Hidden Millionaires

When we think of wealth, images of private jets, mansions, and luxury cars often pop into our heads. But a new report from WealthEngine suggests that most millionaires aren’t signaling their wealth with these stereotypical symbols, presenting a significant opportunity for nonprofits and fundraisers.

According to WealthEngine, approximately 12.7% of the US population is made up of millionaires. That’s 19 million millionaire households and 30 million individuals. While that number might be more than you expect, it’s also important to consider 95% of millionaires have a net worth between $1 and $5 million (and the majority of those are under $2.5 million). There’s a lot of millionaires out there, but still a relatively small number that fall into the ultra-wealthy category that often comes to mind.

And many of these millionaires often don’t display the outward signs we commonly associate with wealth. For example, the most popular car brands among millionaires are Toyota, Ford, and Honda (Mercedes is tops with the $25 million+ crowd), and only about 15% own property valued at over $1 million.

The moral here is that as fundraisers, it’s important we don’t prejudge the wealth of our prospects based on what we see. Just because they weren’t a Fortune 500 CEO or live in a $10 million mansion doesn’t preclude them from making major gifts that have significant impacts on our organizations.

The report also underscores the value a wealth screen can provide. It’s easy to think that maybe someone isn’t capable of making a “major gift” because they arrive to your meeting in a Honda instead of a Mercedes. A quality screening not only uncovers wealth that may otherwise be hidden below the surface, but also removes the subjectivity and biases we all have as humans.

Source: WealthEngine 2019 U.S. Millionaire Report