The Importance of Maintaining Relationships with Donors

Current donors epitomize the best prospects for future gifts while new supporters represent an untapped resource for your organization. Using the basics of stewardship and donor relations, your existing donors and new supporters can become the lifeblood of your charity.

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Long Island billionaire’s donation helps Yeshiva University appoint former Senator to Professorship!

Last week it was announced that Yeshiva University received a major gift from mining company billionaire Ira Rennert and his wife. 

The size of the donation has not been disclosed however it is notable due to the fact that University officials have attested that the gift from the Rennerts is what made it possible for them to appoint former US Senator Joseph Lieberman as a Professor of Public Policy and Public Service.

The appointment is a coup for the school and it is expected that Senator Lieberman will be giving a series of public lectures on Judaism and public service to the Middle East in addition to teaching an undergraduate course in the academic year 2014-2015.

The relationships behind the donation:

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The above image taken from Prospect Visual shows the relationships between Ira Rennert and notable constituents at Yeshiva University and provides an indication as to why he was inclined to donate to his alma mater.



NewsVisual: Ohio State University raises $404 million this year!

This week it emerged that donations to Ohio State University have reached record levels this year. The University has received $404 million – up 8% from last year.

How did they do it?

The Columbus Dispatch reported that University officials believed that their enhanced relations with alumni was behind their fundraising success. The school says that they had made an active effort to build on their ties with alumni clubs across the country – and as a result, 74 000 alumni donated to OSU this year.

Relationships Matter!

This shows that OSU has recognized the importance of managing their relationships with their constituents. They have used their alumni club to reach out to former students and have thus been able to prioritize relationships with them – resulting in a greater propensity for these individuals to be generous towards their alma mater.

Wayne State University receives $8.5 million boost from Entertainment Entrepreneurs

Last week Wayne State University announced that their Medical school had received a generous $8.5 million donation from Michael and Marian Ilitch – the couple behind fast food franchise Little Caesars Pizza & the owners of  NHL team, Detroit Red Wings.

“We think of this [donation] as an investment in the future of health care that will support a great educational institution and benefit the people of Detroit, the state of Michigan and beyond.”

– Michael Ilitch, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist

Why WSU?

Regular readers might guess what’s coming next. Take a look at this  image from Prospect Visual. It shows a map of the couple’s connections to WSU and reveals that they have several strong connections to prominent Wayne State University constituents. Illitch WSU

Prominent individuals such as Michael and Marian Ilitch are ideal prospects due to their capacity and their inclination to give back to their community. However this means that they are almost always being approached by fundraisers who wish to engage them. Studies have shown that relationships such as those highlighted in the map above, can often be the deciding factor when it comes to decided where and who to give to.

Funny Man Bill Cosby Donates More Than Laughs

Comedian, Philanthropist, and Temple University Alumnus Bill Cosby has recently volunteered to hold a benefit concert to help raise money for the Temple Men’s Gymnastics team in order to keep the sport from going from a varsity level sport, to a club sport status.

Where Does the Cos Come In?

Facing a $200,000+ deficit in expenses to operate the program, coach Fred Turoff was at a lost as to how he could find a way to keep the program running. However, using his networking abilities and key relationships, Turoff was able to make his way to a key Temple alum, Bill Cosby. Cosby has agreed to host a benefit concert along with other notable Temple alums in the hopes of saving the men’s gymnastics program.

Why Did He Choose to Help?

Although Bill Cosby may have never been a gymnast at Temple, his love for his alma matter remains strong. We see that Cosby is still very well connected to many members of Temple’s Board through this relationship map provided by Prospect Visual below.



Find the original story here!


Trustees – A Vital Nonprofit Treasure

Trustees are at the heart of all organizations and the more engaged your trustees are in your fundraising, the better.

Institute of Fundraising

The role of the Trustee within a nonprofit organization is a varied one. Sometimes they form a crucial part of the leadership structure, providing advice and steering the organization forward… and sometimes their role is less involved.

However, studies have shown that prospective donors are significantly more likely to donate when approached by a peer as opposed to a fundraiser. This makes an organization’s network of relationships a vital asset. And, when it comes to Trustees, it means that influential members with substantial social capital can provide a considerable advantage when trying to engage new donors.

Getting Help from a Trustee

In spite of the fact that Trustees represent significant potential for success for a nonprofit,  they still tend to be underused when it comes to fundraising – their treasure trove of connections remaining an untapped resource for most development teams. Often this is because it is simply too difficult to identify which of a Trustee’s relationships can make a difference

There are methods of overcoming such obstacles, however.

Advanced Relationship Mapping services have been developed that can provide the ability to analyze networks and identify a Trustee’s relationships to potential prospects. They can even help an organization to evaluate and select influential trustees in the first place.

And – as competition in the nonprofit arena becomes more and more fierce – it is simply no longer an option to ignore the benefit that a Trustee and his relationships can bring.

$17 Million Ensures That Curtain Doesn’t Close On Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The Zell Family Foundation has recently made a donation of $17 Million to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra which marks one of the largest single gift amounts ever donated to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Zell Foundation’s $17 million gift is helping the association establish in perpetuity its first named music director in CSO history.

What’s the Reason Behind This Large Donation?

For starters, Sam and Helen Zell have been financial supporters of the CSO for more than a decade, underwriting concerts and programs. Furthermore, as Sam Zell (who is now 72 and estimated to be worth $4.5 Billion by Forbes) and his wife Helen start to age, they have begun to hit the prime time for their donations to start hitting new levels.

Another reason that we can assume was a key factor in the Zell family’s decision to make the large contribution was the fact that, as we can see via the relationship map below provided by Prospect Visual, Helen Zell is extremely well connected to many members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors and Trustees.

Zell foundation and CSO