Consultant Tony Elischer says charities should focus fundraising on minority communities to reap rewards

Managing director of Think Consulting Solutions tells the Institute of Fundraising national convention that fundraisers are missing out by ignoring multiculturalism

Tony Elischer
Tony Elischer

Charity fundraisers should put in place strategies to target people from ethnic minorities, religious groups and the gay community, according to Tony Elischer, managing director of Think Consulting Solutions.

Elischer was speaking yesterday during the first day of this year’s Institute of Fundraising national convention in London.

He said that few charities in the UK had thought about the concept of multiculturalism in their fundraising, unlike in the US, where every major fundraising team had a "diaspora team" or "heritage team" to target demographics such as the 53 million Latinos in the country.

"You don’t see them using this in their strategies, which I just find crazy because they’re missing the opportunity," he told delegates. "You’re all looking for the next opportunity in fundraising. Well, look at the way communities are made up: segment them and target. If you develop more propositions for these groupings, they respond really well."

Elischer said that charities should look at postcode maps available free online to find out the concentrations of each ethnic grouping in an area. "You can actually go on the Office for National Statistics website, punch in a postcode and it will tell you what the diversity is," he said. "You don’t have to pay agencies to do this."

Elischer said these groups could be better targeted if the sector developed the capacity to fundraise in multiple languages and engaged community leaders to support causes.

He said that charities should target the gay community and different religious groups. "The pink pound is an amazing opportunity because the gay community actually responds incredibly well to owning its own response to a charity," he said. "How many of us understand gay people in the UK? They’re actually very affluent people who respond."

He cited the Sierra Club, an environmental organisation active in the US and Canada, as an example of an organisation that had identified well with the gay community and used this relationship to increase support for its cause.

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