The New Buzzwords in Philanthropy

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.



Phoenix Funders Eye Basic Services

The new normal is here to stay.

Major Phoenix funders will keep giving to causes that focus on food, shelter and clothing. This recently led Bank of America to shift its giving priorities to three critical areas:  housing, jobs and hunger. According to Maria Echeveste at Bank of America, this reflects the realities of the Phoenix market.

Funders want to help families relying on food banks and shelters so that they achieve self-sufficiency.  According to Jodi Liggett at the Arizona Foundation for Women, their major priority is to strengthen single moms and their families. A single mom with two kids needs to make $20 per hour and have a college degreee to achieve self-sufficiency in the Phoenix market.

The Safeway Foundation also has its priorities focused on helping the disabled and providing health and hunger relief for individuals. The funders highlighted their major giving priorities at a recent grants forum organized by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits.