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Nonprofit Radio for April 24, 2023: Technology Governance


Maureen WallbeoffTechnology Governance

Maureen Wallbeoff

Sounds boring. In anyone else’s hands, it might be. But Maureen Wallbeoff brings her energy and lightness to help us understand the symptoms of unmanaged tech; the value of a technology governance group; and strategies for easing common technology pain points. Maureen is The Nonprofit Accidental Techie. (This continues our coverage of NTEN’s 2023 Nonprofit Technology Conference, #23NTC.)


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[00:01:28.31] spk_0:
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 come down with Trigon Itis. If you inflamed me with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Technology governance sounds boring in anyone else’s hands. It might be, but Maureen will be off, brings her energy and lightness to help us understand the symptoms of unmanaged tech, the value of a technology governance group and strategies for easing common technology pain points. Maureen is the nonprofit Accidental Techie. This continues our coverage of N tens, 2023 nonprofit technology conference on tony Steak to a great non profit podcast. We’re sponsored by Donor Box with intuitive fundraising software from Donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor box dot org. Here is technology governance.

[00:02:18.51] spk_1:
Welcome back to tony-martignetti, non profit radio coverage of 23 N T C. You know what it is. You know, it’s the 2023 nonprofit technology conference hosted by N 10. You know that we’re in Denver, Colorado at the Colorado Convention Center what you don’t know is that now I’m with Maureen will be off. We are sponsored at 23 NTC by Heller consulting, technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits and very grateful for their sponsorship. Maureen will be off is nonprofit digital strategist and technology coach at the nonprofit Accidental Techie with Maureen will be off. So she’s also aptly named and

[00:02:20.58] spk_2:
I say hello right back to

[00:02:23.13] spk_1:
our last interview.

[00:02:24.52] spk_2:
Wonderful. You worked with her where she Firefly partners hired her a million years ago. I, I was, I was one of the owners and a partner for 10 years staying in my hotel room this week. So

[00:02:43.12] spk_1:
I’m going to the Firefly.

[00:02:44.59] spk_2:
So am I will see you?

[00:02:47.30] spk_1:
There were a founder, founder and

[00:03:10.66] spk_2:
another 2008, some silent business partners came together and gave us an opportunity to start an agency. They gave us a little money and we were fully remote from day one when all we had was a O L instant messenger to chat with each other. That will tell you how long ago that was 2000

[00:03:18.04] spk_1:

[00:03:36.88] spk_2:
2018. So stayed for 10 years. And then I felt like I was so far away from the organizations themselves to actually lend a hand because we had people like Corley who were working directly with our clients. So I sold my shares and left the organization and started my own solo consultancy. At that point. I’ve

[00:03:43.04] spk_1:
known Jen Frazier. For just a few years. But I didn’t know that I’ve known you since you were on non profit radio last year. I didn’t, I just didn’t know about the connection.

[00:03:52.40] spk_2:
You know, we’re all connected here.

[00:03:55.08] spk_1:
So we’ll see, I’ll see you at the pizza party tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow,

[00:03:58.82] spk_2:
tomorrow night.

[00:04:01.13] spk_1:
All right, Maureen. We’re talking about technology governance for accidental techies. Why did you feel that this was important enough that it merited a session at 23 NTC?

[00:04:52.55] spk_2:
Because most organizations, whether they’re large or small have simple technology or very sophisticated technology really struggle with managing it as a holistic ecos system. So the fundraising folks handle their tools, the communications folks handle their tools. But, but you know, when we bring these products, software CRM into our organizations, it’s really tricky to get it all, to talk to each other, to work well, to make decisions for the best interests of the organization as opposed to just the users of that system. So often when I work with nonprofit clients, it’s the first time, the right group of people, like a cross functional, collaborative group of people have sat down and made decisions about technology together with everybody’s interests and needs in mind and it makes your systems work better and it helps you get a return on investment.

[00:05:19.44] spk_1:
So we’re envisioning a nonprofit where there are disparate systems, like there’s an accounts payable there, maybe there’s a treasury system, maybe there’s another bookkeeping system or something. There’s, of course, a fundraising system, there’s an hr

[00:05:34.57] spk_2:
email marketing, peer to peer fundraising volunteers, etcetera.

[00:05:45.78] spk_1:
Now, what about the companies that endeavor to put all these under one, um, mass name? Like, like, I don’t know, the salesforce or Blackball. Do those actually help small and mid size? Our listeners are in small and midsize shops. There’s, there’s no, um, I don’t know, there’s no 1000 employees, uh non profit listening, most likely. So do those big, do those big names work for small and midsize?

[00:07:43.13] spk_2:
They can, they can if they’re governed, if someone is paying attention to them, if the right people are talking about what’s working, what’s not working. Usually what happens in the small to mid size shops is the stuff as a whole is not cutting it, you know, or you’ve got redundancy, you’ve got two platforms that do the same thing or more or even something as simple as multiple canvas accounts, you know, like let’s talk about what you have, bring it all together. Um Make sure that users are supported, make sure that you know what you’re spending on this stuff and that the data is moving around between the systems instead of um data silos because that’s really where the power of all these tools comes in is, yeah, you can pay your staff. Yeah, you can collect online donations. But if different people have different needs and they’re not sitting together collaboratively making decisions, it causes friction and frustration. Often folks feel like they need to be a technology expert in order to govern their technology. So they don’t do it or they feel like, hey, I’m paying for this thing. It should just do what it’s supposed to do. It’s like if you hired a new staff person and never on boarded them, they’re professional, they know what they’re doing. They’ll just come in here, we’ll give them a computer and they’ll go not going to perform as well as a person who is managed, overseen and kind of guided to be the best that they can be. Alright,

[00:08:07.30] spk_1:
let’s talk about some of these symptoms of unmanaged technology bundle stack stack like a pro totally pro tech stack. Yeah. What does this look like that? We know we’ve got an ungoverned stack surrounding us, engulfing us. Maybe it’s engulfing us like it’s an Amoeba were a little Amoeba also were something smaller than an Amoeba. Amoeba have to eat two and it’s being engulfed by this Amoeba tech stack.

[00:09:53.73] spk_2:
What some of the symptoms are, are things like I just mentioned, you’ve got multiple of the same function, three email tools. Why, you know, probably just one would be better that way you can get really good at that. In addition to only paying for one thing, staff are due doing a lot of manual work that could be automated. So I’ve worked with an organization, small organization where everything was people powered even though they were paying a lot of money for the technology that they had in house. So change management, user adoption, none of that stuff was actually being taken care of. Um Your technology budget can grow dramatically year over year and no one really knows what you’re paying for everything, waste of money, waste of time. Uh You can also have turnover on your team if they feel like they’re um their pain points or their ideas for improvement are not being heard, they will leave and then you’ll need to start all over again. So it usually hits, there’s a, there’s a plan problem. You don’t have a plan for how you’re going to use all this stuff together. There’s a people problem, your folks are not trained properly or don’t have the right skills to be successful using this stuff, platforms, maybe you’re not in the right system or there’s a big gap or a business process problem. So a governance group small and scrappy meet once a month and kind of do updates with each other. Hey, here’s what we’re working on in our area of the text. We’re

[00:10:04.66] spk_1:
gonna, we’re gonna get to the technology, to your T G technology, technology Governance group, but I just want to see any more, any more symptoms of malfunctioning

[00:10:50.44] spk_2:
large frustration and you might not, you might be confusing your supporters because if they have one platform that they’re using, that looks and feels very different from another platform like I’m a volunteer and donor and the rules are different. Um Depending on which system I’m using. Um You probably are not giving your supporters the seamless experience that all of this stuff that we say we have to have inside our organizations to engage our supporters effectively. Um You’re failing on that promise, you know, you’re paying a lot for something that feels clunky, frustrating lots of manual workarounds. So

[00:11:00.80] spk_1:
a solution is the technology governance can be who should be a part of our T G.

[00:11:32.53] spk_2:
The T G G is an interesting little animal because when you think about another meeting, like I have to be part of another group, I have to go to another meeting. It pre fatigues most of us, right? Like I’m not, not into that so much. But if you pick the main system owners or users, like the person who’s your database manager on the fundraising, somebody from marketing and communications, somebody from finance, you made the point

[00:11:36.59] spk_1:
earlier. This does not have to be a technology

[00:11:38.57] spk_2:
person. No, no, no, no.

[00:11:41.38] spk_1:
You may not even have a tech

[00:11:42.35] spk_2:
person. You probably don’t.

[00:11:44.44] spk_1:
Your, your I T support may be

[00:11:46.35] spk_2:
outsourced or your kid. You know, in some cases, depending on the organization. No, we’re not, we’re not, we’re not past

[00:11:57.47] spk_1:
the server in the dripping, dripping mop closet. Let’s hope.

[00:13:45.46] spk_2:
Let’s hope everybody’s in the cloud and they’re paying attention to security and password management and all that good stuff. But the technology Governance group meets once a month for four months, for an hour a month. And you’ve got to appoint somebody to come up with an agenda so that it’s a real meeting. It’s not just everybody sitting and complaint. I hate this. I’ve asked six times to get a new whatever, what, that’s not the point of this meeting point of this meeting is to talk about what you’re doing in your systems, maybe make some business process decisions. I’m working with an organization right now who is starting to make plans to text their supporters. They’ve got the platform in place, but they don’t have any business rules around it. So the data guy, the communications person and um a couple of other folks are part of this T G G and we just had our April meeting a couple days ago on Monday and the everybody shared updates for a few minutes, got the mic for about 10 minutes and then we spent the second half an hour hammering out what the communication policy was going to be for collecting text cell phone numbers and using them across the organization. So they were really able to say we want to provide the same experience to everybody, whether they’re filling out a survey or making a donation. And here’s how we’re going to set up our system so that they align with our business rules. They had never had a policy before. Never thought about texting organizations. So rather than having that happen in a silo just in communications, you need your data person who is going to make the change that says, you know, here’s my cell phone number and the check box that says, yep, I’m opting in you. Folks can text me that would have probably taken six months to pull off if we had not sat down and talked about it for 25 minutes. As a group,

[00:14:57.76] spk_0:
it’s time for a break. Stop the drop with donor box, the online donation platform. How many possible donors drop off before they finish making the donation on your website? That is tragic. You can stop the drop and break that cycle with donor boxes. Ultimate donation form added to your website in minutes. It’s freaking easy. So easy. When you stop to drop the possible donors become donors four times faster. Checkout easy payment processing, no setup fees, no monthly fees, no contract. You’ll be joining over 40,000 U S nonprofits donor box helping you help others donor box dot org. Now back to technology governance.

[00:15:02.65] spk_1:
Why did you say the group only needs for

[00:15:53.22] spk_2:
four months? Because when you’re first starting out, it feels like a big deal to say we’re going to be every month for the rest of our lives as long as we’re working here. So we’re taking a four month increments, four month increments. Um The other thing is these groups take a little while to gel. Right. You’ve never really talked about this stuff is a group before. Um, what, what gets raised in here, what needs to be, uh, turned into its own initiative with an owner like, hey, Kathy, you’re going to go work with whoever on this texting thing and then report back to the group next month. Um We’ve even had conversations like, um, what do we need from each other on these, um, codependent technology initiative improvements, problem solving stuff like that.

[00:15:56.26] spk_1:
All right, this is all fodder for the agenda, an agenda

[00:16:26.82] spk_2:
has to be an agenda. And you know, my, if I’m running the group for an organization, which I do often in these first couple of months to just like set it up and run it, facilitate these meetings, then I just hand it over to somebody at the organization and they keep running it. Um Do you know the four stages of group dynamics? Four stages of group formation? Okay. So you have forming storming, which is where the second meeting happens and people are like, you’re not letting me do what I wanted to. Then there’s nor ming where you start to settle in. That’s month three performing, you hit at month four where people know what to expect at these meetings. You often

[00:16:46.14] spk_1:
you’ve governed

[00:16:46.93] spk_2:
your technology, you are all done, then

[00:16:49.81] spk_1:
you have to start again with form.

[00:17:49.03] spk_2:
Every time somebody new hits the team, you go through these stages. But that’s another, another interview for something else. But the first four months you’re sort of figuring it out. Your jelling, you’re developing your group rules and the things that are important enough to talk about at these meetings and then send notes around. Somebody takes notes or you record the meeting and send the recordings around and everybody’s responsible for following up on their stuff. So at the end of every T G G meeting, you’ve got a little five minutes where you say, all right, here’s the action items coming out of this meeting. You’re going to do that, you volunteered to do this, you two are going to work together on that. And then the life of the meeting extends outside the meeting and between meetings and kind of gets people rowing the boat in the same direction instead of in a circle, which is what it feels like sometimes,

[00:17:52.03] spk_1:
right? So there’s work between the meetings collaborative like you expect of your committee’s on your, on your board should be right. You know, hopefully your board is not only working one quarter, two hours every quarter. That’s a, that’s a,

[00:18:07.17] spk_2:
that is a low performing board,

[00:18:10.24] spk_1:
right? Yes, that’s exactly responsibility, accountability, of course.

[00:18:16.58] spk_2:
And you’re working together in the in service of helping this technology meet your mission instead of individual teams, you know, kind of elbowing each other out of the way to

[00:18:32.69] spk_1:
anything else about our technology governance group. We

[00:18:35.64] spk_2:
should know it should go longer than four months. So I’ll just say most of the time you

[00:18:40.45] spk_1:
keep wrap it up,

[00:18:47.86] spk_2:
the other benefit to these meetings can be helping you with at budget time because tech is often spread, tech funding is often spread between different business units or cost centers at an organization. And so coming together and talking about what’s going to be in my budget, what’s going to be in your budget. So we need to work on something that benefits both of us whose budget should that go in? Um helps you earmark those funds for when it’s time to work on those projects.

[00:19:16.50] spk_1:
Let’s let’s move to um problem solving methods for for common pain points. So we identified the pain points that they’re more. Don’t hold out on non pop radio listeners like redundancy turnover,

[00:19:32.59] spk_2:
frustration out of control

[00:19:40.71] spk_1:
budget doing the same thing. What is there more? I think

[00:19:46.55] spk_2:
the other one that I think is poor business relationships with your technology vendors. Very

[00:19:53.70] spk_1:
good one. Alright. Frustration talking to

[00:19:57.99] spk_2:
them. Yeah. Not getting good service or not getting your solutions. Would

[00:20:22.51] spk_1:
we, we would probably default and say it’s the vendors problem. It could be, it could be our own, could be our own internal problems because we’re, we’re feeding the vendor six times a day with disparate number one priorities. No hr who told you fundraising was number one hr is number one and who told you that it was accounts payable that person is whacked. It’s hr, so you’re on the phone with me now.

[00:20:29.58] spk_2:
I’m number one now. Yeah. Um, the other way to think about that problem may not be the vendors problem and it might not even be a technology problem. Tony

[00:20:40.77] spk_1:
person. Right.

[00:21:17.03] spk_2:
Because we blame the technology 1st, 2nd and 3rd, the stupid XXX, whatever it is because we don’t have to interact with that thing. I don’t have to go to lunch with that CRM or whatever it happens to be its inanimate. So it’s easy to complain about the whatever but often you peel that back and that’s not the root cause. So if you fix what you think the technology problem is, you have the same problem later and it starts to become this unsolvable problem at your organization. You don’t have the app to take another run at it after the first couple and you just start living with it, which is never a good idea because it’s always going to get accommodation

[00:21:27.35] spk_1:
in your personal life in your technology boundaries, accommodation. These things are

[00:21:32.99] spk_2:
important, the right root cause. That’s right. Alright. So

[00:21:36.12] spk_1:
some, some you have some methods.

[00:21:44.30] spk_2:
Yeah. Yeah. So one of them is the five wise, have you heard

[00:21:46.86] spk_1:
the four stages of group dynamics? I know the seven colors of the rainbow, yellow, green, blue indigo

[00:21:55.21] spk_2:

[00:22:11.71] spk_1:
Those five crime families in New York? Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino Genovese crime families in New York. I do not know the wise. Okay.

[00:22:15.85] spk_2:
So the five wise are someone makes a statement like a problem.

[00:22:20.73] spk_1:
The three Wise Men Balthazar Melchior and the other

[00:22:25.68] spk_2:
one. Oh, gold Frankincense. And, but I don’t know who brought what

[00:22:34.06] spk_1:
Balthazar Melchior. See, I don’t even know the three Wise Men. Ebenezer. No, that’s, no, that’s the, that’s the Christmas story. Caspar Caspar Balthazar and Melchior. I think I’m pretty sure that

[00:22:46.85] spk_2:

[00:22:56.27] spk_1:
interrupted, rudely interrupt the guests. I know something else. I think of something else. I know so few things that I know. I have to shout them out whenever I get an opportunity. Alright, I’m sorry, the five wives,

[00:24:06.79] spk_2:
five wives of root problem identification. So somebody might say this email tool is terrible. I can’t segment my audiences like I can’t send to donors and non donors. It’s a pain in the neck to do that. Can’t do with stupid email tool. Why can’t you do? That is the first way and someone might answer that question. Well, um I can’t do it because we’re collect, we’re getting data from other places and putting it into the email tool. And so we’re not collecting that information over here. All right. So it’s not an email problem. It’s actually a data problem and it’s tagging, right? Like donor Tony’s donor, Maureen’s a non donor. There’s no easy way in your database to pull those audiences out and make sure that they get the right message. So that is probably a business process problem, not necessarily a technology problem. So that was a simple little example of one of those problem solving techniques

[00:24:09.43] spk_1:
that why was, why can’t you, why can’t we do this?

[00:24:12.69] spk_2:
Why can’t we do this? Well, I don’t get the data in the way that I need. Why don’t you get the data in the way that you need because we collected over here. Well, why do you collected over there? So yes, five wise people get annoyed. First two wives are easy as you go through wise 34 and five people get annoyed because they really have to dig deep and think about it.

[00:24:38.20] spk_1:
Okay. We can have the we could have the play on the five wise, the wise, wise, wise, wise, wise, wise, wise guys or the five wise

[00:24:53.50] spk_2:
problem solving. Another problem solving method

[00:24:57.75] spk_1:
method. You’re asking these questions internally, you’re asking these five questions. Okay.

[00:25:22.96] spk_2:
And literally sitting with it um in your technology governance, in your governance group or in a little spin off. Yeah, everybody’s got technology gripes and pain points and wishes that it was different or easier. They want the easy just today the Q R code to open my hotel room door did not work on my phone. So yes, I am right there with

[00:25:30.96] spk_1:
you. I still go for the, I still go for the cards. You so you go this

[00:25:35.82] spk_2:
time. But guess what? I had to go to the desk and get a card.

[00:25:40.32] spk_1:
I haven’t, I’ve never, I’ve never tried opening the, just give me a card, boarding

[00:25:46.67] spk_2:
passes, print the boarding pass and have it on my phone

[00:25:50.90] spk_1:
for the,

[00:25:52.50] spk_2:
everybody’s got their lines that they

[00:25:55.11] spk_1:
won’t do the hotel room because I don’t want to be tired

[00:25:57.83] spk_2:
and not able to get in and, you

[00:26:10.63] spk_1:
know, looking for my nap and then I gotta go downstairs again. Talk about first world problems. I have to go down to the lobby again. You’re more trusting on the hotel front.

[00:26:15.34] spk_2:
This time. I tried it. That would be the Hyatt Regency across.

[00:26:26.05] spk_1:
Can you stay on track?

[00:26:32.03] spk_2:
Apparently not. Apparently not. So that was one problem solving technique. What’s the problem and why are we having the problem so that you’re fixing the right thing,

[00:26:43.75] spk_1:
fixing the right past

[00:27:57.30] spk_2:
that one. So another um another common situation is uh people get frustrated because the technology doesn’t work. I don’t know how to do this or it’s too hard to do a thing. Um That’s usually a training issue, right? Like someone got hired, they gotta log in and thoughts and prayers. Here you go, you’re young, you can figure it out. You gotta people. If you take nothing away from this interview, please, please, please budget for training and support. Um Everybody needs it. Some of us are more naturally agile when it comes to technology. Others, not so much but the way you get a return on your investment of the state stuff that you’re buying and using is if your team is empowered to use it well, efficiently, effectively. And when we figure it out on our own, we usually don’t figure out the easy and effective way to do it. We sort of stab our way through it. I made it work that’s fine. So empowering your staff to be competent and confident in the systems that they’re using to do their jobs. Um, staff morale goes up. You’re spending way less time fighting the technology and more time using it. So, a common problem is this thing isn’t working for me or I can’t figure it out. So pay for some training. That would be. So,

[00:28:12.46] spk_1:
which is, which, why, why is this? Why can’t I do this?

[00:28:17.40] spk_2:
Why does, why is this so

[00:28:19.15] spk_1:
hard? Why doesn’t it work? Why doesn’t this work for me?

[00:30:06.95] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two non profit radio is listed on nonprofit news feeds. List of the great non profit podcasts. And if they numbered the list, we’d be number one, we’re top of their list. In fact, I believe their list is misnamed. It ought to be the great non profit podcast plus a couple others, but very great. Right. We’re at the top of the list. Very thankful, very grateful to non profit news feed. Thank you very much for the recognition and I would be remiss if I didn’t. Thank you, our listeners. You help us get the recognition. You keep the show. You know, it’s not always. Number one nonprofit radio has been on lots of lists where it’s like number 14 out of 12. Um, you know, we’ve been down, we’ve been down on some list but doesn’t matter, you know, the ranking doesn’t really matter. Although if I was gonna do one I would do it. Alphabetical. I think I’d do alphabetical with nonprofit radio at the top. Of course, because the alphabet is going to start with the end and then, and then it reverts back to a etcetera. The boring way. That would be, that would be my list. So thankful to non profit news feed and I’m thankful to you are dear listeners. Thank you very much for helping us get the recognition. It really is gratifying to be on any list of non profit podcasts. But, but I mean, if you could be at the top of the great one, you know, you may as well and that is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo, but loads more time for technology governance with the very un boring Maureen will be off

[00:31:37.87] spk_2:
another problem solving technique that is uh really easy is to map your ecosystem, like use power point or video or Miro or some white boarding tool. Zoom has a white board tool and literally make bubbles of all of the things that you have make a circle. My website is purple over here and my day databases over there and lay out what you have. Like most of the time, collectively, nobody really knows all the stuff that you have and the stuff that you’re using and what’s working and what isn’t. So figuring that piece out and having that map, that changes when we swap email tools or we change our volunteer system or a finance system, um, making that map be accurate will also help you pinpoint where the problems are really coming from. Uh blah, blah, blah. I hate our website but whatever, like it doesn’t work on a phone. Maybe that’s a problem who should be working together on fixing that problem? Is it really a problem or is it just a problem for somebody who’s using a Windows phone, you know, from 2015. So taking the time to have those collaborative conversations is also really, really helpful once you’ve got it all written out. Um And you can then, you know, we do have six email tools or three people have canvas accounts. We should probably consolidate that stuff. And

[00:31:56.98] spk_1:
what is this uh consolidated under what? Why, which, what, why are we

[00:32:06.51] spk_2:
talking? It’s uh it’s have as small a footprint as you can get away with. Just, just because you think you need something, people can sneak tools in without telling anybody, you know, like somebody inside a fundraising team goes a little rogue and says we’re going to add something new. Nobody else knows about it and you’re not getting the benefit of having that thing used to its fullest extent because tech is expensive and it’s kind of frustrating.

[00:32:31.66] spk_1:
Doesn’t have to start with. No,

[00:32:35.14] spk_2:
no. The five wise we was one of the problem solving techniques. The five wise is one of the problems solving

[00:32:39.88] spk_1:
techniques. So aren’t we on the five wise, we only did two of

[00:33:04.70] spk_2:
the five wise is a thing all unto itself. So the five wise helps you identify the root cause of your problems so you can fix the right thing. These are other symptoms with problem solving ideas for teams to use. If they’ve got people who say this is too hard for me to use. Why is this so hard? Not everything maps back to why you need to Google the five wise after this.

[00:33:15.49] spk_1:
In other words, you don’t

[00:33:16.50] spk_2:
know. I do know, but I think we’ve mixed them up a little bit. We’ve mixed our metaphor slightly.

[00:33:23.11] spk_1:
I guess you want to blame it on a lackluster host. No,

[00:33:25.66] spk_2:
never, never the

[00:33:27.58] spk_1:
most lust, lust, lust,

[00:33:32.81] spk_2:

[00:33:34.67] spk_1:
Alright. So, alright, so don’t look for everything to start with A Y like I was all right. We are on number four though now. So we finished mapping, we finished mapping looking where we have redundancies. People snuck shit in should not have your technology governance group advised you not to do that correct. We told you now your rogue rogue and do we boot you off or do we try to keep you in the group and remediate, you always

[00:34:04.63] spk_2:
get you to come along to the group dynamics. Please stick around and be one of us.

[00:34:14.92] spk_1:
Yeah, you’re better off on the inside.

[00:34:34.95] spk_2:
That’s right. That’s right. And then the last technique for the second to last is what I call a no filter, pain point activity. And what that means is you grab your team and if it’s virtual there, if you come to the session tomorrow, I do have in the collaborative document because it’s not possible. So if you want to make an Excel spreadsheet, it’s a no filter pain point worksheet

[00:34:55.07] spk_1:
and not on the website. It is.

[00:34:59.04] spk_2:
Yes, it’s under free resources.

[00:35:00.91] spk_1:
So, what’s your site?

[00:35:03.22] spk_2:
Meet Maureen dot com? Oh,

[00:35:05.17] spk_1:
that’s clever. I liked it from last year. I remember that Maureen dot com. Click free resources,

[00:35:10.61] spk_2:
resources in the top navigation. You will find this worksheet

[00:35:14.04] spk_1:
there. Okay. Now, let us know what the worksheet

[00:35:17.06] spk_2:

[00:35:18.89] spk_1:
So much stuff, so

[00:35:35.09] spk_2:
much stuff. Um The no filter pain point worksheet is a place. It’s sort of a meeting and a worksheet all in one. So you grab your team and you dedicate 90 minutes and everybody is allowed and encouraged to list everything about your technology that bugs them

[00:35:44.20] spk_1:

[00:36:39.15] spk_2:
if, even if they’ve mentioned it 60 times and nobody did a damn thing about it. Even if um it’s from a new staff person who has fresh eyes and is looking at some wacky thing that you’re doing to work around some technology problem. And they’re like, is there a better way to do this? So everybody gets a chance to list out their stuff and then you organize it into those four P categories. Is this a plan problem? Is it a platform problem? A people problem or a business process problem? So that also helps you get to the root cause these meetings are super helpful. They’re cathartic number one, because people can unburden themselves of like I really hate this X Y or Z thing. You also start to talk about things like maybe tony hates this product, but Amy loves it. You might want to match up Amy and tony so that Amy can help tony figure out, you know, to get beyond the things that are frustrating or friction for you. So it’s a good way to kind of get allies there. If everybody’s like we hate this thing, then you can make plans to replace

[00:37:03.24] spk_1:
it from the bottom up. Yeah. Uh I’m thinking of a verb for change. We can advocate for change. Advocate. Advocate is the noun advocated. So from the bottom up to try to

[00:37:22.15] spk_2:
make change, that’s right because often the leaders that your organization to have allies. Yeah, often the leaders of your organization sort of, you know, that things are a problem but they don’t use these systems every day or even often at all. They’ve got an assistant who’s pulling reports or, you know, giving them the information,

[00:37:32.31] spk_1:
especially if it’s the God fly, the perennial tech whiner coming, you know, that that person needs, needs allies.

[00:38:20.97] spk_2:
They do and they need to feel heard and then you sort of prioritize stuff, you’re not going to get to all of it. Another way to break the pain point. Worksheet results down is what are issues, things that are problems and what our opportunities we want to grow. Our monthly giving program. Our current system makes us manually run our supporter credit cards every single month. I don’t want to grow my monthly giving program. If it means I’m going to have to hire somebody else to start to run these credit cards. So what are we going to do about our technology so that we can grow without it turning into a problem for our team? Yeah, issues and opportunities another way and you just pick, you keep that list as a parking lot. You can add new stuff as it bubbles up or appears and you just methodically work your way through those things. Instead of being an individual experience of a problem, you’ve kind of made it an organizational list of things that need to be addressed.

[00:38:44.22] spk_1:
I always bristled at the parking lot metaphor. It’s childish. It’s Q, it’s Q, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a wait list. You know, we’re gonna put your, your ideas. Plus I heard it said one

[00:38:58.84] spk_0:

[00:39:23.47] spk_1:
some training, I think I may have to go back to when I, when I was a miserable employee years ago, decades ago. And yeah, we were in some training and some, some facilitated. Well, that’s not quite on point. Let’s put your very good idea into the parking lot. And he was talking, he was talking to, what was a guy talking to a woman? Like he should have patted her on the head. It was so condescending, so condescending. He may as well have patted her on the head. I didn’t mean he should have, he may as well have just. The parking lot

[00:39:36.17] spk_2:
was supposed

[00:39:36.46] spk_1:
to be so proud. Look. I made the sticky, that’s over the window that nobody can see because the light’s coming

[00:39:43.46] spk_2:

[00:39:44.00] spk_1:
Yeah. In the closet. I made the sticky on the back side of the closet door. My parking lot,

[00:39:49.78] spk_2:
a lower priority list.

[00:39:52.88] spk_1:
It’s just, it’s a, it’s a list of priorities.

[00:39:55.70] spk_2:
I’m gonna start using Q or waitlist. You’ve changed my mind.

[00:40:01.70] spk_1:
I don’t know. It seems like a very pedantic

[00:40:04.57] spk_2:
metaphor. It is. People get it. But I understand that the connotation that it can have. I told you,

[00:40:11.87] spk_1:
I don’t know. It seems like a child’s game.

[00:40:16.55] spk_2:
All right, you’re playing candy land and you kind of get stuck in the parking,

[00:40:25.53] spk_1:
remember? Candy land? Yeah. Right. Exactly. A parking lot. Or, or, or, yeah, or, or it’s like being in jail for monopoly

[00:40:28.84] spk_2:
or in the sand trap. If you

[00:40:30.42] spk_1:
golf golfer. Let’s not go too far with sports,

[00:40:34.20] spk_2:
not my

[00:40:35.19] spk_1:
metaphors sand trap is golf. Golf, golf, golf. I think we have one more. Y one more of the five wise which don’t all start with a

[00:40:46.46] spk_2:
complete misnomer. Yeah, I

[00:40:48.89] spk_1:
wouldn’t put it in the parking lot, but it’s just misnamed. We have one more,

[00:40:54.76] spk_2:
one more which is decided you’re going to focus on internal problems or external technology problems, things that affect your supporters, your subscribers, your volunteers, your donors or your internal process

[00:41:08.38] spk_1:
accounts, payable sources.

[00:41:23.99] spk_2:
Right. Right. So that’s the other way to kind of tackle these things. Usually, it’s a little of both. It’s a little of both. It’s very tempting to do either or it’s very tempting to be internally focused or completely externally focused at the expense of

[00:41:29.03] spk_1:
your ignore us. We need to help our supporters, our fundraisers, fundraisers are volunteers or donors

[00:41:37.77] spk_2:
on my back

[00:41:40.85] spk_1:
in the parking lot and

[00:42:22.45] spk_2:
we don’t want to lose value people. So a bit of a balance is good and, and take small bites. That would be my, my other guidance here is when you’ve laid it all out there and you can see it like in all its gross glory, all the things that you’re struggling with, you can either feel very pre fatigued like we’re never going to work our way through these things or we got to do them all. Like right now now that we know what they are just take small bites, be realistic. Figure out how much time your tech governance team, your T G G can spend on this stuff. Be realistic in your deadlines and expectations if people can go fast and it’s possible to go fast, let them but always be honest with yourselves about what you have capacity to do. Otherwise this will just be another governance group or another initiative that is too frustrating and

[00:42:37.86] spk_1:
nothing ever happens. Talk about another example, very big on preventing fatigue. I am not keeping track.

[00:43:50.14] spk_2:
Yeah, I think our nonprofits and generally people are at capacity, kind of tired running on fumes. A lot asked to do more with less um in our small to mid sized nonprofits, that’s really hard. You know, like they don’t have the budgetary shock absorbers that a larger organization might have to toss another consultant added or by another thing or throw money at a problem to fix it. Small to midsize guys got to be scrappy. They’re all spread really thin. Um And so I just want to make sure that people are not using magical thinking when they’re trying to fix their technology. It’s very tempting to do that. Um If you think you’ve got a technology problem and your first impulse is to switch it with something else, stop do those five wise, find out what’s really going on because you might move, spent all that time and money moving into something new and you still have the same problem and that’s, that’s not great. That’s not a good thing. I like people to be happy and optimistic at work. I feel like they’re set up for success to the best extent possible and that they are going to work together to solve problems. That’s kind of what nonprofits do and

[00:44:12.91] spk_1:
technology’s role is to support that,

[00:44:16.23] spk_2:
make it easier.

[00:44:17.24] spk_1:
Yet another support.

[00:44:19.63] spk_2:
Often it is something that is, does not provide good feelings. Yeah. Like my key card, like my Q R code this morning.

[00:44:47.86] spk_1:
Exactly. Right. I would love to get your, we only have a couple minutes left. I’m going to ask you to be brief on this. I can Artificial intelligence, chatbots, chat, GPT there. The, here they, I see. I’m not, I’m not stopping it, but I, I see more, I see more risks than then benefits. I don’t know, maybe it’s maybe at 61. This is the technology that I’m going to be the Luddite around. But what’s your, what’s your take? I don’t, I don’t want to prejudice your, your strong, strong willed person. You’re not gonna be prejudiced by my opinion.

[00:45:11.86] spk_2:
Um, I think that it’s not going away. So I think, uh, people like us who are, you know, hesitant, worried, um, concerned should get to know it and then decide for ourselves where it is beneficial and where it is not in our own work lives, our personal lives because it’s common is here now.

[00:45:27.94] spk_1:
Talking about boundaries, then get acquainted with it. Yeah,

[00:45:34.17] spk_2:
I know thy enemy, you know what I mean? Or know what I’m worried from the outside. Let me find out what I really should be worried about by playing with this thing or interacting with it. Um, I can tell you that I’ve got some organizations who are using it to write fundraising appeals in 30 seconds.

[00:45:50.44] spk_1:
Right. They use it as the first draft and then they modify, they put their own tone to

[00:45:56.35] spk_2:
it. So it can’t, you know, we’ve all been faced with that blank piece of paper. I know

[00:46:24.34] spk_1:
my concern is what my concern is. That that’s the most creative thing that a fundraiser that you take your example can do is be faced with a blank screen and create from that blankness versus seeding that most creative task to the artificial intelligence and then you reducing yourself to copy

[00:46:25.04] spk_2:

[00:46:53.10] spk_1:
copy editor. I’m not diminishing copy editors in the audience, the two or three of you and that may be listening, but it’s not as creative a task as working from, from nothing and creating something. So and then so that leads to my concern. Do we become less creative? Does that mean we become dumber on an individual level? On a community level? On a on a world level? Is it a dumbing down because it’s a seeding of the most creative work that I think we can produce?

[00:47:22.12] spk_2:
I hear you and I do agree with you to a certain extent. I also think if your Annual Giving manager is spending hours writing appeals when they could be stewarding a major donor prospect or doing some relationship building or mentoring a new staff person. If they don’t have time to do all that stuff, it might make sense to offload some things. Not that you’re going to use them just as is, but give yourself a bit of a starting point

[00:47:33.92] spk_1:
or use them sometimes

[00:47:36.01] spk_2:
but not rely on them all the time. Right?

[00:47:40.30] spk_1:
We’ve got to leave it there. Maureen. Brilliant.

[00:47:42.05] spk_2:
Always wonderful

[00:47:46.01] spk_1:
in Portland, Oregon

[00:47:50.01] spk_2:
24 24. Tony. Thank you.

[00:48:07.59] spk_1:
My pleasure, Maureen will be off non profit digital strategist and technology coach at the nonprofit Accidental Techie with Maureen will be off meet Maureen dot com. So smart. I love that meet Maureen dot com. Thank you for, thank, thank you,

[00:48:11.05] spk_2:

[00:48:11.57] spk_1:
pleasure to and thank you for being with our coverage of 23 N T C the nonprofit technology conference 2023 where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits

[00:49:17.65] spk_0:
next week. Best and worst of non profit newsletters and digital self care and healing. If you missed any part of this week’s show, you know what I beseech, you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by Donor Box with intuitive fundraising software from donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others donor box dot org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. The shows social media is by Susan Chavez Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio, big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for April 17, 2023: #23NTC & Building An Inclusive Board Culture


Amy Sample Ward#23NTC!

Amy Sample Ward, NTEN CEO

Amy Sample Ward kicks off our coverage of the 2023 Nonprofit Technology Conference, hosted by NTEN. They cover the Conference details, and delve into weighing the benefits and risks of the fast-moving technology, artificial intelligence. They are the CEO of NTEN and our technology and social media contributor.



Renee Rubin RossBuilding An Inclusive Board Culture

Let us explore the signs and symptoms of your board’s current culture, and strategies to be more inclusive and equitable, if that’s something your nonprofit needs to pursue. Let us also dive into how to manage toxic people on your board. Renee Rubin Ross is founder and CEO of The Ross Collective.



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Every nonprofit struggles with these issues. Big nonprofits hire experts. The other 95% listen to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Trusted experts and leading thinkers join me each week to tackle the tough issues. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
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[00:00:11.08] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to tony-martignetti

[00:00:13.08] spk_1:
non profit radio.

[00:02:02.99] spk_0:
Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. We’re beginning our 23 N TC coverage this week. And, oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d have to undergo counter immuno electrophoresis if you opposed me because you missed this week’s show. 23 N T C Amy Sample Ward kicks off our coverage of the 2023 nonprofit technology conference hosted by N 10. They cover the conference details and delve into weighing the benefits and risks of the fast moving technology, artificial intelligence. They are the C E O of N 10 and our technology and social media contributor also building an inclusive board culture. Let us explore the signs and symptoms of your board’s current culture and strategies to be more inclusive and equitable. If that’s something you’re non profit needs to pursue. Let us also dive into how to manage toxic people on your board. Renee Reuben Ross is founder and CEO of the Ross Collective on Tony’s take 2 23 N T C. Thanks. We’re sponsored by Donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor box, your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor box dot org. And I’m sorry, my voice is a little horse because I did spend so much time capturing interviews at 23 N T C. Here is 23 T C with Amy Sample Ward.

[00:03:08.83] spk_1:
Welcome back to tony-martignetti, non profit radio coverage of 23 N T C. You know that it’s the nonprofit technology conference hosted by N 10. This is not our first interview today, but I’m sure that this is going to be the kickoff of nonprofit radio’s coverage of 23 N T C where we and you’ll find out why very shortly where we are sponsored by Heller consulting to technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. The reason that we’re going to do this interview first of the many 20 to be exact interviews from 23 NTC is because with me now is Amy Sample Ward. You know who they are, the CEO of N 10 and our technology and social media contributor, which makes them the grand imperial wizard and Grand Poobah of the 2023 nonprofit technology conference. Amy Sample Ward. It’s a real pleasure to see you in person. It

[00:03:25.91] spk_2:
is wild to get to see you in person after all this time. I know I, I am touching you and I think I need to update my, my business card. The uh I have a whole string of titles now, I guess

[00:03:28.75] spk_1:
well, to the extent you’re willing to put on your business card.

[00:03:33.04] spk_2:
This was all a

[00:03:43.27] spk_1:
joke. But nobody uses business cards anymore. So I’m not offended. Although there’s this little stack of cards, I’m trying to get rid of. Still some people take them. Yeah, there are some, maybe,

[00:03:45.35] spk_2:
maybe they’re really helpful. Maybe

[00:03:47.33] spk_1:
they’re all boomers. I don’t know. But somebody, somebody’s, there are people who would rather not just scan a code, would rather take a physical card. So I have

[00:03:57.10] spk_2:
actually don’t even have business cards. You don’t, I don’t have business cards no longer if I wanted to

[00:04:06.11] spk_1:
no longer. Okay. That’s fine. Well, then don’t add it to your business card. Um We’re at 23 NTC. Congratulations.

[00:04:11.57] spk_2:
Congratulations happening. We are looking around at a big old hall. There are booths, there are people, there are snacks.

[00:04:21.96] spk_1:
How many people, how many people are here with us in Denver? We

[00:04:30.14] spk_2:
have 1600 people here in Denver. 400. That’s a lot of people online. Four

[00:04:33.31] spk_1:
104 100 virtual 1600 in person. Yes, we’re feeding 1600 people toilet ng for 1600 people. Yes, we have, we

[00:04:43.17] spk_2:
have lounges, we have many parks. We have everything.

[00:04:47.19] spk_1:
Yes, there’s, there’s a quiet room, there’s birds of a feather rooms. There’s yoga. There’s,

[00:05:18.21] spk_2:
did you see the, the everybody yoga out downstairs earlier? It was beautiful. It was like 50 people and it was yoga. You don’t need to have ever done. Yoga before you don’t need experience for everybody. You know, there were folks who were in chairs versus sitting on the floor, you know, and everybody was just doing it all together out in that big foyer downstairs. Yeah. Yeah, it was, it was beautiful

[00:05:23.26] spk_1:
wall of windows.

[00:05:42.24] spk_2:
Yeah. I mean, we can be at a technology conference but I think, you know, we’ve talked about this lots of times whether it’s the NTC or, or just how we think about technology in general. It’s actually not about the technology, right? It’s about people and people being able to meet the needs they have and honoring that those needs are different for different people. You know, like there have to be a lot of different lounges because you maybe want a different lounge that I want, right? Like somebody wants to not be talking. Tony-martignetti wants to be talking, you know, like to

[00:06:08.22] spk_1:
talk. Yes, indeed. Right. So you, yeah, you take care of the whole person, you the NTC collective, the collective. Yes, the collective. Absolutely. Um Today’s keynote. Yeah, I don’t know which of the three I was interviewing

[00:06:13.50] spk_2:
this morning was no ball.

[00:06:15.34] spk_1:
Okay. What was, what was their message?

[00:07:16.99] spk_2:
She had so many different things to talk about. And one thing that I want to call out and that encourage people to maybe think about themselves and go follow, go find she’s written books. She has lots of ways that you can follow her content. But this morning, we talked a lot about technology as a social economic and political practice. It is it is happening, you know, it’s not static, it isn’t just there. These are, these are ways that certain economic issues, classes dynamics are, are, are actively being managed. These tech through technology power, social dynamics are being managed, right? Like those things have been baked in from the beginning. So when we think of and we’ve certainly talked about this before, like bias that gets built into a tool. It isn’t just I like orange and you like blue or something, right? It’s biased that some people will forever be able to better use that tool. It’s bias that some people maybe never access that tool. That um the, the idea that we are in surveillance systems all of the time and we are kind of being told these are utilities, we must all use these tools right there. Their convenience, they’re making our lives better

[00:07:45.95] spk_1:
safety and security are often uh just justifications. Yes.

[00:08:51.14] spk_2:
Yes. And even if, even if it does feel this is this is the point that made this morning, maybe it does feel kind of casually better that the ads you’re getting are things maybe that you actually would consider buying versus something that’s totally unrelated to you that is not worth you. Your data being sold, used, misused and deciding who you are, right? Some of some of our data being sold um and being used by other, other. Well, anyone that isn’t us is deciding, can you get alone? Right? Can you do? Are we even gonna, like, actually believe that you can graduate from college? Are we gonna let you in? Are we gonna hire you for this job? Right. Um, so it isn’t just this like, I think we kind of, um, anim eyes it or make it, make it so generic that it loses a little bit of its harsh reality when we think, oh, the data is out there but whatever, it’s like my purchase history and I like that they recommended a good product, right.

[00:09:05.44] spk_1:

[00:09:56.03] spk_2:
But, but that same data set is determining if you know, like Sophia said in the UK, banks are looking at social media to decide if they’re going to give you a loan. Does it look like all the people that you’re connected to our, like historically separated from any access to wealth? Well, we’re not going to give you a loan. Well, then that means we’re not using, we’re not predicting anything we are deciding with that technology, right? This isn’t predictive analytics, this is restrictive analytics, right? We’re using this to gate keep and to continue to oppress people. Um And I think a really big part of that conversation too was we everybody here at the NTC and folks that are listening to non profit radio are folks who are both the users impacted by that and organizations in a position to maybe not realize they’re playing a part in that, you know, like, maybe you’re sending all of your users into those tools because it was easier. Or you thought they were already on Facebook or even if it’s not social media, you’re using a certain product and you didn’t realize that

[00:10:23.67] spk_1:
because you didn’t do your due diligence around exactly their privacy rules. Jeez. You gave me chills. I’m getting my synesthesia kicked in and I’m sure it’s not the air conditioning, that’s it. We need to show about this remarkable

[00:10:34.23] spk_2:

[00:10:34.53] spk_1:
right? We could be contributing ourselves, right? Uh innocuous, unknowingly

[00:12:18.15] spk_2:
unknowingly, right? Um And she works um and as a faculty and leading a department at U C L A and brought up an example from the academic world of years ago when there was the tool that was being sold marketed to professors and universities that you could upload all of your students papers into it. And then it would tell you if they had plagiarized from the internet, you know, oh, that’s something else that already exists. And she and her colleagues immediately said, oh, this is not good. This is actually not good. And a lot of other folks like, what do you mean this means like we’re catching the students who were trying to plagiarize. Of course, we all know that means that small successful company got bought by a bigger company who knew what they could do with a big old data set. Right. So what just think if you wrote a paper in college when you’re still trying to, like, figure out your ideas and you’re still learning, like, the paper is meant to be a learning practice. It’s, it’s not meant to be published for the world. And now 15 years later you’re applying for a job and that shows up, you know, as part of your data record. Right. And maybe it has ideas that you fundamentally don’t believe now or even ever, but didn’t really know what you were saying and now you can’t get a job because people see this and say, oh, you wrote this paper. So as organizations, when we think we’re saving time or we think that we’re doing something by, by letting the robots do it so that we ourselves are not subjectively making decisions, right? We might actually be making even harder subjective decisions down the line for those people, right? We might be setting them up into systems where their data and their issues are.

[00:14:14.62] spk_1:
This is so enormously timely with, with all the talk about artificial intelligence, chat, chat GPT. The other ones I can’t name off the top of my head and, and our use our use of them. Look, there was a guest on maybe an hour and a half ago. He said we’re not going to know it was Maureen will be off. I think we’re not, we can’t stop this. It’s like trying to stop the the, the innovation around automobiles, you know, or the phone or trying to stop airlines, airplane, airplane flight, it’s not possible but are smart use of it and, you know, are constrained use of it. So I shared with this another thing you and I, you and Gene and I need to talk about this, the three of us together, informed, informed and, and thoughtful and, you know, I’m concerned about the, the more the likely less the due diligence, but just the thought that goes into it. My concern is that I shared this with Maureen and um the advice, a lot of the advice that I see is use artificial intelligence as a first draft. And then so you’re not, you’re no longer facing the blank page, put a pin, I’ll come back to that in a second and then you put your own tone to it, your own language. That’s exactly my concern. You’re reducing yourself from creative thinker working from a blank blank screen to, to relegate it to copy editor. And I don’t mean to insult any copy editors

[00:14:21.63] spk_2:
very valuable

[00:14:22.73] spk_1:
but not nearly as creative process as looking at a blank screen working from

[00:15:28.53] spk_2:
nothing. I think the really big piece of that is we have seen plenty of evidence. We do not need more evidence to know that what these artificial intelligence tools are providing to us is misinformation. The tool is not only giving us quote unquote facts, right? So it isn’t even that you need to add a copy editing layer. If you were to do that, you would need to go back and actually say, is any of this real like Sophia Sophia said this morning, they had received um you know, that other people in academia are making this point of, you know, oh, this is leveling the playing field, right? Because now folks who maybe aren’t naturally confident or comfortable writing and they communicate better in other ways. Now they could use artificial intelligence to help them get a jump start on the paper and then they edited and you know, whatever, but they have reviewed papers written in this way. All of the footnotes are not real articles, they’re not real books, right? Because artificial intelligence made up a book to reference. So

[00:15:38.17] spk_1:
the footnotes are not

[00:16:02.10] spk_2:
real, right? Because artificial intelligence was told to make a footnote. So it notated words in the format that it learned online is what a footnote looks like, right? So the idea that it is there, I like I like you’re saying, you know, the idea that gets us started and then we go in and like we judge it up. No, I mean, unless you’re using it for the outline structure of, I want an intro paragraph and then I want, you know, but what, what then is left that is viable. We are not helping people get a jump start. We are actively creating more in misinformation in in content.

[00:17:14.98] spk_0:
It’s time for a break. Stop the drop with donor box there. The online donation platform. How many possible donors drop off before they finish making the donation on your website? You can stop that drop and break that cycle with donor boxes. Ultimate donation form you added to your website in minutes. There’s no coding required when you stop the drop, the possible donors become donors. It’s four times faster. Checkout easier payment processing, no setup fees, no monthly fees, no contract required. You’ll be joining over 40,000 us non profits that use donor box, donor box helping you help others at donor box dot org. Now back to 23 N T C.

[00:17:24.69] spk_1:
There’s another layer on top of that because you mentioned the footnote specifically uh linkedin Post someone I I follow a lot on linkedin. He follows me. Um I think I can George Weiner at the whole whale whole whale. Um

[00:17:33.94] spk_2:
Who’s maybe here

[00:17:35.73] spk_1:
is George here, George,

[00:17:37.74] spk_2:
I don’t want to be part of this information, but I think that George might be

[00:18:11.92] spk_1:
here. His concern was he did a search of something that whole whale is very well known for. I guess it was, I think it was S C O basic seo basically. And um he did a search in artificial intelligence. He was using an AI tool for search and it came up with a top result that was taken from Whole Whales resource page or something. And it credited Hole, it did credit Whole Whale. His concern was that the next step would be, it would take from Whole Whales resource page and not credit Whole Whale, right? There was no requirement for it. So in this case, it was a legitimate footnote, but his concern is that it’s gonna be stealing his intellectual property and not crediting him in whole

[00:19:24.95] spk_2:
Whale. Because if you think about what artificial intelligence is doing is like at scale able to read all of the internet, right? We’re not able to read all the internet. It’s reading, not technically all of it, but like, you know, so much more of it than we could read without the kind of human context that we’re able to put on something. I know that on the nonprofit radio website, there are pieces of content where you’ve said, Amy said, quote blah, de blah, de blah, right? I work at N 10. My name is Amy Sample Ward. The idea that artificial intelligence would know to read the next sentence to know that I said the thing when that thing is all that mattered because it was relevant to what it was trying to create. And even if it did create a footnote, it would likely be non profit radio, right? But the radio show doesn’t talk, right? It wouldn’t be crediting you. So it’s already set up to fail.

[00:19:35.14] spk_1:
But even the greater likelihood is that it’s not going to credit anyone. It’s just going to take the it’s going to take the intellectual property,

[00:20:08.19] spk_2:
right? Of course. And so, you know, I think we’re over estimating what it could do and putting human expectations onto artificial intelligence that it can’t and shouldn’t, it doesn’t need to be human, right? But we are we are blurring the lines of what is best for humans to do and what is best for a data crunching tool to do, right? We did talk about things I

[00:20:26.90] spk_1:
feel like I’m drowning, drowning in the ocean that I live across the street from. Look. Um Alright, so we know we need to talk about this again, but I mean, I guess you know what we’re talking about is thoughtful use, but I’m not, I’m not convinced that humans are thoughtful enough to to to to thoughtfully use this wave. That’s the tsunami that that’s gathering such speed that even Elon Musk said, signed something that said, let’s take a six month pause, which

[00:20:45.04] spk_2:
which, which is ridiculous. Well,

[00:20:48.70] spk_1:
but, but the idea that there be a pause and artificial pause in in technological growth is absurd.

[00:20:56.52] spk_2:
So this thing, what we know of is not actually accurate to what has currently been developed that just hasn’t been released.

[00:21:02.62] spk_1:
I don’t know it’s happening nefariously and, and the Washington Post will uncover it in, in six months or something when it’s already too late.

[00:21:13.26] spk_2:
And I think

[00:21:14.47] spk_1:
the point is it’s not stopping and no, we need to be thoughtful, but I’m not, I don’t have a lot of confidence that were thoughtful enough beings to not take advantage of this

[00:23:18.18] spk_2:
about necessarily that were not thoughtful and we need to be more thoughtful. I think what, what I see at least, and here in the community is that folks feel like there wasn’t a choice. This was the only tool that was available and we’re sitting in the middle of a giant exhibit hall, right? With like 100 and 20 people. And there are people in here that do the same things as each other. You know, there’s no other nonprofit radio in here. But, but there are people, you know who do the same thing and the the illusion that we don’t have a choice as individual nonprofit organizations or as individual users of technology is a myth that is being over and over and over told to us so that we don’t go looking right? That we don’t unsubscribe that we don’t opt out that we don’t say no, you cannot have my data, right? Because that’s the say it’s the same story of you need this, this is useful to you. This is improving your life is also and don’t look behind the curtain. There’s nowhere else to go. There’s no one else, you know, because that’s, that’s the power that is the that is that political, social, economic practice that’s happening by technology to keep us as we are, right? And so breaking out of that is not okay. Everybody here has to go make their own tools. That’s not what I’m saying either. Even just knowing that there are options, pushes you into thoughtfulness because now you’re saying, oh, well, how would I decide between these? Let me ask some questions, right? And when we think there’s no choice, we don’t bother asking the questions. We don’t know what they’re gonna do when we sign up for their product. Right? So even just thinking, well, let me like, shop around already sets us up to be so much more mindful of what we’re doing with technology, the decision, the investments we’re making, you know, what products were putting our communities data into, you know,

[00:23:22.21] spk_1:
your consciousness, right?

[00:23:40.59] spk_2:
So I don’t think it’s hard to like turn that to go over that hump. And it’s not like we’re asking everyone to become enlightened on a topic that they’ve never heard about were saying just ask questions. I know that there is more than one option, right? Um And that already gets you moving the power back on to your side, right? They are answering to you now versus you feeling like, well, I just signed up and now now we’re using this tool, you know, you have

[00:24:08.84] spk_1:
options, you have options. NTC is one place to find out what those options are. 10 is thoughtful use of technology and 10 the courses and you can do them for certification for God’s sake. If you need certification diploma, they have them. Uh 24. Yes,

[00:25:07.14] spk_2:
Portland, Oregon. We really thought when we had the NTC in Portland in 2019. Um and we thought, oh, everybody loved it. We just got so much great feedback from the community that the city was fun and accessible, that restaurants were good, you know. Um People had a great time and we’re like, okay, well, we can come back to Portland. Let’s really put this a long time from now and now it will be, you know, we just had Denver and then we’re back in Portland because we had three years of not being on offline. So, yes, back in Portland, everyone on the team is super excited just to be back in a place we’ve been before and it makes all the decisions easier. Um We already have ideas for making it better. So, and, you know, we’re in Denver here, but we’re also online and there are sessions that are only in Denver, their sessions that are only online and then there are sessions that are simultaneously in both places. And let me tell you, we are learning a lot.

[00:25:20.41] spk_1:
There’s a lot of that takes a lot of technology support, especially the, the ones that are here and virtual.

[00:25:31.86] spk_2:
Yes, I would say in person stuff, you know, fine under control, you know, regular snap,

[00:25:36.15] spk_1:

[00:25:54.20] spk_2:
online stuff also totally fine, you know, every once in a while somebody logs in the wrong zoom or, you know, whatever, but that’s fine. It’s the hybrid sessions where we have really asked a lot of technology and technology seems to still be deciding how it feels about us. What does it

[00:25:59.14] spk_1:
look like in those rooms? Can camera, can we see the the audience members who are virtual screen with all of them?

[00:26:35.76] spk_2:
Both places can see, you know, back between and we have and 10 staff person or one of our trained volunteers is a host on both sides so that there’s somebody who’s not the speakers or the attendees themselves trying to say somebody has a question or the questions over here or you know, like those two hosts can talk 1 to 1 and like own their side, right? So we have those two house, we have the actual like zoom and then we have all of the technology that needs to be in the Denver room to make sure that the microphones are sinking in real time to the stream to the video, to everything else.

[00:26:55.46] spk_1:

[00:27:59.56] spk_2:
And honestly, so far, knock on wood, I think we had a snafu this morning where, you know, and it’s like the perfect worst thing to happen. You know, the bad thing that happened was volunteers wanted to make sure that their sessions were great and tried to log in early to set them up early. And so they booted the session that was already happening. So it wasn’t like nobody came or nothing ever happened. You know, the caption ear’s have all been there and it’s the normal caption team we work with who are just so great and consistent. All the volunteers have been early, if not on time, you know. So the pro and then we realized, oh, the problem is that, that volunteer logged in? Oh, that’s why we all got booted. Oh, they were able to figure it out. Send a message to everyone and say if your shift starts at 9 15, we mean 9 15, we do not mean 9 13. Yes. So it wasn’t easy to fix challenge,

[00:28:02.27] spk_1:
conscientious volunteers. Not

[00:28:20.38] spk_2:
so we’re learning a lot about like what prep do the folks on both sides really need to pull that off. Like maybe maybe, you know, Ash and Jeremy and Drew have a session with you in the summer and talk about doing hybrid virtual events and how to make them really successful. You know, people are still doing. I mean so many folks fundraising gala have kept the hybrid piece where they’re like, oh, we could have 100 people at home donating that we didn’t buy food for. Yes, please, you know. Um so I think I think we’re really gonna see hybrid stay around. People are gonna want to keep doing that. Um and you know us, we’re happy to share all of our mistakes so that you can learn from them. Yes.

[00:29:30.55] spk_1:
Alright. Alright. So 24. So I would expect 24 NTC is also going to be a hybrid. It sounds you wouldn’t abandon that. All the learnings. Yeah, all the, all the problems next year, it’ll be 800 virtual. Alright, thank you. All right, we’re looking forward to 20 well, we’re loving 23 NTC here in Denver. Looking forward to next year. You and Gene and I, I think we just picked, identified probably three different subjects that the three of us could spend an hour talking about. I’m glad, you know, I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s concerned, even George wegner kinda, you know, he was more leaning towards, well, the risks aren’t, you know, I don’t, I don’t think that, that, that had great. Yeah, but I, I need George to be more and more thoughtful before he comes down on one side or the other.

[00:29:42.55] spk_2:
And I think that from, from any position

[00:29:44.61] spk_1:
Georges, let me just not put it on George wegner. I need the Georges Georges to be more

[00:30:56.77] spk_2:
thoughtful. I think it’s important to also remember that when we’re thinking of what are those risks, we’re filtering that through. What do I think those risks are? And, and I, or you and who you as the listener, whoever the one asking that question cannot be the one assessing risk for everyone. You have not experienced the same harm that everyone has experienced from tech in Ology. You maybe don’t have the same view of what you need that technology to do so, the idea that any one of us could say, oh, the risks aren’t that bad or these are the definitive list of risks. We just can’t, you know, it’s too dynamic of a constantly changing situation to say that the risks, the risk list stops or that it is or is not too much to care about, right? Because for some folks, there are people who are not online because of these risks, right? They are choosing to not even have access to some of the utilities that we all can benefit from working remotely, having access to education remotely because these risks are too harmful, right? So I just want to caution any of us from saying this is it or this is the view, right? The view is changing every day when all the people in this room release a new version of their product, right? Or by each other and decide to do different things and it’s

[00:31:12.82] spk_1:
also very personal. Yes, it has to be personal, organizational

[00:31:37.77] spk_2:
and that’s the that’s the place from which I want everybody here to take their duty, right? Is that it is personal and you have a duty as an organization to honor that personal level of choice and risk for every community member that you are expecting to give you their data, right? That you’re expecting to trust you. And that that’s kind of an entry point to to that mindfulness around technology is like it’s not yours. It is theirs. And are you allowing them to have choice? Are you allowing folks to decide how much data to give you a knot or what you can do with their data? Like it just opens up a whole five more shows of what we talk about, right?

[00:32:02.44] spk_1:
Alright, good. This is not, this is not there, this is not their last appearance.

[00:32:06.97] spk_2:
Let’s talk about Jean about the legal piece of that too, right? Because there’s a social conscience of what you do with your community members, data and there’s actual legal.

[00:32:46.00] spk_1:
We will, we will. All right, Amy Sample Ward, the C E O of N 10 grand high exalted mystic ruler of 23 NTC. Um I was surprised to see them walking on the street today. I thought I’d see them in a chauffeured limousine. You bring 1600 people in the city of Denver. I thought you get the penthouse suite concierge Bellman. Okay. Thank you very much. So. Good to see you. Thank you and thank you for being with our 23 NTC coverage where we are sponsored by Heller consulting, sharing the booth with us doing technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Thank you.

[00:33:04.34] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two first. I need to thank Heller consulting. So thank you Heller consulting for your sponsorship of tony-martignetti non profit radio at the 2023 nonprofit technology conference.

[00:33:21.78] spk_1:

[00:34:52.37] spk_0:
grateful that we shared a large booth together that I was able to make lots of interviews to Heller after each interview, bringing folks over to meet the Heller team that was Kaya and Paige and Jet. And I also met the CEO Keith Heller. Uh Thank you. Thank you. Hello, consulting for partnering with me, sponsoring nonprofit radio at the 23 N T C. Thanks so much. Thanks to the listeners who came by, but a bunch of folks come over say, oh, you’re the, you that radio got, you know, the nonprofit radio guy, one guy said in the bathroom. But in any case, I got a chance to meet lots of listeners. So that’s very gratifying. Thank you to those folks came over. I’m not gonna name who came over in the men’s room. We’ll just leave that uh to lay right there. But thanks listeners who, who joined us at 23 N T C and thank U N 10 N 10 supporting nonprofit radio. I’m grateful for our partnership. Thank you to the team at N 10. Congratulations to the staff for a successful fun valuable conference. My thanks, my congratulations out to end 10. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo, but loads more time here is building an inclusive board culture.

[00:35:28.60] spk_1:
Welcome to tony-martignetti, non profit radio coverage of 23 N T C. The 2023 nonprofit technology conference were at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy. And implementation for nonprofits with me now is Renee Reuben Ross. She is founder and CEO of the Ross Collective. Renee Reuben Ross. Welcome to nonprofit radio.

[00:35:35.60] spk_3:
Thanks so much. Great to be here.

[00:35:39.78] spk_1:
Absolute pleasure to have you. Your topic is building an inclusive culture on nonprofit boards. Right. Right. I think I have some sense, but I’m gonna let you articulate because you’ll do it better. Why we need this session?

[00:36:51.10] spk_3:
Oh, wow. Well, so many things. But, um, I think that I do a lot of different things. I do strategic planning and board development facilitation. And I also teach board development at Cal State University, East Bay. And so I’ve had so many, I identify as a white person and consultant. I’ve had so many people come up to me who are on board saying, wow, we are really struggling to build a positive culture and what do we need to do? How can we make things different? And I mean, I would say people of all different racial backgrounds, people who are, you know, people who might just be joining the board, who don’t know what’s going on. And so in, in, in having these conversations, I’ve developed a way of thinking about all right, what are some practices that support boards to do better work? Because I think that many of us, you probably know someone who’s joy. You know, it seems like everybody else knows what’s going on here and I’m trying to catch up, but I just don’t feel like I’m part of this and that might be around information. It might be around the culture in terms of racial equity, it might be around relationships. So, really thinking about what are some great practices that boards can keep in mind gender equity as well

[00:37:18.08] spk_1:
as a board. And there are two women and one’s a woman of color and, and we, you know, we feel minimized. Yes, I’ve heard things like, you know, we feel patronized, minimized. All the power is in the middle aged white guys.

[00:37:45.07] spk_3:
I start with the assumption that we all that we each have something to contribute. And going back to this idea of equity that the people who are closest to the problem should be weighing in on the solutions so that we really need to do consciously design boards and organizations in a way where all voices are heard and affirmed. And that that’s a good thing. That’s not, that’s not anybody losing anything that’s actually all of us getting to do better work that supports everybody. Yeah,

[00:38:01.01] spk_1:
the zero sum game where, well, if, if she has a voice than I’m losing that much of mine. But it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s

[00:38:12.05] spk_3:
ludicrous. Right. Right.

[00:38:12.78] spk_1:
Power is, power is infinite. Power, infinite. So you’ve got some signs and symptoms, indicators of, of what your current culture

[00:39:55.78] spk_3:
is. Right. Well, I am going to have a story that I’m going to share stories. So I was on a board and I had a colleague who came and joined that board. And at the beginning, she was pretty quiet. But then over time, what happened, which I had not expected was she started to come to the board meetings and there was always something bothering her and she was really angry and she, she became sadly this, this angry person in our meetings. And I didn’t expect this. She was someone that I knew she had some good things to contribute. But I started to think about what can I do? And I know that many of my students, many of the clients that I work with have the same issue which we’re going to talk about tomorrow in my session, which is what do you do about somebody who, who has, what do you do about somebody who has become a toxic board member? And so I suggested this kind of, this is really what happens. This is not like, oh, we’ve never met this person before. Usually people who come on board, somebody knows them ahead of time. But what ended up happening was I did my, I did my checklist, which is our, the board procedures. Good. Yes. Are we generally building positive relationships? Yes. Are we honoring equity and listening to all voices? Yes. And then it was like, what I ended up doing was counseling Micah colleague off the board. And I just said to her, you know what I’ve noticed is, it doesn’t seem like it makes you happy to be on this

[00:40:03.54] spk_1:
board. She probably realized it herself.

[00:40:21.46] spk_3:
She realized it herself. I’m somebody who’s not afraid to have the tough conversations. I wasn’t, I wasn’t angry with her. I was stating the truth in a courageous way and it got her to reflect on her participation and to leave the board. What

[00:40:23.47] spk_1:
do you think? Was, was there anything having to do with the, with the organization? Was it was, it was, it was some

[00:40:47.30] spk_3:
other things that were going on. And so many of us have a lot of things that are happening in our homes and with our families that maybe we are bringing to board meetings, right? So it’s really a matter of how can board members act courageous and proactively so that the board so that everybody feels, everybody feels like, wow, when I come to this meeting, things are going in a positive direction because what I’ve heard about boards these days is people really need to feel like their time is worthwhile and if they don’t, they want to do something else, especially now in this post pandemic time, my time is really valuable.

[00:41:13.58] spk_1:
Take off your three little three questions that you ask.

[00:41:16.68] spk_3:
Right. So, so I, so I have this framework that I share with my students, with my clients and my blog. It’s all about, are you utilizing formal practices? So that the first one is formal practices, goals agendas, agreements, term limits. We could just have a

[00:41:34.43] spk_1:
whole bylaws,

[00:41:39.98] spk_3:
bylaws, right? And, and I have, I have encountered or that will say, oh, no, we don’t have term limits. We have people on our board have been here for 20 years. You need to tighten that up. That is not responsible.

[00:41:51.17] spk_1:
You’re saying, I notice you’re saying not just have procedures. Are you following the bylaws may have two consecutive three year terms as the max and you’ve got this 20 year board member. So great,

[00:43:25.55] spk_3:
you got to enforce this and have a way of being in conversation. So first of all, for good, good meeting agendas that are aligned with the goals of the organization. Second of all informal procedures and this is really the relationship building peace. And I think that in these days, if anything, people want more than ever to feel that they feel connected to other board members, they feel a sense of belonging on the board that there’s compassion understanding that, you know, that it isn’t just get the work done, but they’re really that there’s some sort of positive team feeling. And I will say that I share this on a podcast on a webinar and someone said, well, how much does it cost to build? It doesn’t we’re talking a Starbucks coffee. Yes, presence, right? So, so first, so formal practices, informal practice and informal practices given attention, given, given attention really accounting for the fact that people process information differently, learn differently. That’s another informal practice that can really support good, good culture and good

[00:43:33.49] spk_1:
meetings on this, on this one before we move to the third, can other social events for the board which don’t have to be expensive. The person who’s concerned about spending too much money, you can, you can bring everybody into witness, witness some of the work you’re doing if you have that type of work.

[00:45:15.15] spk_3:
But you know what you just is, there was a board that I was invited to join and they said we want to have, we want to have, we’re having all of our meetings at seven a.m. And I was like, I know that I’m a working parent that’s seven a.m. is a horrible time for me. And, and so it is also a matter of being aware of how are, how, how can these practices of, of the board be as inclusive as possible. Um So, so then, and then going on to equity and the reason that so, and I define equity as being committed to shifting systems and sharing power as we talked about before. And the reason that I mentioned equity is that sometimes and I do some work as part of a cross race team where I’m leading along with my colleague, Crystal Cherry. We lead conversations for, for mostly historically white boards around racial equity. Sometimes there is the one person who one person who may be black or who may have something really, really important to say. And that person, even if it’s one person, that person needs to be hurt. Uh And so there’s some, some stepping back that needs to happen on behalf of, you know, by white people sometimes and some real perspective taking to focus more on equity

[00:45:16.30] spk_1:
sharing, power sharing. Uh

[00:45:32.37] spk_3:
And, and this is, we’re all on a learning journey, but it’s like start the journey, the train is going and, and again, if you, when we leave these conversations, we talk a lot about how does this align with the mission of the organization? So we had an arts organization that had their location in a primarily white neighborhood. Um Alright, how do you, what are you going to do in terms of outreach? Given that 45% of your city are people of color. You are not serving the mission to serve the whole community

[00:45:53.92] spk_1:
perceived in the community as a white elitist organization. So you’re not, you’re not attracting new supporters of any type volunteers, donors, board members, whatever is really

[00:46:04.04] spk_3:
about how does this work of um shifting systems of listening to more perspectives, deepen and strengthen the work of the organization?

[00:46:16.29] spk_1:
Anything else on the on the culture? Before we talk about dealing with your toxic person personages?

[00:46:26.56] spk_3:
I think that what I would say is I when I do this work, I encourage, I’m sure you do the same kind of thing. The first step is really assessment. How are you doing right now? And so as people are listening, I would say, put your podcast on pause for a second.

[00:46:52.19] spk_1:
Okay, come back. So, so,

[00:47:17.83] spk_3:
so, and, and these are questions for, for not just for one person, for the whole board. Um I will say that, that we had, we did one conversation with a potential client and it was this man, white man. And we said to him, well, are you building belonging on your board? And, and he said, of course, I am so and we said, well, how do you know? He’s like, well, I’ve asked my three best friends and they all feel a sense of belonging, you know, it’s like, okay, you got to go beyond beyond who you hear from. And maybe that means you survey your whole board or do you have a consultant come in and do interviews, whatever the way that you’re, you’re gathering data, you need to be more comprehensive in, in your learning and perspective taking.

[00:47:44.26] spk_1:
Can we go to toxic, toxic folks had to deal with? I mean, you had a good sample of a good story about your friend, your friend did the board experience.

[00:48:50.06] spk_3:
She’s still my friend because I spoke in a caring way. I wasn’t angry with her. I can see I do that. This is how I approach any kind of service or work, you know, and the same thing that I um that I would suggest for clients, positive or negative. In her case, there was she was having more of a negative experience. So it wasn’t the right fit for her. Other times, sometimes the situation comes up where somebody is on the board, they had a really strong relationship with the previous executive director with the previous staff. And then those people have left, the organization is going in a new direction and this person’s really frustrated. That is a pretty common scenario, right? And so what do you do? It’s up to the new leadership to say yes, we affirm the direction that we’re taking. We’re, we’re sorry that you, that you are not with us, but we are going forward. That’s okay. Again, it’s sometimes leaders, some of the leaders that I meet need just more courage to take this kind of action.

[00:49:10.61] spk_1:
Yeah, other other advice about approaching someone who’s, who’s toxic on a board.

[00:49:17.22] spk_3:
I think that’s just

[00:49:27.99] spk_1:
straightforward factual, you know, conversation. What about, what about in the moment in the, in the, in the heat of a meeting? Someone is dominating the conversation or, or just belittling someone else’s idea? That’s a good, that’s a better example, belittling someone else’s ideas were in the board meeting right now. Thank you for

[00:49:56.99] spk_3:
that. So, some of the practices that I do. So, one of the things that I do when I lead a meeting, I always use meeting agreements and meeting agreements are how it takes a minute or two. How do we want to be together? I have a list of meeting agreements around listening to one another. Curiosity respect

[00:50:03.32] spk_1:
before you joined the board meeting, at

[00:50:06.02] spk_3:
the beginning of each meeting for a minute. And then, and then it’s a matter of depending on how the meeting that helps frame

[00:50:14.81] spk_1:
things. How do we,

[00:50:55.00] spk_3:
is there anything you need to add? Um But I do think that this is where this is where some of this goes back to the framework that I’m a before. Because if, if there is, you want to start with a good agenda and you want, and it is possible to say, all right, well, we’ve been talking about this for 30 minutes. We said we would talk about it for 15. We’re going to cut it off here because we have other things that we need to accomplish and we’re gonna need to talk about this in committee. But so two different things. So one is if somebody is sort of going off, you can use some of those kinds of moves. But then the next part of it is is if someone is belittling somebody, I think that goes back to how do we want to be together and

[00:51:03.86] spk_1:
remind them of what we all agree half an hour

[00:51:06.90] spk_3:
ago and, and have maybe it’s the board president, maybe it’s executive director again, going back to that person. It should be the

[00:51:13.84] spk_1:
board chair in the, in the heat. Of the men in the heat of the meeting. It should be the board chair. It’s their job to run the job to run the meeting.

[00:51:24.00] spk_3:
But it may be that, that person, you want to talk to that person offline, find out what’s

[00:51:27.98] spk_1:
going on. But I’m putting you right in the, in the battle right now. We got to defuse the situation right now because someone is feeling someone has been hurt and, and minimized and someone else’s trotting over them. I think I would like, what do we all agree at the beginning of the meeting? This is not appropriate

[00:51:53.00] spk_3:
and I would go and what I would do would be to go back to them. Like I went back to my colleague and just said, you seem really angry in these meetings were all trying. We’re all working to get more meals to seniors what’s going on. You know, this is really a little bit beyond hear what they have to say and then see what the next step for them is. But, but really, but really again, courage, directness and, and I want to say, protecting everybody in the meeting by, by keeping a safe and caring environment.

[00:52:23.02] spk_1:
It’s also gonna depend on how the person reacts. I think in that moment with apology, you know, I’m I’m sorry, I got carried away versus

[00:52:34.27] spk_3:
okay. Fine. Yeah, that’s true. You’re right, you’re right.

[00:52:36.24] spk_1:
But this possible responses in between those but you know, apology a public apology in the moment goes a long way.

[00:54:03.20] spk_3:
Right. I had, I had another person who reached out to me and said, you know, we have one person who’s hijacking our meetings and he just won’t stop. And so then that was where I went back to my framework. And all right, do you have term limits? Do you have a structured agenda? Do you know what the purpose of these meetings is? I’ll use your checklist to have that structure. Have you talked with other board members to get clarity on what you want and how, how you want to be together and once you can get that, oh and adding the equity piece, are you, can you confirm that this person doesn’t have a perspective that are you sure that this person doesn’t have a perspective that needs to be listened to because I don’t want to, I don’t want to take that off the table. It may be that, that they do. In this case, the person did not. And when, when I talked to this client, it gave her the permission to say, alright, we understand that you want to do blah, blah, blah, but the nine of us don’t. And so we’re going forward over here and it seems like maybe this board isn’t right for you anymore. That’s okay. And that actually kept, it’s that it’s that 2020% of the people or 5% of the people taking up, you know, so much of your time and, and then the board got back on track through that. Okay.

[00:54:05.24] spk_1:
Um What else? What else? We’ve only spent like 20 minutes together? What else are you going to share with folks tomorrow that we haven’t talked

[00:54:12.14] spk_3:
about yet? Yeah, I think that. So I just, this is my first NTC to see how it is. I would say that, that, that

[00:54:23.47] spk_1:
congratulations on being selected as a speaker community, the community voted and chose you.

[00:55:55.14] spk_3:
It’s exciting. Um What I’m trying to do now is create a lot of spaciousness in the meetings that I lead in these presentations. And by spaciousness, I mean, spaciousness, interactivity you’re really giving because people more than ever want to talk, want to have the opportunity to talk. So how I’m, how I lead this conversation, so how I recommend board members should lead these conversations really to say we want to hear from you, we want time for us to talk it through and sometimes there may not be enough time in um in the meetings themselves that may mean that you need to go off and you know, have committee meetings so that you can be more expansive in exploring a certain topic. But really understanding that with everything going on in the world, people are holding a lot and there is a need for more processing of all of this and that needs to go into the design and to just come into you don’t want to come into a room and say, let’s, we’re just getting down to work. It’s really the opposite of that. It’s really what’s here in the room right now. Um, I, I have, there’s a book called Permission To Feel by Marc Brackett. Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. And there’s an app to that and it’s really about how you’re feeling right now and it’s such a simple question, but just to say as a check in with your board members, how are you feeling right now? And again, it doesn’t cost very much, but it’s a way to say we’re all here together. But what do you need to leave behind? So you can be here in the room and that creates a lot better work.

[00:56:25.24] spk_1:
You’re promising the folks who attend tomorrow that you’ll, you’ll leave them with a take away the next the next step, next step for building a healthier board. How do you help them identify that next step?

[00:57:33.26] spk_3:
So my, my theory of learning is what you care about. What you embrace. What you notice is what you’re going to start working on. So the reason that I am handing them my hand out with the Venn diagram of these three areas and sorry, I’m being technical, formal practices, informal practices, equity is because I, I don’t, I want each person in the room to reflect on what is working and, and what they want to do next. And to commit to something, right? Something that they want to change in the organization. And it might just be, um, I’m gonna go back to my board and I’m gonna share this with them and we’re gonna have, uh, you know, group conversation about this understanding that we are doing really well in terms of informal practices because we all get along really well. But we actually, we don’t have term limits and that’s hurting us because we’re not getting new people involved with our organization. So a

[00:57:39.50] spk_1:
lot of his internalized what you believe should be a next step where you believe you should work first.

[00:58:17.40] spk_3:
I have a longtime background in education, doctorate in education and studied adult education. Truly believe that we are building our own knowledge and motivation from what we care about and boards are too. What are you giving your attention to? So give my goal for the session is that people give their attention to these three different areas and think. Okay, I’m going to share many practices, but which ones do you need to pay more attention to? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Can we leave it there? What do you think? Sure. Feel good.

[00:58:20.02] spk_1:
Yeah. Alright. You know, feeling like there’s something else we didn’t talk about. He didn’t ask me.

[00:58:46.44] spk_3:
Um I think we’re, I think we’re good. It’s really exciting to, you know, it’s really, I’m very curious about who’s going to come to this session and the challenges they’re bringing and I was, it’s very energizing to see okay room full of people, most of them I haven’t met before. And what will they, you know, what questions do they have about this and what, what’s working for them most? And where do they find, where do they feel like they need to do more fine tuning? What are you excited

[00:58:57.59] spk_1:
about that? What drew you to the nonprofit technology conference? This is your first one, but you’ve obviously been working with nonprofits a long time. What brought you to an NTC?

[00:59:07.30] spk_3:
I was, I was interested in, you know, in meeting all kinds of people and connecting and, you know, learning about some of the ideas that are out there and how this conference works. You

[00:59:17.40] spk_1:
just have never heard of it

[00:59:34.55] spk_3:
before. I have heard of it before. Yeah. And I mean, what I’ve noticed in my work is I have a lot of referral partners who are fundraising consultants who are sending me work and I’m sending them work and I’m guessing that I’ll connect with some new people, you know, who could be potential referral partners. So, yeah, you know, it’s funny because I did have a friend who said, wait, your, your facilitator, why are you going to the technology conference? But I was like, well, there’s a leadership track and so it’s not

[00:59:48.62] spk_1:
only for technical techies I T directors, we all know

[00:59:52.41] spk_3:
that. Right. Right. Right.

[01:00:02.14] spk_1:
Great, Renee Ruben. My pleasure. Thanks for Thanks for sharing a Reuben Ross founder and CEO at the Ross Collective. Thank you for being with tony-martignetti non profit radio coverage of 23 N T C where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Thanks for being my pleasure, Renee. Thank you. You’re welcome. And thank you

[01:01:16.37] spk_0:
next week. Technology Governance for Accidental Taxis as as accidental taxis, technology governance for accidental techies. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. I’m not sure you’d want to do that though. Actually, this week were sponsored by Donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor box dot org. I’m sure my voice will sound better. Next week, our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. The shows social media is by Susan Chavez Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for April 10, 2023: The High Growth Nonprofit


Matt ScottThe High Growth Nonprofit

Matt Scott returns to talk us through his new book, “The High Growth Nonprofit.” He urges you to shed the 5% growth mindset and plan for exponential growth with your rapid growth plan. Matt is CEO of CauseMic.



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Every nonprofit struggles with these issues. Big nonprofits hire experts. The other 95% listen to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Trusted experts and leading thinkers join me each week to tackle the tough issues. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
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[00:01:19.31] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your Aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. And oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d get slapped with a diagnosis of gero morph. Um Is um if you made me lose my mind because you missed this week’s show The high growth non profit Matt Scott returns to talk us through his new book, the high growth non profit he urges you to shed the 5% growth mindset and planned for exponential growth with your rapid growth plan. Matt is CEO of Cosmic On Tony’s take 2:23 NTC shows coming. We’re sponsored by Donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor box dot org. Here is the high growth non profit It’s my pleasure

[00:01:54.73] spk_1:
to welcome back, Matt Scott to non profit radio He is CEO and co founder of Cosmic A Portland Oregon based consultancy, helping nonprofits leverage best in class for profit methods to grow their organizations before cosmic. He was a fundraising leader on the inside of numerous young and fast nonprofits One of which he helped take from $275,000 to $51 million dollars in seven years. We’ll be talking about that one. He’s the author of the book, The

[00:01:56.66] spk_0:
High Growth non profit Proven steps

[00:02:14.23] spk_1:
to quickly double your revenue and drive impact. The company is at cosmic dot com and Matt’s book is at cosmic dot com slash book. Matt Scott. Welcome back to the nonprofit radio

[00:02:17.02] spk_2:
Thank you for having me saw this on the calendar and was feeling pretty stoked about

[00:02:21.16] spk_1:
it. Thank you. Oh, you just look five minutes ago like you haven’t been anticipating it for the past month.

[00:02:26.62] spk_2:
I absolutely looked last night and was okay.

[00:02:30.26] spk_1:
Alright. I’ll accept 12 hours of excitement is, is terrific. Thank you. Congratulations. Congratulations on the book, the high growth, non profit

[00:02:42.82] spk_2:
Thank you. Yeah, I think uh if any of your, if any of your listeners have ever have ever written a book, they will probably relate. It took me twice as long as I thought it would to

[00:02:54.74] spk_1:
write. Yes, I’ve heard that numerous times. Right. All right. But it’s done. Congratulations.

[00:03:00.58] spk_2:
Thank you.

[00:03:04.07] spk_1:
Let’s talk with, with a 30,000 ft view. You, you reference different uh degrees of views in the book and one of them is 30,000 ft. What, what’s a high growth? Non profit

[00:03:42.37] spk_2:
I think a high growth, non profit is an organization that is looking to go beyond incremental growth. Um, an organization that’s looking to double their revenue and impact Over the next 2-3 years. Um and it’s an organization. Yeah, that’s that’s willing to take bold calculated risk and also follow some some process and systems to get there. Um Yeah, it’s an organization ready to invest in growth.

[00:04:06.79] spk_1:
Okay. That’s audacious doubling in 2-3 years, growth revenue and impact. Alright, so one of the early chapters makes it clear that if we’re gonna achieve high growth, we need to outgrow Our 5% mindset. Yeah, help us through.

[00:04:17.67] spk_2:
Yeah, this is, this is my favorite exercise or tip or uh out you know, just learning from the book um because it’s worked time and time again. Big small, it scales at every size organization. It’s quite simple. It’s most organizations especially fundraisers are guilty of this. They set these really low revenue targets and then they like to wildly exceed them. Um At least that’s what I do know that was a frontline fundraiser um but

[00:04:39.75] spk_1:
really classic uh under under over, perform under

[00:05:52.32] spk_2:
undersell over. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So outgoing the 5% growth mindset is this idea that most organizations look to grow, say 5 10 15% you know, and the reality is you don’t actually have to do anything differently in order to grow that incremental growth. You just have to do what you’re currently doing and do it a little bit better. And so what we encourage folks to do is to kind of gather around a whiteboard with their team and say, answer this question, what if we had no choice but to double our revenue with half the resources over the next three years, what would we do? And it’s awesome because in a resource constrained environment, you’re forced to uh get creative innovation comes to life and you’re forced to ruthlessly prioritize. And that’s usually how you can begin to set a path towards exponential growth. Um And we’ve, we’ve seen this, we’ve seen this work at lots of clients and I think it’s something that uh that is an easy thing for a leader to do.

[00:06:01.45] spk_1:
And in addition to having an audacious growth goal mindset, you need to have a plan for achieving audacious goals, which is what to me, this is what the book is all about. It’s not enough to just be audacious in goal setting. We need to have a method of getting there that’s going to be different than what we’ve been doing.

[00:06:20.66] spk_2:
Yeah, exactly. I, I could, I could say I would like to be £50 lighter by my birthday. But if I don’t actually have any plan to, you know, to replace, uh to, to drink green tea and eat more vegetables, I probably am not going to get there.

[00:06:42.53] spk_1:
I love the idea of exponential exponential growth. Let’s talk about the North Star and why don’t you talk about the North Star? What’s our North Star?

[00:07:04.73] spk_2:
Yeah, I think what’s, what comes to mind for me is, is unlike a mission statement, a North Star is sort of this, this guiding light for your organization. It’s more about the why. Um And you know, the analogy kind of comes to mind like as you’re a kid and you’re exploring and you know, or any explorer really. And the thought is that this North Star can kind of take you in a certain direction, It can always guide you and point you there. And it’s something that when I was at Team Rubicon nonprofit that, that, that re purposes the skills of military veterans to, to assist folks who have been affected by disaster. Um

[00:07:26.80] spk_1:
That’s the organization that you grew referred to in your bio.

[00:07:31.76] spk_2:
Yeah, exactly. I was a part of, uh, I was a part of our rapid growth there and in fundraising and, uh, there was a lot of people involved in that but, but the organization was ran by, um, this guy named Jake Wood, a former marine. Uh, if there’s any marines listening, I apologize. There’s no such thing as a former marine, a marine, I should say.

[00:07:53.23] spk_1:
Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.

[00:08:39.45] spk_2:
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I hope I still make his Christmas card list, um, for making that error. But, yeah, Jake pounded the North Star in our head to be the best disaster relief organization in the world. And we were really encouraged to take these bold calculated risk and it was, it was that guiding star to say, hey, when we’re, when we’re at a decision point, when we’re trying to figure out what to do, look to that North star and say, is this going to get us closer there? Is it gonna guide us towards that direction? And I think it’s important for an organization or a leader to set the organization’s North Star and to communicate that frequently. So, you know, that cosmic, we were laser focused on helping uh fully fund every nonprofit organization. Um That’s a pretty big bold audacious thing. It’s like being the best disaster response or in the world. And throughout the journey to get there, you’re gonna, you know, you’re gonna have all these decision points and it helps you, I think filter through them.

[00:09:07.47] spk_1:
I like that. The book is filled with examples of basically you, you’re walking your walk, you use a lot of examples from, from cosmic,

[00:10:22.84] spk_2:
yeah, from cosmic, from clients like um honestly, the book is filled with, with just as many lessons that were learned from trying something and it not working. But one of our cultural principles is success is not final and another one is the future belongs to the curious. And I think the combination of those two things are what, what allows an organization to try, try new approaches. But then when something works well to examine it, to look at it, understand why it worked or why it didn’t work and what’s still missing about it and to refine it. And so I try to share examples from our experience um because I’m so goal oriented and sometimes I share with, with Bobby, someone was like my thought partner, my operational partner here at Cosmic, just, just the other day I shared with her was like, gosh, you know, uh I was like, I wish we were growing faster. And she said, Matt, we more than doubled, you know, last year ourselves. And we helped 22 clients double at the same time. Like, let’s take a breath and like, look at what, what worked and what didn’t and what we accomplished. And I think that, that, that, that’s what I tried to include in the book was the stories from those lessons learned. And I hope, I hope it comes through.

[00:10:30.12] spk_1:
It does, it does true to your uh walking your talk. I said you, I said you walk your walk, you walk your talk. True to walking your talk. Uh your North Star. One of them is to fully fund every nonprofit, you know, you do know there’s about a million and a half of them, right?

[00:10:52.72] spk_2:
Yeah, there’s, there’s far too many probably to realistically reach. And I gotta be honest, like we’ve refined that over the years to be those that align with our values. Like I actually, I hope that there’s certain organizations that don’t have access to my book and don’t actually put to use these practices

[00:11:27.25] spk_1:
but you’re scaling back scaling down a little bit. Alright. That’s that’s perfectly reasonable with the universe of a million and a half or more but true to your North Star, you are giving this book away books just go to cosmic dot com slash book and give a name and an address and you’ll ship the book for free.

[00:11:33.51] spk_2:

[00:11:35.22] spk_1:
I’m not gonna ask why you’re doing that because it’s your it’s your North Star. That’s why.

[00:12:11.19] spk_2:
Yeah, exactly. I think um yeah, we give away free strategy calls to and I’m gonna be honest, like a lot of the calls are folks that aren’t necessarily in the right mindset or in the right place to benefit from the approach that we take. But we still want to help them. So we’ve developed a free curriculum. Like we’ve, you know, I just wanted to capture some of the lessons that I’ve learned and so many, I’ve gotten so much free advice over the years, um that I’m so grateful for that. We wanted to put some of those thoughts down on paper and, and share those with books and um yeah, just help people, help people grow and scale and it’s the easiest way to, to distribute our knowledge out there.

[00:12:59.59] spk_1:
You have a chapter on and all your chapters are short this quick. This is a, it’s a quick read but valuable and I mean, it has to be valuable. You get it for free. So it has just infanticidal value and then you have, if it’s just infanticidal value, then you have a positive R O I because cosmic is paying for the shipping. So culture. So one of your, one of the many chapters, culture, culture is the glue. How do we I think folks probably understand why that’s important but how do we create the culture that we want?

[00:16:51.67] spk_2:
Yeah. So um I kind of already shared with you two of our cultural principles that cosmic, right? And I can still remember and recite all seven cultural principles at Team Rubicon. But I’ve also worked at two other places in my career where I actually cannot recite even one of the cultural principles because they were a poster on a wall, right? So when I think about cultural principles, they need to be what guides your team in the absence of your presence. So, just a few years ago when it was myself and Bobby and one full time person here at cosmic uh Franny who still works with us. Um I remember gathering her and saying, sharing with her. There’s gonna be a time when we’re not in the room, you’re gonna be alone in the room and we’re going to make a decision about how we need to move forward. People are going to question that decision and we won’t be there to answer it. And I need you to look to these cultural principles, to guide you and to provide them with context as to why this decision is made. Um so that we can all be aligned and so that we can all move forward together. So I think when you know, to address your question, I think of two parts, one is like, what is the importance, the critical part is that you have, that your team has something that they can fall back on to filter through their actions, their ideas, to understand your decisions, all those things in the absence of your presence, it’s really important how to get there. Um It’s as basic as sitting down and writing down, like, think about yourself. Think about your top performing people on your team, the best people you’ve ever worked with. If you’re just building your team from scratch, what are the characteristics of those folks? What is it that they have in common? Where is their overlap and start to write those things down? Don’t go with these lofty like integrity and things like that’s kind of baseline. I hope that wherever it is that you’re working, right? But go with like what is uniquely you and then you can actually refine them and that’s how we come up with fun stuff like at Team Rubicon. Uh One of my favorite cultural principles was uh your mother is a donor. So when we think about how we’re going to reinvest the money that is given to Team Rubicon to serve folks affected by disaster, think about it as if your mother gave us that money. And that was a really cool right way to frame that up. And so at cosmic, we’ve, we’ve got fun ones to write like sleeves up at Team Rubicon was gets it done. So the you can start to put a fun spin on it and then how you move it into action. Um I found is you repeat it all the time and you call it out all the time. Um Are you familiar with strength Finder, tony It’s, it’s a, it’s a gallop kind of generated thing where you fill out this survey of millions of people filled it out and it kind of identifies what are your top five strengths of all these different strengths, right? And a lot of folks use strength finder, but they’d go to a half day session and then they never talk about it again. And the same is true about cultural principles. They take a day a week, a month to define these cultural principles. They’re passive, they’re on a poster and they’re not ever talked about. And so you have to like when you see sleeves up, when you see success is not final, whatever yours are, you have to call attention to call it out and say, hey Franny, that was amazing. You know, that was a success is not final moment for you. This is thank you. You know, this is what works about it. I think that’s what I would say about cultural principles is define them but, but revisit them often. Um that’s how you’re gonna be able to fully leverage them.

[00:16:58.18] spk_1:
What guides your team in the absence of your presence? I love that.

[00:18:00.50] spk_0:
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[00:18:01.24] spk_1:
about yours. Success is not final. What does that mean to cosmic?

[00:19:25.63] spk_2:
Yeah, to cosmic. It means um we actually do, I learned again, I learned this kind of thing at Team Rubicon. We did this thing called an after action report which is sort of came out of the military culture where we would evaluate, hey, we just responded to hurricane Harvey. What worked? What didn’t, what was missing? What was confusing, right? Um And so what we do here at cosmic and is we actually evaluate like, like literally we did a retrospective on writing this book. Um You know, I think it was a success. I can’t wait to come out with a second volume, but I’m like, okay, what are all the things that need to be, that need fixing? You know, that could be better about how we approach this? Um And there was a ton of them and then how taking the lessons that we learned about the, the editing process, like the outlining process, um the boiling it down to two, like you said, I mean, it was written in a way for to be, to be, you know, kind of digested on a domestic flight. But we, we try to put like the key lessons up front. Well, that actually came out of another project that we worked on where the audience of, of our curriculum said, you know, the just like the lesson learned upfront was really helpful. So it’s taking that success from one thing and applying it to what worked well this time. And also looking back and saying, what didn’t work, what did not go well about that fundraising campaign that we just ran? What, what didn’t go well about that digital transformation that we just did and how do we address that for the next go around so that we can improve upon how we deliver, you know, services to clients and impact to the world.

[00:19:59.77] spk_1:
As you said, each chapter has to takeaways upfront right under the title of the chapter, there’s two shaded boxes that are going to tell you what that chapter is all about.

[00:20:09.22] spk_2:
Yeah, you can skip the chapter if you, if you’re really short on time or not intrigued by what it says or no,

[00:20:53.24] spk_1:
you should, I think you make this point if one doesn’t appeal to you that you should read it all the more to find out what it is that you’re missing about the takeaway that, uh, that you’re not getting, you know, what, what it is you don’t understand about the takeaway that, that makes it, uh, interesting to you. So, read a couple of pages and, and come away enlightened. Yeah. Um, you talk something about, well, actually let’s get a little deeper in your, in your own life that this team Rubicon sounds like it was, I don’t know, transformational for you, you know, so grounding you, you took away a lot from your time at Team Rubicon.

[00:21:15.16] spk_2:
I sure did. Uh the, the opportunity, you know, for, for your more established leaders who are listening to this uh 22 year old Matt was given way too much responsibility.

[00:21:17.65] spk_1:
Military that, that comes, that comes right from your founder. Jake. Military does that 18 year olds are given incredible responsibility right out of right out of high school.

[00:24:28.53] spk_2:
Exactly. If you give people clear direction, commander’s intent, um, as Jake would call it, uh, and, and, and, and, and a sense of connection with one another, a sense of codependency with one another. Um Then, you know, even if you fail, if you’re failing forward, you’re gonna do. Okay. Right. So, uh for me at Team Rubicon, all of the places that I’ve worked, I’ve, you know, have taught me a lot. Um but I learned about, I think the 30,000 ft at team Rubicon, the power of having a really strong uh direction that we’re headed at the horizon level and then how to operationalize it is really critical. So, um I was given the opportunity to, to buy, given the opportunity, I mean, there was a problem and, and someone let me, let me just tackle it right? Um To, to lead 2.5 digital transformations in my seven years, but I had never done that before. Um And so learning a lot from that are developing a mass market fundraising program, building out a fundraising team, um you know, partnering with marketing, all of these different things that uh that were so, so important to who I am today and how I lead today and how I help others lead is because of the lessons that I learned. And I’m gonna be honest, a lot of stuff did not work um at all. And so I’ll share an example that maybe will resonate with folks like one of the things we do and I talk about it in the book is that the strategic planning process is completely broken. At most organizations, right. It takes 3 to 6 months. It cost over $200,000 in staff time and consulting. And usually it, it ends up with this 50 page strategic planning document that nobody reads and is completely in actionable. And a team Rubicon, what we would do is we would actually develop strategic plans every six months. We were putting new ones out there and we would look back and laugh at where we thought we would be. Sometimes we, we thought we were like going to the moon and actually we ended up at Mars or sometimes we overshot, sometimes we fell way short. But the plan was like a good place to deviate from. It was, it was, it was something to guide us, but it was not a desk, a destination, the planning process, you know, um what’s it? Uh I’m gonna mess up which general this was. But one of these famous generals talks about how plan is useless, but the act of planning is really, is really what is really useful because it brings people together and gives people a common understanding. And so a team Rubicon like we would fail all the time at our strategic plans. But, but we were always had a bias for action over a bias for documentation. We always had a bias for getting things done. And um yeah, I’m very grateful for the time that I had there because I don’t think I would be able to support so many organizations today if it weren’t for the opportunity to fail early, um, and succeed early, you know,

[00:24:43.08] spk_1:
G S D getting it done, right. You talk like you were in the military, like operationalized commander’s intent, you know, you, you sound like you were a para marine yourself.

[00:25:01.56] spk_2:
Oh, gosh, I have three, I have three brothers who served in the military. Uh, but I did not have any military jargon or discipline whatsoever before going to team Rubicon. So it’s 100% byproduct of my as my time as a gray shirt and it has nothing to do with uh with uh my level of service stops at the nonprofit sector at Fortune.

[00:25:22.42] spk_1:
Alright. And great shirts of course. Were the team Rubicon volunteers? Right. Exactly. Where the great shirts. Yeah. Alright. So let’s explore a little more of the strategic plan. You, you spend a couple of chapters on it, having an adaptable strategic plan and why don’t, why don’t you bring in another organization? The talk about the uh SFP the Salon to Family Project.

[00:25:47.39] spk_2:

[00:25:48.32] spk_1:
adaptable strategic plan.

[00:29:48.15] spk_2:
Yeah. So what I what I favor is is action over over documentation, right? But documentation is important. So capturing your strategy on a single page, it’s like what are we trying to achieve? What are the key, how are we going to do that? What are the key strategies on how we’re gonna do that? Right. So Salon to Family project. When they first started working with us, they actually pair marginalized Children or women rather so just women who were largely ignored in the community with orphan Children. And they create what they call these forever fan families where they are not just a temporary placement for orphans, but rather a wraparound care service. A long term commitment of family goes well beyond, you know, a kid graduating from high school, say right, you can still call your parents well into life and then you care for one another. Um And so when they were thinking about how to grow and they really needed to grow, we started to identify, okay, well, if we were going to double revenue, how would we go about doing that? What are the key areas we’re going to focus on? So we capture that in a strategic plan and then you essentially look at okay. One of them was going to be, we’re going to really lean into peer to peer fundraising because that was there was an opportunity there for them. And another area was cause marketing and really thinking about how to leverage corporate marketing dollars instead of corporate philanthropic dollars. Most nonprofits go after donations, but those are very limited versus marketing dollars are kind of infinitely scalable. So those were just two of the strategies that made sense. Then we developed all these tactical things. Like if we’re going to focus on fundraisers, we need to have little things like we need a good peer to peer fundraising platform. But more importantly, like, let’s think about donor segmentation or, or supporter segmentation donors, volunteers, fundraisers, advocates within the fundraisers. Like, are these people network mobilizes? Can they get a lot of people to attend the event and donate on their behalf? Um Sharing a ton of context. But my point is that there were all these little ideas like we need to coach people who are passionate about Salaam to but who are not professional fundraisers on how to ask people for money. So a fundraising coaching series made it in there so big ideas, little ideas, they all get added in and we scored those based on impact. How much impact would they have on our ability to double revenue against that key strategy, how with cost, you know, time and money, like a fundraising platform cost money, it takes time and money to draft an email series and build out an engagement flow, right? And so by doing this more action oriented strategic planning process, what we did was we started to develop, uh we were clear on direction and we were clear on how we were gonna get there and we really thought about what should be done first. And um and as a result, the organization was able to, you know, leverage all kinds of cool stuff, a Travelocity grant to film to build brand awareness. Like we built a really big peer to peer program, but also kind of what I was sharing about team Rubicon and cosmic is like our identity shift over time. And what to uh to Marissa the executive director’s credit. She saw an opportunity and actually the connection between family, the forever family in the faith based community in, in the US, the donor base. And that there was a strong connection there that they were, they weren’t really maximizing or taking advantage of because they weren’t directly connecting the two. So that’s that a plan is a good place to deviate from that I was talking about is as you move through the process of growing, you need to success is not final stop and evaluate what’s working, what’s not what’s missing. And she found that opportunity and leaned into it with these frameworks and they’ve been very successful. They’ve, they’ve grown up, they’ve doubled more than more than once. Um So, yeah, just a little bit more about, about Salam to and how they leverage that growth strategy.

[00:30:03.61] spk_1:
Explain about the one page strategic plan, the O P S P, talk about this in the book too.

[00:30:53.97] spk_2:
Yeah, this is, this is like my favorite uh my favorite thing um because it aligns everybody and it’s the simplicity. It’s hard to get down into a single page, right? But, but essentially at the very top, it’s what are we trying to achieve? Okay, let’s say we’re trying to double our revenue. How are we gonna do that? I talked about that already. What are the key strategies? Um okay, then who should we be targeting? Uh like who should be going after? Let’s say one of your key strategies is to, to take an audience led approach, right? So one of our clients is Surfrider. Well, who they’re going after is mass market, major donors, uh you know, certain corporate partners, etcetera. And then what motivates them? Well, they have four programmatic pillars. So that’s really like, what are we talking about? What do they do? They,

[00:31:02.76] spk_1:
what do they do?

[00:32:35.42] spk_2:
Surf rider is a group of a collection of chapters. There’s over 80 across the the country. And what they do is they work collaboratively to put forth legislation to protect beach access, to protect clean water, to reduce plastic pollution and to reverse the impacts of climate change. And why people support surfrider are different. Somebody who’s interested in plastic pollution might not be interested in beach access. Um So what we, what we want to capture on that page is who are we going after? What, what’s the core message? What are the, what are the major drumbeats? What are the times when everybody? So World Water Day super important for them. Um Some of them are planned and some of them are unplanned. So the rainfall that we just experienced in California really damaged coastal communities, but that was an unplanned drumbeat. So the ability to look at this one page strategic plan and say, should we respond to this disaster? Does it align with our, our strategy towards doubling revenue? Um It gives people a filter who are execute Urz and who are operational ist and leaders to look at and, and glance at and say, yeah, we need to lean into this opportunity and it means that we’re gonna have to stop doing these other things um temporarily or otherwise to get there. So, uh yeah, that’s a little bit about what’s captured in the one page strategic plan. It’s sort of the, what are we trying to do and how are we going to do it? And who are we targeting? And where should we focus our efforts?

[00:33:45.99] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two A week before the 2023 non profit technology conference. And already we’ve got a dozen interviews booked. Who I’ll be talking to conference presenters about. Oh, like data driven storytelling with Julia Campbell, inclusive culture on your board. Oh, using your voice to lead quiet, quitting. Perhaps personalized fundraising at scale. You might see these and lots of other shows are coming up in the months ahead. If you are at the nonprofit technology conference swing by booth for 24, I’ll be there talking to all these future smart guests along with heller consulting our 23 NTC sponsor. Thank you again. Team Heller for sponsoring. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got Boo Koo, but loads more time for the high growth non profit with Matt Scott.

[00:33:55.02] spk_1:
You talk about intentional discoveries,

[00:33:58.21] spk_0:
these sort of internal

[00:33:59.86] spk_1:
interviews that are, that are valuable, explain what that’s all about.

[00:35:50.48] spk_2:
Yeah, for this, I’ll use an example when we were working with Mercy Corps, uh non profit large established organization. Uh They provide humanitarian services across the world in over 100 countries and some of the most difficult places and their fundraising and marketing team is about 65 people. So big department within that, they got lots of senior leaders and we were helping their, their fourth C D M O and four years get the team aligned. So she was relatively new in the seat. And so what we encourage is to do stakeholder interviews with each person. In, in her case, she had within the department, there was about 12 directors just in the department, senior leaders for her. Um and it was about interviewing each of them and figuring out, hey, what’s working, what’s not, what’s confusing, what’s missing, you see that kind of common theme and gathering all this input from your team on the regular revisiting it with them once a year is really effective because it allows you as a leader to do the stakeholder interviews, even though you already work there, you already know who those people are and what they face. Well, chances are by just slowing down, taking a pause and actually having a conversation with your team. You know, if you’re, if you’re truly doubling. If, if you, when you, when you grow revenue by 25%, of your systems will break, that’s been our experience. So by pausing and slowing down and doing interviews with the various stakeholders on your team and understanding what’s working, what’s not, what’s missing, what’s confusing. You can begin to prioritize where your clarity needs to, where you need to provide more clarity where things need to be re prioritized, where, where you need to address problems that are popping up, that are new problems that you weren’t expecting because you just moved to a different phase of growth.

[00:36:12.43] spk_1:
That that’s a whole nother good topic because if you’re experiencing this rapid growth or you’re, you’re in the midst, yeah, you’re in the midst of it. Prioritization is key.

[00:38:06.72] spk_2:
Mhm Yeah. And that’s actually you talked about what is something else I want to talk about in the book. It’s uh something we found really useful is um is Larry Griner is a, is a researcher who years ago, uh you know, wrote an article in HBR about the evolutions and revolutions of organizational growth, growth. And how as you move through the stages of growth, the inevitable crisis, crisis is that come up as you move, the pain that you’re going to experience the solutions that you put in place to address that phase of growth is inevitably going to lead to crisis in the next phase of growth. And so we used to pass out the original article and it was very much written from a for profit lens. But yeah, sorry Harvard Business Review. Yeah. And uh we just received so much positive feedback from, from clients that were taking through our rapid growth program, which is this transformational process um that were like we need to rewrite this for nonprofit specific audience because there’s some uniqueness to that, like it’s particularly resource constrained, you know. So we did that. And it’s one of the chapters in the book, I talk about like the various phases of growth and the five different ones and how as you move through them, you’re gonna inevitably come up with new challenges. But that’s how I think those, those two questions for the two topics we just talked about come together. It’s like by doing those interviews, re checking in with your team frequently as you move through the phases, you’re going to be able to um see more clearly from their lens from their vantage point when things are breaking. And when the solutions that you put in place, when you are moving from an entrepreneurial environment to one where you have decisive leadership is inevitably going to lead towards like a sense of I need autonomy. I’m being told what to do too much, you know. So you have to check in with your team regularly as you move through the phases of growth.

[00:38:18.85] spk_1:
That’s like you had a lot of autonomy at Rubicon.

[00:39:32.20] spk_2:
We, we did until I didn’t. And so it’s funny because Jake is a friend of mine still. And one day we were talking about, you know, we were both sharing with each other. How long do you think you’re gonna stay? Um And uh for me, it was, became so clear, I was like my identity, I am a builder and a doer. I am not a maintainer. And so as soon as my job becomes more and more narrow and it becomes more when to maintain state status as opposed to like what we’ve just gone through for the last seven years. That’s gonna be the moment when I when it’s time for me to uh yeah, to move into the gray shirt as a volunteer as opposed to a staff member role. Um And so yeah, I think that’s that, that was my own experience in my own journey and in evaluating when it was time for, for me to, to kind of move on. But I was given a lot of autonomy and then it started to get rained in, you know, um because it had to, we started have department budgets and processes and, and I was like, yeah, this is necessary and this is not for me. Yeah,

[00:39:43.60] spk_1:
let’s talk a little about hiring, you say higher when it hurts but, but you need to have a couple of things in place before you before you do something that sounds reckless. So what, what, what’s, what’s higher when it hurts.

[00:40:26.97] spk_2:
Yeah, this is some advice that I was given by, uh, now the chief operating officer at a major Humane society, but came from a consulting background when he and I were talking about me building this consulting practice and I thought about it was like, gosh, that is so on point. Even when I’m at a nonprofit, right, you always feel like you want to put more bodies in place, right? Like if we only had more people, we could achieve more. Um And we were talking about it from a, a cash flow perspective. Don’t go hog crazy on hiring too many folks because you don’t wanna have to lay people off if, if you, you know, if it’s a temporary need, you need to evaluate when, when you need to hire. So I’ll share this because I think it’s so valuable for, for folks who’ve made it this far into the, into the podcast episode,

[00:40:41.42] spk_1:
but nonprofit radio listeners are not dropping off. Okay. Good,

[00:40:46.11] spk_2:
good with

[00:40:47.23] spk_1:
us till the end. I’m sure of it. Especially talking about, about high growth.

[00:44:29.39] spk_2:
Okay. So yeah, help us be the best, best selling book in the free book category by making it this far. Um So World Bicycle Relief, I, I share this story. This is one of our clients and uh and they there you really unique because they’re not just a nonprofit, but they’re also a social impact business. So they ask for financial donations, but they also sell a Buffalo bicycle to communities in countries across across the world. And they do this to help provide education and access to health care and jobs. Um And let’s just take in, in certain parts of Africa, like the terrain and the infrastructure in Kenya is really different than that of Colombia, but they operate in both places. And so their marketing team is stretched really thin because they’re not just serving the donor audience, but they’re also trying to serve the various social impact audiences in different countries and produce materials that will help those social businesses and entrepreneurs that they’ve set up in country to sell these bicycles to service these bicycles. And so they’re stretched really thin, right? And naturally you just want to go to, I need a higher. But what we did first with them is we gather their marketing team and we said we want to show you how to think like an internal agency, how to think like a marketing firm internally within your organization. So this tip is something that I think nobody, most nonprofits don’t even think about, don’t say nobody but I haven’t come across any yet. So one of the things we do at at cosmic and this is common practice in any agency or consultancy is you think about your time as billable and non billable and billable time is essentially time that we spend building to clients but as an internal agency, it’s things like writing coffee, uh building out workflows, um merging contact records, whatever all these different things. Non billable time is not bad time. It’s things like professional development, it’s things like paid time off, it’s admin time going to staff meetings, getting a line, things like that. And so what we told we we shared is like you need to actually evaluate where all of the time is being spent as an internal stakeholder and determine your billable time divided by your total time gives you what’s called a utilization ratio. And so at cosmic, you know, our team of 16 Served 28 clients last year. And we have, we have currently over 65 work streams going on that are across all these different clients. And how in the world does that few of people do that much work? And the reality is we are very meticulous about understanding how much time it takes to do. Uh If we get asked to create an annual report or build a landing page or build a workflow, we need to understand how much time it takes for the project manager, the content strategist, copyright of the designer, right? And so we taught this to world Bicycle Relief’s marketing team to actually keep track of your time and to set targets for billable versus non billable. And what they found was where they were spending time and where they weren’t spending time. And then when they got request from the major gift officer for a one off, uh, you know, uh, one pager, they were able to evaluate how much time that was going to take and the impact that it was going to have and they could then prioritize their work through their backlog in a way that they had never thought to do before. So that’s an example of like going back to higher when it hurts. Chances are it hurts right? You’re stretched, then there’s more to do than time to do it before hiring, stop and take stock of where you’re actually spending time and what can go and what needs to stay. And only when it really is like your team is running hot and consistently running hot. And if you look ahead and you’re saying, gosh, we’re having to turn down high impact work because we don’t have the capacity to do it. That’s when you should hire. But you don’t really know that unless you’re actually keeping track of your time,

[00:45:02.59] spk_1:
did you think of something that you want to talk about? That? We haven’t yet.

[00:45:07.27] spk_2:
Yeah, something else I would like to share. Uh

[00:45:10.25] spk_1:
Alright, success. The only author I can, the only author I can remember who doesn’t know what he doesn’t have more to share their overwhelmed because there’s so much value in the book you don’t know what to choose from.

[00:45:49.76] spk_2:
Oh, that’s, that’s kind I, yes. Well, I, I will share, I’m very grateful to, to be on, on your show again. And the work that you’re doing to support the community, I think we’re aligned there. You know, you’re giving away this podcast constantly for free. And I know how much work it is to produce content. So I uh I appreciate you having us on and I really hope that people find this book to be useful. And I guess I would share, please provide feedback because success is not final. And if there’s elements in the book that you’re like, that didn’t land or we wanted more of this, um That’s the only way we know, right? Like what episodes you should, you should make a nonprofit radio or, or what chapters should make it into the next book.

[00:46:30.92] spk_1:
Alright. Alright. Challenge. The listener’s, you’re getting it for free, so give feedback. I’m not ready. I’m not ready to end yet though. There’s a couple of things that we still want to talk about. We um you talk about a rapid growth plan and there are three parts of it. We’ve talked about the first two, we talked about the one page strategic plan. Uh You talked about your, the project backlog, right? Which becomes these, these ideas to execute the one page strategic plan. That’s your does your projects and impact versus as you, as you described, just reminding folks impact versus resources that need to be allocated to that.

[00:48:09.36] spk_2:
Yep. And then the third, the third part the third part is, well, a plan is great and prioritization is great, but we have to measure how effective this thing is, right? So we develop a simple KPI tracker, key performance indicator tracker to measure the success of the plan. And so I’ll just use an example what might show up on a KPI tracker. So let’s say, let’s say you’re your donor base is aging and your file strength, your retention rate is good, but folks are getting older and so you need to acquire more new donors, right? Um Okay, how are you going to do that? Let’s say you turn towards maths market fundraising audience to get there. Uh There’s two things you need to do. One, you need to think about your plan giving approach and two you need to think about because that’s where the strength of your file is and to you got to acquire new supporters. So what KPI S matter? Well, we find with online giving that it comes down to website traffic conversion rate and average gift amount. If you can get more people to your website and more of those people give and they give more money, then you’re gonna raise a lot more money online right? Then when you think about, okay, well, what’s that retention rate look like? How many of our supporters are moving from one time to monthly? Um What’s that upgrade look like? And retention rate looks like? Um So those are all these KPI. So for when you go back to the one Patriot eg plan, you think about, well, what were our house, maybe one of your houses? We’re gonna build a robust legacy giving program. Which, which tony I know, you know more about than I do. So I don’t, what do you think are the KPI S that people should measure when they’re thinking about building out Planned Giving program?

[00:49:10.00] spk_1:
Oh, well, first of all, you’re not going to acquire new donors through planned giving, but some of the, some of the key metrics, uh how many conversations you’ve opened about, about the topic, how many solicitations you’ve actually gotten to um might be just how many meetings you’ve had around this topic, which is different than the conversation. You know, you may not have quite opened the conversation but you had a meeting to, to suss out the possibility. So, you know, those are so there’s three like number of meetings, number of conversations opened, number of solicitations made, of course, number of commitments. Yeah, donors are willing to make. So there’s, there’s four early

[00:50:50.10] spk_2:
ones. Yeah, exactly. And so the, the KPI has to match up to whatever your strategy is and it basically needs to, it needs to be I think of KPI S as both leading, there’s leading indicators and then there’s trailing indicators. So the leading indicators you described are like how many conversations, you know, we’re open. Uh meetings have, would be a very early leading indicator. And then how many, you know, conversation now you’re starting to get a little bit further, the trailing indicators. Um You know, you start to evaluate at different phases. Like are we gonna hit our goal? Is this strategy working or is it not working? Does it need to be adjusted? So the idea is that together those three things and by the way, throughout the book, I hope it becomes clear, but I’ll just share my own personal experiences when in doubt, make it as simple as possible. Create KPI S. They’re easily trackable that you don’t have to spend a lot of time going into a lot of different systems. Get this data. You want to be thinking about how do I make this as easy as possible? I don’t need to spend any time describing what it means when we say website traffic or conversion rate or average gift amount. We don’t have to describe what it means, like number of laps donors or whatever. Um And you just want to have your system set up so that your KPI dashboard you can regularly look at and not have to spend a lot of time building out. People think like, oh, data driven and you know, people, people want want a Ferrari when what they need is a Kia, you know, and they don’t even have a pit crew to like help them racist formula one car around the track, like find the Kia. Find the Kia that’s, that’s, I guess my metaphor advice on that,

[00:51:12.56] spk_1:
that’s the rapid growth plan and, and the one I do want to close on know your strength, that I know your strength chapter. Do you know your strength?

[00:53:47.17] spk_2:
Yeah, I think that this, this rings true both on an individual and an organizational level, right? Um And where is it that, that you are uniquely positioned to drive impact like nobody else can. Um I mean, you know, how, how it is, I think about like organizations that come to us and they think they’re the only ones solving the water crisis. You’re like, actually there’s a lot of people doing exactly what you’re doing. Um And I think it’s, I think it’s just really important to have a clear idea of, you know, what problem are we uniquely positioned to solve in a way that is unique to our culture? So I’ll use, I’ll go back to team Rubicon as an example to drive this home because we talked a lot about it. Um When you think about disaster response, there is response, the immediate response. Uh Well, there, there’s, there’s like preparedness, you know, readiness is the community ready for disaster. Then there’s the actual like response to the disaster and then there’s a long term recovery, right? And Team Rubicon, when we first got started, our strength was really in the response because we were able to pull from the military culture to very quickly respond. We didn’t have a lot of bureaucracy. We didn’t have a lot of red tape. Um, but it was really challenging to get into the recovery business in the early days by business. I just mean, the business of serving folks affected by disaster, not making money on recovery, but like, you know, that’s a different, that was a different organizations strength. That’s a different skill set to be able to build out rebuild communities affected by disaster re roof homes. And all that team Rubicon really didn’t get involved in that for a really long time in their trajectory. And it wasn’t until they had clearly uh they had leaned into their strengths on the response side and they had really figured out what worked and then they thought, okay, how, what worked in there that could work with, with how we would go about the recovery and how does that compare to someone like the Red Cross and how they approach the rebuild effort? Um So knowing your strengths and knowing your sector is super important. It’s like, what do you, what’s that North Star? What are you trying to achieve? What’s your cultural principles? What, what makes you uniquely good at what you do and lean into that relentlessly and stay focused on that and don’t try to become the latest thing in every category. Um I guess is what I would say at a, at a high level. Um Is there something that stood out to you in that chapter. Tony that I didn’t talk about their,

[00:54:16.97] spk_1:
no just identifying and leveraging what you’re strong at instead of trying to go broader. You know, some people and some organizations may try to improve weaknesses rather than double down on their strengths.

[00:55:24.82] spk_2:
Yeah, people do this all the time, right? Like that’s a good point. I’ll share one more thing and I know like more and more and more. I am really comfortable with the visionary role. Like I love starting things. I don’t particularly enjoy finishing them nor does my team like it when I tried to finish things because I’m not very good at that. It’s really hard for me. It’s a hard muscle to kind of push through. But I have like found Bobby, my operational partner. She’s the magic at 10,000 ft. She connects the executioners with the 30,000 ft vision and makes project plans and makes sense of things and loves finishing projects, not starting them. So knowing your individual strength as a leader to and figuring out like, am I more comfortable in futuristic vision planning? Um or am I more comfortable in operational izing things and figuring out what you need as an operational partner? Because really nobody has it all like you just don’t and you might be able to flex when you absolutely have to. But your best flex is going to be their worst, just standard operating procedure because that’s their strength right. So I found that we’ve been able to grow a lot faster in clients to like we, we work with a lot of clients that are C E O s that don’t have operational partners or sometimes they get in the way. And it’s like knowing when you should stop and when you’re, when the operational ist should pick up is really an important thing to distinguish

[00:55:57.57] spk_1:
Matt Scott. The book is the high growth non profit Proven steps to quickly double your revenue and drive impact. It’s at cosmic which is cause C A U

[00:56:00.65] spk_0:
S E M I C cosmic

[00:56:09.47] spk_1:
dot com slash book and it is free to you, including the shipping, shipping, shipping is covered. Matt. Thank you very much. Thank congratulations again on the book. Thank you for sharing your thinking.

[00:56:17.16] spk_2:
Yeah. Thank you, Tony. I really appreciate

[00:56:19.24] spk_1:
you. My pleasure.

[00:57:09.85] spk_0:
Next week, I’ll bring the 1st 23 NTC interview and they’re all gonna be excellent. I’ll just pick one. That’s extra excellent. Yeah, extra excellent. Exactly. Next week’s show is gonna be extra excellent. Just like I said, if you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We are sponsored by donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor box dot org. 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. Thank you for that information, Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. Go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for April 3, 2023: OK Boomer, Move Over


Gene TakagiOK Boomer, Move Over

Gene Takagi

In only two years, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce. Along with Gen Z, these will soon be the majority of your workers, your donors, your volunteers. Think sustainability. Are you engaging them now? Are they fully represented on your board? Gene Takagi talks us through the implications around philanthropy, technology, fundraising, and more. He’s our legal contributor and the principal of NEO Law Group.


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[00:03:36.19] spk_0:
Friend. 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. We have a listener of the week. Core Africa Liz Fanning, the executive director is a longtime nonprofit radio listener and core Africa just announced an investment of 59 million $400,000 over five years from Mastercard Foundation. And I think let’s just call it $60 million because the difference is a mere 600,000, which is trifling 1%. Core Africa. Congratulations to you. This is such a testament to the amazing valuable work of the core Africa volunteers throughout the continent. The dedication of the staff and the commitment of the board core Africa is going to expand to 11 countries with this new investment. Congratulations. Core Africa. I am so happy for you and happy to make you this week’s non profit radio listener of the week. Congratulations. Plus we have a new sponsor. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d bear the pain of Iraq Docks Icis if I had to see that you missed this week’s show. Ok. Boomer move over in only two years, millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce along with Gen Z. These will soon be the majority of your workers, your donors, your volunteers think sustainability. Are you engaging them now? Are they fully represented on your board? Gene Takagi talks us through the implications around philanthropy, technology, fundraising and more. He’s our legal contributor and the principal of Neo Law Group on Tony’s take 2 23 and TCC were sponsored by donor box. Welcome to Donor Box. Thank you so much for joining the non profit radio family. Very, very glad to have you. Thank you with intuitive fundraising software from Donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor box dot org. Here is okay. Boomer, move over. It’s a pleasure to welcome back Gene Takagi. You know who he is, but he deserves a proper intro. Nonetheless, he’s our legal contributor and managing attorney of Neo, the nonprofit and exempt organizations Law Group in San Francisco. He edits the wildly popular nonprofit law blog dot com and is a part time lecturer at Columbia University. The firm is at Neo Law group dot com and he’s at G Tak Gene. Such a good. It’s such a pleasure to see you. Welcome back. Welcome back.

[00:03:41.20] spk_1:
Thanks so much. Tony Great to see you as well.

[00:03:46.96] spk_0:
My pleasure. Always. Now, when we last talked, we were with Amy Sample Ward and there was a discussion that included the, the potential decline of Twitter and the rise of some alternatives. Are you still at G Tech on Twitter? And, and are you any other place that, that I should be acknowledging?

[00:04:07.89] spk_1:
I’m still active on Twitter. I’m hedging a little and I’m on Mastodon and post, but those are sort of lightly used, but I post daily on all those channels.

[00:04:20.41] spk_0:
Okay. So still stick with Still Twitter. The best way to reach you think

[00:04:26.26] spk_1:
probably you wanted to see most of my content. Twitter is gonna be the best way to see you. Okay.

[00:04:44.60] spk_0:
Okay. Stick with that for now. All right. Millennials and uh and generation Z, you’re, you’re concerned about the future for these folks. What? Well, high level view, what’s concerning you?

[00:05:05.06] spk_1:
Well, it’s less concerned about these folks versus concerned about non profits for not engaging these folks because in a few short years by 2030 millennials and Gen Z will make up 75% of our work for, of course, they just crossed over the 50% barrier I think a couple years ago, but within seven years, 75% of our workforce, that’s a huge change in our, in our workplace

[00:05:21.70] spk_0:
demographics and, and we’re not, we’re not accommodating these folks you’re concerned about uh for instance, board membership, um significant employment issues. What, what, what would you like to? I’m gonna give you the first shot. I let’s change things up because sometimes I feel like an autocrat. So, what would, what would, what would you like to talk first? Talk about first? That nonprofits are just not paying sufficient attention

[00:06:26.96] spk_1:
to? Sure. Well, maybe I’ll just go without sort of criticizing nonprofits. Let’s just like, say, why should we as nonprofits engage millennials and Gen Z? Yes, they, they’re gonna make up a majority of our workforce. But what else does that mean? Um, and, you know, when, when they make up a majority of the work force, I think I’m also so saying, and I don’t have the studies to back this one up, but I’m also saying, eventually it goes to say that they’re going to make up a majority of our donors. They’re gonna make up a majority of the beneficiaries that we’re helping. They’re going to make up a majority of all of our supporters and our collaborators and eventually our generation Boomers, Gen X. Eventually we’re gonna kind of be not leading some of these places. Although I saw a really interesting article in the Atlantic a month or two ago that said, um people aren’t age, relatively young. Tony still still, but

[00:06:46.92] spk_0:
I’m young, I’m young, I’m 61. So I’m among the youngest

[00:06:56.32] spk_1:
boomers and I’m very close in age to you, Tony. And um the Atlantic article said that persons are age and even a little bit younger tend to think like we’re about 20% younger than we actually are. We kind of resonate with our maybe not our sort of calendar date but we feel like we’re a younger group by about 20%. Yeah,

[00:07:23.70] spk_0:
I agree. I feel even younger than, than 20%. I feel like, more like 40. Yeah. And I, 20 years, like 20, 21 years younger,

[00:07:33.53] spk_1:
I feel the same way. But it occurred to me in my head that maybe that’s why groups of leaders that are thinking about engaging younger people are not placing such importance in it because we think, well, we kind of understand that group anyway, we feel around that age, but when we start to, when we start to think about it, well, maybe there are some differences and maybe their perspectives and their skill sets and their experiences are going to really add value to our organizations

[00:08:31.47] spk_0:
and it’s not even, it’s not even, maybe, I mean, they will, but we need to, you know, it’s time for us to sort of move aside. Um, but, yeah, now it’s very interesting gene that, you know, our own self perception, maybe confounding the larger, the larger culture slowly holding, holding back the larger cultural changes, you know, just because I feel like I’m 40 doesn’t mean that I have the awareness of technology politics, the culture that a 40 year old has.

[00:08:33.25] spk_1:
Yeah, exactly. Right. And certainly not ones that I can tell you from personal experiences, like, from my niece is certainly not those, that 20 year olds.

[00:08:42.34] spk_0:
Yeah. Not even claiming. Right. Of

[00:08:49.81] spk_1:
course, of course, I just recall my niece is telling me this Miley face emoji is passive aggressive when I use that in text messages. So I have to watch myself in our communications.

[00:09:33.28] spk_0:
So it is, I see. Okay. I had, I had my own anecdote about a story I used to tell that is now deemed misogynistic, but I was telling it for years in professional settings, not just in stand up comedy but in professional settings. Um Yeah. No, you’re right. All right. So we have to get past our own self perceptions and think about the larger culture, economy, nonprofit sector. Alright. Alright. Alright. So help us, I don’t know. Are we talking? I guess, I guess we’re talking here to the, to the, to the uh the obstructionists were talking here to the Boomers. Are we move aside?

[00:09:38.97] spk_1:
Uh you know, a little bit um

[00:09:41.88] spk_0:
like we are, I feel like we are,

[00:11:43.76] spk_1:
yeah, especially to the extent that if you’re on a board or if you’re in an organization where your leadership is dominated by, by boomers um like ourselves, then, then, you know, maybe we have to think a little bit more about sharing power and authority and other things and not just to look better, like take a better photograph of our leadership, you know, for all, for all of these specific reasons, I’ll just raise a few right now. Um The laws changed and if the voting citizenry is changing in demographics, the laws are going to change to what they want them to change as within constitutional limits, of course. But even the constitutional interpretation is going to change as our Supreme Court starts to get younger. And I’ll cross my fingers a little bit on that. Um, but you know, what is charitable, um, you know, it started off as kind of relief of the poor. That’s what’s built into our regulations and then kind of expanded into, maybe we’ll civil rights can be charitable under five oh one C three. Um And then, you know, it expanded, although it’s not even stated in the regulations, the promotion of health being of five oh one C three, purpose and protection of the environment. Um Although I recall, I put in an application for a charity maybe 10, 15 years ago where global warming was something they wanted to combat. And the I R S asked, or at least this agent asked, you know, have you really looked into both sides of that issue because maybe if you’re just closing one point of view that it’s not charitable or educational at all. So, you know, our ideas have certainly evolved over what is and isn’t charitable and they will continue to evolve with younger people. Now again, making up some of the decisions of these and if we’re not anticipating these changes, then we’re going to be reactive, slow to react, possibly and less competitive in the very increasingly competitive field where philanthropy is also changing, right? What is philanthropy? Is it private foundations like it used to be? Um, we certainly know about donor advised funds. Yeah, please tell.

[00:12:47.76] spk_0:
Yeah. No, before we, before we advance there because that is a rich topic, the different forms of philanthropy but sticking with, you know, regulations. What, what is a charity? What is charity? Uh you know, that all that all depends on the, the our, our political leaders. Uh, you know, recognizing that there’s because I’m basing it on, you know, U S code and U S regulations promulgated by the, by the different departments of the federal government and state governments. You know, those are all promulgated, promulgated by legislatures and, and I don’t use this pejoratively bureaucrats, you know, public service workers in government. And if, you know, I, I see the politics being especially slow to change, I don’t know what, I don’t know what the average age is of a U S senator or U S representative. But I’m certain, I’m certain it’s not, I’m certain it’s not in the forties. I’d be very surprised if it’s in the forties even.

[00:13:07.02] spk_1:
Yeah, I agree. So our political system may be the slowest sort of, of the sectors to sort of change, although a lot of them are responsive to money. Right. Um, and we’ve been talking and kind of fundraising feels about the intergenerational transfer of wealth, the greatest ever in, in, you know, in the history of recorded civilization, I mean,

[00:13:34.41] spk_0:
okay. So, right. So the Boomers do have some value, leave, leave us your money, leave, leave your money behind. We need to, we need to execute, we need that wealth to execute change.

[00:14:18.80] spk_1:
And you know, as the Boomers sort of sort of aged out, the money is just being transferred into younger generations. And with that money now they’re going to influence political power as well. I’m a little cynical on this, but yes, money will sort of make changes or resulted in changes in the law, including in terms of what is charitable and just started to give you a hot topic. When we talk about relief, poor and civil rights being charitable. I don’t think that providing reparations to historically discriminated against or oppressed groups is considered charitable. But will that change over time? I don’t think selling solar energy at market rates is considered charitable to the general public. But will that change over time? I think these things can change fairly rapidly within a generation. So these are things that organizations need to pay attention to.

[00:15:47.49] spk_0:
It’s time for a break. Stop the drop with donor box. How many potential donors drop off before they finish making the donation on your website? You can stop the drop and break that cycle with donor boxes. Ultimate donation form you added to your website in minutes. No coding required, no batteries required. When you stop the drop, potential donors become donors with the four times faster checkout and more convenient ways to give from leading payment processors, apps and popular digital wallets. There’s no set up fees, no monthly fees and no contract required. And this is amazing. You’ll be joining over 40,000 U.S nonprofits donor box helping you help others donor box dot org. Now back to okay. Boomer move over. Interesting. Those are two really interesting ones. Reparations and alternative energy. Why did you, why did you uh I’m digressing a little bit. Why did you specifically say selling solar energy at market rates?

[00:16:55.80] spk_1:
Well, you know, I think again when we’re talking about relief of the poor were also sort of expanding that into economic development in, you know, historically disadvantaged areas. So, you know, blighted areas, areas that need sort of more economic development, bringing solar into those areas that sort of low cost may stimulate economic development as well as having sort of the environmental benefit that solar can bring, that would probably qualify as charitable even now. Um But if you start to sell it at market rates and go into expensive neighborhoods and tell people to convert their, you know, their energy sources or to, you know, buildings, first class buildings in downtown and saying, hey, change your energy source as a charity that might have a tremendous impact on climate change and other things. Um, if we could get big companies to change and put into their buildings and charities could influence that. That might have a huge impact, but it probably wouldn’t be considered charitable right now. I

[00:17:28.95] spk_0:
see. Okay. Okay, good. I’m glad I asked. All right. All right. Yeah. Reparations that it is kind of easy to see that in, in 10 years that reparations to African Americans, Asian Americans, Latin Americans that, that, those, those, that subject could be on the table for, for, for charitable, for, as a charitable purpose.

[00:17:38.97] spk_1:
10 years ago, it was really not even in the discussion outside 10 years

[00:18:16.12] spk_0:
ago. 10 years from now, 10 years from now. I think we’re, I think we’re in, I think the next 10 to 15 years are gonna be considerable political upheaval, cultural upheaval. There’s, there’s, I don’t know, maybe, maybe because, because I’m living in it. So I’m, I’m experiencing it as more volatile. Uh And I don’t mean that pejoratively more, more revolutionary than the transfer of wealth and uh power and prestige from other, other generations to two hours. I don’t, maybe because I’m, I’m the one surrendering the power. Maybe I see it as more, more of, more of a cultural shift than, than the past. Maybe the past has been significant as well.

[00:19:41.84] spk_1:
Yeah. You know, and, and it’s interesting. So, you know, if you were to look up articles on engaging millennials and Gen Z, you know, they’ll mention like different perspectives, but they’ll also mention something like they’ve got a greater passion for social justice and things of that nature and, you know, I, I agree to some extent that that is true. I think we can see that. But then when I think back, you know, to the sort of the older boomers and, you know, the hippies in the 60s, well, maybe everybody when they were younger it was just a little bit more into, you know, the environment and social justice and racial justice. And as you age, you know, again, taking a little bit of a cynical viewpoint and certainly not to, to sort of over generalize, but as a big broad group, you know, you become a little bit less, a little bit more resistant to radical changes. Um, you know, especially if you’re in, in a comfortable situation, you’re privileged enough not to have to worry about it in your own life. The changes that you’re pushing for, maybe we’re not as radical as when you were in your twenties. Um, um, and I think you see that throughout the world, some major major social movements led by sort of college aged kids or young adults. Um, and they’re the ones that are putting it all on the line.

[00:20:28.60] spk_0:
Your exact point has been driven home to me lately because I’ve been watching a lot of Woodstock videos on youtube and I’m thinking, you know, when, when they’re, when they’re showing the audience, you know, first of all, it’s fantastic because I’m watching Jimi Hendrix and The Grateful Dead and, but you know, when they, when they’re panning into the audience I’m thinking, are these folks, the folks who were sitting there in the, in the muck, you know, they’re now in their seventies and eighties, there was Woodstock was August of 1969. So, if you were 2025 or so, you know, your, your, into your seventies and, and if you were a little older, your, into your eighties, uh, talk about your perspective shifting from, from, from when you were in your twenties and thirties.

[00:21:16.96] spk_1:
Yeah. And you know, we’re the same people but, you know, life, life changes and our perspectives change. And even though we identify with some of the perspectives that younger people bring, we, they’re still different, you know, as we sort of admitted at the start of it. And so just so many changes um that they have a different feel for or that they place with different importance in terms of climate change is maybe a classic example of climate change may not do as much to an 80 year old in terms of their personal life. Um But to a 20 year old, climate change may completely impact their adulthood and, you know, whether they are below the water where they live or. Um so, you know, obviously they’re gonna, they’re gonna have a greater incentive to ask for more radical change. And, you know, well,

[00:22:00.24] spk_0:
hopefully these, these folks, the, the older boomers and the world war two generation. I mean, hopefully they’re thinking of their ancestors uh coming. Um, no ancestors are in your, your past. They’re thinking of their, their heirs and, and Children and grandchildren. I mean, at least the ones I talked to I think are considering those, you know, considering the future.

[00:22:05.39] spk_1:
I think. I’m sorry, go ahead. No,

[00:22:07.32] spk_0:
finish your point. Then I want to, I want to drill down a little more, a little more detail, but go ahead, please make your point.

[00:22:12.46] spk_1:
Sure. I was thinking that it’s been sort of a customary thought amongst older generations to want things better for your kids that your kids would have a better life than, than you. But I think right now we’re kind of in the generation, the kids generations that are coming up like the Gen Z’s where that probably is not true, at least economically, um

[00:22:52.46] spk_0:
at least economically. Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. We’re not. No, I agree. Alright. So you started to talk about different forms of philanthropy that uh I don’t know, call them Ems and Zs for millennials and Gen Z I know and your, your blog post, you call them younger people. Um I’ll call them Ems and Z’s but different forms of philanthropy, like donor advised funds, llcs were right there. They’re engaging a lot differently than direct gifts to 501 C three non profits.

[00:25:59.70] spk_1:
Yeah, I mean, which places nonprofits, charitable nonprofits to 51 C, three organizations in a place of competition for dollars. Um So it’s something again that nonprofits need to understand. Well, what is the value proposition they offer? Because I’m really start advocate of nonprofits being something very, very special and very different from a social enterprise, that’s a for profit. And so social enterprise actually was a co opted term. I think social enterprises used to refer to nonprofits like goodwill that we’re engaged in sort of earned income revenues. But now it’s sort of been co opted by the for profit sector of for profits that do social good or social enterprises when that’s sort of a primary reason for their, their operation and their, their existence. So, you know, these models are changing and millennials. Hmcs are saying, you know, we’re a little bit more sector agnostic in terms of doing social good, we could put it into a private foundation, but we probably don’t want to, we might use it to ask because it’s temporary and we don’t have to throw everything into it. What about an L L C like Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, like the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, the Emerson Collective, which is Steven Jobs, um widows, uh you know, charitable vehicle or philanthropic vehicle. So those are llcs and you know, you can go into a whole show about that. Go fund me is sort of an alternative to giving the charities a lot of people, especially in the millennial and Gen Z H think giving directly to a beneficiary is the way to go bypass charity. Um C Four’s we saw the Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard decide I’m going to give leave much my wealth to A C four and I’ll do it. Now. There’s planning reasons to do that with gift and estate tax deductions being much more valuable to someone like him than an income tax deduction when you’re like a tech entrepreneur and you’re not taking much of an income, but you have enormous amounts of wealth and stock that have not been um liquidated yet. So you’re sitting on tons of money, but you don’t have much of an income tax benefit from giving a donation. Um This volunteer work and giving data data is now, you know, a huge asset and a very valuable one that we’re understanding and personally we’re giving up our own data to a lot of sort of I accept um you know, websites that all of a sudden get to use our data and I know new laws are coming into that, but volunteering your data can also be an impor the thing that we have to think about. And so philanthropy and how we think of giving is changing rapidly. And there was a big change in the law just a few years ago in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that left itemized deduct Ear’s um that can take get a tax benefit from charitable contribution. It moved from something like 34 For 35 down to like, less than 13%. Yeah. So there’s just tremendous changes that can happen very, very quickly. And charities need to understand that. And again, younger perspectives, maybe on top of some of this news that older generations may not be following this closely. At least some of them.

[00:26:32.71] spk_0:
And you’re right to characterize these absolutely as competitors to our traditional five oh one c three nonprofits. And, and so you want to know what you want to know what your competition is doing, what these different forms are, are, are there, are there ways that you can leverage some of them? You know, maybe it is a subsidiary or some kind of an affiliate relationship. But you know, the knowledge is among the, the EMS and disease.

[00:27:15.98] spk_1:
Yeah, I agree, tony there. These are not only competitors, they often can be collaborators and allies. Um But you do need to understand kind of the relationships, the multiple relationships that you’re going to have with these different types of entities and how that will impact who your supporters are, who your donors are as your donor base or is your subscriber base or is your membership base as they start to age? Are you engaging more younger people? So, for sustainability over the future, even if that was like, our ultimate goal is to make sure that we have an organization in the future, you’ve got to engage the younger people that are gonna be running this show, um, in a few short years

[00:28:39.70] spk_0:
now, some folks may say, well, I can just, if I want to learn about these things, I’ll just engage a baby boomer attorney and he or she will explain or they will explain the, we’ll explain this all to us and then we’ll, but, but you’re not, you know, that’s be, that’s, that’s not what I agree with, but I could see a cynical view, well, just hire an older attorney. They understand llcs versus B corpse. And, well, you know, you know, the older advisers may very well understand the, the intricacies of, you know, creating one, but the creative side of how you can integrate it into your work if you can, you know, that, that takes someone who’s got a different perspective. And I think that’s, I agree with you. I mean, that’s the younger perspective, you know, how to creatively integrate, not just the nuts and bolts of how to LLC versus, you know, engaging a crowdfunding platform, you know, etcetera.

[00:29:55.11] spk_1:
Yeah. And I think when we talk about negotiating deals with other parties, you know, have, you know, if we’re not speaking the same language and customs and don’t have that same type of comfort and talking with the younger generation, um, you know, something can get lost and on their side if they don’t have that comfort, talking with an older generation, if it just doesn’t mesh quite as well as when they’re talking with, appear in their age group or within sort of a generational group that can affect the negotiation. And, you know, whether the deal gets done or whether they go with a competitor or whether they, you know, ask for more things because they trust you less. So just, you know, getting more people involved and if you are going to engage millennials and gen Z, I really want to make the point that it isn’t about just adding a few people in certain positions. Um It is really uh an understanding and an investment um that you need to make. It’s something where you have to empower people, not just sort of tokenize them or trivialize their importance, you really have got to give them in positions of responsibility. Um And you’ve got to open up your own culture to sort of embrace the additional sort of cultures and perspectives they can bring. So it really can’t be just like, okay, we’ll add like a senior manager, we’ll add a board member that’s, you know, 32 that, that’ll solve our problems.

[00:32:09.65] spk_0:
All the, well, all the caveats that you and I talked about when we’ve talked about uh diversity, equity inclusion, avoiding tokenism, you know, giving real authority, you know, levers of power, not, not just a higher here or, or a board member there. It’s time for Tony’s take 2:23 NTC. Big. Big thanks to Heller consulting. They’re sponsoring non profit radio at the conference, the nonprofit technology conference hosted by N 10, we will be together in booth 4 24. Hello, consulting, non profit radio Me, all three of us sharing a booth for 24. I will be capturing lots of interviews from the smart speakers at N T C and you should think about it to think about going, you can go hybrid. You heard Amy and me talk about it last week. It really is a very, very good conference. I mean, you can go virtually, virtually. Um It’s a very good conference, smart speakers. It’s fun. It’s just, it’s a very worthwhile conference to go to you. You will learn. Uh And of course, we know that this is not only for technologists but I’m repeating from last week. So all the info is at N Thank you again. Heller consulting for sponsoring non profit radio at the nonprofit technology conference. Thanks so much. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got Boo Koo but loads more time for okay. Boomer move over with Gene Takagi. I’m taking pleasure in saying I’m sweeping myself aside. Move over. Let’s talk some about the employment, employment changes, you know, the sensibilities that, that the, the M S and disease bring.

[00:33:59.34] spk_1:
Yeah. And I think that’s, that’s really hitting us right now because I think no matter what sector we’re in, we realize that employment has changed as a result of the COVID pandemic. Um We’re finding out what, where do workers want to work, how do they want to work? Um What is the most importance to them? And it’s not just sort of the data that we here, um you know, um from, from each other, but there are actual studies and I’ll just point to one, the Deloitte 2022 Y Z Global study. Um And you know, that that’s the study by the, you know, the big accounting firm and they found out what we probably already know, but cost of living is of tremendous importance um to, to these younger generations, work life, balance, learning organizations and what the organization, what they’re sort of, not only their viewpoint but how they operate and its social impact and its environmental impact and it’s sort of investment in diversity, equity inclusion. Those are things that matter to those younger generations in terms of, in their choice of work in terms of how long they might stay at a particular company. Um And, you know, those are things again and nonprofits are competing now, younger people are also moving from job to job faster than some older generations are used to. Whereas, you know, if, if we go older than us to a lot of people just worked one job their whole life. Um And that is certainly not true anymore. Um And it’s even less true now for the younger generations. So if we’re competing constantly for employees, what do we know? And understand what they want and need and consider important

[00:34:58.67] spk_0:
and what they perceive about us as a place to work. There’s, you know, there’s, there’s glass door and, and, and those, those types of sites but, you know, the, the research is so much easier to do and even when they’re, when, when someone is talking to you about potentially working for you, they’re, they’re taking a lot more clues, you know, than just how much vacation time do I get? You know, what and what’s the, what’s the medical insurance like, you know, uh time off flexible work locations. Um culture, you know, that’s, and culture is a very, you know, that’s a very amorphous thing, but folks are sussing it out as they’re interviewing you and they’re talking to you and, you know, if they’re only meeting people who are 60 and over as they’re interviewing that, that, no, that in itself says a lot about the culture at the institution.

[00:36:09.15] spk_1:
Yeah. And I’ll just sort of add even younger generation controlled companies um that, you know, and I’ll just do some of the big tech companies that are laying off like huge amounts of people right now. That’s a cultural thing that people will remember. Um So if you’re quick to lay off and you’re still like providing very good returns for your shareholders, um that may be something employees are going to sort of take into account in terms of whether they would go back to you know, the same company or whether they would tell their friends to work in that company and they’re much more savvy about our company’s greenwashing or sort of social good washing and saying, you know, talking the right talk but not really walking, you know, that walk. So, um, I think again, nonprofits really need to know what their competitive edge might be. Um, in terms of attracting workers and keeping workers because they’re dedicated to social good. But also what, you know, the, the issues might be if they’re not sort of um promoting the same type of values in their culture and not just sort of were a great organization for the environment, but we’re terrible to our employees. Like, you’ve got to really make sure your values mash,

[00:36:27.22] spk_0:
where else would you like to go routine? What would

[00:37:36.70] spk_1:
um you know, I was thinking just a few other quick points, you know, management and governance I think are also changing and that sort of goes with how employees, you know, want to be managed, want board of directors to sort of govern organizations, you know, our laws and the old and older structures are very hierarchical. Um You know, the board of directors sits at the top of the organization, they’re ultimately in control of all management and direction of the organization’s affairs. They delegated down to a CEO and executive director and executive director that is responsible for all the employees and there’s all these hierarchies of, you know, who gets to be responsible for. Um, and I think younger generations are much more into distributed leadership. Um, and it’s possible um to set up some systems within the law, the law is not completely sort of inflexible about this, but you’ve got to set it up in the right way. And so there is a balance of what some of the older people can tell you about the restrictions that are involved. But where the younger people could say these are the things that we really need. We, we don’t want just sort of one person dictating everything about the organization or a border that doesn’t know our day to day business coming and making huge changes that affects all of our work, you know, work lives. We need to have a voice in this and this is these are ways that we want you to consider it. So again, that’s

[00:38:00.26] spk_0:
what does that look like jean some a model of distributed leadership.

[00:38:42.81] spk_1:
So distributed leadership, maybe delegation from, let’s say, from the board down to the CEO and the CEO down to groups of employees and where the C E O S O is going, saying you’re responsible for this, you have the ultimate say on this. I’m not going to veto you as long as it’s, you know, within what are accepted framework is you get the ultimate say in this. If the executive director is questioning it, you know, it’s not the best business choice. They’re not going to overrule if that’s the basis of it, if it’s unlawful or something, because the director figures that out then of course they would have the power to overrule it. But, um, it’s not going to just be one person’s business judgment is going to be groups and that can work well. And that can also work terribly in a not great way as well. But younger folks are more attuned to that type of, you know, leadership model. We have to think about how it might work and how to fine tune it in a way that is acceptable and works well for an organization and, you know, and its board of directors as well to be comfortable with that,

[00:39:10.93] spk_0:
that could even be something on a rotating basis.

[00:39:59.58] spk_1:
Yeah, it can, it can be. But, you know, it actually, you know, one of the sort of big pros about this is, it gives collective thought to something that’s important where a lot of people get to put input that are intimately involved with the, that decision boards are sometimes somewhat removed because again, they’re not in the day to day, but this group of employees might actively day to day, be heavily involved with that particular issue and to give them decision making authority may feel them, you know, I’m going to use an old term, gives them ownership over the organization, they feel like they’re empowered and the organization is part of them and they are part of the organization. And that feeling is something I think that people desire. Um uh And again, management styles, governance styles are changing or, and the desire for more collaborative and distributed leadership is really a big force that I see coming in the next 10-20 years.

[00:40:43.03] spk_0:
How about fundraising, fundraising, sustainability? You know, you started to touch on both of those um our, our donor base and I’m the guy who’s, I’m the evangelist for Planned Giving. But we have to also acknowledge, I mean, look, the baby boomers are not all dead, you and I are living testament to that. So there is still valuing plan to giving fundraising. But our older folks, donors are being replaced by younger

[00:41:20.95] spk_1:
donors. Yeah. And I actually think so, you know, some charities are focused on plan giving with older donors, but millennials are kind of, they’re in their forties now, this is a prime time to have conversations with millennials who are, you know, you know, been privileged enough to have some wealth to think about in terms of giving the charity. And they have all this competition, as we mentioned, they could, you know, give it to go fund me or whatever form that you could try to develop that relationship now with them. And if you can, if you can develop and use the same tools that you engaged older folks and use some of those tools and bring in some of your younger folks that you previously engaged to be working for the organization as well so that they can have these discussions with donors for their peers and age. And I think that is very valuable so that, you know, I’d

[00:43:03.81] spk_0:
like to just put a point on it so that folks who know me and have heard me speak, you know, don’t think that I’m a hypocrite. Uh you know, in all the training I do, I’m talking about launching plan to giving and in launching planned giving. I think your, your time is best spent with folks who are 55-60 and over because they are the most likely to include you in their long term plan. I’m typically talking about wills. Um And they’re most likely that, uh they’re the most likely folks that will keep your gift in their will versus someone in their 30s and 40s who is going to live for another 50 years or so. That’s, you know, that’s a long, that’s a long time to be in someone’s will. So in launching, I, I, I think that the time is best spent talking to folks who are again, roughly 60 and over. But in, in out years of a program planned giving program, I can certainly see value in talking to folks in their thirties, forties. Um, the and, and doing that with, with peers. It’s, I, you know, it’s just, it’s as you’re suggesting there’s just uh there’s just a, a shared experience when, you know, a couple of 30 year olds are talking to each other versus me as a 61 year old consultant or even frontline fundraiser, talking to someone half my age about putting the organization in your will.

[00:44:13.19] spk_1:
Yeah. And I agree with your point, tony when you have limited resources and you’re starting or initiating a planned giving program that age set that you, you gave makes the most sense for you. Um But it is, it is another point just to stay, think about engaging younger people. Um And on both sides, on the staffing side and volunteer side as well as on your donor side. Um And you know, think about groups that you can develop long relationships with. So when you want to finally, you know, if, if you’re constantly engaged with them for the next 30 or 40 years, you, you really feel that gift is going to be fixed, but yes, they could change their minds at any time. So it sort of demands that you make sure that you strengthen that relationship, you’re after year versus not giving them any touches at all. And in the way they like so that be using Gamification, social media, like other ways that they want to be engaged, you’ll have to find not the way that you feel as easiest or cheapest to engage with your, you have to find what do they want? How do they want to be engaged.

[00:44:58.65] spk_0:
And this goes back to traditional lessons of fundraising that we want to be relational, not transactional. So you need to be relational with this upcoming uh cohort of generations, the ems and disease. Um because they are your future, your future major donors. If they’re not, now, they’re your future plan giving donors, they’re your future volunteers in retirement. I mean, you, you want to be this and this goes to the sustainability as well. You know, you want your mission to survive, you need to have a pipeline of donors that are not all 65

[00:46:13.65] spk_1:
and over. Yeah, and I’ll kind of relate fundraising to technology as well because, you know, our technology will dictate in some ways how we decide to fundraise. Like now we’ve got, you know, um we went from letter paper and pen sort of solicitations and in person contacts to okay emails and now emails are sort of we’re getting to a post email phase of like text messaging or, you know, and other forms now of communication. And how will that impact fundraising, crowd funding and other sort of platform type. Uh fundraising is now sort of encountering illegal uh barriers or restrictions or limitations. California being one of the first ones with laws that came into effect this year and regulations that will come into effect next year and that’s usually a harbinger of things to come in other states as well. So the laws are going to change, the types of fundraising vehicles are going to change non profits will be really wise to engage some millennials and Gen Z to understand where these things may go and how these laws may be influenced in terms of advocacy and, and, and making sure that, you know, one bad actor is not creating a whole bunch of restrictions that are going to impact like a lot of other charities that should never have been bothered by, by this

[00:47:52.06] spk_0:
artificial intelligence, understanding what it is, what its uses are, what the boundaries are. We’ve, we’ve seen some institutions make big mistakes. Um There was, there was a college that reacted to the shooting at Michigan State University with a, with a, with a chat GPT email and then, and, and it was disclosed because they didn’t even think to take out the disclaimer that said created by chat GPT, you know, and, and uh what I can’t remember what college that was that it was not Michigan State. They were, it was a college reacting to the Michigan State shooting. Uh and, and doing it very badly, I think it was, I think it was Vanderbilt University, one of the, one of the colleges at Vanderbilt University. Um and it was even a D E I officer who sent the email. So, you know, not even thinking about, you know, inclusive language on our own, but relying on artificial intelligence. So, you know, the boundaries of artificial intelligence, the creative uses of it. Um, you know, concerns about deep fake ai, you know, that stuff is, that stuff is all relevant and it’s, it’s coming, it means here, it’s here. Now. It’s not coming. It’s here. And if you want to capitalize on it appropriately, I think it, it pays to have folks who understand it best and they’re probably not 50 or 60 years old.

[00:48:50.08] spk_1:
Yeah. And I agree with you 100%. And again, wrapping this back around to charitable Itty, um, fake news. Um, is it charitable to distribute fake news? Is that just a viewpoint, is what we considered fake news 50 years ago? Something that actually is something that we think is generally acceptable now. Um, and isn’t charity supposed to be an incubator for these new ideas and, uh, changes? So it’s tricky. But again, we want to have multiple perspectives on this, not just sort of one generation’s perspective on this or just older generations perspective on this. We need to have the younger generation’s perspective because ultimately they’re going to be the ones that control that law

[00:49:09.09] spk_0:
that feels like a pretty good place to leave things. Uh, is there anything else? But I’ll give you, give you a last chance. Anything we haven’t talked about that, that you want to, we, we have time if, if there’s something else you want to engage on,

[00:49:49.72] spk_1:
um, maybe just my last thought is, um, for all the generations to respect, kind of what, what we all have to offer. And um this is not meant to be a criticism of older generations. Um uh It’s really meant to say let’s be more engaged. Um multigenerational organizations for sustainability, for understanding for perspectives and just to do uh our jobs uh in a way that’s uh aligned with our values and is as effective and efficient as possible.

[00:49:59.39] spk_0:
Gene Takagi, our legal contributor, managing editor of the wildly popular nonprofit law blog. You’ll find that at nonprofit law blog dot com. His firm is at neo law group dot com and Jean is at G Tak G T A K jean. Thank you so much for your wisdom.

[00:50:21.94] spk_1:
Always a pleasure. Tony Thank you.

[00:51:05.80] spk_0:
Next week, Matt Scott returns with his new book, The High Growth non profit If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by Donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others donor box dot org. 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. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for March 27, 2023: Your Relationship With Money


Rhea WongYour Relationship With Money

What’s your history with money? What are your emotions around money? How do these influence your fundraising? Rhea Wong explores it all, helping you have a healthy relationship with money, and improving your fundraising.



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Every nonprofit struggles with these issues. Big nonprofits hire experts. The other 95% listen to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Trusted experts and leading thinkers join me each week to tackle the tough issues. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
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[00:01:38.16] spk_0:
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. And oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d suffer with cielos kisses if my mouth got dry because you missed this week’s show your relationship with money. What’s your history with money? What are your emotions around money? How do these influence your fundraising? Rio Wang explores it all, helping you to have a healthy relationship with money and improving your fundraising on tony state to its spring think summer. It’s a pleasure to welcome Rio Wang to non profit radio real helps nonprofits raise more money. What could be simpler than that? She’s raised millions of dollars in private philanthropy and is passionate about building the next generation of fundraising leaders. She was recognized with the Smart Ceo Brava Award in 2015 and New York, non profit media’s 40 under 40. In 2017, we host the podcast, non profit Low down. And her newest book is Get That Money, honey. She’s at Rio Wong dot com. Welcome to nonprofit radio

[00:01:40.37] spk_1:
tony Thank you so much for having me. It is a pleasure. I hadn’t realized how energetic your voices, which is really fun.

[00:01:47.33] spk_0:
I like strong openings. Yes, I don’t like, welcome to this week’s. Yeah. So, yeah, it’s a pleasure to have you and you, and you bring great energy too.

[00:01:57.52] spk_1:
Oh, well, you know, I, I guess it’s a comment among New Yorkers like us, even though we’re currently, neither of us is currently in New York City, but there’s a vibe there.

[00:02:08.66] spk_0:
And you’ve done stand up comedy too, haven’t you?

[00:02:11.52] spk_1:
Well, I’ve attempted to and have bombed on many stages. Yes.

[00:02:20.91] spk_0:
Okay. I’ve done the same. I don’t have some bombing. But you, you even, I heard you say to someone that you did some online, some virtual

[00:02:38.94] spk_1:
tony doing online stand up comedy is just the worst. Like, I mean, you’ve done some stand up yourself. So, you know, it’s not easy to stand up and tell jokes, but it’s exponentially harder online during the days of the pandemic. We tried to do a couple of comedy things and it was just terrible because everyone is on mute. You all use your black boxes and you don’t get any laughs and you have no idea if it’s because you’re not funny or because everyone’s on mute. It’s a killer.

[00:02:57.10] spk_0:
I can imagine. That would be very hard. I, I’ve never done virtual stand up. I’ve always been in clubs in, uh, in, I guess all in Manhattan. Yeah. Um,

[00:03:08.22] spk_1:
lower Manhattan kind of a guy.

[00:03:10.68] spk_0:
Was more. Midtown Gotham. Gotham. Gotham. Yeah. But,

[00:03:15.97] spk_1:
yeah, good for

[00:03:24.09] spk_0:
you. Now, you know, we’re talking, we’re talking, uh, multi, uh, Multi comic shows like eight or 10 comics and we each get six or eight minutes. You know, I’m not a headliner. The most I’ve ever been paid for. One show was $20.

[00:03:33.98] spk_1:
So. Oh, well, at least you got paid. I usually have to pay to perform. So. Okay.

[00:03:39.48] spk_0:
Well, I should introduce you to the guy who produces the show that I used to be in. You may, you may want to know him.

[00:03:45.39] spk_1:
Well, that would be fun. I mean, I haven’t made my way north of 14th street quite yet, so we’ll see. All

[00:03:51.97] spk_0:
right, don’t uh it’s not a frontier anymore. Midtown, not midtown, but downtown 20 23rd Street. Yeah, Gotham Comedy Club. I think it’s 20 23rd.

[00:04:01.03] spk_1:
Well, I have to tell you the pandemic. Definitely put a bit of a damper on my budding comedy career. So we’ll see about getting back to

[00:04:07.89] spk_0:
that. Well, the point is you bring great energy, wherever, wherever it comes from. So,

[00:04:12.91] spk_1:
thank you, tony

[00:04:14.35] spk_0:
Let’s, let’s introduce this to folks. You’re concerned about our relationship with money and how it impacts our fundraising influences. You know, how well we do, how well we comfortable we are talking about giving, what, what are your concerns about money? Relationships?

[00:05:31.17] spk_1:
Well, let me, let me back up a little bit. So I started as an executive director at the age of 26. And like a lot of folks in the nonprofit field, I was an accidental fundraiser. Right. So many of us don’t receive any formal training and how to do this thing. And over the course of, you know, the 10 plus years as an E D I had gone to a lot of training, you know, I did all of the training and I went to the Fancy Columbia program and the Fancy Harvard programs. And, um, and they would give me the nuts and bolts of fundraising training or how to do the ask for things like that. But I just felt so uncomfortable with it and I could never really figure out why. And then, um, and I really credit General from mcrae at, at Harvard for this, but I started to unpack my own relationship to money and there was no other place that I had ever been a part of no other training program that actually unpacked the relationship to money. And so we’re in the business of money. We’re in the business of fundraising. We’re in the business of talking to people about money, but we never actually examine our own stuff with money. And as we know in our society, money is so fraught with emotion, money. People have so many complicated feelings about money, whether you had a lot growing up where you didn’t have a lot growing up. We all have this baggage and I just thought, isn’t it silly that we’re in the business of money? But we don’t actually talk about our own feelings about money. So that’s really where it started for me.

[00:06:00.48] spk_0:
And the sense too that there isn’t enough money for our nonprofit, there isn’t everybody else seems to get the big gifts. Where, where does this, where do these feelings? Where does this relationship with money come from?

[00:07:59.76] spk_1:
Yeah. So, okay, this is such a long winded answer. But so I think to start with, in the nonprofit sector, we have a real problem with scarcity mindset. And so what I mean by that is, I mean, even the name non profit starts in the lack of not profit as opposed to social change or social, the social sector. And so the thing that I really came up through in the nonprofit world is this kind of culture of scarcity of this knee jerk reaction like we can’t afford that, you know, that’s not something that we can do, we can’t pay our people. Well, we can’t, you know, hire the people that we need, we need to keep budgets artificially low. But right, like it’s always about coming from this place of scarcity and not enough. And, and really also this sense of, you know, there’s a lot of comparison to, to your point, you know, well, how come that non profit got that big check on. How come they get the nice office space and how come they’re doing better than we are. We’re just as good. And so that’s the first thing I think as a sector we really suffer from that and then individually we bring our own stuff to the table. Right. So we all have stuff around money. Like when I grew up, even though I grew up in a middle class family here in San Francisco, um you know, my family are immigrants and so there’s this real mentality of we have to fight for what we got. You know, we have nothing to spare. We and if we do have any extra money, it’s going to be, you know, kept within the family and we’re gonna afford it, we don’t have enough to give away. So, on top of the culture of the industry, I found myself in which was a real lack mentality. I also personally came from a lack mentality. And so no wonder why talking to people who had wealth felt very uncomfortable. I felt like I was begging, right? I mean, we’ve heard this so often like I just felt like and no wonder so many of us burnout in the sector because we’re coming from this place of survival. So can I take a step back and talk about brain chemistry for a second?

[00:08:21.51] spk_0:
Yeah. Yeah. Okay.

[00:09:08.26] spk_1:
I promise it will. No doubt too much. But our brain essentially only ever operates in one of two modes. It’s either survival mode or executive mode. So survival mode is exactly what it sounds like. We’re constantly like fighting were reacting or believing that there’s not enough for me. I gotta fight for what’s mine exec mode is when you’re prefrontal cortex is being engaged. And that’s really when you get to the space of what they call flow state, you know, that’s where generosity, creativity, um kind of feeling safe lives. And so because as a sector, as individuals were operating so often in the survival state of the brain, we’re always operating on this adrenaline pumped high cortisol state of mind, which eventually will burn us out. But if we can actually shift our relationship to money and shift our relationship to the work so that we’re operating more often in exec mode, we’re not running on fumes, we’re not running on that kind of desperate what I call hustle culture energy, which ultimately is how we burn out.

[00:09:43.92] spk_0:
Okay. So these two states survival executive, Okay. So really just two states, that’s all we have in mind. Survival and executive hope, hope I spend 99% of my time on executive mode.

[00:09:55.74] spk_1:
Well, on average, most of us spend about 70% of our time in survival mode. So when, when you meet people

[00:10:04.20] spk_0:
from below that average,

[00:10:51.10] spk_1:
well, yeah, I hope so too, but we’re all humans. Um So, and, and I think particularly in New York, I would say like maybe 90% of the people are in survival mode. But, you know, when you meet people in your world, let’s say, and you find them to be like, really reactive or like they fly off the handle or they, you know, they get mad about little things. It’s most likely it’s definitely that they’re operating in this survival mode, right? They are literally believing that they are fighting to survive that it’s a life or death situation. And so people act irrationally, they act emotionally. Whereas when you’re operating in that executive state, you’re just a lot calmer, you’re responsive, not reactive. And so if you don’t know this, if you’re not even aware of the fact that there are two different states that you could be in, then by default, you’re probably operating in survival state.

[00:11:24.45] spk_0:
Let’s go back to individuals, histories with money, not necessarily real Wong’s history in her family, but our own history. So we’re, it’s conjuring up, you know, like how generous your um your loved ones were, whether, you know, whatever kind of structure you grew up with family or otherwise. Um Whether they felt like there was never, never enough to do something or they, whether they challenged you on your own decisions about spending when you were young, you know, things like that, right? We’re sort of conjuring up the histories, our own histories.

[00:14:17.57] spk_1:
Yeah. So, so, okay, let me give you an example. Um So in my family, like I said, I was, I grew up in a middle class family in, in San Francisco. But I think the ways that you can start to unpack, what are the stories I have about money is you even think about things. Like, what did you hear in your family growing up or what did you witness in your family growing up or what kind of stories that your family tell? So, in my family, it was always like, oh, who do you think we are? The Rockefellers or money doesn’t grow on trees or? You know, I would see my parents like, it’s very funny, my parents are very different purchase money. My mom is a scrapper and savor my dad is a saber, but then he’ll randomly splurge on things. And so, you know, we didn’t really talk about money unless it was in the context of we don’t have enough of it or hey, look at those people that are so rich. And so part of the challenge that I really want people to go on is to start to think about what are the stories that they grew up with around money? And where did those come from? And oftentimes the way that we learn about money comes from, our family comes from our parents and it comes from their parents. But the way that a lot of people learn about money from their parents are sort of depression era. Like my parents learned about money from their parents who grew up in the depression of our immigrants to this country. The thing is we’ve not updated the stories about money and we just accept the things is true because, you know what a belief is just a thing that we think again and again and again, and if we’ve ever challenged that belief, then we just think it’s true without any question. And so a lot of the common money beliefs that I came up with was like, money doesn’t grow on trees. It takes money to make money. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Uh, you gotta work hard for your money. You know, these are a lot of the common things and I started to take a step back and be like, well, is that actually true? I mean, is that, is that true from what I see? And is that true for me? Um, I mean, the truth is, I know a lot of very wealthy people and I think actually this is one of the biggest myths is, you know, people with money are different, they’re, you know, somehow they’re meaner, they’re kinder, they’re smarter, they’re just different than me. Right? The truth is people who have money are the same as you, they just have more money. And I think people attribute money as a way that changes people. I think money is just an amplifier of who you already are, right? If you’re a kind person without money, you’re going to be even kinder with money. If you are like kind of mean and stingy person without money, you’re going to be even more so with money, right? So it’s not, isn’t fundamentally change who you are just amplifies more of what you already are.

[00:14:39.06] spk_0:
How do these stories around money? Which create our beliefs, influence our fundraising?

[00:14:43.39] spk_1:
Oh, very simple. So, tony What’s a story that you have about money?

[00:15:58.65] spk_0:
Um It was repaying a stranger who helped me buy a Mother’s Day plant when I was about seven years old, she was the cashier at what stores that used to be called? Woolworth. Uh And I bought a plant that I didn’t quite have enough money for like maybe it was a dollar 50 and Or $2, let’s say, and I only had a dollar 50. Um and I told the story to my mother when I gave her the plant and then my, my mother and my father brought me back to the store, politely, kindly, kindly not, no, no retribution but to, to give the cashier lady her 50 cents back to thank her for giving me money to help me buy a plant for my mother for Mother’s Day. So it was sort of, you know, that you, I guess if you return generosity, you know, and yeah, that you, that you return generosity. I was thinking that’s a very sweet story. My parents weren’t mad or anything like that. They just, they wanted to teach me that you, you let someone know how, how thoughtful they were and you repay it if you can.

[00:17:48.59] spk_1:
Yeah, that’s such an interesting takeaway because I, you know, you could make that story being a lot of different things. But in your case, you made that story being that people are inherently generous and it’s our job to give back if we can. And hence you are also in fundraising and plan giving, which makes perfect sense like people who want to leave their assets after they’ve passed on, you know, in many people’s cases. So let’s say I grew up with an idea of like, well, you know, money is hard to come by and people aren’t really that generous. If that’s my belief, the way that I approach fundraising is through the lens of people don’t really want to give. But, you know, somehow it’s going to be my job to convince them to give or somehow, you know, there’s some levels like manipulation and coercion or maybe like there’s this feeling of like I’m asking them to do something they don’t really want to do, right? And so I’m going to bring that kind of energy to the ask as opposed to if I had a different belief, if my belief was people love to be generous. People love to be in community with others who care about a particular cause. People love to give to this cause that provides meaning and purpose in their lives. And I come to the ask with a completely different energy. It’s almost like it’s almost like dating. I love a dating analogy. But so tony Like, if I believed that, you know, I couldn’t catch a date and, like, nobody wanted to date me, how do you think it’s going to go for me if I’m out in the dating pool and I’m trying to ask for dates, like, I’m gonna be kind of like desperate. Right. Kind of sad. But if I had a belief about myself, like, I’m awesome. And you know, I just want to find a partner who is as awesome as I am so that we can be awesome together. I bring a different energy to the table. And so what I think about our relationship to money is it really impacts the kind of energy and the kind of perspective that you bring to the table when you ask people to partner with you, you’re either coming from a place of being on your knees or you’re coming from a place of being on your feet.

[00:18:16.22] spk_0:
I think it’s valuable to think about how we feel when, when we give it feels good, it activates, we’re talking about the brain, it activates pleasure centers. It’s the same pleasure center that is activated when you eat chocolate. Or you hear good news I’m putting on the spot. Do you know what part of the brain that is? I, I used to know but I

[00:19:23.29] spk_1:
can’t. Uh so, so it’s actually the same part of the brain that exists where family and love lie. So I think so they’re like kind of different parts of the brain that process different types of information. And so when people talk about, you know, well, we have to be like really metrics driven and really data driven. That’s exactly wrong because that is a different part of the brain. That’s like the business, the brain. But where philanthropy lies is the emotional part of the brain. So you do have to have the metrics because we use data to back up an emotional decision. But you really have to lead with emotion because you know, in the face of it, philanthropy doesn’t make a whole lot of logical sense. Like why would I give my resources away that I could be using for myself? Right? So like that’s a logical part of the brain. But the reason I do it is because it feels good because it satisfies some kind of emotional part of my being, right?

[00:19:57.87] spk_0:
It feels good. And we also acknowledge people who give understand that the world is a bigger place than, than they themselves. And we’re all in community and we all need to give to support those who, well, those causes that we believe in because otherwise the cause won’t exist. And in some lots of cases, not all missions, but in lots of missions were helping those who don’t have what we have. So we’re giving back to other to those who need more than, than what they have. So, and that, which leads to the, which leads to the Pleasure Center being activated the same as when you eat chocolate.

[00:21:24.61] spk_1:
Yeah. But the point is that all of those reasons are largely emotionally driven, right? It’s like you can put some kind of intellectual afterthought on it. Like, well, yes, of course, it makes good business sense because X Y Z and if like, if we have no plan it, then how am I going to make money? Right. But deep down inside, we’re moved by this idea of like, could I live in a world of my Children to live in a world where there are no wild animals and there’s no clean oceans and there aren’t rainforests. No, I don’t want to live in that world, right? And that’s all deeply emotional. So all to say to get back to the original question, not only is philanthropy, deeply emotional, but feelings about money are deeply emotional. And so if I haven’t examined as a fundraiser in my own relationship to money and what I am bringing to the table, it, it complicates the issue, right? So if I can successfully unpack all of the stuff that I believe about money, then I am just a conduit for my donor’s wishes because here’s the other thing, wealthy people also have stuff with money just because you have money doesn’t mean you don’t have money, stuff. Right. And so if you as a fundraiser, have not unpacked your stuff with money and your donor also has not unpacked their stuff with money. Both of you are kind of sitting on this invisible pile of baggage with this space between you in a room.

[00:23:30.51] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two. It’s spring. I hope you’ll start thinking about your summer. It’s the time to start making plans for yourself so that you get the summer rest that you probably need. I mean, I don’t know for a fact, but most of us enjoy summer rest. And if you want to take care of other people, take care of big missions, you need to take care of yourself 1st, 1st, you gotta be, you gotta be in the right mind in a rejuvenated mind so that you can take care of others and, and work. I don’t think that virtual work has taken away our traditional summer vacation rituals. I think folks are still gonna want to have time off in the nicer weather. So take care of yourself, think for your plan for yourself, plan for yourself, family, loved ones, good friends. It’s the time I want you to be in the best state so that you can take care of business, take care of other people. Remember to take care of yourself. That is tony Stick to. We’ve got Boo Koo. But loads more time for your relationship with money with Rio Wang. Alright. So how do we approach that, unpacking our own baggage. How can we change our relationship with money to make ourselves more comfortable, more confident, be standing feet rather than be on our knees and which is all to say, make ourselves better fundraisers.

[00:27:35.72] spk_1:
Yeah. So a couple of key things that I would recommend number one is really take some time to reflect. So I have a couple of key questions in my book, which is, you know, what did you hear in your family growing up with money? What did you see in your family growing up with money? What, how are you with money today? So I actually have a fun experiment I do with people is I have, I call it the wallet test. Look at your wallet. What does it look like? Do you, are you giving your money a nice home or do you have like bills stuffed in? And is it all disorganized? Like that’ll tell you how, how you deal with money? Are your bills stacked up? And do you not look at them or are you the kind of person that really manages your money as a resource? Like the first thing is what are some of the clues that I have about how I think about money, how I interact with money. The second piece would be, what are the stories that I have about money? Right? And then, and then thinking like I’m a big fan of writing things down, but literally writing down like, you know, is that true for me? Is this a story that I want to carry forward for me? And if I, if I do then great, we can keep it. And if I don’t like, what are the things that I can choose to believe instead? Because ultimately, our emotional state is driven by the thoughts that we think and the way that we can change our emotional state is to change our thoughts. So let’s use an example, if my thought is well, people really just aren’t very generous and they don’t really want to give that might create in me a sense of anxiety about fundraising attention, about fundraising, maybe even frustration like, oh but these people should be giving money and how come they’re not giving you money, right? That feeling then creates my, my action. So I might go into an ask me being like really kind of upset or I might, I might talk too fast or I may try to bulldoze someone in and ask that will then create the outcome that I get. So where you can do an interrupt is around the thought process, a start to become aware of the thoughts. So that’s another strategy. And then another strategy is to be very aware of your emotional state. Am I in the survival mode or am I in exec mode? And this is a tribute to my performance coach Eugene Choi, you can label the feeling that you’re feeling. So if you’re starting to be like, I feel stressed or I feel anxious or I feel frustrated, even the very act of labeling that emotion moves the energy to the prefrontal cortex. And it’s really important to think about the words that your using. So I feel versus I am, I am as an identity statement, I feel is a feeling and feelings are temporary. But even the thought of having to think about, what is this feeling that I’m feeling will move your energy to the prefrontal cortex versus the Amygdala, which is your fight, fight or freeze center. And the final tip I have is two. And I know this sounds but really meditation is really helpful. So what meditation does is it slows your brain down a little bit and it slows down the space between stimulus and reaction. And so, you know, so often in our lives, whether it’s about money or other things, we get triggered and we’re often triggered before we even know why we’re being triggered. But what meditation does is it helps you kind of slow your, your thought processes down or at least become aware of your thought processes so that you can give yourself a little bit of time between the stimulus and the reaction time so that you’re reacting or rather responding in the way that you want to like if I’m starting to get really upset about something, if I meditate, if I take a breath. I can start to think like, why, why am I being so reactive about this thing right now? Like, what is it about this thing that is causing a survival state reaction in me? Like why am I believing that this is a direct threat to me in some kind of way? So let me pause there. A lot of different things I offered up. I don’t

[00:28:13.52] spk_0:
think meditation is woo. I think that’s, that’s very valuable meditation. First of all, it’s been, it’s existed for thousands of years. But um in one form, in one practice or another, I, I believe in it very much. Somebody may not recognize my form of meditation As meditation. But I do and I think it’s very valuable to, to reflect. And some, and like you suggested, sometimes meditation might just be 45 seconds.

[00:30:30.69] spk_1:
Yeah, it can be or, you know, even taking a second to take a breath because what happens when we’re in survival state is we start to breathe really shallowly. You know, we are shoulders, get up behind your ears, you know, we tense up. And so even just like that 30 seconds of dropping your shoulders rolling back and taking a breath from your diaphragm will calm you down. So, um one of the strategies that Navy seals use is called box breathing. Are you familiar with this term? So, Box breathing is really fun. It’s breathing in for a count of three, holding your breath. For a count of three, breathing out for a count of three, holding for a count of three. And you just sort of lather rinse repeat. And what it does is it slows your heartbeat down, it slows your breathing down. It helps you become more mindful and it literally just, it gets you into that executive versus survival because in their survival state, our Amygdala are going crazy and we are, we are literally interpreting the world as if we’re being chased by Saber tooth tigers, right? And in our modern day world, like everything is a sabertooth tiger like the news coming at us as a sabertooth tiger, my bus are being laid as a sabertooth tiger, like my coffee being, you know, spilled on me as a sabertooth tiger, right? And so we actually haven’t developed these mechanisms for how to calm our nervous system down uh in our modern world. Like so in the wild, you know, an antelope will get chased by a lion, then they’ll be able to like stand still for a couple of minutes and shake it off and move on with their lives. But we are not as smart as antelopes in the sense. I mean, the great thing about our human brains is that we have long memories and we think about stuff and the terrible thing about human brains is that we have long memories that we think about stuff, right? So like we can continue to be traumatized by an event that happened when we were two years old, even though we’re grown ups. But we relive the thing over and over and over again and we let that thing dictate the rest of our lives. And the truth is, it’s never about the thing that happens to you. It’s about your interpretation of the thing that happens to you.

[00:30:49.23] spk_0:
Okay. Well, let’s flush it out a little bit more. This is all very interesting. Um It’s never the thing that happens. You would see interpreter. Yeah. Well, right. How you felt or how you continue to feel about about that episode.

[00:30:53.91] spk_1:
Not just Yeah, well, not just how you felt about the episode but but what you made that mean about you,

[00:31:02.41] spk_0:
what you made it mean. Yeah. Alright. The baggage that you you heaped onto the incident. Yeah.

[00:32:04.70] spk_1:
So let’s take, let’s take an example. So let’s say you are carrying around, you know, a memory that you had when you were a kid where your mom yelled at you for something again. I’m just thinking of an example. Now, one interpretation could be you can make it mean that oh mom was just having a bad day and she was reacting in her own survival mode and that wasn’t really about me or you can make it mean there’s something really wrong with me like I I am a bad person. I do bad things and I never do anything, right? Those two interpretations for the same event can have very different impacts for your life, right? And so inherently, we have to really unpack all of the meaning that we’ve made about the events that we’ve had, whether it’s about money or other things and how we have let that event created a, You know, an influence over our entire lives. And oftentimes the things that happened to us are usually from like 0-3. And we, we make meaning of those things that we then carry forward for the rest of our lives.

[00:32:19.73] spk_0:
What do you mean when you say 0-3?

[00:33:27.76] spk_1:
So like, so 0-3. Yes. So 0 to 3 is when your brain is, is developing the most rapidly to that. That’s for like, yeah, sorry, sorry, 23 years old. Yeah. No, sorry. 0 to 3 years old. So those early years are are critically important and usually what the things that happened to us are, the things that in those early years are usually the stories that we carry around most um most deeply and um forget it was going to say, but essentially we need to think about unpacking those, those stories that we made it. You know, I remember what I was gonna say and inherently a lot of the stories that we tell ourselves um that are negative usually fall into one of three buckets. It’s usually like, I’m not good enough, I’m different. Therefore I don’t belong or what I want is not available to me. Mm.

[00:33:28.31] spk_0:

[00:33:31.30] spk_1:
And I can see your your wheels are turning. Let me pause there

[00:33:34.28] spk_0:
because I’m thinking about I’m thinking about my own story. So now I’m feeling like Howard Stern like what was your story? Tell me a story but I’ll I’m not gonna put you on

[00:33:43.63] spk_1:
your story. I’m

[00:33:49.56] spk_0:
thinking about a story when uh I called my mama bitch.

[00:33:51.83] spk_1:
Okay. How old are you?

[00:35:26.14] spk_0:
Probably around the same age as the tender mother’s day plant story. In fact, we lived in the same apartment on Orient Way in Rutherford, New Jersey. So I was probably 567, maybe 55. You probably don’t know the word bitch was probably 678 somewhere even six. You probably don’t know it. Seven or eight, I’d say seven or eight. And uh my dad, my dad is the one who yelled at me when he came home from school. He was, he was a teacher. So, and you know, just for years, how could I have? How could I don’t think it fits into one of your three paradigms? But you know, how could I have been so terrible to call my mother? I’m a bad person. I like to call my mother a bit like that. I’ve gotten over it now at 61. Just what time is it? It’s a little after three. I’m over it for about the past 20 minutes. No, but for years that really made me just, yeah, I just feel terrible about what I, what I had done. I don’t know if it made me feel terrible about myself, but certainly about what I had done. I don’t remember what it was. She obviously triggered me. It was my mom’s fault. There’s no question about it. She triggered me as a seven year old and I reacted appropriately. I think that’s, that’s my interpretation. Now, at 61 I was perfectly justified and well within my rights to call her bitch, she, she, she wound up and, and like I said, she active, triggered me. So, so I’ve come full circle about that or not full circle. I’ve got 1 80. If I was 33 60 I’d be back where I was. I’ve gone, I’ve done 1 80 since then. So that’s my little story of carry that with me for a long time.

[00:36:51.16] spk_1:
Yeah. Yeah. Well, and it’s interesting to, to, to think about like, what did you make that mean about yourself? And so, you know, and generally speaking, like these formative moments happen earlier, but essentially, if like, let’s say in your case, you made this mean, oh, like I must be a bad person because what kind of person says such a thing to his mother, right? You know, I wonder what that inspired or influenced you to do in your life that you would necessarily otherwise have done without the belief that I’m a bad person because I did this thing or said this thing about my mother, you know, so to bring back to money, like if we have a deep belief about money, let’s say there’s not enough of it, there’s not enough to go around, etcetera, etcetera. Like what does that, what does that mean for me? How does that mean that, how does that affect how I show up in the world if I have that belief? Right? So part of it is really just about reprogramming our beliefs about the world ourselves, our, you know, our money situation, our families, etcetera. Um And once you can start to understand that you can decide how you want to think about things. All of a sudden the world changes completely. You’re like, well, then I can do anything. I could just decide anything about my life.

[00:36:58.59] spk_0:
It’s choice, it’s choices that we make and we’re free to choose,

[00:37:32.35] spk_1:
right? The decisions that we make and look obviously to, I want to be clear that like I’m not talking about losing touch with reality because then you become a sociopath, right? But um you know, often times when we see extraordinary people doing extraordinary things, like I talk about Oprah all the time, like Oprah is a personal hero of mine. How is it that Oprah who you had such a tough upbringing? You know, this little girl who went through some very tough things like sexual abuse and uh you know, didn’t come from money and grew up as a black woman in America. Like, how is she such an extraordinary success in the world? And part of it is like she just decided that that’s what she was going to be. She just decided that she wasn’t going to let her circumstances dictate her future. She just decided to tell herself different stories about herself and I think we can all do the same thing.

[00:37:54.60] spk_0:
What’s a healthy relationship with money? What does that look like?

[00:40:13.51] spk_1:
Oh, that’s such a good question. You know, I think this belief that decent question. Well, money is a renewable resource and I think that’s something that we really have to accept. I mean, time is not a renewable resource. Like it doesn’t matter how rich you are, you’re never going to get enough time on this planet, right? But money, you can always make money. And so I think the the person who has a healthy relationship with money is the kind of person who understands that money is just a resource to be managed like everything else without the emotional attachment to it, right? Like, and I’m not talking about being crazy about money and spending Willy nilly. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is just detaching from the emotional piece about money and just thinking about how to use it as a resource like you would any other resource. And so sometimes with non profit people because of the emotional attachment to money. They often don’t manage money in a, in a way that is not about emotion. So quick example, like I, for example, I offer training and my training is not inexpensive but, and I know you offer training as well, but essentially on this train, you’re like, look, I pretty much guarantee that you’re going to make money. Like there is an R it’s R O I positive, like you can not possibly go through my training and not make more money. And so often I’ll say people were like, well, no, I can’t afford it like, well, okay. So what’s your plan then? Like if you can’t afford this and you’re not willing to invest in something that will help you to make more money, then how are you going to make more money? Right. You’re kind of caught in this loop of I don’t have enough money. Therefore, I can’t invest in anything that will help me make money. Therefore, I will continue to not make money. So I think the smart executive director, the smart non profit execs relationship to money is to think about it again as a resource and think. Okay, well, what is a good use of my money? A good use of money in my mind is either something that will bring in uh roo I something that will save you time or something that will increase operational efficiency. And so when you say things like, well, we can’t afford whatever we can’t afford to bring on new development stuff. Well, is that development staff going to help you bring in money? And if so, you know, is it a 10 X and it’s 50 X is 100 X? Because if that’s the case, then that’s a good use of the money.

[00:40:44.74] spk_0:
And how is this healthy relationship where we’re, we’re treating it as a resource of commodity? We’re making it emotionless. How does that make us a better fundraiser?

[00:42:51.97] spk_1:
Well, I think a couple of things, I think number one, it helps us to talk with people who also have money in a way that is, it’s less fraught with our own emotional baggage about money and more sort of matter of fact, if I can say that, which is like, hey, you know, tony you really care about whatever you really care about clean oceans with this gift, we can do X Y and Z which will help you to achieve your dream of clean oceans, right? It becomes less about me and my stuff and more about like, how can I help my donor achieve what they want to achieve with their philanthropic gift? The other pieces, I think it also gets you off that roller coaster because I think we so often have this, this idea of like, well, if I get the gift, I’m a good fundraiser and if I don’t get the gift of a bad fundraiser, right? And if I’m a bad fundraiser, I make that mean something about who I am as a person. I’m a bad professional, I’m bad at my job. People don’t like me, like you can go down that shame spiral. And instead if you can actually have a healthy relationship to money and even just a healthy relationship to the process itself, then you realize that the the win is the process. Like, did you cultivate your donor properly? Did you help connect them emotionally to this thing that they wanted to achieve? Did you do all of the things? Right? Because if you did, that’s the win because ultimately, whether they say yes or no is beyond you. Like you have no control over them, you you’re not, you know, in their brain pulling the levers, right? And so if we can actually um separate our value from the things that we achieve, like you are a valuable person no matter what. And so if I can stop making my value be connected to the thing that I achieve because if that’s the case, I will never be enough, right? Because I will never like win all of the marbles, but I can be enough by doing the best that I can.

[00:43:01.64] spk_0:
We have inherent value, irrespective of our outcomes acts,

[00:43:28.65] spk_1:
right? When I think that’s hard to in our, in the society that we have because it’s so it’s so driven by, you know, the ranking and like you’re, you’re a better, more worthy person. If you produce more or if you get these better results, right? And so we’re always like constantly chasing the result and chasing the outcome, believing that that will make us a better person and other people will think we’re more valuable and better people. And it’s, it’s a race. You can never win.

[00:43:33.39] spk_0:
What do you say we leave it there?

[00:43:34.28] spk_1:
Really? How do you feel? I think that’s great. Tony

[00:43:50.60] spk_0:
This was borderline therapy for me with my uh my seven year old trauma. Just to wrap up that story. My uh my, my dad is the one who, who punished me and, but I was sure he was gonna hit me, but he didn’t hit me. He just, he was actually quite rational, explained why it’s not

[00:43:57.06] spk_1:
appropriate. Did it, did he make you feel that you were a bad person?

[00:44:23.81] spk_0:
No, I brought that on myself. Well, that I had done a bad, you know, I carried with me for a long time. That story and just how could I have done such a thing to my mother? That was, that was it. I don’t know. I went so far as I’m a bad person, but I did a bad thing left it there for a lot of up until about 25 minutes ago. All right. That was, I enjoyed it very much. Thank you. Thank

[00:44:26.79] spk_1:
you. Thank you.

[00:44:36.24] spk_0:
She’s real Wang. You’ll find her at Rio Wang dot com. Her podcast is non profit Low down her newest book. Get that money, honey, exclamation mark. Rhea. Thank you again.

[00:44:42.70] spk_1:
Thanks. Tony

[00:45:14.75] spk_0:
Next week, Gene Takagi returns if you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff shows. Social media is by Susan Chavez Marc 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.