Non-profits and other organizations that depend on charitable donations are facing a harsh reality: their donor base, largely composed of Anglo baby boomers, is aging quickly and with their size dwindling, so will the flow of donations. There are some who look at problems as opportunities. Those people tend to succeed.
One look at the demographic data points to a potential new pool of donors: the fast-growing U.S. Hispanic population, which in the latest Census released in 2010 accounted for 50% of the population growth in the US. And population growth has also come with a rise in affluence and purchasing power, with some estimates ranking U.S. Hispanics as the 20th biggest economy in the world.
So what are the challenges? Two come to mind and both require transformation. The first is internal. Not unlike many consumer brands, philanthropic organizations have never catered to, marketed or built any connection with U.S. Hispanics. It’s not an easy task, but absolutely doable. Find relevant ways of connecting your mission with Hispanic audiences and get the message out.
The second is cultural transformation. While U.S. Hispanics have a long history of sending money to relatives back in their country of origin, donations are not core to Hispanic culture. Church is the one exception. It’d be foolhardy for non-profits to change that. But luckily, they may not have to. Instead, they should target their message to second and third generation Hispanics, who are likely to be more acculturated to the U.S. and less likely to have as many relatives abroad.
Every challenge presents an opportunity. It’s time for non-profits to seize it, or they may cease to exist.
This post is also available in: Spanish
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