The #PHILANTHROPIST 5: Personal or Family Connection
Personal or Family Connection to the organization or cause is our #5 GIVE. You could be reading this and say, “Wait, is this about giving to a friend or family member who works in this organization we support?” This certainly is an option, but not the one I mean. The more obvious one is that an organization or a cause has “touched”, made a difference in the life of a Philanthropist and motivates the philanthropic activity. AND that the Philanthropist is connected personally to an employee in the organization.
I recently shared an article about a $20 million grant received by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, mostly because of the donor’s connection to the CEO/president and in honor of her work. This significant contribution by Philanthropist and technology/investor guru David Bohnett demonstrates the point: Philanthropists develop ideas, identity and philanthropic direction often using relationships they develop with individual/s inside the organization they are about to support. Not only is this good, it personalizes the work and cause.
Another beautiful option is that you have a family member who comes home and cannot stop talking about an organization (as in my case), and through that family member you become more and more familiar, engaged, and literally “fall in love” with that organization and cause. Do you now see this fourth one in more favorable ways? I certainly hope you do… It’s all in the family!
If we expand our understanding of what Personal or Family Connection means, we will identify that this is the approach which works exceptionally well for universities when they conduct alumni campaigns throughout the year.
Without overly analyzing their fundraising strategy… When universities call us every year, their telemarketers, often students themselves, make sure our information is updated for their records. Being part of the community, and being remembered, will often make us feel connected to the body of the University (alma mater) and provide us that personal connection. They would like to connect to as many as possible for whom the University made a difference in their lives; now it’s time for them, expressing #4 of the GIVES (Touch) to contribute to the University, so that they can change the lives of more students as the University did for them.
The key here is understanding the meaning of connection and working to maximize it. Philanthropy is a creative powerhouse, and deeper understanding of Philanthropists opens the door to a level of innovation beyond our dreams to make the world better.