Individual Giving

Individual Giving - Individuals are responsible for a...

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Individuals are responsible for a little over 75% of all the philanthropic giving in the United States in a given year. So, you may ask: "Why didn't we just talk about writing to individuals and skip all that stuff you've given us about detailed proposals and researching foundations and corporations?" That’s a good question. Part of the answer to that question lies in the fact that that the 75% figure is a little deceptive. Much of it is in the form of very small contributions, especially in the collection plates of various religious organizations. The other part of the answer lies in that individuals who are seriously concerned with their philanthropic giving are interested in many of the issues we've already raised. Yes, they want to understand your mission, they want to know what the budget is for your project, and they want to know who is on your board. Their interests are not so very different. They just want the information presented to them a little differently from what you would send to a foundation or corporation. That’s what we are going to talk about in the next chapter. Incidentally, if you are wondering about my math on the sources of philanthropic giving, the rest of philanthropic giving comes from government sources. Chapter 2 The Individual Factor So what makes individuals different? Some obvious things, of course. Very rarely do they make philanthropy their single focus—and if they do, they nearly always have a foundation for tax reasons. If they have a foundation, they are, of course, outside the purview of this lesson. So let’s reflect on the psyche of individuals. They usually have their own strong interests, just as other sources do. They like children, they only support Jewish causes, they never give outside their community, they never give inside their community, they only support battered women, and the like. These things you have to find out. How? You ask people. The person's friends are your best source of information on the size gift you should try to recruit. Find out what kinds of the gifts each individual would be most likely to fund, and go after those. Don't treat everybody the same! Whatever your research indicates is appropriate is the right tack to take with specific donors.
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For instance, suppose I’m looking for support for a youth project. I’d read the papers (the social pages aren’t just fluff, they tell you who went to what event or attended the rally for what cause). I’d look at donor lists to other youth organizations, people active in PTAs, or scouts or similar groups. Then I’d ask around. You’d be amazed what a small group of people will tell you. "Oh, yes they have wealth, but have just bought that mansion and are stretched." Or "she got most of the money in the divorce, so go after her." Or "he and Joe are best friends, so have Joe ask him." That kind of information is very helpful. People who look wealthy don’t necessarily have much to give. People who look wealthy are sometimes that way because they don’t give. People who are
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This note was uploaded on 08/29/2011 for the course PUBLIC ADM 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at UNF.

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Individual Giving - Individuals are responsible for a...

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