Donors Info -Page 2 of 5
Knowing Your Audience  
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Good 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.

This site was designed by CCR / Gallery 37 participants:
Darnell Clark, Rosa M Diaz, Rosaileen Diaz, Vianna Guillermo,
Mehret Maru, Julio Romero, Janette Torres, Fanus Woldegebriel