In 2019, Cause Effective took on an initiative to examine the barriers to success of professionals of color in fundraising We read dozens of articles and reports, and spoke with over 200 fundraising professionals, executive directors, funders, recruiters and others to gain a nuanced understanding of how the dynamics of money, power and race intersect in the philanthropic field. We explored such key questions as:

  • Why is the development role, so critical to an organization’s capacity, sustainability, growth and ability to achieve its mission, often excluded in conversations about leadership?
  • How do issues of race play out in the context of fundraising, which includes discussions about money (as a means of organizational investment) and involves significant relationship-building with people of wealth and privilege?
  • How do issues of race (as well as the intersections of ethnicity and gender) impact the job satisfaction and professional advancement of development directors of color?
  • What should the nonprofit sector, and individual organizations, do to ensure that development directors are supported in navigating issues of race and class that hinder their effectiveness?
  • How might those barriers be permanently erased?

The result of this extensive work: Money, Power and Race: The Lived Experience of Fundraisers of Color, reflects participants’ experience that while that diversity matters in the nonprofit sector, people of color need to be skilled not only with fundraising acumen, but also have the awareness and tools to navigate the intersectional dynamics of power, race and class that are endemic to fundraising encounters.

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Download the Executive Summary


To join the conversation, contact Cause Effective at

  • NYCT
  • JP Morgan
    JP Morgan
  • NYC 276
    NYC 276
  • Altman
  • Kramer Levin
  • Robinhood
  • William Casper Graustein
    William Casper Graustein
  • The New York Women's Foundation

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