“International relief organizations are, for the most part, mainstream charities. They appeal to everyone,” Cassano says. “But typically it can be a progressive umbrella of individuals.”
As with most nonprofits, donors to international relief causes tend to be older, highly educated and well-read. They are concerned about peace, justice and sovereignty in the world, so many read news/political magazines and newspapers on a daily basis. The New York Times, The Economist and Mother Jones subscriber files are popular choices when prospecting to secondary markets.
Collins thinks of IRC donors as centrists — middle-of-the-road folk whose political ideals might be more moderate.
“Not necessarily liberal by any means,” he says. “Because the people needing relief are often victims of despotic rulers and dictators, a lot of international-relief donors tend to be pro-democracy and pro-American.”
But the best indicator that someone will give to a particular organization is if they have expressed concern by writing a check for similar causes.
If nothing else, the globalization of economies has lead nations to view international issues from the perspective of a global village. And while the international-relief community’s response to tragedies continues to evolve in sophistication, so do its fundraising practices.
“I can’t take donors to Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq or Liberia and show them the strife, so I have to do it in a mailing,” Collins concludes.