Number one, I’m going to talk about the worst way, because this is what everybody does. The worst way is to come to people who have money and say, “Hey, you have money, I would like some. Can I have some?” People, do you not think we get hit up every single day by stuff like that? That’s not a good pitch. Even though it’s charity and it’s donations, you have to sell something. People give money because…yes, in a perfect world that we don’t live on, so it’s not actually ever happening. But in a perfect world people do things out of generosity. I give money because with no strings attached, I just want to give money to serve people. Nobody does that, unfortunately. I wish we did, but we’re not. We’re all evil, we don’t.
We all want something in return. So we give money because we want to feel good? That’s a selfish thing, I’m not saying it wrong, but it’s selfish of that person. We give money because we want something in return. We have to understand as humans, we want something in return for our money. If I’m going to give some money, I want something in return. I feel guilty saying that, because you’re a bad person because you say that. A lot of people might think that right. But it’s true, nobody’s going to give money unless you’re giving something else in return.
So what are you giving them in return, oh you’re going to get a sticker that says you donated money to charity. That’s what people offer all the time. You gotta figure out, what do these people actually want? Is it significance, is it a product, is it training, is it service? What is it your donors actually want? They’re not going to admit it, but they want something in return for that.
We can lie about it and act like everyone cares about philanthropic stuff, there’s Batman right here, speaking of philanthropic, but the real reason is understanding that people want something in return. It’s a feeling that they’re getting. Whatever that is. If I’m doing something, I want to create an experience that gives them that feeling. You asking me for money is not going to help. You coming to me and creating an experience helps.
Okay, so a couple of good examples. Number one, the first time I ever gave money to charity outside of church donations and things like that, was to Stu MaClarin, World Teacher Aide. He came to me, and we had such a close connection and we’re business partners, so I did it initially because I like Stu and he had a thing he was passionate about and I was like, “You know what, Stu’s a cool guy. I’m going to help him out.”
So I helped a couple of times. But Stu was so smart about it, he came back to me after we donated money a couple of times. He’s like, “This is so cool. You’re giving money, but if you experience this, and you could feel what’s happening because of the money you’re giving, that will change everything. You have to come to Kenya with me.” I’m like, “I’m not going to Kenya.” He’s like, “you have to come.” I’m like, “Do I have to get shots?” and he’s like, “Yeah, a lot of them.” But he convinced me to come to Kenya. I got shots, went to Kenya and got there and I saw the kids and I played with the kids. And I saw where they slept, I saw what they ate, I saw how they lived, I saw their lifestyle. I had such a connection to that and to the people that now we give a lot of money and we do things within our company.
Every time someone builds a funnel we give a dollar to World Teacher Aide, it’s building schools. I went last year, I’m taking a whole crew again this year. I have a connection now, and that feeling is what drives me. So for you let’s say it’s cancer treatment that you’re doing, you have to give that experience to people. I would create some amazing experience where you found people to be potential donors and I would bring them somewhere, bring them to a really nice, fancy dinner, bring them to this place where they can network to other people. Just something cool to bring them together, and I would have a bunch of kids struggling with cancer be the waitresses or waiters or something where they have this connection.
“Wow, these are the kids that are serving me. How can I help them?” Or something like that. Create an experience because that’s what gets people to donate. It’s not you saying, “It’s going to be a tax write off and you’re helping…” Create the connection first, and then people will give you money. That’s the key.
I gave money to Stu because I thought he was a cool guy, but as soon as he created a connection with the cause, it became my cause too. That’s the key. I hope that helps. Any charity, I can’t even tell you how many times, and it’s not just charity, non-profits are big.
I had the wrestling community, they always ask me to donate money and it’s just like, dude, create an experience. If you had said, “Hey Russell, this is the thing. You wrestled at Boise State, we’re going to bring you at the next tournament, the next home match, have you come down and we’re going to make you an honorary wrestling captain and give you wrestling shirts and singlet’s and stuff. Make a big deal and tell people you were a great wrestler for the community. Would you like to come to that?” I’d be like, “yes!” “All our donors can come, you can donate any amount you want and the higher you donate, the more prestige. We’ll give you a gold medal versus a silver medal.”
I’d be like, “How much did the guy with the silver medal give?” Okay I’ll do twice that, because I want the gold medal. Now it’s an experience that I can take my kids there and show pictures, now it’s something cool for me. I’m always thinking, in any business, non-profits, charities, it’s still a business. You’re still trying to get money from people. So take everything out of the equation and think of the customer, what do they want in exchange for money? And that feeling, especially in charity stuff, is the key that drives it.
So there you go, did I earn my mic drop on that one? Here we go.