Juneteenth: Celebrating Black Heritage
Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. The name is a combination of the words "June" and "nineteenth." On June 19, 1865, Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was over two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
In 1968, Juneteenth had a resurgence at the Poor People's March to Washington, D.C., when Rev. Ralph Abernathy called for people of all races to come to show support for the poor. Many of these attendees returned home and initiated Juneteenth celebrations.
Two of the largest Juneteenth celebrations founded after the march are now held in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
Now More Than Ever
Why is Juneteenth so important right now?
The filmed killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who died in the custody of the Minneapolis Police last month, sparked thousands of people around the U.S. to protest. Floyd’s name, as well as the names of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee and countless others, have become rallying cries for change across the country, effectively reenergizing the Black Lives Matter movement.
Google, Nike and Target have joined a growing list of companies around the country that are giving their employees time off for Juneteenth.
Embracing Social Justice Attracts Younger Donors
According to a recent survey from Cause & Social Influence, which was taken when protests broke out nationwide over the death of Floyd, 20% of young people have made a donation to address racial inequality, discrimination or social injustice. That 20% reflects White/Caucasian people, Black people and non-Black people of color.
- Invest in online fundraising. It’s not just about being online (that was 10 years ago); it’s now about engaging an online community that is inspired by your nonprofit. That requires a proper budget. A general guidance is this that development departments should invest 7% of their time, money and resources into digital fundraising. However, since COVID-19, I would suggest a much higher rate of 15%.
- Alignment. Align yourself with grassroots movements for justice that connect with your organizational mission, and make your commitments known.
- Visual content is key: Younger donors respond better to quick info and are less likely to read a newsletter. Instead develop visual content that is easily digestible, such as an infographic, with details about the cause and how their donation will help. Ninety-second videos with the caption embedded at the bottom of the video are the goal. Visual content is easier to share online and have the potential to “go viral,” which can further help your reach among younger donors.
The main takeaway is that when nonprofits embrace social justice, young donors pay attention.