Culture of Philanthropy Evaluation (COPE) ®

COPE ®: What is it?
COPE ® is Demont Associates’ assessment tool used to evaluate a nonprofit organization’s current “culture of philanthropy.” COPE ® is an acronym for Culture oPhilanthropy Evaluation ®.

Why would a nonprofit organization take the assessment?
COPE ® will help any nonprofit to: 1) establish a baseline reference point from which to achieve measurable standards of development or advancement performance over time; 2) identify specific areas for philanthropic improvement; 3) identify and celebrate/reward successful development achievements of the organization's staff/Board; 4) inform Board and staff on priorities and fund-raising best practices to achieve extraordinary philanthropic success; and 5) comprehensively assess its preparedness for a major gifts initiative, campaign, or intensive effort to dramatically increase philanthropic support.

How was COPE ® developed?
Through extensive comprehensive experience over four decades from Demont consultants’ service to a full mix of youth, environmental, educational, cultural, faith, health, and social service nonprofits in the northeastern United States. In 2010, Demont Associates developed its COPE ® tool and began offering it to nonprofits preparing for a major fund-raising campaign or otherwise committed to building a culture of philanthropy over time.

How is COPE ® conducted?
Demont Associates facilitates a confidential survey to be completed by the organization’s key constituents: those with current or recent (within the last three years) engagement with the organization; major donors, staff members, volunteers, advisors, or partners with meaningful (not casual) interaction with management or advancement/philanthropy functions; and those knowledgeable enough to answer more than half of the 22 COPE ® questions. The survey takes 12–15 minutes to complete. Demont tabulates the responses and provides a written analysis and executive summary, including scores for the organization.

Do you recommend a minimum number of survey participants for COPE ®?
Generally, 30 invitees (yielding at least 20 valid responses) is a good number to ensure an accurate assessment of the organization’s culture. More can be asked to participate in larger institutions.

Why would we depend upon our staff, Board, and closest supporters to evaluate our organization’s culture of philanthropy? Wouldn’t an expert know how to truly evaluate us?
An expert might complete a great professional report. However, experience has shown that having the leaders of the organization own the process, discover the answers, and learn from engagement leads not only to equally valid and relevant conclusions, but also to the impetus for action to meaningfully improve the organization’s culture of philanthropy. A consultant working with the organization’s leaders can create an effective partnership, providing perspective, best practices, and objectivity.

How much does COPE ® cost?
The fee, which includes a written executive summary containing scores, summary of data, conclusions, and priority recommendations, ranges from $3,000–$5,000 for a typical survey offered to 30 potential respondents. A live, personalized presentation to organization leaders generally adds $1,000–$2,000 to the comprehensive fee.

Are there grants available to fund this service?
Yes, Demont Associates and other sponsoring organizations provide case-by-case pro bono services and support for smaller organizations who cannot otherwise afford this service.

How do we get started?
Contact Joseph Cannon at or call the Demont Associates headquarters at 207-773-3030 and ask for Joseph Cannon (ext. 1).