top of page
  • Writer's pictureKitsap Community Foundation

Self-made: Charitable motivations of do-it-yourself millionaires

DIY shoe art and planter

A recent study sheds light on how high net-worth people who’ve made their own money tend to approach philanthropy. As it turns out, self-made millionaires are more likely to give to charity than those who inherited their wealth–a whopping 93% reported doing so. People with legacy wealth are still likely to be philanthropic, but only 74% reported that they give to charity.


So what does this mean for your fundraising and stewardship practices, especially as you strive to build your endowment fund at Kitsap Community Foundation? As you’re building donor engagement strategies and expanding your roster of supporters, don’t just focus on “old money.” Consider three strategies to jumpstart your endowment-building efforts by engaging self-made donors:


Track local companies. In every community across America, local entrepreneurs have started enterprises from scratch. In addition, more and more of your donors are investing in private markets instead of simply limiting their strategies to stocks listed on the exchanges. (Indeed, the number of publicly-traded companies has declined significantly since the mid-1990s.) The result of these two trends is that a large portion of many donors’ wealth is represented by closely-held stock in businesses they’ve started or in which they are investors. Make sure local companies and the people involved in them are on your prospect list. 


Talk the talk with entrepreneurs. Pay careful attention to the messages you use to engage entrepreneurs and people who own their own companies. These donors are likely to appreciate the investment characteristics of endowment gifts because they understand that an endowment’s long-term value is human-centered and not simply a financial strategy. Stay close to local companies and their owners as potential major donors, especially for long-term endowment giving. 


Understand gifts of closely-held stock. The team at Kitsap Community Foundation can help you tap into the increased popularity and tax benefits of donors giving closely-held business interests to support favorite charitable causes such as your organization. We can help you navigate a thoughtful stewardship process to encourage a closely-held business owner to consider a gift of ownership interests to your endowment fund at Kitsap Community Foundation, whether during the owner's lifetime in anticipation of a future (but yet-to-be-determined) exit, or upon death in the form of a bequest. 


We look forward to discussing the ways self-made millionaires can help your organization thrive for generations to come. Please reach out anytime to strategize with our team. We are here for you!


bottom of page