Diversity in Giving – The Changing Landscape of American Philanthropy a new Blackbaud report | Miratel Solutions

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Blackbaud’s ‘Diversity in Giving’ report could be the most important study of the year

Every now and then a nonprofit fundraising study or report is released that presents information in such a different way or tackles important topics that you don’t tend to see put under the microscope that you might be inclined to call it a monumental study within the field. With that said I have to hand such an accolade to Blackbaud who have just released a report that absolutely everyone who works in the sector should definitely take the time to time to read entitled ‘Diversity in Giving – The Changing Landscape of American Philanthropy’.

I’m impressed by the depth of data and value that the report offers, to such an extent that I can’t possibly breakdown each of the components of the study in a single blog post. The study tackles the important task of looking at how efficiently nonprofits in the United States are matching up to and engaging with the cultural diversity that makes up its audience here in 2015.

The study was conducted in October 2014 and polled 1,096 adults who had donated to a nonprofit within the last twelve months. The survey was offered in English and Spanish and purposely over-sampled the responses from African-American, Hispanic and Asian respondents to allow for more tangible response values for each group. The head of the study Emmett D. Carson prepared an excellent foreword to the study part of which I’ll quote below;

“When I first began writing about African-American philanthropy 30 years ago (and later ethnic philanthropy), the phrase was considered an oxymoron. For many, it was inconceivable to think that people of color, who were believed to lack financial resources and a giving tradition, could engage in philanthropy……As people of color become majorities in communities across America, successful nonprofit organizations will need to have a diverse donor base to sustain and grow their operations. The Diversity in Giving study provides invaluable insight about how nonprofit organizations can customize their fundraising approaches to attract diverse donor communities. I would go a step further. Ultimately, the most successful nonprofit organizations will realize that to attract and maintain a diversified funding base will require that their boards, staff, and programming also be diverse. Nothing less than a complete transformation in this regard will be sufficient”

A wonderfully eloquent and valid summary of what the sector, much like society in general terms should be striving for and the foundation of a report that not only explains some of the cultural differences but as importantly refines the similarities and provides workable data that can be used to help all organizations, wherever they may be, to better embrace and engage the entire community and society in which they operate.

In short the report portrays an industry that can and should be doing a far better job at engaging with the actual demographics of today’s diverse society as opposed to seemingly outdated results that seem to reflect a snapshot of how the U.S. appeared back in 1990 but has very little relationship to the population in 2015.


Nothing better illustrates this more clearly than the graphic above which is included in the report, such a stunning visual that it makes it painfully clear that not only are opportunities being missed but in simple logical terms the wrong approaches are being taken resulting in a fundraising profile that is far out of step with the population at large.

What I like most about the report is that it provides real answers and suggestions, it addresses how the gaps have occurred in the first place and pinpoints exactly what steps can be taken to begin to redress an imbalance that is decades in the making. As I wrote earlier space precludes me from tackling some of the highlights of the report along with the fascinating data specific to each community, data that I think can be put into real actionable use immediately by any organization regardless of size or sector.

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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including PCI compliant inbound telephone fundraisingoutbound telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery fundraising servicesdonation processing and receipting and direct mail fundraising services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all our business decisions  and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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