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Donor Participation Project

Raising Funds by Reaching Out: How to Connect with Donors of Color

Nonprofit organizations often struggle to engage donors of color and raise funds from minority communities. According to fundraising expert Patrick Callihan, the key is intentional outreach. Speaking on a recent podcast, Callihan shared several tips for connecting with and securing gifts from donors of color.

First, don’t wait for perfect data.

Even if you lack information on the demographics of your donor base, start building relationships now. Review your donor lists and portfolios for potential donors of color, then reach out to schedule meetings. Ask open-ended questions to learn more about their experiences and priorities. These genuine conversations can uncover opportunities for meaningful engagement and partnerships.

Second, focus on the issues that matter to them.

For many donors of color, supporting educational and economic opportunities for underserved communities is a top priority. Develop funding programs and scholarships that address diversity, equity, and inclusion. Explain how their gifts can make a direct impact.

Third, recognize and promote their achievements.

Feature donors of color in marketing materials, social media spotlights and donor honor rolls. Celebrate their accomplishments and thank them for their support. This visibility and appreciation fosters a sense of belonging that compels future giving.

Fourth, commit to an integrated approach.

While hosting events targeted at minority communities, also make diversity and inclusion priorities across all fundraising programs. This demonstrates your commitment to equity and justice in a holistic, authentic way.

Finally, go above and beyond to show appreciation for major gifts.

For many minority donors, philanthropy is a new tradition they are pioneering. Recognize this commitment through naming opportunities, special events and more. Your gratitude and the legacy of their gift will inspire continued generosity.

By following these principles of outreach, prioritizing issues that matter, promoting visibility and committing to integrated, holistic efforts, nonprofits can successfully raise funds from donors of color. The key is taking that first step to start building relationships based on trust, understanding and shared purpose. With time and dedication, these connections blossom into partnerships that advance your mission through new funding and new voices. The opportunity is there; we simply need to reach out.

View the full recording of this session in ourĀ Resource Library.

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