A look into the nuanced differences between donor-centric fundraising and community-centric fundraising, shedding light on the need for evolved donor engagement. Frank Velasquez, Jr., from 4daHood.com, begins with the historical approach to fundraising, which often prioritized donors’ desires and overlooked the respect owed to the clients or communities served. Sharing his personal experience, Frank points to the significance of language in fundraising practices. He discusses how terms like “at risk” or “in poverty” can unintentionally marginalize and disrespect clients, illustrating the need for a shift towards more respectful and uplifting language that honors the dignity of the individuals served, sharing, “When you start using descriptive language that ends up not honoring or uplifting, then that’s when it doesn’t respect the clients.”

Frank leads us to the essence of community-centric fundraising, where the focus is not solely on donors but on centering the entire community, including donors, as active participants in the mission. He details the importance of storytelling and fostering a sense of belonging to deepen connections and inspire transformative change.

Throughout the conversation, Frank stresses the importance of aligning internal language and messaging to ensure consistency across all organizational levels.

Throughout, Frank speaks to the impact of small changes, such as incorporating pronouns or adopting trust-based philanthropy, in attracting donors who align with the organization’s values. He encourages organizations to embrace evolving language and practices as a means of authentically representing their mission and fostering meaningful connections with donors and communities alike. Reflecting on the effect of language shifts, he adds , “That little simple change had this effect, and people outside the organization [started] understanding who you are and [that’s] attracting those people, so that [was] a microcosm of what we’re talking about.”