Hispanic Fundraising Musts
Feb. 21, 2006
By Abny Santicola
If you're not soliciting the Hispanic population for gifts, you're ignoring 10 percent of the market. So said Joan H. Smyth Dengler, vice president of direct marketing for childcare agency Covenant House, in a session on donor acquisition last Friday at the DMA Nonprofit Federation 2006 Annual Washington Nonprofit Conference.
But if you are trying to fundraise from Spanish-speaking people, Dengler shared some advice on strategies that work best with this population.
First and foremost, she said, is to come at donors with emotion, the top motivator for charitable gifts. In order to trigger emotions in prospects, organizations have to speak to them in the language that moves them, in the mother tongue. If you're wondering whether to mail in English or Spanish or both, Dengler advised you stick with Spanish only to get into this market. It's much more personal to send a mailing in one language, takes up less space in the mailing and is more effective. Bottom line, she said, by mailing to Spanish-speakers in Spanish you make it easy for them to support your organization.
Dengler suggests mailers set up a system where monthly or weekly you check to ensure that general-market donors are not getting Spanish-language appeals, and vice versa. And don't stress about which Spanish dialect to use. Get your Spanish DM program started first, then work with a professional Spanish-speaking direct-mail copywriter to come up with Spanish copy that works for your target audience.
Dengler also recommended using the following to break into and have success in the Spanish-language market:
- Thank-you letters. Have a library of thank-you letters and responses to common questions.
- Comment mail: Spanish-speaking donors send much more comment mail than general-market donors. Organizations should be prepared for this, with a staff person or vendor who can read and review these comments.