New donors untapped

By Jennifer Whytock

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Women and minorities represent vast sources of wealth and influence, but nonprofits have not fully tapped their giving potential.

That was the message that two philanthropy experts delivered June 19 to the Triangle chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

“We need to create awareness of huge pockets of donors in North Carolina, not just the white male donors that people tend to think of,” said Beth Briggs, president of Creative Philanthropy, a Raleigh firm that advises donors and nonprofits.

In a recent study she conducted for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Briggs found that women in North Carolina are powerful as volunteers and donors, especially in local churches, and play a big role as nonprofit directors and board members.

“Women are leading a lot of fundraising, raising millions of dollars from women donors, identifying programs to fund that they are interested in, and then making the contributions to those organizations,” Briggs said in an interview.

And women want to be inspired by a cause and be more involved than do most men in the organizations to which they make donations, she said.

“Don’t just ask women for money,” she said. “Get them involved in your organization through volunteering or putting them on your board.”

Women control a large percentage of privately held wealth in the U.S., and are increasingly responsible for a large percentage of charitable giving, Briggs said, citing various studies.

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute says that 85 of every 100 women are left in charge of family financial affairs, mostly because they outlive men by seven years.

Independent Sector, an advocacy and research group, says that donors who volunteer give a share of their income that is almost twice the share given by donors who do not volunteer.

Yet women have not been big donors until recently and need to learn how to be better donors, Briggs said.

Kellogg, which is funding a larger initiative to identify and tap new sources of philanthropy in North Carolina, may publish the survey, along with two others on giving by minorities and young people, said Dan Moore, a Kellogg program director.

“The goal of the studies is to create awareness of where there are innovations, and to get accurate pictures of women, communities of color, and youth in philanthropy in North Carolina,” he said.

“These are groups that are not new to fundraising,” he said, “but maybe have not been acknowledged in fundraising.”

Tim Minor, director of the Chancellor’s Club at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told the AFP chapter that nonprofits also needed to involve minorities in philanthropy.

“The process of education of giving is important,” Minor said. “We have to be proactive in looking for these minority donors.”

Minorities represent two of every 10 students at UNC-CH, a presence that is expected to grow to four in 10 within 20 years, mainly because of an increase in Asian and Latino students.

To involve more minority donors, UNC-CH asked alumni to help identify community leaders and invited them to campus to talk about minorities’ fundraising interests.

“Most of the minority donors want to spend their money on what they know will work,” Minor said. “They don’t necessarily want to give to a general fund, and some people won’t respond at all to traditional methods of fundraising.”

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