Feeling squeezed by what they say are excessive and duplicate requests for funding by industry foundations, meeting and travel industry suppliers in April held a summit, the first of its kind, to discuss the issue.
At the meeting in Washington, D.C., six convention/travel associations and nine major hospitality industry suppliers began to hammer out a blueprint for the way that association foundations are funded. They 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 — in which 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 in order to facilitate collaboration. Details on the committee will be worked out In the coming months.
Participants discussed creating a “common pot” into which donations would be made for use by the associations. Not all agreed with the concept, but the parties did agree to explore it further at future meetings.
The April meeting was attended by the president and/or chief executive officer of the industry associations with the largest foundations, including Meeting Professionals International, Professional Convention Management Association, National Business Travel Association, the American Society of Association Executives and the Center for Association Leadership, International Association for Exhibition Management, and Destination Marketing Association International.
Nine of the biggest foundation funders were represented, including hotel chains Starwood, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, InterContinental, and Gaylord. United Airlines, Freeman Cos., and G.E.S. also participated.