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Why Donors Give

Anybody can eavesdrop on a conversation with the nation’s most prominent donors by watching a series of new video interviews that feature Eli Broad, Melinda Gates, Ted Turner, and about 50 other prominent philanthropists.

The interviews were conducted by the Bridgespan Group to help donors learn from one another. But the videos are also helpful for fundraising and charity executives who want to figure out what makes wealthy people give big.

For example, Eli Broad applies three key questions to the “philanthropic investments” he makes: “Would it happen anyway? If it’s going to happen anyway, we don’t make the investment,” he says in a video clip. “Two, will it make a difference 20 or 30 years from now? And lastly, is talent leadership there that can really make it happen? … If the answer to any one of those is no, we don’t do it.”

The videos are part of Bridgepan’s Give Smart resources for donors.

The video collection debuts today with nearly 400 clips, but it will eventually offer 1,200 and is searchable so viewers can look at all the conversations about, say, education or the arts or giving strategies.

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