At the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, collaboration is key.
Recently, the school participated in two collaborative panels with other schools and organizations on information and research related to international philanthropy and board diversity. Working with other schools and organizations provides the opportunity for the school to augment and deepen its research and knowledge on philanthropy.
The first panel took place in Bloomington, Indiana and featured Dr. Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs, and Dr. Carol Adelman, the creator of the Global Indices and visiting research professor. Indiana University First Lady and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy alumna Laurie Burns McRobbie, M.A. ’16, moderated the discussion. The panel was sponsored by three Indiana University schools, including the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the School of Global and International Studies, and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) Bloomington.
“I’ve always been interested in international affairs and how foreign aid has played a role in diplomacy,” Dr. Adelman said about the creation of the Global Indices. “I noticed that private players, such as individuals and foundations, were donating money internationally but that number isn’t included in official development assistance (ODA). We discovered and analyzed the source of that giving, which included corporate records, foundations, individual, NGO, and religious giving, and devised ways to measure private philanthropic giving and volunteerism.”
Dr. Adelman and her team discovered at the time that private philanthropic giving was nearing the same amount as ODA; it has since outpaced ODA. Last year, the Global Indices were transferred from the Hudson Institute to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
“I wanted to find an institution that understands and conducts important research while also engaging foreign students. I believe I found the best one to facilitate that,” Dr. Adelman said.
Dr. Osili outlined the school plans for the indices.
“We’re going to utilize the school’s networks of international students and partners,” she said. “We’re also expanding the number of countries we’re studying to 80 and ‘going deeper’ by analyzing social, cultural, and political contexts that drive trends.”
The panel also explored the question of giving in one’s home country vs. overseas. Dr. Osili commented that individuals gain from giving to both, while Dr. Adelman explained that international philanthropy is good for democracies and for rights and freedom.
At the end, McRobbie asked each of the panelists to touch on global philanthropic trends they expect to see in 2018. Dr. Osili and Dr. Adelman both mentioned that technology and crowdfunding will play a role in international giving.
In addition to co-sponsoring events, the school also partners with organizations to produce relevant, interesting, and thorough research.
Another panel was sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and featured Dr. Osili, Angela White, CEO of Johnson, Grossnickle, and Associates, Vernetta Walker, chief governance officer and vice president of programs for BoardSource, and alumnus George Suttles, M.A. ’13, program officer with The John A. Hartford Foundation. The panelists shared their knowledge about recently-published research on nonprofit board diversity, how the research pertains to nonprofits, and practical advice for nonprofit organizations.
They first commented on the importance of having diversity on boards. Walker stated that building more diverse boards gives nonprofits the opportunity to lead authentically. White added that the case studies included in the report offer an opportunity to see what gifts a board can bring to the table.
“They illustrate that institutions need to be flexible, open to change, and embrace board development as a continuum,” White said.
Suttles pointed out that involving younger board members promotes a higher level of engagement. He stated that organizations should also create pathways for donors of color with high net worth to become more involved with the organization.
All three professionals presented practical tips for nonprofits to increase board diversity. Walker emphasized that organizations need to prioritize diversity and make connections with potential donors and board members.
“Organizations should become comfortable with uncomfortable conversations. It’s also important to create a culture and environment that is welcoming and able to mentor new board members,” she said.
White encouraged nonprofits to look at the case studies presented in the research.
“It takes time to change a culture and an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion to better further the mission,” White said, while also encouraging organizations to personalize a board member’s experience.
Suttles said that organizations should remain committed and find ways to raise levels of cultural competency.
“If you engage people to understand your mission and resources, it allows them to see how the organization creates opportunities,” he said.
Walker, White, and Suttles also provided one additional piece of advice for nonprofits and boards. Walker encouraged nonprofits to have a conversation on what diversity means in their organizations. White reiterated the important point of nonprofits providing a continuum of board service to current and potential board members. Suttles urged nonprofits to connect everything they do to the mission of the organization.
Abby Rolland is the blog content coordinator for the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.