What’s in it for Me? Selfishness in Philanthropy

 Posted by on January 29, 2015 at 9:50 am  No Responses »  Tagged with: ,  Categories:
Jan 292015
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“There was a wealthy philanthropist who added an extension to a synagogue. It was elegant, functional, beautiful. The philanthropist only had one request before he transferred title to the synagogue. He wanted his name inscribed over the entrance as an everlasting memory. As you might expect, some congregants objected, and the dispute eventually came to a leading rabbi. When do you think this happened? What do you think the rabbi said?”

Recruiting donors is hard work. How might we be more effective at attracting funders, especially from the younger generations?  Here’s a counterintuitive idea from Yossi Prager – Executive Director, North America of The AVI CHAI Foundation’s ELI talk: “Encourage people to give – by inspiring them to be selfish!”

How could this possibly work? Philanthropy is by its very nature an act of altruism. Or is it?

Prager’s talk argues that soliciting gifts by appealing to donor self-interest is not only potentially more effective – it is also grounded deeply in both Jewish precedent and wisdom. Want to succeed in donor engagement? Encourage donors to realize their full potential by participating in your work.

Curious to hear more? Watch the talk here to learn how to benefit from prospective donors’ personal drives – and hear some colorful anecdotes from the Jewish and business worlds along the way.

Yossi Prager is the Executive Director – North America of The AVI CHAI Foundation.