Fundraising, Management & leadership, Project management

Advising Philanthropists: Principles and practice

Earning money is one thing, but giving it away purposefully and with consideration is one of the hardest things in the world.


Philanthropy advising is an emerging and important profession fuelled by demand from donors for support with their charitable giving. Advising Philanthropists explores what the role of the philanthropy advisor entails, the practicalities involved and the wide range of skills and knowledge needed to start and excel at working with donors.

As well as explaining the key concepts, this accessible overview considers the challenges that can be encountered in the role and the ethical dilemmas to be navigated. It is illuminated by interviews with 40 philanthropy advisors from around the globe offering unique and authentic accounts of this unsung profession. This book is a timely addition to the growing body of literature on philanthropy.

What does it cover?

Advising Philanthropists includes:

  • The emergence of philanthropy advising as a profession
  • Key concepts you need to know in this job
  • Qualities and skills required of a philanthropy advisor
  • Practical considerations when working with donors
  • The challenges and broader context of giving philanthropy advice
  • First-hand accounts from 40 advisors that shed light on developing practice

Who is this book for?

Essential for those new to or considering a career in philanthropy advising, including those studying non-profit and philanthropic action, this book will be equally valuable to established philanthropy advisors seeking to deepen their knowledge and improve their practice. It will also be enlightening for those who provide broader wealth advice but don’t yet see themselves as philanthropy advisors. Fundraisers and non-profit leaders will find it beneficial to better understand this developing profession.

Ordering multiple copies

You can buy multiple copies for your team and benefit from our bulk purchase discount scheme by contacting our customer services team on [email protected] or call 020 4526 5995 and they will process your order manually for you.

Advising Philanthropists situates the work of philanthropy advisors within the larger context of the sector to provide both practical advice and food for thought for philanthropy advisors and consultants at all stages of their careers.’

Jessica Bearman, Principal, Bearman Consulting LLC and Chair, National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers 

‘By laying out the key principles, functions and ethical issues involved in advising donors, Emma Beeston and Beth Breeze make enormous strides in establishing philanthropic advisory work as a legitimate profession.’

Melissa A. Berman, PhD, Founding President and CEO, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors


‘This unique in-depth examination of the burgeoning field of philanthropic advising, illustrated by interviews with people doing the actual work, will be of great value to philanthropy advisors as well as philanthropists seeking their advice.’

Paul Brest, Professor Emeritus Stanford Law School and former President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


‘This well-researched book provides an excellent grounding in proven best practices and is particularly strong on current issues as well as the potential future of philanthropy advising. Having read numerous texts in my more than 14 years of teaching philanthropy, I found Advising Philanthropists to be a great guide for those who already offer philanthropic advice or who wish to do so in the future.’

Philip Cubeta, Professor of Practice in Philanthropy, The American College of Financial Services


‘This is a coming-of-age reference guide for the philanthropy sector revealing the professional toolkit of the 21st century philanthropy advisor. It uncovers how philanthropy advisors help donors give money where it is needed most.’

Cath Dovey, Co-founder, Beacon Collaborative


‘This book is a welcome and very timely reflection of modern philanthropic advising. It draws together philanthropic research and practitioner voices to showcase an emerging field. Its strength is in creating a holistic picture of this important profession.’

Dr Michele Fugiel Gartner, Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®), Global Philanthropy Advisory Group with the Society of Estate and Trust Practitioners (STEP)


‘Putting into the spotlight the hitherto opaque world of philanthropy advising, this is the book that the sector – and the profession – has been waiting for. It cuts through jargon, brings forward a multitude of case studies to illustrate theory and is underpinned by best and emerging practice. Advising Philanthropists provides the approaches, knowledge and guidance to contribute towards achieving the social change that the world most needs.’

Marie-Louise Gourlay, Managing Director Europe, The Philanthropy Workshop


‘In my many years of working in philanthropy, one thing is clear: a lot of people want to give but do not know how. Finding information on the how (not forgetting the who and the when!) is the first step in the journey to generosity. This book brings to the stage the often invisible actors in the chain of giving – philanthropy advisors. For those looking to understand the role of advisors and the value they add, this is the book to read.’

Mosun Layode, Executive Director, African Philanthropy Forum 


‘At a time of compound and pressing crises, philanthropy is called upon to make difficult, quick and thought-through decisions of where and how to invest financial and non-financial resources. Philanthropy advisors can help donors navigate this complexity and make the right choices. Ensuring philanthropy advisors are equipped to perform at their best is what this book is all about. An engaging and insightful read for all those who are part of the philanthropic ecosystem.’

Delphine Moralis, CEO, Philea – Philanthropy Europe Association


‘A comprehensive look at the growing field of philanthropy advice, which – when done well – can have a tremendous effect on philanthropic giving.’

Sonal Sachdev Patel, CEO, GMSP Foundation 


‘Finally, a book about and for philanthropy advisors! This book is vital for all philanthropy advisors, coaches and consultants. Whether you are just getting started or a seasoned professional, Advising Philanthropists will help you understand and improve your craft, and dramatically increase your impact with your philanthropic clients. I highly recommend this book!’

Kris Putnam-Walkerly, Global Philanthropy Advisor, Putnam Consulting Group


‘Philanthropic advisors are critical partners to donors. In Advising Philanthropists, Beeston and Breeze brilliantly outline the necessary skills of the role and its important place in the philanthropic landscape. This is a key resource for all advisors who wish to promote more informed and effective giving.’

Nicholas Tedesco, President and CEO, National Center for Family Philanthropy


‘Thought-provoking, practical, expert and beautifully written. An absolute must-read for anyone who works with donors, so they can have great conversations about philanthropy.’

Lyn Tomlinson, Head of Impact and Philanthropy, Cazenove Capital


‘To use the phrase of the moment – I feel seen! The authors have shone a light on the practice of philanthropy advice and its challenges. This book is an essential guide for community foundation professionals and others who seek to harness donor generosity to do good.’

Rob Williamson, CEO, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

Look inside

Have a look inside Advising Philanthropists.

About the authors

Emma Beeston

Emma Beeston is an independent philanthropy advisor to philanthropists, families and foundations. Her advice guides donors from exploring their values through to implementing their giving to achieve their philanthropic goals. Emma specialises in supporting those new to philanthropy and facilitating multigenerational giving. Prior to her current role, Emma worked for grant-making organisations including BBC Children in Need, Lloyds Bank Foundation and Comic Relief. Emma co-created with Beth Breeze the Advising Donors module for the Philanthropic Studies master’s degree programme at the University of Kent. She is also a lecturer on the Philanthropy, Grantmaking and Social Investment master’s degree programme at Bayes Business School and a trainer with the Association of Charitable Foundations. She wants philanthropy to be accessible to all and is co-founder of a giving circle, Bath Women’s Fund.


Dr Beth Breeze

Dr Beth Breeze has an international profile as an academic expert on philanthropy. She worked as a fundraiser and charity manager for a decade before co-founding the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent in 2008, where she now leads a team conducting research and teaching courses on philanthropy and fundraising. She has written several books, including The New Fundraisers and In Defence of Philanthropy, both of which won the Skystone Partners Prize for Research on Fundraising and Philanthropy. She co-edited The Philanthropy Reader and co-authored Richer Lives: Why rich people give, published by the Directory of Social Change. She has also written numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and practitioner-facing reports on philanthropy, fundraising and volunteering, and regularly provides media comment and speaks at charity sector conferences.



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