A major theme from this year’s United Philanthropy Forum conference was advancing partnership and collaboration in philanthropy. Our colleagues spoke about exciting cross-sector cohorts. Inspiring presenters pushed us to be bold and to innovate. We were challenged to shift from organizational excellence to problem solving. And we were reminded of our role as the bridge between experts and those with lived experience.
With such motivating examples, there may have been one shining partnership conference-goers missed—that’s the Forum’s Knowledge Management (KM) Collaboration. This is a group of creative people from nearly 30 national and regional philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) around the country deploying a cutting-edge Drupal-Salesforce technology platform. This group also includes an impressive amount of Salesforce-certified professionals.
Led by some incredible Forum staff, we are building and supporting robust websites that are fully integrated with a Salesforce-powered membership database. By pooling resources and talent, we implement technology solutions at a fraction of the cost we’d pay to do it on our own.
I'm not surprised the KM Collaborative wasn’t a featured plenary topic. Just imagine trying to sell the story of a shared technology platform over any one of the conference’s poignant presentations (many of which moved me to tears). Yet, most of us understand smart technology is vital for pushing our sector forward, even if it doesn’t trigger that kind of emotional response—typically.
The KM Collaborative encourages innovation that helps our staff better know our audiences, our value benefit, and how we can improve marketing efforts. Automations developed by this group have reduced hours of staff time spent managing events, communications, and renewals. We’ve even created a shared e-resource library that exposes our members to national reports, case studies, and templates. And our latest development is a new member engagement tracking system that will help us look at membership and program strategies and activities more effectively.
Now in its twelfth year, the KM Collaborative is truly a perfect example of a successful partnership. This is a forward-thinking cohort that gives voice to both practiced leaders as well as some unlikely ones. New and seasoned users all give their buy-in and connect across broad geographies. We ask questions, embrace innovation, and enjoy sharing what we know.
There is so much good work to show, and even more future potential. With a shared passion for philanthropy, we’re building the relationships and infrastructure to help PSOs think strategically about what we want and how we can use technology to get us there. Talk about collaboration.
By Lissa Silotto, Communications & Marketing Manager, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance