"Fundraising is amazingly powerful - it's how we influence others in power and philanthropy around what is needed.  It's incredibly important to have diversity in this field to change giving trends and cultivate abundance."

- Long-time Fundraising Professional of Color

The 2021 Cause Effective Fellows Program: Advancing Leaders of Color in Fundraising will be releasing applications soon.  We will also be launching a new program for executive directors of color – Focus on Fundraising: Building Power for Executive Leaders of Color.  If you are interested in finding out more about these programs, email consulting@causeeffective.org

For nearly four decades, Cause Effective has worked to strengthen thousands of nonprofit organizations and those who lead them.  In the past year, we 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?

Money, Power and Race: The Lived Experience of Fundraisers of Color

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. 

Cause Effective Fellows Program: Advancing Leaders of Color in Fundraising

As a follow-on to the report, the team at Cause Effective wanted to do more to encourage systemic change to support the entry, retention, promotion, satisfaction and success of professionals of color in fundraising. Cause Effective Fellows Program: Advancing Leaders of Color in Fundraising is the result.

Cause Effective’s intention with both of these programs is to influence the sector to confront the biases that are interwoven with issues of race, class, money, and power, and to eradicate the conditions that make it so difficult for professionals of color to survive and thrive in the fundraising vocation. We are honored to spearhead these as an embodiment of our commitment to strengthening nonprofit leaders and the world they seek to create.

We invite you to join us on this journey as part of the team devising, taking responsibility for, and implementing solutions.




  • 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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