January 10, 2010

“The new demographic realities mean that soliciting funds from diverse communities is no longer optional for nonprofit organizations – it is a matter of their future survival.” So says Emmett D. Carson, CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation. And this is old news you should know. For sure, Emmett knows.

Do you collect information about changing demographics? Do you think about the implications for your clients, your donors, and your volunteers, especially board members?

Do you read the research about how women give differently and why women are an important separate segment of your donor base? How about millenials or baby boomers? How about people who aren’t white and aren’t long-time Americans (that’s U.S. to us in the U.S.)?

Changing demographics is really old news. But fundraisers seem to still talk about it rather than do much about it. Just a small start: Read research reports in The Chronicle of Philanthropy – then go to the original source. Learn and start trying and testing.

Host affinity group meetings and talk with demographically different people and get their advice. You have to identify the predisposed and quality them as prospects (or not) and nurture relationships and then ask and ask again.

And please don’t tell me how the demographics aren’t changing in your community. Or that only a certain generation / gender / ethnicity, etc. is interested in your organization. You’re gonna wake up some morning and be so far out of the loop that your organization will have to close.

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

Get non-profit resources in your inbox