Imagine finding a donor who gives $10 million to their charities every single day.
MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, got a fantastical amount of money out of her divorce.
She then took $12 billion and quietly spent the next three years spreading it among 1,257 charities.
Take an average, and each charity got $10 million per day.
MacKenzie Scott might not be on your list of prospects. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find your own eight- or seven- or even six-figure donor.
The question is - how?
The answer is - it starts with knowing who among your prospects has those kinds of capabilities.
When I’m working with Jewish leaders, I help them identify potential major donors by going through a list I call W.I.T.S. S’D (Because you’ll need wits and siyata d’Shmaya to succeed here!).
Each letter stand for a different life circumstance that might make your prospect the perfect candidate for your next mega donation:
Let’s go through them one by one:
Here, I’m talking about older donors who might leave major donations in their wills.
Why think about this morbid possibility? Because many people want to give big, but can’t bring themselves to do it in their lifetime. Instead, they do it all via their will.
Nurturing relationships with these kinds of people, therefore, is a smart move.
Not comfortable with that kind of thinking?
For many older donors, you don’t need to wait till the end of their lives.
Lots of them are retired. That means they’ve set up investment portfolios to fund their non-working days.
For the much older ones with the very big investment portfolios, they tend to realize at some point that their assets are bringing in far more money than they could ever use in their lifetime. They might also realize that donating some investments could trigger large tax benefits or other kinds of income enhancement.
So they start giving their investments away.
If you know potential donors like these, speak to an investment advisor. Perhaps you’ve found a willing mega-donor…
This one is straightforward. Have any of your prospects recently inherited millions from the death of a relative?
Do any of them stand to do so in the recent future?
These are relationships to cultivate. Especially because people often want to use part of their inheritance money to honor their loved one.
Any of your donors trustees to someone else’s (or their own) philanthropic foundation?
Not sure? Google the prospect’s name along with the word “foundation” and the letters “EIN.” (Example: Terry Kassel, Foundation, EIN).
That will almost always uncover if a prospect serves as the trustee of a foundation. (Terry Kassel, it turns out, is a trustee of the Paul E. Singer Foundation.)
Any lawyers or accountants on your list of prospects? Try googling their names. Often, people name their lawyers or accountants as trustees.
As in, selling a business. Any donors or prospects who’ve recently made an exit from a successful business?
Any donors or prospects - often, younger people in high tech - who are looking to make an exit in the next few years?
Any older donors or prospects approaching an age where it’s likely they’ll sell their mega-successful business?
Avraham, I don’t keep tabs on my donors’ business moves!
Got a donor with a major stock holding? Track that stock too.
Got any donors earning a $5 million + salary?
Often, people bringing in that type of money work as:
Investment bankers or hedge fund managers
Guess what? If they’re earning $5M, they get to keep $2.5M after taxes. Maaser from that is $250,000.
There’s your six figure donor right there.
Got any donors who are high-level brokers? Who make their money off commissions or profits from orchestrating deals?
Many of them are putting away six-, seven- and eight-figure commissions.
If you know when they close deals, you know when you’ve got a great window to make a big ask.
Homework for this week:
- Take a look through your current donor/prospect base
- Use the W.I.T.S. S’D list to identify new major prospects
- Think about what action steps you can take this week to bring those mega donations closer.
Much brocha and hatzlacha,