“Having said this, I would also say that, on average, Asians do tend to give to causes related to their roots or ethnic background. Although we are a Pan Asian umbrella group, there are many nonprofits that focus only on specific Asian backgrounds, such as Korean, Indian, Chinese or Japanese, etc. And some do not want to partner with or collaborate with other Asian organizations not of the same background. This is, of course, due largely to history and the history of Asian countries.”
FS: Are there religious considerations that influence how Asian Americans give?
MT: “There are many large and well funded Buddhist temples in the metropolitan area. Each temple is organized for specific backgrounds. The majority of the Korean population is Christian, and so churches are often well funded from within that community. We all know that in general, churches and religious institutions are the largest recipients of donations by individuals in this country.”
- Direct mail including bi-annual appeals.
- Spirit of Asian America annual gala
- Volunteer Programs: “We currently have two different types available. One is to engage anyone to volunteer their time by participating in an outing. For example ... taking a group of underprivileged public school students to the Museum of Natural History for a Saturday afternoon. We did this in July 2004 and created a scavenger hunt for the students of Shuang Wen Academy in lower Manhattan, the first dual-language, English and Mandarin Chinese public school in the country.) “The other volunteer program we offer is for young corporate types to volunteer their time and skills with our member agencies based on the needs of our agencies. We are presently working with Harvard Business School’s 4As group to establish a long-term program that helps agencies with specific problem areas, such as fundraising, IT services, accounting or management and so forth.”
- Networking events: “We invite executive directors of different agencies to speak about what they do and how people can get involved. Our last two events, held in 2003 and 2004, each garnered 300 young Asian professionals in the New York/New Jersey area. Both events were sponsored by Mercedes-Benz USA, and we were able to raise approximately $6,000 at each (even though the events were not meant to be fundraisers). We promote philanthropy and giving back at these events and try to help people learn where and how to get started.”
- Asian-American Community Fund: “The Community Fund raises funds from various sources and runs several grant programs for Asian-American community organizations in the New York area. Since 1993, the fund has raised and awarded nearly $2 million dollars to more than 100 worthy, well-managed community programs through its Annual Grants Program. It provides donors with various ways to contribute to the community depending on the amount of time and effort they would like to spend.”
Fundraising philosophy: “This is more about our philosophy in general, not so much for fundraising, but to promote philanthropy and giving, but not necessarily just for ourselves.