Jim Lintoit is the founder and chairman of the Sterling Foundation, which has created over 350 nonprofits using funds from high net worth donors. On a regular basis, he interacts with the 1%, managing their money and finding ways for them to achieve their philanthropic goals. Below he shares wisdom and advice you can use to appeal to higher-end net worth donors, getting them to fund your organization.
We live in the age of the internet, personalization has never been easier. If you want to find donors for your nonprofit organization that has a higher-end net worth, you need to know as much about them as possible including their interests, dislikes, family members, financial situation, and so on, so that you can appeal to them in the most effective way possible.
If you aren’t personalizing your appeals, then you are putting yourself at a complete disadvantage because the truth is, someone else is, and they will steal that donor right out from under you. You aren’t asking for pennies, you are asking for large sums of money, for missions that will change the world, so you need to put in the work. When it comes to donors, “Get to know them, and I mean really know them” because you need to “Be prepared to change the world together.”
Using Wealth Engine’s WE Screen feature you can easily personalize your campaigns through wealth and lifestyle indicators. Our comprehensive platform uses real-time intelligence to update donor profiles and automatically segments donors through wealth scores and ratings.
Using the data on WealthEngine you can determine information about donors like:
This kind of information will make or break your campaign, so you better have it.
Donors genuinely want a chance to make a difference. Of course, things like ego enhancement, tax breaks, and legacies matter to them, but in the end, the people who come to Jim want to donate to help fix problems and be a force of positive good in the world.
They often come to him with a burning issue in mind, sometimes with just the general desire to bring about change, and what they want to know is: how?
You have to be the “how.”
Jim emphasizes there is one question above all others you need to be able to answer when donors come to you: “What won’t happen if you don’t get this money?”
If the answer is nothing special, or not one that will personally appeal to the donor, then you have lost them.
If you want your campaign to be effective and find donors for your nonprofit organization, you have to show donors why they need you to accomplish their goals. Let’s be real, wealthy people are used to getting the best, so you need to prove to them why you are the best.
Either show that you are an expert in what you are proposing, or that you have talent working for you that is highly regarded in their field. They need to feel secure that their investment is going into a project that is going to make the difference it sets out to.
Welcome them in by offering the security of knowing they are working with people who have the skills and capabilities to achieve the donor’s stated goals, and once these are accomplished, keep reinforcing that feeling of security by sharing measurable results from the project. Transparency is instrumental in continuing the cycle of giving, ensuring more donations in the future.
Another great way to continue the cycle of giving is by getting the next generation involved in donating. It’s not just a stereotype, it is actually very common for the very wealthy to involve their children in managing their philanthropic contributions.
After all, it’s excellent management experience if the kids are being groomed to take over their parent’s business. It can also relieve the head of the family of the additional responsibility of managing philanthropic endeavors. Additionally, Jim explains that most second-generation super-wealthy tend to have trouble finding their life’s passion and philanthropic opportunities can deliver that passion to them.
You can easily find donors for your nonprofit and utilize information about next-generation givers using WealthEngine’s WE Search feature. Its extensive database uses information from 60 sources, looking through 300 million profiles and 122 million households, covering past charitable contributions, stocks, assets, and more for high-profile donors and their family members. If a family member has shown an interest in a charitable organization similar to yours, WE Search can find them, their contact information, and an entire profile’s worth of other useful information.
You should be thinking about continuing the cycle of giving into the future, but you should also consider the future of your organization and how you can use the donations you are campaigning for to grow it, making it more appealing to other donors.
The donors you are pitching don’t “care about the oddities of your organization versus another organization, or the fact that you’re a nonprofit versus a for-profit. Your client wants to make a difference.” You have to think outside your own organization and outside of what you have always done before to find donors for your nonprofit. Ask yourself what will appeal to your client and what will make the difference they want to make.
Be flexible, not only with your organization’s path but also with how you accept money. Jim explains, “You may need the money now, you may need the money in the future. There are all sorts of ways to be flexible with how gifts are given.”
You can use charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, pledges, and so on, instead of just accepting gifts in one lump sum. Jim deals with a lot of, “depression-era givers” who genuinely fear becoming poor again, despite the fact they may have hundreds of millions of dollars now. A charitable remainder trust is a great way to put those clients at ease.
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