If I told you that I only date girls with a thin waist, c-cup or larger breast size and look good in yoga pants, I would be labeled a disgusting pig faster than a slap to the face (and I may earn both). In fundraising, your strategy in finding and keeping partners in your cause can never be to “find rich people.” If you do, you are not going to succeed. This strategy doesn’t work for two reasons:
1. Anybody with self worth won’t identify themselves as “a rich person”. That would be superficial. Healthy people see the many aspects of their personality, knowledge and expertise that contribute to society and other things that are greater than themselves. If the reason why you are reaching out to them is for their wallet size, you will quickly learn that you have no values or vision in common and your overtures will come across inauthentic. Perusing a list of FORTUNE 500 executives to find donors for your cause is the equivalent of opening MAXIM magazine looking for your next date.
2. There are a lot of people in the world, and you need to be able to target specific audiences to share your mission and inspire them to action. If your primary characteristic for your demographic is “wealth”, it will be impossible to determine what compelling messages will hook them into your cause. Having clarity of who the right people are for your cause, will help give you focus and a target market to communicate with and engage with your mission.
The biggest mistake people make when fundraising is assuming that “money” is the most important characteristic when it comes to identifying your soulmates. Well, it is a logical conclusion in the sense that your job is to find donors to support your cause. However, the successful fundraiser will focus on the more substantive traits, like passion for your cause or unique skills they bring to the table. The answer to this question is not “everyone” or “anyone with money”. It is naive to think that everyone will identify with you or your cause, and just because they have money does not mean they will respond favorably to your engagement efforts.
You are not hunting for rich people. You are looking for people to advance your cause. That is an important distinction. You need to look for the type of people that will take ownership and provide support themselves, and inspire others to join as well. If you are just seeking wealthy individuals, you will strike out more often than not because these people are not being asked for anything other than their checkbook. When you seek out those people receptive to your mission and can help you share your vision, then you will find the money will follow. If not from them specifically, then from their connections and relationships. When you identify the right people, you will quickly see how easy it is to find your soulmates and donors to your cause.