If you have fallen on hard times in 2015 and you’re looking for a way out in 2016, like many Americans have due to illness, divorce, or job loss; you might consider learning about how to ask rich people for money. Bankruptcy can be a stressful and embarrassing endeavor, not to mention that it comes with a cash cost to an attorney to manage the process for you. There are many millionaires who help people in need and it is important to understand the process for reaching out.
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How to Ask Rich People For Money with Confidence and Preserve Your Integrity
There’s no shame in asking a philanthropist for money. The rich give to causes they believe in. One of the first steps in minimizing your own anxiety is understanding the statistics regarding bankruptcy and people getting behind on their bills is really alarming. Medical expenses account for more than 60% (Harvard University Study) of bankruptcies. For the year ending September 30, 2015, there were more than 500,000 chapter 7 bankruptcies, (US Courts).
It is not Illegal to Ask Rich People for Money
There are no laws that prevent you from asking anyone for help. Although many believe that the wealthiest in our society are protected by a set of rules and regulations that are not required by the rest of us; this is simply not true. Many of the wealthiest millionaires are also philanthropists, who regularly give to worthy causes and who commit significant portions of their fortunes to better society and help those who have fallen through the cracks.
Beware of Scams that Claim to Help You Ask Millionaires for Money
The purpose of this article is to reduce any feelings of shame that one might feel about asking rich people for money, but in no way do we claim that this is an easy or automatic. Contrary to what others might claim, we want you to understand that it is unlikely that a single individual will publicly send you money, and therefore we encourage you to be informed and to prioritize any efforts that you have about asking any individual for help.
Get a Healthy Perspective about Income Inequality in America and the Role of Charitable Philanthropists
There is a great deal of misinformation about income inequality and how wealth has been divided in the U.S. (Video about Income Inequality). The bottom 20% to 40% of Americans have an insignificant amount of the country’s wealth and the 1% of the most-wealthy people have the greatest portion of the wealth in America. Among the poorest people are not people on welfare. They are teachers, construction workers, and gainfully employed people who are struggling to preserve their quality of life.
There are Many Millionaires who Help People in Need
Understanding that financial hardships affect the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy can help you get a healthy perspective about the reality of personal debt and the number of people in similar situations as you. Secondly, there is a great disparity between the haves and have not’s. The wealthiest people in America have earned their fortunes on the generosity of their forefathers, the hard work of other, or their own brilliance. What’s counter-intuitive to most, if you are in the bottom 40% of Americans, is that the wealthiest are often the most generous as well. The many millionaires who help people in need understand the benefit of giving someone an opportunity and they are often benefactors of humanitarian organizations and individual support. It’s part of the American process to ask Rich People for Money. However, you need to be thoughtful about your request and understand that many of the wealthiest Americans are being approached by other people and organizations. Therefore, you need to be thoughtful and specific about who you are approaching, your situation, and what you are asking for.
Consider these Points when you participate in any process to Ask a Wealthy Benefactor for Money
First, make sure that you craft a thoughtful and original letter outlining your individual hardship, how you got there and the impact that your hardship has made on your family. No matter how difficult and complicated your situation is, please try to limit your letter to no more than 2 pages.
Start compiling a list of potential donors and then organize them in the top 5 based on their donation preferences and history of contributions that fit your unique situation. If you have access to the internet or a public library, consider creating a google sheet with the following columns: (1) Name of potential donor, (2), Name of Foundation (3) Physical Mailing Address (4) Website for Foundation (5) Top categories for helping others (6) Personal contributions (have they provided personal contributions to any individuals) (7) Score them on a scale of Low, Medium or High, or 1,2,3. This will help you sort through all of your potential donors and prioritize the ones that are right for you before you ask rich people for money. Remember that there are many millionaires who help people in need and consider that you may have to reach out to these potential donors on a monthly basis for 3 months.
Include a brief description of yourself and your family and your situation. Include what your life was like before the hardship occurred and how that has made an impact on your family. Include a picture of your family. By including a picture, you become a real person with real problems, instead of anyone who might be asking for money.
Your request might not be for money. You could request that a benefactor pay for your back property taxes to avoid foreclosure or you might include a copy of your medical expenses. Think about your situation in more context than just a monetary value. If you suffer from a medical condition, a millionaire who helps people in need might provide you the resources to address your medical situation, such as access to physicians at the cancer center which they contribute to. They may own a property in your area in which you could live in for free or low cost. Think carefully about what you need.
So, you’ve provided a compelling and specific story of how you got here and asked for a specific way or ways that a potential donor could change your situation. Now describe what your situation looks like if you can make it out to the other side. This is key to a successful process of learning how to ask rich people for money.
There are far more people asking for money than there are millionaires who help people in need. In most metropolitan cities, there are many organizations that act as middle-men in the process of evaluating people who have needs and resources that can help. The United Way is a great place to start.
Next Up, the Top Millionaires Who Help People in Need
This original content was created on 11/25/2015 by James K. Ybarra. James is a Personal Finance Contributor. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, additional training in family financial strategies, and has been an adviser and mentor on business accounting and personal savings topics for more than 20 years.