What Not to Do During Your Hispanic Outreach
A certain wealthy politician—whose name I won’t mention simply to avoid being part of the hype—has grabbed the attention of media with his hostile statements toward and about Mexicans. Although there are strong indicators showing the impact of his shocking statements among the Hispanic community, it’s still to be seen how much his position regarding immigrants can and will backfire. Now, if we are trying to extract lessons of what not to do from what has invaded the news and our social media feeds for a significant part of our summer, we need to ask ourselves: What are the deterrents that can wreak havoc when trying to gather support among Hispanic donors? What are the sensibilities and affinities to take into consideration when fundraising among Hispanic donors?
Don’t underestimate the sense of community
The U.S. Hispanic community is very complex; with backgrounds in almost 20 different countries and the different levels of acculturation within mainstream American culture, the Hispanic market is a heterogeneous market. However, there is a strong sense of community among Latinos, even if they come from different countries and different backgrounds. Going back to the controversial remarks, even though many Hispanics are not of Mexican descent or are not in the U.S. illegally, many felt personally offended. Recognizing this collectivist culture will only serve as an advantage to your outreach efforts; campaign messages emphasizing strong community and family values will resonate with the Hispanic audience.
Don’t underestimate diversity within the population
When trying to gather support and donations from Hispanic donors there are several assumptions you may have that can deter your efforts. For example, it may surprise you, but there are many Hispanics that are socially and politically conservative. With levels of entrepreneurship higher than the general population, many Hispanics gravitate toward the conservative policies anchored on values such as hard work and self-reliance. These conservative Hispanics, of course, feel alienated when the loudest voice in their favorite party focuses on denigrating their community. On the other end of this spectrum, the latest election cycle showed that Hispanics still identify better with the Democratic party, pinpointing the widespread diversity of thought and affiliation. One of the mistakes that I’ve seen in nonprofit outreach campaigns is assuming all Hispanics have the same religious affiliation or assuming all Hispanics read Spanish.
Don’t underestimate Hispanics’ potential
The potential buying power of the rapidly growing Hispanic community is well-known. In the U.S. today, there are 54 million Hispanic consumers, which will grow to a projected 133 million by 2050. The list of companies severing ties or distancing themselves from the controversial politician are those heavily invested in the Hispanic market, such as Univision and Televisa. Then there are the others that recognize that condoning or tolerating insults to a segment of their customer base and workforce would be shooting themselves in the foot—such as Macy’s, NBCUniversal, NASCAR, Serta, ESPN and more. If all these very successful companies give such consideration to the consequences of alienating their brands from the Hispanic market, nonprofits also need to consider that the $1.5 trillion purchasing power of the U.S. Hispanic market spills over into charitable giving.
Randall Anderson is the Chief Operations Officer of Listen Up Español, a leading bilingual call center. In his position, Randall uses his extensive experience in DRTV fundraising and call center operations to help nonprofit organizations reach out to the U.S. Hispanic market. In his spare time he enjoys golf, classical chorus, basketball, boating and travel.