More Than One Nonprofit Hispanic Market

November 19, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

Hispanics are expected to reach 133 million and 33 percent of the U.S. population by 2050. Randall Anderson of Listen Up Espanol in Portland, Maine, thinks nonprofits should be doing more to court these potential donors and service clients.

Anderson talked about strategies to target Hispanic markets during the 2013 Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising conference in Oxon Hill, Md. He outlined the diverse demographic and put to rest some common myths about Hispanic donors.

“Credit card penetration is no longer much of a problem,” said Anderson. “It’s just a little lower than the general market.” The proportion of Hispanic families earning between $35,000 and $100,000 per year has been growing during the past decade.

The large number of countries of origin makes it almost impossible to generalize when it comes to Hispanics. Someone from Santiago, Chile, is going to have a much different cultural outlook and dialect of Spanish than a Mexican-American born and raised in Los Angeles. “Hispanic ethnic identity isn’t new but we’re trying to look at ways it mainstreamed in the U.S.,” said Anderson.

“About two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics are of Mexican descent. The Virgin of Guadalupe is very important to them, but that’s not the case for all Hispanics. Knowing country of origin and adoption of faith is important,” he said.

Approximately one-third of Hispanics in America speak only or predominantly Spanish, one-third predominantly speak English, and one-third are truly bilingual. “One thing we watch is the immigration rate from Latin American countries, which is pretty flat,” said Anderson. “There’s less of a Spanish language and cultural affinity we’ve seen, and that’s why true bilingual is a growing percentage. That makes Spanish language marketing a little less important, but showing you’re in Hispanic language and culture helps English (language fundraising) results.”

Organizations have to decide if reaching out to the Hispanic market is truly a strategy to pursue. It must be a long-term strategy, said Anderson. A few Spanish-language emails here and there won’t work. “Be committed to a strategic initiative, which takes months, not weeks,” he said.

If your organization does decide to target a Hispanic market, there are some things to remember and some things to help. “Spanish keywords are often very cheap because people don’t buy them but Hispanics use them,” said Anderson. Hispanics are big TV-watchers, he said. The Spanish-language channel Univision is the biggest network in America. “If you’re doing DRTV, partners can help you test,” said Anderson. “You probably want to start with a short form.”

Hispanics “overindex” in the use of smartphones and social media, said Anderson. They’re also trendsetters, often up on the latest and greatest. Some “41 percent follow trends and over 30 percent are willing to try new products, twice that of non-Hispanics,” said Anderson, citing data from Pew Hispanic Center. However, Anderson said it might be difficult to get solid mailing lists for Hispanics.

“Spanish isn’t the same in all parts of the world,” said Anderson. “There’s no silver bullet for Hispanic populations, but there’s no silver bullet for fundraising, period.”