Inclusion or Major Donors Strategy
Giving levels and capacity vary. Racial, ethnic and tribal communities historically have not had the same level of access and opportunity as other groups – and thus do not have the same patterns of wealth or inheritance. Some donors have greater assets than others, but generosity is widespread. Your fund will want to consider if you are targeting all donors, people at a particular level, or whether all donors are expected to participate at the same level.
Major Donors Strategy
Some racial, ethnic and tribal funds and foundations place a high priority on being accessible to all donors, whether they have $50 to give or $5,000. People at all levels, low-wealth and high-wealth, can participate and feel ownership. This value placed on inclusion is one way that these funds and foundations set themselves apart from some mainstream foundations where donors of color and tribal donors often feel excluded.
- Some funds invite broad participation through annual appeals that may invite gifts from $10 - $100, or gala events widely supported by the community.
- Others set a minimum giving level, but provide choices to make it easier for more people to reach. For example, some funds ask donors to commit a minimum of $1,000 or more, but will allow them to pay that amount over two or more years. This provides a practical way for some donors to stretch a little and really commit to the fund.
- Another foundation sets a minimum of $5,000 for its board. Each member is responsible for establishing a fund at this level. How they reach this goal is flexible: they can give it themselves, raise it from other sources, or pool together resources from some of their friends and networks
Major Donors Strategy
The inclusive approach when reaching out to donors may not work if your focus is on attracting donors who can give at a higher level. These are often referred to as major donors. In some cases, these donors want to be invited to participate in your fund by their peers. For example, your $20,000 donors may want to be at the table with other $20,000 donors. Connections, networking and professional relationships are a big factor. These donors are willing to give because someone they respect, know – or want to know – has asked them to.