Every charity’s fundraising dream is to have one wealthy donor like Bill Gates fund their entire program. That is why the most common joke in any fundraising office is “who do we know that knows Bill Gates?”
The Gates have given an amazing 36 billion dollars to charity. The Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world, worth more than 40 billion dollars. Hence Bill Gates is giving more to people in need across the globe than entire countries. He is indeed the most philanthropic private entity that exists.
Bill Gates is not alone, however, among wealthy Americans that give large sums to charity. The US has 38,000 ultra-high net worth individuals (people with more than 50 million dollars in assets). The average gives more than 10 percent of their assets to charity over their lifetime (more than 25 million dollars).
So how do you attract a wealthy donor to your particular cause? Here are some tips and strategies!
Friend network to the wealthy donor prospects
The most important consideration ultra-wealthy donors make while considering whether or not to give a donation is who else is giving to the organization, or who serves on its board.
Start with your board members and dearest donors, and engage them in friend networking you up to a ‘Bill Gates’ donor. Even if they are not directly connected, they may be able to refer you do a person that is. Do not try to reach out alone. Take the time to build the necessary relationships!
Also read: Fundraising in 2018 – Top Trends To Consider
Find ways to engage wealthy donor prospects in volunteering
Studies show that high net worth individuals who are engaged and volunteering with a cause give 73 percent more. Ask your potential donor to join your board of directors, help plan an event, or attend a dinner or luncheon as a special guest. If you cannot engage them directly, ask their children, spouses, or employees.
Appeal to their legacy
Ultra-wealthy donors may want to leave a legacy behind, for themselves and for their children. They want to feel that their donations made a substantial and lasting impact. Give your potential donors concrete opportunities to give for very impactful programs or campaigns. Asking the ultra-wealthy for a named endowment, a gift toward building a new center, or another lasting opportunity might be wiser than requesting year after year gifts for operating support.
Show your wealthy prospect the impact of a gift
Prepare ahead of time a list of measurable outcomes that shows all the amazing results from their gift. Also, show them how sustainable the gift will be – how you will use it to make the organization impactful for years going forward.
Ask for the right gift
Interviews of high net worth individuals reveal that the top two reasons that they do not give to a charity that they otherwise like are:
- The charity asked them too frequently for gifts; and
- The charity asked them for an inappropriate amount.
A best practice is making sure you do your research and only ask for an appropriate amount when appropriate to ask. Tips to researching include:
- Look into which types of gifts they like to give – do they give more general support, or do they want their name on a building?
- Estimate their wealth, from value of their corporate holdings, foundation holdings, and real estate values. You should determine how much of their wealth is fluid and how much is already invested.
- Research how much they give to other similar charities. Dig through annual reports, pull up the foundations with which they are associated as a donor, and peruse the internet for news stories.
Also read: 4 Ways How Foreign Aid Helps Your Community
Have the right person ask for the gift
The person with the closest relationship to the wealthy prospect should be the one to ask for the gift. Your friend could follow up with a phone call as well. If your friend is uncomfortable with either sending a proposal or following up on one, you might ask them to add in a personal note endorsing you with your proposal. The objective is to add a peer dimension – you will have a much higher chance of actually attracting a gift if you do!
In reality, with 38,000 super wealthy Americans throughout the country giving actively to charity, your organization has good odds to be able to attract one to support your cause. Just make sure you do your research, prepare your story, and friend network up to the donor. It might take time, but if you can attract a Bill Gates donor, it might be worth it!