Why Open Your Door? Diversity in Fund Development

Our diversity theme continues on May 23 with emphasis in ‘Opening your Door to Diversity’ on under-represented groups of long standing in our community. (The case of recent immigrant communities was addressed in our May 2 webinar on ‘Reaching Diverse Communities’ – if you missed it there is a recording available)

Does your organization represent your community?

How can you tell if you are not sufficiently representative?

A simple calculation is to look at the percentage of a given cultural, racial, or religious group in your area and the numbers from that community being served. Are those numbers a close match with those on your board or volunteering? Is the percentage of your donors consistent with  all of the above?

If the answer is no, then there may be work to be done.

I asked a senior administrator of a southern state college about the percentage of African Americans living in the area and if that number was also reflected in the student body of his college. He reported about the same percentage of African Americans living in the catchment area also attended the college. However, their donor pool reflected at best 1/10th of that number. He was unaware that African Americans give a higher proportion of their income to charity than any other ethnic group, AND they are keenly interested in supporting education.

See African American Giving for a full recorded presentation on this topic.

I personally like and use the following definition of diversity/inclusion:

‘The practice of diversity allows us as professionals to reach out beyond our comfort zone and engage those in our communities we may not be reaching due to cultural differences, language barriers etc.The charities we work for benefit hugely from a stronger base of support and the opportunity to realize their mission beyond our first level of connections.’

The reality is that it is always easier to stay with the familiar and avoid risk.

There are consequences for our reticence, however. As fundraisers, we tend to look at the bottom line as our area of responsibility.

When we systematically, if unintentionally,  exclude peoples in our community, we lose them as workers, donors and advocates to our cause. We are the poorer for this.

Join us May 23rd for Opening Your Door – Inspiring Support from Diverse Communities for our panel of experts on African American, Hispanic and Indigenous Philanthropy.

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