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African American Donor Community

Data suggests that African American donors have been left out of mainstream fundraising efforts. Giving via core fundraising channels like direct mail and email have fallen well below average. We must dive deeper into these insights to examine the charitable priorities, habits, and attitudes of these individuals to meaningfully engage them.


According to the Diversity in Giving study, just over half of African American givers are women (54%), whereas 46% are men. As with national trends, the majority of African American donors belong to the Baby Boomer generation, making up 45% of all donors, followed by Generation Xers at 22%, Millennials at 20%, and Matures at 13%. A look at indicators like income reveals that African American donors are significantly more likely to be lower or middle income, with 48% of all givers reporting household incomes below $50,000 per year.

Religion and faith are a more important part of philanthropy to African American donors than among any other group. 64% of those surveyed reported that religion was very important to them, and almost half identified as born-again or evangelical Christians. Similarly, almost half reported attending religious services at least once a week, signaling their interest and commitment to worship.

Source: Blackbaud Institute, Diversity in Giving


Giving Priorities and Engagement

Religion dominates African American donors’ giving priorities. Half of this group reported giving to their place of worship more than they gave to any other nonprofit category. Additionally, 75% of this group say that giving to their place of worship is important, far more than other donor groups. African American donors say they give an average of 13% of their income to their place of worship, compared with 9% of donors overall.

Giving priorities and support of the Black Lives Matter movement has seen huge growth from when it first emerged in 2013 after the killing of Trayvon Martin. While racial justice in the US isn’t a new thing, the summer of 2020 brought worldwide attention to the movement and the injustices facing the black community. To no surprise, black Americans have shown tremendous support and focus on this movement. 2022 research from Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University shows in terms of ethnicity, black households supported the protests the most at 69.7% and were the most likely to give financially to the movement at 28.3%. 

Additional nonprofit categories supported by African American donors included local social service organizations (40%), children’s welfare organizations (37%), and health organizations (37%). African American donors support causes like youth development more than other donors overall and are also almost twice as likely to say they support anti-Racism or anti-hate groups.

Compared with 9% of donors overall, 20% of African American donors said that they would support more nonprofits if asked more often. African American donors said they receive fewer requests to donate: an average of 6.2 asks per month, compared with 7.3 asks per month for donors overall. Overall, this group is more likely to support nonprofits participating in social events or that offer promotional giveaways, and to support organizations in small ways like with food drives or donations at checkouts. Giving via core fundraising channels like direct mail and email falls well below the average for African American donors, further demonstrating their preference for other platforms.