In March I was invited to appear on a panel at The Gill Foundation’s Outgiving conference. There was quite a to-do by some on the Internets, who claimed that the meeting was populated by a secret cabal of rich folks steering the LGBT rights movement, planning its destiny regarding legislative priorities and planning advocacy positions.

I cannot speak about the past meetings, but the 2011 conference, the first that I have attended, was quite benign compared to the speculation.

The purpose was to inform donors about the state of the movement to date, and to discuss effective giving strategies. The meeting was off the record.

After all, if you were wealthy and donating to the movement, you’d want to know if those dollars were spent effectively; you’d also want to learn about new grassroots initiatives and technology and how these make an impact as well.

In its wisdom — and to dispel the rumors and give you a look at what occurred during the conference. The Gill Foundation has launched the OutGiving web site, featuring videos of the speakers, who cover a wide range of topics. Tim Sweeney, President & CEO for the Gill Foundation in an emailed press release:

Tim Gill created OutGiving in 1996 to build a network of peers who would share ideas and encourage each other to give more generously and strategically for the LGBT movement. This new site will feature videos of the incredible donors, movement leaders, and allies who’ve been part of OutGiving. We hope these videos will motivate others to support the movement and participate in OutGiving.

We’re featuring some of the best speakers from OutGiving 2011, and we’ll add more videos in the coming months. We invite you to share these videos with others in your network of friends and colleagues. Please also give us your feedback as we continue to expand the site.

A donor at OutGiving 2011 reminded us all of something Tim Gill said at one of the first conferences: “Many can lead, but few can be the fuel. If not us, then who?” Our movement benefits from tremendous leadership within our ranks and among our allies, and we have incredible opportunities in front of us to advance equality. Thank you for helping provide the fuel.

So if you want to see what your blogmistress blabbed about, here’s the video from the conference. You’ll have to tell me how I did; I hate watching myself on video. When Bobby Clark of Gill asked for me to approve the cut, in my head I was thinking “please don’t make me watch this.” I looked at about 30 seconds I just told him that I’m sure it’s fine.

Pam Spaulding: Life of a Blogger. Pam has been blogging about LGBT issues for more than seven years. Here she shares an example of a single blogger influencing the outcome of a political race and how blogswarming ended an anti-trans campaign – both using nothing more than social media and blog posts.

A synopsis from my earlier post.

I was invited to discuss — as only one person on a panel of several people — the impact of social networking has on activism and there were concrete examples to share. More importantly, I additionally took on the matter of how fragile the mostly self-funded and under-resourced LGBT blogosphere is. I felt it was my duty to try to represent the problem and promise of citizen journalism. And that includes posing the question of whether those donating to the movement 1) see the blogosphere as something to bolster by thinking creatively about a sustainable economic model; or 2) do nothing (the current model), and leave the landscape as is, with the natural course of things — letting some bloggers fall off the radar (after all, a job loss or too little available time “kills off” a lot of talented bloggers), and others picking up where there is a void. Advertising, if you don’t accept “skin” ads, is not a sustainable model except for the largest, earliest established political blogs.

Both of those subjects have been tackled not only by me, but other bloggers at many conferences, no state secret. Clearly no one has come up with an answer to address how independent journalism of this type is sustained outside of hiring the best into existing non-profit or for-profit publishing ecosystems, which in essence crushes “independence” to hold controversial positions without worrying about donor or advertiser pushback. And at the present time, legacy orgs are still struggling to figure out how to work well with bloggers, even though the keyboardists may bite their hands from time to time.

One of the interesting and revealing talks was given by Joanne Herman, on Developing Transgender Philanthropy. Take a look.



The top three transgender organizations in the country only have a combined annual budget of $1.4 million, and that’s concerning for Joanne Herman, author of Transgender Explained For Those Who Are Not. So concerning that at OutGiving 2009 Joanne helped launch the first-ever national transgender giving circle and did everything she could to get it off the ground. Listen as Joanne explains the process and what she learned about giving and philanthropy within the transgender community.