Emergent Philanthropists: America's Evolving Ethnic Donor Groups
More than 12 million Asian-Americans live in the United States today. They are the largest source of immigrants in the past 20 years. With more than 60 percent of this group foreign-born, giving patterns are heavily tied to traditional ways. The wealthiest of the emerging ethnic communities, Asian-Americans’ average household income is higher than that of all other major racial groups. They are highly educated and have a higher rate of savings than the average household in the U.S. Wealth has been built through small business ventures including personal services, food and lodging. High-tech company startups and professional positions are also dominant in building wealth.
Philanthropy is part of the Asian culture, and these individuals give a higher percentage of their annual incomes to charitable causes than Caucasians. Many send money abroad to help family members or make gifts person to person. At home, informal loan associations are common, often to help others get started in business. Because of the private nature of these gifts, celebrations and recognition for charitable donations are neither common nor expected. This generous group gives money, skill and time to help organizations and efforts that enhance their communities; often they seek involvement in the projects or even leadership positions. In return, they expect a high degree of accountability and demand effective use of their funds. Be certain to show the results of mission funding in your communications before you seek larger or additional gifts.
Direct services, educational organizations and cultural centers receive a large portion of Asian-Americans’ funding. Nursing homes, health organizations, and services for the elderly and youth also fare well. Successive generations of Asian-heritage donors tend to diversify their giving interests even more.
Before soliciting large gifts, be certain to involve your prospect in the formative stages of the project. Consider providing more information about the funding details and results expected. Include information that shows your fiscal effectiveness and long-term plans. Major-gift giving is common among Asian-Americans and may represent a large life event as well. When celebrating these more public gifts, recognition is welcomed and provides community awareness as well as a desire to prompt others to make similar gifts.