Linda & Dave recently had the honor of teaching at the Southeastern Museums Conference’s Jekyll Island Management Institute (JIMI). The nineteen cohort participants, drawn from a broad range of backgrounds and museums, represented an inspiring look at the next generation of museum leadership in this nation.

During the course of the day teaching, a valuable discussion arose on the fundamental lack of understanding of black philanthropy. We find ourselves in this conversation a lot. Many, many boards simply do not understand the deep roots of black giving.

In August, 2021, the Tides Foundation posted an excellent perspective by Hawwa Muhammad titled “Five Facts to Know About Black Philanthropy.” Ms. Muhammad’s excellent article is a must-read for nonprofits struggling to determine why their organizations are not connecting with the African American Community.

An important message that will resonate with fundraisers: “Black households give 25% more of their income annually than white households, and nearly two-thirds of African-American households donate to organizations and causes, totaling $11 billion each year.” Despite the racial wealth gap, Black households continue to prioritize giving because it is so strongly ingrained culturally.

Our Fundraising Search has always been a champion of diversification in both the profession and in fundraising strategies. Reaching new communities requires a sincere, genuine and organic approach. One of the most valuable organizations that we work with is the African American Development Officer’s Network, AADO. AADO’s members are professionals of color and allies that have designated fundraising and/or development as their primary responsibility in their organization. Their mission is to provide professional development, education, employment support, mentorship, and networking opportunities for fundraisers of color.

In a profession that is nearly 85% white, non-Hispanic, the role of AADO is critical. This April, they will hold their conference on Diverse Philanthropy and Leadership in Atlanta. The conference will be co-presented with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and will concentrate on emerging philanthropic markets in development, while exploring minority wealth, philanthropic behaviors, and diverse engagement strategies. The program also features sessions on enhancing management and leadership skills for development professionals of diverse backgrounds.

There are over 3,000 members of AADO across North America. We are proud of our association with them and we strongly encourage our clients and friends to engage with the organization and participate in this great conference.


  • D.M. Paule

    Dave Paule is an experienced chief executive officer, fundraiser, marketer, writer and educator. He specializes in jumpstarting stagnant operations, global business turn-arounds, and building green-field organizations. Dave is Principal & Managing Director at Our Fundraising Search and is a member of the faculty of Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson School of Business.