10 Individuals That Donate To Nonprofits (With Affinity Data)
Most nonprofits secure donations from only a handful of the individual donors they contact, and the process can be time consuming and frustrating.
The first challenge is identifying donors that have an affinity for your mission. If the donor doesn’t believe in your mission, it’s unlikely that they’ll be receptive to your pitch. Yet finding affinity data is tricky.
Nonprofits often turn to donor lists to find this information, but these lists often aren’t a perfect solution either because:
- Donors on popular lists are also often contacted by hundreds – if not thousands – of nonprofit organizations, making it difficult for you to cut through the noise.
- These lists are curated based on historical giving data, meaning you won’t identify untapped prospects beginning their charitable giving journey.
As a result, nonprofits waste hours and valuable resources contacting unresponsive donors.
Even if you do find a donor who is receptive to your pitch, gauging their giving capacity to make a reasonable ask can be challenging.
If your ask is too large, it could create an embarrassing situation that causes the entire deal to fall through, yet asking for a donation well below the prospect’s capacity leaves money on the table.
The good news is that most of these problems can be solved with access to the right data. You could significantly increase your close rate and reduce time spent securing donations if you had access to a list of under-the-radar donor prospects that have an affinity for your mission and the capacity and desire to give the donation size you need.
We decided to solve this problem by building iWave – a funding intelligence platform that makes it easy to quickly search and identify under-the-radar donor prospects with a strong affinity for your mission and the capacity to give. It also offers resources to automate the outreach and prospecting process while maintaining the personalized touch necessary to cultivate a strong relationship.
You can see how iWave can improve your donor prospecting and outreach process now, or continue reading, and you can reach out to the following popular individual donors
#1: MacKenzie Scott
Mackenzie Scott donated over $146 million in 2023, and she is one of many billionaires who has signed The Giving Pledge, which requests billionaires to commit most of their wealth to charitable causes.
Her organization, Yield Giving, specializes in supporting nonprofits with operating budgets between $1 million and $5 million, and they emphasize supporting an array of community-led and community-focused initiatives.
Some of her most notable donations include $133.5 million to Communities In Schools, $25 million to Chicago Public Schools, and $84.5 million to Girl Scouts of the USA. She also contributed $3.8 billion to 465 smaller charities in a twelve month period.
There are two pathways to achieve donations through her foundation, Yield Giving: Quiet Research and Open Call.
Through Quiet Research, the foundation proactively and privately approaches organizations working in underserved communities, evaluating them based on size, geography, mission, financial stability, track record, outcome evidence, and experienced community-representative leadership.
The Open Call is an active initiative designed for organizations addressing the needs of underserved communities and families across the United States.
You can learn more about the process on Yield Giving’s website.
#2: Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg Philanthropies is Michael Bloomberg’s foundation, and it operates globally with a mission to ensure better, longer lives for more people.
The foundation has contributed to over 700 cities across 150 countries and distributed over $1.7 billion to various projects in 2022. They focus primarily on the Arts, Education, Environment, Government, and Public Health sectors.
Here’s an overview of some of the initiatives they’ve supported across various sectors:
- Government Innovation: The foundation created the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, which is designed to give mayors and senior city officials the support they need to tackle challenges within their communities.
- Public Health: They have championed global efforts to reduce tobacco and youth e-cigarette use and project that the initiative will save 35 million lives by 2030.
- The Arts: They supported 751 small and mid-sized arts organizations worldwide in 2022.
- The Environment: This program advocates for the global transition to clean energy and marine ecosystem protection. They have retired over 370 coal plants in the U.S. and nearly 200 coal plants globally.
- Education: Bloomberg Philanthropies invested in virtual college counseling, supporting career and technical education, and promoting U.S. K-12 education reform, impacting tens of thousands of students. Through the Greenwood Initiative, the foundation is actively working to accelerate Black wealth accumulation, providing debt reduction for medical students at historically Black medical schools and supporting economic development in Black communities.
Grant proposals are by invitation only, and grant news is posted on the website.
Armando Christian Pérez, also known as Pitbull, has made a significant impact through his philanthropic efforts. He typically donates to organizations dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged youth, as well as organizations in the arts sector.
A few noteworthy philanthropic milestones that provide insight into Pitbull’s mission affinity include:
- Induction into the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame in 2015
- Involvement with The World Vision Foundation, which ultimately led to him winning the 2018 World Water Champion Award.
- Supporting the VH1’s ‘Save The Music Foundation’ to support education and the arts in American public schools.
- Founded the Sports Leadership And Management (SLAM) charter school in Miami, which provides underprivileged youth access to college-prep education in sports leadership and management.
- Involvement with Pencils of Promise Foundation, which contributes to building schools and increasing literacy rates in impoverished countries.
While he doesn’t have a website or open application process, aligning your pitch to match these affinities may help you win a donation from Pitbull.
#4: Diane Von Furstenberg
The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation is a private family philanthropic entity founded in 1999 and run by Diane Von Furstenberg.
Its goal is to create a positive global impact by improving lives and fortifying communities. They primarily support 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations and prioritize funding organizations in the community building, education, human rights, arts, health, and environment sectors.
One of the foundation’s most notable programs is the DVF Awards, established in 2010 by Diane von Furstenberg and the Foundation.
The awards honor five exceptional women who have showcased leadership, strength, and courage in their dedication to women’s causes. Each honoree receives a $100,000 grant for their nonprofit organization to continue their impactful work.
#5: Shaquille O’Neal
The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation supports organizations that improve the lives of underserved youth, primarily in Atlanta and Las Vegas.
Some of its programs include Shaq-to-School and Shaq-a-Claus, which distribute school supplies, clothing, toys, and meals to thousands of children from low-income backgrounds.
The organization also partners with programs like Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Communities in Schools.
Shaquille O’Neal prefers to be personally involved with the organizations he supports, and he is an alumnus, national spokesperson, and board member for many of these organizations.
Some of their other projects include the establishment of the Shaquille O’Neal Boys & Girls Club of Henry County and the revitalization of community sports facilities through the Combaq Courts and Comebaq Court initiatives.
Currently, the foundation does not accept unsolicited funding requests, so you’d have to build relationships with key partners in the organization to secure funding.
#6: Warren Buffet
Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has donated over $51 billion since 2006.
His primary beneficiary is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to which he donated over $39 billion in Berkshire stock. He also supports the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which focuses on reproductive health.
Buffett’s children also have their own foundations, including the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation, and he makes regular contributions to them as well.
These organizations focus on various issues ranging from hunger alleviation, conflict mitigation, and public safety to community development in Nebraska, and initiatives supporting girls and women.
While he doesn’t personally have a website or foundation to which you can apply, consider looking into the foundations set up by his children or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
#7: Marc Benioff
Mark and Lynne Benioff primarily focus on tackling issues around homelessness, children’s health, and advocacy for social issues.
They are particularly invested in solving the homelessness challenges in the Bay Area and have donated more than $66 million to the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at UCSF.
They also support left-of-center advocacy groups working on gun control and immigration issues with significant donations to March For Our Lives and the California Endowment.
Another sector Benioff supports includes children’s health, with the couple donating over $389 million to the University of California-San Francisco since 2005. This includes major contributions to the Benioff Children’s Hospitals, the Preterm Birth Initiative, and mental health services for children and adolescents.
#8: Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan has a well-established history of philanthropy and has made significant contributions to organizations interested in children’s welfare, healthcare, disaster relief, and social justice issues.
In 2020 alone, he gifted $50 million to organizations dedicated to pursuing racial equality, and in 2023, he donated another $10 million to the Make A Wish Foundation.
He also funds the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinic, which serves patients with little or no health insurance.
Michael Jordan’s other philanthropic efforts focus on disaster relief initiatives and efforts to address social justice and community issues, such as police shooting and community policing.
If you wish to receive funding from Michael Jordan, consider reviewing the Jordan Community Grants program through Nike. It is open to any U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organization established in 2019 or earlier with an annual operating budget between $100,000 and $3 million.
The mission should align with Economic Justice, Education, Narrative Change, and Social Justice. While organizations may apply once each year, previous grantees are ineligible for subsequent funding.
#9: Bill Gates & Melinda French Gates
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports organizations aiming to improve healthcare, reduce extreme poverty, and expand educational opportunities and access to information technology globally. The organization has donated a total of $71.4 billion in grant payments since its inception.
From 2009 to 2015, the foundation committed billions of dollars in funding, with leading organizations like GAVI, the World Health Organization, and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria receiving significant support.
You can receive funding from The Gates Foundation through either a grant or a strategic investment.
Grants constitute over 90% of the foundation’s charitable giving and are awarded to organizations dedicated to combating poverty, disease, and inequity globally. To apply for a grant, organizations must submit a Request for Proposal (RFP).
Strategic investments are awarded to entrepreneurs, companies, and other organizations. To apply for a strategic investment, showcase how your work aligns with the foundation’s objectives to create positive change.
Once an investment is established, either through a grant or contract, the foundation’s program teams work closely with recipients throughout the lifecycle of the investment.
#10: George and Amal Clooney
George and Amal Clooney are well known philanthropists, perhaps best known for founding The Clooney Foundation for Justice. Established in 2016, the foundation offers free legal services to underprivileged individuals, such as women and girls, LGBTQ+ people, and minorities.
The foundation’s mission is to support victims of war crimes, social injustice, and abuse.
In addition to their foundation, the couple has also donated to various other organizations and charities. They donated over $1 million to aid with COVID-19 relief and regularly donate over six figures to war torn countries.
They don’t offer a foundation that actively donates to other charities, though they are active philanthropists and may be open to a pitch that resonates with their mission affinities.
#11: Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves stands out as one of the most generous figures in the entertainment industry, with a track record of donating millions of dollars to charitable causes.
He has a strong affinity for supporting cancer research, inspired in part by his sister Kim’s battle with leukemia. This led him to donate $31.5 million from his earnings of “The Matrix” to the cause. He also raised funds through a virtual date auction for Camp Rainbow Gold, a children’s cancer charity.
Reeves also manages a foundation dedicated to cancer research called the Keanu Reeves Foundation. He has also made substantial donations to the SickKids Foundation to aid in building a state-of-the-art hospital and advance pediatric care and research.
#12: Dwayne Johnson (The Rock)
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a history of charitable giving across various sectors. In 2006, he founded the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation which supports at-risk and terminally ill children.
As a professional athlete and actor, it’s no surprise that he also donated $1 million to the University of Miami to renovate its football facilities and a gym at the military base in Oahu, Hawaii.
Johnson has also supported various disaster relief initiatives and collaborated with the nonprofit, Malama Kauai, to provide support following Hurricane Harvey.
His most notable contribution to date was his seven-figure donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Emergency Financial Assistance and Disaster Relief Fund during the SAG-AFTRA strike.
This was the single largest donation ever received in the foundation’s history and encouraged other actors to step up and also support the organization.
Next Steps To Find The Right Individual To Donate To Your Nonprofit
These are just a handful of some of the most popular individuals who frequently donate to nonprofit organizations.
The only drawback is that they’re constantly bombarded by outreach messages from nonprofits looking for donations.
So if you want to pinpoint high networth individuals that have an affinity for your mission and don’t receive nearly as many donation requests, consider using iWave. It makes it easy to uncover under-the-radar donors with accurate affinity and giving capacity data.
You can learn more by signing up for a demo today.
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