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New Philanthropy Benchmarking


1. What is the mission of New Philanthropy Benchmarking: Wisdom for the Passionate? ("NPB")

The unabashedly ambitious mission of NPB is to inspire intense competition among passionate capitalists/philanthropists and provide essential wisdoms to initiate radically positive transformative change within the social sector.

2. Why should the social sector embrace the concepts of NPB?

NPB is based upon the assumption that passionate capitalists/philanthropists will instinctively strive for success in the social sector comparable to their achievements in the commercial sector. While motivations may vary, their commercial sector instincts compel superior performance and drive them to eschew being viewed as "dumb money." These characteristics are pervasive and transferable to the social sector.

3. How is NPB different from other social sector approaches?

The power and compelling appeal of NPB is its ability to assist passionate capitalists/philanthropists to multiply the impact of their resource investment - create value - relative to other, similar social sector initiatives and, at the same time, minimize risk exposure. This concept is quantified in a particularly unique NPB analytical tool, the Multiplier/Discount Effect, which is supplemented by cutting-edge financial concepts. NPB's unique strength includes seven CP insights, Seven Wisdom Points and seven educational components.

4. What is "synergistic collaboration of the educational components" and how does it apply to NPB?

Succinctly put, NPB builds upon a mutually beneficial partnership, thus a synergistic collaboration, of commercial sector benchmarking, progressive intersectoral strategies, and contemporary financial market analytical tools. NPB is evaluated within the context of macro issues such as stakeholder considerations and comparative conclusionary financial metrics. On a micro level, insights are offered on process sequence as well as organizational execution suggestions.

5. What is the basis for the seven intersectoral Wisdom Points?

NPB's key messages are summarized in Seven Intersectoral Wisdom Points. These seven points or aphorisms provide an easy to remember distillation of the contents of the Working Book. Also, they are uniquely customized for passionate capitalists/philanthropists and are gleaned from sector best practices complemented by innovative insights and extensive original research. The Wisdom Points range from empowering to operationally practical.

6. What is the source of these wisdom points?

The sources of the Seven Wisdom Points include the author's value creations, analysis and interpretations of select world-class capitalists/philanthropists (Edgar and Charles Bronfman, Bill Gates, Michael Milken, Thomas Monaghan, George Soros, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Steinhardt), assessments of innovative foundations and leading social enterprise investors, and an extensive critical review of leading academic and professional writings. Also, NPB's 21 appendices offer more detailed insights.

7. Does NPB provide examples of success as well as obstacles to success?

The Working Book provides numerous practical success stories in four categories:

  • Best Practice situations illustrating the power and application of NPB,
  • Intersectoral practice examples illustrating NPB assessable value-creation potential,
  • NPB case studies offering scholarly examples of NPB for both single project and multi-project NGOs, and
  • Compelling examples of publicly traded companies with elements of social sector missions from a list of approximately 200 companies.

These examples offer best practices both in general and for specific aspects of philanthropic operations.

There are also 30 examples of misfortunate situations that provide valuable lessons.

8. You have an interesting background. Tell us more about yourself.

I grew up immersed in the importance of education, encouraged to excel, and acutely conscious of my heritage. My grandparents survived the 1915 Armenian Genocide. My parents, my brothers and sisters, and I believe in and practice social stewardship. My trips to Armenia have always been working trips devoted to identifying social needs, especially involving health care, children, and technology advancement.

In 2000, I received an independent Research Fellow stipend to advance my work on NPB from Jed Emerson, then a Bloomberg Senior Research Fellow in Philanthropy at Harvard Business School. I received the prestigious honor of being invited to lecture on NPB principles at the 2001 United Nations Conference on Philanthropy and Volunteerism.

I serve as an instructor of New Philanthropy Benchmarking with United University and provide social sector consulting for Shepherd Technology Centers. I have also recently completed a joint consulting assignment with Community Wealth Ventures and Charles E. Napier Company, Ltd. My passion for philanthropy was the founding catalyst for the Japonica Intersectoral Center at American University of Armenia, utilizing NPB principles to enhance social and commercial sector initiatives.

9. What was the catalyst for writing NPB?

I became aware of the both successful and unsuccessful efforts by others to satisfy the needs of many worthy causes, in the United States and in Armenia. Recognizing that NGOs and other service providers could be doing better in evaluating how to maximize the benefits obtained from resources, measuring their successes, and being accountable for their failures, I worked to devise something more than just an application of best business practices to the social sector. My goal, in part, was to measure successes (or failures) and create a mechanism for multiplying resources committed to social efforts. This approach's intent was, also, to challenge entrenched ideas about old economy philanthropy from the perspective of both the donor and donee. In 2000, Jed Emerson, then a Bloomberg Senior Research Fellow in Philanthropy at Harvard Business School, selected me for an independent Research Fellowship to advance my preliminary work on NPB. With this support and additional research and interviews, NPB developed into the book now published by United University Press.

10. How wide is the distribution of NPB, and where can one find it?

NPB's initial printing is 5,000 copies. A significant number of this first printing will be distributed to libraries, foundations, NGOs, and other social sector constituents, both in the United States and overseas. In addition, NPB is available at select on-line book retailers.