Inside Philanthropy

A blog on philanthropy and nonprofit news and issues. A publication of Philanthropy Journal.

August 18, 2008

Fundraising fuels social change

Charitable fundraisers are critical to the job fixing our communities, and our communities are taking on a dramatically new look.

With non-white minorities now expected to become the majority of the U.S. population in 2042, eight years earlier than previously projected, fundraisers have an unprecedented opportunity to help transform their organizations and philanthropy.

The challenge is to engage the emerging American majority in the charitable marketplace.

According to a new report from the Census Bureau, the new majority will consist of Americans who identify themselves as Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander.

That new majority, which will eclipse non-Hispanic whites, will reshape the demand for services from nonprofits, as well as the pool of donors, board members and volunteers that nonprofits will need to engage to sustain themselves.

Key players in helping nonprofits tap that giving pool are professional fundraisers, whose job is to connect their organizations with givers in addressing the symptoms and causes of social problems.

Fundraising aims to engage individuals and other partners and secure their money, services, products, time and know-how in making our communities better places to live and work.

And with the U.S. population undergoing sweeping demographic change, including the growing role and influence of younger generations, fundraisers have a big job to do preparing their organizations to better serve the new majority and provide it with a compelling case for getting involved in giving.

That will require that fundraisers better understand the changing dynamics and demographics of giving.

Despite the emergence of the new majority, organized philanthropy and the nonprofit sector remain predominantly white enclaves.

But that is changing.

In North Carolina, for example, a donor-advised fund known as NCGives works with consultants as partners to build the giving capacity of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, women and young people.

Located at the North Carolina Community Foundation, and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Mich., NCGives is working to help ensure that all Americans can be effective investors in the work of healing and repairing our communities.

With their fundraising staff leading the way, nonprofits can do a lot more to engage communities of color, women and young people as staff, board members, volunteers and donors.

By more closely reflecting and connecting with the populations they serve, nonprofits can find ways to better sustain themselves for the long-term and more effectively address the problems facing their communities.


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