Institute for Charitable Giving

blue rule

Give Testimony

blue rule

You recognize the name Michael Bloomberg. Former Mayor of New York.

He’s also among the top philanthropists in the nation.

“When I’m asked for a major gift, my first question to the solicitor is, ‘What did you and the organization’s Board members give personally?’

“If you and the Board don’t support the cause, it probably doesn’t deserve my help. The Board has to care enough to give.

“Not everyone can give large amounts. But a gift significant to the Trustee’s and the requester’s personal circumstances is a prerequisite to getting me interested.

“Why should I give if Board members don’t?”

He’s on the Board of Johns Hopkins, his favorite charity. That’s where his largest gifts go.

Then I asked him if he solicits.  He does solicit for the University. Let me tell you what he told me.

“Conversely, when I ask others for money, I always start by describing my own support. Those I’m asking have a right to know that I’m giving and to what level.”

In my Seminars, I call this, Giving Testimony. I feel this is perhaps the most consequential element in the solicitation.

The solicitor says something such as, “In a bit, I’m going to ask you to join our cause. But before I ask, let me tell you what Felicity and I are giving.  It’s one of the largest gifts we’ve ever made. Let me tell you why we’re doing this.”

It’s immensely effective.


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