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Book Review: Cultivating Diversity in Fundraising

Resource Center - Foundation

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Cultivating Diversity in Fundraising by Janice Gow Pettey, CFRE; John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2001

(The following is excerpted from the Introduction to Ms. Pettey's book, with permission from the publisher.)

Philanthropy in America is well-cultivated and bears deep roots. These philanthropic practices as they are known to us have evolved through the growth of the nation, reflecting the traditions and interests of early settlers. The increasing number of racially and ethnically diverse people living in the United States now gives us the opportunity to develop new and distinct forms of philanthropy.

Scores of books have been written on fundraising theory and techniques, I beginning with the classic works of Hank Rosso, Jim Greenfield, Jerold Panas and Harold Seymour. More recent books and articles on the history of philanthropy, women in philanthropy and fundraising ethics have further enriched the field and the body of knowledge.

None of these works, however, merges the elements of history, tradition and motivation with the components of successful fundraising within and among racially and ethnically diverse communities. We are left to piece together the available data on demographics, history and traditions, and cultural patterns to assemble some understanding of what is necessary and appropriate to both fundraise and increase philanthropic awareness in these communities.

Cultivating Diversity in Fundraising is written as an introduction for those who are interested in fundraising in diverse communities. The purpose of the book is provide an overview in cultivating successful fundraising and an enhanced understanding of philanthropic motivation in four selected racial/ethnic populations: African American, Asian American (Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and South Asian), Hispanic/Latino (Cuban, Dominican, Salvadoran, Mexican, and Puerto Rican), and Native American.

The book is organized in several sections, including a overview of the history and immigration of each population; cultural traditions; recent demographic data; a review of fundraising practices; and highlights of philanthropic practice from within each population. Case studies with discussion questions are included to promote further discussion and insight into specific components of diversity in fundraising.

The book responds to the following questions:

  • Who are diverse donors?
  • What are their charitable traditions and interests?
  • What fundraising methods will be successful in diverse communities?
  • What can we do to include more diversity in our fundraising efforts?

Fundraisers work in an ever-changing environment, and we are called upon to address future challenges while responding to current needs. The fast-moving population changes in America require thoughtfulness and creativity from fundraisers in order for the nonprofit sector to remain balanced in delivering services and securing funding constituencies.

Creating a vibrant and expanded nonprofit sector is possible through individual and collective effort. Raising more money from diverse communities is the by-product of successful collaborations, understanding, and respect of differences. People will support what they help to create.  

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