This week, we’re going to learn Princeton University’s formula for success, which you can use to nurture your alumni to become lifelong donors.
“Princeton is the best fundraising university in the world. How do we know? Because Princeton gets gifts to their annual fund from 63% of their alumni! The average in the USA is 13%.”
Fundraising Guru, Tom Ahern, asked them at Princeton, “What’s your magic? What are you guys doing?” They said, “We start right at the beginning. Every freshman, every incoming class is introduced to an idea that they invented in the 1930’s. They call it the ‘Given University.’
They tell their freshman, look around, 60% of the freshman in this room are here thanks to scholarships given by people who are mostly alums, who were philanthropic. Look around this beautiful campus, these amazing facilities, it’s all philanthropy. The teachers you’re going to encounter, the best of the best, it’s all philanthropy.”
How can we apply the Princeton magic in fundraising for our mosdos Torah?
First, we should look to share this idea with our students at each and every significant milestone. There may be some resistance among some of our readers to do this. Some fear mixing in fundraising too early on in their student relationships. So let’s clarify what we are trying to do here.
Asking for funds can happen whenever you decide. What we are sharing here is the mindset of sharing with your students early on, that all they’re experiencing or receiving is because of philanthropy. And often through people who came before them and wanted to give back.
If you’re welcoming a new class into your yeshiva, or you’re a kiruv organization running an Israel trip, or when learning with young professionals, or on campus doing events with students, or giving a class in your center, you can say at a significant moment something like…
“It’s only through the generosity of the participants who came before you, who were inspired by what we do and cared enough to ‘pay it forward’ that you guys could be here today.” Or,
“It’s only through the generosity of philanthropists who value Jewish education, who were inspired by what we do and cared enough to invest in us, that you guys could be here today.”
The key is to mention that ‘you’ the participants are here ‘because’ of the generosity of others ‘like you’ who value so much what they gained and want others to benefit as they did. And you should repeat it at each milestone in your students’ relationship with you and your organization.
If you want to use this idea when asking for a donation you could say, for example: “Because of the generosity of those who came on this trip in the past/or who saw the value of investing in amazing people such as yourself, have made it possible for you to be a part of this trip. Would you consider paying it forward and sponsoring a student to come on this winter trip who would otherwise not have been able to come?’
When and how will you share this idea with your students or participants?
Contact me below for feedback, questions and successes. I read all your emails.
B’hatzlacha raba raba!
P.S Not sure how to effectively up your efforts and increase what your currently raising? You might want to consider my private coaching program. There are two seats currently available. Be in touch to see if this could be a good fit for you (or someone you know).
Avraham Lewis guides great people, with amazing projects, to change their current reality and up their fundraising game, through effective mindsets, strategies and techniques that will raise you more funds. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org