At least part of the focus of nearly every philanthropy study ranging from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project to the Giving USA Report to many others, is how flat-lined overall giving is in the United States as a percentage of GDP. This has historically hovered around 2% with very little variance over the last couple of decades.  

However, the non-white population of our country is averaging a much higher percentage of charitable giving as a share of median family wealth than the white population, despite a well-documented and persistent racial wealth gap:

black philanthropy

This chart is taken from the outstanding article published in the latest e-newsletter from the Urban Institute. You can read the full article here

Notice that the black ethnic segment stands out amongst the others. Traditions of family giving may be more prevalent, given how large and robust the networks are in black communities to spur on giving even as income fluctuates. Writing for the Urban Institute, Shena Ashley points out that “even with less wealth, the cultures of giving in the black community help maintain, and even expand, the philanthropic impulse in black families.”

Fundraising and Communication Plans

This should be a key point of emphasis as any professional fundraiser undertakes the creation of, or updating of, their fundraising and communication plans. Seldom do such plans consider what needs to be done to focus on various ethnic groups.

Obviously, there are many nonprofits with the proper focus and more importantly proper understanding of how all portions of our population like to use philanthropy.

There is so much to be gained by understanding these traditions.

How about your fundraising plans? Do they take the giving patterns of multiple ethnic groups into account?

Stay Together - How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty

Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.