Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 2011 Engage - The State of Giving

Collaboration, creativity, and a focus on volunteers were some the of the key topics addressed by an expert panel at the December 6 Engage breakfast. A sold-out crowd of more than 150 filled the Kodosky Lounge at the Long Center for the Performing Arts to hear Jeff Garvey (President and CEO, Austin Community Foundation), Patsy Woods Martin (Founder and Executive Director, I Live Here, I Give Here) Lynn Meredith (President, MFI Foundation), and Gerry Tucker (Vice Chair, A Legacy of Giving; VP of Human Resources, Austin Community College) discuss the state of philanthropy in Central Texas. KXAN Chief Weathercaster Jim Spencer moderated the panel.

UPDATE: read a great recap of the event from speaker and consultant Thom Singer, and see the coverage from Community Impact News and KXAN-TV.

December Engage breakfast in the Long Center's Kodosky Lounge

The panel also addressed corporate giving. According to Garvey, only five percent of the $300 billion in charitable giving in 2010 came from corporations. However, Garvey acknowledged that, like struggling non-profits, businesses large and small have been hit hard by the economy. Through an interactive mobile poll provided by 44Doors, audience members strongly supported the notion that companies should give more.

Here are a few other notable comments from our panelists:

  • There are more non-profits in Central Texas than gas stations and restaurants combined. -Jeff Garvey
  • When economic times impacted Austin in the past, non-profits came together. Collaborations happened, new non-profits formed; we have an opportunity to do that again. It's something positive we can focus on. -Lynn Meredith
  • There is no magic to raising money. It's a process. It's about meeting the needs of the individuals from whom we want support. Are you doing it [fundraising] reactively, or are you doing intentionally? -Patsy Woods Martin
  • Do your homework. It is a process and there's a way to do it. It really is 'why do you believe in it?' The most important thing is to take care of that donor afterwards - whether they say yes or no. Staying in that relationship is critical because you don't know when they may be ready to give. -Lynn Meredith
  • Connect the donor with what you do. Find what tugs at their hearts, and be creative. If you're running your agency like you always used to run it, it won't work any more. You have to do things differently. -Gerry Tucker
  • There is no substitute for passion. Passion is contagious. Have your most passionate people delivering the ask. -Jeff Garvey

Complete polling results from the event are below, along with references from the discussion and the audio podcast. Thanks again to our presenting sponsor, Capital One Bank, and special thanks to our program partners, The Long Center for the Performing Arts, KXAN News, and Sterling Affairs Catering and Events.

Now it's your turn... stay engaged and get informed! What did you think of the program? What are your next steps for taking a leading role seeing that philanthropy is promoted and applauded in Austin? How can Leadership Austin help? Leave a comment and let us know!

References from the discussion:


Live polling results:

Question 1: I wish I could give more to charitable organizations,
but my personal finances take priority in the current economy.

Question 2: The charitable organizations I (or my company)
support have had to cut programs or resources in a
way that reduces the quality of life in our community.

Question 3: For-profit companies have a responsibility to help
fill the philanthropy gap through increased corporate giving.

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