6 Tips to Engage High Net Worth Individuals In a Changing World 

By: Diane Lebson and Halimah Elmariah 

On September 30th, the government's fiscal year ends. Between now and then, Congress must navigate a minefield of national priorities ranging from healthcare to national security.
Initial iterations of the proposed federal budget have raised questions amongst nonprofits and civic organizations across the country. Proposed cuts to welfare programs and legal aid are sparking concern among nonprofit leaders who fear that decreased government revenue will undermine their ability to impact their communities. These cuts, combined with changes in the federal tax code, will present significant challenges to mission-driven organizations in 2018 and beyond.

However, while legislators continue to debate the financial future of the country, nonprofits can plan for all outcomes by working to secure the support of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs).

Strategically evaluating your outreach to this constituency may help to alleviate some of the uncertainty stemming from a fluctuating federal budget. Here are 6 practical tips to get you started:
1.        Communicate the impact that federal policies are expected to have on your organization. Be open and transparent about the risk that potential budget cuts pose, and clearly articulate how such cuts impact your organization's ability to deliver against its mission. Programmatic funding gaps may spark a more powerful sense of urgency to HNWIs connected to your organization. Indeed, bringing HNWI donors together to sustain an organization in such a critical time may energize the donor base. 
2.        Assess your ability to cultivate, solicit and steward HNWIs now, not later. Regardless of how the federal budget progresses, engaging HNWI individuals should not wait. Building r elationships with HNWIs takes tim e and there is no be tter tim e t o  start than the present. Achiev ing impact will always require funding so waiting until budgetary crises strike is  not a sustainable strategy for HNWI  cultivation. Begin by asking yourself serious questions about your relationship  with you r donors. How often do you communicate with them? Do you regularly invite them to your  office to see your work? How involved is your senior leadership in engaging with HNWIs? Be honest with yourself when answering these questions and take active steps to address any challenges that emerge. Recognize that creating enduring and sustainable re lationships can take months or even years.
3.        Know your audience. Each HNWI has a unique way of coming to and connecting with your organization. They might admire the cutting-edge approach your organization uses to impact a community, or value the breadth of your organization's vision. Make sure you understand the nuances of these relationships. Take the time to conduct research on each individual and get to know them on an individual basis so you can better tailor your proposals to their expectations and interests. Always remember that donors are motivated to give by different factors.
4.        Involve your senior leadership. Make sure that your senior leadership, including your top executives and board members, are personally engaging, and if possible, meeting with your HNWI supporters to show them that their commitment to your organization is taken seriously and appreciated.

5.      Nurture your relationship with  HNWIs aft er a gift has been made.    Send ing a thank you card after a donation has been made by a HNWI is necessary but  not sufficient  t o cultivate a long-te rm relationship. HNWIs want to know how their donations are h elping your organization. Ensure t hat you consistently and clearly articulate how the HNWI's gift has made an impact by show casing your  organization's work or sharing testimonials. Consider inviting H NWIs to attend programs your nonprofit organizes.  

6.        De velop a HNWI social media engagement strategy.  Telling stories online and social media using, for example, blogs, short videos, or Facebook, can amplify the voices of those who benefit from your services and magnify awareness of your nonprofit's work. Think about the social and digital media sources that HNWIs interested in your organization are likely to pay attention to, and target your communications in these media.

These practical approaches will help sustain and build your relationships with HNWIs and safeguard your organization against fluctuations in funding due to political uncertainty.

OAI is excited to announce a new in-house series, Innovation Institute . Managing Partner,  Steve Orr , will sit down with leaders, innovators, and experts, for conversations around what drives change and success. On September 15th, OAI will welcome Mark Tercek , CEO and President of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the largest environmental nonprofit (by assets and revenue) in the Americas. The audience will h ear how Mark's leadership and passion for nature have shaped the organization and how, under Mark's direction, TNC is tackling climate change, conserving lands, water and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable.

In a recent post to Guidestar's blog,  CJ Orr , OAI's Dire ctor of Business Deve lopment,  discussed ways to make your case statement  more dynamic and effective for fundraising. Read more  here .  
OA I is proud to announce our partnership with Capital Caring, the largest and oldest hospice and palliativ care no nprofit organization serving the mid-Atlantic r egion. Serving more than 102,000 patients and families across the mid-Atlantic since 1977, Capital Caring's mission is to improve care for those facing life-limiting illness by providing direct support of patients and their families, public education, and advocacy. Capital Caring welcomes all patients, regardless of their ability to pay or the severity of their illness. OAI is collaborating with Capital Caring in the planning and fundraising for its annual gala. The event, to be held on November 11, 2017, at the MGM National Harbor Resort, will celebrate Capital Caring's 40th anniver sary.

OAI recently partnered with Girls Inc., an organization dedicated to equipping girls from low-income communities with the knowledge and skills needed to take on life's challenges through programming focused on healthy living, academic achievement, and life skills development. Girls Inc. has a network of 82 affiliates in 400 cities, creating a platform for girls across North America to become strong, smart, and bold. The organization developed its current five-year strategic plan (2016-2020), and asked OAI to 1) develop a compelling case for support and 2) create a road map for strengthening its major donor program and raising the additional funds needed to implement the plan.

AFP Bridge Conference

OAI participated in the 12th Annual AFP Bridge Conference August 2-4 at the Gaylord Hotel and Conference Center. The conference connected over 120 exhibitors and more than 2000 nonprofit attendees. OAI team members enjoyed attending the breakout speaker sessions and connecting with interesting people from around the country.

AFP NYC Senior Leadership Conversation

On  October 26, OAI is proud to be co-hosting, with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, New York Chapter, a Leadership Conversation featuring Philanthropists Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros. This invitation-only event will gather a group of leading CEOs and CDOs of nonprofits in the City to listen to the Soroses discuss donor engagement, and the gifts that have been the most meaningful to them. OAI looks forward to our participation in this event, and gaining and sharing insights to help nonprofit fundraisers be more effective.
OAI welcomed Jillian Cimino to the team in August. She is the new Executive Assistant, supporting OAI's execu tive team .   Prior to joining OAI, she was the EA to the CEO of  on cology solutions  servicer Perthera, and personal assistant to a high net worth  tech expert. She gra duated fro m Virginia Tech in 2009 where she earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism. We'r e excited to have her on board.

Responding to the increasingly complex burdens on nonprofit leaders, OAI has developed a transformational approach to fundraising and strategy consulting.  Our teams of experienced professionals seamlessly embed themselves with nonprofits to fundraise, to recruit and improve board leadership, to build consensus and direction through new strategies, and to provide executive, fundraising, and financial leadership.  With offices in Washington, DC and New York City, OAI has partnered in our clients' success for more than 25 years, helping more than 600 nonprofits raise hundreds of millions of dollars for their causes. 


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