Engaging Donors and the “Y & H”

(This is a guest post from Roxie Jerde, of DonorEdge & Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, who is covering the Council on Foundations Conference for Tactical Philanthropy)

By Roxie Jerde

How do we engage voices to be heard? Whether at the Council on Foundation’s Monday opening session of conference attendees from various foundation sectors, to philanthropists – large and small in our communities, to nonprofit organizations to the clients hopefully served well? The in-person discussion guided by “voting” on prescribed questions and an assimilation of ideas for trends proved to be a helpful method to gather 2700+ opinions. The desire to know results immediately was satisfied and I enjoyed the lively discussion with my pot-luck table mates. All the while I wondered when and for what key questions do we engage voices in our communities using this methodology? The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation’s leadership work evolved from the CitiStates process of gathering input and determining five priorities to a focus on the “Time to Get It Right” report issued by a blue ribbon task force of national leaders. Community voices were listened to and they have galvanized a community to realize the potential of Kansas City being a national life science leader. We will need an educated workforce which has lead to initiatives ensuring academic achievement for all in greater Kansas City, a major challenge for our urban public school districts.

I also attended the session on donor advisors, recognizing as a community foundation driven by a donor centric model, the responsibility we have working with donors. It is critical in our donor work to clarify intentions, advise on the best possible use of philanthropic dollars to achieve results and build trust so the donor is assured the community foundation will follow their intent in this lifetime and beyond. Knowing where philanthropic dollars are best invested to achieve results made me appreciate the work we have done to pioneer DonorEdge We do have a quality database of easily accessed information on results driven nonprofits and an exciting partnership with GuideStar to further strengthen our ability to tap into even more quality data nationwide.

Ending the evening at the ‘Y & H”… “young and very hip”…. Next Generation 2.0 session was invigorating! Seeing the potential to tap into the “next generation” with products and new ways of thinking of philanthropy was fun! Last July, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation launched the Charity Giving Card which uses the online DonorEdge data base for receivers of the giving cards to redeem the cards on DonorEdge nonprofits. The purchaser gets the charitable deduction and the redeemer gets to choose what is important to them ….fun and innovative philanthropy and maybe even “Y & H” in Kansas City. So what will be the next social marketing big idea for community foundations to engage the next generation?