Note: Under leadership, we have listed the individuals we worked most closely within each organization, which sometimes is the president or director and other times may be the development staff.
Leadership: Garland Wright, Artistic Director; Ed Martenson, Managing Director
Even in a simple thank-you meeting, one must listen. So imagine at the end of campaign, a meeting a six-figure donor and extraordinary community leader to thank him for all the for the leads he suggested during the Guthrie Theatre Campaign for Artistic Excellence. During the meeting, Henry mentioned that the first time they met was when the donor’s company was housed in the former resident of Charles S. Pillsbury House in Minneapolis.
It was one of many moments when a donor reveals confidential information that provides an opportunity for him and the nonprofit. Sitting in his new downtown office tower, the donor said, “I still have the Pillsbury Mansion.”
Henry inquired further, “Did you say I or we still have the mansion?”
The property, which turned out to be in the possession of that individual, was gifted under the tax provisions for a bargain sale.
Leadership: Sam Salas, Headmaster
During the initial solicitation of the School’s largest donor, he pledged $1 million to the campaign, contingent on his class matching the gift. Upon completing PDW analysis of Breck alumna and parents, we could confirm to the donor that few members of his class had incomes in excess of $50,000 a year.
“Just so we are clear, your class of 100 men, although successful, really don’t have assets that they could employ to meet your challenge.”
The donor responded, “I know, that’s why it’s a real challenge.”
We went to work on this generous contingent pledge and further meetings provided Henry Young with the opportunity to discuss with the donor the unprecedented environment for growth in assets both on a nominal and real (returns adjusted for inflation) basis. The donor expressed some concern that the investment returns experienced during the previous decade (in the 1980s) might lead the school toward a false sense of security with regard to their ability to maintain their payout policy. This donor, a former trustee, was bound to a degree by the “prudent man” standards which judge investment decisions according to the norms established by knowledgeable and prudent men in similar positions.
On future visits, we were able to discuss risk tolerance in more depth. While this sounds simple, determining how much risk a donor is willing to tolerate is very difficult. One reason for this is that risk tolerance is a very intangible and personal concept. A follow-up meeting addressed time horizon—after all, an organization’s ability to tolerate risk is tied to its time horizon: the longer the time horizon, the more risk the organization can tolerate.
Within twelve months, we not only met his challenge but secured future pledges from his class to a total of $5,000,000. Ask Henry how he did it.