The gift that led to the billionaire
A friend and colleague of mine (who is one smart cookie) was researching a newly-identified prospect in his 30s. Although relatively young, Mr. Jones seemed to be on a steep upward trajectory in his career, and he had volunteered for the organization where she works on a number of recent occasions. She wanted frontline fundraisers to get to know him. When she started to write up the profile and filled in the section about his philanthropic gifts to her organization, Cookie noticed a tribute gift that was even higher than their “Hmm, look at that!” category. (That’s a stray gift in whatever amount that makes you do a double take when you see it). The tribute gift was given to her nonprofit on the occasion of Mr. Jones’s wedding by a Mr. Smith. “Now why would Mr. Smith give such a large amount in honor of Mr. Jones’s wedding? That seems overly generous,” she thought. As an experienced researcher, it didn’t take long before Cookie discovered that Mr. Smith was the head of a large, very recognizable family-owned company, and he had given the gift on the occasion of his daughter’s marriage to young Mr. Jones. Possibilities immediately opened up for both family and corporate sponsorship opportunities at the 7-figure level. Wow!