A group of people with one thing in common—a passionate belief in the power of non-profit action—met in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. The Growing Philanthropy Summit was the first of two gatherings (the second to be held in London in July) that came together to discuss what we could do to kick-start growth in philanthropy.
We pride ourselves on our commitment to philanthropy and the strong tradition of community engagement here in North America. But growth has stalled—look no further than the recent Giving USA figures, the latest Nonprofit Research Collaborative and AFP’s past State of Fundraising Surveys. Given a choice between maintaining our standards of living or our levels of giving, many of us will opt for the former. That’s understandable.
So what’s to do? We looked at our knowledge base, at trust and confidence and at the relationships between individuals and the causes they support. We recognized that all of our assumptions are being challenged by the speed of change—and reacting to that change—that we all live with.
So we committed to explore ways of improving the knowledge base – bringing consistency and free access to it. We discussed how we might up our game in communications skills and above all, that we HAVE to listen to the individuals who support us, understand how they want to engage and utilize what’s working for them. It doesn’t sound new, does it? But how many of us can honestly say that we’re doing it.
There’ll be more to come in July after our second summit. What do you think—are we on the right track?