Roberta d’Eustachio & evolution of Giving Magazine
Aleron: Can you tell a little bit about your background and past experiences and how they influence the work that you do today?
Roberta: Awhile back, I inherited a classical music festival when a dear friend was tragically killed in a motor accident, shortly after the first season ended. Someone needed to carry the festival on, fundraise and lead, though I had not the faintest idea of what that meant, not to mention how to do it.
That experience changed my life personally and professionally. I had to stand – not just in my own shoes advancing an artistic vision – but in those of the audience, each and every one of them, out of which, were the potential supporters and major donors to keep the festival alive. What did they need? Want?
My obsession with donor’s issues was born then and there, which led to the founding of The American Benefactor magazine, the USA’s first publication for philanthropists, and now the global Giving Magazine + Facebook Instant Articles.
Aleron: What led to the creation of Giving Magazine + Facebook Instant Articles and what is its mission.
Roberta: Last year our digital launch edition of Giving Magazine, reached millions of philanthropists, in 44 countries, but we knew we could do more. We knew we had to do more, as our swelling readership worldwide was migrating to mobile for their news and, well, everything else. An immediate pivot was required or we’d be so yesterday, as they say. And we couldn’t have that.
Desire met opportunity and Giving Magazine teamed up with Facebook Instant Articles, making our social ambition not only possible but also transforming.
With this new partnership we could reach a vast, multi-generational, mobile audience with philanthropy stories of every kind and across every category, algorithmically able to reach those individuals that might be predisposed to its bespoke content.
Our new tagline became: Giving Magazine – for everyone, everywhere.
Aleron: Can you tell us about your team at Giving Magazine and how did you go about choosing it?
Roberta: I have been creating content from the philanthropist’s point of view for over twenty years and had good relationships with journalists and idea drivers from all over the world. The ideas were endless and getting them turned into stories was, well, easy. But delivering that content was now, in our time, technically driven and in constant change.
We were lucky to attract a Philadelphian, named Brian Lipscomb, who became our Chief Technologist and was able to take on any challenge without blinking an eye. A true genius.
Aleron: How did the work you did as Chief-of-Staff for Dame Stephanie Shirley, when she was named The British Government’s Founding Ambassador of Philanthropy 2009-2010, relate to the work you do as Editor-in-Chief of Giving Magazine + Facebook Instant Articles?
Roberta: Dame Stephanie and I at the time of her appointment had been working together, on and off, for more than a decade, some times her projects, some times mine. She called one morning and said that she had an request from then Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s office: would she be interested in taking on this ‘volunteer’ philanthropy position. There was no budget, so she would have to fund it, which she was willing to do. Then she asked me: might I join her, be her strategist, her ‘chief of staff. My answer was: I’m booking a Virgin flight now. (I was living in the USA at the time.)