Reflecting on the Corporate Giving Network’s Mission and Purpose, the following six topics were covered in detail:
- Corporate Philanthropy (Grants, cash and goods-in-kind)
- Sponsorships, Endorsements & Underwriting
- Cause Marketing
- Employee Volunteerism
- Workplace Giving
- Skills building
Despite initial technical glitches in the break-out chat room on Thursday morning, once online, there were some insightful discussions on the challenges of working remotely during the pandemic. There was some sharing about virtual fundraising and volunteer/employee engagement that was effective during the last six months. CGN Founder and CEO, Joy Stephens welcomed attendees each day as well as introduced speakers, moderators, and sponsors.
A Welcome Gift Box was available to each conference attendee filled with items from the sponsors along with raffle tickets for prizes donated by the Girls Scouts of Western Washington, the CGN and the Women in Finance at Amazon.
The conference kicked off with a keynote from Mari Horita, Vice President of Community Engagement and Philanthropy for Seattle’s newest pro sports team, NHL’s Seattle Kraken. She discussed how the team was brought to Seattle and how rebuilding the Seattle Arena into the innovative Climate Pledge Arena was an integral part of that process. Installing the artwork of local artists in the arena along with the simultaneous creation of a nonprofit foundation to promote art, diversity, and “Hockey for All” makes community engagement easier for a new entity like Kraken.
The next session was Cause Marketing which featured Marie-Claude Milot (Darigold), Tara Jones (Girls Scouts of Western Washington) and Tiffany Sanders (QFC | Kroger). Cause marketing was defined as fundraising in which companies donate a percentage of the sales of a product or service to a nonprofit. Darigold and Girl Scouts shared their story of how Darigold donates a percentage of the sale of its milk to Girl Scouts during the month of March.
The mid-morning Sponsorship session, moderated by Joy included panelists: Andrew Over (Regence BlueShield), Debra Holland (Columbia Bank) and Hillary Schneider (Sellen Construction). The discussion cited recent successful partnerships both before and during the pandemic and demonstrated the differences between how companies approach sponsorships.
Thursday’s final session was a Skills Builder focusing on Emotional Intelligence and Social Styles. Presented by Kathy Parks from KPCoaching, this segment identified the four main types of personality styles, along with ways to recognize these in your donors. This knowledge leads to interacting with them the way they liked to be treated, not the way you want to be treated. This of course leads to better and deeper relationships. It is a given fact that donors prefer to deal with people who make them feel comfortable.
The first day of the conference ended with Zeacon’s virtual recreation of tradeshow/conference booths where attendees can create an avatar and move among sponsor booths chatting with each other.
On Friday morning, the Breakfast Chat Rooms were open and available which started the second day off with an energy that carried throughout the day. Attendees networked and chatted with their peers about Thursday’s content. A popular topic was Kathy Park’s emotional intelligence presentation.
After opening remarks from Joy, the second day of the conference kicked off with a session on Board Importance during COVID-19. The speakers for this session were Jesse Rhodes (Amazon), Ranna Daud (After-School All-Stars), Andrew Miller (Google) and Maya Hemachandra (Solid Ground). The idea was to explore the benefits of having a board member from ‘Corporate America’. The group agreed that it helps build awareness, shows credibility, and brings revenue from matching funds. This said, the group emphasized that the most important piece was to have a board member fully engaged and passionate about your cause.
The next session focused on Employee Volunteerism and Workplace Giving with Tracy Wort (Symetra) and Amanda Course (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). Moderated by Heather Muir of Benevity, this discussion explored the ways in which employees at Symetra and the Gates Foundation got involved with nonprofits through volunteering and donations. Both organizations use the Benevity platform which helps their workforce find nonprofits whose causes they care about. A tip from Heather was for every nonprofit to go onto the Benevity site and claim your profile and ensure all the ways employees can interact with you are listed.
Friday’s mid-morning segment, Corporate Philanthropy featured a discussion among Ashley Monson (Tableau), John Delaney (Formerly Windstar Cruises) and Carina Weyer (F5 and F5 Foundation). Speakers related recent corporate giving success stories and in the case of F5, shared how they issue grants using donor-advised fund held with Seattle Foundation.
The conference wrapped up with The Skills Building Session, Negotiation Skills 101 presented by Thomasina Tafur. Ms. Tafur reminded us that “everything is a negotiation” and negotiations of all kinds are a ubiquitous part of all of our relationships and everyday interactions. There are different types of negotiations and negotiation styles and understanding them can help nonprofit professionals “get to yes” with donors. Viewing such communications as collaborative and as an exchange of goodwill instead of as transaction may result in more positive outcomes for both parties.
The conference wrapped up with One Eighty Foundation awarding $1,000 gift to American Red Cross for a story Julie Kent submitted on how she used the tools, tips and tricks to raise funding for her organization from presentations at the CGN Learning@Lunch sessions and conference. Congrats to Julie.