Following the example of tennis sensation Rafael Nadal, a leading nonprofit fundraiser is refusing to change his garb while he’s on a fundraising roll.

Fred Krupp, CEO of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and a prodigious fundraiser, recently secured a gift of $15 billion over three years from obscure Cedar Rapids Iowa philanthropist Mordicah Crump, inventor of the high-pitched dog whistle and numerous other everyday devices that kind of fly under the radar of most Americans.

"I then had to fly directly to Bozeman, Montana, where the next day I landed another 10-figure gift from an anonymous donor. I had no time to chance my clothes. These are the biggest gifts I’ve ever received, and I started to ask: "What’s the reason … the winning formula? After all, it was the same old pitch."

Krupp said he realized it was his "lucky clothes" when he read a Wall Street Journal piece about tennis superstar Nadal. "I had noticed that Mordicah paid unusual attention to my clothes, and when I saw the Nadal article, the lightbulb flashed."

Nadal recently decided not to change his tennis garb for the US Open, postponing a switch to new attire designed by his sponsor Nike. He’s superstitious enough to not take a chance that a change in garb will threaten his current number one status.

"I’m a big sports fan, and I thought, if it’s working for Rafael, it can work for me," said Krupp, pictured below.

However, the meticulous EDF development staff is insisting upon a careful test of Krupp’s hypothesis. For each of his next major gift solicitations, Krupp will change just one article of clothing, starting with his tie and working down to his undershorts. "I’m a little skeptical, plus Fred is getting a bit rank," said EDF Development VP Paula Hayes. "If we can narrow this down a bit, we’d all be relieved. With any luck, we’ll discover that the secret of Fred’s success is something less problemmatic, like his belt."

In the interest of sharing key fundraising insights with the entire community, Ms. Hayes has promised to keep The Agitator apprised of EDF’s test results. There could be a huge breakthrough here for all major gift fundraisers. Stay tuned.

And Fred, for this out-of-the-boxer-shorts thinking, you deserve a raise!


P.S. If you have major gift fundraising success strategies or stories you’d like to share, please forward them to The Agitator. Stop hoarding your secrets! We’re all in this together.

P.P.S. Check the abs … you can tell Fred’s an avid rower.



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