Are You Truly Thankful for Your Donors?
Josephine Conrad loved animals. This came from living with parents who were conservationists even at the turn of the 20th century. Her father was an industry magnet and made a fortune. Josephine was their only child. Josephine grew up an independent woman in a man's world. She shirked tradition, never married and never had kids. She went to an Ivy League college and studied botany and wildlife.
After college, she worked for several conservation organizations and always had a slew of animals living with her. Dogs, cats, rabbits … even chickens roaming her backyard.
After her parents died, she inherited her their fortune, but she was not a lavish person so no one really knew she had enormous wealth. All people knew about her was that she was kind and loved animals and nature.
One day, Josephine received a letter from an animal-rescue shelter. Because it was a local shelter and she herself rescued animals, she mailed in a $25 gift. Within a week, she received a very nice thank-you letter.
This continued to happen over and over again … except that over a period of 10 years her gifts became larger and larger. Then, something happened. She gave her first gift of $1,000 to this shelter, and she never heard from the organization again. Well, she got the standard thank-you letter she always received, but that was it. Nothing.
Several years ago, Josephine died. In her will, because she had no (human) family, she left her $50 million fortune to care for her four cats, two dogs and three rabbits.
Roy Beasley was a retired investment banker. Enormous wealth, yet he wasn't much of a philanthropist. He really hadn't made any gifts larger than $10,000 to any organization. It wasn't important to him.
One day Roy had a heart attack. After they got him into the hospital, the doctors said he needed quadruple bypass surgery immediately or he was going to die. The doctor working on him was one of the best in the nation because he invented a new procedure that wasn't as invasive, yet was extremely effective.
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.