Strategically Building Relationships With Communities of Color
2. Ascertain how others perceive your organization. Is your board and staff representative of our diverse society? Many studies suggest that individuals of color might consider the diversity of an organization's efforts before supporting it. Are actions needed to change or clarify that perception?
3. It is critical that the organization have leadership not only willing to demonstrate their commitment, but also to establish ongoing strategies to make certain that initiatives and tone are permeated throughout the organization.
4. If you're targeting an audience versus an individual, make sure there's mutual value for doing so. Ask yourself: What is the benefit for this community to be associated with my organization? Where is the relevancy?
5. Be respectful of cultural differences. Watch how you communicate. Before using jargon with which you're attuned, make sure you employ native speakers from the target country to help "transadapt" based on cultural and language differences.
- Some cultures will see a conversation about estate gifts as rude. For many Latinos, these life-and-death conversations require a degree of trust that comes from having a relationship with others.
- How about the word endowment? How do you explain the concept to individuals from cultures where saving is not a norm?
- Even recognition can be interpreted differently. While you might view listing of names by gift size as a positive motivator, other cultures could see it as less than inspirational.
6. Learn rather than teach: Invite individuals from cultures other than your own to teach you about their giving traditions and patterns. Hear how your efforts fit into the lives of their communities. Discuss solicitation practices you have used and ask whether they are appropriate within the communities they represent.
7. Recognize that communities of color are at difference stages. In many there is still a general lack of knowledge about financial management and investment planning. This certainly is not a result of a lack of caring; rather, it's an issue of financial maturity.