On Thursday July 20, SRQ Magazine took our SB2 attendees on a journey into the minds, missions and hearts behind some of Sarasota’s most notable charitable foundations and organizations at SB2 GOOD HAND: Building Capacity in our Independent Sector. Hosted at The Francis in Downtown Sarasota, the discussion took a look at the ways to develop and improve donor relations.
After opening remarks from Event Sponsor, Jaime DiDomenico of Cool Today, David Odahowski, President and CEO of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation gave a compelling presentation on innovation in giving and most importantly return on investment. “There is a sea of almost 84,000 non-profit organizations in Florida seeking funds from foundations, government and other non-profit funders,” Odahowski stated.
With the non profit sector constantly innovating, the demand for effective use of dollars in turn requires nonprofit leaders then to stay up to date with the best practices and technologies utilized within the giving community. “Donors are consumers, and they want the Amazon Prime experience,” Odahowksi stated with regards to simplified giving.
According to local philanthropic leaders, today’s donors expect involvement in how their dollars get expended, a major shift from decades past when it comes to large sum donations. “If a donor has put in a life time of work, worry and risk, you better believe that the donor is going to expect more and ultimately get it,” Odahowksi stated in his address.
Between sips of coffee and bites of maple coated bacon, guests were able to hear from non-for-profit movers and shakers in our region known as the ‘giving coast’. Panelists hailed from a variety of organizations: Roxie Jerde from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Stacey Corley from the Ringling College of Art and Design, Veronica Brandon Miller from Goodwill Manasota Foundation, Susie Bowie from the Manatee Community Foundation and Heidi Brown from the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the Suncoast. Panelists were passionate about donor relationship building and stressed that organizations who fail to work with those giving funds may see the resources head someplace else.
Veronica Brandon Miller, Vice President of the Goodwill Manasota Foundation kicked off the conversation by explaining the shift in donor expectations. Organizations are no longer seeing the typical donor giving from generations past. Today’s donors, work hard for the money that they have earned. “You have to be part of that shift and understand the donors thinking because it is not the same. The donor of today has earned their money. They want to see a return on their investment and be part of this change,” she explained.
To that point, Stacey Corley, Vice President for Advancement at the Ringling College of Art and Design believes that donors to the college are truly committed to transformational change. “A lot of our donors really care about changing lives and seeing the impact of their giving. Many times we might be raising money for a building but its not about the bricks, paint or materials, it’s about what that building will do for students and community members. ”
Today’s donor also prefers to allocate their funds to a specific intention, but what happens when the intentions do not match the needs or mission of an organization? Roxie Jerde, President & CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County works closely and listens intently to those willing or currently donating to ensure funds match the non-profit mission and will remain useful for years to come. “People who work hard for their money, want to work hard giving it away and be smart about that,” Jerde explained.
Similarly, Manatee Community Foundation Executive Director Susie Bowie said her organization’s top goal remains honoring intent. “It takes a great deal of trust that the donor has to have in us that we know the community and we know the community need.”
From an organizational standpoint, Heidi Brown, President of the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the Suncoast, feels it is more important to zero in on specific organizational needs to ensure resources get leveraged to best serve their clients benefiting from philanthropy. “If we are spread too thin or working in areas where we do not have the expertise and praise, then I’m not certain we’re serving the community or the donor,” she said.
We couldn’t have learned the incredible things from this engaging discussion without our incredible 2017-2018 series sponsors: CS&L CPAs, The Resort at Longboat Key Club, and the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Thank you for supporting the SB2 series, but most importantly, thank you for the ways you give back and help people in our community each and every day. Your example inspires us.
SRQ is pleased to announce that the 2017-2018 SB2 Symposia Series will move to lunchtime. Although many die-hard SB2 fans loved getting up at the crack of dawn for SB2’s signature compelling dialogue and content (not to mention the bacon) we want to share the conversation with an expanded audience and provide for a longer deep-dive into important conversations affecting both Sarasota and Bradenton.
We invite you to join us at the New SB2 Luncheon Symposia Series at The Francis, Sarasota from 11:15am-1pm on November 30, 2017, January 25, 2018 and July 26, 2018 for incredibly engaging afternoons of insight, illuminating facts and examples of game-changing innovation.
For tickets and 2017-2018 annual VIP member passes, visit SRQSB2.com.
We hope to see you there!