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Donor Participation Project Resources

Growing Donor Engagement Among Underrepresented Groups

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Our second Donor Participation Project meeting was about increasing representation and diversity in our donor populations.

Guided by Patrick Powell, CFRE, MBA, we had a lively conversation and learned a lot.

You can read and contribute to the session notes in this Google Doc.

Additional insights:

There was a common preconception in the industry: “It is going to take you so much longer to get a gift from a non-white donor.”

As soon as I made it my intention to build relationships with Black donors, in that same year I raised close to $250k from 2-3 donors.

It was about: 1) Getting in front of them to let them know that they were important to the institution, regardless of race or color, and that we recognize that they are making an impact and are making a difference as graduates; 2) Letting them know that we want to connect them and get them involved in whatever way is important to them; and 3) Asking them how do they want to put their stamp on an institution where, if they didn’t feel connected, we have a whole group of students who we don’t want to go through the same experience. Tell them, “You have the ability to change that.”

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    Donor Participation Project

    9/16/20 Lunch Analysis: Growing Engagement Among Underrepresented Groups

    This session has passed. Read the summary and takeaway points here.

    How have you tried to broaden your donor base and make it more representative? What has worked for you? What backfired?

    As part of the Donor Participation Project, this Lunch Analysis session will be guided by Patrick Powell, AVP of Volunteer Engagement and Donor Philanthropy at Morehouse School of Medicine.

    An expert in donor engagement and community-building, Patrick is part of one of the fastest-growing institutions in the country at Morehouse School of Medicine.

    Brainstorm and Discuss this Topic With Peers During our September 16 Lunch Analysis

    Lunch Analysis is a 45-minute meeting that is a part study group, part scholarly discussion, part brainstorming session, and part support group. Participation is open to all who fundraise or have fundraised at a nonprofit.

    Each Lunch Analysis covers a specific topic in donor participation and has required preparation and discussion. This one will be on September 16, 2020 at noon EST.

    Required Preparation

    Take a moment to jot down the answer to the following questions:

    • What is the percentage of alumni giving/participation for your Black and or Latino donors?
    • Has leadership placed an emphasis on engaging donors of color at your institution?
      • If yes, what are the strategies or best practices you’re utilizing to identify and cultivate this constituent group(s)?
      • If no, what do you perceive the barriers are to these discussions? 
    • How has that impacted your desire to cultivate these specific groups if at all?
    • Have you experienced any success or rejection as a result? 

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      Past Sessions

      8/19/20 Lunch Analysis: How We Gather (Millenial engagement, community-building)


      Adrian Annette Owen, CFRE, AVP for Advancement Services at LSU Foundation

      Allison Kerivan, Director Of Annual Giving at Bentley University

      Benjamin Osterhaut, Director of Annual Giving at Elizabethtown College

      Billie Handa, Director of the Annual Fund, Denison University

      Cameron Hall, Senior Director of Annual Giving at Texas Tech University

      Hawken Brackett, Executive Director of Strategic Engagement at The University of Alabama

      James Barnard, Executive Director of Annual Giving and Integrated Marketing at University of Cincinnati Foundation

      Jayanne Sevast, Director of Development, Annual Campaigns at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

      Miriam McLean, Director of Development, University Initiatives at Tufts University

      Patrick Powell, MBA, CFRE, Senior Development Officer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

      Sean Devendorf, Senior Director of Annual Giving, University Advancement at Tufts University

      Sierra Rosen, Executive Director of Planned Giving at Brown University