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You have to ask

Jul 29, 2016
Studies have shown that the number one reason people give to charitable causes is simple — it’s because they are asked.

Kiwanis International Foundation President-Elect Chia Hwang Sing put that philosophy into practice. The result? Sing received not one, but two Lead Gifts from one of the wealthiest men in Malaysia. Lead Gift donors contribute US$100,000 or more to The Eliminate Project: Kiwanis eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus.

Tan Sri Vincent Tan is the chairman of Berjaya Corporation Behad, a corporation with a variety of business holdings in golf courses, resorts and other areas.

Sing recalls the story of how he approached him for the two gifts:

Tan Sri Vincent Tan is a well know philanthropist in Malaysia who supports many charitable works. In 2012, he announced that he would donate half of his wealth to a charitable foundation under his name. I wrote a proposal with the help of The Eliminate Project Lead and Major Gift Committee and asked for an appointment to see him. Instead, I was assigned to one of his senior managers. I briefed them on what we do and how Tan Sri Vincent could save or protect thousands of babies and mothers worldwide.

The manager seemed very impressed, mentioning that The Eliminate Project was in line with Tan Sri Vincent's vision. Not long after, I was thrilled to receive notification from his office that they would donate US$100,000 over three years.

He fulfilled his Lead Gift commitment in 2015, at which time The Eliminate Project had not yet reached its fundraising goal. I had built a good relationship with Tan Sri Vincent's staff, so I requested that he make another pledge of US$100,000. Again he agreed — and has already made his contribution for 2016.

I did not contact Tan Sri Vincent’s office out of the blue for The Eliminate Project gifts. I had requested funding for my district’s Down Syndrome project in previous years, so they knew me and knew what Kiwanians are doing in Malaysia. Building that familiarity with his office was crucial in gaining his support. In fact, I update his team regularly whenever I have any new developments.

In the end, it came down to me asking and his priorities aligning with what we are trying to accomplish. It’s as simple as that.

Sing met with Tan Sri Vincent in person when he, Kiwanis International Foundation President Mark Rabaut and Malaysia District Governor Fatimah Saad presented him with his Lead Gift donor medallion. See the article and photo from Malaysia’s The Star newspaper.