In a first-ever summit to discuss foundation funding, industry leaders laid out a new blueprint for the way association foundations are funded. The meeting was held April 25th at the Westin Grand, Washington, D.C.
Six convention/travel associations and nine major hospitality industry suppliers agreed that future foundation fundraising campaigns should be project-specific, with a statement and documentation of return on investment for funders. Open-ended fundraisers or capital campaigns—where general donations are sought with the money later earmarked for projects by the association—will be eschewed.
The group also decided that a committee would be appointed within the Convention Industry Council to monitor projects and initiatives taken on by the various associations to facilitate collaboration. In the coming months, details on the operation and composition of the committee will be hammered out.
Further, participants discussed the idea of creating a “common pot” into which donations would be made for use by the associations, explains David Scypinski, senior vice president, industry relations, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Washington, D.C. Not all agreed with the concept, but the parties did agree to explore it further at future meetings.
According to Scypinski, suppliers organized the summit because they felt that the dozen or so companies that donate the bulk of the money to foundations were: a) getting squeezed by too many requests; b) funding too many overlapping projects; and c) were not seeing. All the suppliers at the meeting said their budgets are shrinking and ROI is critical in justifying expenses, whether it’s hiring a new employee or donating to a foundation.
The meeting was attended by the president and/or chief executive officer of the six associations with the largest foundations, including: the American Society of Association Executives and the Center for Association Leadership, Meeting Professionals International, Professional Convention Management Association, National Business Travel Association, International Association for Exhibition Management, and Destination Marketing Association International.
Overall, 11 of CIC’s 32 member organizations have foundations. Only the six largest were invited to attend the summit, but other associations with foundations may be invited to the next meeting.
On the supplier side, nine of the biggest foundation funders were represented, including hotel chains Starwood, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Intercontinental, and Gaylord. United Airlines, Freeman Companies, and G.E.S. also attended. Nancy Morrell-Swanson, president, Global Marketing Services, was the moderator. CIC Attorney Jeff King also attended.
No date or time frame was established for the next meeting.