With an increase in giving of 14+ % in 2009 and a similar number in 2008, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation was identified as one of the Top 400 Nonprofits that has consistently grown through the recession. They were noted as the institution that has grown the fastest in the Top 400 since its initial appearance about a decade ago.Kansas City is Hartsook’s international headquarters and we serve over 70 projects in KC every year. You could say we’re proud.The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation issued an announcement to its donors: “Giving going down—Not in KC.” This bold headline is an important statement not only in KC, but throughout philanthropy. A loss of a percent point or more in a particular sector or even within the group of Top 400 is not something nonprofits should take in stride.Many large, national groups are reporting the fundraising progress of their individual chapters or clubs on a local basis. Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.” By the same token, all giving is local. So if some of the significant locals don’t do well, so goes the institution.What the Greater KC Community Foundation won’t say – but I will – is that it takes talent, dedication and a plan to withstand these recessions. In the article that appeared in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, their CEO, Laura McKnight, said appropriately, “it has to do with a Kansas City giving spirit.”While that may be true, someone has to be ready to channel and direct and lead that spirit. I am willing to bet that Laura had a plan and she worked the plan. I don’t think she just relied on the Kansas City giving spirit. I don’t know, but I suspect.The Greater KC Community Foundation’s message is one that nonprofits around the country and around the world need to hear: if you don’t work for it, it isn’t going to happen.Soon, we are issuing a fundraising alert on the KC story. We mention seven different nonprofits – higher education, health care, safety net, special needs, animal welfare and the arts – all demonstrating that in KC, giving is alive and well.One prominent fundraiser recently told me that to get a million dollar gift, he used to have to talk to three people. Now he has to talk to 10. My response was, “Then we’ll talk to 10.”Thank you for indulging me a moment to share my pride in our hometown’s recognition. My bet is that every hometown has a “giving spirit.” Who is tapping into yours?
Will You Be There When John Shamberg Calls?
A big part of fundraising is showing up and being available. I learned this lesson on a very memorable New Year’s Eve, a very long time ago.
As an eager young fundraiser working for Washburn University, I didn’t know that it was unusual still to be at work in the evening of December 31st. But, there I was.
Earlier that year, a graduate of Washburn University School of Law told me he was going to give a gift of land to his synagogue, a private K-12 school and Washburn. John Shamberg, who has since passed away, made millions of dollars for institutions all over the world, and he wanted to give a significant gift to organizations he valued. His 40 acres of land on the outskirts of Kansas City were valued at $450,000, and his intention was to give $150,000 each to three organizations.
He’d left the task to the last day of the year, but now he was ready to make it happen.
He called the synagogue. No answer.
He called the K-12 school. No answer.
Then, he called Washburn and got me.
“Bob,” he said, “you just won the jackpot!”
Go here to read the full article