The new buzzwords in philanthropy are: austerity, lean, collaboration, best practices, mergers, partnerships. And, the most used word? Creativity.
A panel of business and nonprofit leaders gave out these buzzwords at a Nonprofit Business Summit hosted by the Phoenix Business Journal earlier today. They repeated creativity often that it meant how you can adapt, be flexible and cut costs.
Businesses warned about the death of checkbook philanthropy as they face increasing pressure from employee groups to provide meaningful community engagement opportunities. The reality is, businesses need nonprofits more than ever. For example, St. Vincent de Paul now provides a Saturday family volunteer opportunity for US Airways employees so that they can bring in their family to volunteer at the nonprofits facilities. This Saturday morning volunteer encounter is now a national model of meaningful nonprofit-business partnerships.
More employees want to get a clear understanding about the mission of nonprofit organizations before directing their funds. This is forcing community relations managers to get a better grasp of the nonprofit world.
In terms of creativity, a recent project involved Cox Communications partnering with Barrett Jackson to auction a car. The proceeds then went to Make a Wish Foundation. This is creative philanthropy in action as multiple entities join together to help a worthy cause. With their charitable budget staying flat for the last decade, the company has used creative ways to generate larger funding for Cox Charities.