Ginnie Graham: TU students learning the art, science of giving
BY GINNIE GRAHAM World Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
1/23/13 at 4:09 AM
Tulsa consistently rates high in the giving department.
But how many people can explain the difference between a charity and foundation?
What is a tax credit versus a deduction?
What is a board of directors supposed to do?
Some people know these answers. For most, it's a struggle.
This is why Tulsa attorney Phil Haney designed a philanthropy course for business students at the University of Tulsa last fall.
Haney has three decades of experience in nonprofit law and sees a need for young people to understand this field.
The first class was a small 10, but he learned much of the "blank slate" young people have of the nonprofit world.
Haney intended to give the big picture of philanthropy with the nuts and bolts of how it's done.
The class discussion often went more into the philosophy of giving.
"I learned a ton about the characteristics of philanthropy from their perspective," he said. "Students tended to go to the social impact of giving, the humanitarian aspect, accountability, responsibility and ethics.
"All of them are in tune with finding out who gives to charity, where the money comes from and what impact it has."
Spreading the word: It's not only college kids who need this information.
Tulsans give a healthy amount. The "How America Gives" report last year ranked Tulsa 18th in total contributions among more than 11,500 cities. Residents donated $346.3 million, which is 6.7 percent of Tulsans' income.
The Tulsa Community Foundation is the seventh-largest in the U.S., according to the Foundation Center.
It's not just the wealthy making donations.
Haney is working on a class that could be offered to students beyond campus.
"Students benefit from the public and the life experiences they can bring," he said.
Haney wants part of the course to include students giving an amount of money to an agreed-upon nonprofit organization.
"When there is money on the table, students' interest changes dramatically and becomes more competitive," he said. "Suddenly, the stakes are raised and it intensifies their concentration."
Up with the times: Charities ought to take notice of the giving habits of young adults, Haney said.
"They really are about the new, cool, game-changing use of technology," he said.
"Charities need to get to know technology - crowd funding, crowd sourcing and how to use blogs, websites and finding donations en masse. This is the way it's going."
This means talking about your business model and thinking about quantity of donors rather than the amount of a single gift.
About 75 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 35 gave money to a nonprofit group in 2011, according to last year's "Millennial Impact Report."
Of those, 58 percent stated that their largest donation was $100 or less, and about 16 percent gave $500 or more to one organization.
Young people are taking notice of how employers support nonprofit groups, Haney said.
It has become important for more than just warm, fuzzy and moral feelings.
"They have better relationships, better health, a better feeling about themselves, better feelings about others and are more involved with their communities," he said.
Original Print Headline: Learning the art, science of giving