In this era of rapid technological advancement, philanthropy is undergoing a significant transformation. Central Texas-based Accelerist is at the forefront of this revolution, emerging as a game-changer in the world of philanthropy. By bringing together nonprofits, foundations, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs within the business community, Accelerist’s comprehensive software revolutionizes collaboration and amplifies the efficiency, effectiveness, and impact of philanthropic efforts. Recently, Accelerist hosted an enlightening workshop for Austin Gives members, focusing on building and optimizing sustainable CSR strategies in 2023.
The workshop commenced with a compelling keynote by Accelerist CEO and founder, Brittany Hill. Based on data showcased in Accelerist’s 2023 CSR Trends Report, she provided valuable insights into the realm of business philanthropy and shed light on how Accelerist is helping companies and nonprofits reshape the philanthropic landscape. Brittany began by highlighting global issues to watch in 2023, including the lasting impact of COVID-19, the state of the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals, and the urgency of the climate crisis. She emphasized the impact of the economy on purpose-driven initiatives and guided attendees on crafting effective partnership strategies during times of recession and high inflation.
Brittany concluded her keynote by exploring purpose trends such as values-led CSR and the transformative influence of technology, exemplified by the Accelerist platform. Through its ability to streamline partnership building, enable data-driven decision making, enhance efficiency and impact, amplify visibility and fundraising opportunities, and foster community and network building, Accelerist empowers generous businesses to unleash their potential and create lasting social impact. To better help CSR professionals scale their good work in the face of 2023 challenges, Brittany shared that Accelerist would soon be announcing a new, FREE, comprehensive CSR software. As the philanthropic landscape continues to evolve, Accelerist stands as a powerful tool, driving innovation, collaboration, and transformative change.
Following the keynote, workshop participants were treated to a thought-provoking panel discussion featuring notable speakers from diverse backgrounds. Moderated by Brittany Hill, the panel included Bobby Jenkins, Austin Gives Chair and CEO of ABC Home & Commercial Services; Buck Bracey, head of Social Impact at Alotten; and Sheena Wilde, Vice President of Philanthropy & Belonging at Kendra Scott. The panelists delved into the business benefits of purpose-driven branding, increased employee engagement through employee-driven cause focus, and the significance of skills-based volunteering.
Attendees then participated in breakout sessions, learning best practices for various philanthropic initiatives. Kathleen Lucente, CEO of Red Fan Communications, led an engaging conversation on the benefits of corporate volunteering programs. Jeff Ervin, Principal with STG Design, facilitated a discussion on best practices for giving products or services, while Jackie Sekiguchi, Community Affairs Manager with Texas Mutual, and Bobby Jenkins explored the topic of giving cash. Throughout the breakout sessions, a consistent theme emerged: the importance of leadership buy-in and employee-led social impact activities.
Upon the conclusion of the workshop, attendees provided valuable feedback. Some of the top comments included:
- Employee engagement thrives when relationships between teams and nonprofits are established and nurtured.
- Active participation in the community creates a powerful connection between companies and the community.
- Social impact programs are built on relationships - giving back fosters a sense of belonging for our employees.
Overall, the workshop received praise, with attendees expressing a desire for more educational opportunities to learn best practices in business philanthropy. To cater to this demand, Austin Gives plans to provide further resources and learning experiences. A recording of the plenary session is available here, ensuring broader access to the insightful discussions and valuable insights shared during the workshop.