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3 Ways You Can Be a V.I.P.—A Very Influential Philanthropist

Posted January 2023

Social media has given rise to a new phenomenon: the “influencer.” Many people have found a way to attract a sizable group of online followers who look to them for advice on things ranging from food to fashion, real estate to recreation, or taxes to travel—and some have derived substantial financial benefits in the process.

You may never have thought of yourself as an influencer, but you may be surprised at your ability to influence the actions of others in ways you have not considered. We have often seen how the generosity of our donors has inspired others to pursue their own charitable objectives.

True, many of our supporters are not motivated to give by a desire for recognition. Some, in fact, prefer to give anonymously—a sentiment we both understand and honor when a donor expresses such a preference. But we also encourage you to consider the possibility that you may actually multiply support for causes important to you, such as our mission, when others are aware of and motivated by what you have done.

Doing so can transform you into a V.I.P.— a very influential philanthropist—and can happen in several ways, including:

  • Let us tell your story. We love telling the stories behind the gifts of our donors. Often it is the “why” rather than the “how much” that leads others to contemplate their own gifts. While we always respect a donor’s desire for anonymity, we know that a story in a mailing, a print article, or on social media often results in others contacting us to ask about how they can achieve their own charitable objectives. 
  • Use your own networks. Let others know what you have done through your own networks, whether that is communications channels within your family, friends, professional groups, or your own social media. Many of us have a natural reluctance to call attention to ourselves, especially in ways that can be perceived as self-serving. A good way to overcome that is to focus on sharing your motivation for your gift; the good you hope it will do; and, if you have made a gift in honor or memory of someone, how their lives inspired you.
  • Challenge others to give. Your gift gives you a powerful voice to broaden understanding of the compelling need that motivated you to give, which allows you to challenge others. Some choose to structure their commitments as a match—up to a specific number or dollar amount—of gifts received from others, while some simply choose to challenge others to give either for the same purpose or for a purpose of their own choosing. We can work with you to present the kind of challenge you want to make.

If you have questions about positioning your gifts to make you a V.I.P., please feel free to contact our office. We are here to help.

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