Diversity in Giving: The Changing Landscape of American Philanthropy

Mark Rovner

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America is in the midst of a dramatic cultural shift, but evidence suggests that organized philanthropy may be stuck in the past. As the nation becomes more ethnically and racially diverse, it is more important than ever to consider whether the fundraising playbook is due for an overhaul.

This paper is based on a survey of 1,096 U.S. adults who say they have donated to a nonprofit organization in the past 12 months. The survey was conducted in October 2014 using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®, a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population.

Overall, we found that white donors are over-represented in the donor universe. We also found that donor priorities, values, and habits differ somewhat as we look at specific ethnic or racial donor sub-groups. In most cases the differences are subtle. In a few cases they are significant. In all cases, they are useful pointers toward a more inclusive approach to fundraising.

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