Two days ago it was announced that California Lutheran University received a $4.7 million donation from John Manken. Manken never attended the university however 24 years ago, he happened to meet the CLU’s Vice President of development at a festival.
The meeting happened soon after Manken’s mother had passed away and Manken who had to manage the estate expressed his interest in endowing a scholarship. Over the next two decades CLU’s director of scholarships and foundation relations continued to cultivate the relationship with Manken.
Manken himself passed away in 2012 and CLU has recently begun to receive the funds which from 2015 will amount to about $240 000 per year for student scholarships.
The gift is a generous one and it was based almost entirely on the strength of a relationship. It is a prime example of the importance of cultivating relationships when it comes to fundraising. Relationships have become an invaluable asset for nonprofits and, as technological advances and visualization techniques develop, there are more and more opportunities for nonprofits to begin to truly capitalize on those relationships.