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Study Shows Diversity Challenges in American Philanthropy

A recent article on the Fundraising Success magazine website, Survey Says … Diversity in Giving: The Changing Landscape of American Philanthropy, covers a report from nonprofit software company Blackbaud entitled Diversity in Giving: The Changing Landscape of American Philanthropy.

The Diversity in Giving study “provides invaluable insight about how nonprofit organizations can customize their fundraising approaches to attract diverse donor communities,” Emmett D. Carson, CEO and president of Silicon Valley Community Foundation states in the report’s foreword.

The questions the study set out to answer include:

  • Do our current fundraising efforts reach the full spectrum of Americans who might support them? Are we speaking the language—literally and figuratively—of tomorrow’s donors?
  • Do the fundraising channels we depend upon exclude some ethnic and racial groups?
  • Do we have the cultural competency to reach all Americans who might support nonprofits?

The results of the report conclude that “overall, white donors are over-represented in the donor universe.” Blackbaud arrives at the following take-a-ways:

  • There is a need for changes in marketing– “We have built a one-size-fits-all direct response fundraising machine. We mail to the households that looked most like the households who responded in the past. We build complex look-alike models allowing us to better fish the same fishing holes for the same donors…Just as nonprofits had to imagine new ways to reach Millennials, you will need to create new campaigns—perhaps even new channels—to reach these new donors.”
  • Race does not effect donation amounts but religion does “The color of a person’s skin is not a significant predictor of giving amount. Nor is age, education, or how long they have lived in this country.” The report establishes that a person’s connection to faith or house of worship; however, does drive how much a donor gives.
  • Current and future demographics of donors should be analyzed– “Consider appending ethnicity and race so you understand your donors both today and five years from now.”

Check out the full Diversity in Giving study here.

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