How Charitable Giving (Still) Perpetuates Inequity Among Nonprofits
Last year, Faunalytics published a blog ahead of Giving Tuesday sharing key data on the pervasive problem of inequity in philanthropy. Each of our team members chose an organization to highlight in an effort to uplift our fellow animal advocates, bringing attention to important but possibly overlooked efforts of others in the animal protection movement.
We received positive feedback from advocates and funders alike. While not all organizations we featured received any donations, one advocate in particular shared that their organization received a substantial gift from a supporter of ours who had read the blog. Therefore, we’ve put together a new edition for this Giving Tuesday, sharing the spotlight once again with worthy groups who could use your support.
The Game Is Rigged
Last year, we shared a few alarming data points that helped illuminate inequity in nonprofit fundraising: people of color (POC) were much more likely to report a lack of relationships with funding sources than white respondents, unrestricted assets of Black-led organizations are 76% smaller than their white-led counterparts, and foundation funding for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities accounts for less than half of 1% of all U.S. grantmaking. This data is just the tip of the iceberg.
If we dive a little deeper, it’s clear that inequity is also at play for LGBTQ fundraisers, and the issue becomes even worse if you’re a fundraiser who is both POC and LGBTQ. Race to Lead reported the following, more nuanced breakdown: 44% of LGBTQ POC, 41% of straight POC, and 35% of white LGBTQ reported a lack of relationships with funding sources as a challenge, compared to 32% of straight white respondents.
Furthermore, a 2022 report from the Nonprofit Finance Fund found white-led nonprofits were more likely to receive corporate donations than POC-led nonprofits (71% vs 58%). Additionally, 41% of white-led nonprofits received 50% or more unrestricted funds compared to 26% of POC-led organizations. This is concerning, because these trends coincide with a transition toward greater nonprofit reliance on a small number of very wealthy donors. As Inequality.org noted, “these major donors thus gain increasing influence over charities’ activities and even their core missions. And this endangers not only the charities themselves, but also those who depend on their work.”
The Movement Is Global
The animal protection movement is global, and another major philanthropic issue is the geographic distribution of funding. A report by Farmed Animal Funders noted that one of the movement’s most significant areas of improvement is its limited geographical reach. Despite the slaughter and suffering of animals being a global issue, less than 20% of the estimated $200 million donated to the movement worldwide was spent in countries outside the United States, United Kingdom, and Western Europe. As Vox reported, “While experts estimate that 6% of the world’s farm animals are located in the U.S. and Europe, advocacy groups in those regions collect the lion’s share of funding.”
For all of the reasons above and more, it is vital that philanthropy expand its generosity if we want to make large-scale change for animals. We need to level the playing field for fundraisers and we need to better distribute funding to the Global South. We need to support and share the incredible work of our colleagues around the world, because our research has found that many donors are willing to do more when presented with the opportunity.
The Spotlight Is Theirs
The Stanford Social Innovation Review has found that leaders of color are consistently hitting four key barriers with their fundraising: 1) getting connected, 2) building rapport, 3) securing support, and 4) sustaining relationships. “These barriers represent ways that unconscious bias can work its way into institutional processes and be internalized by philanthropic professionals. It’s unintentional, for the most part, but pernicious nonetheless.”
The Faunalytics team would like to use our platform to elevate ten additional organizations in our movement that donors should consider connecting with this Giving Tuesday. Just like last year, we aren’t suggesting their work based on a specific definition of effectiveness. We simply think these POC and/or LGBTQ led organizations are doing vital, likely overlooked work. We hope you’ll join us in supporting these groups (as well as those we highlighted last year) this Giving Season.
I proudly support APEX Advocacy because they uplift advocates and communities of color, ensuring that everyone's voice is heard in the fight for animal rights. Donating to APEX will support initiatives that build coalitions between different social justice movements, helping create more animal advocates with a diverse range of perspectives, thereby strengthening our community.
This nonprofit is near and dear to my heart and one I have supported for many years now. They were founded to help save the dog and cat populations in the Galapagos Islands by partnering with the local community for a sterilization program. They have since grown and serve many communities internationally.
Black Vegan Experience
I greatly admire their mission to connect with historically significant communities. One example is an event they held in Tulsa, known as Black Wall Street prior to the Tulsa Race Massacre. Their vision was to acknowledge Tulsa’s history while bringing hope and energy for the future. Supporting The Black Vegan Experience will help them expand their reach to more communities that can benefit from their programming.
Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations
I'm a firm believer that we are always greater together than the sum of our parts. I'm incredibly inspired by the coalition- and capacity-building work FIAPO does for the animal movement in India — something advocates around the world should aspire to. They also cover a range of issues beyond farmed animal protection, providing advocates with many entry points into their work and the world of advocacy.
Good Food Fund
What I love most about the Good Food Fund is their commitment to promoting the health of people, animals, and the planet. Their work focuses on transforming the food system in China to be healthier and more environmentally-friendly.
I really admire their intersectional approach toward systems change, and how they collaborate with stakeholders from different domains (climate change, farmers, business, health) to collectively work towards a plant-based future.
I love their holistic view of the change we need; they have programs to fight financial support of factory farming, plant-based initiatives, and investigations to document animal abuse -- all the while keeping their community front-and-center.
I just learned about United Collective and can’t wait to see what they accomplish. I was thrilled to read about their plans for new original research on the very topic of what this entire blog is about. There is so much possibility here and I hope they get the support they need to thrive.
I adore what they're doing. They have different chapters across the United States, a book club, and host events such as screenings and workshops. I really appreciate their blog (which I binge-read when I first discovered it), which often focuses on plant-based eating as a way to address climate change.
Like other critically important sanctuaries, VINE provides a safe haven for these animals and advocates for a vegan lifestyle. But for me, what makes VINE stand out is its longstanding dedication to highlighting how veganism is only one part of a larger, intersectional quest for collective liberation. I continue to learn so much from VINE about the connections between speciesism and climate change, economic exploitation, transphobia, and more.
Broader donation options include The People’s Fund (run by Mercy for Animals and focused on addressing racial inequity in funding), the Movement Grants program (run by Animal Charity Evaluators and aimed at strengthening global animal advocacy), or Women Funders in Animal Rights (a giving circle that prioritizes organizations run by women of color/women/non-binary advocates).
To learn more about other ways that Faunalytics is working to address inequity in our organization and in the movement, please visit our Commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility.