I can see why people like having money and they like giving it away.
Recently an alum of our program who works at the foundation office at our university came to talk to our majors as part of a career panel. She described a typical work month for herself, wining and dining potential big donors. They also get free tickets to the best seats for sports events or really anything university-related that they want.
In a much smaller way, we’re benefiting from my father donating a sizable sum to the private school that our child attends. (Recall, the school is having major financial difficulties.) This school thing is still taking over a major part of our lives… meetings every 1-2 weeks, stress when the head of school does something incredibly stupid, which is often. (The teachers are still amazing and DC is still flourishing, though ze did get hir first “yellow” dot the other day.)
The thing about being a big donor is that when we have a complaint, they listen. They listen and they take our suggestions seriously and they’re mostly polite about it. (The head still has some issues, but she’s generally followed up with conciliation from board members or others.) It’s kind of weird being a VIP. We’re definitely being treated differently than before our large donation and promise of more next semester. I kind of like it, even through my cynicism.
Yet another reason it must be great to be a 1%er. Sadly we’re not, and this isn’t really our money (and my parents aren’t actually rich… just frugal and very generous when it comes to causes they care about, like education). Donating isn’t nice just because of the warm glow it gives, but the benefits it can confer on large donors. You’re someone special. And it’s nice to be special and important. For us, the combined benefits of donating may beat out the hassle of travel! Maybe some day.
Have you ever experienced the benefits of being a big donor? Any interesting stories about big donors from organizations you’ve worked with?