Fundraising Tip: Try to Look Like the Community You Serve

Acme Regional Health has a problem. Its fundraising efforts suck. If you can call charity auctions and golf tournaments fundraising: they’re more like church bake sales, only larger.

I was thinking about this when I was perusing Acme’s website and came across the list of Board members. Out of fourteen members of the Board, two are people of colour. Out of twenty-one members of the Board for the Acme Regional Foundation (which does the actual fundraising), three are people of colour or from a recent immigrant community.

Very odd, I thought. I am not saying there’s racism going on. But maybe some stupidity: over half of the people living in the City of Toronto proper are foreign-born, and a very large percentage of them are people of colour, and Acme Regional itself is located in a part of the GTA which has a very large and diverse immigrant community.

So why does the board of either the hospital or its foundation (or the professional fundraising staff) look nothing like the community it serves? And maybe the tokenism has something to do with its dismal fundraising efforts?

Maybe firing the current fundraising staff  (who all look like my high school yearbook — I grew up in very small town Ontario) and hiring some bright young energetic speakers of Tamil, or Punjabi, or Urdu or Farsi or Arabic to network  and generate community support would be useful. Better than pretending it’s 1965, when being multicultural  in Toronto meant you invited a Catholic to your Tupperware party.

Just a thought.

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