USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – April 2022

on April 12, 2022 by Micaela Cameron
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News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

Welcome to April’s newsletter. The popular saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” can easily be used within the fundraising sector. In fundraising, it means that even though there was uncertainty and challenging times during the past couple of years, these experiences provided opportunities for development professionals to be resilient and rethink the idea of the “new normal.” When I think of the new normal, I think of how many of us have utilized technology to conduct our business operations. While technology enables us to perform the functions of our jobs more effectively and efficiently, we must also practice caution to avoid any pitfalls.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s recent article, How to Make the Most of Artificial Intelligence and Other Technologies: Advice From Experts, shares advice by the co-authors of The Smart Nonprofit: Staying Human-Centered in an Automated World, on how nonprofits can make the most of artificial intelligence and other technologies. In fundraising, artificial intelligence and technology tools enable us to identify prospective donors, help fundraisers optimize their prospect lists, analyze donor data, and suggest personalized appeals. The article suggests that nonprofits should not be afraid of utilizing technology to improve fundraising efforts. At the same time, organizations should exercise caution and select tools only after researching and learning about the vendors and products. It is also good to keep in mind that data and products are not always “value neutral” and that there may be biases built into the system that we should take into consideration. Technological tools help individuals in an organization to do their jobs better, but they require humans to put the tools to application. Organizations should also practice ethical usage of technological tools by ensuring the privacy and security of the data used within them.

Switching gears, have you seen this report on wealthy donors of color by The Donors of Color Network (DOCN)? The report provides valuable information on factors that motivate wealthy individuals of color. The report shares historically overlooked demographics and features data from interviews with 113 high net worth (HNW) of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) donors. Below are some of the key findings from the report:

  • The HNW donors of color interviewed were mostly first-generation wealth creators and often the people in their families of origin who had crossed into a new socio-economic class.
  • Nearly every single HNW donor of color interviewed personally experienced racial or ethnic bias. These experiences motivated many to seek systemic change through philanthropic or political giving, although many expressed not knowing how best to effect the changes they wished to see.
  • The donors interviewed gave generously to a range of issues and causes and utilized varied practices of giving. Over 50 percent of interviewees explicitly ranked their top five donor priority causes. 44.4 percent prioritized social justice, 39.7 percent women’s and gender rights, 36 percent racial justice, and 34.9 percent health. Donors gave most often to educational institutions which many credited as critical to their success.
  • HNW donors of color reinforced the importance of learned cultures of giving that shaped their approach to money, generosity, and the sharing of resources.
  • Interviewed individuals participated in many networks of civic, professional and other civil society organizations, and viewed these as important to their giving practices.

As mentioned above, we hope that new and innovative technology is carefully selected and used to increase efficiency in workflows by fundraising organizations. Also, we hope that the insights provided from the report on donors of color will further aid in creating stronger relationships with donors of similar backgrounds. As always, please feel free to reach out us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!

Best Regards,
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team

Read more in this issue of Fundraising Talks>>

 

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