Microphilanthrophy (MicroSolutions)

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Notes: 2/18/09

Notes: 3/4/09

Notes from Call with Global Givings: 3/12/09

Micro-philanthropy, where donors make small gifts to a very specific cause or action, is emerging as a powerful force in charitable giving.

Implementing a micro-philanthropy model at the Monterey Institute, in addition to the more traditional personal and direct marketing models, will help MIIS to achieve its goal of increased alumni participation. Micro-philanthropy will also provide the Institute with an additional channel for sharing student and faculty stories, and therefore building its brand, while providing the financial support needed for special projects that are most often incremental to the Institute’s operating budget.

The traditional fundraising model of alumni giving to an institution because of affinity has not proven successful at MIIS. In FY 08, 122 alumni made gifts to the Institute. Excluding trustees and members of the Board of International Advisors, their giving accounted for only $20,050, or less than .4%, of total cash receipts. These poor results can be attributed to a variety of factors, including the understanding that alumni giving to graduate professional schools trends significantly lower than to undergraduate institutions, inconsistent fundraising and alumni relations efforts by the Institute throughout its history, and a significant international population whose understanding of educational philanthropy is minimal.

Rather than asking for alumni to support the Monterey Institute from relationship or affinity-based view, we will instead be asking our graduates – and others – to invest in projects that dovetail with their own personal interests.

The Institute’s micro-philanthropy model would focus specifically on projects that would help to advance the “square pyramid” model that is the hallmark of the Monterey Way 2.0, coupling the five areas of curricular focus with projects that would provide additional opportunities for building professional skills and experience, experiential learning and service, intercultural competence, innovation, and overall academic excellence at MIIS. Projects that would have a positive impact on the Peninsula community would also be considered.

Here is a helpful article on microphilanthropy.

Short-term objectives

  1. Design process for RFPs through Innovations Process
  2. Use DPMI consulting group as a strategic resource

Questions/Next Steps

Clarification from Global Giving re:

  • 90-day project launch criteria; how broadly can that be interpreted?
  • Can there be a MIIS project specific gift card option?

How to best select and coordinate projects

  • Identification of existing MIIS projects that may fit the criteria AND tell a compelling story
  • Team Monterey

Internal/systems questions (e.g finance and gift processing)

  • Donors receive soft credit on Banner?
  • Counted in overall MIIS participation statistics?
  • Tax receipt from Global Giving, other acknowledgment from MIIS?

Develop roll-out plan for internal/external audiences

  • MIIS criteria for projects should include program manager's willingness/ability to tap own network for project support

What will happen if a project receives only partial funding through the micro-philanthropy model? How to assess success of first round while simultaneously planning for second round? What are the markers that will indicate success? Donor #s? Vistors to the site?

  • Option for alumni to make case for their specific projects during the second round?
  • Part of criteria could be how MIIS experience relates to that project.
  • For later rounds, could an alum or other interested donor propose a project and provide funding, with our students competing for the funding?