A Donor’s Call-to-Arms

Posted Friday May 17, 2019 by College Giving



Probably one of the most mysterious aspects of fundraising lies in developing a clear understanding of what actually inspires a donor to give. It’s a big grey area between rational decision and emotional response and the challenge is to position your particular appeal somewhere in this vast range of possibility and then hope for the best.

These days there is a whole area of fundraising science dedicated to analysing donor trends and researching what motivates people to respond to charity’s call.

Every so often a donor will share a personal insight,  a brief and honest glimpse into what is important to them and what may be the tipping point in motivating them to contribute to your cause. When this happens it’s important to share these stories with those around you, in the hope it may resonate with someone else on a similar level.

With his permission we would like to share one College Old Boy’s “call to arms” on why giving back through the College Foundation is important to him.

Thank you for this honesty, sir – and allowing us to share it with our College community….

Dear Andrew,

I wanted to thank you for the quarterly update on Shaun* that I received from you via email. I printed this latest update out and shared it with my wife and daughters and their families and we were so deeply moved by what the Foundation has made possible for this young boy.

It is clear that Maritzburg College remains a school of great character and impact and continues to do important work in molding fine young men. Long may this noble tradition continue!

Even though I am separated from College by thousands of miles I feel connected to my old school through this young man, his successes and his struggles; many of which resonate with me on a very personal level.

As I mentioned to you in my correspondence at the end of last year, I remain committed to continuing my involvement with the Foundation and will renew my annual gift for as long as I am financially able to.

The work that you are doing at the Foundation is inspiring, so too the generosity of many other Old Boys whose names I have found listed as donors on your website. A feeling of nostalgia and a deep sense of pride overwhelm me when I recognize the names of many of my contemporaries listed alongside my own.

The true reason for my involvement is as a result of the deep appreciation I have for what Maritzburg College invested in me during my time there.

Like Shaun*, I too was raised by a single parent. My father passed away the year that I started at College and with the financial pressure we faced during that time my mother was left no choice but to withdraw my enrollment at College.

An eleventh-hour reprieve by then headmaster, Mr Raymond “Bones” Fuller afforded me the opportunity to continue and complete my schooling, courtesy of a school bursary.

My relative success on the sporting fields (I was honored to represent the College 1stsides in both rugby and cricket in my final year) and in the classroom, was recognized by “Bones” and I was invited to apply for a university bursary.

It was years later that I became aware that my financial “good fortune” was the work of a generous benefactor; a College Old Boy who not only stepped in to keep my College hopes and dreams alive but who also made it possible for me to pursue my under- and postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town.

Although I have been living and working here in the United States for most of my adult life, College has never been far from my thoughts at all.

Much of the success I have achieved financially and in my professional life (however humble in comparison with other Old Boys), the blessings bestowed on me through a loving family, loyal colleagues and friends I can attribute to the values and lessons that were inculcated in me during my time at Maritzburg College; all this made possible through an Old Boy’s generosity.

I look forward to receiving your continued updates on Shaun* and I hope that in years to come he may look back on his time at College with much fondness and appreciation; and that this might one day inspire him to impact the life of another College boy in a similar way.

Fondest regards and keep up the noble work!

* Letter published as received. The name of the Foundation recipient has been changed at the request of the donor.