I had the opportunity to attend the Philanthropy Roundtable Annual Meeting last month on behalf of Kaulig Giving and the Kaulig Foundation. While conferences may conjure up boring thoughts of airport travel, bland hotel conference rooms and lots of average tasting coffee, I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to connect with others in my profession. It’s energizing to meet another person in the same professional space as you. Someone who instantly understands your opportunities and challenges at work and with whom you can immediately share ideas, past successes and failures.
On a more frivolous note, when I was at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, I was always amused by the regional distinctions of fundraising staff from different parts of the country. When we all were brought together it almost felt scripted!. The ladies from Texas wore big hair and colorful makeup and spoke with drawl. The staff from Colorado was relaxed and easy going while the contingency from New Jersey was hard-nosed and impatient. I can go on, but in the end, I would say fundraisers are generally hard working, enthusiastic and upbeat like cheerleaders at a high school game. In fact, I think most of us were cheerleaders in high school!
I wasn’t sure who and what to expect on at this particular philanthropy conference, but needless to say, I quickly connected with a couple of acquaintances and met new colleagues as well. As in my fundraising days, I easily fell into conversations about work with others. These new colleagues happily shared advice and encouragement and that alone was worthwhile.
From there, the conference provided a lot of information. The Philanthropy Roundtable’s mission is “to foster excellence in philanthropy, to protect philanthropic freedom, to assist donors in achieving their philanthropic intent, and to help donors advance liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility in America and abroad.” I appreciated the conservative and independent streak that was an undercurrent moving through all of the presentations and conversations.
Sessions wrestled with significant issues facing our communities and nation today and possible initiatives and solutions to solve problems. More pragmatic workshops discussed logistical matters such as effective giving and donor intent. The information was robust and helpful, and I often took a step away to digest my thoughts and understand ways to apply the new information to our Kaulig Giving and Kaulig Foundation work.
Now that a few weeks have passed since my experience at the conference, the result is that my interest in helping our company and donors continue to define their philanthropic values has sharpened. I’m even more committed to identifying the problems nagging us most and successfully measuring our community involvement and impact.
With this in mind, I’m wrapping up my writing and getting back to work.
Until next time – Stacey