Donor Focus: African Americans
“The church doors were always open for people to gather, and therefore, is trusted,” Burnette confirms. “That’s why when you see community coalitions coming together around all kinds of subjects, the preachers are part of that. Because [African Americans] trust the church.”
There has been much talk swirling throughout the nonprofit community about renting catalog and publishing lists in lieu of nonprofit lists to more effectively reach prospective contributors. Some, however, contend that the best indicator that someone will give is if that person has given to related causes.
But Rick Blume, ethnic targeting expert and vice president of multicultural marketing at the list firm 21st Century Marketing, reports that its Family Digest magazine file is rented the most for appeals to black potential donors. Organizations such as the March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association all have rented this subscriber file.
The Family Digest file gets a lot of fundraising mailers, Blume shares, because of the person who reads it: a family-oriented, potentially religious black woman.
Make the connection
Fundraisers fail in the black community when they sit down with a prospective donor and say, “We’d like you to give us money” — without explaining how their organization connects with that person.
“You have to put in time and energy cultivating donors to be excited about what you do, not what you say you do,” Carson advises. “If you say you serve a diverse population, do that.”