To raise funds for institutional campaigns and causes, you will likely focus on engaging with your pool of potential alumni donors. For this, you need a strong two-step approach. Find wealthy prospects with the capacity to give and then reach out to them based on topics that they can relate to.
Using a prospect’s hobby is a great foundation on which to build communications with them.
In addition, certain hobbies are also helpful wealth indicators and a fantastic way to narrow down the prospecting pool for major gift donors.
Top Hobbies of the Wealthy
Larry Ellison is an avid sailor, Michael Bloomberg enjoys skiing and equestrian events, Alice Walton is an art collector and horse breeder, while Bill Gates enjoys golf. 1
While these individuals from the Forbes 500 list are amongst the richest in the world, their hobbies are shared by many in more affluent communities.There are certain hobbies that pertain to the more prosperous.
To get an ideas of these hobbies, take a look at this list of the 20 most common hobbies of the richest people in the world or the 20 hobbies of the rich only they can afford. Some are more extravagant than others, but what is certain is that there are definite patterns amongst the hobbies of the wealthy that can help you search for new leads within your donor database.
Knowing a potential donor’s hobbies – is it enough?
Not according to Michael Cole of Ascent Private Capital Management. With over 30 years of experience in managing accounts of great wealth, Cole has found that gaining a full and complete understanding of a potential donor is vital for successful interaction.
In a recent interview he shared that if you have a super prospect that is interested in antiques collecting, and you know nothing about it, you must learn everything you can about antiques – and only then begin to engage them. 4
In other words – you have to form real relationships before you can begin asking for favors. To form a solid foundation for a relationship, become an expert in their interests, and you’ll have a lot more to relate to them about.
A lot of work and time usually goes into receiving a major donation, so finding the right potential donor should be your first step. If you can get a pool of possible major donors by searching specifically by their interests, you’re already heading in a great direction. With a little time and perseverance, you are bound to make a valuable connection and earn a major donation in the process.
 Top 10 Richest Americans and their Hobbies, Zcubes.com
 The 20 most common hobbies of the richest people in the world, Business Insider
 20 hobbies of the rich only they can afford, Aol.com
 Ascent Cole on Prospecting to the Ultra-Wealthy, Wall Street Journal
 Characteristics of the Ultra-Wealthy, Investopedia.com