Nonprofit Radio for July 5, 2022: Future Of Fundraising


Adam Garone: Future Of Fundraising

Our #22NTC coverage resumes as Adam Garone shares his experience growing the individual donor base and driving transformational change at Starlight Children’s Foundation.



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[00:01:45.34] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of that favorite abdominal podcast of yours and oh I’m glad you’re with me, I’d get slapped with a diagnosis of blue fro fim Asus if you narrowed the conversation to the idea that you missed this week’s show future of fundraising, our 22 Ntc coverage resumes as Adam Garone E shares his experience growing the individual donor base and driving transformational change at Starlight Children’s Foundation On Tony’s take two, my silver jubilee. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C o. And by 4th dimension technologies I thi infra in a box the affordable tech solution for nonprofits, Just like 3D but they go one dimension deeper here is the future of fundraising. Welcome back to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio coverage of 22 NTC 2022 nonprofit technology conference. The coverage continues with Adam Garone E. He is Ceo of Starlight Children’s Foundation Adam Welcome to non profit radio

[00:01:52.34] spk_1:
Thanks for having me. tony Glad to be here.

[00:01:57.24] spk_0:
My pleasure as well. Your session topic is the future of fundraising.

[00:02:01.94] spk_1:

[00:02:09.14] spk_0:
it looks like we’re gonna be talking about growing your individual donor base, making a, making a transition and you’ve got

[00:02:10.05] spk_1:

[00:02:11.04] spk_0:
transformational change going on at Starlight as well.

[00:03:16.04] spk_1:
Yeah my sort of expertise and in the not for profit spaces in Peter peer fundraising and individual donor engagement and Central to all that is storytelling and brand and that all started back in 2000 and 3, 2000 and four, I was one of the co founders of november and the Ceo of the Movember Foundation up until 2000 and 16 and um, you know, started created that organization from nothing and the Movember Foundation has raised over $1.5 billion all through Peter Pierre um fundraising. And so each year that campaign raises over $100 million. Um, so that, you know, that’s what got me started and feel qualified to say I am have a certain expertise in brand building and individual donor and fundraising engagement in the not for profit sector, which I bring to Sawa.

[00:03:37.44] spk_0:
Alright, Alright. Um, so I think your your wisdom is going to not only help folks that are making this transition, but folks who are already engaged in individual fundraising, you’ve probably got some ideas that uh, can help them build their build engagement, build their individual donor base um as well as the folks who may need to transition from grants, maybe corporate giving and into into individual giving, which which I kind of describe as getting to the next level, that I get that question a lot. How do we get to the next level?

[00:04:50.24] spk_1:
Yeah. And it was, it was one of the things that really attracted me to the opportunity to join Starlight Children’s Foundation, which was three years ago now, as ceo, the revenue profile of the organization was probably 85% maybe even higher, um, corporate partners. And the individual giving piece was really non existent and Starlight. Um, and related to that is the brand recognition of Starlight. The vast majority of people outside of the Children’s hospital networks that we serve have never heard of Starlight. And I always say, and if you think about all the big charities, um, and with large individual donor bases and it’s directly linked to their brand awareness and understanding. Um, and they go,

[00:04:51.84] spk_0:
I’m sure in part you think about a place like ST jude.

[00:05:48.34] spk_1:
Yeah, yeah, so that, that ST jude make a wish of both household names and, and so their revenues and individual engagement is proportional to that. And yeah, so for me, when I think about individual giving and fundraising central to that is the brand, the customer experience and then storytelling, um, really, you know, thoughtful storytelling and, but you know, that that’s central to it, that’s where it starts. But what, what you as an organization need to understand is who are you targeting? Who are your target markets? And so many organizations don’t truly understand who are they targeting? And knowing those people in a lot of detail,

[00:05:50.92] spk_0:

[00:07:16.24] spk_1:
who you compete against. So in Star Lights World, we do compete against ST jude, we do compete against make a wish. We compete against the big name Children’s hospitals all across the country. And so then it’s figuring out what differentiates us and why would someone give the Starlight versus ST jude or make a wish. And we’ve spent a lot of time on all that on who are we targeting? Um, you know what’s central to our story. So the things that difference differentiate Starlight is the tangible itty of our programs. So you can see and touch and feel our programs. We got a virtual reality program that’s being used in clinical applications. So instead of sedating a child where they need to have a addressing for a burn changed their immersed in our virtual reality goggles with curated content on it. So they’re suddenly exploring an underwater world. So that’s just one example of our programs. So people know exactly where their money is going in terms of the programs. But then we can be, we can direct our programs to be hyperlocal and and to the local Children’s hospital. So, um, ST jude can’t do that. I mean they’re one or a network of a few hospitals. So, um, if you donate to ST jude a goes into a huge, huge bucket that funds research in the hospital operation.

[00:07:28.74] spk_0:
So, so the lesson for listeners, you know, our listeners are small and mid sized nonprofits is, you know, to identify what distinguishes you from your competition, identify your competition,

[00:07:32.07] spk_1:

[00:07:45.04] spk_0:
distinguishes you and this all goes to brand. You mentioned brand customer experience and storytelling. This goes into your, your brand identity, right? How you, how you, how you talk about yourself, how you look, how you talk about yourself?

[00:09:13.74] spk_1:
Yeah. And and you know, when I talk about brand, for me, that brand is all encompassing, it’s for sure. It’s your logo and your fonts and your color palette and stuff like that. That’s very, very old school thinking for me, it’s your visual identity, it’s the pictures that you’re putting on social media, your video storytelling and the customer experience. So, what, what, you know, what happens when someone visits one of your social media channels? What happens when they come to your website, which is ultimately where you want to direct people for the most part, depending on the campaign and what you’re doing? But for the most part, your website in the digital world is absolutely central to individual donor or fundraising engagement. So what happens there? What’s your conversion rates? What’s the story that’s being told there? And how does that relate to the story that inspired someone to come to the website in the first place? So it’s that full funnel, thinking that that’s critically important and brand consistency for me is everything and, you know, particularly in our today where we get exposed to so much content and we stay on that content for milliseconds in some cases, how do you get someone to stop scrolling in social media, what’s that opening? You know, one or two seconds in a video, what’s the image that’s going to stop someone go, hang on. What’s that? What’s this image of a child in hospital with one of Starlight gowns with Disney Princess on it. What what’s all that about? That creates that intrigue and hopefully engagement.

[00:09:51.24] spk_0:
How do you start to grow an individual donor base? So let’s, let’s take a again, smaller, mid size shop that that is exclusively or largely corporate funded or, or the revenue is largely foundation or maybe government fee for services. Could be that. How do you start to transition from that again, get to the next level into, into individual giving. How how do you start to identify those individuals? Let’s start with that

[00:10:01.51] spk_1:
part. Yeah,

[00:10:03.09] spk_0:

[00:11:27.84] spk_1:
Yeah. And then that’s um, that’s a really good question and I’ve, I’ve done this multiple times and you know, I did at the start with november, when we started with nothing, Nothing. Um, and I’m doing it again with Starlight. The difference there is, it’s now a 40 year old organization brand awareness, almost non existent. A lot of amazing corporate partners. So it where I started in both cases, it comes back to who are we targeting and, and it could be different segments in different target audiences, depending on what you’re asking someone to do, whether it’s to fundraise whether it’s to donate. Um, but, and and spending time and you know, honing in on exactly who you’re targeting and then it comes back to that, the crafting the story? What makes you different? What makes you stand out, what’s gonna inspire someone to support your organization versus someone else who’s a sort of a close competitor if you like. Um, and then it’s, how are you reaching them and you know, the distribution channel? So one example at Starlight is we’ve got two of our core programs are in gaming. So we’ve got a virtual reality goggles and then we’ve got a very long standing partnership with Nintendo and we take the latest, um, switch if you like, and work for Nintendo to, um, you know, make that operable in a hospital setting. So two of our core programs were in gaming and it’s like, okay, why aren’t we in the gaming streaming space?

[00:12:43.94] spk_0:
It’s time for a break. Turn to communications, media relations and thought leadership. They go together turn to has the media relationships to make you a thought leader where they don’t have a relationship, they know how to get one started and how to grow it. Like with the leading state or local news outlet in your area, that means you get your message out when you need to be heard like when your state legislature cuts a critical budget item or expands a budget item. If that can still happen anymore. I’m not sure. Media relations and thought leadership. Turn to communications. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C. O now, back to the future of fundraising, looking at what you’re doing and who’s going to be allied with that,

[00:12:45.22] spk_1:
right? Yeah.

[00:12:46.39] spk_0:

[00:14:30.04] spk_1:
you know, we, so three years ago we said, right, let’s target the streaming gaming community and within that community we target people that played Nintendo games and for us, the pitch was, hey, you can fundraise by playing and streaming Nintendo and you’ll get to place an Starlight Nintendo gaming station in your local Children’s hospital. So created this really nice virtuous circle for that group of people and that started to work. But You know whether it’s at November or Starlight, the, I always say it starts with 30 people, can you get 30 people that are streaming fundraising for you, can you get 30 people that are growing mustaches from November, can you get 30 monthly donors? And it doesn’t sound much at all, but if you can’t get 30, you’re never going to get 300, you’re never going to get 3000, you’re never going to get 300,000 people doing that. Um, so that’s what for us, particularly using that streaming example. But what we also found when we got in there was, there was a whole cooking community in the streaming world, there was musicians and there was crafting as well. So Starlight always also has one of our programs is we reinvented hospital gowns for kids. So as adults, we know how uncomfortable and horrible hospital gowns are. So we reinvented hospital gowns for kids and they double wrap around they do up from the side pajama like soft material and then we partner with the likes of Disney to put Star Wars characters on them or princesses or superheroes on them, so that we focused on our hospital gowns in the crafting community. And we also noted that there wasn’t any other.

[00:14:44.09] spk_0:
So there’s another, there’s another community, you approach the crafting

[00:14:48.44] spk_1:

[00:14:56.04] spk_0:
home craft, like crafts, crafts folks, people who, who do cruel work and and whatever stitching and what type of that type of crafts.

[00:15:49.04] spk_1:
Yeah, one of our streamers, big streamers is quilt, tony and she quilt and so there were also no other charities really focused on those sub communities within the streaming space. So we didn’t have a particular unique thing in the cooking community other than we showed that community a lot of love as a charity and they wanted to support Starlight and help sick kids in their local Children’s hospital. So my whole point here is, you know, figuring out what makes you as an organization different and who is likely to engage in your organization, identifying who they are and the other big pieces, no matter how you what medium you connect with those people that you’re targeting has to be a really authentic outreach and um, as personalized as possible. Um, especially

[00:16:09.04] spk_0:
When you’re, especially when you’re getting started. I mean you, you suggest you start with 30 people that seems that seems doable.

[00:16:11.04] spk_1:

[00:16:11.59] spk_0:
Not, let’s not try to get 300,000, let’s start with. Let’s start with 30 people you can do, you can send 30 personal emails or some other kind of personal outreach, if you know, if you know some of the folks, you can pick up the phone and talk to

[00:16:27.04] spk_1:
some of

[00:16:33.74] spk_0:
Those 30, you know, depending depending on your relationship with them, but certainly 30 personal emails Or 30 direct messages, you know, through linkedin or something. I mean that’s eminently doable. If you’re, if you’re, if you’re committed to this work,

[00:16:43.51] spk_1:
Right, and you know, to convert 30, you’re probably gonna have to go out to 300. Um

[00:16:48.00] spk_0:
but, but

[00:17:48.94] spk_1:
But that’s absolutely doable. 1, 1 person can do that in a week um, in in a, in a highly personalized way. And the other thing that we spent a lot of time on its style and we did this at november as well was, you know, just the personal connections, saying thank you to someone that made a donation or fundraise for the organization and you know, I do personalized videos for the streamers. We all do handwritten cards and we go out of our way to to say thank you, you know, I jump into fundraising streams all the time and say thank you and engaged in some banter with, with the streamers and um, you know, as as ceo of charity, I bet there’s not too many other ceos of charities out there doing that. Um but that’s what it takes, its, you know, everyone, there’s a really great base level now um of stewardship and technology that underpins all this. So it’s like, how do you differentiate yourself above where that bar is now?

[00:18:19.34] spk_0:
I love the idea of personalized videos and handwritten notes. I use them both in my business. I do plan giving, fundraising consulting. Uh and I use both personalized video, even giving a shout out to the, to the platform that I use and I’ll ask you adam which one you use? Uh I used a service called banjo or oh And I love, it’s simple. You like a 45 2nd video, a minute video. So you know, there it stands out because nobody else is doing it and handwritten notes, same thing. Nobody, I’m such an advocate of those because nobody is doing them

[00:19:00.34] spk_1:
right and it’s, it takes time, it takes time out of my day. Um But it’s simple and, and, and again it needs to be personalized that it can’t be just a generic hey, Chef steve thanks. It’s like Chef steve, thank you so much for raising $5500. That means we’re going to place a gaming station in Houston because that’s where he’s located. So um but the response that, I mean what do we get in the mail now? Like junk mail and bills, that’s it, you know, for the most part um So to get a nice handwritten card again, personalized is um, you know set you apart and it works.

[00:20:32.94] spk_0:
It’s time for a break fourth dimension technologies. Business continuity in case of emergency break glass. Then what as part of four D’s. I. T. Infra in a box. They’ll work with you to develop your incident response plan. Like who disseminates the tech info. How does I. T. Security change? What hardware and software changes are needed? What changes I. T. Wise in the office and remotely uh crisis questions. Business continuity is part of the I. T. Buffet so you can take it or leave it. But I did have a client that was hit with a ransomware attack last year and it was about two months before their I. T. Was back to even just semi normal. There’s a lot of disruption fourth dimension technologies for business continuity tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant Just like three D. But they go on to mention deeper. Let’s return shall we to future of fundraising. Do you use a service for your personalized videos or you have something in house?

[00:20:38.16] spk_1:
I just in the house. Um, but I’ll check what was it?

[00:20:42.84] spk_0:
B. O. N. J. O. R. O.

[00:20:44.84] spk_1:
Okay I’ll check it out.

[00:20:46.47] spk_0:
In fact you you sound like you’re Australian.

[00:20:50.44] spk_1:

[00:20:51.43] spk_0:
the Ceo is in Australia.

[00:20:54.24] spk_1:
All right. Okay.

[00:21:13.94] spk_0:
I think he’s in Sydney. I’ve corresponded with him a few times from I guess he was first he was on the show and that’s how I learned about his service and I’ve been using his service to, to thank thank folks who joined my courses, You can use it to thank donors bond or oh, it’s very, very good. I

[00:21:14.54] spk_1:
will definitely check that out.

[00:21:36.74] spk_0:
Simple, simple too. So giving them, giving them a well deserved shoutout. Alright. So, so we’ve talked about, you know, getting this initial cadre of folks and, and thinking about what’s special about your organization, what, you know, sort of what the messaging is to these folks. Did you, was there more you wanted to say about how to, how to approach your, your, your initial cadre of individuals?

[00:21:44.74] spk_1:
Well, yeah, I think it’s again, you

[00:21:46.91] spk_0:

[00:23:10.94] spk_1:
yeah, it’s identifying who you trying to reach and then it’s how you’re going to reach them, you know, what, what’s your, what’s your channel strategy? Um, and for each of the target markets and um, and I, you know, when we think about storytelling and stuff like that, a lot of people and organizations start with the story and because that’s fun, it’s like a small video production and, and you know, creating that story arc and getting people and talent and that’s, that’s all sort of Hollywood, light, fun stuff. But the art of storytelling is key. But what’s more important is the distribution strategy and oftentimes that becomes a complete afterthought and people spend less time and energy and money on crafting a story, put it up on their social media channels and nothing really happens. And it’s like, of course that’s, you know, you know, what’s going to happen if the only distribution of this content is on your own social channels. So it’s really thinking as much about the distribution strategy is about what the content is and doing that, doing that first. It’s also, what are you asking your target market to do? Are you asking them to fundraise? Are you asking them to donate? Is that donate once or monthly, join your mailing list or join in some sort of a petition or something else? Um and then also thinking beyond that, it’s like, okay, we get someone in, they’ve engaged on the website. What journey are we going to take them on over

[00:23:29.14] spk_0:

[00:24:40.44] spk_1:
Course of their time with us. It’s like, Okay, they’re donated once and it was $80. Okay, what’s the next ask going to be to them? What’s the timing of that? And is it going to be able to make another, you know, $100 donation um in six months time or is it to try to convert them to become a monthly donor? And then into your world donor, it’s like you think about the lifetime of a donor, it’s like, and then into planned giving and if someone has capacity a major gift as well. So I think it’s it’s looking, you know, at that, that complete sort of life cycle of a donor. But the channel strategy is, is absolutely key. Um and brand consistency is really important. But there’s always going to be nuances when we communicate in discord to streamers is different to how we communicate in instagram or in email and stuff like that. And that’s fine. As long as the umbrella look, feel, tone of the brand is consistent. Um, that, that is, that is key. Mhm.

[00:25:01.74] spk_0:
Let’s talk some about the storytelling. You identified three things like brand customer. Well, you know what before the story telling more about the customer experience, you’re sort of alluding to it. Now. You know what we were just talking about, say more about being intentional about your customer experience. Your customers could be peer to peer fundraisers, they could be outright donors. They might be volunteers.

[00:25:09.39] spk_1:

[00:25:10.54] spk_0:
to be intentional about that, those experiences.

[00:29:52.64] spk_1:
And in the majority of cases you’re going to be driving, You know, those people back to your website and, and generally it’s back to your homepage. So you, you know, we think about every word, every image, every pixel on that homepage because it needs to serve multiple purposes because we don’t necessarily, we can’t in real time adapt the homepage to potential fundraiser to a potential donors. So that home page needs to work hard to serve your multiple people that are coming there with different purposes. So, and that’s where that consistency of message in the various channels needs to be there because ultimately they’re coming back to, for the most part, you know, the homepage. Sure. in some cases, depending on the medium, you can direct people easily to a specific page for them to do the course of action, but we, you know, we spent a lot of time on, okay, you know, there’s a top of the funnel piece for everyone around building your brand awareness, inspiring people to engage in the organization and then they come to the website. Now, what’s equally as important is when they hit that website, where are they going? What are they doing? Are they engaging in the message? And ultimately are we converting them? And for us, it’s Starlight, it’s converting them as someone signing up to be part of our email database, a donor or a fundraiser or they buy something in our gift shop. So that’s what we consider converted. Um, and then depending how they convert, that’s where the different customer journeys come into play as to where we take them over time. Um, and if someone doesn’t convert, you know, we then chase them around the internet and retarget them and try and bring them back in. But everything that we do is measured, we look at the data, we look at the returns that we’re getting, um, and we’re constantly, constantly iterating on, you know, what’s the optimal image, what’s the optimal message? Um, you know, is it hospitalized kids, is it sick kids, is it seriously ill Children and they all make a difference And actually, for us, sick kids works best. Um, so, but it’s, you know, continually testing messages, images, um, around, you know, what has the greatest impact in terms of converting people. So it’s a constant, um, you know, consummate and you know, at the heart of all that is, is storytelling. And um, you know, I think about storytelling all the time, and for me, there’s sort of two major motivators as to why someone would engage in the charity, there’s the extrinsic motivators and intrinsic motivators. And at november, we’re all about the extrinsic motivators in that. And actually a lot of event based peter fear fundraising is, it’s like, hey, I’m going to grow a mustache or I’m going to do a half marathon for this charity. You know, I’m gonna do it with my friends, my colleagues and be part of this group, so it’s far more external motivators as to why you’re supporting in particular, cause um, in the course it’s behind the reason why you’re doing a half marathon, a growing mustache. Um, and that works brilliantly at november. And in part because we’re at november, we’re funding three very different and very complex disease states, prostate cancer, testicular cancer and then mental health and suicide prevention for men and bullets. Um, that’s a mouthful in itself, let alone saying what we’re doing to impact that, whereas it’s Starlight, we focus very much on the intrinsic motivators of helping a sick kid and delivering happiness and transforming moments from them in hospital. And so we don’t need a fundraising gimmick and, you know, I always get us because I’m the november guy, I always get asked, it’s like, well, we need a november adam and I need you to create a november campaign for us. And it’s like white, you know, you the I mean, there was some magic, there was just some random timing and beers on a sunday afternoon involved with creating november and you can’t replicate that that that stuff just happens. It’s like the ice bucket challenge. And, you know, that that was created also by people outside of the not for profit space was just ran right

[00:29:58.94] spk_0:
by some donors. Yeah,

[00:30:02.74] spk_1:
so, you know, and at Starlight, it was like, we don’t need that. We’ve got, we’re helping sick kids if we get the right storytelling around these kids and we’re delivering happiness and now our programs, you can see them the impact’s real and you can see the impact because it’s immediate, the kids are laughing and smiling and being kids in hospital, no matter what they’re going through. So that became the heart of our storytelling and really focused on those intrinsic motivators as to why someone would support Starlight versus creating some sort of a fundraising gimmick or campaign or event,

[00:33:04.34] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony Take two, it’s my silver jubilee in planned giving. I started planned giving in 1997 when Iona college in in new rochelle new york hired me to be their first director of planned giving. and then in 2003 I moved into consulting but 25 years. Um, it doesn’t, it doesn’t feel sufficient To call this my 25th anniversary. So I’m going with 25th jubilee. I hope you will indulge me in my jubilee celebration and you know, I’ll be talking about this on and off for, I don’t know, a couple of months or so, Just my sort of reflections on 25 years. Um, did you believe, you know, humbling that folks have trusted me with their plan, giving, fundraising for all these years and grateful to the mm colleagues, mentors, friends, um, folks who follow me, you know, all of whom have helped me learn and grow so grateful. Yeah. Um, and that’s uh, Those are my initial thoughts around the 25th jubilee, silver jubilee, if you will. Yeah, I’ll revisit this from time to time. But for now That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo coo, I love the boo boo, you gotta love the boo boo boo koo. But loads more time for future of fundraising with Adam Garone. E some of the um well, you, some of the storytelling, I mean, you said you’re very intentional, There’s a lot of testing. You’ve made the point a few times that the website and really the homepage, that sounds like a hub for you. And then there are other places people can go. They, you mentioned discord, I’m sure that, you know, instagram obviously all the, all the other big sites, but you, you consider the, you still consider the website and, and the homepage sounds like to be a hub of a hub where you want your, that’s where you’re trying to enter folks.

[00:35:08.74] spk_1:
Yeah, absolutely. Like there’s, there’s parts of the website that get very little traffic, but absolutely necessary, like your annual reports page, your financials, who’s on our board, all the governance stuff. Absolutely essential. But for, you know, that very small segment of audience that want to do that due diligence around our organization. So those pages are absolutely essential, but not much traffic going to them. Um, but there’s, you know, there’s probably Six core pages on our website. No one is the home page. And then it’s the pages that go off of that, like the monthly donor page, the individual donor page. Um, and and a couple of others. So they’re the ones we focused on the most in terms of, um, tracking how, how well they’re performing and can we optimize um, those pages and, you know, we can, they can always be optimist. But it’s figuring out what’s the right optimization because you can, we can go from seriously all kids to hospitalized kids and realize there’s a fall off. Okay, okay. We sort of thought intuitively that hospitalized kids might resonate more than we tried sick kids and alright that works the best. So it’s, you know, the other big part of all this is just creating a culture of sort of innovation where you know, let’s try stuff, let’s try different messaging um imagery, videography and bigger stuff. Uh you know, around this and see what works and just look at the data and you know, sometimes I become, and some of the team members become emotionally attached to a particular concept or idea and wanted to work and read the data so that it’s positive where it’s like, no, no step back and you know, it’s for us that we celebrate and acknowledge the winds, but also the stuff that doesn’t work because that’s equally if not more important because you’re iterating off of the stuff that that doesn’t work. So

[00:35:14.93] spk_0:
there has to be a willingness to fail.

[00:37:44.53] spk_1:
Yes. Yeah. And and celebrate that and but it’s like, it’s hard to create because as humans and particularly in the workplace, we don’t wanna see stuff that we put up, not work um and making it okay, but it’s like, okay, how do we try something and minimize the downside and minimize the investment too, create something and it’s like, you know, in the agile world it’s the minimum viable product, but um you know, how do you do that? But yeah, minimize the consequences if it doesn’t work and get enough data to know that Yeah. Is this, you know, a positive or a neutral or a negative thing in terms of engagement or conversion or whatever you’re looking to do. I think the sort of going back a little bit around channels and stuff, the, the way we build november and, and certainly what we’re leveraging at Starlight is our corporate partners. So as a charity and Star Lights, a midsize charity, um you can only ever spend so much on your own advertising just to keep your cost ratios in check. Um but creating joint stories with your corporate partners and having them amplify it through their channels and, you know, our major partner is Disney um and Nintendo and Major League Baseball. Um, having those partners amplify our stories is going to have significantly more reach than anything that we could ever do on our own. Um and that’s, you know, at november was a different corporate partnership, but partner with Gillette and all the male grooming companies and instead of them talking about the third blade on a razor, they talked about a cause marketing initiative with november and sold a lot more raises and helped build our brand. Um, so there was that, that win win and that’s all we also look for. It’s like, okay, yeah, Disney hasn’t done a lot of the storytelling with with Starlight traditionally, but now we are, we’re starting to do that. We’re starting, you know, we just launched a princess Disney princess themed hospital gown set. Yeah. And, and so that’s a great story for them and ask to tell jointly. Um

[00:38:12.12] spk_0:
so leveraging. Well, I get being intentional about who you’re partnering with and then, and in that intentionality you’re looking for, um partners that have, that have outreach that you don’t have in terms of size, maybe in terms of community introducing you to, and and if this is not, you know, for for listeners, if this is not Disney Nintendo and Gillette, it might be uh something much more local, um it might be a might be a chamber of commerce, it might be a local company, it might be a statewide organization or, or entity that way, so, you know, it’s not all, it’s not all, you know, Fortune 500 companies by any means,

[00:40:30.81] spk_1:
no, but yeah, I, you know, and, and again, in november we would partner with the, the, you know, the local bars and cafes and the baristas would grow mustaches now that barista or a someone serving a bar, they, they see hundreds of people a day and, you know, so they would have those conversations with 100 people, so, yes, you’re right, it’s it’s at every level, um and, you know, at, at november, we didn’t get Gillette at the gate, we went to the local barbershops and got the barbers on board in the local barbershop, and and that’s, you know, that grassroots outreach is so critically important, um but you know what it does is it creates its own momentum and, you know, it’s a similar thing with Starlight, we, you know, we were grinding away out reaching to streamers in the streaming community and that one on one outreach, and now we’re engaging with some corporate partners that are interested in engaging streamers or in the streaming community, be it hardware or peripherals or whatever it is when they’re partnering with them, because we had built our own community within the streaming community, and then we pitched some corporate partners that also want to target them and go, okay, let’s come together. You provide prizing in cash to help incent streamers with dollar matching and prizing when they reach thresholds. That’s great for them because they’re talking about a cause and a charitable partnership in the streaming community instead of, you know, the, you know, next iteration of their gaming chair or something like that. Um, but, you know, that’s, it all starts with, you know, that grassroots you’re right, grassroots outreach. I mean, I was lucky at Starlight. Yeah,

[00:40:35.61] spk_0:
you mentioned data several

[00:40:37.30] spk_1:

[00:40:38.11] spk_0:

[00:40:39.32] spk_1:

[00:40:46.21] spk_0:
that, that, you know, you’ve got to be deep in metrics around your website? Um, folks, folks who leave, why, you know, I don’t instead of me trying to guess, you know, why don’t you explain for us what, what, what are, what are the important metrics for you?

[00:44:06.79] spk_1:
um, I think we we track, I think it’s about 45 core metrics. Um, and well they’re the metrics that we report to the board on, um, there’s there’s probably there’s probably hundreds and, and also I’m always conscious of not, you know, over doing it as well, but you know, in it really depends on the specific area and we’ve really tried to create a culture around, you know, looking, you know, identifying what data is important for a particular initiatives. So as an example, we tried a new donor page with a new vendor and I’m not going to mention vendors. So I said, okay, when we introduce these new donor pages compared to what we’re using at the moment, what are the key things we need to be measuring? And it’s like, what’s the conversion rate? So out of 100 people hitting that page, how many actually convert as a donor? And compared to the current and what’s the average donation amount? Does it go up or down? So the theory was with this new vendor, we would convert more people and the average donor donation would go up compared to what we were using. So what actually happened was the conversion rate dropped quite dramatically, but the average donation went up marginally. So when you map that out, it’s like, okay, this is not a good decision. Um so, and we’re still persisting with that because we go, we’ve got to make this experiment, apples for apples to make sure. So we’re still finessing it, but the data is showing us that we thought this new vendor in this new donor page would be better in terms of converting more people and increasing the average donation amount but it’s actually not translating that way. Um So that’s just one example. But in everything we do we go okay how are we going to measure the success of this? Um what are the key metrics is you know is the data there for us to be able to measure that because you know it’s interesting another one and I debate this without board. They’re going okay we we need to be out there measuring the prompted and unprompted awareness of Starlight and in the general public and my point and you know that’s going to cost money to start with. And ultimately that’s a survey of a few 100 people, maybe 500 people somewhere across the U. S. And I was just going to them at Starlight. Brand awareness is at a point where it’s it’s largely non existent. The way I would much prefer to measure that brand awareness is really the bottom of the funnel. How many how many what’s our web traffic and what’s the percentage of that web traffic that we’re converting? Because it’s like sure we could drive a whole bunch of people to the website but if they’re not relevant they’re not going to convert relevant in terms of who we’re trying to target. And so for me that they’re they’re also metrics that we have and are free to us versus you know doing doing surveys um

[00:44:16.98] spk_0:

[00:44:18.99] spk_1:
um, so that’s, you know. But yeah, I mean there’s, you pick a channel or a particular thing, there’s different metrics that we, that we, we measure

[00:45:00.49] spk_0:
overall the data is important. You want to make your decisions based on, based on what’s actually happening, not what you uh, intuited what happened or not, what you’d like to see happen, what’s, what’s actually happening with folks coming through your site, folks converting, uh, you know, etcetera, how much time they’re spending on your site where they’re going. You want to be very thoughtful about the metrics, the metrics that you’re, you’re basing your decisions on and you made the point to, but not to go overboard as well.

[00:45:41.79] spk_1:
Yeah. And yeah, and ultimately there needs to be sort of a gut feeling to try something. It’s like, you know, that oftentimes there’s not data to support something new and you can debate it internally. Um and the other part of our culture that we try to instill is like let’s just try stuff and and again, let’s let’s do it on a small scale, minimize any potential downside, but let’s just continue to try stuff and never stop trying different things to see what works and what doesn’t, that’s

[00:45:49.79] spk_0:
perfect. Leave it there. Thank you, Adam, Garone, E Ceo Starlight Children’s Foundation. Adam. Thank you very

[00:45:50.54] spk_1:
much. Thank you. Thank you,

[00:45:53.29] spk_0:
my pleasure and thank you for being

[00:45:55.00] spk_1:

[00:47:09.68] spk_0:
Tony-Martignetti non profit radio coverage of 22 n. t. c. Next week. Service design with Janice Chan which is also from the 2022 non profit technology conference. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c O And by 4th dimension technologies I thi infra in a box, the affordable tech solution for nonprofits. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant D Just like three D. But they go one dimension deeper. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff shows social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott stein, yes, thank you for that. Affirmation scotty be with me next week for non profit radio Big non profit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great. Mhm

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