On September 19-20, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, in partnership with the University of Chicago, will host the 5th annual Science of Philanthropy Initiative (SPI) Conference in Indianapolis.
SPI is an initiative started by John List, Michael Price, and Anya Samek in 2012 to encourage experimental (field and lab) research on charitable giving. In addition to providing an avenue for research discussions, another aim of the conference is to bring together researchers studying charitable giving with practitioners in the field of philanthropy.
Ivan Adames, associate vice president for philanthropy at DePaul University in Chicago, has been an SPI attendee and presenter for several years. With over 20 years of experience in fundraising, Adames believes that SPI is a unique opportunity for practitioners and academics to gather together to exchange ideas, data, and problems they encounter in the nonprofit sector.
“There are so many researchers around the world who are asking important questions of our space. I see a real commitment to making that research accessible and useful to practitioners,” he said.
Adames has participated in SPI for multiple years after meeting with List and discussing the relationship between research and practice. He has also participated in panels where practitioners and academics would discuss questions and issues about philanthropy.
However, he noted the challenges bridging research and practice: “How do we give researchers the right access to data? In what ways can they support practitioners with data and research? How do we give practitioners time to connect with researchers to help solve these problems?
“SPI is helping address these questions, and the partnership with Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has been quite beneficial as well. The school’s network of practitioners is wide, and it can expose more practitioners to all that SPI researchers can offer.
“I’m grateful for SPI for its efforts to try and match practitioners and researchers together. I hope we can continue to have these conversations about how practice can benefit research and vice versa within philanthropy.”
This year, the conference will share new findings and insights about giving and volunteering such as:
- Do images in fundraising materials contribute to gender or racial biases?
- Whether donors continue to experience the “warm glow” of giving over time
- Do matching funds really increase giving?
- Is there a time limit during which healthcare nonprofits should solicit grateful patients?
- Does charitable giving to one cause come at the expense of giving to other causes?
- How volunteering may help slow cognitive decline in senior citizens
- Are nonprofits with higher overhead costs less likely to receive contributions?
- How religious beliefs drive where and how much donors give
- Does #GivingTueday lift—or shift—year-end giving?
- Are parents more likely to give as a way to teach children about helping others?
Interested in these topics and more?
The deadline to register is September 10.