The Shift: How Nonprofits can Engage a changing U.S. population

3 11 2011

2011 is the year of The Shift. We’re seeing a lot of changes happening in Austin, throughout Texas and America. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know the population trends are changing in every community across our nation and forming the New America. An America that is younger, growing and more diverse. This year, with the support of TANO, Austin Community Foundation, Sooch Foundation and others, I’ve had the opportunity to launch Engage501 and connect with many nonprofit leaders across Texas and equip them with strategies that will help them build relationships with Latino and Multicultural communities that will ultimately create fundraisers, board members, volunteers and advocates within these communities. It’s been a great experience connecting with nonprofits, learning about their successes and areas where they need help, and I look forward to continuing the conversation.

Want to get started? Read my article on The Shift.

The Shift: What nonprofits can do to engage a changing U.S. population

By Mando Rayo

In case you’ve been under a rock, you should know that right now we’re on the verge of a major population shift, and your organization may not be ready.

The shift is this: According to the most recent Census brief, “Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin 2010,” both the Hispanic and Asian populations grew by 43 percent. Consider the fact that “America’s minorities account for an estimated 85 percent of U.S. population growth over the last decade” and more than half of the increase is due to the Latino population, which is now at 50.5 Million. (*U.S. Census) These numbers tell the story of a new America; America that is becoming more multicultural and interweaving our histories, traditions, cultures and people into a new nation.

To say that nonprofits aren’t ready for this shift implies that nonprofits don’t already engage this population, at least not as donors, board members, volunteers and advocates. For many nonprofits, it’s hard to visualize more minorities on this side of the table. But at the same time, we must also questions whether we’re serving these populations as best we can. If we’re not connecting with those who can help us, why would we assume we’re reaching all of those who need us?

This is not an obstacle, it’s an enormous opportunity.

By engaging and building trust with Latinos, African-Americans, Asians and all diverse populations, nonprofits stand to benefit from authentic leadership on their board that goes beyond tokenism, fundraising opportunities that have gone untapped by mainstream organizations, increased awareness and engagement with services, programs and volunteer activities and relevance in a growing multicultural America.

In order for nonprofits to truly achieve their missions, they need diverse insights, perspectives, influence, connections, fundraisers, and advocates and by engaging and creating meaningful relationships with these communities, we begin to improve all communities across America.

As we know when we build trust with volunteers and donors, they are more likely to give even more of their time, talent and treasure. A few fundraising examples include $1 Million raised with low wage workers through United Way and local grocer-HEB, $125,000 raised through what might be the first Hispanic giving circle in the country, FuturoFund Austin and nationally, $4.7 Million raised with a Spanish radio telethon with Univision and St. Jude’s Hospital.

Now let’s get practical. What can nonprofits do now to engage with these multicultural communities? Here are some suggestions:

Start today. You don’t have to have a perfect plan, you just to do it; reach out and be authentic in your approach.

Connect with the culture. When you understand and honor peoples’ culture, traditions and histories, you get closer to building trust and connecting with them in meaningful ways.  Take time to understand peoples’ backgrounds, experiences and motivations. Remember, multicultural groups are not monolithic.

Build relationships. If you’re looking for board members, build relationships with formal and informal leaders from these communities. Don’t just go with the usual suspects, reach out to new and upcoming leaders. Connect and collaborate with cultural groups and organizations that are deep-rooted in these communities.

Be a resource. Think about how your organization can be a resource to these communities. Take time to understand their needs, wants and aspirations. It’s about meeting their needs, your organizations’ needs and meeting in the middle or reaching the sweet spot. Once you hit the sweet spot, you can move forward together.

Understand your market. Be clear on whom you’re trying to engage and the best strategies to reach them. To reach young professionals, use leadership opportunities, social events and online networks; to reach families, be flexible and utilize family friendly activities and to reach new immigrants, utilize church networks and Spanish language media.

Make your organizational brand multicultural friendly. Show the diversity of your organization, leaders and people you serve through your marketing materials. It’s important to balance how you showcase the people you serve and your organization’s leadership; show how multicultural communities are contributing to your mission; don’t just show them as recipients of services. Understand that your organization might have to go through a change to become more multicultural friendly. You might have to implement changes in your board structure or in how you deliver your services.

Go to the people. It’s an age-old approach that works. Find out where people formally and informally gather. Sometimes it’ll be online via social networks and other times it’ll be at local community center or church. At first they’ll ask “what are they doing here” and as you build the trust, they’re going to be asking “why aren’t they here?”

Be committed. Show up often and when it matters. Be committed for the long-haul and show you have their best interest at heart. Don’t just outreach; engage people in the process. Be authentic and show that you care and you’ll be on your way to recruiting the biggest advocates with these communities.

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Mando Rayo is vp of engagement at Cultural Strategies and board member and founder of Engage 501, a multicultural engagement initiative at Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations (TANO).







Town of Clouds: Un Interview con Diego y Dany (vid)

11 06 2010

I love learning about people, history y culturas. And so working on this project has been right up my alley. I’m learning about the Huicholes (indigenous) people from the mountains for Jalisco, Mexico. Last week I interviewed Diego Huerta and Dany Gutierrez in preparation for Opening Night: Town of Clouds/Pueblo de las Nubes. Let me just say that Diego knows how to capture peoples’ souls. Just take a look at his work. Now let’s discover los Huicholes…

To learn more about the exhibit, visit Diego’s blog: www.diegohuerta.blogspot.com. You can join us on our Facebook event or RSVP at http://diegohuerta.eventbrite.com.





Opening Night: Town of Clouds – La Cultura de los Huicholes

2 06 2010

A couple of months ago, I met Diego Huerta and Dany Gutierrez at the offices of Hahn, Texas – Yes, they were the ones that made me look cool on the HT website! I’ve been getting to more involved in Diego’s work and have been thoroughly impressed by his commitment to his art, style and how he represents people with his photography. Diego told me about Town of Clouds and the Huichol people of Central Mexico and how he wanted to share their story to the good people of Austin, Texas y’all! So we brainstormed and brought together the Hahn, Texas and Cultural Strategies team to help support the opening and exhibit. Interested? Want to learn more? Read the Q&A with Diego Huerta and RSVP for Opening Night!

Q&A with Diego Huerta, Photographer

Can you tell me about the exhibit?
The exhibit is integrated by 43 photographs.
All of the photographs were taken in the town of San Andrés Cohamiata, Jalisco, México in May 2009.

The exhibit will be first opened in Austin, Texas during the month of June through the month of August. The photographs will be on sale and a 50% percentage of the funds will be dedicated to the community of the town of San Andrés in order to give them chaquira,wood and other materials for their crafts.

What about the people- why did you decide to do this project with them?

A year ago, when I lived in La Huasteca, Nuevo Leon, I noticed that the ritual site that had belonged so many years to the Huicholes had been closed down. Although it is not written on paper, the Huicholes have visited this ritual site for thousands of years considering it the center of the universe. Neighbors close to this site decided to shut it down and haven’t allowed them to celebrate their rituals anymore.

I looked to photograph them so modern society can recognize that there are ancient cultures with and customs and traditions and that such traditions should be acknowledged and respected.

Dany Gutierrez & Diego Huerta at the Huichol village

Tell me about the experience – What did you go through to get the project done?

First of all, we needed to plan the route to take. After a 2 day 16-hour drive, we got to the town. We also needed to give something in return, so days before we left to San Andrés, we asked for donations of food and clothes from family and friends. Being at San Andrés we had to approach the Governor to ask for permission to actually give our donations to the Huicholes. The Governor had to consult with the Elder Council. After a three-day period of waiting, we received approval to take move forward with the project. Along with the permission, we were invited to the annual ceremony that is held when the Governor steps down and gives the position to his successor.

The experience was incredible- we learned that you can never take what you have for granted. We also learned that life is easy and living it is just a day-to-day routine.

How can people learn more about the exhibit?

To learn more about the exhibit, visit Diego’s blog: www.diegohuerta.blogspot.com. We have videos, slidecasts and photos. You can join us on our Facebook event or RSVP at http://diegohuerta.eventbrite.com.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Come to the opening night on Saturday June 19 at the MACC. You will enjoy food, drinks and culture. You will also have an opportunity to help the people in San Andrés by buying the photographs. We hope to see you there!






National Museum of the American Latino, Texas Public Forum – Sat. May 1st

28 04 2010

Latinos – Stand up! We have an opportunity to showcase 500 years of Latino contributions with the creation of the National Museum of the American Latino. And there’s a chance that it might live in Austin, TX! This Saturday, May 1 at 10am, the National Museum of the American Latino Commission will be hosting the only forum in Texas to get feedback from Tejanos, Americanos, Latinos and the like. So Saturday morning, make your pan dulce and breakfast taco to go and particpate in the forum!

Adelante!

Mando





Manos p’arriba! On Your Feet International Music & Dance

22 04 2010

There’s so many things going on this weekend but if you love international music and dancing, there’s one event you can not miss! On Your Feet International Music and Dance Extravaganza is this weekend and you better get ready to get your groove on! By the way, what’s up with all these dance/music festivals calling themselves “extravaganza” all the time??? Okay, I digress.  Not only will it be a good time but it’s for a great cause. The event will raise awareness and cold hard cash for Casa Marianella, a nonprofit that provides shelter and services to immigrants in Austin.

Check out their vid and line-up!

An exotic evening of sizzling music and captivating dances by world class performers that are sure to keep your feet moving and your head bobbin!

Capoeria Evolucao
http://www.capoeiraevolucao.com/

Nritya Sangam
http://studentorgs.utexas.edu/nrityasangam/home.html

Fuerza Latina
http://www.myspace.com/fuerzalatinadanceco

Olivia Baile Flamenco
http://www.oliviabaileflamenco.org/performances.htm

Blue Lapis Light
http://www.bluelapislight.org/

Bollywood for a cause
http://www.bollywoodforacause.org/

Ritmo 3
http://www.myspace.com/ritmo3

Headliner!

Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca
http://www.makinaloca.com/





Proyecto Mosaico: 500 years of American Latino contributions

6 04 2010

Today the Austin American-Statesman published a story on Proyecto Mosaico. There’s a group in Austin that wants to bring a National Museum of the American Latino to Austin. Would that be a good fit for Austin? The group that is advocating for the museum seems to think so! Luckily, I have insider’s knowledge. Our friends at Hahn, Texas are working on the project along with a very impressive leadership committee. You may also be wondering why Austin? We’re not San Antonio, Chicago or L.A. Well, I went right to the source and asked. Here’s the information I gathered on Proyecto Mosaico.

There’s a group in Austin on a mission to locate the potential National Museum of the American Latino in Austin, Texas.

The Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino (National Museum) was signed into law (Public Law 110-229 [S.2739]) in 2008. The Commission members are tasked with studying the feasibility of creating this museum in the nation’s capital, but the National Mall is physically full.

The National Museum would provide a home for the historical artifacts, images and personal stories documenting over 500 years of American Latino contributions to the United States and it would serve as an educational tool for the thousands of anticipated visitors and instill a sense of pride in the Latino community today and in the future.

The big question is why Austin, Texas?

Nearly one in five U.S. Latinos lives in Texas—more than 8.5 million people. Eight of the nation’s top 25 counties for Latino population are in Texas, with each having more than 300,000 Latino residents; and Travis County, where Austin is located, is one of those counties. Austin is the capital of Texas and lies just west of the historic El Camino Real de los Tejas Trail, the “Crossroads of Cultures” and is on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Highway.

Austin and the Hill Country draw visitors from around the globe to its natural, cultural and lifestyle landmarks like the State Capitol, Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Blanton Museum of Art, Texas Memorial Museum, Barton Springs, Highland Lakes, SXSW, ACL Festival and many others. Austin also is a globally recognized center of scholarship, innovation and creativity with the University of Texas and it’s renowned Teresa Lozano Long Institute Latin American Studies program, the Mexican American Cultural Center, Mexic-Arte Museum, among others. And, Austin has a wonderfully blended Latino culture and demographic—a complete Latino mosaic.

Several influential leaders and academics have committed to participate in the National Museum recruitment effort.

  • The Honorable Mike Martinez, Austin Mayor Pro Tem (Chair)
  • Dr. Francisco de la Teja: Texas State University (Co-Chair)
  • Dr. Jose Limon: University of Texas (Co-Chair)
  • Robert Hicks Navarro: Camino Real
  • Andy Martinez: Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber
  • Anna Sanchez: Wells Fargo Bank
  • Luis Patino: Univision-Austin
  • Patty Gonzales: Public Affairs Director – Hahn, Texas

The group will make a presentation to the Commission in the next few weeks. We invite you to join the cause by following Proyecto Mosaico on Facebook or visit the website at www.mosaicomuseum.com.

To read the story on the Austin American Statesman, click on the link below…

Could Austin be home to a national Latino Museum?

Mando

vp, engagement

Cultural Strategies





In honor of Cesar Chavez Day: I believe in Si Se Puede!

31 03 2010

I believe in Si Se Puede!

I believe in Si Se Puede – Yes We Can. We all know the rallying cry; it’s part of our history, our culture – it’s what gives us the ganas to fight for our rights, opportunities and our freedoms. It’s as old as Latin American revolutions to the huelgas of the 60s and the campaigns of today.

Si Se Puede – it’s more than just a mantra – it’s an attitude – a call to action; a way to realize our dreams – it’s the ganas to fight for what we believe in – a constant reminder that we can and shall overcome. Si Se Puede is reaching out to people and getting connected, it’s helping people that need help & being helped when we need it, it’s undoing the wrong and making it right, and it’s standing up for what you believe in and standing up for others.

I believe in Si Se Puede because as a community organizer, I see it, breathe it and live it everyday. It embodies my outlook on life, it affects my everyday work and I’ve seen how inspirational it can be. I’ve seen the hope it brings to peoples’ lives; the idea that people can overcome any obstacle, no matter how difficult the situations may be, is life-changing.

And we need it, not only Latinos but all people. We have families living in poverty, managing two or more jobs and trying to put food on the table; our workers are earning non-livable wages; our kids aren’t prepared for school and dropping out; and too many people do not have access to healthcare. Yes, these are daunting problems but with our Si Se Puede attitudes, ganas y el pueblo unido, we can do it!

Si Se Puede means we can make things better for our families, neighbors and generations to come. We can reach out to our neighbors & stay connected, we can volunteer and give back, not because it’s a nice thing to do but a necessity to solving our community’s critical issues and, we can inspire others to make change.

Cesar Chavez, a migrant farm worker and community activist once said “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community. Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

I believe in Si Se Puede

Mando Rayo








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