Eight Key Principles for Diversifying Your Donor Base
The population of the U.S. is becoming more diverse, making it more and more imperative that nonprofits create messaging that's relevant to multicultural audiences to engage them as donors, volunteers and allies.
This was the focus of the session "Multicultural Resource Development: Effective Practices to Broaden Your Donor Base" at the 2009 Bridge Conference held just outside of Washington, D.C. last week. Presenters Randi Hogan, former vice president with the Metropolitan Group; Julia Howell Barros, chief development officer of CentroNia; Anna Lopez, executive director of corporate diversity for the American Red Cross; and Ivan Roman, executive director of the National Council of Hispanic Journalists shared tips on how to connect their missions to the values of individuals from various cultural backgrounds, and apply outreach and engagement strategies with diverse communities.
Hogan shared the following eight principles of multicultural resource development to help attendees looking to diversify their outreach:
Principle 1: Don’t make assumptions.
Begin with yourself. Get the facts. Examine programs that work with the cultural group you want to engage. Research racial, ethnic and tribal philanthropy groups to identify trends, challenges and opportunities. Test your assumptions, and check your ego at the door.
Principle 2: Understand the cultural context(s) of your prospects.
Do your homework. Define your target prospect groups as specifically as possible. Be aware of norms, traditions and other cultural nuances that are unique to your prospects. Identify and build on cultural strengths and assets.
Principle 3: Invest before you request.
Create "community-centered" partnerships. Treat leaders, organizations and community members as partners. Learn about a community's needs and assets, and stay in touch.
Principle 4: Develop authentic relationships.
Maintain a long-term perspective. Go to where your prospects are. Work with trusted allies, influencers and pathways. Don't become a one-hit wonder, getting what you need and never coming back. Become an ally.
- 2009 Bridge Conference