage our name, our reputation, our assets, our businesses as a force for good.
And that includes philanthropy, but it also includes the businesses. so, so, you know, in a nutshell, these are kind of the trends that we see and, and I think this is extremely exciting and, and there’s a lot of innovation going on right now and, and where businesses influence philanthropy, but philanthropy influences businesses as well.
The impact of COVID on Philanthropy
Russ Haworth: Yeah. And obviously you, you mentioned it, within that as well, but what we’re, in a COVID, era now in terms of the global pandemic and the impact that that’s having on our businesses and our lives across the world. in a lot of areas, it’s COVID has been an accelerant for progress towards things like digitisation and moving towards more innovative ways of doing things purely through necessity.
Is that being mirrored in the philanthropic world as well?
Peter Vogel: Yeah, so, so evidently we see that, philanthropy has in some way responded to what’s going on and many families. And, and philanthropists have responded either through direct philanthropic donations, but we’ve also seen it in, in many other ways.
besides donations to charities or projects that, that are linked to COVID, we’ve seen many businesses transform their business model. we’ve seen companies that are, you know, we’ve seen flavour fragrance companies. Suddenly going into the production of disinfectants. We’ve seen companies that are in the field of producing clothes, going into the production of masks.
We’ve seen companies, you know, starting to provide their manufacturing facilities for, for businesses that are, that are, that are, you know, need for production capacity, just to. Produce what is needed. We’ve seen companies going into the production of ventilators and ramping up the production.
They’re going into gowns. You know, we’ve seen so many companies, you know, ventilators, you know, Ford, Dyson, you know, LVMH, Ralph Lauren. I mean so many companies and also. Sanitisers we had L’Oreal they all pushed into these spaces very quickly.
Now is this classical philanthropy?
I mean, they clearly saw a business opportunity as well. Otherwise they wouldn’t have gone there. But still, you know, it was a response to COVID, but also we’ve seen that many, many businesses, many family firms, not only, but also family firms have responded by. Helping out their customers, you know, by, by waiving the rent, for example, in so companies that, that were renting out facilities and shopping malls, waiving the rent for their customers you know, credit offering relief to clients or, or also helping out employees in times of crisis.
So many, there are many ways to, to be philanthropic. Of course, giving money is. Is one way, but, but you know, there are many other ways how you can be philanthropically active and, and, you know, COVID is of course one, one issue, but you know, what is also very important in times like these is that we don’t forget about all the other things that are going on.
And I think, yeah, We need to be mindful that, you know, now every not every philanthropist should completely shift focus and, and, and ignore all the other things that are going on in the world.
Benefits of a Structured Approach
Russ Haworth : one of the other comments you made there around families having, a look at their overall operations and, trying to create a more.
coherent or structured approach to how things operate across the board rather than saying, an, an extreme example is we’re doing an awful lot of bad in the world through our business operations. Let’s just offset that to make ourselves feel better when we’re neutral. In that sense, it’s kind of the balance on that side.
It’s much more about that overall, perspective.
What are the benefits to the family enterprise of having that kind of structured approach to things, but also as a structured approach to their philanthropic activities? Rather than just saying, we’ve got some wealth here. Let’s just give it away somewhere and not really worry about where it’s going.
Peter Vogel: first of all, having a kind of cohesive, coherent doing good strategy makes a lot of sense from a, from a giving point of view. Just to make things much more efficient and effective, but also, you know, thinking about these big societal and environmental challenges in the world. I mean, today we know that these are multi trillion dollar opportunities.
I think it’s no longer the assumption that doing good necessarily means spending money and not getting anything back. I think you can do a lot of good by doing well economically. And I think that is the change of mindset as well, that families are starting to realize, and owners and boards and management teams are starting to realize, and family firms are at a massive advantage over non-family firms when it comes to that, because owner led businesses can, can swap their business model like this, and they don’t have to worry about how will the stock market respond to that. I mean, if it’s private, private businesses, how will the stock market respond to that? They say, you know, well, I’m the owner, I’m the manager. I’m I’m chairperson of the board.
I believe it’s right. I’m going to do it, or we’re going to do it. And I think. You know, this, this agility or the possibility to be agile is something that family firms have that non-family firms just don’t have because they always have so many other stakeholders to worry about. So I think that is a massive advantage.
And if families end up looking at philanthropy as an integral part of the family enterprise system, as, as an integrated element of their range of activities, They, they can be much more strategic about it. And we know today that, you know, if done right, philanthropy can be incredibly powerful for the family on the one side, you know, it, it, it can serve as kind of a neutral space for families where, where family members can mingle and swap ideas and collaborate.
Without it being conflictual with the business, it can, of course, and many families leverage it that way. It can be extremely useful in educating family members talking about next generation, but also passive family members that are not active in the business. So educating them about the values and who are we and the legacy, and what’s important for us, but also things like financial literacy.
Teaching them the art of, of managing money and assets. it can be leveraged as a vehicle for inclusiveness by, by, you know, you, you can really involve the whole family, even though some members might not be actively involved in the business. Also talking about in-laws, how do we handle in-laws? many families have very strict governance around this.
Philanthropy is one of the vehicles where, where this, this, this barrier can be broken as well. And it it’s, it’s an opportunity for generations to meet, to interact, to collaborate. To start working together as a team, which is much more difficult and oftentimes conflict to in the business. And, and ultimately, you know, it’s about social and reputational capital for, for the family, for, for the business as well.
So, so how are we perceived out there? So, so there’s clearly also a reputation element, that, that, that is at stake here.
How to start your Philanthropic Journey
Russ Haworth : As you were sort of describing the benefits of, philanthropy there, I, I had a vision in my mind of a campfire and the family kind of gathering around the campfire and getting the warmth from, from the fire and the benefit of the sort of conversation and, the good that.
Would come from those conversations. So I think it is something that, can bring families together and family members together that might not necessarily be in a position to have those conversations. if I’m a family listening to this episode and I’m thinking, yes, we’re at a stage where we want to consider how we start our giving journey and what form it needs to take and what, what ticks those boxes, where should they start in having that discussion?
Peter Vogel: We think that the right point to start is, to discuss the why the motivation, why, why do we want to be philanthropically active? and, and more, more fundamentally, what is the purpose of our giving? Which is the why. And the walk effectively, our toolkit is structured into the why, the walk that who went the how of giving, which is the purpose of the relationships and then the organisational setup.
And we believe that the why is a very, very good point to start. And there are many reasons why people give, and it’s, it’s, it’s a very personal. Decision why you end up giving it can be that something happened in your, in your past that influenced you something, you know, in your family, or maybe you’ve been traveling and you came across a situation where you said, Oh, you know, I, I wasn’t aware of this.
Let me help and fix this or try to fix this. I mean, there are so many things that lead us to act philanthropically. I think deep down inside each human being, it has, has. Has some philanthropic DNA inside, but the reasons why we engage and also how we show it, how we engage in philanthropic behaviour is very different and very personal.
And, you know, effectively, we look at, you know, big, like the three circle model. We, we, we also think about three circles that, that kind of interact where. On the one side, there is the cause the issue that you care about, and we say, you know, some, some individuals are really driven by that. They, they see some issues, Some wrong situation in the world that they say, I need to fix this. And there’s pure altruism where you say, you know, I just want to fix this. I don’t want any other outside thing. I don’t want to be visible. I don’t even want to talk about it. I didn’t want to tell people that I’m doing this and maybe I’m alone.
So there are no family benefits linked to that. There’s really the me and my money or my reputation. And I want to fix this. And that’s really this cause first that we say, then there’s this other circle? that we call family first where all of these reasons, for, for engaging in philanthropy that I had just shared before, you know, uniting the family, building, transferring values and educating next gen, et cetera.
You know, all of these can be motivating reasons as well. And we, we know of many families that, that start philanthropic projects. primarily to, to start the dialogue across family, across the family and to engage the next generation and to start a project with, with, with a fun aspect to it as well, and an educational aspect.
And we see families then, you know, starting to travel the world, with their kids sometimes at a very young age to also go and visit specific causes that they support. So it’s really an educational element. So that’s the family first circle. And the third circle is the business first circle where, and this is in particular, if there’s, if it’s more of a corporate philanthropy approach.
So having a corporate foundation, for example, where there’s a strategic fit with the topic. For example, if you, if you, if you’re active in, in healthcare as a company, and then you support some, some specific healthcare related causes. There is a business first element, or maybe from a reputational point of view, you know, there’s something also to the outside from a, from a PR point of view.
So they’re kind of these three circles. They evidently inter interconnect and you can be motivated by many, many different reasons. And you know, if you sit around a table with, with a family of four, you will probably have four different answers. And there are just many, many different reasons and the uniqueness about this is you can have an amazing discussion about this very topic.
And this is talking about the fire, the campfire, I think this is a beautiful topic to discuss around Christmas, around the campfire or around the Chimney to say, you know, Hey, why don’t we engage in philanthropy together? You know, why should we, what, what drives us to do this? I think this is a perfect Christmas discussion.
without it becoming too emotional, because then of course, where there are different opinions, then you also very quickly end up in discussions.
How to decide who benefits
Russ Haworth: Absolutely. And I think that’s a key point as well, though. Is that there, there will be individual views around philanthropy and causes the individuals will feel very passionate about that perhaps their wider family won’t feel as, as passionate about. And I think the key is not thinking that if as a family, you decide to go down a route of, philanthropic giving that it has to be to a single cause on a single issue on a single matter, with a big lump sum.
I know of families who allocate a set amount each year that, each family member and it’s a big family. Each family member is allowed to allocate to a particular cause that they’re passionate about if they present a strong enough case to, the, the board on that. And I think the, the issue of it is because there are so many different ways in which you can.
Explore the sort of philanthropic activity and where different family members may have different viewpoints. how would you suggest people sort of decide on that type of philanthropic activity? Does it need to be one cause one, one thing, or can it be a multiple of those?
Peter Vogel: I think also on that one, we see.
A huge variety of how families get organised. And, and on that one, I think there is no one size fits all like for anything. but here in particular, because again, it is very personal. It is very emotional and we run workshops with families. You know, you have five people around the table and, and you will come up with at least five different causes that they’re passionate about.
Mostly, most likely each one of them will have multiple causes. And then you can start seeing. You know, a typical activity that we, that we then run is to literally say, take post-its. And each one of you in the book, we have a range of causes that might serve as an inspiration around human relief, social economic development, societal causes, environment advocacy.
And then they’re like a lot of things that serve as an inspiration, or they can use the SDGs as an inspiration. And then just say, what are my top three causes that I care about? You know, it’s it’s this in healthcare or it’s it’s poverty or it’s migration or it’s domestic violence or it’s, whatever it is.
So each one of them literally writes down the top five causes on one post-it each you put them up on the wall. Each one of them does it. And then you see, where do we have overlap? And maybe you then start forming clusters that you say, Oh, there’s something around education. Oh, there’s something around wildlife or there’s something around climate change.
And then you pick out these clusters and then you try to engage in a more profound conversation around these clusters and say, well, You know, is there something that, is there one cluster that we’re all profoundly interested in? or are there two or three, and then depending on the size and complexity of the family, depending on the magnitude of the philanthropic activity, you then either very quickly focus in on one or two, or you create a number of verticals that you say.
We have a vertical in education. We have a vertical in climate. We have a vertical in, you know, whatever it is, migration and these are also dynamic. and then, you know, either you are really, really focused on one thing and then it’s quite straightforward or you really say we have different ones. And then of course it, it, it really also depends on.
Can individual family members on a regular basis proposed causes they support, or, or do you define a number of organisations that you continually support that you say we work with organisation X on this topic and organisation Y on, on another topic and we become trusted longterm partners for these organisations as well.
I think there, or do we rather respond at talk to incoming requests that an organisation says. You know, we really have an issue here. I know you work on environment. We have an issue here. We’re looking for fund X. Would you, will it be willing to chip in? I think again, there, there are different philosophies, and different approaches.
but I think having structured conversation where you also think about who from the family wants to and should be involved in this, is it, you know, kind of concentric circles? Is, is it something I do individually? Is it something I do with my immediate family? Is it something I do with my wider family, including cousins and uncles and aunts and.
You know, and in some families, this can then quickly end up with hundreds and hundreds of family members. So you need to be very mindful also of how complex you want to structure this. Yeah.
A Guide to help Navigate the Complexities of Philanthropy
Russ Haworth: And I think the key is, is that it. It can be very complex. It’s obviously, a very broad topic and a very complex topic.
And I think what I love about the book is that it, I mean, the title for it, for example, is Family Philanthropy Navigator. So it’s there as a guide to help navigate these complexities in the same sense that I’ve had the benefit of seeing what the book looks like. And it is a, it’s a beautiful book. It’s a very, well, crafted it’s, it’s very visual.
It’s, it’s beautiful visually in terms of that. So it’s helping people navigate the complexity and the choices that they need to make in regards to that, to their own philanthropic journey. What, what are the elements within. the world of philanthropy it’s covered within the book to kind of help people with what they they’re trying to navigate.
Peter Vogel: So first of all, I agree, it’s, it’s designed as a journey. so, so we want the families to, to really see this as a journey, as a learning journey individually and collectively as a family. That they can go through together in a, in a fun and playful way. We, we took a design first approach, even though it’s very much profoundly rooted in thought leadership and research, we took a design first approach to also, you know, make it fun and engaging for, for the reader and the audience.
And of course the, the, the core of the book is the navigator framework. The tool kit that they, that they work with, which is very much structured as, you know, we have the, these three pillars, the purpose, which is the why and the what then the relationships with it, which is the who, and then organisation, which is the how, and, and within the purpose, of course, like I said before, it’s the motivation why we want to give the focus of our giving and the ambition.
So how, how broad or narrow do we want to make this. Also on, on a global or regional level, but also the magnitude of, of the philanthropic activity. The relationships is really very much about how do we want to work with across the family involving family members, but also how do we want to work with partners, organisations, NGOs, advisors, board members.
Management, you know, again on that one, how do we want to indirect or do we also partner up with other families and foundations? And then the organisation is very much focused on resource allocation. What type of resources do we think we need to make to achieve what we want to achieve? How much of that can we provide, and it’s not only money.
Yeah. It’s also devoting time. It’s evoke devoting reputational capital and networks and connections that we have out in the world and, and skills and capabilities. and then what kind of resources do we think we need to find outside through partnerships or also hiring employees? We need to think about the governance.
How do we want to set this up? What’s the right structure. What are the. Decision-making processes. What are the structures for the board? How do we handle incoming requests, et cetera, et cetera. So thinking about the governance and also how this governance ties in with the governance of the wider range of activities of the family, including the businesses, including the family office, including the family council.
And, and all of the other activities, because if you, if you think about it from a, from a cohesive collective point of view, you don’t want to look at philanthropy as an isolated bucket on the side, it should really be part of everything. And then lastly, thinking about the impact, what kind of impact do we want to have and how are we going to measure it?
which again, in some cases it’s more easy and, and others more difficult. But at least how do we want to make sure that our giving has an impact and last but not least, we have this learning section. which is the fourth section in the book, which again is on the one side for aspiring philanthropist, but it’s also for the more established philanthropists that want to go back.
So we have an assessment kit. We have questionnaires where you can go through individually, all of these questions and then think, think back and say, well, maybe in this box, in this dimension on family involvement, Maybe we’re not that well structured right now, actually let’s have a more focused conversation on that one.
So while for, for, for novice philanthropists, we really kind of recommend to go from A, to Z through the book, like in journey established philanthropists can also just say, well, let’s actually go into governance. You know, I think we’re, we’re pretty good on the focus. I think we know why we do it. We have a clear mission statement.
We focus on these causes. You know, the way we are involved as a family is great, but Hey, let’s have a look at our governance. and let’s, let’s professionalize our governance and then they can go straight into the governance chapter and just say, you know, let’s look at that. So again, I think it’s, it’s very visual, it’s very, hands-on. It should be practical. it’s not something you have to read from A to Z, know, but you can, of course
Russ Haworth: With specific regards to, to the book itself it’s there for every step of what you’re looking to do as a family from, from a philanthropic perspective.
and the fact that it’s practical, that there’s obviously access to, I mean, just by Googling, ‘what is philanthropy’ or ‘how to start philanthropy’, you’re going to be bombarded with loads and loads of research and stuff about it. But, but what I think sets the book apart and, and correct me if I’m wrong and you might want to build on this anyway, is the fact that it is, the combination of here’s the research that we’ve done coupled with the practical experience of families that have gone through the workshops we’ve generated.
And it’s presented beautifully, Does that summarise where you think the book sits in terms of, of sort of differentiating itself
Peter Vogel: Yeah, no, I think those are the main points. I mean, like I said, there are, there are many, many books out there and, and I think every year, I don’t know if it’s a million, but I think there is about a million books published every year now within the space of philanthropy, I don’t know, but it’s, it’s, you know, it’s still several dozen, if not a hundred or so books every year and you know, how we feel, how the, how it’s set apart is really.
Yes on the one side it’s grounded in research, it’s it has profound thought leadership in it based on, you know, decades of experience, you know, and also, you know, the three, three authors. I mean, I come in as, as kind of this ‘Pracademic’ as an IMD professor, having an academic hat on, but also working with families practically day in, day out.
And my co-author Etienne, he’s a philanthropy advisor and he’s been working with families for decades. Malgorzata who’s a research fellow in the Debiopharm Chair with me. She comes in with this academic expertise and knowing the field of philanthropy from an academic side. So, so, you know, first of all, we combined these different views, but then besides the three authors, we, our team was much wider.
You know, we had an editor working with us. We had a design crew working with us for two years. So we really, it was a team of six, seven people working consistently on this book, but then beyond us, we also had all these families as ambassadors, as sparring partners, as challengers with workshops and activities and interviews, we ran these 70 plus interviews with families, giving us absolutely unique insights into, into the world of philanthropy that.
That is usually a very private world and not very open to the outside and, and, you know, through all of these different viewpoints and angles, I think we managed to, to, to really write something and put something together that that is quite unique because before we put the first word on paper, we had a vision together with the designers and the editorial team and the authors.
What we want to achieve. And we had a very visual approach. We had a first beta version of the toolkit before we started working on the book. We had a first workshop that we ran. We had feedback from families on those dimensions. So we knew exactly where we wanted to go. And then we started to put a structure together, but, but we had a clear structure in mind.
We had a visual approach in mind. With the designers from day one, What we wanted to do, and we did not write a book and then try to make it visual, made it visual alongside the writing process, which of course is a very complicated process in itself.
Russ Haworth: I can imagine!
Peter Vogel: It really goes hand in hand, but, you know, if you do it, if you go through the pain of doing that, I think it’s totally worth it for everybody. Every author should do it. And I will for sure write every future book in this way, because I think the outcome, I mean, I’ve written another book before on the youth unemployment crisis where I’ve taken the, the typical writing approach, you know, kind of like you go in and you start typing like a typical academic.
And, and this one we’ve took a very different strategy. So it’s practical. It’s, hands-on, it’s visual, it’s, it’s grounded in research, but written in a simple way that everybody can understand it, irrespective of language barriers or not, or level of proficiency and philanthropy. There’s, there’s no technicalities in there.
Everything is written in a way that everybody can read it. And it’s full of examples. Case studies. We have nine case studies in there. Of families that we interviewed, where we go through these different boxes, but they also share their learnings and recommendations to the reader and its activities.
Like I said, it’s an activity around the causes, it’s activities around what are our shared values. it’s activity is around, you know, what are our what’s our approach to governance. Each chapter has at least two activities that you can put to action immediately. So, so effectively you can go through this as a family on your own or in a, in a moderated way as well, through trainings and workshops and, and just go through the activities.
And after completing it, you will have probably a pretty good basis to at least initiate your giving journey.
Russ Haworth : And, given the time of year, we’re heading towards Christmas. it’s a good Christmas present and perhaps quite a, a good, subtle way to start those discussions is, well, now, now we’ve all got a book on it.
Why, why don’t we sit down and have that conversation over the glass of wine around the fire, on, Christmas evening? it, it seems sort of, ideal for that as well.
Peter Vogel: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, first of all, the weeks and months before Christmas are the giving season, the majority of giving in the world happens during those weeks.
So it’s an important period for the world of philanthropy and, you know, in a year like this in particular, in the case of COVID, this is hitting many individuals around the world and in an extremely profound way. And so I think the book it’s coming out December 1st, that’s the release date. we have a launch event on December 1st.
I think this period is incredibly important and you know, we actually have many families that pre-ordered books for the whole family as a Christmas gift because they said, wow, we can have a lush Christmas party together this year. But maybe we can be united in different ways. And why not about something about, you know, shared passions and emotions about giving.
And so we have families that, that ordered hundreds of copies as a matter of fact, as, as a Christmas gift for the whole family or also for their business partners, board members, you know, they’re giving partners and, you know, we as authors, we, we said that it’s such an important period of the year.
That we actually said that we will, we will donate all our, our authors revenues between December 1st and December 24th, to a charitable cause in the Lausanne region around IMD. It’s an organisation called Mere Sofia. Which is helping the most vulnerable people. And you might say, well, Switzerland, there are no vulnerable people in Switzerland.
Everybody’s wealthy in Switzerland, but do you know, as a matter of fact, there are hundreds and hundreds of, yeah. The people that dropped out of the social welfare system in Switzerland and Mere Sofia, they provide shelter, they provide food, they have. You know, they, they provide soups over lunch and dinner and meals.
And so we, we said we’re devoting all our author royalties. So every book that is sold between December 1st and December 24 or 25th, be donate that to that cause. And we will also go in and volunteer there and we’re doing, you know, other activities with them as well. So I think it’s an incredibly important period of the year.
And, you know, yes, we would, we would very much like to invite as many families around the world to participate in this again, for us in that period, there’s, there’s zero, economic incentive on, on selling the books. It’s we will donate every single dollar that, that we, we would make out of the book sales.
to that foundation. And so I would, I would very much invite as many families as possible to you know, help us serve meals to, to those people and, you know, and engage in a philanthropic activity.
Russ Haworth: And if they wanted to do that, where would they head?
Peter Vogel: so we have a book page, on IMD, there, there, you can find a book on multiple channels. of course Amazon is one of them, but also other local bookshops. if, if any family wishes to make more of a bulk order, they can send me a direct email if they want. at Peter.Vogel@imd.org, and I can channel them to, to the right, person from, from the publishing side.
But otherwise any, if you just Google it, you will find it on Amazon, but also other books bookstores.
Russ Haworth: And what we’ll do on the show notes for this episode is put a link in there to the book website so that people can head there. Head over to fambizpodcast.com/philanthropy, and I can spell it better than I can say it.
So it will be live on, on that page. There will be the show notes from today’s show and a link there. For, the book as well. Peter, it’s a fascinating subject. even if it’s one I struggled to pronounce, it’s been a really, really enjoyable, chat about it. Thank you for your time and insights and good luck with the book.
Peter Vogel: Thank you, Russ. Thanks for inviting me to share our story and our book and our, our mission effectively with, with you and with the, with the audience and, Thanks a lot then, then, Merry pre-Christmas.