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Title: Researching International Prospects: Cultural Considerations

Researching International Prospects Cultural
Globalization in Institutional Advancement
Conference April 2002 Texas Tech University
  • Nancy Nichols
  • Prospect Information Network
  • 1-888-557-1326, ext. 110

Next Steps
  • Youve identified that the prospect is wealthy,
    youve identified interests, connections, etc.
    Now what?
  • The trick is to put theory into practice. What
    works in one culture may be inappropriate in

"It is often difficult for North Americans to
bridge the gap between their values, beliefs
and communication styles, and those of other
cultures, making it necessary to research
thoroughly and s
It is often difficult for North Americans to
bridge the gap between their values, beliefs and
communication styles, and those of other
cultures, making it necessary to research
thoroughly and seek local advice before embarking
on any strategy E.A. Thomas
  • FRENCH CORPORATION You have two cows. You go
    onstrike because you want three cows. You go to
    lunch.Life is good.
  • JAPANESE CORPORATION You have two cows.
    Youredesign them so they are one-tenth the size
    of anordinary cow and produce twenty times the
    milk. Theylearn to travel on unbelievably
    crowded trains. Mostare at the top of their
    class at cow school.
  • GERMAN CORPORATION You have two cows.
    Youreengineer them so they are all blond, drink
    lots ofbeer, give excellent quality milk, and
    run a hundredmiles an hour. Unfortunately they
    also demand 13weeks of vacation per year.
  • ITALIAN CORPORATION You have two cows but you
    don'tknow where they are. While ambling around,
    you see abeautiful woman. You break for lunch.
    Life is good.

  • RUSSIAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You
    countthem and learn you have five cows. You have
    somemore vodka. You count them again and learn
    you have42 cows. You count them again and learn
    you have 12cows. You stop counting cows and open
    another bottleof vodka. You produce your 10th,
    5-year plan in thelast 3 months. The Mafia shows
    up and takes overhowever many cows you really
  • AMERICAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You
    sellone, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO
    on the2nd one. You force the 2 cows to produce
    the milk offour cows. You are surprised when one
    cow dropsdead. You spin an announcement to the
    analystsstating you have downsized and are
    reducingexpenses. Your stock goes up.

  • FLORIDA CORPORATION You have a black cow and a
    brown cow. Everyone votes for the best looking
    one. Some of the people who like the brown one
    best vote for the black one. Some people vote
    for both. Some people vote for  neither. Some
    people can't figure out how to vote at all.
    Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell
    you which is the best lookingone.

What happens when you dont do the research
  • Cracking an international market for fundraising
    is a goal of most growing non-profits. It
    shouldnt be that hard, yet even the big
    multi-national businesses run into trouble
    because of language and culture differences.
  • Some examples

Some examples
  • The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as
    Ke-Kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company
    didnt discover until after thousands of signs
    had been printed that the phrase means bite the
    wax tadpole.
  • In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan
    Come alive with the Pepsi Generation came out
    as Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the
  • When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in
    South America, it was apparently unaware that no
    va means it wont go. It renamed the car for
    Spanish markets Caribe.
  • An American t-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts
    for the Spanish market which promoted the Popes
    visit. Instead of the desired I saw the Pope
    in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed I saw the

How can you avoid the mistakes
  • If these giant corporations made these mistakes
    in approaching new markets, is there something
    you can learn from their mistakes so you dont do
    the same thing?

  • The biggest no-no is not to do proper
    preparation, or to start without a strategy.
  • Many time consuming and expensive mistakes are
    just due to lack of preparation, lack of
    information, and lack of planning. Dont assume
    that the people you contact will be unprepared
    (DeBeers example)
  • You will need to learn a lot of basic facts
    (dont assume). Example accountant versus lawyer

  • Tax laws is it deductible, is it an investment
  • What is the best way to make the donation?
  • What systems need to be put into place to make
    that happen?
  • What is the current culture of business in this

What is Your Strategy?
  • Is it global (e.g., 30 of our students/alumni
    are from Japan or Korea or many Korean firms
    investing in our area, etc.) or specific (e.g.,
    targeting one individual or one company)?
  • Is it a long term strategy (carefully and
    deliberately building and sustaining strategic
    relationships, focused on cultivation and
    stewardship not on immediate results) or short
    term strategy.

Some Observations
  • Focus on building life-long relationships that
    create a feeling of belonging.
  • Identify where you are active and where you are
    not active, on where your alumni are and what
    they are doing. Be flexible (e.g.,ensure that
    your institution is able to accept donations via
    credit cards which will greatly simplify exchange
    rate problems)
  • Build a stable program- with the same people
    being involved over the long term

Some Observations
  • Build a network of local guides and commit
    yourself to them- make them insiders, give them
    the information they need, empower them.
  • Be flexible and engage in active listening, flow
    with the local customs, dont over organize your
    trips, rely on your guides. Allow room for
    flexibility and creative responses on the spot.
    Learning is more important than cultivation.
  • Do your homework on the companies, people and

Long-term strategyAn Example
  • University of Toronto
  • 30 of students of Asian origin.Toronto a key
    destination point for Hong Kong immigrants.Many
    of the Universitys Canadian corporate friends
    are building their Hong Kong profile
  • UT took a long term view towards fundraising . It
    moved carefully and deliberately to build and
    sustain strategic relationships, and focused on
    cultivation and stewardship-not immediate
    results. It began by building a solid alumni
    chapter and an active student recruitment
    program. It took the time to meet and cultivate
    community leaders, and helped introduce Hong Kong
    business leaders to Canadian corporate and
    government leaders. It built and sustained a
    close relationship with the Hong Kong Bank,
    helped establish Toronto ties for Hong Kong
    investors moving to Toronto.

Long-term strategyAn Example
  • What does this say?
  • -Top-level commitment is important- For the
    first five years, Hong Kong had at least one
    annual visit by a university leader. Strong
    commitment by the president and others. Time
    (willingness to invest for the long term).
  • -Investment of 1 million over 5 years returned
    5 million plus after 5 years. In addition, it
    has built long-term relationships with a wide
    circle of financial and opinion leaders in Hong
    Kong. The Hong Kong alumni chapter has 2,000
    active participants. (Resources)

Sources that can provide advice
  • Standard guides on various countries (Price
    Waterhouse guides Doing Business in ., CIA
    World Factbook guidebooks)
  • http//
  • U.S. government profiles of countries and
    territories around the world. Information on
    geography, people, government, transportation,
    economy, communications, military, and
    transnational issues.

Sources that Can Provide Advice
  • Tax law guides
  • http//
  • -International tax advice by country, tax
  • Example An introduction to the Italian tax
    system on accountants web site at Italian
    Taxation System a primer for foreigners.
  • Charitable activities by country at
  • http//

Sources that can provide advice
  • Internet sources Google http//
  • --Click on Directory
  • Regional Business/Economics
  • Translation source (examples)
  • Language source

The Power Behind Google
  • Why Google's patented PigeonRank works so well
  • PigeonRank's success relies primarily on the
    superior trainability of the domestic pigeon
    (Columba livia) and its unique capacity to
    recognize objects regardless of spatial
    orientation. The common gray pigeon can easily
    distinguish among items displaying only the
    minutest differences, an ability that enables it
    to select relevant web sites from among thousands
    of similar pages.
  • By collecting flocks of pigeons in dense
    clusters, Google is able to process search
    queries at speeds superior to traditional search
    engines, which typically rely on birds of prey,
    brooding hens or slow-moving waterfowl to do
    their relevance rankings.

Sources that can provide advice
  • Internet sources (cultural differences, customs)
  • Executive Planet at
  • -business etiquette and culture
  • World Biz at http//
  • -discover the best way to conduct business
    meetings and make business presentations learn
    about business communications style and business
  • Charity Village at http//

Sources that can provide advice
  • International Fundraising for Not-for-Profits a
    Country by Country Profile , Thomas Harris
    (editor). John Wiley Sons November 1999 each
    chapter is written by a national of the country,
    insights about the country,culture, attitudes
    towards money and not-for profits aimed to allow
    the reader to penetrate effectively.

Some guides
  • Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands How to Do Business in
    Sixty Countries A small misstep can threaten or
    even destroy your marketing efforts in a foreign
    country. Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands will allow you
    to avoid many of the errors made by others
    abroad. This book provides you with the best and
    most current data on what foreign business and
    social practices to expect in your efforts at

Dun Bradstreet's Guide to Doing Business Around
the World(revised 2000) Covering 40 countries,
this up-to-date, "how-to" guide from the highly
respected business information source is the
first to combine timely export information and
risk profiles with helpful data on the cultural
aspects of doing business internationally. The
International Traveler's Guide To Doing Business
in the European Union (International Business
Traveler's Series) This informative book
includes notes on the economy, history, legal
environment, customs and business styles of each
country in the European Union. Invest in this
book, and make your first impression in Latin
America a god one.
Sources that can provide advice
  • Alumni (in this country doing business in the
    target countriesalumni residing in the country
    where you will be soliciting and cultivating
  • Local government agencies
  • Local businesses and business associations
  • International foundations
  • Key citizens in the community