By Jeffrey D. Byrne
President + CEO
At JB+A, we tell our clients all the time: philanthropy is about relationships.
I’d like to acknowledge a relationship I think is incredibly valuable and important in the world of philanthropy.
First, some background. As most of you know, my firm belongs to the Giving Institute (GI.) The GI was originally founded in 1935, and beyond our original charge of promoting the evolution of a professional and ethical fundraising field, our other commitment is to promoting philanthropy. To this end, in 1955, we first published Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy. We later incorporated the Giving USA Foundation to carry out and expand our public service goals.
Today, Giving USA is the most influential publication reporting on the sources and uses of charitable giving in the United States. It is the only source of longitudinal giving data for the past 60 years in the United States. No other source provides the context for annual giving like Giving USA. And its long and successful history is the result of its adherence to using the most rigorous methodologies available.
And who helps ensure we are using the most accurate estimates and trend data on charitable giving? Who helps us make sense of these numbers? The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
The GI is in its 13th year of partnership with the School of Philanthropy. The School researches and writes Giving USA, and collaborates with GI member firms in developing and presenting special programs, forums and panels to share annual Giving USA data and make it relevant and productive for the nonprofits we serve. (Click here to learn more about the Giving 2014 presentation here in KC in June.)
Giving USA and these programs would not be the valuable resources they are today, if not for the diligent and meticulous work of the School. Led by Dr. Patrick Rooney, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research, the School’s staff works tirelessly to gather, validate and analyze the numbers that serve as benchmarks for fundraising comparisons and as indicators of the impact of economic, social and political changes on giving. The School is also completely transparent in sharing its methodology and sources, and consistently collaborates with other organizations to improve the understanding of philanthropy.
I am proud of this longstanding relationship with the team from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. I am grateful for their contribution to the world of philanthropy, and how they help GI member firms – including JB+A – help nonprofits achieve fundraising success.