5 Steps to Test Reaching Multicultural Donors With Your Next Campaign
A Florida nonprofit was focusing on assisting pregnant girls — an issue the Latino community cares about and is deeply affected by. When Ivan Leon noticed the missed opportunity in the organization’s messaging, he wrote to the CEO.
“And the CEO was grateful to hear from me, but she said, ‘At this moment, we’re not doing anything for the Latino community,’” Leon, chief strategist at Kerux Group, said. “Now, you have budget. You have planned this for a long time. You roll out a massive PR campaign, and you are not doing anything for the largest population in your state or in this target market? Not only that — did you know the Latino market is the most affected by this kind of situation?”
Leon understands this demographic as he is from Argentina, his wife is from Ukraine, and his two children are, therefore, multicultural. He presented “The Multicultural Majority: Who They Are and How They Are Changing Fundraising” at AFP ICON last month.
“America is changing, and it's changing rapidly in the area of audiences,” Leon said in his presentation. “This is a truth that corporations, the media [and] even the government realize and, therefore, are making pivots to attract, engage [and] cultivate those relationships.”
Nonprofits, however, are a decade or two behind their corporate counterparts, Leon estimated. But trends lines are showing that it’s in the nonprofit sector’s best interest to catch up:
- As of 2017, 17% of marriages were interracial — a 10% increase over 1980.
- Approximately 58% of the U.S. population is non-Hispanic white, per the 2020 Census. That figure fell 11% since the 2010 census.
- The Census Bureau’s Diversity Index, which measures the chance that two people chosen at random will be from different racial or ethnic groups, rose to 61% in 2020.
What trend does all of this show? By 2050, non-Hispanic white individuals will no longer be in the majority in America. In fact, Americans younger than 30 in the year 2030 will live in a society where the majority of their peers are multicultural. Those younger than 18 today already live in that context.
Regardless of when that switch happens, the country is more diverse than ever. Nonprofits that aren’t already diversifying their donors need to figure out how to do so. With the donor pool shrinking, and the number of donations following behind, nonprofits need a new approach to replenish their donor lists.
“Now is the time to go back and to begin investing, not all your fundraising, but some of it to start replenishing the constituency base and make sure your organization can weather the multicultural storm that is already happening,” Leon said. “And it hasn't gotten strong yet, but it will.”
Here is Leon’s five-step multicultural fundraising framework to extend your campaign.
1. Select an Existing Fundraising Campaign to Test
This could be an annual event, direct mail or any other campaign already on your calendar. Prison Fellowship chose the campaign for its annual Angel Tree, a program that provides gifts to children from their incarcerated parents.
2. Infuse the Creative with Cultural Authenticity
To reach other demographics, you need to be authentic. Representation matters, but that alone is not enough, Leon said. Neither is just translating the video to Spanish.
For the Prison Fellowship case study, in addition to more Latino faces, the narrative was more concise, the graphics were brighter, and the lettering was larger in the version geared toward the Hispanic population. That version also made reference to family separation at the border, a timely topic for that community. The ads ran in both Spanish and English since a portion of the population is bilingual.
“The key to reach these audiences is not to show up once and disappear, or to translate something and [it] be done by a volunteer or just assume that what works in English … is going to work in the other community,” Leon said. “It needs to be done with authenticity.”
3. Build the Target Audience
To build any type of audience, determine where to find them first. Prison Fellowship debuted on Facebook and grew from there. Using targeting and segmentation tools, you can build an audience in a given city, age group, cause or affiliation to your organization.
“I would encourage you to do that digitally because, as I said, these are younger and very technological and social media-driven individuals so why not go to fish where they are?” he said.
4. Deploy Digitally
From email and Facebook ads, to app and banner ads, to blogs, you can reach multicultural donors on the same channels you reach donors generally. And since younger generations of all backgrounds are digitally connected, it’s the way to go to reach multicultural audiences.
To test its email channel, for example, Prison Fellowship filtered Hispanic inclination and tested with Spanglish.
“We knew we were fishing in a much more, perhaps, Anglo list, but we know if the percentages translate that at least 20% of that list could be Hispanic,” he said. “So we were putting hooks in the message, in the subject line and in the copy that hopefully [recipients] would say, ‘Hey, I’ve never seen this before.’ Now, we’ve identified those people and brought them into an experiential relationship with Prison Fellowship.”
5. Track Results and Learning
What did you learn? For Prison Fellowship, it acquired its first 100 Hispanic donors through the initial test campaign. The nonprofit learned most of those acquired donors were in the states of California, Florida and Texas, and they gave primarily via mobile and through credit cards and PayPal.
Leon warned though that success doesn’t allow nonprofits to return to the status quo. It all goes back to authenticity.
“If you go into the ocean and you put your toes in the water, meaning you start doing some testing, don't drown,” he said. “Don't do a one-off because that will be creating more damage to your brand, to your cause and to your programs than doing nothing. See, our communities are burned. They can smell if you're authentic, if you're sincere, if you're committed or if you're just there to do a checkmark.”
Amanda L. Cole is the editor-in-chief of NonProfit PRO. She was formerly editor-in-chief of special projects for NonProfit PRO's sister publication, Promo Marketing. Contact her at email@example.com.