Are the 1% an untapped Charity Well?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is in the news every single week. Warren Buffet is a well-known philanthropist. Michael Bloomberg, Elon Musk and other billionaires have very publicly lent their massive wallets to various causes. One of the most public examples of tapping into the so-called top 1% is the Giving Pledge, a group promise made by some of the wealthiest people in the world to give away at least fifty percent of their net worth during their lifetimes.

Ronn Torossian reports that, now, several of these highly-driven and mega-rich individuals have come together to seriously discuss how they can make a real difference. The potential for these folks to make a difference in way that even governments cannot has many top international causes paying close attention to these proceedings.

Sustainable donations – read, actual budgets – are vital to the viability of any large organization. Nonprofits, even the largest and oldest, tend to struggle with this, expending much of their resources simply continuing to exist. As a consequence, they carry high administrative and marketing costs, which can be a turn-off for smaller donors. In contrast, successful entrepreneurs understand budgets and administrative costs in a way that average Joes cannot. Because of this, these folks are an attractive source of sustainable donations and the resulting budgetary blessings.

But they may not be the best. Sure, capturing the attention of a single person who can eliminate most, if not all, of your baseline funding issues might seem like a Golden Ticket or the Holy Grail. But is it … really?

Ask any sport fisherman, capturing that elusive gamefish might be fun and challenging, but filling your boat with edible and easier to catch fish is infinitely more sustaining long-term. Sure, it’s not a perfect metaphor, but consider the resources it would take to land just one Big Wallet versus the strength in numbers of gathering fully connect true believers.

There’s no doubt that landing that proverbial big fish can be a game changer. But in these days of easy mobile donations and crowdfunding, your resources may be better spent focusing on netting a lot of “little fish.”