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How this quick visit led to a $75K gift

One a visit to the Old City , in Yerushalayim, my wife and I walked past the first apartment that we lived in as newlyweds. Seeing the building, reminded me of a great fundraising experience.

Several years after we had moved out, my wife and I visited our previous landlord to say hello.

Our visit wasn’t long, but, shortly after it, it led me to an unsolicited referral to what became a $75,000 donation!

A simple social call turned into one of the most important fundraising outcomes of my early career.

I ask myself, "What led this lady to refer me to someone who was then able to provide a $75k gift for my organization? Why did she do it?"

Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, answers the question. He explains that networks are based on interactions and relationships.

Think of your own network.

Generally, you can put your contacts into three categories:

  • Strong ties
  • Weak ties
  • Dormant ties

You likely have strong ties with close partners, colleagues, friends and family members. And weaker ties with those you have merely met or with whom you have crossed paths.

According to Grant, strong ties provide bonds, but weak ties serve as bridges. The weak ties provide more efficient access to new information.

Our strong ties tend to travel in the same social circles and know the same opportunities as we do.

But weak ties are more likely to open up access to a different network, facilitating the discovery of original leads.

There is a third type of tie: Dormant. These are ties with former colleagues, old friends, past chevrusas, anyone with whom you have lost regular contact.

Grant suggests dormant ties offer access to the same novel information that weak ties can bring, but without the discomfort.

He claims reconnecting a dormant relationship is not like starting a relationship from scratch. When people reconnect, they still have feelings of trust.

And that’s where ‘Givers’ have the advantage.

Grant explains reconnecting is a totally different experience for ‘Givers’.

According to Grant, success comes through being a giver, i.e. someone who approaches interactions by asking “what can I do for you?”

Givers have a track record of generously sharing their knowledge. Givers teach us their skills. They help us find jobs without worrying about what’s in it for them. Because of their generosity, dormant ties are glad to reciprocate when we get back in touch with them.

This idea of 'dormant ties' also plays out so successfully in peer to peer online fundraising campaigns.

Take a peek at the £2M Gateshead Mikve CauseMatch campaign I just guided. 448+ volunteers are doing this by connecting with everyone they can. Amongst those are their dormant ties. And in doing so they are achieving an historic level of support for such a small community.

So if you want more leads, more prospects, and larger donations, the task is simple. Start reconnecting with old relationships.

Think back over the last 30+ years. If you were previously a giver in the relationship great. Or start now and look for opportunities to give to those who you have dormant relationships.

And if you were already a giver to those people over the years, then ‘mida kneged mida’ you may be in for a surprise when you reconnect. Just like my experience in the Old City.

B'hatzlacha raba raba,


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