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Tulani Elisa, Dottie Hodges & Amanda Heidtke: Your Online Approach Plan
If you want to reach and engage effectively online, you have to plan. What’s the leadership role? How do you get buy-in on the plan? What about those who stray from agreed goals? Tulani Elisa is social media manager for Threespot, and Amanda Heidtke is director of digital strategy for Hodges Consulting, where Dottie Hodges is president. (Recorded at NTC, the Nonprofit Technology Conference 2014.)
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Hello and welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. I’m your aptly named host. We have a listener of the week. John fulwider he’s new to non-profit radio from when dorrie clark was on two weeks ago, he tweeted that he was binge listening to shows, and i love that i had to make him listen er of the week john is in lincoln, nebraska, he did a ted x talk about his own infertility. He’s a coach for non-profit ceos on twitter, you’ll find him at John m fulwider with 1 l congratulations, john listener of the weak and thank you very much for binge listening. The non-profit radio i’m glad you’re with me. I’d suffer retro peritoneal fibrosis if i came to learn that you had missed today’s show you’re online approach plan. If you want reach to reach and engage effectively online, you have to plan what’s leadership role. How do you get by in on the plan? What about those who stray from your agreed goals? Tulani elisa is social media manager for threespot. Amanda heidtke e is director of digital strategy for hodges consulting where daddy hodges is president and that was recorded at ntcdinosaur non-profit technology conference twenty fourteen and irs helps your marketing you eat coach tomb is a c p a with wagner cpas he’s got ideas for using your irs form ninety nine ninety in your marketing, it does have a purpose on tony’s. Take two get off ellis is back for pizza. We’re sponsored by generosity siri’s hosting multi charity five k runs and walks here is my interview on your online approach plan from and t c welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of ntcdinosaur non-profit technology conference two thousand fourteen we’re at the marriott hotel, the marriott wardman hotel in washington, d c and with me now are tulani elisa, daddy hodges and amanda heidtke e tulani is social media manager for threespot daddy hodges is president of hodges consulting and amanda high key is director of digital strategy at hodges consulting. Welcome, ladies have all three of you your your workshop topic? His strategy is not a four letter word. How setting a plan for your online approach reaps rewards tulani let’s still you’re closest to me let’s start what what do you, uh at threespot? What do? You think some of the shortcomings are that not necessarily at threespot, but that that non-profits generally are not strategic enough about what should they be doing? A lot better? You think so at threespot we design websites and make social media strategies analytic strategies in digital strategies for non-profits for ngos, for government organizations. So that’s what we deal with all the time? Ah, a lot of the time what happens is non-profits think, oh, we need to do social and then they don’t think we should happen approach. We should make sure to go about it the right way. We should do some pre planning, they just kind of want to get into the space because it’s so fast moving fast paced on, always changing. So a lot of what kind of we are going to be talking about our panel is really you know how a digital strategy could play out things like social media or website design or any kind of approach that you have online. So a lot of times, it’s the kind of leap without really knowing what snacks in. So we want to talk about what you do before you leave daddy, i imagine you see much the same thing at hodges consulting we do and, you know, i think tulani is reference to what we call shiny object syndrome is one of the the biggest players also kind of the collective sense of, you know, we’re looking at things from a organizations perspective, you know, our program work our mission, how were structured as an organization, the content we produce, but we find increasingly, organizations need a little help in seeing it from sort of an outside perspective in terms of who are we trying to reach you, our target audiences? What are they looking for? And then what do we want them to do? What’s what the engagement components that we want them to accomplish? And so having that sort of step back first really helped productive strategy gain results in the end that shiny object syndrome you mentioned? What are some of those shiny objects that you see clients reaching for you name a twitter blogger? We won’t read it. I mean, it’s, just ask twenty sites. Yeah, we want this amazing he website that does everything from soup to nuts. Um, really, what they want to do is find out what that target audiences that will reach their mission will reach and do that thing, not try to be everybody’s everything not try to be the website that gets thie program directors needs met. The executive directors needs met the needs of the membership services department, but rather figure out what the organization’s mission is and how they can leverage that website or that social media project and used it to get that message out, which is what the audience wants, not necessarily what the organization thinks he s so we should be thinking about what our constituents are on doll in all their different varieties, what their needs are everybody everybody’s nodding? Yeah, definitely really important for organizations to stop thinking like organizations and more like their constituents and and thinking about what they want to hear and the people that are looking at their social media pages or their blogger, their website and what really connect with them. And you can do that easily through doing audience research through, you know, going through and seeing you know what posts and what content is really working, resonating with people, what are they engaging with? And and what’s not working and how do we change that? And you can also really look at the landscape and look at your peers and say, okay, what are they doing that we’re not doing that’s working, you know, and it’s so much of it is really, you know, taking what you see with your own stuff, taking what you see from people that have the, you know, the best in class work and saying, ok, this is working for them, how can we, you know, do that for our own selves actually could even go so far as to be sharing their content that you see doing well, let’s, let’s give a shout out to our our colleagues over at whatever the other organization is that for? For sharing this mean, or, you know, whatever exactly it could be sharing content on dh using, you know, third party content is always a good way, teo, you know, get people to show that you’re a thought leader and to show that you’re someone that really, you know, knows what’s going on because you’re observing other people in the space and it’s also a good way, you know, most people that are in design and articulation, you know, you’re stealing from everywhere, you know? And and then you’re you’re making that into something that works for you and that’s, okay? Because what you’re doing is is kind of making, showing that you understand what’s happening because you’re actually going back, creating your strategy and saying, oh, they did this how can we work that into our goal of, you know, fund-raising how can we work that to our goal of awareness? So really, you know, yes, very party content, but also really using those things up for your own and making that your own as well to fit into your strategy? Okay, daddy, how are we going to get started in being more strategic and invoking the bomb? I’ll tell you what, it’s, not for start there. Uh, it’s not panic. It’s not panic central. And i think a lot of organizations look at the different challenges where the different needs or perceived needs of the organization and have a little bit of that panic moment. How do we start? How do we begin to know what to do first, what tactic to pursue and so are approach essentially is to say, we’re going to take a step back and look across the organization collectively, this is the key word right and agree upon what our goals and objectives are as an organization are our priorities to dr membership, which is ok now, let’s agree that that’s call it what it is and agree that that’s the case, is it advocacy direct actions or some combination and getting everyone collectively to head nod in the same direction about those goals and objectives to then say, ok for that objective, let’s look at our audiences and do the research tulani is talking about to then roll out, and we can talk a little bit more the later stages, but i wantto i actually have a man to talk a little bit about, you know, sort of getting those heads nodding in the right direction and how that happened. Well, now that’s the critical piece, okay? I know you’re president of hodges consulting, but i’m the host of tony martignetti you do what you like way are going to get that because actually i want to deal with the how twos we don’t want only be at the theoretical devil, right? But i do want to ask you a question about leadership if we’re going to get all these people seated around the table and ultimately, which could be a bit of a process like, but ultimately agreeing, we’re going to have to have leadership hyre buy-in to this to this process, absolutely leadership engagement is critical, and that might be at the executive director level. It might even be the board involvement in some cases, depending on how the organization works but making sure that there’s a team assembled, we call it a core team that is generally a smaller group that has the authority and autonomy to drive the process because we want leadership engage, but we also don’t want leadership to get so involved in the granular pieces, let’s say we move forward with a website redesign, and we’re talking about those very particular components we want that core team, they have the authority to move the project forward and then engage others in the organization as appropriate, you know, external audience research, whatever it is, but that engagement of the leadership, the organization is critical to move the project forward and what’s also important with leadership. A lot of times, you’ll see. It’s that non-profit is really getting them to buy into that strategy like you were saying, so having them understand, you know, this strategy is going to help us reach this goal or this is, you know, this is what the r o is going to be. This is the return on investment that we’re going to get out of doing this out of, you know, making our website better or having a blogger doing that kind of thing and then showing them those results after lorts so a really important part is to set metrics and to have analytics and to say, you know, we want to do this, we don’t want to put out this picture just hits a pretty picture of something we want to do this because we know this picture is going to get a decent amount of shares that’s goingto connect to more people, that’s going to get us more donations. So so really, like daddy was saying, not being too granular, but showing them the bigger picture of, you know, here’s what we can get out of this, you know? And i would add it’s not even just getting their buy-in but it’s getting them to stay focused on what the goal of the project is, whether it’s a website redesign or a social media campaign, having served for eight years as the director of online operations, that trout unlimited, which is a large, large non-profit that has chapters and councils all across the country as well as the national office, and they all want to work in concert together and leverage digital media, getting everyone in the room together to pick a few key goals, and then to pursue a project with that premise so that every decision that you make along the way happens with the vision of these are the goals were trying to me, and when you’re making a decision along the way, it has to meet that metric and that goal, because it’s, very easy for non-profits internally, too have shiny object syndrome, but past that, too also change their mind midstream mid project about what the goal of it is about it’s, horrible and it’s rampant. I find that having worked on the other side of the table worked for a nonprofit for so long, it was very hard to keep everybody who needed to be have. That by and focused along the way as to what the end goal really is. E-giving didn’t think shooting. Good ending. You’re listening to the talking alternate network, get in. I think. Cubine this’s, the way we’re hosting part of my french new york city, or guests come from all over the world, from mali to new caledonia, from paris to keep back. French is a common language, yet they all come from different cultures, background or countries, and it common desires to make new york they’re home. Listen to them. Share this story. Join us. Pardon my french new york city every monday from one to two p, m. Are you stuck in your business or career trying to take your business to the next level, and it keeps hitting a wall? This is sam liebowitz, the conscious consultant. I will help you get to the root cause of your abundance issues and help move you forward in your life. Call me now and let’s. Create the future you dream of. Two, one, two, seven, two, one, eight, one, eight, three, that’s to one to seven to one, eight one eight three. The conscious consultant helping conscious people. Be better business people. Dahna you’re listening to the talking alternative network. Dahna so before we even get to what? What? What daddy was urging that i turned you to turn to you for and we will. We’ll suggesting it was it was an admonition. It was actually morning on admonishing me. I i that’s how i took it. He’s always talking about i am a leo. Okay. See? See, my perception was not unbiased on based. Okay. So before we get to that, but what? What do you do when the cats start to stray and different different or teams within the organization start? Tio buy-in convert the goal. Onda work. You know, i think converting the goal in the work actually is okay. As long as everyone is going to agree at the same time that the kitten, the herd of kittens, is moving in a direction so and it’s all justifiable on organizational basis across all departments, not just from our perspective in our department. Absolutely. What do you do when somebody starts to stray? Well, well, i love having the key mission, and i love having the metric decision. So one of my favorite components of any strategic task is to have the metrics by which you’re going to gauge if it’s being successful and that does help keep the organization on task, because if you’re all looking to get the same piece of data and the same result, what the result is from it, you can kind of keep people focused on heading down that path. The trick comes in when your goals aren’t clear enoughto have a metric to follow it up by, and so making sure that your goals are very your tactics have very specific goals and that the actions you’re going to take to reach those goals are very well defined and that’s the strategy that a lot of non-profits don’t they? Don’ts don’t put their heads around what those tasks and components look like and understanding what those are before you dive down into a any project is critical to the success of that project. Give me an example of what you just said take it from from your own background or ah hodges, consulting client, whichever you like. Sure so from my own background, trying limited recently did a very large website redesign and by large, i mean, they scrapped the old site and started afresh on dh perhaps the best example. I have of that is the decision that was the website school going to be specific to growing the membership? Or was the websites gold going to be specific to growing? Engagement? Peer-to-peer engagement and the gold changed throughout the life of the project. So as a website redesign was commencing, the goals went from are we going to sing? We grow our membership uses to drive increased donations through a membership drive to you know, really, what we actually want to do is create this peer to peer network of of people across the country who are engaged in our mission and offer them a place to do that electronically, digitally, through a website. And so it was a subtle shift in focus. Now, ultimately, i believe the organization was it was right, because the by creating that peer-to-peer network, you will in fact grow the membership it’s a different timeline, the tactics that you would take to grow the membership if that was simply your sole goal are much different than the tactics we would take if your goal is to create a social network on buildup. Peer-to-peer right? And, you know, you kind of also asked a kind of not give credit, but understand that things in the digital, especially social media but all digital space are changing so much and so quickly, and people are doing so many different things that situations where people lose track of what their goal was or what they were going towards can happen so quickly, you know, you see a competitor, you see someone that, you know, your organs, they should admires, and they’re doing something that wasn’t in your strategy and you’re like, well, maybe we should be doing that, or maybe, you know, and everyone gets that not just the pang of envy, but that paying of, like, we’re missing out, we should be doing this, we’re behind where this and that’s, what the digital space kind of makes you feel like and so, as amanda was saying, you know, when you’re able to say, ok, we see this we’re taking account, how do we put that into our strategy? And also, how are we willing to hurt these cats in this direction? So that it saying, okay, we have to acknowledge that maybe this is it isn’t something that we thought about from the beginning, but it’s something that we can do we can work with because we still have that base, that strategy, you know, that the key words, the ideas that were following being being flexible, working within your especially non-profits work within the different programs of the organization to find ways to be tactical through a digital media it’s okay, too get off track a little bit if it meets a specific, even purpose along the way. And i think to you found that a lot of times as we went through this eighteen month provoc project that that subtly shifting it when you work with a program staff who has a very unique need, but it would fit in the metrics of the project or working with developments team so that their their goals were met even though fund-raising wasn’t perhaps the ultimate be all and all but that they still had a very viable program and they needed digital focus. It was fine one more. One more thing on the goals, too. When we talk about getting an organization to decide on priorities, the first thing we say is it’s okay? We’re not saying we’re not going to do these other things. But when we have to make decisions about, you know, the user experience or prioritizing even projects against one another, you know, that we will let those overriding goals lead, that we will still be doing these other things, they’re not going to be scrapped entirely in the same with reaching different audiences when they do the prioritization. All right, so now, in my own good time, i’m going, and i’m going to turn now to a man i’m just giving you shit that don’t nobody listens to this show anyway, so don’t that’s not true, it’s not thank you, but, uh, okay, amanda now maybe maybe it’s, similar to what happens when people stray, but let’s go to how we’re gonna create this process we have the leadership that daddy made clear is essential. How are we going to get all the different program fund-raising finance and business all the interests to agree? What is that process, doctor? What’s. The start of that process at the start of that process is without a doubt having your technology lead on staff talk. Teo the equivalent lead in every program area whether its development, major gifts, administrative human resource is program. Every person needs a voice at the table, and i found the most effective way to do that is get everyone in a room for a full day were or chop and you spend the day going through it’s it’s really and airing of the grievances i really, truly is what it boils down to. Everyone needs a minute to talk about what the websites not doing for them and what it is doing for them and to talk about what they wanted to do. And when you start to do the airing of the grievances, i always imagined what would happen it was it would just be horrifying day, and it actually wasn’t it really put a spotlight on what some very specific areas of problem, where digitally for the organization and with dottie’s focus around how that day was constructed. We ended up with some very clear problem areas that allowed us to turn around and come back and say, ok, these are the areas that seemed to be the problem now let’s talk about how we can effectively fix them and what everyone did was when they got their chance to air their grievances, they felt heard. And then the next step was buy-in getting all of your primary decision makers to share what was wrong, then turns around in your benefit and allows them to feel buy-in in the process, they now think their needs are going to get met because they are. Ultimately what you want to do is meet those needs through your digital strategy. You hear what’s not working for every one you say here’s ways that we can meet them well, let’s, prioritize those and then once you do that, you have your vision. Now you have your strategic vision, our organization says here’s what our web site didn’t do here’s what wasn’t working for you, here’s where we wanted to go now we have a vision, we’re all now working together, everyone now has that collective head nod. We’re all looking the same way we all have the same focus and then it’s just working through a series of tactics to get to the end result and that’s really? What? Dotty’s what daddy’s company brought to tryto limited was this very clear process that we would go through. Everyone was going to agree everyone’s heads were not in the same way. And then we move on from the strategic, the strategic vision to tactical that efforts. So so trout unlimited was a was a hodges consulting clients. And then you must have been such an evangelist, right? Yeah, immediate values. And we’re leaving what daddy was doing that she hired you away. If i had been the director of online operations for eight years, so my time had come, i had run my course that try to limit it. It was it was a great organization, it’s a great organization were doing with us and we still have them. Is a client so it’s all very good. Okay, excellent. All right, now i had mentioned on office that i’m having a hard time seeing how the website impacts then so help me out. I had mentioned bringing to this table finance, finance and the c f o in the business. What does the money? What? How does the website or even relate to them? I think it’s a little bit of how it relates to them in the overall of how the website relates them, and also how the process relates them. So a lot of especially a man who is talking about is also the process of how do we get everyone on the same page? So what we do is threespot is that we do stakeholder interviews and see, you know, what people are looking for, what they’re not getting, what they want, that kind of thing and the way something like finance please in is that if you’re hiring from outside or even if you’re doing it internally, there’s a lot of money and time and energy that goes into additional strategy, a website, hiring people, that kind of stuff, having they’re having their perspective and having, you know, is it worth it? Is not that kind of thing? Also, in the thought of what if one of your goals is raising money or doing something like that and working with, you know, the finance team to say, okay, how much money is going to be worth it? You know, how much is is it going to matter if we do this? And we raised, you know, five thousand dollars like, is that still impactful? Like what? You know, what really matters? So i mean, everyone really has a rule and it’s important to kind of as a man said, not ignore that because you don’t want to come back, as were talking about before you’re coming to the leadership in your coming to people on the board or something like that, and they’re like, well, this is not what we expected but it’s not what we wanted or just not answering any of our questions or, you know, it’s a great website, but why do we have this? You know, you should know better evangelize er for your mission, then your staff, and if every staff doesn’t feel bought into your end product, then you’ve not done your homework. And so making sure that the director of human resources, which needs to post job openings on the website, has a clear and free way to do so is critical for that end product and on lee, you know, let’s, just say your primary goal is to drive membership or to build community, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to do that to the detriment of process or efficiency for other staff in the organization that program director who’s still trying to do a very small, focused niche of your mission, needs as much buy-in and as much voice in the process as the executive director, everyone needs a voice on the tape you go and that’s just the way you mentioned the the power of the process really is part of it as well, not just the outcome. Amanda, you were talking about that earlier where, you know, people collectively begin to see, you know, if i’m a director of development, obviously i have a pretty clear priorities for the site, right? But if i’m suddenly at a table where maybe i haven’t really been conversant or, you know, had the opportunity to work alongside directly finance, hr, whatever, whatever we’re collectively, we start to have the conversation about the good of the whole, it really changes the perspective. Everyone still got what they need to get done right at the end of the day, but it really helps that perspective so that everyone’s kind of starting to look in the same direction. One of the examples i had it that for that it try to limit it was to really sit and listen to membership services that people are are on the frontlines answering the phone calls from people who are giving online or doing any number of tasks to the website and really hearing from their perspective what their feedback is specifically from the members where the sticky points are what they have to put up with when the fund-raising team puts out, you know, one hundred thousand emails or what or the the advocacy team puts out an action alert on an issue what the reciprocal event is for that person and it’s very, i think it’s very common for non-profits for programs and teams to work very siloed. You have your task, you have what you do. You sit down and do it there’s not a lot of opportunity for the hole, for the whole organization to come together around a single project except for digital media eah, thes tend to be the kinds of projects where the entire group the entire non-profit as a whole has a stake in the outcome. That really is where elektronik transcends a lot of what any non-profit does, daddy, i’d like to talk a little about the details of this this strategic day. Are there boardmember is there? Is the board represented in that or no really? Just just senior leadership? No that’s, a good question. And can be historically, we have not seen that not by design. Typically you get, you know, unengaged executive director seo, whatever the role, maybe you get, you know, the sea level in director level heads of departments in that sort of workshop environment, often times at key points with clients, for example. And amanda mentioned the strategic vision deliver herbal. It could go by other names. I think threespot uses a different name, but basically that’s, that touchstone document that says here’s, what we’re gonna accomplish together that’s the kind of document that often gets elevated to the board level. So oftentimes when we create a project timeline, one of the first questions with the core committee is okay. Who are decision makers who needs to be involved at certain touchpoint what are those timelines? We have a quarterly board meeting coming up, whatever it may be so that we can structure the project around that and get that buy-in you, like teo, do these offsite typically it’s on side of the client? Sometimes virtual were a fairly virtual company, actually. So it tends to be a real blend. And it really we look to the client to dictate. What their preferred, you know, method is okay. And and you are the facilitator for the day. Yes, martin. Okay. What say we have, i guess, another couple of minutes or so let’s. See, uh, who wants to must leave? Cem cem parting thoughts let’s see the money? Let me ask you for money. It sounds like it sounds like threespot does more than just build websites. I mean, your sounds like you’re deeply engaged in the analytics that are going to contribute to the to the design of the website. Yes, threespot way started off mostly doing websites, but we also to social media consulting strategy. Sometimes it requires in housework. I’ve gone to work for clients for a while, we do analytics, we do content creation and content strategy, user experience. And so really kind of just range is everything which is again goes back. Teo, you know, you’re not just building a website, you’re creating experience, you’re creating a strategy, and so, you know, if we just build a website and we didn’t have conversations about how social plays into it, how we’re going to launch it on social media once it goes up you know what? The, you know, the analytics that we’re going to put behind it, you know how those gonna play? And we’re going to google analytics? Are we tracking out all the links? You know, that kind of stuff, then you’re kind of just doing part of your digital strategy on dso threespot is an interactive agency, it’s, not just a web design agency, and we really, you know, make sure to touch on all of those things on dh so it could be, you know, going through and going through every ounce of content and saying, ok, how do we have to change this? How do we migrate this over that kind of stuff? And it also could be coming up with the robust way to show analytics to the board, you know? So it really there’s there’s a lot of different things that we do all right on daddy wanted to leave us with some parting thoughts about the importance of the s bomb sure s o the importance of yes, bomb i think in the context we’ve been talking a lot about in the context of web development, which is certainly applicable, we think of it a little more. Broadly and just to echo what tulani saying about looking at the big picture that, you know, the bomb is in a four letter word, it’s not a dirty word, it’s not something. Where, you know, you hear someone say we need a strategy and people go oh, you know, and they just think of many, many months and many, many stacks of papers that may or may never get examined, digitally or otherwise. And we want to create something for the organization that’s very viable, you know, creates and produces a road map, you know, creates buy-in ultimately gets to better product that’s gonna have a better r a y for the organization and and the truth is, we kind of cheat because we like the framework so much we use it. There were lots of stuff, whether it’s, a website, project or an organization says we need to look across the enterprise at what we’re doing with our digital program or we kind of just need any communications plan of attack. We’ll apply the same framework, so we think it works across the board, which to me means it must be at least relatively solid and it also just helps to always say that. It’s a working document. So understanding the digital space is changing all the time, you know, making sure that, you know, you create these documents in this strategy, but, you know, really emphasizing people. This is a working document. You know, another platform might come up for another way to approach fund-raising might happen. And really, you know, having people be open. Teo yes, sir. Strategy. But it could develop. They could change and being willing to evaluate whether that new platform belongs in in our suite or or not exam avoiding that shiny object syndrome. All right, we have to leave it there. Thank you very much, ladies. Thank you for having my pleasure. Tulani. Elisa is social media manager at threespot. Daddy hodges, president of hodges consulting and the newest. It sounds like the newest employee of hodges consulting. Is that correct? Is amanda heidtke. She is a director of digital strategy there. Thank you again very much. Thank you. Thank you. This’s. Tony martignetti non-profit radio coverage of ntc two thousand fourteen the non-profit technology conference. Thank you very much for being with us and my thanks to everyone at antenna. Non-profit technology network got some live listener love stafford, virginia, new bern, north carolina and new york new york live listener love to you and new york. Thank you for being with us. There’s more if i didn’t shut you out yet, i i shall generosity siri’s they host multi charity five k runs and walks. And part of what they provide is the charity support team for their charity partners. The charities that are running events with them. You talk to the charity support team and they help you with the fund-raising part ofyour five k event. They help you get more runners and they help you empower the runners and train the runners so that the runners are getting more donors on dh. Naturally, there is on online component to this you have a dashboard in online management, but there’s also the charity support team that you can talk to. And i like that you could talk to the a c o david lind. He is at seven one eight five o six. Nine, triple seven and on the web generosity siri’s dot com can we get off alice’s back? They’ve had an enormous fortunate spike in dollars. And donors from the ice bucket challenge. So they have got incredible issues enviable, incredible issues i would like us to. Ah, give them the benefit of our doubt about what’s going to happen, stop questioning whether they’re capable of managing this and let’s see how they manage it. If they were toyota or macy’s, i think we wouldn’t be questioning whether they can manage this. We’d just be congratulating and we’d be in awe. This came tio a l s totally organically through a patient. So they because it was not originally a nail s strategy your or scheme the ice bucket challenge. So they did not have a plan let’s. See how they manage it. Let’s. Give them the benefit of our doubt. I’ve got a video on this at tony martignetti dot com. And that is tony’s. Take two for friday, twelfth of september thirty sixth show of the year. My goodness. Thirty six holy cow, you touch tomb he’s a senior manager at wagner cps. He has his mba master of accountancy and is a certified public accountant. He’s also a certified fraud examiner. He works exclusively with tax exempt organizations and oversees the firm’s form. Nine ninety nationwide preparation practice eat manages wagner’s, new york city office they’re at wagner, cps dot com he’s here in the studio to talk about the irs and how it helps your marketing. Welcome to the show. Thank you. Thank you for having me here. My pleasure, it’s. Cool. Glad you’re in studio um, the form nine ninety this is i thought this was strictly a burden and something to be not avoid it. We can’t avoid it, but there’s something to be done and kind of put in the closet. You don’t think so well, you’re right. A lot ofthe organization leaders thinks that it’s a burden and actually it’s a great opportunity for organizations to show the world that all the good things that they’ve done in the in the year, and then it’s also a good opportunity for them. Um, tell the world how well they there run and in the past this forest scene justus the farm files it tires and on ly to be shown ah, potential donors or anybody coming to your office and basically asking for it. And now it’s, vitally available on the web especially the most common is the guide. Star and because it’s out there it’s, it gives an opportunity for organization to the marketing tool ok, and not only guide store, but state attorneys general, a lot of them have them. A lot of organizations put the nine ninety on their site themselves. Yes, it’s a sort of transparency, for example, in new york every not-for-profits registered with new york that files annual report with the state off new york they’re nine ninety, along with their financial statements, are on their website. So so your advice is to think of this as a marketing tool it’s an opportunity? Yes, so if you see it as just a bird than and as most organizations currently do and don’t get enough attention, it can potentially hurt you. So thing about is, some organizations for some organ says is true that the nine nineties seen more than they’ll annual report, but they spent all the time and energy on the annual report make it perfect, but they only spent maybe a fraction off the time to get the nine ninety ready for filing, and we’re gonna have some time to talk about this, but you even suggest that people beyond accountants contribute to the nine. Ninety their final way. We’ll have a chance to talk about that. That’s. I love that advice. Okay, let’s. Just make sure that everybody understands what we mean. Nine, ninety, there are there are three nine nineties and you’re the expert. So when were you acquainted with the three? Yeah, the. Depending on the size ofthe organization, the organizations can file three different ninety forms. If they are under fifty thousand dollars in revenue. What they can do is they can file that form called nine ninety and which is also known as the postcard return and it’s, just basic information and a statement saying that the revenues were less than fifty thousand dollars. Okay, and with some states like new york, if you are over twenty five, then you have to file the night. Nineties eve, which is the next step. So organizations that are in revenues under two hundred thousand and in assets under five hundred thousand, they can file this form nine. Ninety easy, which is a shorter form, and the larger organization about the threshold can fire. They have to file the form. Nine. Ninety, which is longer. So just like we have individual ten forties and ten. Forty. Easy. Exactly. Nine. Ninety and nine. Ninety. Easy exit and then also the nine. Ninety n write really small for the under fifty thousand dollars in revenue. Right? But you raise an interesting point. Sometimes. It’s state regulations that govern which nine. Ninety you have to submit is that is that right? Could you mention new york? Yeah, a certain threshold for the easy. Right. So you have to look to your state and also to the i r s exactly. Okay, exactly. We’re not talking about the nine, ninety filing requirements here. Just i digressed a little bit. We have talked about the nine, ninety in the past, especially with jean takagi. So you could find those shows in the past. But we want to focus on the nine, ninety as a marketing tool. And part of your advice is that even if you’re able tio file the shorter form, you might want to do one that’s the next level up. Exactly. It depends on the purpose ofthe how you’re going to use it. For example, if you are a small organization under fifty thousand dollars, you may want to file the nine. Ninety. Easy to get your nine. Ninety on guidestar. So or ah, a lot of foundations. For example, they would like you to submit a nine. Ninety easy or a nine ninety with grant applications. And, um, that’s. Another reason why you may want to file piled the longer form in this case. And if you are a going after donors and even if you are a small organization, if you can show that guarding all these good covenant practices and all these other things is just like, well, run is a large organization, i think it’s also helps it it’s getting funds. But if you do not have a purpose, i think it always cost more time and money to file the longer form. So i think it has to be ah, i violated in for individual circumstances. Fair enough, but something to consider and i just love the different perspective is why wantto have you on the show different perspective of the nine. Ninety that it’s, you know, as we said, it’s not just no longer just buried anymore, but to look at it as a zoo marketing tool and therefore it has to be consistent with all your other, the what is the traditional marketing tools? Right. Exactly. Yeah, for example, you don’t want toe, um, confused the word with sending mixed messages. If your annual report is saying one thing and if you’re ninety saying another thing than it confuses people. So that’s one ofthe reasons why certain parts ofthe the nine ninety should not be done prepared by the countenance. It should be prepared by people who is also preparing other other marketing materials. Excellent. Okay, so let’s, get into some of the different place is in the form nine. Ninety where you see marketing opportunities. What’s the you like the program service. Accomplishments? Yeah. Where? Where is that? Where will people find that? On the night that could be on the second page off the farm i love. I love that you’re a nine. Ninety expert. You he doesn’t. He does not have the nine. Ninety here in front of him. Which is what, like seventeen pages or something leaves twelve. Oh, on that schedule and then this morning anymore he does not have a nine. Ninety here. In studio with me is so when i ask him. Like, what section is it? Andi knows the page, so i okay, you have the expert here, all of that. All right. So you know your your practices nine nineties. I love it. All right, so the program service accomplishments your program serves accomplished. Mons to page two parking three. Beautiful. Basically organisations get the chance here. This is like the free marketing opportunity to tell the world the all the great things that you have accomplished in the in the past year and latto off times despite tires instructions. This is one place iris helps you market, as you mentioned, is in the instructions i response you to be specific. They want you to use non financial data, but a lot of organizations just, um they see there’s a burden. So year after year, they repeat the same thing. And the and the nine, ninety preparation is buried in their finance department or of the outside consultant who’s doing it right. And they just want to know when it’s done exactly what you can’t fill. You need a number for page four, line ninety three. I don’t know. Like, you know, you probably rolling your eyes. Oh, my god. What an amateur question. Ninety. Three’s not on page four, for chrissake, but that is just the thing is just buried until it’s ready for signature. Basically right? It’s? Not so who? So we can have program officers doing the program service accomplishment section or something like that, right? So basic the its funding toe say this take like a food pantry. It’s one thing to say that you have served meals to low income people in the community and it’s another thing toe give some more specific you can say piela, sir, different fifty thousand different people eighty thousand meals during the years, so it gives more, more basically more impact. And people are seeing this on guide star and on your website. And of course, it needs to be consistent with your other marketing material. Exactly. School what? What else? What other opportunities to see in that section? So i’ll give you another example of that because, like, if you’re a membership organization, try to use it to recruit members and you fear with conferences wanting to say you spent hundred thousand dollars in this conference is another thing to say. Our conference was attended by twelve hundred people. We had sixty different sessions, you can name some off the station, including x y z. And we also had to networking opportunities again like this is anything you can tell tow people join you as a member for a membership organization and ah, get anything that you see that would the track donors are whoever you are, thank comedians like. All right, cool. Very good governance. There’s the governance section is this the section on the nine. Ninety relieve the governance? Yeah. There’s a section on ninety nine on the nine. Ninety deaths as out ofthe questions about the government’s reaction number. Part part six off your nine nine. Ah, basically, in that part, it’s asking out ofthe question some of these questions, such as, um, whistle blower policy and document destruction policy. These can be mandated by other other ah, um, crack sarbanes oxley example on the other thirty is that all or state law, right? And new york will start mandating certain certain policies there as well. And, um, some off thes policies are very easy to add up. So their templates out there it’s not a huge burden. And i encourage every every organization, if do they do not have a policy out there? Just go look for a sample adapted and checked the box yes to show that they’re they’re well, fellas run and well covered and thiss foot reduced the potential all the risk and it’s also important to use that section toe basically solicit new board members because one off the users off this maybe perspective. What members? Looking at your nine ninety team to see if this is an organ xero i want to join this organization, are they so they know what they’re thinking? It might be exposed to any risk by joining terms. All right, we gotta go out for a break. You’re gonna do some more live listener love there’s so much i got to squeeze him in tuscaloosa, alabama. Welcome live. Listen love to you. I don’t think you’ve been with us before tuscaloosa. Welcome and jersey city, new jersey it’s, the birthplace of my my dad. He was born in greenville hospital, jersey city, new jersey, and langley malaria, british columbia. You’re back with us. Live listener left all of you. We got some or stay with us. You’re listening to the talking alternative network. Oppcoll have you ever considered consulting a road map when you feel you need help getting to your destination when the normal path seems blocked? A little help can come in handy when choosing an alternate route. Your natal chart is a map of your potentials. It addresses relationships, finance, business, health and, above all, creativity. Current planetary cycles can either support or challenge your objectives. I’m montgomery taylor. If you would like to explore the help of a private astrological reading, please contact me at monte at monty taylor dot. Com let’s monte m o nt y at monty taylor dot com. Are you suffering from aches and pains? Has traditional medicine let you down? Are you tired of taking toxic medications, then come to the double diamond wellness center and learn how our natural methods can help you to hell? Call us now at to one to seven to one eight, one eight three that’s to one to seven to one eight one eight three or find us on the web at www dot double diamond wellness dot com way. Look forward to serving you. Talking alternative radio twenty four hours a day. If you have big dreams in a small budget tune into tony martignetti non-profit radio, i d’oh. I’m adam braun, founder of pencils of promise. Welcome back to big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent let’s, go abroad with live listener love belgium, belgium we can’t see your city i thought that was a pretty open society. They’re belgium, but you’re you’re blocked but welcome live listen love to you, let’s, go to china, where i send ni hao to shanghai, chengdu, korea, multiple listeners in korea, as always, including soul, anya, haserot and japan, multiple listeners tokyo, akashi and others konnichi juana and, of course, podcast pleasantries to those of you listening in the time shift wherever you may be, ninety five hundred of you podcast pleasantries to you yeah, let’s, let’s keep talking about the governance section is that this is not a free form narrative section like the program service accomplishments it it certain parts ofthe it are free form, for example, one off the question there is, like what’s. Your policy is to review the night ninety so in there you can explain, like how what process off leaving tonight ninety like does every boardmember sees the nine ninety who who looks at it, who prepares its who reviews it and how it gets wild the other free form. Part is the conflict of interest policy. You can have different types. And who’s who’s monitoring. It goes who’s looking at it. And another part is the determination off the executive compensation. So what’s the policy around that looking at comparables like, do you have independent comity? Looking at it and documenting this decisions? There are some some freeform parts over then within governments. Governance? Of course. Right. And we have talked about, i think, all those subjects that you just mentioned with jean takagi when we’ve spent time on the appropriate governance and oversight. So this is a perfect dovetail. Um, how about you have something about the statement of functional expenses? Where will we find that? If we if we want to go into the nine ninety, um, that would be now little people. Nine off the ninety basically and, um, statement functional expenses i believe you covered over had met in in your previous shows. We have the we had the three signers of the overhead myth. That was on september sixteenth. The ceos of charity navigator, guidestar and better business bureau wise giving alliance. Yeah. So basically, i want to refer to that which is a great point they made and ah, out ofthe not-for-profits are too worried about their program service percentage and that, um, that they want to put like, as they reflect, i guess, everything they can in the program, and they should know that if it’s correct so but sometimes like it gets to a point where they wanna look at things which is more right, grey and, you know, they have the natural incentive to put more into program and not in management, general fund-raising and that doesn’t necessarily reflect the truth and ah, that’s area um, it’s sophisticated donor-centric viewing and i ninety can tell that certain things are not correct there because certain things such as an audit, it has to be a hundred percent management general, accounting and audit is that so? I think it says point important here is that that schedule is ah done correctly. So that’s a potential donor funders looking at it shouldn’t question anything accurate, so get on dh that works is the key. That was the whole message of the overhead myth letter is don’t feel you have to devote everything to to program at the expense of overhead, which can be very, very important. Tis body. So you have sophisticated people looking at your nine ninety, and you’re thinking of it as marketing. Keep that. Keep that in mind. We have to. We have just a couple minutes left. There’s a part of the nine. Ninety that you call a playground? Yes, that is that. That would be schedule. Oh, that’s a place where you can put anything that an organization can beat anything they want in there, so ah, i would use it as a what is it called? What is schedule? Oh, called, huh? I think it’s just called a schedule a it’s, like a supplementary information thinkit’s supplementary in for american. And basically, i would encourage organizations toe explain anything that might look unusual on the on the on the nine. Nineteen. Okay, for example, let’s say if they are starting a capital campaign and in that initial year they wouldn’t necessarily have the revenue yet, but they all these fund-raising expenses, so if they’re fund-raising expense ratio is unusually high and this might be a place to explain that they’re going through the skips campaign and that they they’re also informing the public that they’re doing this. Artist. Another placed to use that for that. So outstanding a really interesting perspective on form nine ninety thank you very much. Thank you for my pleasure. You duitz doom senior manager at wagner cpas, manager of their new york city office. There at wagner cps dot com next week. Buyer beware. You’re purchasing policies and how to do better. Also, maria simple returns on managing a spike whatever that means for you in numbers in potential donors. If you missed any part of today’s show, find it on tony martignetti dot com. Thanks again to our listener of the week, john fulwider. Remember generosity siri’s and their charity support team multi-channel eighty five k runs and walks, generosity siri’s dot com. Our creative producer is clear. Meyerhoff sam labor, which is our line producer, shows social media is by julia campbell of jake campbell. Social marketing. The remote producer of tony martignetti non-profit radio is john federico of the new rules, this music it’s by scott stein of brooklyn. You with me next week for non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent go out and be great. Duitz they didn’t even think that shooting getting ding, ding, ding, ding. You’re listening to the talking alternative network, waiting to get a drink. E-giving you could. Come, join us for the thirteenth annual visual for international peace and ecology. On sunday, september twenty one, from nine a, m to six p, m celebration of live music and dance performances spoke the word human peace sign. Art installations in a world peace flag ceremony that celebrates the united nations international day of peace. That’s sunday, september twenty one from nine a, m to six p. M central park numbered band cell, by the way, says the fountain. For more information or volunteer, go to www. Dot vigil number four. International peace dot org’s, that’s, the number four in the earl, or call to want to chip in to five, four, three two that’s, a two one, two, triple two, five, four, three two we’ll see you there, buy-in metoo. Key. You’re listening to talking alternative network at www. Dot talking alternative dot com now broadcasting twenty four hours a day. Have you ever considered consulting a road map when you feel you need help getting to your destination when the normal path seems blocked? A little help can come in handy when choosing an alternate route. Your natal chart is a map of your potentials. It addresses relationships, finance, business, health and, above all, creativity. Current planetary cycles can either support or challenge your objectives. I’m montgomery taylor. If you would like to explore the help of a private astrological reading, please contact me at monte at monty taylor dot. Com let’s monte m o nt y at monty taylor dot com. Are you suffering from aches and pains? Has traditional medicine let you down? Are you tired of taking toxic medications, then come to the double diamond wellness center and learn how our natural methods can help you to hell? Call us now at to one to seven to one eight, one eight three that’s to one to seven to one eight one eight three or find us on the web at www dot double diamond wellness dot com way. Look forward to serving you. Talking.