Making Giving Cool

on in Fundraising

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s announcement last week that they’ll be giving away 95% of their Facebook shares has set the internet abuzz.

From commentators making lists of what they should spend that money on, to those who’re positing they’re setting up an LLC instead of a foundation simply as a tax dodge, the Zuckerberg-Chan announcement has certainly drawn attention to the idea that tech moguls – any moguls, in fact – should spend their resources and attention on creating a better world.

How can we clone that sentiment among others – especially those in the New York tech entrepreneurial world? 


Ultimately, all fundraising is peer to peer. But friendraising often is not. And certainly, starting a conversation in the tech community can be instigated from outside, if need be – if we approach it consciously and intelligently.

The Zuckerberg-Chan announcement provides a perfect pretext to spark those conversations. Why not start by asking people in tech entrepreneurship (and there are certainly enough of them in NYC) how Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropy announcement is being received among folks they know?

That’s a question that could even be raised in an elevator conversation – and something board members could be asked to pose in the hundreds of elevator moments they experience every week.

Then, for the 10% who seem intrigued by Zuckerberg-Chan philanthropy plans, the next step is an explanation that investment in a better tomorrow doesn’t only happen through life-changing grand gestures. (In other words, they don’t have to give $45 billion to follow Mark Zuckerberg’s lead.)

But in the next breath, that statement should be followed by the fact that the visibility of the tech entrepreneurship sector gives that sector’s support an out sized impact as a lever for other donations. (That gives the “why me” hook.)

Have this conversation in your board room – you may be surprised at the connections that arise within the elevator moments, water cooler banter, and soccer sidelines conversations your board members engage in daily.

And then with this simple moment, we’re off and running, with the potential to open a door that we in the field have been knocking on for at least a half-dozen years.

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