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Look for Tightwads, Not Millionaires
in Direct Mail Donor Acquisition

by Alan Sharpe

Most first-generation millionaires are tightwads. They arenít rich because of how much they spend but because of how much they save.

If you need to find millionaires who will donate a large sum of money to your non-profit organization, look for tightwads, not millionaires.

In research that he conduced of American millionaires, Thomas Stanley discovered that the majority of American millionaires donít drive expensive imported cars. In fact, they donít drive imported cars. In fact, they donít even drive expensive cars.

Most self-made millionaires (who earned their wealth themselves during their lifetime) drive a North American car. Ford is the most popular brand. Many millionaires refuse to buy a new car. And the majority never lease.

These people of means insist on shopping around for bargains. They will spend a day scouring the classifieds and driving from private seller to private seller, haggling and trying to drive a bargain, if youíll excuse the phrase.

If that seems like an unlikely sight, a millionaire haggling over the price of a used car, you are partly right. Itís only an unlikely sight because most millionaires donít look like millionaires or act like millionaires. The majority of people who accumulated a net worth of one million or more in their lifetime donít flaunt their wealth.

So if you are hunting in your community for millionaires, donít be hunting for the folks who drive a BMW or Mercedez Benz. Yes, those people may have wealth. But they might just as likely have the status symbol without the status. The people you are looking for are the ones who have the capacity to buy the expensive imported car but prefer to spend their hard- earned money on more important things. Like investments. Like your non-profit.

The secret to reaching hidden millionaires in your city is to know what they look like, know where to find them, and know how to approach them. Thatís why you should attend the Uncovering Local Millionaires webinar. Details here.

© 2006 Alan Sharpe. Reprinted with permission.


About the Author: Alan Sharpe, fundraising letter writer, instructor and author, is president of Raiser Sharpe, the full-service direct mail fundraising agency that helps non-profit organizations raise funds, build relationships and retain loyal donors using cost-effective, compelling, creative fundraising letters. Sign up for free weekly tips like this at
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