Setting the Table for Diverse Communities


Our family has certain chores. Does yours? One is setting the table. There’s not a set sara_leonard_webfriendly-5schedule on who does this, it mostly depends on which child is closest when it’s time to be done. So whichever one gets the assignment, they are responsible for getting plates, napkins, and silverware for each person. Ever thought about why we do this? The theme of the 2018 Planned Giving Symposium made me contemplate this.

Setting the table relates directly to the theme of our Planned Giving Symposium this year: “Welcome to the Table: Reaching Diverse Communities.” I love the message of welcome in this theme.  “Welcome to the Table” is a message of inclusivity that I believe is vital to our fundraising profession.

Let’s explore three ways that connect how setting the table applies to reaching diverse* communities:

1. A well set table makes everyone feel welcome – it’s more than just yelling “come and get it.” Reaching diverse communities means taking their perspective into account. For instance, we need to take into account various cultural perspectives on estate planning and how that will impact a prospective donor’s view of our planned giving program.

2. A well set table allows us to enjoy the meal – preparation ensures that we are ready when the food is served. Following that logic, preparing ahead of time to reach diverse prospects allows us to make their giving experience meaningful for them and for our organization. That won’t happen by accident. It will require thoughtful preparation by fundraisers and nonprofit leadership.

3. A well set table allows everyone to feel welcome – every member of the family has a place at the table just as diverse prospective donors should have an opportunity to be a part of changing the world with their support of your nonprofit. The culture of your organization will attract or repel diverse communities. Be intentional to make sure you culture is welcoming.

Is your fundraising program reaching all of the audiences you can? Most aren’t but the AFP Suncoast Chapter and the Charitable Gift Planners of Tampa Bay want to help you do something about that. Join us on August 24, 8 am – 12 noon to increase your nonprofit’s reach into diverse communities. Click here to register:

*Note: If you’re wondering what we mean by diversity, I’d like to share the definition from AFP International:  AFP defines diversity as a core value.  It is an inclusive concept encompassing, without limitation, race, color, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or identity; religion, nationality, age, economic class, educational level, language, physical, mobility and ability, geography, and marital and parental status. The state of being diverse means having the broadest possible representation of individuals, experiences, and perspectives in all-encompassing terms. 

For more about the AFP International Diversity program, click here:

Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE
2017/2018 President – AFP Suncoast Chapter
Sara Leonard Group
(813) 310-2364

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