| Donors Info -Page 2 of 5
prospect research calls for learning about the prospect -- where they
work, their affiliations, personal history, and financial position.
During the research process, nonprofits should also learn how Latino
prospects like to be called and what makes them unique. One of the
first questions asked when researching a Latino prospects has been
- is the prospect Latino or Hispanic? Hispanic and Latino are terms
used interchangeabley by the federal government to describe persons
living in the United States who themselves or their ancestors were
born in a Spanish speaking country. This includes Spain, Mexico, Puerto
Rico, and Spanish speaking countries in the Caribbean, Central America
and South America. Latinos, like everyone else, have the right to
self identify and describe their ethnicity in a variety of ways, including
Latino, Hispanic, Spanish-American, etc. Generalities have been made
based on the most common term used in different parts of the United
States. The best way to learn which term an individual prefers is
to ask. Outside of the U.S., the designations do not exist because
individuals self identify by their country of origin.
In trying to
understand why Latinos are unique, nonprofits often mistake Latino
stereotypes for facts. This is never a good idea. Latinos in the
U.S. come from more than 20 different countries and the diversity
among them includes their historical influence that led them to
the United States, length of stay in the U.S. and preferred language.
While the 2000 census shows 58% of all Latinos in the U.S. are Mexican,
some Mexican families can trace their length of stay in the U.S.
back 500 years. Mexico owned the better part of Western U.S. territory
until 1848. Through war, annexation and purchase, these territories
became part of the U.S., making Mexicans immigrants overnight. Today
there is significant immigration flow from Mexico making their historical
experience in the U.S. different from a Mexican that has five generations
of living in the U.S. Puerto Ricans who are U.S. citizens by birth
do not have the same historical perspective as Cuban Americans,
most of whom have been considered political refugees since 1960.
Spanish is the
first language for the vast majority of Latino households in the
U.S. Second and third generation Latinos accumulating wealth are
fully bilingual or English dominant. The Latino middle class increased
a whopping 80% over the past 20 years according to a report by the
Thomas Rivera Policy Institute. The same study found that their
discretionary income almost doubled to $72 billion between 1990
and 2000. Before sending an appeal to a Latino prospect list in
Spanish, it is best to follow basic prospect research techniques
and test the list. Latino donors will respond to English language
material that appeals to the potential donors interests and
demonstrates knowledge and respect for their ethnic background.