How One Web Search Led to a $20,000 Gift


As International House’s Board Chairman retired last year, the Board announced that it was designating an endowed fund to  benefit programming and resident scholarships named in honor of the outgoing chairman.  In addition to the funds designated by the Board, my office was charged with raising additional monies in support of this named fund from the contingent of our major donors who are particular fans of the chairman.

After reviewing our donor files to confirm all of the recent donors who should be solicited for this special named fund, I did some online sleuthing in the hopes of uncovering a few more people who would want to honor the Chairman by supporting the fund.  After a particularly revealing search on Muckety (a useful site that details personal, corporate and non-profit relationships for some of the more connected people in the U.S.), I found a gentleman who used to work with the Chairman in one of his past careers and after confirming that he had a private foundation, he was added to the list.  Now, let the record reflect that we had not previously contacted this prospect, as he was not in our donor database which dates back to 1986.

Based on the name of this post, I think that you can see where I’m going with this . . . we sent this cold prospect an ask for the named fund and after a phone conversation with our president, he sent in a check for $20,000 from his private foundation!!  Let this be a lesson, dear reader, that a cold ask can easily be warmed up with the right relationships already in place.  It also reminds us of the value of doing thorough research before any major solicitation effort.

Do you have any success stories like this one where solid research and the right relationships made a measurable difference?  Please share in the comments!


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