The Most Important (and Earliest) Fundraising Lesson

My earliest fundraising lesson began in 7th grade when my teacher asked the class, “Do you want basketball hoops or not?”  The answer was easy but getting there was hard.

My school did not have a gym. The closest thing it had to one was a basement. What some kids took for granted at other schools, my school learned to do without until we were given an opportunity to change all of that.

The big question was if we wanted basketball hoops, how were we to raise the money to buy them?

Fortunately, because of  our teacher’s encouragement and a parent who was willing to donate a piece of art, we had the means to hold a fundraising raffle. Quick math told us how many tickets needed to be sold in order to have enough to buy the hoops.

And so the process began.  We had to determine how quickly we had to sell these raffle tickets and who will buy them.  It was clear that my immediate clients would be my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Then who else was the obvious question.

Door to door knocking was the next step. Before I set out for ongoing disappointment and rejection, I knew that I had to have a good pitch. I needed one that was not selfish but compelling. It needed to answer why I am at a stranger’s door asking them to buy a raffle ticket for a painting, who I represent, and what the money is for. I learned that not everyone is there to support my project and not take it personally – early lesson for a 13 year old.

This approach is the one that I have used many times in my life and for every campaign I have undertaken .

The end result of the basketball hoops fundraising was a success due to our persistence. Without our active desire to make it happen, it never would have taken place.

You too have the opportunity to influence change and go after your own “basketball hoops.” It is with the same desire and convincing pitch, that our campaigns either win or lose.  Each of our organizations are worthy, important and deserve the funding they request.  It all comes down to our intense commitment to pursue our organizational and personal goals and objectives.

– Bill

Huntington University honours David Tsubouchi


Published author, lawyer and former Cabinet Minister David Tsubouchi will receive an Honourary Doctorate of Sacred Letters at Huntington University on Monday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC) in Toronto.

His exceptional contributions both as a volunteer and leader in the community led to this rare honour.

“David Tsubouchi’s exemplary commitment to community service is truly inspirational. He is a nationally recognized leader whose contributions will continue to have a profound impact on future generations,” said Dr. Kevin McCormick, Huntington University’s President and Vice Chancellor.

Through his political life and volunteer initiatives Mr. Tsubouchi has enriched various sectors of society including: education, culture, arts and international relations. For these and countless other reasons, Huntington University has selected him to receive the degree of Doctorate of Sacred Letters Honoris Causa.

“I am truly honoured to receive this prestigious recognition from Huntington University. For decades, Huntington has promoted academic excellence, fostered student success and at the same time recognized Canadians for their contributions to community service and I feel very privileged to be one of the recipients,” said Tsubouchi.

Mr. Tsubouchi is the Registrar and CEO of the Ontario College of Trades. He holds the distinction of being the first Japanese Canadian to have been elected to any position in Canada. He served for six years as Councillor for the Town of Markham and in 1995 he became the first Japanese Canadian to be elected to a provincial legislature and also to serve as a Cabinet Minister. David Tsubouchi has served as the MPP for Markham for two terms and has held several cabinet posts in the Ontario Legislature including Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, Solicitor General, Chair of Management Board and Minister of Culture.

As a campaign chair, he has raised millions of dollars for non-profit organizations and institutions including Seneca College, George Brown College, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and the Rising Sun Campaign to assist the victims of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. He has received numerous awards and honors including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, The Bruce Bryden Award (York University), The Award of Merit From the Japanese Canadian Community and the Canadian Horse Racing Industry Award of Recognition. Just earlier this year, he received an award from the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAP). He has been a key note speaker in many countries including Dubai, Macau, China, Japan and the United States.

His memoir, Gambatte,was recently published by ECW Press and was nominated for the Speaker’s Book Award.



Media Contacts:


Sherri Haigh

Director of Communications

Ontario College of Trades

Phone: 647-847-3139



Lacey Caputo

Director of Communications and University Advancement

Huntington University

Phone: 705-207-9939






Peter Gilgan – Power Donor® Extraordinare

Why do I call Peter Gilgan a Power Donor®

It’s simple, just imagine a world where everyone donated 1% of their net worth; if you are worth $1 million that would be a $10,000 donation to charity.

Now, imagine donating 8.3% of your net worth in your lifetime to charity using the same net worth calculation – your donation would be $83,000. Well that is just what Peter Gilgan, the founder of Mattamy Homes in Canada did today, adding to his philanthropic record by donating $30 million to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. This donation brings his lifetime giving total to $150 million against his $1.8 billion in holdings.

What can Peter Gilgan’s giving teach us?

It shows that he could never conceive of how much to give if he did not undertake any planning for his finances, his estate and leading to his philanthropy. The same can be said for a recent donor to a local charity who took the time to understand that she lacked personal financial planning. She spoke with us at FUNDING matter inc. to say that she didn’t understand if she had enough money to live the lifestyle she was accustomed to while still providing for her heirs and leaving something to her favourite charities. After walking her through an illustration of a proper estate and financial plan, she quickly understood and saw first hand the looming tax that could be used for charitable giving. In the end she became a Power Donor®,  actually donating more than 1% of her net worth to her favourite charities.

Each professional advisor can leverage their client relationships to help achieve them establish unique and inspiring legacies through philanthropy, much like Peter Gilgan’s recognized legacy of landmark donations to the charitable sector.

William Petruck

Grow A Relationship – Agree About Money

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design

Money is often cited by relationship experts as the number one reason for relationship failure, in particular marriage. Why is money such a strong factor in determining one’s success in marriage, longevity and health?

Maybe it really isn’t money that is the major factor but that the underlying issues which relate to the money that are the problem.


How can couples get on the same page?

It is important for each partner to understand why the other feels the way they do and develop a mutual understanding. Whether it’s generosity or thriftiness, communication is the key to understanding one another’s views and unspoken preferences and bias.


When gifting is made, how are the spouse, children and charity taken into consideration?

Discussing money topics in detail is the beginning of the process. When I meet with lawyers, they tell me that couples often don’t have an idea of how to split up or allocate their life’s assets to family and community. In many cases this is the first time that the couple has given thought to who gets what. It’s not surprising then that 70% of individuals don’t have a current will.

I recently had dinner with an accountant who is acting as trustee for an estate that is being contested by two sisters in their 60s. They are not talking because they can’t agree on how to divide their mother’s antique teacups and fairly apportion her funds to her grandchildren. These sisters are literally throwing 60 years sibling friendship out of the window by failing to communicate.

Plan your estate through effective communication to ensure minimal headaches and heartaches for your loved ones and to minimize legal fees and taxation to benefit family and community.

What Does Wall Street Know About Charitable Giving that Main Street Charities Don’t?

Did you know that major fund companies such as Fidelity and Schwab are now getting into the charity game on behalf of their clients? They are educating their advisors on how to discuss setting up donor advised funds to ensure they continue to manage their clients’ assets for generations to come.

Charities too often take the position that their donors do not care about taxes when they think about giving. I understand this if the charity is simply looking at the $50 or $500 a donor is giving; however,  why would a charity give up the opportunity to build themselves into the estate and financial plans of their donors and members?

A lack of initiative by the charity will lead to declining revenues when many of their $500 annual donors pass away. The fact is that most people do not have charity built into their wills. It is then safe to assume that the charity’s donors will unlikely pass on any assets in their will to the charity or move to a higher giving amount without the proper insights and illustrations by the charity.

Clearly, financial institutions have been able to sharpen their focus on this key group of individuals who will be passing billions if not trillions to the next generation.

Donate to Eliminate


I was encouraged to see the Laura Saunders’ article Tax Smart Philanthropy Made Easy in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). This has been a key element of what we have been speaking to advisors, charities and individuals about in getting their estate, financial houses in order to minimize taxation on their capital gains now and in their estates. Tax planning means that advisors and their clients need to take an inventory of all assets now and over time to ensure that what is left over and taxed can be put to other uses like philanthropy.


The WSJ article talks about the increase in popularity of Donor Advised Funds such as those offered by Fidelity, Schwab and Rowe. The other option is to give directly to charity and see the impact of your giving. The Donor Advised Fund model is a very smart approach if you are undecided about which charities you may want to leave your money to, and the taxman is not one of your chosen beneficiaries.  It is also a wise strategy for future generations who will invariably be approached to give to charity.  Imagine having the luxury of helping society with pre-tax dollars.


An important element in smart tax planning is being able to see or have someone illustrate to you how lowering taxes can be achieved and what is required.  All too often, advisors do not spend the time to engage in these types of discussions for a number of reasons including, lack of knowledge or not having the tools to educate and illustrate these concepts to their clients.  Not-for-profit organizations are equally guilty of not informing and engaging their members with the information in a concrete manner. That is why historically, the number of bequests to charities has remained in the 4% to 6% range for many years.  Guess who is getting the rest after the family? You got it, the taxman.


The solution to this is GIFTABULATOR, an estate, financial and philanthropic planning app with an easy to understand model for planning purposes. GIFTABULATOR easily calculates how much money an individual will be left with, can pass on to their heirs and how much should be donated now or as part of an estate to reduce taxes at any point in the investment cycle. Can you imagine now how much you should give now to reduce your taxes on various assets? Call it Donate to Eliminate.


Laura Saunders’ article in the WSJ hits home about leaving a legacy for yourself, your family and your community.


Connect with GIFTABULATOR at



School of Hard Knocks


I have attended the school of hard knocks when it comes to planned giving.  When I look back  over a 20 year period on my experiences engaging donors about making a bequest, each and every instance has taught me valuable lessons about the psychology of estate planning.

Dr. Russell James, Researcher and Professor at Texas Tech University, has given me valuable insight and successful strategies over the years.  Dr. James points out in his presentations and in his book Inside the Mind of the Bequest Donor that often a charity is 40 years away from actually realizing if their approach to a donor was effective.

In fact, I have learned in the past 20 years in fundraising that discussing major giving and setting up bequests for charities are two of the last things people really think about in their daily lives.

Why did my first Leave a Legacy or Planned Giving sessions feel like busts at the time?  I would organize  sessions in which donors and supporters only showed up for moral support (and to be perfectly clear, none of my family members came out to support me). During these meetings we even provided  coffee and continental breakfast in a comfortable setting.

Only years later did I realize these events really were successful. Of the four people who came to one of my first Planned Giving sessions, three have now passed on and one is still living.  Of the three that have since passed, I can say that all three left bequests in their estates, with two of the three making donations which are in the top five largest gifts to this organization.  During their lifetimes, all three continued to make annual contributions to the organization.  Of interest, at the time none of the three had an updated will.

The key to my success with these Leave a Legacy sessions was to reference the research of Dr. James. When approaching a donor, instead of using the planned giving terminology, I invoked a term Dr. James calls “symbolic immortality” when addressing leaving a legacy in estates or tax planning with donors.  The discussion then moved from an ask for the charity to a discussion about the donor’s heirs and how they can have a lasting impact in the world.

This technique has been replicated countless times in the past eight years with increased success. More individuals are attending these information sessions and taking estate and philanthropic planning discussions and the completion of their wills to the next stage.



Your Most Important Assets Are Outside Your Portfolio


You might have been advised that the most crucial elements of wealth creation and preservation centres on your investment portfolio.  It doesn’t.

As I see each day in our practice at FUNDING matters the huge financial issues in our lives are the success of our marriages, the ability of our children to live productive and fruitful lives and our commitment and engagement to create wellness by healthy eating, exercising and living.

If any of these lifestyle elements aren’t working smoothly or worse, if they are in a destructive mode then there is generally a heap of money going out the door to fix these problems.

If you are glued to your portfolio without paying much attention to your world outside of your financial statements chances are you are setting yourself up for failure, regardless how your investments perform.

Discuss family matters with your children, update your wills, take care of your affairs.  Make a provision for charity to benefit society and in the end benefit by reducing your taxes through your philanthropy.  Leave a legacy for your family and society.