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Yours for the Asking


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xv About the Author xxi Introduction xxiii CHAPTER 1 Fundraising: A Call to Alms, a Call to Action 1 America?s Charitable Potential 6 Activating Philanthropy: The 92nd Street Y 9 Galvanizing Giving: The International Rescue Committee 10 Fundraising on Steroids: Lincoln Center 11 A Call to Alms, A Call to Action 15 CHAPTER 2 Soliciting Individual Prospects 17 America?s Astonishing Affluence 19 Trustee Engagement and Support 23 Volunteer Service: Beyond the Board 29 Engaging Volunteers: A Management Priority 31 A CEO?s Modus Operandi 33 Attitude and Temperament 35 Overcoming Economic Bad News and Psychological Resistance 37 To Ask: Popping the Question 38 Qualities of Excellent Fundraisers 41 Ready, Set, Ask 42 CHAPTER 3 Asking, Face to Face 43 Appointment Secured: Now What? 45 Please and Thank You 46 Donor Recognition: Here to Stay 47 Merit Matters: The Formal Written Request 48 The Lure of the Challenge Grant 49 The Generational Divide 50 Confessions of a CEO 52 The Written Proposal: A Prizewinning Example 54 Obstacles to Overcome 61 Individual Donor Checklist: Some Vital Questions 62 CHAPTER 4 The Institutional Donor: Corporations and Foundations 65 The Corporation and the Small Business 66 The Parlance of Corporate Aid 67 Corporate Support Magnified 69 Small Business, Large Impact 70 The Corporation: Pathway to Affluent Donors 71 Winning Business Support 72 The Lincoln Center Experience 76 Take a Walk, Read Widely 80 The Foundation 81 CHAPTER 5 Technique: Special Events and Direct Mail 85 Special Events 86 Direct Mail Fundraising 94 CHAPTER 6 Tough Questions: Candid Answers 99 Emerging Nonprofits: Newer, Smaller 100 The Philanthropic Postmortem: Critiquing Performance 102 Fundraising In Stormy Weather 104 Fundraising: Who Is in Charge and When 106 Fundraising Myths and Realities 108 A CEO?s Two Friends: The Watch and the List 111 Four Hall of Fame Fundraisers: My Nominees 113 Donations that Can Cost Too Much 118 CHAPTER 7 A Passport to Successful Fundraising: Lessons of a Lifetime 121 1. Diversify Funding Sources 122 2. Diversify Funding Methods 122 3. It?s the Board of Directors, Stupid 122 4. Advice and Money: The Relationship 123 5. Fundraising: Anytime, Anywhere, Any Season 123 6. The Solicitor?s Magic Words 123 7. The Right Way to Ask 123 8. Shoe Leather Trumps Mail 124 9. No Is Not an Answer 124 10. Baseball, Not a College Exam 124 11. Fundraising as Apple Pie 124 12. Fundraising Is a Team Effort 125 13. Practice, Practice 125 14. Philanthropy Is Biography 125 15. Speed and Agility Matter 125 16. The Corporate/Nonprofit Meeting Place 126 17. The School of Hard Knocks 126 18. Early Money: The Best Kind 126 19. Donors Crave Recognition 126 20. Philanthropists Need Help 127 21. Merit Matters 127 22. Reputation: Hard to Acquire, Easy to Squander 127 23. Communicate, Early and Often 128 24. Roles that Fundraisers Play 128 25. Plan and Prepare 128 26. Spread the Gospel 129 27. Fundraising Is All about Tomorrow 130 28. Leaving a Legacy 130 CHAPTER 8 Humor and Fundraising 133 The Relentlessness of Fundraisers 134 The Elusiveness of Prospects 135 Fundraising Is Heavy Lifting 135 The Imperative of Donor Recognition 136 The Lore of Frank Bennack, Jr. 137 Politics Is Inexpensive 138 Major Prospects Enjoy Healthy Egos 138 Self-Deprecating Humor: It Wears Well 138 A Classic: Many Variations on a Theme 139 She Was One of a Kind: Beverly Sills?Part A 139 She Was One of a Kind: Beverly Sills?Part B 140 She Was One Of A Kind: Beverly Sills?Part C 141 An Excusable Lateness 142 Introducing a Gala Honoree 143 The Ask Reduced to Its Essentials 143 Intellectual Flight and an Empty Wall No More 145 The Philanthropic Marine Corps 147 CHAPTER 9 Fundraising: Dimensions of the Future 149 The Board of Directors Transformed 150 Willie Sutton Goes Global 151 Philanthropic Converts Become Proselytizers 155 Underperforming Businesses 155 E-Philanthropy: Unrealized Potential 158 Think Big: It?s a New Millennium 160 CHAPTER 10 Quotations that Matter 163 Epilogue. The Great Recession: A Farewell to Alms? 173 Bibliography 183 Appendix I. Fundraising on Steroids: Lincoln Center 189 Appendix II. Nonprofit Board of Directors Size: A National Sampler and Lincoln Center 195 Appendix III. Governance at Lincoln Center: 2007 197 Appendix IV. Three Direct Mail Home Runs from the International Rescue Committee 199 Notes 209 Index 213

About the Author

Dr. Reynold Levy has been the President of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts since 2002. His leadership at Lincoln Center continues a distinguished career of public service in which he has served as President of the International Rescue Committee; the Senior Officer of AT&T in charge of government relations; President of the AT&T Foundation; Executive Director of the 92nd Street Y; and Staff Director of the Task Force on the New York City Fiscal Crisis. He writes and speaks widely about philanthropy, the performing arts, humanitarian causes and issues, and the leadership and management of nonprofit institutions.


Verdict: A guide for fund-raisers with a distinctive autobiographical bent, Levy's book falls short of being "indispensable," but it will be of interest to public libraries and large undergraduate libraries. Background: Levy, president of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, draws on his substantial fund-raising experience to offer a practical guide to making connections between nonprofit groups and donors. Newcomers are likely to find Levy's suggestions most helpful; experienced fund-raisers will quickly tire of Levy's generalizations ("Donors, generally, rise very early in the morning") and casual advice ("Ask. Ask early. Ask often"). The real value of Levy's work lies in his ability to demystify the process of fund-raising and his personal touch that will appeal to those seeking funding--be they development staff, board, or volunteer--but lacking the experience or facility to do so.--David Hodgins, Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs Lib. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Reynold Levy offers a straightforward, on-target approach to virtually every fundraising concern, including those experienced in tough economic times." (Arts Management, Jan-Feb 2009) "Most fundraisers are uncomfortable asking for money, despite the fact that they are soliciting funds for worthy causes. However, author Reynold Levy makes the case that not only do individuals, corporations and foundations give money to organizations and causes they care about, they do so because they are asked. In addition, despite the current economic crisis, Americans continue to enjoy staggering wealth, and the wealthy can comfortably increase the amount they now give to charity without depriving themselves. All it takes is a disciplined and creative approach to soliciting those funds. This book shows you how." (; 11/08) "Reynold Levy, could not have predicted the economic climate into which his new book would land. But "Yours for the Asking" now seems eerily prescient - particularly which chapters like "Fund-Raising in Stormy Weather" and "Overcoming Economic Bad News and Psychological Resistance". Regarding tough times, Mr. Levy asserts in the book that affluent people donate more from their assets than their income, leaving their contributions less vulnerable to a downturn." Moreover, worthy causes remain worthy, Mr. Levy said in an interview, no matter what the current state of world." (The New York Times; 11/11/08) "Reynold Levy, a veteran fund raiser and former grant maker whose new book is called Yours for the Asking, argues that even in a troubled economy, a lot of people still have the resources to give generously?. His new guide seeks to reverse their discomfort and create an army of solicitors with the gumption to go after the stockpiles of money that Mr. Levy says are readily available." (The Chronicle of Philanthropy, November 27, 2008) "The real value of Levy's work lies in his ability to demystify the process of fund-raising and his personal touch that will appeal to those seeking funding?" (Library Journal XpressReviews, 10/7/08) ??I found Levy's stories, suggestions, tips, and philosophy completely applicable to any nonprofit, large or small, high flying or grassroots. What did I like most about Levy's book? It is hard to pick out just a few favorite parts, but I read with fascination about how a fabulous event was put together; welcomed Levy's thoughts about the worth of soliciting the small businesses that surround one's organization; and appreciated his thoughts about e-philanthropy.? (, 9/19/08)

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