Tag Archives: Buffett and Gates Philanthropy Challenge

European Reaction to the Buffett/Gates Challenge

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates gestures during a news conference at the 18th World Aids Conference in Vienna July 19, 2010.  REUTERS/Herwig Prammer (AUSTRIA - Tags: BUSINESS)

We all know Europe has a wide publicly-provided social and cultural net delivering much of what U.S. nonprofits offer. For that reason, charitable giving is regarded differently there.

A Der Spiegel interview with German multimillionaire Peter Krämer sums up the European sentiment pretty nicely, in a response to the Buffett/Gates $600 billion challenge.

Here’s an excerpt from the short interview:

Krämer: It is all just a bad transfer of power from the state to billionaires. So it’s not the state that determines what is good for the people, but rather the rich want to decide. That’s a development that I find really bad. What legitimacy do these people have to decide where massive sums of money will flow?

The UK Needs Its Buffett and Gates

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 20:  A general view of the Union Flag flying on Victoria Tower of the House of Parliament on May 20, 2009 in London, England. The Union flag flies on the tower, which is situated about the House of Lords, when parliament is sitting.  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A team of UK bloggers laments the lack of philanthropy the United Kingdom suffers. They call on the British government to learn from the Irish government’s initiatives to broaden philanthropy through education.

My suggestion is that the Brit’s new Minister for Civil Society (I’d enjoy handing out business cards with that title. It’s so genteel.) cultivate a few wealthy donors and urge them to speak publicly about their philanthropy and challenge other people of means to increase their own giving. I believe in trickle down philanthropy (but not trickle down economics).

Our Buffett Gates $600 billion challenge raises for all citizens the visibility of giving. Its impact isn’t limited to the trio’s wealthy friends and counterparts. A similar initiative in the UK could be supplemented by government education, as the bloggers suggest, to add greater impact among the broader citizenry. The Gates Foundation in the US is funding a similar initiative with a $3.7 million grant.

This combination of personal solicitation and broader appeal is a lesson in a basic fundraising strategy.

Our Wealthiest Philanthropists Teach Fundraising

NEW YORK - JUNE 26: Bill And Melinda Gates appear on the Charlie Rose Show in the Bloomberg Building  June 26, 2006 in New York.  (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images For Charlie Rose)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $3.7 million to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) to encourage philanthropy. The RPA will develop free guides about smart giving that will be available for download. Here’s the full story.

We’re in the midst of a recession (I really don’t like “difficult economic times”), with talk about our slight recovery losing steam, and Bill and Melinda Gates are full-steam-ahead encouraging philanthropy: Bravi!

Couple this with their encouraging fellow wealthy families to give away half their wealth during life in a $600 billion challenge, and I see really admirable deeds. I also see reminders for all fundraisers.

They’re soliciting their wealthy friends in a targeted, individual approach, and encouraging giving from the broader constituency, the entire world population, through the RPA activities.

The guides will be on the web in the “Donor Resources” section of the RPA website. I’m assuming they’ll be in many languages. The major gift prospects are getting personal solicitations while those of us who, in comparison, can give through the annual fund, are getting a broader appeal.

Their work is a perfect example of stratifying prospects and devising cultivation and solicitation strategies appropriate to each prospect segment. The largest nonprofits know this and the other 95% can learn.

I’ll talk about this on my radio show on TalkingAlternative.com on Friday, July 23rd at 1PM, Eastern, with guest Kivi Leroux Miller, author of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide.

This is such exciting news! We want to get this dialogue moving forward.

  • What do you think of this philanthropy push from Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett?
  • What do you think are some ways to get the momentum going and keep it going?

Please leave your comments.

Seek Donors Who Can Motivate Others

President Barack Obama with Bill Clinton courtesy of the U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia on Flickr
The Buffett and Gates challenge to their fellow billionaires is similar to what smart nonprofits do all the time: encourage gifts from donors who can motivate others.

Marquee name foundation grants instill confidence in the organization and encourage others to invest in it. Board members can influence others to give.

The testimonial letter should be standard in your fundraising, whether that’s for planned giving or your annual fund. All of these are more powerful than the fundraising or development officer solicitation.

Excepting foundations, it’s the power of a personal referral: “I made a gift, here’s why, and you should, too.”  We all value referrals in our business and personal matters (“Do you know somebody who can . . .?), and they make both parties feel good.

I relish opportunities to refer solid people to my friends. It’s gratifying. And my friends are grateful.

Seek out your donors who can motivate others to follow them, and use their testimonials often.

The $600 Billion Challenge

Warren Buffett & Bill Gates - Bridge @ Borsheims 2007 courtesy of Ethan Bloch on Flickr
This philanthropy challenge to the ultra-wealthy by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates is enormously significant: The $600 Billion Challenge.

It will be remembered as a milestone in the history of philanthropy and fundraising for nonprofit organizations. I got a chill as I read it.

Warren and Bill, I wish you much success.

Your friend,

Tony Martignetti

P.S. What would you like to say to Warren and Bill?

P.P.S. Happy 4th of July!