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Understand Money

the top 1 percent

Guess what. You’re closer to a millionaire than a millionaire is closer to a billionaire.

Before you take that next course on how to manage your database or learn about CRUTs, CRATs, CALCs and CRAPs, focus on learning three other more important things first:

  1. Storytelling (donors relate to stories)
  2. How to relate to different people (wealthy; poor; success-oriented; female vs male; etc.)
  3. Wealth. Learn about money. Where it comes from. Where it flows. How to make it work.

I am amazed by the lack of knowledge people (including fundraisers) have about money and wealth. At an AFP presentation a couple of days ago I asked my class:

How much does the top 1% earn a year? 

Here are some of the answers I received, out of a group of about 35:

  1. $50 Billion (people do not know what a billion is)
  2. $100 Million (this was my highly-educated attorney’s guess, too)
  3. $5 Billion
  4. $5 Million
  5. Half a Million (that’s $500,000, in case you do not know what that is).

Okay, I admit I’m being a little sarcastic by spelling out the fifth choice. For two good reasons:

  1. It’s the correct answer ($464,000, to be exact; only one person guessed it); and
  2. Most people do not know the difference between a million and a billion.

A million seconds is equal to 11 days; a billion seconds is 33 years. This means us “average folks” are closer to millionaires than millionaires are closer to billionaires.

Chew on that for a bit before your next donor visit.

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