Does your nonprofit have a strategy for wooing diverse donors and raising untapped funding? If not, consider these facts:
- While most households in the U.S. receive an average of 300 request for donations yearly, Hispanic households receive only five to six solicitations per year. (This, according to Hispanics in Philanthropy.)
- Even though African-American donors give away a higher percentage of their incomes than Caucasian donors, they don’t see themselves as philanthropists. (Reuters)
- Five to 10 percent of the population are LGBT. (AARP)
- According to the Wall Street Journal, an estimated $30 trillion will transfer to Millennials from aging Baby Boomers.
The Importance of Reaching Diverse Donors
Seeking donor diversity should be a key strategy for your nonprofit. Doing so enables you to:
- Get a leg up on the competition – Think about it. If other charities in your geographic or issue area are not actively reaching out to diverse communities, you will gain a competitive advantage by taking the lead. Just as for-profit marketers scrambled to connect with the “women’s market” 10 years ago, savvy charities that reach out to diverse donors now will reap the rewards.
- Enhance and differentiate your nonprofit – It might sound manipulative, but connecting with diverse audiences could actually enhance your image with current and prospective clients, donors, and employees. This can help you stand out from the other charitable organizations in your space. Many people want to be part of multicultural organizations and coalitions that are intentionally stretching their boundaries. It signals a willingness to be inclusive and open.
- Attract diverse employees – It’s hard to say which comes first – minority donors or minority employees. The fact is that they might attract each other. In other words, recruiting and retaining minority candidates to your organization might be easier if you first make it a strategic priority to diversify your funding base. That said, don’t expect to reach hundreds of new Latino, African-American, or Asian-American donors via one well-appointed minority hire. A real commitment to diversity will require you to make other institutional changes as well, like diversifying your board and changing your communications and outreach activities.
- Improve your programs – In our connected age, donors are not just ATMs. Many also expect to contribute to a nonprofit’s programmatic success. Donors from different communities and with diverse experiences can help you improve your programs. They also can give you marketing leverage to recruit new members, clients, and participants.
- Raise more revenue – Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the fact that attracting diverse donors will help you raise more money! Again, if demographics are destiny, the changing U.S. landscape means that the majority of our population will be people of color in 30 to 40 years.
Reaching Diverse Donors Tips and Tricks
If you’re seeking diversity in your fundraising, and your organization as a whole, here are some actions you can take to get started:
- Ensure your staff and board reflect the community you want to serve.
- Craft and publically post non-discrimination policies, inclusive of sexual orientation and identity for staff and clients.
- Make sure imagery and language in your marketing, media materials, and programs are inclusive.
- Participate in community events that represent the populations you want to attract, such as MLK Day or Gay Pride/Coming Out Day.
- Partner with a membership organization in your area and tap into existing diverse donors to serve as spokespersons.
- Actively recruit diverse volunteers to make new supporters feel welcome, and explicitly state in your campaign that you are seeking certain types of people.
- Utilize networks and relationships.