It's Not About the Money

on in Fundraising

A recent US Trust report revealed a disconnect between the way wealth management advisers speak to high net worth individuals about their philanthropic portfolio, and the way that those individuals make decisions about giving.

While individuals make their giving decisions based on their interests and what they want their giving to accomplish in the realm of social good, philanthropic advisers often talk about the technical instruments of making a gift – like the tax implications of giving appreciated stock.

The key message of this report?

They give because they need the tax break – NOT.

For those of us on the nonprofit fundraising side, that’s no surprise.

“I can honestly tell you that tax rates have nothing to do with my giving” said one donor in a New York Times story about the report. His focus, he explained, was in “using his money to increase the graduation rate of students who are the first in their family to attend a four-year college.”

b2ap3_thumbnail_robot-with-a-heart.jpgOne take-away? Even in an area of giving that does involve technical financial mechanisms – planned gifts – it’s still about the values. The decision to give is based on what the donor wants to achieve in the world. While the shape of the gift – the instruments through which it’s given, its timing – may be influenced by individual financial considerations, the actual decision to give is not.

Getting us back to the inescapable truth – that we (and especially our board members)who can talk most passionately and persuasively about our mission and impact, are the most important ambassadors for our cause.

And that listening to the donor’s interests, and making sure that a gift to our organization will help fulfill those interests, is still the key. No matter the means.

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