I’ll admit, I think about fundraising all the time. It’s not easy being me, but no one seems to feel sorry for me. All kinds of thoughts are swirling around my head today and I can’t seem to find the “glue” to meld them into one comprehensive message. So today I’ll share three unrelated thoughts.Impact of High Income Deduction ChangeWhen it comes to research, where does common sense enter in?Another well established research body has assessed that gifting will be reduced by $3 billion to $6 billion per year as a result of the President’s plan to reduce the charitable deduction. You can read it for yourself. Really? We have already lost about $30 billion dollars because of this threat to gifting.Remember, two thirds of all gifts come from high net worth individuals with $200k annual income and $1 million in assets. You think these people who itemize haven’t been watching this debate and consistency of the President’s proposals? Giving is already going down in terms of long term pledges as a result of this pounding on the deduction.I am not in support of the President’s plan, but my clients are planning for the fall.You are right, I am self-centeredThis weekend a very good friend of mine attended an event in which they announced the completion of a $10 million project. Among the gifts was a $750k gift from a foundation that, from our experience, would have given $1.5 million to this project. Unless this institution is doing strange things that I am not aware of, the Foundation would have given them $750k more. We were not approached to be counsel, and I don’t know if anyone was.If they did this campaign alone, I am sure some trustee said, “Yea, we did this and didn’t have to hire an outside consultant. We saved $76,000.”And they lost $624,000.We aren’t perfect, but we know what we’re doing. I’m sure fundraising consultants like us aren’t alone, thinking about lost opportunity. I am sure doctors, lawyers, and financial planners look at stories like this in their venues and say the same thing. It is sad.Stop Reading the Gloom and DoomI will tell you what the press is going to say and you can save yourself hours of reading.”The economy is bad.”“It’s going to get worse.”“Fundraising is down.”Then they are going to tell you all kinds of gimmicks to improve your online work, or your endowments, or give priority to this or that.Hey, I’ll tell you the truth. Like all good businesses that succeed when others slip away, it comes down to Persistence and Tenacity.Got that?You better. Those who tell the fundraising success stories of this next year will.
Will You Be There When John Shamberg Calls?
A big part of fundraising is showing up and being available. I learned this lesson on a very memorable New Year’s Eve, a very long time ago.
As an eager young fundraiser working for Washburn University, I didn’t know that it was unusual still to be at work in the evening of December 31st. But, there I was.
Earlier that year, a graduate of Washburn University School of Law told me he was going to give a gift of land to his synagogue, a private K-12 school and Washburn. John Shamberg, who has since passed away, made millions of dollars for institutions all over the world, and he wanted to give a significant gift to organizations he valued. His 40 acres of land on the outskirts of Kansas City were valued at $450,000, and his intention was to give $150,000 each to three organizations.
He’d left the task to the last day of the year, but now he was ready to make it happen.
He called the synagogue. No answer.
He called the K-12 school. No answer.
Then, he called Washburn and got me.
“Bob,” he said, “you just won the jackpot!”
Go here to read the full article