This letter from a mega-wealthy donor never really made it to my desk. But if it had, I’d show it to every Jewish leader I could.

Dear Rabbi,

I’m looking forward to our meeting today.

Before we sit down together, I thought I’d send over some insights to help you succeed better in your interactions with me.

First of all, a little apology. I know I’m hard to reach, and it can be frustrating when I don’t give you much time. Please be patient and understanding with me. Like you, I’m a busy person trying to get a lot done in too little time.

Second of all, I want you to know that I’m more open than ever to your cause. The last two years, and all the changes they’ve brought to our lives, have made me take a deeper look at who I am and what I stand for. I’m a better person, a more giving person, than I was pre-March 2020.

Thirdly - most importantly - I want you to understand something:

I’m quite impressed with your organization’s work. I believe in your mission. I believe in what you’re doing to further that mission.

But.

That doesn't mean I have much of a personal desire for whatever it is you’re asking me to support. And for real buy-in, tapping into a personal desire is essential.

I’m being honest here - buying the new Range Rover would be far more exciting and satisfying to me than knowing I sponsored a yeshiva Poland trip or dorm. So if you really want my buy-in, if you really want me to dedicate significant money to your cause, you need to make sure that when I donate, I get to satisfy a real, personal desire.

Here’s a few things I really want when I donate:

  • To feel like I’m truly needed - like I’m a hero who saved your organization in a time of need
  • To be connected to something more meaningful in my life
  • To be part of a social “club” of other wealthy people like me
  • To be recognized as a supporter of Torah
  • To get the zechus of giving
  • To protect my wealth

I know some of these desires are self-serving. But that’s how we humans are - all of us. And I want to be as honest as I can, so you get as much helpful advice as you can.

When you fill these desires of mine, you strengthen my commitment to your organization. If you do it every time we interact, you’ll cement my status as a long-term pillar of your organization.

And these are just my own desires. I spoke to several wealthy friends (who all feel the same way as I do, by the way) and gathered the specific needs they have that you can work toward filling.

They told me - and this list is not exhaustive - that they want from their giving…

  • To feel like they’re making a difference
  • To be seen as a leader in our social network
  • To be recognized as an early investor in the next big cause
  • To repay a debt of gratitude
  • To be seen as a gvir
  • To feel generous
  • To be able to recognize a loved one
  • To gain the satisfaction of having given anonymously
  • To be a big player in your choshuv mossad Torah
  • To be viewed as a supporter of your work
  • To impact the community
  • To impact the country
  • (For some) to impact the world
  • To have a close relationship with a visionary leader in Klal Yisrael
  • To get their vision for the world implemented
  • To be the catalyst for others’ giving
  • To feel important
  • To uphold the giving traditions of their parents
  • To leave a lasting legacy

Each of us wants different things. Some have desires that didn’t even make these lists. But we all have them. And you can always tap into them.

Get to know us. Figure out what we need, and how you can give it to us. You’ll go far.

Best wishes,

A major donor

Have a most successful week,

Avraham

 

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