Wednesday, November 15

Free booklet on fundraising

The only thing I love more than fundraising is free stuff.

In 1964, Lewis B. Cullman and a colleague engineered the very first leveraged buyout (LBO). With only $1,000 in cash, they bought Orkin Exterminating Company for $62.4 million. And a subsequent succession of deals resulted in his purchase of Keith Clark, a desk calendar company, that evolved into At-A-Glance®, the largest manufacturer of calendars and appointment books in the U.S.

Cullman's website says that after he sold the company, he embarked on "the most rewarding, journey of his life — philanthropy." To date, he and his wife Dorothy have given away over $223 million to the arts, sciences and education.

Cullman, 87, is now giving away his newly-published booklet, How To Succeed in Fundraising By Really Trying (Download here). This is not the typical book by a rich donor who thinks just because they give a lot they know anything about fundraising. Cullman is also a fundraiser himself and this booklet shares a number of funny anecdotes. My favorite:

A few years back, Tom Rogerson of State Street Growth told a story about going to see some ancient curmudgeon in Boston. Tom was hoping to convince the guy to give the bulk of his $25-million estate to charity, but he knew it was going to be a tough sell.

Tom had barely started his pitch before the guy lit into him.

“I wouldn’t give a dime to any goddamn charity,” he shouted. “People ought to take care of themselves. Why don’t they make their own money instead of hitting me up for it?”

Tom said, “Do you know that when you die, 55 percent of your estate goes to the government? Have you decided how much you want to go to defense? How much to education?

“I can’t make that kind of allocation!”

“Well,” Tom replied, “I’ll show you how you can.”

I’ve always liked that story because Tom countered the curmudgeon’s nonsense by suggesting charity as a way to make a choice. But what I most admire is the way Tom refused to give up.

Persevere! It works!

I recommend the download... and unlike most of what the DMA offers - its free!

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