Capturing the Hearts & Minds of Hispanic Donors
nonprofit management tips

The U.S. Hispanic marketplace is no longer emerging. It has emerged. Fundraisers at charitable organizations desiring to build a healthy future must effectively engage with this valuable group of donors whose spending power is larger than all but a handful of countries’ annual gross domestic products (GDPs).

Those were some of the insights of Kevin White, senior vice president of Russ Reid during a session titled “Capturing the Hearts & Minds of Hispanic Donors” at the Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference being held in National Harbor, Md.

    Since the vernacular can be confusing, White made some distinctions to remember:

  • Hispanic: People with ancestry from Spain – language distinction;
  • Latino: People of Latin American origin – geographic distinction; and,
  • Spanish: Either people from Spain or the language.

When discussing acquiring and cultivating this particular audience, fundraisers are typically referring to “Hispanic,” because you’re generally talking about Spanish (or bi-lingual) fundraising programs that complement English programs, he said.

    Fundraisers often wonder if the cost and time of developing a Spanish or bi-lingual program is worth the effort. White attacked some myths with facts:

  • Cost to acquire is generally 25-50 percent less than general market donors;
  • Gift sizes tend to be anywhere between 10-50 percent less, depending on channel;
  • Retention and gift frequency tend to be higher across all channels meaning long-term value is generally on par with English programs; and,
  • With lower cost to acquire and similar value, long term return on investment tends to be better.
    When writing Spanish copy (which tends to be about 30 percent longer) for direct mail, digital, or scripts, there are a few key rules to help navigate these waters. Cultural values suggest you should leverage messaging that is:

  • Community driven and family oriented;
  • Child focused when possible;
  • Emotional, even passionate; and,
  • Spiritual (predominantly Catholic but not always).
    Also consider:

  • Machismo (patriarchy) and Marianismo (nurturing mother);
  • Achievement and progress (striving for a better life);
  • Dualism of U.S. Hispanics straddling two cultures, and many are bilingual; and,
  • Leverage quotes/endorsements from Hispanic celebrities/influencers.

While there still remain some challenges in developing Hispanic programs, such as fewer list sources, and less modeling capability, the value of Hispanic files is increasing quickly, and given higher demand, opportunities to reach these valuable donors more effectively will increase as well.