Four Takeaways from Converge 2021

Last month, an intimate group of 20 leaders came together for Pursuant’s 8th annual Converge event.

Converge is a unique event, designed as a place for industry leaders to reflect, collaborate, and boldly innovate around what’s possible for the future. While the intimate nature of the event requires it to be invite-only and limited to a small group of leaders, the areas of discussion and insights revealed are definitely worth sharing far and wide - allowing leaders at all levels to adopt, adapt, and apply wherever possible to accelerate impact among their teams.

So, with that, I’m happy to share this year’s key topics of conversation and takeaways:

  1. Staffing For Success 

From what’s being coined the great resignation to decisions around returning to the office, staffing was part of nearly every discussion at Converge. One conversation that stood out (and surprised me a bit) was related to the question: Are the most effective Major Gift Officers introverts or extroverts? This led to a passionate dialogue centering around the act of listening to our donors, and while there was no right answer, it definitely feels like one worth discussing amongst your teams.

 

  1. Is the Donor Pyramid Serving Us well

A few weeks before Converge, this article began circulating among the Pursuant team. It sparked a lively discussion on the pros and cons related to the traditional donor pyramid. Internally we debated if the donor pyramid was still relevant and if it provided us the best framework to drive generosity in our industry. We brought this article into the room at Converge and the discussion got even more lively. I invite you to read the article and reflect on your reaction to it, then invite your team to do the same. Whether or not you divest of the pyramid, the conversation will spark new thinking and drive innovation.

 

  1. Another Shift - the ENDemic 

Over the last 18 months we have embraced new terminology and language - words like unprecedented, pivot, PCR, n95, and pandemic quickly became part of our everyday lexicon. In recent weeks, a new phrase has emerged - endemic. The official definition of pandemic is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time, affecting a substantial number of individuals. Conversely, an endemic is an infection that is constantly maintained at a baseline level in a geographic area. While Covid may be sitting between these two definitions, as leaders, professionals, and humans the responsibility falls to us to chart a path forward with clarity and focus. As you explore this for yourself, I encourage you to focus on the humans behind your mission and your org charts, and allow the path you chart forward to be driven by our collective commitment to each other.

 

  1. Now is Your Time

For nearly four decades philanthropic giving has been relatively stagnant, at ~2% of the GDP - and then came the Spring of 2020 and a global pandemic. Food scarcity was on the rise, healthcare needs were in high demand, and job security was fragile - yet generosity soared. As an industry we achieved tremendous results and advanced our missions despite being resource constrained. Generosity continues to soar, so now is our time to shift our mindset to one of prosperity. Now is your time, let’s seize it.

It’s not easy to summarize 2.5 days of reflection, collaboration, and bold innovation, but I hope these four takeaways will inspire new thinking and some great conversation. When you're ready to chat further, please feel free to reach out to me!