Nonprofit Radio for October 10, 2022: The Smart Nonprofit

 

Beth Kanter & Allison Fine: The Smart Nonprofit

That’s Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s new book, revealing the potential of smart technology and artificial intelligence for your nonprofit, and the entire sector. Beth and Allison are with us to share their thinking.

 

 

 

 

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[00:00:44.94] spk_0:
Oh, I neglected to mention, you hear me, you hear me do an intro to the show and then we’ll chat uninterrupted and then I’ll do the outro and then I could say goodbye Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d bear the pain of infra occlusion if you made me chew on the idea that you missed this week’s show. The smart non profit That’s Beth Canter and Alison finds new book revealing the potential of smart technology and artificial intelligence for your nonprofit and the entire sector.

[00:00:56.53] spk_1:
Beth

[00:00:56.87] spk_0:
and Allison are with us to share their

[00:00:58.74] spk_1:
thinking

[00:01:28.01] spk_0:
on Tony’s take to debunk those top five myths of planned giving, sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o and by fourth dimension technologies I. T infra in a box. The affordable tech solution for nonprofits. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant four D Just like three D. But they go one dimension deeper.

[00:01:32.30] spk_1:
What

[00:01:32.54] spk_0:
a pleasure to welcome

[00:01:33.29] spk_1:
back

[00:01:41.59] spk_0:
Beth Kanter and Allison Fine to the show. Both been on multiple times, although you know them uh they they they each deserve their own special

[00:01:47.79] spk_1:
introduction.

[00:01:49.33] spk_0:
Beth Kanter is an internationally recognized thought leader and trainer in digital transformation and well being in the nonprofit

[00:01:56.46] spk_1:
workplace.

[00:01:57.94] spk_0:
She was named one of the most influential women in technology by fast company and received the N 10 Lifetime achievement

[00:02:04.82] spk_1:
award.

[00:02:05.48] spk_0:
She’s at Beth Kanter and

[00:02:08.97] spk_1:
Beth

[00:02:30.78] spk_0:
Kanter dot org. Alison Fine is among the nation’s preeminent writers and strategists on the use of technology for social good. She’s a member of the National Board of Women of Reform Judaism and was chair of the National Board of Naral Pro Choice America Foundation and a founding board member of Civic Hall. Allison is at a Fine and Alison Fine dot

[00:02:34.94] spk_1:
com.

[00:02:36.18] spk_0:
Bethan Alison welcome back to nonprofit radio

[00:02:40.69] spk_1:
Thank you for having us. tony

[00:02:43.75] spk_0:
congratulations on the book.

[00:02:47.60] spk_1:
It’s very exciting. The response has been tremendous so far.

[00:02:52.45] spk_2:
So both of our 4th book and 2nd collaboration together.

[00:02:56.91] spk_1:
Second,

[00:03:20.05] spk_0:
yes, you’ve co authored the network non profit if I’m not mistaken. Alright and fourth book for both of you. Congratulations all around. I would actually like to start with the last sentence of the book. If every nonprofit in the sector can transform itself into a smart non profit we can transform the world end quote. Uh does anybody want to claim authorship of that particular sentence? Is it possible for co authors to remember who wrote each each sentence throughout the

[00:03:28.19] spk_1:
book?

[00:03:29.76] spk_0:
Not, no,

[00:03:31.30] spk_1:
not possible, but so

[00:03:33.14] spk_0:
then All right, Allison, what what uh what does it take to become this uh ideal. Smart non profit

[00:04:33.67] spk_1:
So a smart non profit tony is an organization that understands deeply how to stay human centered and by that we mean putting people first, internally and externally using the most advanced technology organizations have ever had at their disposal. This this, you know um family of technologies like ai machine learning robots and so on and by doing that tony we can stop the incredible hamster wheel of business frantic business of organizations just playing a daily game of whack a mole with email and telephone and ongoing meetings. All of that road work can be done by the technology, freeing up people to build relationships and tell stories and build communities and solve problems and do the deeply human work that most of us came to the sector to do in the first place.

[00:04:45.71] spk_0:
And you you used the word business that was not business, that was business

[00:04:52.15] spk_1:
in the U.

[00:05:08.43] spk_0:
S. Y. Yes. Okay. Um Alright. So there are many uh considerations for becoming a smart nonprofit and some some important roles of leadership that that come out in the book. Um Beth anything you would like to add to the to the intro to our conversation.

[00:05:25.86] spk_2:
Um Sure. What Allison laid out so beautifully is the key benefit of that nonprofits get from embracing this technology and that is the dividend of time and that time can be reinvested either in building better relationships with donors or or clients or stakeholders or also could be reinvested in the staff to free up time. So we’re not. So as you said, the busy work takes up a lot of time but it also takes up a lot of cognitive overload and maybe if we had more spaciousness we would be less exhausted. Um and and more inspired and less burnout.

[00:06:15.66] spk_0:
Yeah the that that dividend of time is throughout the book. And uh well except that hypothesis for now I have I have I have some questions about that, some little skepticism about that, but for now we’ll accept that the dividend of time will indeed accrue to people who work in in in smart nonprofits and to to the to the organization generally. Um Are

[00:06:18.75] spk_1:
you skeptical that it can be created or are you skeptical that people will know what to do with it once they created it? No,

[00:06:27.95] spk_0:
well I don’t wanna I don’t I don’t want to challenge right off the bat but

[00:06:33.36] spk_1:
uh

[00:06:52.52] spk_0:
skepticism that that it that it can be realized. Not not that people will know what to do if it does get realized, but um yeah well let’s come back to it, let’s leave the hypothesis uh as as as perfectly fair and and uh something to truly aspire to because there are as you say, and as you lay out mostly in the last chapter, um there are great places that the sector can go when we realize this uh this dividend of time. Um

[00:07:10.37] spk_1:
let’s

[00:07:19.93] spk_0:
talk a little about, you know, some of these elements of being a smart non profit Um beth let’s stay with you for you know, human centered. What what do you what do you all mean by by that?

[00:08:00.23] spk_2:
Well I guess we use another term in the book um called co batting and really with that I like that because it’s like figuring out what the machines can do best. Right that the automation technology there’s certain tasks that the technology is really good at doing. And those are things like analyzing large amounts of data and automating kind of rote tasks. But there are there’s stuff in our jobs that humans should do and always do. And that is the relationship building, taking the donors out to lunch. Like you were telling us you took a donor out to a nice restaurant recently. You know that’s not something the automation is going to do for you. Um and being creative having empathy, making intuitive decisions. And so when we use this technology leaders really need to understand like what is the right workflow and always keep humans in

[00:08:19.06] spk_1:
charge?

[00:08:21.28] spk_0:
What what’s the what’s the

[00:08:25.05] spk_1:
how

[00:08:25.33] spk_0:
can we how can we make sure that we center humans in in adopting this this smart technology?

[00:09:29.83] spk_2:
Well I think the first step is to ask to talk to them and get their feedback and their input in before you even like grab the software off the shop? It’s not about that at all. Um you really have to start with. Um you know, what are the points of pain? What are the exquisite pain points that we want to address by adopting this technology and getting feedback from the end user’s whether that staff clients donors and then, um, setting up a, you know, an understanding of what the journey is, what the workflow is and where you divide things. And then you begin to go look at software tools and uh, and and find vendors that are aligned with your values and once you’ve, or technologists that are aligned with your values and then once you’ve done that, you can begin to start with pilots and uh, an iteration on it before you get to scale. This is so different tony than social media, which both Allison and I have talked to about where we’re encouraging people to just jump in experiment fail fast. What we’re saying with this technology is that it’s really important to, um, to go slowly and to be knowledgeable and reflective about it.

[00:09:53.74] spk_0:
And reflective. Yes, reflective is, uh, something else I wanted to ask about. So what you read my mind fantastic being reflective Alison, what is why, what’s that attribute about for the, for the smart non profit

[00:11:37.25] spk_1:
So this is, um, something I’m deeply passionate about tony Um, I don’t know if, you know, I had a first career as a program evaluator and uh, it’s very, very difficult to get, particularly smaller nonprofits who are so busy and so under resourced to take a step back and not only think about how is what they’re doing, Getting them closer to the results that they want to do, but how can they improve over time and we need them to understand not only the human centeredness that beth just spot on, you know, outlined, but in particular tony how are we making people feel internally and externally about our efforts? Are we making people feel seen and known and heard or and this is particularly important when we talk about smart tech, do you feel like a data point, just you know, a cog in large machinery? Um that’s just getting lost um and we know that feels terrible, everybody has experiences of feeling being made to feel small by organizations and nothing is more important in our work, particularly in the social service and human service areas of making people feel known and heard and yet it is just the sticking point for the sector that it is the thing that gets left off and again we’re back to the business of work, so we want people to be reflective of. Is this the right technology, are you solving that exquisite pain point that you had? How are you making people feel when machines are now doing what only people could do until just a few years ago, you know, through smart tack and is it solving the problems that you set out to solve?

[00:12:00.50] spk_0:
Uh Yeah, I I admired that idea of, of reflective because you know, it’s it’s closely related as you said to being human centered uh you know, thoughtfulness um and it goes to like preparation to um it

[00:12:23.51] spk_1:
also goes to leadership right? You have to have a leadership within an organization that isn’t so brittle that they are open to learning about how to improve and there are too many organizations that are so fearful of being seen as not doing something well that they won’t openly and wholeheartedly be reflective about their activities.

[00:12:42.57] spk_2:
And it’s also about the culture too, and we’ve used this word a lot dizziness and when we have a culture of business and people are multitasking and there’s back to back meetings. They don’t have that space to be reflective. So um and and that’s so required to um to make the changes that you just read about the last line of our book, you know, to get to that place

[00:13:23.79] spk_0:
and we’re gonna talk some about the leadership. Uh you talk about being trustworthy and empathetic, we’ll we’ll we’ll get there. Um Another, another attribute you you mentioned um beth is being knowledgeable, knowledgeable about the tech and I think it’s limits too. But what would you you say it you’ll say it more eloquently than I will.

[00:13:33.54] spk_1:
I

[00:13:33.74] spk_2:
think we can both say that both Alice and I can say both eloquently, but I’ll kick off with um when we say knowledgeable and we’re and we’re saying this to leaders, we’re not saying that you need to know how to code. Um you know, roll up your sleeves and write the code but you need to understand um

[00:13:51.97] spk_1:
what goes

[00:13:57.94] spk_2:
into the code and whether it’s biased um the data sets it’s been trained on and you need most of the time. A lot of leaders in the nonprofit sector when it comes to technology it’s kind of push back, you know sent down the hall to the I. T. Department and we’re really asking leaders to lead in because there’s you know potential challenges which Allison is really great at explaining.

[00:14:16.56] spk_1:
Alright

[00:14:18.19] spk_0:
well Alison explain those but then maybe you can tell us a story too about

[00:14:22.12] spk_1:
uh

[00:14:22.80] spk_0:
about like the degree to which a leader needs to be knowledgeable.

[00:15:38.16] spk_1:
Uh So we’re talking about um this family of technologies tony that is very quickly becoming embedded in every single part of organizational life. Right? This is not a you know fundraising software, smart tech is going to be embedded in the finances and the back office and the coms and development and everything. And the idea of having machines automatically paid for things or screen resumes or screen people for services is a fundamental shift in who is doing work and how it’s being done. Right? So when you understand that premise, you have to have the C suite leaning into this to underst and what it means when your staff is doing different things than they used to do and when people on the outside are engaging with machines instead of people, these are fundamental shifts. So one area. Um Well too I just mentioned that are so important is if you are automating the screening of resumes, then the assumptions that some programmer put into that system and the resumes that were used to test it for looking for certain kinds of employees with certain kinds of skills are going to be biased. I can tell you that right now, right. They are going to have a bias. And largely that bias is going to be against, you know, people who are black and brown or or women.

[00:15:57.35] spk_0:
It’s gonna be in favor of white men.

[00:16:40.39] spk_1:
Exactly. Because that is what employment looks like. Those are the questions we use those are the expectations that we have and the programming was done most likely by a white man. Um So if you don’t know what to ask. The creator of that software that you’ve just bought that is going to quote save you a ton of time looking at resumes. Um but also screen out um people of color and women then you’ve just an incredible disservice to your organization and the same if you are providing housing services or food services to people in need, the same kinds of biases are going to be found in these systems, right? This is a systems problem. And that’s why as Beth was saying, this is not a technical problem. This is not something where you say go I. T. Guys go find us a good product. You know, they’re not looking out for your organization’s interest in equity. That’s what leadership is for right, setting those moral standards, setting that compass and making sure that your values are aligned in everything you do and how you do it as an organization.

[00:17:59.64] spk_0:
Yeah. You both are very clear in the book that this is a leadership issue, not a technology issue. It’s time for a break. Turn to communications. They have another interesting newsletter this week advocating for the use of cliches. Their argument is that cliches shouldn’t be ruled out entirely but used judiciously. Like not don’t go overboard either. Whatever you think about cliches, my point is they’re thinking about them. They’re thinking about how best to communicate your story because your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C. O. Now back to the Smart non profit any any stories, can we can we tell a story at this point? Alison

[00:18:23.00] spk_1:
sure there are, there are social services agencies around the country um that we’re using smart tech systems to provide um food assistance. And only after the system had been in place for several years. tony did they find out that it was literally leaving out black people from the system. In the opening chapter of our book, we talked about a screening tool called V. I. Speed at uh

[00:18:39.80] spk_0:
three times.

[00:18:40.55] spk_1:
I

[00:18:42.50] spk_0:
just kept saying it. V. I. S. P. D. D. Yeah.

[00:18:50.81] spk_1:
Yeah the I stood at that was programmed by um why white man with very good intentions that unintentionally was leaving black people out of getting priority housing in hundreds of communities around the world, four years before the social workers finally got heard saying, we know this tool doesn’t work on the ground, we’re using. It, it is not screening people correctly because the questions were biased against people of color who have so much trouble getting into public systems.

[00:19:32.89] spk_0:
You you have three caveats sort of that that you uh you make very clear and bias is one of them. So we’re just talking about that um responsible use is another another of the three beth can you can you talk to uh what you’re thinking about responsible use and sort of thinking through problems?

[00:19:59.01] spk_2:
Um Sure. Uh it’s kind of like taking a Hippocratic oath that you will do no harm. Right? So the example that Alison just laid out, obviously there was harm done by keeping people screening people out for important services. Um so so it it who’s um non profits to do uh something that we call threat modeling? I know it’s a big scary term and word and it comes from the internet cybersecurity but

[00:20:11.51] spk_0:
didn’t frighten me.

[00:20:17.94] spk_2:
Okay, well it might frighten some people we have had that reaction, um but it’s just basically

[00:20:19.33] spk_0:
not profit radio It’s very savvy listeners here.

[00:20:21.72] spk_2:
Absolutely,

[00:20:23.24] spk_0:
this is this is a higher echelon audience than you’re

[00:20:25.77] spk_2:
right, of course, your

[00:20:26.90] spk_0:
other podcast. So please

[00:20:28.49] spk_2:
threat

[00:20:29.80] spk_0:
modeling is not intimidating to us.

[00:20:31.51] spk_2:
Okay, so threat modeling is actually having a brainstorm of all the possible things that could go

[00:20:36.33] spk_1:
wrong.

[00:20:42.33] spk_2:
Um if you uh implement this technology um what what harm could be done to the end user um if they if they were given um let’s say you have a buy right? And in fact the Trevor project is an example of an organization that did this threat modeling. They wanted to they had a problem. Um they had, you’re familiar with the Trevor project,

[00:21:02.88] spk_0:
explain, explain what what

[00:21:04.80] spk_2:
okay, so they provide uh

[00:21:07.10] spk_0:
counseling

[00:21:23.42] spk_2:
to yes to L. B. G. T. Q. Youth, you know through text and online phone, if you will. And so they’re dealing with kids who are in crisis and a whole, you know, um continuum of issues and they have councilors that there who are volunteers but they’re trained in this very specific, very sensitive type of counseling, especially when young people are coming to them in crisis. And so um so the problem was, you know, they needed to scale um and get more counselors in there so they could help more clients. And so they decided that they wanted to use a bot,

[00:21:44.37] spk_1:
which

[00:22:33.01] spk_2:
is, you know, automated response. We’re all familiar with thoughts, you know, buy a pair of sneakers online or trying to make a doctor’s appointment and you encounter a bot. And so rather than replace the counselors on the front line with this technology that won’t be human center, it could be potentially dangerous. Um especially with a sophisticated self learning bot, which could learn through, you know, and learn through interactions and say the wrong things and that could be devastating to an end user who’s in crisis. But what they decided to do was to use the bot for training simulations. So they took data from real conversation, stripping all privacy information and they use this to train their bot, which was a highly sophisticated software that was self learning. But they said that this spot will not be on the front lines with anybody, will only interact with um for training simulations. So what this did was free up a lot of time from the staff in terms of delivering trainings to more quality control. So they were able to get more counselors on the front

[00:22:51.82] spk_1:
line, so

[00:23:01.15] spk_2:
it’s an example of being human centered, but it’s also an example of that dividend of time and and repurposing it um and also uh making sure, you know, so it’s doing no harm. Yeah,

[00:23:15.16] spk_0:
and that and that responsible use. Okay, okay. Um the other the other caveat you have, so you have, you have three caveats bias, responsible use and privacy. Talking about ethical standards who’s uh, who’s who’s most interested in talking about privacy Allison Fine, raised their hand first.

[00:25:08.25] spk_1:
Yes, I did. Um so this is not a new issue, right, We’ve been dealing with digital privacy um for a long time, but as a sector haven’t really ever gotten our arms around it. tony right in that we has a sector have just subscribed to. I think we think the lowest expectations from the commercial side, which is you try to get as much personal data as you can write. You ask for those emails and you leave. You might let somebody unsubscribe from a newsletter, but you don’t delete their emails. Right? And a much, much more ethical model we feel is in the european union, the G D P R. I can’t remember what that stands for. But the idea is that, um, the people, the consumers, constituents, donors, volunteers are in charge of their data and they get to tell us how they want to be engaged with us, right? They get to tell us that they want to be forgotten entirely from our systems. They don’t want to be on any of our list. They don’t want to be in our systems. And that flipping over of the model we think is very in keeping with being human centered, right? It’s very in keeping with the values that we’re trying to, uh, in view in this whole concept of smart nonprofits, right? That we shouldn’t fear, um, asking people what the value we provide to them is. Right. Do we brought enough value in having their email for them to want to stay with us or are we just turning through again, as we said in the beginning, turning them through systems like the cogs in a great big machinery. So we think the smart tech is going to generate even more data than the last 10 years of digital tech, which is astonishing to think about kind of mind blowing to think about

[00:25:18.86] spk_0:
Because I think didn’t you cite 90 90% of the data that we have is in the past two years?

[00:25:34.41] spk_1:
Yeah, yeah. It is remarkable to explode. And so we need to be, we need to raise the bar on our ethical considerations on the use of data and the relationship that we have with our constituents. They need to trust us more. The fact that the nonprofit sector along with other sectors, the degree of trust is going down. tony is, is not good and we ought to hold ourselves to higher standards of privacy and data protection.

[00:26:52.20] spk_0:
Two weeks ago, Gene Takagi and I talked about that exact subject in a show that I called in nonprofits do we trust? It was just, it was just two weeks ago. It’s time for a break. 4th dimension technologies, your tech is an investment invest wisely. What’s the state of your office infrastructure? Should you give remote or hybrid employees tech allowances or just give them the equipment outright or both or neither. How’s your disaster recovery plan? How’s your backup working? four D. Can help you with all these investment decisions, check the listener landing page tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant four D. Just like three D. But you know they go one dimension deeper. Let’s return to the smart non profit Do we know what the impact has been on, on business? Uh,

[00:27:02.62] spk_1:
coming

[00:27:13.65] spk_0:
out of the G D P R has, it, has it had the devastating effect on business that the business community in europe was, was claiming when they were, uh, lobbying against it or trying to, you know, trying to weaken it. Do we, do we know I’m putting you on the spot. Do either of you know, whether that’s had such a devastating impact on european business?

[00:27:25.95] spk_1:
It’s been fine. And, and look, companies, commercial companies here have had to put, uh, more effort into privacy issues when they do work in the european

[00:27:37.36] spk_0:
union,

[00:27:40.59] spk_1:
you know,

[00:27:40.96] spk_0:
California

[00:27:41.82] spk_1:
for Nya are holding people to the same standards now. Um, but it hasn’t had a huge negative impact on business,

[00:27:50.70] spk_0:
you know,

[00:27:51.44] spk_1:
it’s fine.

[00:28:01.23] spk_0:
Okay, okay, now this, this smart tech artificial intelligence we’re talking about, this is widely used commercially, Right? I mean, isn’t this, I don’t know, fundamental to amazon google the 24 hour chatbots that beth mentioned, you know, you see a little about 24 7, the likelihood of that being a live person at four in the morning is very, very small. This, this is, this is ubiquitous in the commercial sector,

[00:28:22.79] spk_1:
isn’t it?

[00:28:23.82] spk_2:
Yes, it is, but I think we’re at this point um, uh, Allison likes to call it the heel of the hockey stick where it’s going to the cross of this technology has come down. It’s becoming democratized and it’s becoming more accessible to non profits of all sizes.

[00:28:41.29] spk_0:
You

[00:28:42.67] spk_2:
don’t have to be nasa to use this.

[00:28:51.56] spk_0:
All right. Now to keep yourself out of jargon jail. You’re gonna have to explain the, uh, the hockey stick on a graph metaphor. So go ahead, tell us what X and Y are and why it looks like a

[00:28:54.63] spk_1:
hockey stick.

[00:28:55.50] spk_2:
Okay. It’s okay. So imagine a hockey stick, right. Or I should do it this way. I’m looking at my

[00:29:02.71] spk_0:
nobody can, nobody can see your hands, but we all know what

[00:29:04.91] spk_2:
happened, but

[00:29:05.98] spk_0:
not sophisticated enough to know what hockey sticks.

[00:29:20.11] spk_2:
It basically shows. And this happens with technology. Um, is that, you know, early adopters use it because it’s very expensive, experimental. It’s unproven. And as it, the technology improve and the cost comes down and it becomes more accessible to consumers and small businesses into organizations. The adoption rate starts to skyrocket. So it goes up. So you see sort of a flat line and then a steep hill or steep mountain increase in

[00:29:35.49] spk_0:
X’s time. And why is technology adoption?

[00:29:39.42] spk_2:
Yes.

[00:29:40.76] spk_0:
Yeah. You’re better at

[00:29:41.91] spk_2:
charts than I am.

[00:29:43.65] spk_0:
Okay, well, you, you, you invoked the metaphor of the hockey stick. You gotta, you gotta be able to stand behind it now.

[00:29:48.41] spk_2:
Oh, I guess I guess I should.

[00:29:50.13] spk_0:
All right. All right.

[00:30:31.21] spk_1:
It’s not just nonprofits adopting this now. tony I would say that it’s all medium and small sized organizations in every sector that now has available to them, technology that they couldn’t afford just a few years ago. And that’s, that’s what the difference is. The technology is a brand new, it’s just become very affordable for smaller organizations. However, as I mentioned before, just because it’s available and just because it’s affordable, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right stuff to grab off the shelf. And that’s the part that’s that’s the impetus for us to write this book. You need to know what you’re grabbing and using, Yeah,

[00:30:42.60] spk_0:
the availability to small and midsize shops, I think is through is throughout your book. Um, let’s tell another good story. The one with the, uh, uh, the repurposing of the school bus routes to deliver food instead of drop off Children during the pandemic because Children were no longer going to school. So they repurposed school busses to drop

[00:30:55.43] spk_1:
off meals.

[00:30:57.87] spk_0:
Who knows that story best.

[00:30:59.76] spk_2:
Yeah. So, you’re, you’re talking about research at Carnegie Mellon University and you’re talking about Pittsburgh school system and

[00:31:07.96] spk_0:
Pittsburgh school system.

[00:32:38.23] spk_2:
United Pittsburgh school district or whatever it’s called. Um, so this was at the very beginning of the pandemic when we were in the shutdown and um, and kids that are in schools that are in poorer areas relied on the school lunch program to get their meals right. And so if schools were shut down and, and, and students were tele community, there’s no way to get this food. So they used a machine learning algorithm to re engineer the must routes to take the food to the kids in the most efficient way. It’s really interesting how during the pandemic, you know, there was a little bit of a silver lining. I know it’s awful. But there was a silver lining for some nonprofits to really push and to innovate. And I think food banks in a way we’re forced to do this. Um, there’s another example in boston of the boston food bank completely automating its inventory and it’s stocking to become a lot more efficient. And at one point they even were experimenting with having robots come in and stock the shelves because most of the food banks, volunteers are older and they were told not, you know, during the very early part of the pandemic, not to, you know, come in because it could be dangerous to their health. Um, and that’s also a great kind of idea story, use scenario to think about to do the threat modeling that we were talking about earlier. So let’s just say for example, food banks. So let’s let’s bring in the robots and have

[00:32:38.99] spk_1:
them stock

[00:32:40.47] spk_2:
the shelves, you know, so, but you also have to think about that volunteers who are coming in, um, to do this type of work. Those were their lifeline in terms,

[00:32:50.89] spk_0:
yeah.

[00:32:51.75] spk_2:
How are they going to feel and how are we going to redesign the volunteer job and how are you going to encourage them to come back in and make them feel safe and welcome into the food

[00:33:02.13] spk_1:
bank. Right.

[00:33:02.86] spk_0:
Less feeling less unless they feel useless and replaced by machinery. And this is all the organization thought of us. And now they now it’s just a bunch of metal replacing us metal and plastic parts. So yeah. Alright. Also being human centered, reflective,

[00:33:59.75] spk_1:
but that that’s that’s the dividend of time, tony if you can say all right, we used to have these uh, you know, two dozen volunteers who came in and were stocking shelves all the time. And now we’ve automated that task. What is it that these, you know, lovely people who wanted to help could do that would be so, you know, deeply human and centered as you say, and uh, you know, in in improving our relationship with our clients. Maybe they could be calling clients. So what else do you need? You know, what else is happening for you or just saying hello to somebody, Right. I mean, there are all sorts of wonderful human things that those people could now do if they want to um that they never had the time to do before. That’s the that’s where this is again, a leadership issue of really thinking about how do we want to use our human capital in the next chapter of organizational development?

[00:35:40.16] spk_0:
Okay, I think that’s an excellent example of the dividend of time that we’re we’re about a half an hour in or so. So let me uh let me try my, my skepticism out on you that we I’ve heard this before, that there was gonna be, there were promises of increased productivity and increased time. I’m thinking of smartphones, we’re going to give us more time and they certainly make us more productive, but I don’t I don’t I don’t see studies saying that we we have so much more time. I see that time being absorbed now you might say, well maybe I’m making your case for you that time being re allocated. Unthought feli unwisely. But I don’t I don’t see people walking around feeling that they’ve got so much more free time since the widespread adoption of smartphones 10 years ago or so. Um Another video conferencing, you know, whatever teams uh zoom, I hear more about zoom burnout than I do about feeling that I’ve got so much more time available because I don’t have to go to meetings. I don’t have to go to the office. Um You know, so those are a couple of the paperless office. That was another paper, the promise of the paperless office was going to be so much so much more efficient for us and I think that was gonna save time because we wouldn’t have to file papers and it was gonna save office space because we wouldn’t need storage and these promises. Um I sound like a whining 60 year old, but these promises have not come

[00:35:44.78] spk_2:
to not

[00:35:46.09] spk_0:
come to fruition in the

[00:35:46.96] spk_2:
past. So I’ll take what I’ll tackle the zoom fatigue thing and, and then Alison can kind of related to smart text. So

[00:35:56.32] spk_0:
I guess I should say uh, it’s not whining. I don’t want to sound like a curmudgeonly 60 year old.

[00:36:00.94] spk_2:
Well you’re not a curmudgeon and you never whine.

[00:36:03.79] spk_0:
All right, Thank you.

[00:36:52.45] spk_2:
So, so if you take zoom fatigue, right? Um, and that came from stanford University and basically what is causing it is the flight or fight response that is going on in our bodies when we see the grid. I mean, there’s some ways to mitigate it. But what happened is is that nonprofits like many businesses all of a sudden were forced to pivot to becoming remote distributed teams. We never really work like that. So the idea was, let’s just all make, get a zoom meeting. Let’s just take everything we did in person and just plop it online. And what happened because everybody was doing this there was, we didn’t really evaluate how do we collaborate effectively. What do we need, what can we do? Like a synchronously so we can make use of our synchronous or real time experience. So we can make meetings shorter. There’s research from Microsoft that shows that if you have stacked back to back meetings without taking a break your level of stress just stays the same throughout the day. And so if organizations were reflective, knowledgeable

[00:37:07.39] spk_0:
and kind of prepared, they

[00:37:16.17] spk_2:
Would have looked at and said, Okay, so let’s look at how we can, you know, stick to a culture of maybe a 20 minute meeting with 10 minute break in between or have a zoom number per day that we know that we’re not going to schedule more than x number of meetings, which would then think to how do we rethink our work? Um So it’s not just the technology, that’s true, the technology doesn’t create the dividend of time. It’s a combination of the technology with thoughtful leadership, reflective leadership as we’ve been saying, that can then change the culture.

[00:37:41.25] spk_0:
Yeah.

[00:37:51.31] spk_1:
And let me let me let me build on that tony So we have an entire generation of digital technology That was intended to make us go faster, right? That was that’s what it has done. We are at a point now, we’re checking your email on average, 74 times a day is quote normal, right?

[00:38:04.53] spk_0:
We’ve gone from uh let’s say facts to email, to texting to to to um slack.

[00:39:36.27] spk_1:
We we we get that this technology, smart tech ai automation is not that technology, it is a fundamentally different kind of technology that’s intended to do things instead of people not to have us do more, But as Beth just said, it’s only going to do that. If we implement it thoughtfully, right, if we end up in the same place where we are checking on the box 74 times a day shame on us. The stuff has the potential to relieve us of so much administrative wrote work that just eats up everybody’s day. And if we can co bott well and have the bots do what they’re supposed to do and the people do what they they’re supposed to do, we can actually re humanize work. But as you know we’re just at the beginning of this process a lot of this is theoretical and that’s again is why we wrote this book instead of jumping in and grabbing the stuff and adding it onto your existing dizziness, frantic nous culture, we need you to stop and think and figure out how to do this. Well you know

[00:40:34.55] spk_2:
there’s some research that’s from M. I. T. Sloan school that looked at the effectiveness of this technology and um and where it is effective is if people don’t just focus on the efficiency of it that is to, okay well we can get all of these tests done way more efficiently because people aren’t cutting and pasting from different spreadsheets. Um But we’re not gonna fill up people’s with more work to do so it’s not to go faster, it’s really to be more effective and so if this technology can be implemented and it can kind of relieve some of that stress and pain of overload then that has an impact on morale and people feeling good about where they work and there is a synergistic impact that the study found that where efficiency and kind of effectiveness, let’s work together. So there’s so that can have more people feel better about their work, they do better, they get better results, they’re less likely to quit, there’s less likely to be turnover and the organization moves forward in a in a better way with better outcomes.

[00:41:09.01] spk_0:
Right, Okay. Alright. And that’s that’s if if it’s adopted with leaders consciously being human centered, knowledgeable, reflective, prepared. Uh and we’re gonna get to trust and empathy. Um All right, well you may have moved me from skeptic to uh cautious optimist.

[00:41:16.14] spk_2:
I was gonna say, what are you still are you still a little uh

[00:41:34.32] spk_0:
you know the history, the history has not has not borne out that leaders have adopted the new technology reflectively thoughtfully and prepared. Lee um It’s just so I’m just basically,

[00:41:36.18] spk_2:
pardon

[00:44:17.51] spk_0:
Me, they never had its 2022. Now they have the book, they didn’t have it when we went from facts to email or email to slack or email the text and text. Alright, Alright. No, no it’s okay. Um so leaders please uh keep listening. It’s time for Tony’s take to debunk the top five myths of planned giving, that’s my free webinar coming up. It’s Tuesday october 18th at 10 a.m. Pacific one o’clock Eastern I say free webinar but it’s not free for everyone. It’s free for you because you’re gonna use checkout code tony T. O N Y couldn’t be simpler. I think you have to put it all in caps too. I’m not sure about that part but do it all in caps to be safe. So I’m gonna be talking about debunking these insidious, pernicious top five myths of planned giving, I hate them, I loathe them, they are loathsome, that’s why I loathe them because they keep people away from planned giving like the one that says plan giving is gonna ruin all your other fundraising. It’s going to take away from your annual gift and your major annual giving and major giving. Debunk. We’re gonna debunk that and for others as well. So join me very simple to sign up. Of course. You go to our gracious host site. We are thoughtfully hosted by N. P. Solutions. So you go to N. P. Solutions dot org. You click workshops, you’ll find me in the list and then when you’re checking out use that code tony do it in all caps and it’ll be free for you. Not for everybody, but for you, I hope you’ll be with me. Let’s debunk these Hateful Top five Myths. That is tony stick to we’ve got boo koo but loads more time for the smart non profit with Beth Canter and Alison fine. Let’s let’s talk some about the leadership. That’s perfect. So you mentioned the three things I really want to talk about trustworthy empathy uh, and curiosity and I have to get this in. If you had an H then you could have spelled out tech trustworthy empathy, curious, high minded

[00:44:18.40] spk_2:
human, human centered,

[00:44:26.89] spk_0:
human centered. You need, you got the T. E. C. In the book. I was looking where’s the H. All right. Uh, what does it look like for leaders to be to be trustworthy? To adopt Trust?

[00:44:34.88] spk_1:
Who

[00:44:38.64] spk_0:
who who’s the best, who’s the most trustworthy explainer of of trust?

[00:44:43.00] spk_1:
I

[00:44:43.18] spk_0:
don’t care. It could be either one. Okay, Allison Trust is yours. We got to go in order and then if we can come up with an H uh centered, but that you already have that in the in becoming a smart non profit That’s that. You already covered that one. So you can come up with another one. Um Herculean, heroic, heroic, Herculean, Right. Trust Alison, Why why is this trust?

[00:46:58.76] spk_1:
Important? So organizations are making a bond with people in their communities, right? We are, we are asking them to come along on a journey with us, uh, to be clients to be donors, to be volunteers, to engage with us in some way and trust is the stuff that’s sticking us together, right? It is social capital. It is thinking that an organization has your best interests at heart, not just their best interests at heart. And um, I feel like for 20 years, so many organizations have been going moving so quickly on this hamster wheel advised by people who make a lot of money off of transactional fundraising and transactional engagement online and have lost sight of the fact that unless and until people out there trust that you are doing the right stuff in the right way, nothing else matters. And we’re all trying to scale way too quickly, tony without really understanding the fundamental D. N. A. Of making sure that we are entirely values aligned from what we want to do to what we’re actually doing to the outcomes. And again, you know, beth and I feel so strongly that the nonprofit sector is such an incredibly special place, right? We are the epicenter of the world for you know, providing human services and doing advocacy work and it is such an incredibly brave, difficult work and yet we still have a ways to go in asking are the leadership of organizations both C suite and the boards to raise the bar to be more transparent uh to to ask more questions about how they’re doing, to measure their outcomes, to uh take care of their people internally and externally better. And so that’s why we put trust so high up on the scale of what we want organizations to be focused on.

[00:47:19.32] spk_0:
I think leaders feel when they’re there

[00:47:24.02] spk_1:
falling

[00:47:24.70] spk_0:
short in in in in in the aspirations that you just described. I think I think folks feel it it’s just but they’re on that hamster wheel and it’s, it’s hard to take, it’s hard to take that step back and and acknowledge what you’re feeling and be introspective as an organization.

[00:49:01.87] spk_1:
Let me, let me, let me describe something though. That’s really important. tony that we as a sector don’t talk nearly enough about. And that’s what Beth and I called the leaky bucket in fundraising. Right? So year one, you get 100 donors by year two, you’re down to 25 of those. You’ve lost 75% of those donors Because you’re so busy filling up the bucket again because you’ve lost 75% the year before and all you’re doing is this transactional fundraising, the email, the direct mail to fill up the bucket again. All of the measures of fundraising success are front loaded, right of did we hit those, you know, revenue targets for this year? Very few organizations are really focused on donor retention and how to increase it. It’s never been at a board table for discussion that I have been at in many, many years, many, many organizations of being on the board and that is where the panic comes in. And it feels terrible to staff and you know, my heart just goes out to all of those people who are in a panic about hitting those revenue numbers knowing that what they’re working with is hemorrhaging donors every single day and that’s where, you know, just in my heart of hearts tony I just want everybody to stop, just stop and take a step back and figure out how to improve your relationship with donors more. So they stay longer with you and you’re not in this panic every day.

[00:49:25.83] spk_0:
Allison, we’re gonna come back to you for for curiosity beth let’s talk about empathy,

[00:49:29.41] spk_1:
I’m

[00:51:40.41] spk_2:
sure. And I think the empathy is, needs to be turned within first before it gets turned outside to the donors to solve um, what what Alison was just talking about. But so empathetic leadership means the ability to understand the needs of others and being aware of their feelings and thoughts. And unfortunately it’s viewed as kind of like a soft skill. Um, and it’s not always linked to performance, um, indicators, right? And so I think it’s really important, especially with what we’ve been through in the pandemic, um, that organizations really need to have clear expectations with their managers to lead in a way that is supportive of, of employees and that supports and contributes to their overall well being and they can do that and still get work done. Um, and I think that like don’t get me started on well being, but um, well being has to be put center and it has to be raised up and given as much importance as fundraising metrics or, or other financial metrics, especially given what we’ve been through. And so this includes checking in training people to like actually observe on their staff and making sure that their, um, you know, caretakers for each other’s well being. And it’s, you know, like a one on one check in isn’t just about, hey, where’s that report? Where’s that proposal? But it’s also how people are feeling what their energy is. Like what their job experiences like what could be improved, which gets us closer to that conversation around technology. So, um, the types of skills and competencies that make for a culture of care or empathy or self awareness and self regulation, adaptive skills, active listening coaching with powerful questions, observing for signs of burnout. Being able to give and receive feedback in a way that doesn’t cause stress, disrupting microaggressions, inclusive facilitation, having those difficult conversations sometimes, which is too nice. But there’s ways to have those conversations that aren’t devastating and genuine perspective, taking. Being able to see it from other people’s points of view. And it doesn’t, I don’t think that makes us weaker. I really think it makes us stronger.

[00:51:54.81] spk_0:
You know,

[00:52:05.03] spk_2:
it’s not a bunch of, you know, reaction when I wrote the happy, healthy. Yeah. Right. We get the, you know, that’s a bunch of hippie crap. Yeah.

[00:52:07.04] spk_0:
I didn’t say that when I talk to you. You

[00:52:08.92] spk_2:
didn’t say that. Of course you wouldn’t say that. You’re too smart.

[00:52:25.83] spk_0:
Thank you. Well, you hardly know me, but thank you. I’ll take it anyway. Um, I know a lot of what you’re describing to is vulnerability. And I think vulnerability is a sign of uh is evidence of confidence that you’re, that you’re strong enough to be vulnerable where lots of people think it’s a sign of weakness that you’re showing, you know, you’re, you’re showing your human side and you know that I think that’s terribly misguided. Um alright, if we’re gonna, we’re gonna, I’m gonna keep you uh not beyond our allocated time. Let’s go to Alison for for curiosity.

[00:52:48.83] spk_1:
Why is it important?

[00:52:50.46] spk_0:
Yes. Why is, why is curiosity a valued trait for leaders?

[00:54:31.33] spk_1:
Uh, you know, the world is moving really fast tony and we have um, a lot of organizational leaders who think tech is not their thing, right? Tech is for somebody else and it can’t not be your thing. If you’re running an organization right now, it’s too important. It’s threaded throughout everything that your organization is doing and you can’t just lean back, You need to lean into it and to do that? You need to be genuinely curious about in our case for smart tech, What is this stuff and why is important and how is it different from the last generation of technology and what could we actually accomplish if we didn’t spend three quarters of our day responding to emails? What is possible out there in the world. And you know, my heart breaks for so many of the nonprofit folks that beth and I talked to who have such good intentions and are so deeply unhappy with how stressful their jobs are or how unrecognized they are by the C suite um or how um pressurized they feel. So it is just uh innately important for organizational leaders to be genuinely curious about, where do we go from here? Right. The world broke two years ago in so many fundamental ways the political economic stress of this moment is wearing people down but we can’t stay here tony we need to go somewhere and we genuinely believe that the family of technologies we call smart tech creates an opportunity to be different in the future to make work joyful and much more meaningful and rewarding and you can only get there if you’re genuinely curious and engaged in understanding the technology

[00:54:58.39] spk_0:
and I think curiosity and empathy are interrelated to curiosity about your people as beth was for all the, in all the ways Beth was describing. That’s

[00:55:08.56] spk_1:
exactly right

[00:55:12.54] spk_0:
alright. Um I don’t suppose the beth I don’t suppose you on the fly came up with an H for to spell out tech for us. Did you?

[00:55:23.89] spk_2:
You

[00:55:24.77] spk_0:
Have that one already?

[00:55:27.02] spk_2:
Humility

[00:55:28.26] spk_0:
Humility is a good one. There you go.

[00:55:29.86] spk_2:
So let’s riff on that humility in

[00:55:31.81] spk_0:
the second edition, you can add, you can add humility and spell out

[00:55:35.20] spk_2:
text and then we’ll footnote and say suggested by tony

[00:55:44.65] spk_0:
Thank you. Yeah, humility. Right. Isn’t that simple? Yeah, related to being empathetic leaders don’t need to know everything, do they?

[00:55:49.85] spk_1:
Oh gosh

[00:55:50.62] spk_2:
no listen

[00:56:15.01] spk_1:
we you know the reason why we wrote the network on profit tony was to take that idea of the hierarchical model of leadership and organizations out of the equation and say the point is somebody else in your network has the answer. You don’t have to have the answer yourself. You just have to know how to go about getting it right and and that of of flattening your organization and your worldview is so important to being able to survive all the uncertainties of what’s happening right now.

[00:56:52.37] spk_0:
Since we started with Allison, Beth I’m gonna let you wrap us up please. There’s so much more in the book. There are use cases, you know, we don’t the book, we can only scratch the surface here. You gotta get the book. That’s the point. You get. They talk about increasing program capacity, fundraising, back office automation, including a lot of talk about human resources. Um you just you gotta get the book which is the smart non profit but beth why don’t you leave us with inspiration and wisdom?

[00:58:30.19] spk_2:
Okay. Um we’ve been through a lot the sector has been through a lot. I mean the world’s been through a lot in the last 22 plus years with the pandemic and accompanying other crisis is and as Allison is outlined and I think we’re we are like at a precipice where we could just either go down the rabbit hole of you know a human capital crisis and spiraling out and people leaving the field and organizations just, you know, stopping business and, you know, leaving lots of people who are vulnerable who need their services. I mean, that’s we can’t go there. We have to pivot. And I think that um, smart tech is part of the tools that can help us get there. But again, their tools, they also need this empathetic leadership that we’ve been talking about and we who can also steer and change the culture to put people first. Um, and um, and I think if we can have all of these things together, working for the organization, the Smart Tech plus the culture plus the leadership, uh, we’ll be able to move forward in a post pandemic world with much better outcomes with happier staff, with staff doing a better job with donors, feeling seen and heard and wanting to, you know, um write bigger checks if you will with clients who are receiving the services that they need and we’re on a path to a better world. It’s not gonna be easy, but uh, we believe that non profits can do this.

[00:58:48.89] spk_0:
That’s beth cantor at Beth Kanter and Beth Kanter dot org co author Alison Fine at a fine and Allison Fine dot com. The book is the smart non profit you can find it in either of their two sites,

[00:59:00.00] spk_1:
Beth

[00:59:00.35] spk_0:
and Allison, thank you so much. Thanks for sharing

[00:59:03.70] spk_2:
genuine

[01:00:00.00] spk_0:
pleasure next week. Eric Sapperstein returns after many years. Let’s talk about waking up excited and going to bed fulfilled. 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 fourth dimension technologies I. T. Infra in a box, the affordable tech solution for nonprofits. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant four D. Just like three D. But they go one dimension deeper. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff showed social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott stein, Thank you for that. Affirmation Scotty, you’re with me next week for nonprofit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

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