The results are in for Delaware’s annual day of giving — Do More 24 — and the prevailing sentiment is that Delawareans showed up big time for the nonprofit community.
The nearly $2 million haul from this year’s 24-hour giving period, held March 4 at 6 p.m. to March 5 at 6 p.m., was five times more than what was raised during Do More 24 in 2020. The giving day was very well organized, 400 nonprofits participated (compared to less than 300 last year), and the event even included new monetary prizes for Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC)-led organizations.
But as a black nonprofit founder and leader, I could not shake the feeling that the top-line Do More 24 statistics obscure the fact that the philanthropic community is yet to truly do more for people of color-led organizations.
After all of the Ibram Kendi books clubs, the white ally inquiries about what can be done about racism, the protests, the diversity consultants who were hired, and the grandiose statements organizational leaders published, one might expect to see substantial changes in individual and corporate philanthropy. Indeed, if you looked closely at Delaware’s Do More 24 you could see some efforts to address inequities in the structure of the event.
The organizers made it possible for the first time for BIPOC-led organizations to identify as such and they even created a $1,500 prize available for four BIPOC-led organizations. Many of the monetary prizes that were available during the giving day could be won randomly or based on the number of donors — which gave less-resourced organizations more of a chance to win extra money.
The nonprofit that I cofounded, TeenSHARP, was a beneficiary of these design choices as we were the winner of the United Way of Delaware Community Leadership for Racial Equity Award for large nonprofits ($1,500), the Discover Bank Community Impact Prize for large nonprofits ($5,000), and a few other prizes throughout the day, which added a total of $7,600 to the nearly $9,000 we raised from 187 donors.
But for many of the reasons that last year’s racial reckoning reminded America about, our maximum donation during the day was $275 and our average donation amount was $45. In comparison, the organization that raised the most money had an average donation amount of nearly $780.
This is why in a world where “the unrestricted net assets of black-led organizations are 76 percent smaller than their white-led counterparts” and the pandemic hit many of POC-led organizations the hardest, we need the philanthropic community to do much more.
Yet, a closer look at data underneath the nearly $2 million raised suggests folks did more of the same.
According to the data available on the Do More 24 website as of March 6, the total money raised by nonprofits was $1,411,200. (This does not include corporate prizes that were later awarded to various nonprofits and the $475,000 stretch pool that is yet to be divvied.)
During the campaign, 12,577 donors gave to 419 organizations. But only 17% of the more than 12,000 donors on Delaware’s giving day decided to give money to one of 72 organizations that self-identified as BIPOC-led. There’s certainly no requirement that anyone give their money to a BIPOC-led organization. It just stands out as a missed opportunity after all of the proclaimed support for racial justice and equity last year.
The 72 BIPOC-led organizations* that participated in Do More 24 raised $181,197 of the $1.4 million that was reported on March 6. In comparison, the three white-led organizations that raised the most money during DoMore24 raised $201,833. The 10 BIPOC-led organizations that raised the most money raised $107,011 compared with $443,100 that was raised by the top 10 white-led organizations. Ultimately, only 33 organizations raised over $10,000 at the conclusion of the 24-hour DoMore24 period. Those organizations accounted for 56% of all money raised.
Like the black/white wealth gap that left black households more vulnerable during the pandemic, the gap in funding for nonprofit organizations led by people of color vs. the funding that pours into white-led organizations is at a crisis level.
This does not mean we cannot celebrate the generosity of thousands of individuals and several corporations whose support during Do More 24 increased the resources nonprofits have to do critical work.
It also does not mean the organizers cannot feel proud about how their efforts made it easier for people to be charitable.
But it does mean we should be using every opportunity we have to tell those with the power of the purse that counteracting deep-seated funding inequities requires urgency, intentionality, and much more than we’ve always done.
What if this message was front and center — from the website to the campaign collateral— throughout the Do More 24 campaign?
What if funders came together to make sure the monetary prizes for POC-led organizations were among the largest prizes available or all donations to POC-led organizations were matched?
What if an individual or corporate funder decided to go back and fund the gap to goal for all 72 POC-led organizations?
The possibilities are endless but it takes recognition that we need a forceful and steady stream of water to deal with a fire and not a sprinkler.
We are in an emergency situation, and we need those with means to follow the lead of MacKenzie Scott, Wes Moore’s Power Fund, The Black Voices for Black Justice Fund, The California Black Freedom Fund and Minnesota’s Black-Led Movement Fund to make historic and game-changing investments in POC-led organizations.
And if you don’t have access to those kinds of resources and want to help, reach out to a POC-led organization and keep asking: “How can I do much more?”
*Organizations had to self-identify as BIPOC-led which meant they either had a BIPOC CEO or Executive Director, they had an executive team with 50% or more BIPOC staff, or they had a board of directors with 50% or more BIPOC members. There might be organizations who fall in this category that did not self identify.-30-