Category Archives: Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio

Nonprofit Radio for January 30, 2023: Spend Wisely As You Buy

 

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Let’s talk procurement. Odds are you can save big if you shop smartly. Consolidation. Group Purchasing Organizations. Negotiating. Payment terms. Warranty terms. These will all save you money. Kumar Kannan, from Procural LLC, educates us.

 

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Board relations. Fundraising. Volunteer management. Prospect research. Legal compliance. Accounting. Finance. Investments. Donor relations. Public relations. Marketing. Technology. Social media.

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.

Nonprofit Radio for January 23, 2023: 2023 Fundraising Outlook

 

Sarah Sebastian & Steve Lausch2023 Fundraising Outlook

OneCause’s research study includes insights to help you benchmark, plan, prioritize and improve your nonprofit’s fundraising this year. From OneCause, Sarah Sebastian and Steve Lausch talk us through.

 

 

 

 

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Board relations. Fundraising. Volunteer management. Prospect research. Legal compliance. Accounting. Finance. Investments. Donor relations. Public relations. Marketing. Technology. Social media.

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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[00:01:36.34] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh I’m glad you’re with me, I’d get slapped with a diagnosis of a fraser because I cannot bring myself to say the words you missed this week’s show 2023 fundraising outlook one causes research study includes insights to help you benchmark plan, prioritize and improve your nonprofits fundraising this year from one cause Sarah Sebastian and Steve Lauch talk us through on tony stake to webinars galore Here is 2023 fundraising outlook. It’s a pleasure to welcome to non profit radio steve Lauch and Sarah Sebastian both from one cause steve Lauch is director of product marketing at one cause where he brings 17 years of experience in automotive, retail, customer relationship management and marketing technology. Sarah Sebastian at one causes Director of corporate communications. She’s a marketer with eight years of experience in the nonprofit tech space. The company is at one cause and at one cause dot com steve Sarah welcome to non profit radio

[00:01:44.96] spk_1:
Good to be here with you Tony,

[00:01:46.85] spk_2:
thank you. It’s great to be here talking to you today, appreciate

[00:01:50.18] spk_0:
It. Pleasure to have both of you. Thank you and we’re talking about the 2023 fundraising outlook. Who’s the best person to talk about an overview of of this, of the study

[00:02:03.86] spk_2:
definitely.

[00:02:04.58] spk_0:
Okay, it’s unanimous

[00:02:25.75] spk_1:
dive in on that I mean this whole project has been such a great partnership with Sarah but as far as going back to the survey that that fuels the study, um, this, this was, I’d say I can dive in on that. So this is really the fifth year of developing the study into the size that it has been at one cause and the third year of releasing the data in such a way that it is served up in the annual fundraising outlook report. So getting some really great research in a rear view mirror and we’re excited to come out again this year with this report. Maybe to give a little bit more color as to what this report is about and how it works. Um,

[00:02:53.28] spk_0:
we kick

[00:02:53.88] spk_1:
it off every year tony at our annual conference. So the one cause raised conference and spends about a month in market where nonprofits are engaging and responding to the survey and this particular year, 890 nonprofits raise their hands and said, hey, we want to weigh in on this. So 890 voices from nonprofits,

[00:03:16.43] spk_0:
Let’s just call it 900,

[00:03:18.41] spk_1:
900

[00:03:20.48] spk_0:
900,

[00:03:52.42] spk_1:
900 all shapes, all sizes, all segments. We even did some really cool cross tabulation. Looking at annual operating revenue. I’m sure we’ll talk about that at some level. But you know, every year we ask ourselves as well, tony are we, are we getting the right voices. Are we getting the right um, inputs so that we’re capturing all the right information that is helpful to nonprofits and this year in particular, nearly 30% were executive directors, 31% Deb director Development VPs had a great voice from event directors and marketing professionals. So we really are getting the right voices. In fact, 81% of those who responded are involved in making a technology decision. They may even be the ones pulling the trigger on deciding how we’re going to move forward in the next year with technology to help drive our nonprofit mission. And a lot of that goes to fundraising as we’ll talk about.

[00:04:43.56] spk_0:
I also appreciate that the population is very much in line with with our listeners. You know, small and midsize shops. I see 48% have revenue of a million dollars or less. Annual, annual, your, your annual operating revenue a million dollars or less and 31%. So a third basically 350,000 or less.

[00:04:59.16] spk_1:
It is so important to to have the representation of that beautiful bride call at this broad base of the nonprofit world that is just those who are maybe just getting started in their garage or their bedroom or wherever they happen to be. But they have a passion for their mission and maybe those that are starting to add more and more volunteers. Perhaps that 1st, 2nd or third full time employee. But whatever it is, it is that beautiful broad base of the nonprofit world that we’re looking at

[00:06:15.87] spk_0:
11% were all volunteer. So just like a 10th or don’t even have full time employees. And I saw 49% have 10 full time employees or fewer, though perfectly in line with with our listeners. Now there are, there are large organizations represented over $50 million dollars in revenue. Um, if there are any of those folks listening, uh, let me know and I’ll shout you out because I bet I bet the list is small. Most of the vast, vast majority, vast, vast, overwhelming majority of our listeners are in small and mid size shop. So those are those who were, I’m channeling. Um, let’s define this. It was a little unusual to me the A. O. R. Which I look at as album oriented rock, but that’s because I work up, I was raised on rock and roll. So, but that’s not what you mean by a. O our annual operating revenue. So I mean is that annual budget sarah? Is that, is that annual budget or is that something different? What’s annual operating revenue? Because you segment by by this A. O. R. So it’s important for us to understand,

[00:06:45.95] spk_2:
so annual operating revenue, how much money folks are bringing in and then when we touch on budget, how much obviously they’re able to spend for the year. And I think some of the stuff that you just touched on and you’re talking about, like the volunteer numbers and everything that’s really going to come out when we get into some of the challenges. Some of those smaller organizations with uh, the smaller annual operating revenues are really going to be, um, feeling a little bit of a pinch in some of these areas that will take a look at. So I think it will definitely be some good data for the audience at home right now.

[00:06:59.70] spk_0:
Is it fair to just call? Not, I’m not going to change the term on you, but is it fair to call annual operating revenue? Like just annual fundraising revenue?

[00:07:08.94] spk_2:
Absolutely.

[00:07:09.64] spk_0:
It’s the fundraising revenue. Okay. Okay. Report calls it the uh annual operating revenue.

[00:07:16.56] spk_2:
Alright. Yeah.

[00:07:49.81] spk_0:
Okay. Um, so let’s dive in a bit. I see uh I see some challenges facing non profits of of all sizes really that this was, this was kind of interesting to me. Um, the the challenges that are rated sort of critical critical are definitely a concern. I mean they cut across all the, all the all the the annual operating revenue segments like donor engagement, all all all five of your segments, all six of your segments rate donor engagement as a, as a, as a top five problem. And donor fatigue shows up in five of the six categories. What do we do? What do we know about donor donor issues?

[00:09:13.98] spk_2:
Sure. So things things have Changed a lot since the last study. So the challenges that were related to planning around the pandemic dropped significantly because those were at the top of the list in the past couple of years surveys, but don’t get us wrong, like we’re not saying it’s not a challenge anymore. It’s obviously still a challenge, 71% reported that planning related to the pandemic was still challenging for them, But it dropped from number one to number 10 in the list. And those donor-related challenges that you just mentioned, those are coming back to the top. People are starting to feel a little bit of relief and they’re able to shift back to donor engagement worrying about hair. We fatiguing our donors with all of this messaging and everything that they’ve been through over the past few years and donor retention is coming back up into that top four to um recurring giving was something we saw that came out as a top challenge as well. And for the view of challenges that you’ll see in the report first where everything’s kind of rated, it was folks who rated items as critical, definitely a concern or somewhat a problem. And that’s where we came up with that donor engagement, donor fatigue, the recurring giving and donor retention were all there in the top four. So things have changed a lot steve, did you have anything like a little bit of color from the past or anything about like varying sizes? How that differed?

[00:09:31.07] spk_1:
Well, let’s start, let’s start with sizes. And then I think there is something to be learned as we look longitudinal e over the study over the past few years. But as we looked at non profits of varying sizes again by that annual operating revenue marker. Uh, that donut retention really fell into, became notable in the top two places for orders that were a million dollars A. O. R. And above. And then

[00:09:48.43] spk_0:
excuse

[00:10:15.24] spk_1:
me looking at the top three places really tony for most of the market. So we’ll call that the 350,000. 0. R. All the way up the scale. Um, recurring giving was something that became very much apparent in that. And, and I’ll say real quick, um, as your audience accesses this report and downloads it, there’s a, there’s a lot of data right in this one question and becomes v very visibly and visually better understood when you kind of see it, how we’ve laid it out. So I know we’re throwing a lot of numbers, a lot of information, but boy donor fatigue was definitely the top voiced concern that made it into the top five concerns for every segment every strata of the nonprofit nonprofit world. Um, what’s interesting about that for me

[00:10:41.49] spk_0:
though,

[00:11:03.24] spk_1:
is that while retention has a number, we can put on it. Um, while recurring giving has a number that we put on it, fatigue is a lot more of a perception metric. And uh, it’s, it’s interesting to me that, that, that had such important placed on that particular metric as you look at the data. Now, I’ll also say really quickly we saw staff turnover work its way into the top five challenges, especially as you kind of go up and that was for

[00:11:16.48] spk_0:
the larger staff turnover was

[00:11:18.39] spk_1:
you got it. Yeah,

[00:11:20.21] spk_0:
Over $50 million. They’ve got hundreds of employees

[00:11:24.88] spk_1:
well. And look what happened over the last two years. Right. I mean

[00:11:27.50] spk_0:
things talk

[00:11:54.70] spk_1:
about upset the apple cart, right. And that, that large organization perhaps felt the, the need for agility more and the need for finding out how do we get through this and with such a large staff, it’s just, it was, it was an unfortunate story. We don’t have to dwell on here today. The good news is that, um, is that those nonprofits are working through those challenges. I’ll also add that acquisition and management sponsors and sponsorships also is a challenge that we’ve tracked year over year every year, every year these last few years. And that has surfaced for a number of the segments of nonprofits. So there’s some other, there’s some other color there. But sarah, I’m sure you would agree having released the report yourself. It’s far more visually understood for, for those who can access this and download the report. Yeah,

[00:13:14.30] spk_2:
I agree. There are a lot of ways to look at, especially the challenges, um, by breaking it down by revenue level and looking at what’s critical are definitely a concern compared to having like the somewhat important mixed in there as well. But I do kind of want to touch on that donor fatigue because we have been hearing a lot about it and tony I don’t know if you’ve heard this throughout your career to that there’s, there’s been kind of a historical disconnect between nonprofits and donors when it comes to donor fatigue. I’ve done a few studies at various companies in the past where nonprofits said one thing they thought they were really fatiguing their donors and donors are like, no, you’re not. We want to hear more from you. But I think what it comes down to that’s important here is that you have to remember that the communications that you are sending out, if they’re engaging, they’re worthwhile, they’re giving something to your donor, then they’re not going to be fatigued. I know around like holiday giving season, even on linkedin. And I noticed there were a lot of folks popping on that consultant saying, I got this many emails from this, these nonprofits. It’s too many emails and only enough. A couple of donors popped and they were like, oh, I like getting those emails. They told me what was happening. Like how much they were raising from there giving Tuesday campaigns, etcetera. So as long as you’re giving them something that they want to hear. I think they’re going to stay engaged. They’re not going to get fatigued. Have you heard anything about that,

[00:13:53.67] spk_0:
uh, from some guests? Yes. Um, let’s first, let’s use this opportunity to remind folks or let them know where they can get the get the study because it’s, it’s very visually engaging as both of you have said. So. One cause dot com. And then where do we go after that?

[00:13:57.83] spk_2:
Sure. It’s one cause dot com backslash research. And you’ll find the study there. There are a lot of other resources on our website as well as well as past reports. So if you want to dig in and compare to past reports as well, they’re on that site.

[00:14:56.34] spk_0:
Okay. Excellent. Thank you. Um, All right. So this idea of the fatigue, you know, as as steve said, it’s it’s a perception. It’s it’s not something measurable, but it’s, it’s a perception internally. Right in in everybody’s office. What do you, what do you think is, what do you think is causing this idea that we’re fatiguing our donors where Sarah you’re saying they actually want more. And I’ve heard that also, I’ve heard that especially among among and about boards members that, you know, we’re giving our board members too much. No, actually, they want more because they’re your key volunteers. And they the fear is that you’re giving them too much. Um, so I’ve heard it in that respect, but we don’t have to, you know, we have to stick to board. I know that’s not your, that’s not the study, but that’s, that’s where I’ve heard it even even more? What do you think is causing this belief that we’re fatiguing folks

[00:15:24.30] spk_2:
right current state. I honestly think we all feel fatigued after going through a pandemic, going through you know political ups and downs. We’re still in this big mindset of uncertainty and I know everybody has heard that word 1000 times but it’s still there and it’s just making everyone feel very unsettled and very tired. So I think sometimes that just kind of bleeds over into our everyday interactions

[00:15:28.65] spk_0:
were contributing to it. Yeah we

[00:15:31.08] spk_2:
must be doing it too. We must be adding onto the pile but

[00:15:34.18] spk_0:
we see it we feel it we must be contributing to it because we send mail and email. Alright.

[00:15:39.80] spk_1:
tony I think I think I want to

[00:15:42.53] spk_0:
don’t be so hard on yourself basically.

[00:15:55.78] spk_1:
I want to jump in here real quick. I do wanna I do want to suggest here at this point that fatigue is a it’s a complex metric to unpack. It is not as simple. I mean I think we could probably spend the next hour kind of um in a conjecture of sorts of how to unpack this. But fatigue comes because as Sarah said it’s something we feel elsewhere. And so we translate that to I’m sending one emails to emails, five emails ergo my donor base must be fatigued.

[00:16:21.53] spk_0:
And

[00:16:42.39] spk_1:
when we actually look at the data as Sarah has said. In fact some of the great reports that we have available at one? Cause dot com actually give you the perspective of the donor as is our research done every spring. So this is the nonprofit voice every fall compare that to what’s going on in the spring with what donors are saying? Yes, they want the communication. I want to see those emails in my inbox and if I open up one or two of the five, it’s okay. I’ve heard from you and I can digest that you are not asking too much of me. You are not giving too much to me. It is not the fatigue level that perhaps we are putting on on our shoulders ourselves.

[00:17:04.36] spk_0:
Sarah, you have many years in your background with ford motor company, right? Oh, that’s steve I

[00:17:13.54] spk_1:
carry, you know, you mentioned that in the intro. I carry a good number of years in the automotive retail technology side. Um, and six years now or coming up on six years in the nonprofit world. Two very different worlds. But yes, go ahead. tony on.

[00:17:28.74] spk_0:
Do you know, does, does, does the ford motor company worry about fatiguing? It’s uh, potential customers like do they worry about sending too much buying too many ads? Sending too many messages to folks who have signed up? Does the ford motor company? Uh, do they worry about things like that?

[00:18:22.10] spk_1:
I would say in general, the automotive world perhaps. Um, let me say this first. Any good marketer understands the sensitivity around sending the right message at the right time to the right audience for the right response. Any good marketers, there are perhaps markets in our ecosystem in the world that are more sensitive to doing that and there are perhaps markets that are less sensitive to doing that. I do find that the automotive world sends a good number of emails and there perhaps, maybe those what you’re getting at, not as worried about fatiguing me at least as a recipient. So I’ll let you put a bow on that where you were headed. But

[00:18:53.72] spk_0:
No, that was it. I just, that was, that was my suspicion. But you know, I don’t talk to, uh, Fortune 100 folks, um, ever or even. So I was seeing it in your background. Uh, I was just curious about it. Um, let’s talk some about events. What Sarah, can you talk about, what, what, what is planned and I see more more hybrid being planned. Can you flush that out for us?

[00:19:51.24] spk_2:
Sure. I think if we start with a little bit of an overview from 2022, it’s a helpful kind of foundation. Um, so in 2020 to 95% of nonprofits who took this survey said that they held at least one online camp, 93% said they held at least one event in 2022. So vast majority of nonprofits there and that makes up the bulk of quite a few nonprofits fundraising budget, their revenue for the year. So 56% said that they raise 21% or more of their annual fundraising revenue from online and event fundraising. And an additional quarter of those nonprofits said that they raised 41% or more of their annual fundraising budget from event and online fundraising. So it’s huge. It’s very important. Um, and looking back at 2022, as far as how supporters participated in events, I think Steve Do you want to touch on that data for me?

[00:19:59.61] spk_1:
Sure, Sure, Absolutely. Yeah. This was really great to see tony So we asked these nonprofits, how did your supporters participate in your 2022 events and then followed up with how many of the following fundraising events do you plan to hold in 2023. So we have to look back, we have to look forward and again

[00:20:20.61] spk_0:
for

[00:20:47.57] spk_1:
Context, this question was asked an end market with the survey in September so nonprofits were giving us a good view into most of the year to 2022, but they were forecasting into 2023, still sitting in their third quarter of the year. So with that in mind, looking back in 2020 to 32% of nonprofits held in person only events. Now, just I let that just sit for a

[00:20:51.21] spk_0:
second and

[00:21:52.57] spk_1:
We look back in the rear view mirror a year or two and to consider how we were in 2020, early 2021. No way were one in three only having in person events. So what a great comeback in 2020-1 half of nonprofits, 56% did. In fact, as you said earlier, Tony Lean to that hybrid side, which is fantastic. So let me fill the blanks on the, on the rest here and I’ll come back to the hybrid 9% only virtual 4% no events at all. And for various reasons, I’m sure. But over 50% hybrid tells me a couple of things. You add the only in person and the 56% hybrid together and you have a mass of the, of the nonprofit world that is back in the ballroom. But so much of that is, is uh, an event that is in consideration of that virtual audience. So we learned from the last three years, we learned that people want to engage with with us differently. And so while we’re back in the ballroom, we’re not going to forget that virtual audience, we’re gonna include them. It may be for the whole event. It may not be for the whole event. It may just be for the appeal. It may be for other programming that we wanted to share with them. But the Great News is that we are back to the ballroom in 2022. Now that was of course last

[00:22:19.78] spk_0:
year, what

[00:22:31.18] spk_1:
about this year, september people are answering this survey and there’s looking forward and guess how many say we are going to hold an in person event, 83%. Look forward in time and with such confidence and Sarah maybe you can, you can elaborate on this. They’re willing to say that over 80% were absolutely back in the ballroom for at least one in person only event.

[00:22:59.78] spk_2:
Yeah, I think the confidence levels, that was a real takeaway for us. How much they changed confidence levels about in person events just kind of shot through the roof in this year’s survey. Um, nonprofits who said they were undecided about holding those in person events dropped to 8% this year, down from 20% in last year’s survey. So people are feeling really good about heading back to the ballroom. Like Steve said, uh,

[00:23:13.83] spk_0:
I, I saw that golf outings ranked as the number two most common event after after something social. So I’m assuming that’s a gala type event.

[00:23:25.60] spk_2:
Yes. I think that the in person auction events and then

[00:23:28.12] spk_0:
the person, we’re

[00:23:29.27] spk_2:
very successful as well. Yes, absolutely.

[00:23:43.28] spk_0:
Now golf outings and hybrid. I don’t know, can we, I don’t know are they playing like minute, are they playing golf? They have their favorite golf app or they, they’re, they’re in there, they’re in their stroke trainer, you know, maybe it’s videoing them while others are actually playing. I don’t know, can we do a golf outing hybrid.

[00:24:13.74] spk_2:
I have actually seen, I do not remember the name of the software or the company, but there was a virtual golf software that a nonprofit for an event. So I know it’s possible it’s out there. People really made some as we’ve all heard major pivots to, you know, fit the pandemic in our way of life changing. So it’s definitely out there. I’ll have to look into that and see if I can get that over,

[00:26:49.39] spk_0:
you know, the dinner, the dinner or the lunch after. I mean I could see that being a hybrid but I was just wondering about the golf experience itself. I don’t know, maybe golfers are out there with caMS on their GoPro’s on their heads or something. And so you vicariously. Oh, that shot sucked. Oh, you’re terrible camera to somebody else please. You’re awful. It’s time for Tony’s take two. I’m talking a lot about planned giving in January and February. I’ve got 15 webinars and podcasts on planned giving uh just in in these like not even the full two months. It’s more like six weeks january and early february. A cornucopia of webinars uh podcast, a prodigious profusion of podcasts. I’ve got coming up lots of content. Um, if you are at all interested in learning about the basics of planned giving, launching, planned giving at your nonprofit then you may very well be interested in this Horn of plenty of content that I’m doing with other folks who are hosting me for webinars and podcasts. You can keep abreast of what I’m doing by following on linkedin or maybe I should say more correctly connecting, connect with me on linkedin. Uh, follow me on twitter. And another way is you could sign up for the nonprofit radio Insider alerts at tony-martignetti dot com because I let folks know um, on that, who, who is hosting me and uh, where you can hear me speak. So if you are interested in launching planned, giving, planned, giving basics, I’m doing a lot of talking about that in january and early february. That is Tony’s take to imagine that We’ve got boo koo but loads more time for 2023 fundraising outlook with Steve and Sarah Sebastian, imagine that data, Let’s talk about data. You’re a data driven type organization and what, what, uh, you had some takeaways about data access.

[00:27:15.32] spk_2:
Yeah, I think this was our surprise, not surprise moment really when we were looking at data because we all know that a lot of nonprofits do struggle with data, whether there’s too much of it or what to do with it. Uh, so we found that making it accessible and actionable just continues to be a concern for nonprofits like, okay, yeah, we know that already. But when we actually saw the numbers, that was kind of the moment where everyone on our team Kind of got slack jawed whenever they heard the stats. Um, so only 18% of non profits who took the survey said that they actually have access to all of the data that they need 18%, that’s

[00:27:26.46] spk_0:
it and

[00:27:35.91] spk_2:
that they use it to make decisions. Um, and of course those smaller nonprofits did report having even less access to the data that they do need. So it’s a bit of a struggle and steve, I think, I know you have something to say,

[00:27:40.78] spk_1:
Oh, I always have something to say

[00:27:43.25] spk_0:
That that’s, that’s dismal. You know, one

[00:27:46.68] spk_1:
in five,

[00:27:47.80] spk_0:
one

[00:27:54.77] spk_1:
in five. Like if you’re sitting down around the table right with five nonprofits and one of them says I have all the data I

[00:27:55.86] spk_0:
need, I

[00:28:04.99] spk_1:
have it in the place where I need it and I have it served up to me in a way that I know what to do with it. Make a good decision. That’s dismal. That’s a great word for it.

[00:28:07.05] spk_0:
Yeah.

[00:29:21.91] spk_1:
And then we looked at some other aspects to this tony and okay, if if you do have a lot of data, Then what’s holding you back from using it every day to make meaningful decisions in your fundraising strategy 26%. So again, another like, well in this case, one in four, I suppose roughly so that they don’t have the time to form the insights they have the data, but maybe it’s just it’s just a matter of time. We all get that we, especially your audience, as you said, the smaller nonprofit world is there’s never enough time in the day. So I think there’s an opportunity for us, especially as you said as our data providers, technology providers that, that work off the data serve up data help nonprofits live off data. We need to serve it up in a way that makes sense that it doesn’t take time. Another one that I’ll share another one in five said that they don’t know how to form actionable insights. Okay. So I have the data, but again, it’s, it’s, it’s not and it may even be like right there for me, I don’t even need the time to go dig, you know into it and pull a report and compare and pivot tables and all the, I just don’t even know how to form an actionable insight based on what I’m given. Again, I believe that this is on us and our world to say here is what your auction data is telling you

[00:29:35.32] spk_0:
this is a data literacy issue. Then people not feeling comfortable making conclusions from the data that they do have. Is that isn’t that that data literacy,

[00:31:16.58] spk_2:
I think to some extent it is. But I also think the data can be intimidating just because there’s so much that can be measured and there’s, there are a lot of numbers obviously coming out of fundraising. What do I do with all of this? And I think people, especially non profits, you know, they have big jobs, they’re trying to make the world a better place. They want to do big things. And I think when you’re looking at data, you have to narrow and pick something small first and focus on that. Okay, I’ve got this piece master now I can pick another metric and focus on that. And I guess trying to give an example of that if you have part of your fundraising strategies to boost your recurring revenue this year. Great. Okay, where do I start? What do I do? What data do I look at start by going into your crm and looking at donors from 2022 who gave maybe three or four times. And I use myself as an example for this because this happened to me, I gave I think four or five times two best friend animal at best Friends animal society last year, just throughout the year as I was giving an honor of friends, pets, my pets, etcetera. They called me after running a little campaign and said, Hey, you know, we noticed that you’ve offered ongoing support last year, thank you for these gifts of these amounts. Would you consider becoming a recurring donor at $25 a month? Why not sure I can, I can spare that. Great. And even with just those little incremental increases across a couple of 100 people, you’re boosting your revenue there. Alright, you’ve boosted revenue using this one small metric that you focus in on what can you do next. So start small. Don’t get too overwhelmed to try to find somewhere to start, got to start somewhere.

[00:31:23.02] spk_0:
Let me give you a generous softball shameless self promotion opportunity because we’re talking about data being overwhelming and, and, and uh, like frustrating, how does, uh, how does one cause overcome that?

[00:31:44.28] spk_2:
I

[00:31:44.45] spk_0:
think the great,

[00:32:02.93] spk_1:
the great news is we help in a lot of ways. I mean we help connect nonprofits with more donors. We help that connection be meaningful in a way that it, it truly helps them engage with those donors. And we talked, we talked about donor engagement back when we were looking at that Finding around challenges, Tony Right. And so once we connect with more donors and engage with more donors and do that through a number of different ways to fundraise. That’s one of the things that we found and maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here. But I know we’ll talk about priorities for 2023 that nonprofits had told us about.

[00:32:21.12] spk_0:
But looking

[00:33:36.68] spk_1:
at new ways to fundraise to find new donors, acquire new donors and then use that engagement to retain those donors are nonprofits find that they are more highly satisfied with the technology that they acquire that they, that they purchase, that they use every day. And uh, it drives our mission and that’s what it’s all about. I I tell, I’ll give you a little anecdote here. tony but tomorrow and every Tuesday first Tuesday of the month. I help onboard new 11 cost team members that join our company. And I tell them, hey, you’re gonna have its work. You’re gonna have a bad day every now and then. But what we do, even on those bad days, we help make sure that another child is educated, another family is fed. We’re taking two steps closer to just finding that cure. Right? And this is all executed through these amazing nonprofits, all over the nation. How do we get involved with that? Exactly what I shared with you before, helping nonprofits find those donors engage those donors retain those donors and building a wonderful relationship that helps build a better tomorrow. Softball question back at you. Nobody

[00:33:38.05] spk_0:
answered. I was waiting. Yeah, I’m glad you. Thank you for stepping

[00:34:32.11] spk_2:
up. I do have something. I think since I just started talking about focusing on small things, something popped into my head while steve was talking about connecting with more donors. We run a campaign every year called in detectives where companies sign up and fundraise for nonprofits in the Indianapolis area. Um, and we use our peer to peer system for that. So we get in there, we use it, we fundraise for, we would fundraise fundraise for make a Wish Foundation this past year and looking even in just our peer to peer tools, we’re talking about starting small, There are little data points in there. Even for our donors where you can trap how far your social posts are reaching, how far different campaigns are reaching. So even donors can look and see what’s working to get the word out about a campaign and shift their strategies to use that particular social platform or that particular technique. So there are things built in throughout the system to even help donors analyze data, which I think is really interesting and something I haven’t seen with a lot of other fundraising platforms to be honest. So I think there’s something helpful there.

[00:34:45.38] spk_0:
Thank you. Alright, let’s let’s let’s go back to the, to the fundraising outlook. What are their takeaways are there that we haven’t talked about yet that you like to highlight you think are important for small and midsize shops to know the benchmark against.

[00:36:55.44] spk_2:
Sure, I think I would like to touch back on the hybrid fundraising aspect quickly, Quickly calling out again, steve touched on that 56% held hybrid events in 2020 to 32% held in person And looking at 2023 as nonprofits were looking ahead 45% said they were going to be holding hybrid events in 2023, which is really good to hear. Um, those hybrid and in person events were what we saw as most successful budget wise, performing against budget. And when we looked at, um, how they were performing against their budget was 80% who held either an in person or hybrid event reported that they were raising in line or more than their budget for the year. So great. We definitely want to focus on in person and hybrid. But I think Steve touched on this point a little bit The good part about this is that people are listening to donors. He mentioned some earlier research we had done with giving experience study earlier in the year where we get donor perspective on everything. And in that particular report, 56% of event donors said that they wanted some sort of virtual option. So I think that’s something that’s really important for nonprofits of all sizes to listen to, especially the small and midsize shops. We understand that hosting a hybrid event, there’s a lot of work. It’s, it’s tough. We held our race conference was hybrid this last year and it was hard. So definitely empathize with that. And but you’ve got to listen. It’s worth the effort if your donors are telling you this is what they want to give it a shot. Look at that event calendar. See if you can fit in some sort of virtual option in there somewhere. If it’s not on there now because that’s what people are saying they want to do this year. And of course keep an eye on the news because we know we’ve been hearing from here and there. There’s some, some numbers numbers going back up with covid cases, fingers crossed. Of course we don’t want anything to happen. But in the event that it does, It’s good to have that in your back pocket as an option for your donors.

[00:37:03.27] spk_0:
Do you think it’s worth surveying.

[00:37:06.20] spk_2:
Absolutely.

[00:37:26.27] spk_0:
Or do or donors like is everybody going to say I want the hybrid option. But then the fewer people actually sign up for it once it’s offered, everybody wants the option and then we set it up. We spend the money on the production and the platform. And, and then a disappointing number of people actually subscribe to it, join the stream. What do you what do you think? Yeah,

[00:37:46.92] spk_2:
I agree with that. That is kind of a sticking point when planning events as well. But if people have been telling us this is what they want, give it a shot. If it’s a total flop, then, you know, but I do agree that serving finding out what people want to do. Sometimes people are going to say yes and then they change their minds. I mean people change their minds all the time. You never know. But we have had customers who have said when they did offer that virtual option, they even wound up just getting donations from people who couldn’t attend the event in person and didn’t wind up, you know, going the virtual route. So offering that donation option along with that registration could be a possible solution to that as well to make up some of that. If people decide they’re not going to go the virtual route?

[00:38:16.65] spk_0:
I I saw that um, the fundraising, the priorities

[00:38:20.55] spk_2:
looking

[00:38:36.37] spk_0:
Forward are consistent with the challenges. So that’s that’s good. Our our community is aligned with what they see, where they see problems and where they know they have to focus. So 97% of of your respondents said that donor acquisition is going to be a key focus. I mean that, you know, it may as well call it 100% and nine right. If we’re going around 8 92 900 we could certainly around 97 to 100. Um and 96% right is right there to say donor retention is a key focus areas. So it’s gratifying to see that priorities are in line with the

[00:38:58.80] spk_1:
challenges.

[00:39:00.00] spk_0:
We’re rational, we’re all rational.

[00:39:02.17] spk_2:
It makes

[00:39:03.47] spk_0:
sense that the actor, a bunch of rational actors

[00:39:39.41] spk_2:
Um outside of those, I wanted to run through the top priorities really quickly because there’s some interesting differences in how folks rated those. So you touched on the top two. Um, next up was increasing funds from existing campaigns and that was, that was pretty high as well, 93% said that there was a priority and these were ranked as critical or important by folks who responded. Um, then there’s kind of a draft in the rate here, new ways to fundraise came in at about 82%, a little bit above that was operational efficiency and effectiveness at 84 and I find that kind of interesting

[00:39:41.84] spk_0:
because

[00:40:09.51] spk_2:
you know, if you’re focusing on operational efficiency and effectiveness, there’s probably gonna be a little bit more time in your day to focus on donor acquisition and retention. But there’s kind of this vicious cycle and all of these little things that go into that because we just talked about people being short on resources short on time so they can’t get to focusing on the operational efficiency. So I think there’s some work to be done and figuring out how to address all of these challenges and priorities in a way that’s beneficial to everybody and especially for these small and mid sized shops that are struggling with the resources and I know steve and I have talked about new ways to fundraise and how that can help with the donor attention in the acquisition as well as you want to.

[00:40:39.93] spk_1:
Yeah, I mean that’s that’s the diamond in the rough, as far as I’m concerned because we’re looking at it, this is nothing shiny at this point. It’s 82% for new raise to fundraise when we’re looking at 97% for donor acquisition, but it’s very possible that the new ways to fundraise and, and I think what we tend to do tony we tend to imagine the worst possible scenario, right. If I look into a new way to

[00:40:50.59] spk_0:
fundraise, it’s

[00:41:48.03] spk_1:
gonna take loads more time that I don’t have, it’s gonna take a lot more effort that that I just, I’m not ready to give. It’s gonna, it’s gonna expose me to all kinds of distractions. Uh, let’s go back to something, Sarah said, how about we start small? There are there are fundraising platforms available that allow you to break out of just the event type of fundraising And we then elements appear to peer weave in elements of social fundraising. Be able to tie together your online with your event efforts so that perhaps you are able to, by using new ways to fundraise, acquire new donors, retain some of those same donors because you’re doing it in a slightly different way where you might actually engage them differently. So I would, I would encourage your audience to consider. Okay, what is available to me that I might be able to try a slightly different way to fundraise, engage a slightly different audience and in fact, I may end up acquiring those new donors and retaining my current donors at the end of the day. Even better.

[00:42:08.34] spk_0:
All right, what else? We have some good amount of time left. If we, if we like any, any other stuff that uh, we haven’t talked about that you think is important for folks to know anything else from the study? Let me just remind folks you can get it at one cause dot com slash research. It’s the 2023 fundraising outlook.

[00:42:23.94] spk_2:
Perfect. Anything

[00:42:25.35] spk_0:
else?

[00:42:25.65] spk_1:
I’ll add something. Let’s go back. Let’s go back to challenges real quick, just for just for a minute. And

[00:42:32.02] spk_0:
this is gonna

[00:42:33.23] spk_1:
sound, this is gonna sound a little bit perhaps initially on the negative side, but I’m going to try to turn it into a little bit of a sunrise for us and end on something inspirational. Um, I’ve had the privilege of running this survey for I think I said five years now, five or six

[00:42:51.04] spk_0:
years

[00:42:51.97] spk_1:
And one of the things Tony that we do is we take that question around challenges. And we, we talked about this right donor fatigue, donor engagement retention, recurring giving, etc. And, and there are 13 different challenges that we asked non profit respondents to rate individually so we can track those as individual challenges.

[00:43:13.35] spk_0:
We can

[00:43:13.77] spk_1:
also track them as a collective level of challenge that the nonprofit says, hey, this is my

[00:43:20.98] spk_0:
overall

[00:43:22.26] spk_1:
level of challenge this

[00:43:24.49] spk_0:
year.

[00:43:51.86] spk_1:
We take that average across the entire respondent base. We’ll call it 900 and we’ll link that back to what things look like in 2021 and we can compare that average as well to 2020 and a 2019. And what’s really interesting to me. So two points first one again, perhaps on the surface a little negative is that those challenges are getting more intense. The average of those 13 challenges year over year, the relative rating of those challenges is increasing year over year over

[00:44:00.65] spk_2:
year. I

[00:44:02.10] spk_1:
Would have thought initially that 2020 would have been defining the ceiling and perhaps 2021 a little less and 2022 a little less. That’s not the trend. The trend is actually showing more intense challenges for our nonprofits.

[00:44:20.49] spk_0:
The good

[00:44:21.01] spk_1:
news is that we have data like this report and other reports out there that help us focus in on that right step that, that next right step and how to understand that Sarah was saying to find that one metric, maybe it’s around recurring giving, maybe it’s around looking at my, my uh, tech acquisition. Uh, there’s all kinds of things in this report that we’re not obviously covering in in these few minutes, but

[00:44:50.45] spk_0:
take

[00:45:29.16] spk_1:
This report, find that one or two next steps that you can actually move against in 2023 and watch yourself move be pulled out of those challenges in that one area. Are you going to improve every area? Probably not because not one of us can do everything. But the good news is that we have a clear path to make good decisions to see what our peers are doing with through research reports like this, see what the rest of the nonprofit world is doing, where they’re succeeding and we can point our ship there and really look to succeed even if it’s in small ways in 2023. So that’s, that’s probably my, my, my message of hope and inspiration using something as as, uh, as vanilla as data. But boy, it really opens up the opportunity for us to see what we need to do next. What step we want to take and where we can make progress in the next year.

[00:45:48.63] spk_0:
Anything that sounds like, you know the way one cause hopes that you will use their 20, fundraising outlook. Sarah, what would you like to leave this with?

[00:46:58.64] spk_2:
I kind of wanted to touch on steve mentioned tech acquisition and there’s something in the report about shifts in nonprofit technology investment. I would love for people to kind of look at the particular chart for that. I think about it. I’m looking at it right now on my other monitor actually and there are 36% of nonprofits saying that they’re going to invest more in marketing automation. So that’s kind of in line with, you know, the donor acquisition piece we were talking about in the challenges etcetera. And I’m interested to see, you know, what is the R. O. I. On this once this year happens? How do people use it? Was it effective for them? Did they feel like they had enough training? Were they able to use it? Because I don’t really want people to fall into that hole of, here’s the data and now I don’t know what to do with it. So I’m interested to see if there are enough resources out there for folks related to that marketing automation. Are they getting the training? They need to know how to use it effectively. Um I’m just interested to see next year’s results I guess is what I’m trying to say, but I do kind of want to echo steve’s message. I I want nonprofits to know they’re not Lonely islands. There are other nonprofits out there who are obviously facing similar challenges and looking for solutions. Talk to other nonprofits, talk to your peers, uh something that may have worked for them, may work for you, something that works for, you may work for them. So really rely on your community to talk through solutions that you’ve been working through and share the wealth of those ideas because we’re all in it for the same reason and that’s to make lives better for everyone. So definitely share the knowledge.

[00:47:29.48] spk_0:
Alright, messages of hope and inspiration

[00:47:33.08] spk_2:
from

[00:47:34.25] spk_0:
from two directors at one Cause Sarah Sebastian Director of corporate communications steve Lauch, Director of product marketing. The company is at one cause and at one Cause dot com, The report is the 2023 fundraising outlook, steve, Sarah Sarah steve, thank you very much. Real pleasure.

[00:47:55.96] spk_1:
Thanks for having us

[00:47:57.13] spk_2:
appreciate it

[00:48:21.15] spk_0:
next week, purchasing pro tips 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. 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 January 16, 2023: Overcome Common Communications Conundrums

 

Erica Mills BarnhartOvercome Common Communications Conundrums

It’s time to change the way you think about marketing, says Erica Mills Barnhart. You’ll make it more successful, find your true believers, and have more fun. She’s CEO of Claxon.

 

 

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[00:01:22.42] 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 he abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d bear the pain of a phone. Yah. If I had to speak the words you missed this week’s show overcome common communications conundrums, it’s time to change the way you think about marketing says Erica Mills Barnhart, you’ll make it more successful, find your true believers and have more fun. She’s ceo of klaxon On Tony’s take two planned giving accelerator here is overcome common communications conundrums. It’s a pleasure to welcome Erica Mills Barnhart to non profit radio Erica is a communication expert, speaker, author and coach. She’s founder and Ceo of Klaxon focused on teaching companies and leaders how to use words to change workplaces and the world. Erica also serves as an associate teaching professor at the University of Washington. She’s at Erica Mills barn and the company is at klaxon hyphen communication dot com. Welcome e M B

[00:01:37.34] spk_1:
Thank you Tony for having me.

[00:01:39.41] spk_0:
Pleasure to have you. Happy new year.

[00:01:41.33] spk_1:
Happy new year back at you.

[00:02:23.35] spk_0:
Thank you. I hope you enjoyed holidays and time off very much. Let’s talk, let’s talk marketing because this, this is your, this is, this is your world and because you think about this stuff every day and others of us only get to think of it when uh things are not going right, we’re, we don’t feel like we’re, we’re having a struggling with 8.5 by 11 inch blank piece of digital paper and we feel like we have to fill it and it’s not flowing? And we feel like we’re not we’re not reaching our audiences. Maybe not in the right places, maybe not in the right ways. Were people have questions that we feel like they shouldn’t have they, people should know all this. You know, I think all this gives rise to us the rest of us thinking about marketing, but uh, you know, trying to piece it together and go as well. So I know you can uh allay our concerns

[00:02:41.93] spk_1:
and

[00:02:43.64] spk_0:
it doesn’t

[00:02:44.26] spk_1:
have to be that complicated.

[00:02:45.96] spk_0:
Thank you. Thank you. I I feel the same way about the work that I planned giving. Keep it simple. Thank you. All right, that’s enough of me talking. So you want us to change the way we think about marketing? What do you want us to do?

[00:03:00.16] spk_1:
Um I want you to start with the what? Rather than the how,

[00:03:04.21] spk_0:
here’s what I mean.

[00:03:10.17] spk_1:
So you gave, you gave a beautiful example, tony Um I mean years with a blank piece of paper, but oftentimes when we’re thinking about marketing, we go straight to like

[00:03:15.87] spk_0:
should

[00:03:16.21] spk_1:
we be on twitter? Should I be on linkedin? Should be on instagram? Should we do a newsletter? Should be online. But those are all

[00:03:21.69] spk_0:
house

[00:03:27.31] spk_1:
and there are I mean so many house, that’s the wrong question to ask

[00:03:29.45] spk_0:
first.

[00:03:30.79] spk_1:
You first want to ask, what does success look

[00:03:33.55] spk_0:
like? What

[00:03:34.94] spk_1:
are the results that we are looking to achieve? What are the outcomes that we

[00:03:38.58] spk_0:
want? Right?

[00:03:50.20] spk_1:
And these, you know, you want them to align with your organizational goals. Marketing and communication doesn’t means to an end, right? Let’s let’s start there. So it’s always a means to an end, Right? So how is it gonna

[00:03:51.26] spk_0:
support your

[00:03:52.41] spk_1:
organization? So always start with the what and then the

[00:03:55.13] spk_0:
who, who

[00:03:56.48] spk_1:
are you, who do you need to

[00:03:58.24] spk_0:
reach and

[00:03:59.48] spk_1:
engage with in order to achieve

[00:04:02.57] spk_0:
the

[00:04:19.85] spk_1:
goals that you set for your marketing, once those two things are answered and your real clear and don’t move on, like the best thing that you can do for yourself and your team, your organization is to like hold off on the how conversation until you’re what you’re who are very clear. And then, and the reason it’s so important to do in that order is because if you don’t, if you aren’t clear on who your target audience is, you’ll sort of project into the house, like, well, I love an annual report, I’m making this up, Right. Um How about we do an annual

[00:04:32.89] spk_0:
report.

[00:04:34.27] spk_1:
Well, if your target audience is, you know, gen z,

[00:04:38.40] spk_0:
they’re

[00:04:56.67] spk_1:
probably not looking for a, you know, multi page annual report, they’re looking for something really different. So it mitigates projecting your own personal preferences into your strategies and your tactics. So what, who, how, that’s what I call the Klaxon method? What, who, how what who, how always grounded in the UAE the bigger picture y for the organization, but also, you know, with what does success look like?

[00:05:01.60] spk_0:
Why is that important?

[00:05:02.78] spk_1:
Why is that goal important to the organization? Right? Who’s your target audience? Why are those

[00:05:07.40] spk_0:
people so

[00:05:08.72] spk_1:
important to you in the work that

[00:05:09.80] spk_0:
you’re doing?

[00:05:10.81] spk_1:
Right? So always what who, how backed by the way? Um And that keeps things

[00:05:36.55] spk_0:
simple. Which which I’m grateful for. Let’s let’s let’s unpack some of that. Um Marketing is a means to an end. You said it’s you’ve heard you say somewhere it’s in service to your mission. Alright. Let’s let’s let’s start with say a little more about why, why this is merely but an important means to an end.

[00:06:03.64] spk_1:
Yeah. Because if you’re not, if you’re not clear on that, like you’re sort of saying the beginning and I appreciate it. It’s like marketing can be a little existential, right? There’s a lot of the sense of like, I should know what I’m doing. We should, you know, we should be on Tiktok, we should be on all these things, right? It can be kind of like a fear guilt, shame based activity, right? Um

[00:06:07.19] spk_0:
And that’s

[00:06:07.75] spk_1:
when you’re just doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff because you know that you should do it, but you’re not quite, you know, like this, like what you were talking about? Like, I know I should be doing things, but I don’t really want to do. And I know, right. I just want to release that for people in the way. One of the ways there’s a few ways, but one of the ways that you do that is by really reminding yourself like doing this just for the sake

[00:06:27.75] spk_0:
of it, right?

[00:06:40.76] spk_1:
We’re not posting on Tiktok if you decide or linkedin, we’re not putting on newsletters or annual reports. We’re not doing any of that just for the sake of it. We’re doing it because it’s a service storm mission. It is in support of our mission. And that just, you know what I found because I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years, it can really calm people down. It can help you get grounded and then you can get that clarity and focus going

[00:06:54.14] spk_0:
alright. You also said start with outcomes. What does, what does success look like? Right. All right. So what are some of these, could you give us some like, sample outcomes? Is it, is it fundraising related? Is it, uh, engagement on linkedin related or maybe it’s all that, you know, give us some sample outcomes to, to start with,

[00:07:21.65] spk_1:
um, in for nonprofits, there’s sort of a hit parade. Right? So fundraising for sure. Um, programs definitely, um, sometimes can be internal engagement also

[00:07:27.57] spk_0:
by the way.

[00:07:28.53] spk_1:
Um, if we’re talking internal, but I’m going to keep the conversation sort of focused external. But I just want to note that, right? Sometimes you actually need internal marketing in order for the external activities. Marketing to be

[00:07:38.44] spk_0:
Successful. And internal internal outcome might be 50% reduction in turnover. Exactly like that.

[00:07:48.07] spk_1:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That’s a simple

[00:07:49.30] spk_0:
minded ones. I’m scratching the surface, simple minded, you know. But for

[00:08:08.12] spk_1:
non profits, it’s always gonna be fundraising and programs. Right? But there’s a third that actually it will surface uh, initially, which is raising awareness and when I work with clients

[00:08:12.42] spk_0:
so

[00:08:26.27] spk_1:
mushy. Exactly, tony It’s like very amorphous also. So that’s fine. Oftentimes you do need to raise awareness, but you’re going to add two words raising awareness. So that dot dot dot right?

[00:08:28.11] spk_0:
It’s

[00:08:28.39] spk_1:
Fine to raise awareness, but it needs again raising awareness. So that what so that you bring in, you know, more donors so that you increase your retention rate, you know, for existing donors. So that you attract 100 new clients or custom, you know, whatever it is. It’s, it’s like the means to an end to the means to an end that is marketing.

[00:08:47.87] spk_0:
Yeah, right. We have to hold our feet to the fire, raise awareness. Okay. 11 person in the community now knows that we exist who didn’t know. Okay, we raised awareness. We’re done.

[00:08:58.39] spk_1:
And you know what I want to say. Get

[00:09:01.02] spk_0:
away with that.

[00:09:01.99] spk_1:
The balance of staff versus volunteers or board members for your, for your podcast listeners. But the people who are, who offer raising awareness as a goal in and of itself, mainly board members.

[00:09:15.55] spk_0:
It’s

[00:09:16.61] spk_1:
often board members. Um but this comes from a from a beautiful place. So I also want to acknowledge that they’re so excited to work with the organization, right? Like of course they want people to know about,

[00:09:27.85] spk_0:
you know, we

[00:09:28.39] spk_1:
want more people to know. So I want to say it comes from a really beautiful place that we want to honor that, right? And and then also go to that next step, because that’s where things get strategic.

[00:09:45.21] spk_0:
Okay, okay, thank you. Alright, so, so we’re starting with our objectives. Um you you want us to have objectives that are objective neutral?

[00:09:50.75] spk_1:
Yes,

[00:09:51.61] spk_0:
talk about that.

[00:10:10.09] spk_1:
Yeah, well, so I distinguish between goals and objectives and it’s, you know, it doesn’t really matter, it’s a little nitpicky, but I have found and I have a podcast, communicate for good. And one of the early episodes is dedicated entirely to this topic, which is um I find it helpful if you’re semantically

[00:10:13.22] spk_0:
tidy,

[00:10:27.85] spk_1:
right? So that you have organizational goals and then you have marketing objectives or communication objectives and it just sort of reinforces that hierarchy of marketing and communication being in service to the organization and the organization’s mission. Um

[00:10:28.56] spk_0:
you know, and we’re here to talk about the klaxon method, so that’s fine.

[00:10:32.78] spk_1:
So we’re

[00:10:33.97] spk_0:
gonna we’re differentiate between objectives and goals. Starting with starting with objectives?

[00:10:43.92] spk_1:
Well, no, you would start with goals, organizational goals, organizational goals don’t move onto marketing. Let’s say

[00:10:47.11] spk_0:
that like

[00:10:48.41] spk_1:
if you’re not clear on your organizational goals, no marketing for you yet.

[00:10:52.49] spk_0:
And

[00:10:53.18] spk_1:
again, that can be simple too. I’m sure you’ve had other folks on here. You talked about this. You don’t need to be complicated to be effective with your goals, but you gotta have those. Otherwise you can’t move on to the marketing objectives because you don’t

[00:11:05.23] spk_0:
know, right?

[00:11:14.47] spk_1:
You don’t know what you’re being in service to. So, um, and yeah, you want the objectives to be something you can measure. Like did we make progress over, you know, a quarter or a year or whatever your time horizon is. Did we make progress? Did we increase

[00:11:21.13] spk_0:
retention? Did

[00:11:29.95] spk_1:
we grow acquisition? Do we have more donors? Right. Um, so it has to be something that you can measure. And oftentimes

[00:11:31.67] spk_0:
we

[00:11:32.42] spk_1:
resist in the nonprofit space getting this

[00:11:35.85] spk_0:
concrete right.

[00:11:43.15] spk_1:
We’re like, well, you know, we’ll just increase retention. Let’s stick with that because increasing retention is fantastic. But we don’t say by what percent right? Or by how much? Um, and this, what I find most often is that’s a fear of failure.

[00:11:53.77] spk_0:
Oh yeah. Right. We don’t,

[00:11:56.26] spk_1:
if

[00:11:57.31] spk_0:
we put a number to it now, we’re now we’re gonna be accountable at the end of whatever our time period is and you know, there’s the acronym for smart goals specific measurable. Is it attainable achievable is realistic

[00:12:14.20] spk_1:
and time and

[00:12:15.37] spk_0:
time bound. Right, okay. smart goals and that, that’s, you know, folks, you know, our listeners just google smart goals, You’ll find a million articles on

[00:12:25.38] spk_1:
smart what smart

[00:13:08.49] spk_0:
stands for and what smart means and etcetera. So, um, yeah, but right. But if we’re not gonna, but we’re not gonna be realistic and, and hold our own selves, hold ourselves in our organization accountable. You know what I mean? We’re supposed to be running this thing like a business. It’s a nonprofit business, but it is a business. I’m not saying, I don’t mean business pejoratively like cutthroat, but you know, we’re running a business here. We have employees, we have people who are serving or counting on us for, for for what we deliver. We have people who support us. They don’t necessarily buy things, but they support us with their time and their money more, You know, so, so I believe it is a business and it should be

[00:13:11.23] spk_1:
corporations, right? Nonprofits are, are technically corporations. Yeah,

[00:13:26.57] spk_0:
they are, they’re just non profit corporations. So, so, so don’t be afraid to hold yourself accountable. And, and so this leads to something that you believe that failure should be, not, not feared, but you know, accepted. And so, so, so don’t be afraid. I’m gonna give you a second. Just so folks, you know, don’t be afraid to set goals and objectives that are measurable. So, you know, whether you’ve achieved them because failure is not, um, I’m not gonna say failure is not an option, because that’s not true, failure should be, should be accepted and maybe even embraced, you learn something,

[00:13:59.38] spk_1:
it’s all in and what you do with the failure, right? I mean, it’s it’s, it’s somewhat inevitable, like we were all coming through covid, right? We tried all sorts of things, like we just had kind of had a failure fest in a lot of ways over the past few years and if you look at like how the sheer volume of things we learned,

[00:14:15.61] spk_0:
that’s

[00:14:18.03] spk_1:
success, that’s winning, right? Like failure has such a negative connotation and I do want to unpack this a little bit because I can imagine that that you have listeners and they’re like, that is not an option in my organizational culture, it’s not safe to fail. So this is, this is a leadership issue, issue in a culture

[00:14:34.67] spk_0:
issue, right?

[00:14:45.07] spk_1:
Like we have to lay this firmly at the feet of the leadership, that is where this culture either is or is not created. Um, and when, when, when failure isn’t an option just to play that out a little bit, people play

[00:14:49.72] spk_0:
small, they’re

[00:14:51.03] spk_1:
doing the same things over and over again, right? You actually become less effective over time,

[00:14:55.64] spk_0:
small, safe,

[00:14:56.80] spk_1:
safe. This is how we do it. And you know, this is how we do it a shorthand for, this feels safe to me,

[00:15:02.68] spk_0:
right?

[00:15:04.01] spk_1:
So, so a piece of this

[00:15:05.15] spk_0:
is

[00:15:08.38] spk_1:
psychological safety, this feels safe to me, right? And so you have to bring great intentionality as a leader when I’m coaching, you know, I do a lot of coaching one on one with leaders and with teams about one on one. We talk about failure a lot, like, because you have to start with what’s what’s your personal relationship with

[00:15:21.36] spk_0:
failure? Because

[00:15:27.70] spk_1:
failure feel safe to you, because if it doesn’t feel safe to you, well, that’s first step for you, right? You can’t be up there pontificating about like sailors, great, we’re gonna embrace it and meanwhile you’re like, oh my God, please, I never wanna fail. Um that’s not gonna work. You know, you have to unpack that. Like, what is your subconscious mind telling

[00:15:40.73] spk_0:
you, what

[00:15:41.00] spk_1:
are your beliefs about failure? What was modeled for you growing

[00:15:44.36] spk_0:
up around

[00:15:49.17] spk_1:
failure? You know, you have to do that inner work first that inner game, and then when you’re like, okay, I see the positivity and failure, then you can bring that forward um

[00:15:56.96] spk_0:
as

[00:15:57.51] spk_1:
a leader, but really this is about culture and it’s about leadership.

[00:16:28.35] spk_0:
Yeah. And I would say, you know, if if you’re in a place where failure is not at least accepted, I mean, we’re not gonna we’re not cheering for it, but at least accepted. You know, it may not be the right place if you because because it is it’s a place that’s playing like you said Erica it’s a place that’s playing safe and small, and, you know, we have enormous problems. Whatever whatever work you’re doing from education to animal welfare to the environment or whatever religion, whatever you’re doing, we’ve got a lot to do and playing safe and small is not going to get us there.

[00:16:48.96] spk_1:
Yeah. But you know what’s interesting tony is when we look at both like inter internal to the sector, but also external constraints to the sector. Um, but I just always wanna acknowledge when we talk about failure as it relates to nonprofits and they’re very

[00:16:53.60] spk_0:
world

[00:17:17.46] spk_1:
changing work. Like donors are not always super jazzed about the idea of failure. So there are some legitimate external constraints, funding constraints, largely funding related or partnership related, but mainly funding is what we’re talking about here, where it’s like, no, we’re not, no, that’s not on the table. And so you have to, you know, really figure that out for you. You know, look at your funding sources and risk tolerance and failure tolerance as it relates to those and then figure out like how can, how can you create a funding portfolio that does allow you to take risks. It does allow you to fail. Um, so I just always want to acknowledge, you know, uh, you know, listeners, if if you’re getting funding from pretty traditional sources that have like where that’s not an option. I just want to acknowledge that that’s a dynamic.

[00:17:42.67] spk_0:
Okay. Yeah. And I’m, I’m not disagreeing.

[00:17:46.40] spk_1:
Yeah, I don’t, I just never want to come off as like failure and embrace it and say hooray and whatnot. You know, like given given all the variables that leaders are dealing with. I just I want to acknowledge it’s not it’s it’s it’s messy, right? It’s

[00:18:25.62] spk_0:
part of that also is messaging though the way you, the way you go back to those funders and and and and even not only after the fact, but before before, you know, right before here’s something we’re going to try and launch this program and we’re gonna try to reach 2500 people in the next year, you know, but acknowledging that that’s that’s a stretch, you know? So I mean there’s there’s messaging, maybe it’s even marketing involved in all those in the whole process

[00:18:41.95] spk_1:
relationship building, right? So if from the I would hope like when I, you know, was in development that one, um you know, especially with institutional funders, um you know, you have the conversation up front, so are we gonna set big audacious goals together

[00:18:49.82] spk_0:
and if

[00:18:50.61] spk_1:
so we might not achieve them. What are we gonna do when we don’t achieve

[00:18:54.14] spk_0:
them? Right,

[00:19:08.68] spk_1:
Like and having those conversations upfront, what are we gonna do if we do? Because that’s what we’re going for, what are we gonna do if we if we don’t right? And where the course corrections gonna gonna come along the way, you know, I started talking about this idea of micro communication, which is, we tend to think about like big picture communication and big picture messaging and you know, a lot of my work with clients is

[00:19:17.25] spk_0:
developing,

[00:19:38.44] spk_1:
I call them identity statements but mission vision values, purpose statements right? Like you nail that and the rest of your messaging becomes so much easier, right? It just all closed. That’s lead domino. So we always start there. Um, so rightfully so big big ticket, big ticket messaging and communication elements. But increasingly, especially given what happened to our brains and our essential nervous systems with Covid,

[00:19:44.63] spk_0:
I’m

[00:19:45.16] spk_1:
really working with clients about being more attentive and intentional about micro communication. So what’s happening in between the big moments? How are you creating that

[00:19:54.10] spk_0:
connectivity?

[00:19:58.74] spk_1:
Right? And this can be very light touches doesn’t need to be a big deal. But like

[00:19:59.99] spk_0:
what? Give an example of what you’re talking about

[00:20:02.56] spk_1:
text message, right? Like hey, just checking in. We had a, we had a, we had a big day today, you know, we had our, you know, 100 people signed up just wanted you to know, you know, pop them a quick email, we don’t have to like wait rather than waiting for the formal report,

[00:20:16.67] spk_0:
you

[00:20:16.86] spk_1:
know, share the winds as they come in. And even if it’s just, you know, like I’m very attentive to my instincts. Um, you know, your gut, you know, people are like, oh, it’s like, well it actually is millennia

[00:20:28.67] spk_0:
of

[00:20:29.11] spk_1:
information that we all have inside of us. So I’m pretty

[00:20:31.46] spk_0:
attentive anytime

[00:20:32.66] spk_1:
somebody pops on my radar,

[00:20:34.41] spk_0:
follow your instinct. But I’m a huge believer in following your instincts,

[00:20:38.18] spk_1:
right? Like it’s telling you something

[00:20:40.91] spk_0:
anytime

[00:20:45.45] spk_1:
someone just pops on my radar and this is multiple times a day I stop what I’m doing and I pop, it depends on how they like to be communicated with, right? But it could be email. It could be a text, it could be facebook messenger, you know, whatever it’s gonna be. And I just say, hey, you popped on my radar.

[00:20:56.25] spk_0:
Uh, you

[00:20:57.20] spk_1:
know, I’m thinking of

[00:20:59.35] spk_0:
you, you

[00:21:00.20] spk_1:
can do that. You know, in a relationship with your funders and your donors as well. Like I think we’re in a place where a little more humanness is allowable. Um, and actually craved.

[00:21:12.03] spk_0:
Yeah.

[00:21:12.32] spk_1:
And also just from an internal communication perspective, there was an article recently based in Harvard Business review based on some research at the University of pennsylvania. And it was about what staff employees are looking for from their managers. And

[00:21:28.32] spk_0:
um, it was

[00:21:31.29] spk_1:
micro understanding. So this is what got me think about micro communication, right? And micro understanding meaning I don’t want you in my business. I don’t want you to be micromanaging me, I want you to understand me. Don’t you understand what happens for me over the course of my

[00:21:44.41] spk_0:
day because

[00:21:51.65] spk_1:
we are remote or hybrid for the most part, um, definitely not going away. Don’t you understand what that means for me and to me,

[00:21:54.76] spk_0:
so that

[00:21:55.14] spk_1:
was a really interesting evolution and and uh and an invitation for leaders to really be thinking what does micro understanding look like? And then my next step with that is and what is micro

[00:22:05.26] spk_0:
communication based

[00:22:06.98] spk_1:
on that? Right?

[00:22:07.97] spk_0:
All more humanness to like

[00:22:09.81] spk_1:
that Humanness,

[00:22:51.74] spk_0:
more humanity. So then um All right, so uh audacious go well, we talked to them about, you know, having audacious goals. Not not that goes back to you know, not playing small and safe and no, and that’s where this yes, our our digression on failure and micro communications came when I said it may not be the right place for you. What I meant was you know, if if leadership is not accommodating at you know, at least accommodating being audacious willingness to fail. Uh you know, then you have to evaluate whether that culture can change and if you’re not sure that it can evaluate whether that culture is the right place for you. That so that that was you know, I’ve

[00:23:02.98] spk_1:
also worked with um you know, leaders who

[00:23:08.55] spk_0:
were they

[00:23:09.18] spk_1:
are genuinely risk averse,

[00:23:10.74] spk_0:
but

[00:23:24.71] spk_1:
that does not, that doesn’t fire them up. It makes it very uncomfortable, right? So I just wanna say on the other side of it, you know, just is it a culture fit for you can be anywhere along that continuum. But I I love the question right? Like is this a fit for me? Right? I feel like so often

[00:23:30.51] spk_0:
we’re

[00:23:31.33] spk_1:
like, you know, when I, when I teach at the university of Washington in the oven school, the public policy and governance, um when I talk to my students and I mainly work with graduate students, so they’re getting their master’s degrees, They’re like rock stars, they’re amazing, they’re just amazing. And they get to the point in the, you know, in their time and they’re interviewing for jobs. And I always say to them, is

[00:23:51.91] spk_0:
when

[00:24:03.67] spk_1:
they’re making you the offer, you you you are in the power position, ask for what you want because it’s like, oh my God, they want me and then you don’t negotiate because you’re like, oh, they, they like me. Oh, and I’m like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You hold all the cards in that

[00:24:09.85] spk_0:
moment.

[00:24:10.69] spk_1:
They don’t want to go through that again. You hold all the cards and it’s sort of similar like,

[00:24:16.40] spk_0:
and we’re seeing this

[00:24:24.37] spk_1:
with quiet quitting and, you know, a lot of other movements. It’s like this openness, like maybe this isn’t what I want. And so there’s a lot of, you know, downsides and tough stuff happening right now obviously,

[00:24:29.74] spk_0:
but I think of

[00:24:51.07] spk_1:
bright, I mean I’m I’m a total optimist by nature. Um so I’m always looking for the silver lining in the bright spots while acknowledging the darkness um is this for me, is this what I want? Is this who I want to be? Is this where I want to be? You know, like there’s just a different and that that’s like authoring your life and I want to, I just want to invite listeners to like, this is your one, this is it, Right?

[00:24:57.13] spk_0:
Uh

[00:24:58.55] spk_1:
and you’re wonderful.

[00:24:59.98] spk_0:
And

[00:25:08.49] spk_1:
so are you offering your life, are you like making it happen for you as opposed to like that? It’s happening to me, stance is demoralizing and again, from a leadership perspective, are you inviting that sense

[00:25:12.76] spk_0:
of,

[00:25:13.71] spk_1:
is this for me? How is this for me? Um and encouraging

[00:25:17.32] spk_0:
that regardless

[00:25:18.75] spk_1:
of your risk tolerance by the way?

[00:26:28.28] spk_0:
Right. Right. I love the idea of making the life that you want, not defaulting into the life that lots of other people have made before you just because you know, and that might be taking a year or two off before, you know, to do, to do volunteer work or to travel and you know, there there are myriad different ways. It involves your personal relationships, your, your professional relationships, your relationship with family. I mean turn this into a therapy session, but intentional about the life that you make for yourself and a significant part of that, although it seems like maybe in declining proportion, but still significant is your work. The work you do. The reason I say that maybe in declining proportion is because since the pandemic, I think work has become less significant to large swaths of, I don’t know about the world. So I’ll just focus on our country. I think work has become less or

[00:26:39.98] spk_1:
at least differently significant. Like the way I’m experiencing it with my clients and you know, friends and colleagues, it’s differently significant, which isn’t good or bad, but it does feel different, right? Like it’s holding different space in people’s lives. And I think part of that is the sense of agency that’s

[00:26:46.61] spk_0:
like maybe it doesn’t

[00:26:47.85] spk_1:
have to look like this. And also by the way, you can honor,

[00:26:51.11] spk_0:
you

[00:26:59.26] spk_1:
could like, you know, I’m a woman. I like there are women who carved the path so that I could do what I want to do and I honor

[00:27:00.05] spk_0:
that while

[00:27:01.57] spk_1:
doing things differently and while doing them on my own terms, like you can hold both of that and I think sometimes it can feel a little like, but this is how insert person who’s important to you or who you respect, did things you can respect and honor that

[00:27:15.20] spk_0:
and do

[00:27:16.59] spk_1:
it your own way.

[00:27:17.36] spk_0:
Yeah, we can hold both these

[00:27:18.73] spk_1:
thoughts. You can hold both

[00:27:29.36] spk_0:
of course. Alright, well I made us digress from uh strict marketing communication. So let’s let’s go a little back. Um true believers. We have you want us to find true believers, help us. What are what are, who are our true believers and or what are they in the abstract And how do we find our

[00:27:59.69] spk_1:
okay, so in the world for marketing, generally speaking, in particular for nonprofits? There are three types of body of people in your audience is okay. And I’m not using these terms in their religious sense, using them sort of neutrally. Okay believers, agnostics and atheists. So believers believe what you believe. If you are on a mission to eradicate extreme global poverty, they’re like, yes to that. If it’s too, you know, spayed and neutered dogs and their yes to that, right? They believe what you believe. Agnostics might believe what you believe.

[00:28:14.55] spk_0:
Um, but

[00:28:15.88] spk_1:
you need to persuade them a little bit, right? Maybe it’s not top of their list or maybe it’s like, how you do it or whatever, but they’re they’re removable, right? You can, you can,

[00:28:23.26] spk_0:
you

[00:28:25.06] spk_1:
know, so you might think of them as like uninitiated believers.

[00:28:28.81] spk_0:
Okay.

[00:28:34.04] spk_1:
But they’re they’re they’re in the middle and then atheists don’t believe what you believe. And um, so one thing that comes up is it feels fantastic to convert an atheist, right? Like any time I do a big public talk and we talk about this, there’s always somebody who never believes, like, yeah, but there was this guy and you know, he was, he was against us. He was again, you know, we really kept working on him and now he’s a, you know, he’s a donor. My question back is that’s great. But what was the opportunity cost of converting one? Atheist versus connecting with 1000

[00:29:01.34] spk_0:
believers

[00:29:02.58] spk_1:
like which one? Which one is advancing your mission more dramatically? I mean, except in the world of politics, I just wanna, that’s the caveat, that’s its own little different things.

[00:29:12.90] spk_0:
Um, it’s

[00:29:14.91] spk_1:
all about connecting with your, with your believers.

[00:31:38.28] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two. It’s planned giving accelerator season. I’m giving 50% off the full tuition for the month of january. So all this month, 50% off full tuition. The class starts in early March 1st week of March and will be done by Memorial Day. It’s a three month class. You’ll spend an hour a week with me. Well that may not be the biggest selling point. You’ll spend an hour a week with your, who will become your friends in our zoom meetings always set up as meetings, not webinars. If you know the difference, you’ll know that you can talk to each other. There’s no, there’s no putting questions and comments in a chat box always set up as meetings. These folks will become your friends. They will be similarly situated in small and midsize nonprofits wanting to launch planned giving. All right. This is, this is what we do together. Oh and and I am there too. And I’m teaching and you know, I’ll be guiding you, giving you the resources you need, like sample, um, Uh, donor letters, template letters, um, marketing materials? Uh, a power point for when you talk to your board and that’ll be one of the meetings we have together is acquainting your board with planned giving and perhaps soliciting your board, identifying your top prospects and soliciting them, identifying your tier two prospects and identifying them, etc. All the info is at planned giving accelerator dot com. I hope you’ll be with me, love to have you. And that’s Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo but loads more time for overcome common communications conundrums with Erica Mills Barnhart. Give us some, give us some ideas about how to, how to get, maybe get somebody from agnostic to, uh, to believe her. Those people are those, they work the return on investment. The agnostic community.

[00:31:50.77] spk_1:
Yeah. You know, for the most part, you have to be doing both. So, so a lot of marketing those optimization, right? So it’s for whom are we optimizing? Um, and in general,

[00:31:52.86] spk_0:
if you’re

[00:31:53.42] spk_1:
optimizing well, like with your messaging, right? So, so you have a message and it really speaks to the hopes Dreams, wants needs

[00:32:00.22] spk_0:
of

[00:32:01.22] spk_1:
your believers. That’s gonna be enough to like get your agnostics interest is going to perk up their ears for your believers. They’re like woo. And you’re off to the races for your agnostics. Um,

[00:32:13.34] spk_0:
it’s gonna take

[00:32:14.01] spk_1:
just a little more conversation,

[00:32:15.80] spk_0:
right?

[00:32:16.70] spk_1:
And so, you know, questions are your friend,

[00:32:20.07] spk_0:
like

[00:32:32.25] spk_1:
we default into this. Like if I tell them everything out of the gate, then maybe I’ll hit on something and that is interesting to them and you end up just like, right? And I always say when you tell someone everything, they remember nothing and that comes from like a worried place actually, right? So again, like that you’re gonna hear a theme which is

[00:32:38.05] spk_0:
like you’re

[00:32:39.37] spk_1:
the authority

[00:32:40.86] spk_0:
in

[00:32:41.13] spk_1:
what your organization does show up as the authority ask questions, right? Because the answers to the question, that’s how you’re gonna get that, then you know what they’re interested in and you can feel a little scary at first to do this. If again, if it’s not we’re used to doing or that’s not the culture, um,

[00:32:58.53] spk_0:
get

[00:32:58.82] spk_1:
them, you know, ask questions, just find out

[00:33:00.99] spk_0:
what, what

[00:33:02.42] spk_1:
is it about, what you do specifically? So it’s like there’s a level of specificity and understanding agnostics that you need to move them might refer to it as an engagement cycle. From knowing the organization to understanding the organization, to engaging

[00:33:17.89] spk_0:
believers

[00:33:18.63] spk_1:
move along that cycle real quickly.

[00:33:20.35] spk_0:
You need

[00:33:21.07] spk_1:
to spend more time that zone of understanding and helping them understand what you do with agnostics.

[00:33:27.72] spk_0:
Is this all consistent with uh Simon Sinek, his his core belief that people don’t buy what you what won’t buy, what you don’t buy what you do, they buy, why you do

[00:33:41.92] spk_1:
it

[00:33:46.23] spk_0:
consistent? Okay, okay, so say a little more about the engagement cycle now, you can’t shortchange non profit listeners with like a 12th drive by of the engagement cycle.

[00:34:15.73] spk_1:
I mean marketing and messaging is like very fundamentally all about moving folks around this engagement cycle. And it actually doesn’t matter if you’re like buying toothpaste or you’re trying to get, you know, a new donor. It’s like everyone has to go from knowing to understanding to engaging. And I got, I got specific about this because what can happen, this is unique to nonprofits is because we care so deeply and passionately about what we’re doing. There’s kind of this like to know me is to love me, to know me is to engage, why wouldn’t

[00:34:24.05] spk_0:
you Right?

[00:34:25.73] spk_1:
And then you skip over

[00:34:28.43] spk_0:
the

[00:34:38.12] spk_1:
understand phase and, and that’s really a miss and it’s a miss because like let’s take the events I pick on events a lot. Um, events are a classic example of moving someone from knowing to engaging right? Like I care about something I invite you tony and some other folks to sit at my table at, you know, the lunch and the dinner you come because you know me, maybe you care maybe you don’t and then there’s an

[00:34:53.45] spk_0:
ask rightfully.

[00:34:54.84] spk_1:
So, you know, we should ask for the support.

[00:34:58.51] spk_0:
But if

[00:34:58.93] spk_1:
you go from no to engage that

[00:35:00.39] spk_0:
quickly and

[00:35:08.97] spk_1:
you don’t plan and this is what I see again and again and again with nonprofits is there isn’t a plan for, okay, how am I going to go back to tony and

[00:35:09.71] spk_0:
sort of,

[00:35:10.38] spk_1:
you know, back up the caboose like understanding what what you tony care about as it relates to my organization.

[00:35:15.74] spk_0:
The important follow up

[00:35:22.23] spk_1:
the important what Yes, very intentional follow up. Um, and this is where you know, like retention comes into play, but it’s really interesting. Like you know, you say these things just like, why wouldn’t you do that? That’s weird. Why are you saying that out loud? Of course you would do that. It’s, it’s stunning how often it doesn’t happen. And it is this like really fabulous.

[00:35:38.80] spk_0:
Well tony

[00:35:39.55] spk_1:
Gave money of course he loves what we do and we lump, you know, then we lump you in with somebody who’s given to the organization for five

[00:35:45.40] spk_0:
years now.

[00:35:49.29] spk_1:
Your current donor, not everybody does this. I’m sure listeners, I’m sure there’s some of you like, no, no, we nailed it on the follow up. Like, you know, that’s not so I’m, I’m painting a wide with wide

[00:35:58.73] spk_0:
broad

[00:36:05.49] spk_1:
brush strokes here. But I have seen this so often. Um, and it’s heartbreaking because then you don’t, you know, maybe you don’t come back to the event the next year. You haven’t been nurtured and then your one time donor and that’s super

[00:36:12.46] spk_0:
expensive. That

[00:36:13.86] spk_1:
is low R. O I

[00:36:15.74] spk_0:
I

[00:36:15.97] spk_1:
want the highest return on investment possible.

[00:36:23.45] spk_0:
I’m guessing you’re a big believer in segmentation. Yes, I believe segmentation,

[00:36:26.43] spk_1:
but but not over segmenting.

[00:36:29.46] spk_0:
I

[00:36:29.89] spk_1:
feel like given some of the databases that we

[00:36:32.20] spk_0:
have,

[00:36:36.46] spk_1:
you can almost use it as a stalling tactic like well we’re not ready to like send out our appeals because we haven’t you know, segmented enough. So I just like it’s

[00:36:44.03] spk_0:
it’s a

[00:36:52.28] spk_1:
bit of an art. There’s an art to the segmentation in addition to the science. So yes. I’m a fan of segmenting. Um and not crossing the line into over segmentation as sort of a stalling tactic to doing the work.

[00:36:59.11] spk_0:
All right. I’m not I’m not clear on this. I mean anything. Yeah, I agree. I mean anything can be overdone and used as a used as an excuse uh as an excuse for immobility. What what what is what what’s over segmentation? Like what’s

[00:37:15.61] spk_1:
your database rather than sending out the appeal?

[00:37:17.85] spk_0:
Oh okay.

[00:37:20.95] spk_1:
Yeah.

[00:37:22.33] spk_0:
And and segmenting we want to segment right by interest. Maybe if we know someone is interested in the spay neuter program then then those are the those are the touch points. Those are the data points. Those are the stories we’re gonna share with them. Not the uh not the adoption, not the adoption and rescue program.

[00:38:06.00] spk_1:
Yeah exactly. Like what are what are their interests? And so you know any organization will know in advance. Like here’s kind of our top three top three things we do. Top three ways that we services, we offer our ways that we go about um taking care of animals. Um So you start there again offering, right? So yes you want the information and you know your organization best. So start there and then you can put people in the file folders as it were.

[00:38:20.57] spk_0:
And you’re gonna find out what their interests are, not only by their giving, but by asking the questions that you were talking about earlier. You know, what, what moves you about our work? What brought you to us? What do you love? And

[00:38:21.93] spk_1:
how do you like to be communicated with?

[00:38:24.28] spk_0:
Yeah,

[00:38:32.28] spk_1:
we have like a pretty strong email default setting now, I would say. Um, not everybody loves

[00:38:34.26] spk_0:
that. You

[00:38:46.37] spk_1:
know, I’m seeing, I have clients who are having great success with kind of not, not not doing email. That’s always gonna be a part of what you’re doing. But taking the time to like, actually, you know, back to snail mail. Um, you know, really working direct mail. I feel like direct mail is like having to come back.

[00:38:54.25] spk_0:
Yeah. It’s always strong. I think it’s always so

[00:38:57.88] spk_1:
much stronger than people. Whenever I like show the stats on direct mail, they’re like, what?

[00:39:01.91] spk_0:
Especially when you’re writing to people who love you already. Your mail is not their junk mail, they’re giving to you. They’re supporting you. They’re spending either their time or their money with you. They’re gonna open your letters.

[00:39:24.27] spk_1:
Yeah. I spent a lot of time talking about delight with my clients. How can you delight them? And it’s, it’s just, I mean, it’s a delightful conversation to talk about delight a lot of the work, You know that that nonprofits do is it’s heavy, it’s hard. Um

[00:39:36.19] spk_0:
And so delight

[00:39:36.92] spk_1:
can feel a little antithetical uh trivializing the work. And so I’m not trying to, you know, don’t trivialize the work and don’t trivialize what you’re sharing. Um But can you can you create delight in

[00:39:50.65] spk_0:
how

[00:39:51.08] spk_1:
it is delivered in some form or fashion? I think delight is a gift um in this day and age and it activates people’s particular activating system, which is opens, opens them up to whatever comes next. It

[00:40:03.25] spk_0:
also sounds like fun, right? You can be willing to have fun. Don’t be afraid to have fun. Right?

[00:40:08.60] spk_1:
Yes.

[00:40:10.03] spk_0:
Fun. Yeah.

[00:40:11.83] spk_1:
Yeah. I mean listeners can’t see it, but I do have a string

[00:40:14.33] spk_0:
of holiday

[00:40:15.77] spk_1:
lights around my neck.

[00:40:16.75] spk_0:
I was thinking about saying it right this minute to yeah, got christmas lights multicolor.

[00:40:21.22] spk_1:
I mean it’s been an intense year.

[00:40:24.21] spk_0:
It’s a necklace necklace of

[00:40:25.80] spk_1:
christmas.

[00:40:26.68] spk_0:
The old, the old style big bulb type, not the

[00:40:30.09] spk_1:
right. Yeah. There’s nothing, there’s nothing sophisticated about these lights

[00:40:35.05] spk_0:
there.

[00:40:39.10] spk_1:
Dr Seuss lights. And I put it on this morning cause I’m, you know, I’m talking with you and I like have a lot of stuff and I’m like let’s have a lot of fun

[00:40:56.85] spk_0:
please please do? Alright, we still have more time together. E. M. B. Erica Mills Barnhart. What else, what else would you like to talk about marketing doing it differently. Thinking differently that we haven’t talked about yet.

[00:41:23.14] spk_1:
You know, one of the things I, this is not a unique to me type of thing, but I really invite listeners to think about what they can let go of to do less. What I consistently see is organizations doing too many things. Um and often the reason for that is far more like fear of missing out often, often to double down that this comes from board members. So if you’re a board member listening, you may have a fabulous idea for marketing, Thank you very much for that. And

[00:41:32.87] spk_0:
go

[00:42:05.73] spk_1:
back to the klaxon method, what does success look like? Who’s our target audience? So does your idea, which is a, how is that really going to resonate with the target market? This is why working the method is so important. Part of it. It grew out of like I wanted a way for to kind of mitigate positional authority negatively impacting marketing outcomes, right? Because if you’re a staff member it can be tough to say no right, It really can be. And so then you end up with kind of a bloated number of marketing activities that you’re doing. Um so it’s early in the year, like the work I’m gonna be doing with clients and I am hosting monthly free Ask me Anything sessions starting in january 2023 So you’re listening and you’re curious, come to come to an A. M. A. Right? Like what can I take off my plate? I’ve been doing this so long that it’s, and I’m right, I’m objective. So I can be like, don’t do that.

[00:42:25.49] spk_0:
Take that. Where can we learn about the go to

[00:42:35.03] spk_1:
Klaxon dash communication dot com, backslash newsletter sign up because it’s for newsletter subscribers. That’s how you’re going to find out about like get the zoom link and all

[00:42:39.53] spk_0:
that. You say dash. I say hyphen hyphen. Okay. You don’t mind hyphen.

[00:42:43.99] spk_1:
Maybe that’s an east coast west coast thing.

[00:42:50.91] spk_0:
Maybe it is Klaxon dash Klaxon hyphen. You say you would say dot com though, right? You wouldn’t say that period

[00:42:55.32] spk_1:
correct. I just think about that. Yeah. Dot com. Dot org.

[00:43:01.43] spk_0:
It’s your company. Use dash. I just, I don’t know. I learned hyphen maybe in law school. Maybe I learned hyphen in law school. I don’t know.

[00:43:07.86] spk_1:
Oh, 100% seems lawyer lawyerly.

[00:43:11.04] spk_0:
It sounds like it’s

[00:43:11.94] spk_1:
very technically accurate,

[00:43:13.49] spk_0:
right? Like aiding and abetting it’s, you know, you have to duplicate the words in case you didn’t get it with aiding. Like I gotta, I gotta double down with abetting. Yeah.

[00:43:29.28] spk_1:
So that’s one thing I would say and part of it is like I just want to, I give all your listeners and all non profit people? Just a permission slip to do less.

[00:43:30.40] spk_0:
What kinds of things, what kinds of things we do less of?

[00:43:37.36] spk_1:
Don’t be on so many social media channels, knock it off. You don’t need to be on all of them unless you are a very, very large organization, which as we all know listeners. So there aren’t that many nonprofits that are big enough to support

[00:43:46.64] spk_0:
the very big right University of Washington is not listening to us

[00:43:50.29] spk_1:
go dogs. But no, they’re not

[00:44:05.61] spk_0:
Erica is in Seattle Seattle Washington. Um, well we just talked, well, my guests just last week, I talked about what’s going on twitter amy sample ward and you know, for the new year, whether whether you want twitter maybe, you know, her advice was just evaluated objectively.

[00:44:12.81] spk_1:
I literally tony Just had this conversation with my client yesterday. One of them was

[00:44:16.92] spk_0:
a good time to think, take a step back,

[00:44:20.96] spk_1:
take a step back. But,

[00:44:21.75] spk_0:
and, and

[00:44:23.22] spk_1:
you know that, that I don’t, I mean I haven’t listened yet what Amy said, but I do and believe everything Amy says by the way, she’s brilliant.

[00:44:30.47] spk_0:
She’s on, she’s on all the time. You know, Amy sample

[00:44:32.58] spk_1:
ward. Yeah,

[00:44:33.78] spk_0:
she’s a regular. She’s my, our technology and social media contributor on the show.

[00:44:39.47] spk_1:
Yeah, way back when I worked for an organization called End Power. So we put technology into the hands of nonprofits and so we

[00:44:46.10] spk_0:
started

[00:44:55.61] spk_1:
crossing paths then. So we’ve orbited for a long time. Um, it’s a values decision to a certain extent. Right? So just with that twitter piece, she spoke to this?

[00:44:57.62] spk_0:
Here’s the like, yeah,

[00:44:59.42] spk_1:
are, are, are are people there? So who’s your target audience? If so Okay, that’s that’s one piece of equation but also like how does this align with our values as an organization? So that that’s really twitter is really a twofold choice whereas the rest of them

[00:45:11.82] spk_0:
um you

[00:45:13.18] spk_1:
know, linkedin facebook, I would,

[00:45:15.95] spk_0:
what

[00:45:17.75] spk_1:
I generally say is beyond one.

[00:45:21.37] spk_0:
Yeah,

[00:45:22.83] spk_1:
Beyond one. Be fully on one be the organization where if you’re on linkedin and you, you know, you’ve got the algorithm going for you. People are like, Oh my God, it’s you know, it’s so and so again insert the name of your organization like that. It’s your omnipresent.

[00:45:38.34] spk_0:
I

[00:45:41.71] spk_1:
Would rather have the clients be omnipresent on one channel Then sort of, you know, not even blinking onto the radar of the 17 different social media. I mean there’s a hit parade of five basically, but I’d rather have you beyond present on one once you have that nail.

[00:45:53.03] spk_0:
I had

[00:45:53.33] spk_1:
Another, you know, some organizations can do to it’s fine, but even at two. oftentimes I see

[00:46:00.19] spk_0:
diminishing diminishing

[00:46:01.63] spk_1:
returns for clients.

[00:46:02.77] spk_0:
I

[00:46:07.65] spk_1:
mean I run a communication firm right here on Lincoln period full stop.

[00:46:12.03] spk_0:
What what’s well at Erica mills barn, is that not?

[00:46:16.03] spk_1:
Yeah, yeah, that was my choice to sort of be the face of

[00:46:19.37] spk_0:
um

[00:46:20.22] spk_1:
so that’s our

[00:46:21.38] spk_0:
the company. Okay, so the company is strictly on linkedin,

[00:46:24.59] spk_1:
yep. Gotcha.

[00:46:25.67] spk_0:
Okay. Klaxon, yep. Alright permission to do less

[00:46:30.32] spk_1:
permission to do less permission to less because you’re going to do it better and you’re gonna feel like

[00:46:36.56] spk_0:
just you’re going to

[00:47:10.03] spk_1:
feel the energy of it. And I actually, because I do have, you know, people call it street, but actually it’s quantum physics um and metaphysics, which is like, if you’re on, I’m gonna make this up, right? If you’re on five channels right now where you’re doing five or six things, I want you to write each of them on a piece of paper. I want you to go what who, how make a strategic informed choice about which you’re gonna keep and the ones that you’re gonna release, you’re gonna go burn the scrap of paper. It is so gratifying and there’s something energetically about that. I mean, one of the things that I talked about a lot is the energetic of language in general, right? So words, we hear words matter, Words matter because they actually are matter.

[00:47:21.88] spk_0:
Um

[00:47:22.19] spk_1:
So they abide by all of the universal laws of physics and thermodynamics, just like anything else. So, the words themselves have energy.

[00:47:30.61] spk_0:
Every

[00:47:31.39] spk_1:
word has its own energy, the way you deliver it can shift the energy right? Um and so as you’re like, that’s why just releasing and having to change form is really an important part of the process. Plus it’s

[00:47:43.26] spk_0:
fun theme

[00:47:46.41] spk_1:
of the day, it’s fun, but I mean, you know, be safe about your burning and I’m not like suggesting

[00:47:50.73] spk_0:
you may not be

[00:47:52.11] spk_1:
safe and have fun with burning things, but

[00:47:55.30] spk_0:
um,

[00:47:56.13] spk_1:
it really helps because otherwise there’s going to be this niggle that’s like, oh, but we still have that like profile up so maybe we should be doing something or yeah, just release that for yourself. Political,

[00:48:06.52] spk_0:
you deserve it.

[00:48:08.10] spk_1:
But every single person listening deserves to do what they’re doing in a way that feels amazing to them.

[00:48:15.15] spk_0:
Alright, that’s empowering. That’s

[00:48:16.80] spk_1:
empowering.

[00:48:18.90] spk_0:
So words follow the laws of physics and thermodynamics.

[00:48:27.09] spk_1:
Their energy. They’re literally

[00:48:27.78] spk_0:
energy, right?

[00:48:29.10] spk_1:
Because they’re matter

[00:48:43.79] spk_0:
words are matter. Well paper that words could be written on his matter, but aren’t the words ephemeral and why

[00:48:44.04] spk_1:
would they be?

[00:48:55.19] spk_0:
Because they’re vocalized. Yeah. So they don’t they, they vaporize after they’ve been articulated

[00:48:56.50] spk_1:
tony Has anybody said ever said anything to you that hurt your feelings?

[00:49:00.03] spk_0:
Sure.

[00:49:02.43] spk_1:
Did that feeling vaporized as soon as the words left their mouth?

[00:49:10.40] spk_0:
No, Yeah, we’re

[00:49:13.77] spk_1:
trained to think of them as ephemeral and they are not their energy.

[00:49:17.70] spk_0:
Hmm

[00:49:18.83] spk_1:
Yeah, that blows people’s minds most the time. Your listeners are like, oh my God, they’re talking about, what are they talking about now? So let me get concrete about this. I mean, I love talking about it

[00:49:28.88] spk_0:
at

[00:49:29.08] spk_1:
this level, but I want to make this practical for listeners. Um, this, so when I’m creating like identity statements, mission vision values purpose. Um, we look at and there’s a tool were to fire dot

[00:49:40.23] spk_0:
com, you can

[00:49:44.81] spk_1:
go there, you can put in any word you want. Um, and it is a massive database powers is we pulled every single word of 2503 nonprofit websites. This allowed us to generalize to the entire sector at a 95% confidence interval for any of my fellow geeks out there. That’s what, that’s the bar that you want. Right? So you can go there, put in any word you want and it’s going to tell you it’s going to give you a red, orange or

[00:50:05.36] spk_0:
green.

[00:50:06.76] spk_1:
Red means this is, this word is used a lot by nonprofits a lot. So you, you, it’s not gonna, people are gonna notice it.

[00:50:14.84] spk_0:
Impact, impact

[00:50:17.30] spk_1:
is up there. I’ll tell you, I always joke that provide is the lamest verb ever. Verbs are very

[00:50:22.37] spk_0:
important. It’s

[00:50:24.02] spk_1:
The 4th most used

[00:50:24.92] spk_0:
verb by

[00:50:25.98] spk_1:
nonprofit. So what that means is no one’s going to notice that

[00:50:28.60] spk_0:
verb

[00:50:29.61] spk_1:
and verbs represent the change that you’re committed to creating the world world

[00:50:33.83] spk_0:
and so you

[00:50:34.36] spk_1:
want a verb that’s like, oh,

[00:50:35.86] spk_0:
okay, interesting.

[00:51:21.37] spk_1:
Okay. Um, so there’s always a better verb can provide so you can put that in and, and, and the green ones so you can get some, you know, synergy is still green. It’s not saying like definitely use it. It is giving you feedback about the extent to which somebody is probably going to notice the word or not. So, so in language we have function words and content words, function words are like the and but like our brains don’t register those because our brains can’t register everything right? Like our subconscious mind is processing 11 million bits of information per second. And that’s condensed into like 40 ish pieces of information for our conscious mind. So our brains are very efficient because they have to be and so for a messaging perspective, you

[00:51:24.35] spk_0:
Know, your your your light bulb necklaces overloading my my my conscious and subconscious processing like 20 million bits a second because I got I got these lights. It’s a good thing you didn’t put them. I asked her to put them on flashing and she said no, give me a headache. It’s a good thing. You didn’t do that. I’m sorry, go ahead. I’m sorry.

[00:52:02.28] spk_1:
Yeah. So that’s why, you know, when we’re creating and again, this is the most important set of statements that you’re ever gonna write as an organization. So it’s worth the investment to do it well. And you’re looking for like that combination of like, oh yeah, that makes sense. And like, oh that would interest me. I’m not used to seeing that quite in that context. You know, that’s the art. That’s why like after 20 years of working with organizations writing those. I never get tired of that. That’s just

[00:52:12.03] spk_0:
fun. You like to read fiction.

[00:52:14.56] spk_1:
Yeah, I read

[00:52:55.90] spk_0:
fiction fiction much more than non more southern nonfiction use of use of language word word choice. You know, it sometimes it stops me. I don’t read I don’t read that much fiction actually. But when I do you know someone’s word choices. Oh man she wrote she wrote that he threaded them through the narrow pathway, not that he led them or or took them, he threaded them through the narrow pathway that happens to be part of a book that it stays with me. See words words, words follow the laws of physics and thermodynamics. I told you that you thought they were ephemeral her, you know this is Joyce. Uh

[00:52:59.39] spk_1:
it is one of those things that can we just pause on this for a second.

[00:53:01.75] spk_0:
Like every

[00:53:03.01] spk_1:
time when I first talked about that with somebody shared their like wait my range is hurt and then you’re like,

[00:53:08.62] spk_0:
oh that makes a lot of sense. Like

[00:53:10.60] spk_1:
once you see it you see it. Yeah,

[00:53:12.28] spk_0:
well you grounded it well and you know, hurtful, hurtful words and also

[00:53:16.03] spk_1:
start to go there positive

[00:53:17.05] spk_0:
positive words.

[00:53:18.10] spk_1:
Yeah, like sorry,

[00:53:21.84] spk_0:
thoughtful, thoughtful words could get me going for a month. I can think about, oh she she took the show to her board and it led to a discussion which led to an action and you know, I could go on six months on that. So yeah, okay.

[00:53:33.03] spk_1:
Either way words are on a continuum just like all energetic things are on a continuum. But yeah, but they but they do either have a negative or positive charge. So

[00:53:43.26] spk_0:
is that your background? You have a degree in physics sciences? No, my

[00:53:47.72] spk_1:
dad was a professor

[00:53:50.29] spk_0:
of

[00:54:06.08] spk_1:
engineering. I artfully um didn’t do any, I didn’t do chemistry. I didn’t do physics. I like avoided everything in that realm. But later I really started seeing like it’s um

[00:54:07.13] spk_0:
how

[00:54:08.27] spk_1:
relevant is everything in life. So I sort of did more self study, but I do just I do run things past my dad. Like when I landed on that, I think I think words abide by all the so I sent my dad a note and he said, let me think about that for a little bit. He came back and he said, yes,

[00:54:24.36] spk_0:
you’re right.

[00:54:27.76] spk_1:
So I press your test all of these things because I do not have a background in it

[00:54:43.60] spk_0:
on your dad’s responses. Classic engineer. Let me think. Let me think about the problem. I think about the question. You think about the question and the solution and the answer. All right. But you sound like me. Like I took physics for poets in college. No,

[00:54:44.82] spk_1:
my daughter is a senior, so she’s applying to colleges and graduate.

[00:54:50.34] spk_0:
My

[00:54:50.95] spk_1:
daughter is a senior

[00:54:52.51] spk_0:
in

[00:54:53.10] spk_1:
high school. And so the other day, she said, mom didn’t you you like majored in french and political science, didn’t you? As an undergrad?

[00:55:00.38] spk_0:
And I was like, yeah,

[00:55:03.40] spk_1:
she’s like why? It’s like, I don’t know, you know, I’ve done fine, so, but she is very much, you know, she wants to be a neuroscientist and she’s very,

[00:55:11.53] spk_0:
she follows her grandfather sciences strictly rooted in the sciences Alright. Yeah. Where did your dad teach, Where did your dad teach?

[00:55:19.02] spk_1:
University of british Columbia?

[00:55:21.74] spk_0:
You

[00:55:23.22] spk_1:
will notice like a little weirdness to have

[00:55:25.79] spk_0:
A little further north in Seattle, right, you’re from Vancouver, two

[00:55:35.33] spk_1:
Hours north of here, you hit the border about 45 minutes past that you get to Vancouver, that’s why I still say a couple of things weird like my mom and passed and I’ve been places

[00:55:39.43] spk_0:
because that’s where I was born. Your mom being right, why don’t you leave us with some inspiration, Erica Mills,

[00:55:46.04] spk_1:
tony Come

[00:55:48.64] spk_0:
on, take us out with, take us out with good marketing inspiration, you’re loaded with it. What do you come in? Come on, this is a walk in the park for you.

[00:56:46.73] spk_1:
I’m going to double down on some of the things I said, I really, I mean I’m kind of on a bender about do less, be kinder to yourself by doing less, really want that. I want that for every listener, I want it for their teams. I want for their families, I want for everybody. We’ve just gone through so much tough stuff. Um one of the questions that I love playing with that, I always play with with my, especially my my leadership, you know my leaders who I do coaching with is like how can you make it easy, Like oftentimes we make things harder than they need to be, I am notoriously fabulous and making things really complicated. Um and a couple years ago I just started asking like how can I make this easy? What’s the easiest way to do this and easy in the sense of easy? Maybe it’s for you, how do you make it easier for you, for your team, for the organization, right? Like just without losing or negating or minimizing the importance of the work

[00:56:50.13] spk_0:
that that

[00:56:50.77] spk_1:
that you know, listeners are doing, there’s almost always a way to just make it a little easier and let me tell you there’s always a way to make your marketing easier. Always, always, always. I mean it’s why I have, like listeners have heard some of the methods and the frameworks that I use, that’s why I’m such a fan of creating them and mine are all super

[00:57:08.60] spk_0:
simple.

[00:57:10.18] spk_1:
And the reason for that is because I want to make it easier. Like I want to free up that energetic space

[00:57:17.64] spk_0:
for

[00:57:18.03] spk_1:
you to be focusing on the substance of what you’re doing on the way in which you’re changing the world. Um You know, marketing communication isn’t rocket science, it’s actually pretty darn straightforward. Um and so let’s let’s make that as easy as possible.

[00:57:32.35] spk_0:
We also doubled down on have more fun, have

[00:57:35.50] spk_1:
more fun. I mean by the way that’s giving myself a permission slip. Um it’s you know, it’s easy, like if especially I love the work I do. I mean I truly it it lights me up. Ha

[00:57:46.81] spk_0:
um ha

[00:57:48.50] spk_1:
ha because okay I do have light bulbs around my neck. Um

[00:57:54.63] spk_0:
but this

[00:58:04.60] spk_1:
work can it can be heavy and getting, you know, the stakes feel high. I have some really high profile clients um you know, I need to get it right with them and for them. Um and I think that it can be we can forget to have fun,

[00:58:10.11] spk_0:
you

[00:58:10.32] spk_1:
know, we can forget to have fun. So like fun.

[00:58:12.62] spk_0:
Don’t forget

[00:58:13.35] spk_1:
Spaciousness. I always like come up with three words for the year.

[00:58:18.59] spk_0:
That’s

[00:58:19.07] spk_1:
pretty fun if listeners don’t do that. That’s a beautiful way to set the stage for the year ahead for yourself.

[00:58:23.54] spk_0:
You have three words for 2023?

[00:58:25.47] spk_1:
I do.

[00:58:27.14] spk_0:
Well no no we’re gonna wrap it up,

[00:58:31.87] spk_1:
we’re gonna leave people like wondering you can reach out

[00:58:35.17] spk_0:
Right? You have to reach Erica Yes. If you want the three words, what are the three words for 2023

[00:58:39.79] spk_1:
spaciousness, vitality and play,

[00:58:58.65] spk_0:
spaciousness, vitality and play. Alright, spacious while we talk to permission to permission to do less permission to have fun. Play play and vitality Yeah.

[00:59:00.32] spk_1:
tony And I’m gonna ask what yours are, I’m gonna I’m gonna email you in a couple of weeks.

[00:59:31.24] spk_0:
Okay because we’re recording in december. So I don’t have mine yet but we’ll we’ll go we’ll go out with yours spaciousness, vitality and play BMB. Erica Mills Barnhart, communication expert, speaker author coach. You’ll find her at Erica Mills barn and her company at klaxon hyphen or dash communication dot com. Erica Thank you very much. Real pleasure so

[00:59:33.23] spk_1:
much for having me. tony I really appreciate it. It’s been great

[01:00:11.41] spk_0:
next week the 2023 fundraising outlook report from one cause 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. 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 January 9, 2023: Gene & Amy’s 2023 Outlook

 

Gene Takagi & Amy Sample WardGene & Amy’s 2023 Outlook

Our esteemed contributors, Gene Takagi and Amy Sample Ward, reveal what they’re thinking about for the New Year. We’re talking about Twitter, donor advised funds, fiscal sponsorship, and illegal activities. Gene comes to us from NEO Law Group, and Amy is CEO of NTEN.

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[00:02:06.02] 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, Happy New Year. I hope you enjoyed your time off. I hope you’re looking forward to our New year and I have more on that in in Tony’s take two. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d suffer with sal pendulum fractious if I had to hear that you missed this week’s show, Gene and Amy’s 2023 Outlook, our esteemed contributors, Gene Takagi and Amy sample Ward reveal what they’re thinking about for the new year. We’re talking about twitter donor advised funds fiscal sponsorship and illegal activities. Jean comes to us from neo law group and AMY is ceo of N 10 on Tony’s take to take in this new year. What a genuine pleasure to have both Gene Takagi and Amy sample Ward with me us together. Substantively, it’s not just 1/50 anniversary show. No, this is not the 650th show. This is not july of 2023 Gene and Amy are with us to talk substance together and cross talk as well, you know them, but they are esteemed contributors and they are do their proper introductions, jean is 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. Tac. Welcome to the New Year’s show, Gene,

[00:02:13.49] spk_1:
thank you Tony great to be here and great to be here with AMY especially,

[00:02:34.00] spk_0:
absolutely yes, a genuine pleasure with AmY sample Ward, who is Ceo of N 10 and our technology and social media contributor, their most recent co authored book is the tech that comes next about equity and inclusiveness in technology development. They’re at AMy sample Ward dot org and at Amy R. S Ward, Amy, Happy New Year! Welcome to the New Year’s show.

[00:02:42.26] spk_2:
Thanks. It feels like maybe we’ll revisit the intro if you’re saying our twitter handles and then we’re about to talk about what’s happening over at twitter. But you know, that’s all part of what’s to come and

[00:02:54.58] spk_0:
absolutely could end up being uh, mastodon.

[00:02:58.61] spk_2:
We’ll

[00:03:08.98] spk_0:
see about that. Absolutely. All right. We, um, we are going to start with Gene, um, to talk about Gene, you’re concerned about some, some legislative potential changes around donor advised funds.

[00:04:09.26] spk_1:
Yeah, I mean, it’s the donor advised fund area is probably one that most of your listeners are kind of familiar with because they’re the fastest growing area of charitable giving over a trillion dollars now held by donor advised funds. And that is huge, growing much faster than private foundations. And, you know, they make up some of the biggest charity charities in the country, I think, Um, possibly half of the top 10 maybe, um, maybe don’t advise from sponsoring organizations and several of those associated with financial institutions. Um, so like a Fidelity or vanguard flop Goldman Sachs morgan Stanley. Um So, you know, there’s been some heat about, well are these really charities, are they charitable giving? And the answer is yes, they are charities, even though they are associated with financial institutions. But that heat has led up to people going, well, what is the money doing? What is that $1 trillion dollars doing in these donor advised funds? Are the and

[00:04:19.50] spk_0:
this has been percolating for years

[00:04:21.88] spk_1:
and this

[00:04:28.85] spk_0:
began on the Senate, the Senate Finance Committee. Uh It was one of the Senate committees. Uh this has been coming up for years around the money parked in donor advised funds and not getting to 501 C3 charities.

[00:04:40.03] spk_1:
Yeah, I think starting with Senator Grassley at the Senate Finance Committee chuck

[00:04:44.91] spk_0:
Grassley. Right? Yes. So

[00:04:52.91] spk_1:
it’s been people have been talking about it but don’t advise funds continue to go up on this exponential growth or where they just keep getting used more and more often. Oftentimes by, you know, some of the very, very ultra wealthy individuals and there’s some heat about that too, about why do we have so many ultra wealthy individuals who can control, you know what charities are doing, who can control our politics,

[00:05:11.74] spk_0:
but

[00:05:34.10] spk_1:
that’s all part of the same story. But because of that, you know, there’s been some pushback and some legislation suggested and now sponsored and introduced, well I should say introduced into Congress, but it’s not actually been a bit on a bill that has a formal sponsor that’s before anybody other than a committee right now looking at it. And that’s called the accelerating um, charitable efforts act or the Ace Act. And that’s up, uh, in front of some congressional members and a committee right now. And that has all these reforms to donor advised funds to

[00:05:51.98] spk_0:
help

[00:05:53.21] spk_1:
sort of mitigate some of those problems of the warehousing of wealth, um, and, and money not getting out to charities as quickly as some people would like. But there are some, you know, there are pros and cons to what all that involves, but it’s good for people to sort of be aware of it.

[00:06:09.19] spk_0:
Okay. Be paying attention to this. Um, now, when at least when I was in 6th and 7th grade, we used to learn that an act becomes a bill and a bill becomes law after it’s signed. But so thank you for making the distinction. Uh, all right. So, so this doesn’t have any sponsors yet there, it’s proposed like it’s, is it in a committee?

[00:07:51.29] spk_1:
It’s it’s in a committee right now. The chances are while I’m not a great prognosticator of what happens on Capitol Hill and I’m not, I’m not based in Washington. I will say what I’m hearing from people who are, is that it probably doesn’t have a good chance of passing right now. So it’s unlikely to see changes now, but this is a growing issue as you mentioned, tony that’s been percolating for, for years and just getting more and more attention. So provisions of the act, which is probably the overall is pretty complicated and we won’t go into the technicalities here that would bore your listeners, but it’s complicated. And for part of that reason there’s not sort of universal, like the nonprofit sector, all wants this to be passed? No, there’s like people on both sides of this issue. And because of that, I think, you know, um, prognosticators who are more informed to suggest that this probably won’t pass as is, are probably right, but there are aspects of it that could find their way in other bills. Um, so that’s sometimes how laws are passed. They don’t advise when laws passed through the pension protection act, not necessarily think those are related, but they can slip their way in. So just sort of pay attention to all of these, you know, movements around wealth and power and what that means to our, um, our charitable sector and how donor advised funds are being used. Something just to, to look at. And there are several organizations who are advocating on either side of this.

[00:08:38.91] spk_0:
Okay, cool, alright. We’ll pay attention to donor advised funds, uh, in terms of wealth and, uh, you know, 88 individuals, uh, controlling, or certainly heavily influencing the charitable priorities. That that’s for, uh, we’ll have to do that on another show. Um, fiscal sponsorship is uh is something else you want us to look out for? Just just define it you know in in its basics so that everybody has the common understanding that we’re starting with.

[00:09:32.42] spk_1:
So the issue with fiscal sponsorship while it is also growing very very quickly. Um And the nonprofit sector might be aware of it but sort of the outside world might not really know what that means. And generally what it means is that there are people who have a charitable project but don’t have a charity entity with 501 C. Three status to run it. They look for another group to either how’s it um or to give grants to their group which might be considered a taxable for profit Um If they don’t have five oh one C. Three status for some period of time and that’s how fiscal sponsorship can arise it can arise in different forms but because it’s not defined by law it’s done wrong all the time. So while it’s growing.

[00:09:57.32] spk_0:
What about new charities that don’t yet have their five oh one C. Three. Maybe they’ve applied so they’ve submitted their 10 23 to the I. R. S. But the process may take a long time can they also sometimes benefiting from fiscal sponsors. So they’ll they’ll get an established five oh one C. Three to make grants to them until they get their own 501 C. Three determination. Is that is that okay?

[00:10:53.65] spk_1:
Yeah, that’s a perfect use of a fiscal sponsor and fiscal sponsors can act as incubators, even if they’re not applying for five oh one C three status right away, even if it’s something they’d like to test out and say, is this a viable charitable idea? Um, So yes, fiscal sponsorship can absolutely run that way, but if it’s not structured properly, even if that is the well intended sort of purposes of everybody involved, if it’s not structured properly, you can get into trouble both as an organization, you can end up having a donor who gets denied a deduction. Um, you can get a foundation into trouble who finds it. So structuring these things properly is really important. So as this field advances and evolves and it’s been around in informal ways for, you know, many, many decades, um, as this field advances, we want, we would like to see sort of more sort of consistency in operating it in a lawful manner that doesn’t endanger anybody and really it helps everybody accomplish what they want to do charitably.

[00:11:58.73] spk_0:
What about the idea, I mean, if you are incubating an organization, let’s say it’s it’s a few people, it doesn’t really matter, but I’m just trying to take it out of the realm of just one person, I suppose you’re incubating uh an idea and you, the Community Foundation because they’ll often act as communities as fiscal sponsors. Community foundations. You think it’s a, it’s a bonafide non profit idea, but and you make grants to it, but it turns out not to be so they don’t get their five oh one C three determination positive. What what what happens then is is the is the Community Foundation liable at all? And what happens to the deductions that were granted to the to this nascent now, not now, not Uh not a 501 C3 entity.

[00:12:51.99] spk_1:
Yeah. So I don’t want to dive too deep into the weeds. But yes, if the Community Foundation is housing and incubating the project, it’s not the same project that is housed in this new entity that is applying for five oh one C three status, that’s going to be transferred over into the new entity once it gets its five oh one C three status. So the Community Foundation is running an illegal activity, which is maybe another two We can talk about, well then the community foundation would of course get into trouble. But if it’s a small part of what the community foundation does, which it probably would be right, it would be maybe like 1% or maybe even less than 1% of the foundation’s overall activities, that’s not gonna usually result in anything terrible unless they were doing very terrible things. Which is unlikely. Um But you know, it would be different. An incubator definitely has less risks and they’ve got all their insurance and you know, legal support and accounting support to make sure that it’s not running afoul while it’s housed in the Community Foundation,

[00:13:07.79] spk_0:
if

[00:13:44.00] spk_2:
I can say something, Gene, I think as I’m listening to this conversation and from Anton has been a fiscal sponsor for many different groups, um you know, you also don’t have to be pursuing C three status, it might the whole purpose of what you’re doing could be done, you know, like we’ve been a fiscal sponsor for a group that was going to hold an event once the event was over, they were all done, they weren’t there was nothing to pursue a C three registration for, you know, So just naming that there’s a few nuances in that in the in the timeline to that, it may not be that there’s ever AC three application and something shady happened, but also the thing is over, you know, there’s a lot of moving

[00:14:00.81] spk_0:
pieces we have and what did you look for uh if you do in deciding to sponsor?

[00:15:21.47] spk_2:
Well, folks approach us, we haven’t, you know, gone out saying we would love to be a fiscal sponsor, it’s because it’s not, you know, intent isn’t set up, there are organizations of course, so that’s like their mission is to fiscally sponsored organizations, um but when we have been approached and folks have asked if we can essentially like extend our organizational privilege to enable their work, um the things that we look for are if there’s any sort of document or organizing agreement for the people involved on the other side again because they might not be, they might not be trying to be an organization but we want there to be accountability that that we can come back to um that they understand how much money they’re likely to bring in and how they’re going to spend it and that and tens books aren’t going to end up with some $10,000. We can’t do something you know um That there’s really a plan for what’s coming in and what’s going out and that they understand the options that exist for either becoming on payroll with us not being on paper roll being a short term contractor because N 10 already has staff and eight different states. But what does that look like if we were bringing someone on for a longer term and they needed to be on payroll in a state we’re not in. So we just have those conversations with them. But we have a standard agreement for fiscal sponsorship that we send to folks when we’re having those relationships and you know, separate bank accounts separate P. And L. Like all of

[00:15:42.21] spk_0:
that.

[00:16:12.33] spk_1:
Let me add just one more thing that some sometimes it’s all about creating um what when some people would call a commons. So these projects never wanted to leave but they find the efficiency of centralizing kind of administrative and back office resources and fiscal sponsor takes care of your legal filings and your tax filings, your insurance. Um and multiple projects just want to stay there forever. Um, So that that’s a use of the fiscal sponsor, a perfectly acceptable use of the fiscal sponsor as well. As long as it’s structured properly, structuring properly would be maybe my main point in this is that oftentimes people think, oh, I’ve seen somebody else do it, let’s do it the same way that may not work that they may be using the wrong example. So the national network of fiscal sponsor. Um, and then they’ve got a good sort of model of how this can be done properly.

[00:16:42.00] spk_0:
They have a book too, don’t they? Gene

[00:16:44.17] spk_1:
the book is actually from Greg Colvin and Stephanie Pettitt called fiscal sponsorship. Six ways to do it. Right. And it’s, I believe the only book out there, um, and it’s really good and not terribly expensive. So if you’re a fiscal sponsor and you’re not quite sure about what you’re doing by that

[00:17:06.18] spk_0:
Book. Okay, fiscal sponsorship six ways to do it. Right. Very aptly named book like it. Okay. Um, yeah. And there are also implications for the donors, right? If this is if it’s not created and implemented correctly. Gene the can the donors get like their charitable deduction clawed back or something like that.

[00:17:22.18] spk_1:
Yeah, they could get it denied by the I. R. S. Because if the donor directs their donation to an entity that’s not a charity. So if they’re telling the fiscal sponsor you must give this money to this project that’s a separate

[00:17:36.40] spk_0:
entity, well

[00:17:38.20] spk_1:
with a different bank account, the donor doesn’t get a deduction. Fiscal sponsor may have been aiding and abetting tax fraud. So problems there. So they’ve got to be careful

[00:17:56.72] spk_0:
okay for your donors too. All right. And on the on the illegal activity side. What what what what’s your what are your concerns there?

[00:18:00.97] spk_1:
So um as a lawyer, of course any illegal activities are concerned. But well

[00:18:06.94] spk_0:
there’s illegal and there’s there’s illegal

[00:18:15.82] spk_1:
actually that’s a really good point. So one of the things that the I. R. S. Looks at is like are you a 51 C. Three organization if you’re conducting illegal activities And they use the question that you asked basically tony There’s illegal and there’s illegal. So if you are engaging in you know civil disobedience to a small extent to advocate, you’re perfectly appropriate charitable purpose and mission. You’re probably not gonna expose your Five oh one C. Three status to to being revoked for that reason. If you’re committing a little bit of bank robbery. Well

[00:18:45.27] spk_0:
that’s

[00:18:45.62] spk_1:
probably gonna get you out of the 501 C. Three status. Right,

[00:18:49.64] spk_0:
Do it right. I mean why why do anything financially fraudulent for like $1,500.

[00:18:55.49] spk_2:
Right? There’s not a little bit of bank robbery like I want the whole safe or not. You know

[00:19:07.22] spk_0:
I mean if I’m gonna if I’m gonna compromise our reputation and risk myself being in prison. I mean, I’m doing this for at least a million and a half or something. You know, I mean, let’s make some decent money out of it, for Pete’s sake. I’m not risking everything for 50,000

[00:19:14.25] spk_2:
dollars. I want the gold bars while I want everything. You know,

[00:19:18.41] spk_0:
right, here’s

[00:19:19.60] spk_1:
how about this?

[00:19:22.79] spk_0:
Let’s go all in. I mean,

[00:19:31.21] spk_1:
The lawyer will say we are all in terms of how much money we’re gonna steal, but 99% of our staff time is spent on real stuff.

[00:19:33.03] spk_0:
It’s only one

[00:19:33.82] spk_1:
of our time I had spent on. It

[00:19:55.44] spk_0:
was, it was a tiny percentage of my time. I mean, it was just a few phone calls, a couple of texts. I mean, some some signal messages. I mean, you know, it was like a half an hour and you know, and then we executed. So it’s such a small percentage of my time. Really, why are we even bothering with this? All

[00:21:07.47] spk_1:
right. Exactly. So that’s the, there’s illegal and there’s illegal, exactly. As you framed it. Um, but I think now, why, why the illegality doctrine, as lawyers like to call it, is trending a little bit, is because we have some things that are considered illegal. That’s something that some states or jurisdictions are saying, well, no, that’s not illegal. And just sort of an example is cannabis, cannabis could be legal in some states, it could be legal for medical purposes in some states? It’s illegal for recreational purposes in other states, it’s illegal and federally it’s illegal, right? So that creates just all these weird dynamics, Can we have a five oh one C three organization where we’re cannabis dispensary for medical purposes, we’re doing it for charitable purposes. Can we do that? And the answer there is kind of know right now, if it breaks federal law, if that is the purpose of the organization and so now we’re not talking about activities now, but if that’s the purpose of the organization is to break federal law, then you can’t get five oh one C. Three status and you can’t if you have five oh one C. Three status and you change your mission, you can’t keep it. So something to look at in terms of cannabis organizations,

[00:21:12.39] spk_0:
even if it’s legal, even if it’s legal in your state,

[00:21:15.23] spk_1:
Right? Because 501 C3 status is a federal tax exempt status. So

[00:21:21.42] spk_0:
that could change

[00:21:53.07] spk_2:
and that’s for the mission of the organization. But what about or a national organization based in D. C. Because they’re a big HQ, they have their annual event in Oregon and the gala where in Oregon, cannabis is is completely legalized for recreation etcetera. And, you know, the silent auction table has like a cannabis care package is they’re they’re registered in D. C. The event is in Oregon. What’s what are the layers there?

[00:23:57.52] spk_1:
So the activities may be judged by what particular state they’re in. Although the sale of cannabis would always be sort of FDA sort of under FDA rules as well. Right? So you could always get charged with a federal crime on that, which is always the tough part. But just from The federal tax exemption standpoint, it’s kind of again fits activities if it’s doing it as an activity, that’s one thing where is it illegal? You know, little bit illegal maybe, and probably not going to really enforce or try to take away 51C3 status because of one event in Oregon where it’s legal under state law. But if that’s your purpose is to to say, hey, we don’t care what the federal law is. This is what our purposes which is contrary to federal law that can get you in trouble. So that’s the cannabis thing. But the study of cannabis or the study of psychedelics, certain psychedelics that might become approved federally and tony as you were saying cannabis could change as well. Um the study of it or the policy around it, that might be a perfect vibe. One C three purpose, either in the scientific realm or the charitable or educational realm, but a little bit of gray area in all of this. But I did wanna introduce one more area of illegality. Um and that is regarding abortion because that is another really hot topic since the jobs decision by the Supreme Court, right? So that allows basically the states to decide whether abortion is legal or not. And some states are really um strict about what they think would be illegal around abortion. So funding people to get an abortion, which what a charity might do, they might not perform the abortion, but they might provide funding and sometimes it’s just funding to their own employees to be able to access abortion in a state that allows it Um that can be illegal under state law as well. So now how does the fight, you know, that affect the 501 status

[00:24:09.39] spk_0:
even just funding an employee making an employee benefit? I

[00:24:39.22] spk_1:
think a law firm in texas, this varies amongst different states. tony so texas is one that’s been um pretty tough and in my opinion just terrible about um the laws that they’ve used and some of these laws go back decades. They’re they’re old laws that they were ruled unconstitutional before, but now after the Dobbs decision there sprung back into life. Um and so yeah, even funding employees to be able to access abortion clinics in other states could be illegal under those states. And

[00:25:50.42] spk_2:
yeah, after jobs, you know, there was like this wave of companies, especially for profit companies, but I’m sure nonprofits did it too, you know, saying like trying to I think in the spirit of of making clear their values, but clearly not thinking about the practicalities, You know, making these announcements, we will always fund our staff having access to this health care. You know, even if you have to travel or whatever. But like to to jean’s point the that isn’t very straightforward. It could if it’s known explicitly that that’s what you’re funding. It could be illegal if you’re an organization in texas, but also it requires disclosure that’s already making vulnerable a vulnerable staff person write a reimbursement which a number of folks we’ve seen say policies for reimbursement of travel. Well now there’s like a paper trail of where you went and and how much it cost and you know, like instead thinking about policies that say there may be harder things happening. We’re increasing your health benefit by this, you know, percentage of dollars just in, you know, like we have to think about the actual users here and not just the value statement where we think we’re making as an organization, you know,

[00:27:23.63] spk_0:
interesting point too about the paper trail because uh, texas again is one state where people who aid in a bet abortion can be can be sued, I think right? Or it could be right, It could be sued. So, so if there’s that paper trail that Amy’s talking about that mentions where the person went and maybe what relative may have helped them or you know that those those documents that that evidence could all be used when if if somebody nefarious inside the organization wants to wants to get some people in trouble. You know that that evidence could all be used against them. Yeah. All right. Well yeah I know well intentioned but maybe not so well thought out. But it’s it’s hard when when something so so disastrous happens. You know people want to rush to the aid like you know just like individuals who give to tsunami victims and hurricanes. You know like employers and C. E. O. S. Want to rush to the aid of their employees when they feel that there’s a uh something grievous happening to them potentially. It’s hard

[00:29:12.60] spk_1:
and I want to say we haven’t heard the last on this. These laws are going to be changed and challenged for years but right now we’re not in a very good place but wrapping it back into a five oh one C. Three package um Can the I. R. S. Take away your tax exemption because you do some of these things and then we get back to your, well is it an activity that’s illegal or is it really illegal? And um my feeling is that the I. R. S. Is not going to judge on the violation of state law unless the state has actually made that determination by a court ruling. So you can’t you might be able to pursue somebody and say well you know they violated the state law but if there’s no court ruling that says that the I. R. S. Is not an arbitrary of whether somebody has broken state law or not. So they will not take away five oh one C. Three status for just a complaint that somebody is violating these rules even though actually that might be the case. Um And nobody is not you know admitting that that’s not true. But the I. R. S. Is probably gonna want to lay low on the whole abortion topic is my feeling about it. But the illegality doctrine and there’s a similar doctrine called the public policy doctrine which was first introduced for racially discrimination which was federally allowed right And bob jones University used that as you know admission criteria or other sort of policy criteria. The I. R. S. Said no we’re going to take away your tax exemption for that even though it wasn’t inconsistent with law but it broke federal public policy. So there’s a related doctrine illegality that’s a sort of violation of public policy. But these are all things that charities just start to need to know and think about because one day it may pop up right in their neighborhood and they’ll be thinking about maybe we should have advocated a little bit harder in advance of that and try to make a difference,

[00:32:10.21] spk_0:
interesting. Um Contrast between the two examples we’re talking about cannabis having been illegal all along and now slowly becoming legal and abortion. Having been legal for the past 50 years now slowly becoming illegal. All right jean. Thank you very much. Love it. It’s time for Tony’s take to taking your new year. Welcome to your new year. I am always optimistic at the beginning of a new year. I cannot help it. It doesn’t matter if we’re in a pandemic or an economic recession in 2009. I’m always optimistic at the beginning of a new year. It’s in my d. n. a. So it’s a year of opportunity. If 2023 was terrific for you and I’m talking personally and professionally, if it was a bountiful year, it was a successful year for you. However, you define that. Congratulations. I’m very happy for you. I’m glad that your 2022 was what you wanted it to be outstanding. If you’re 2022 wasn’t if it was something less than you would have liked again, personally and professionally, Don’t let that hold you back for the new year. Your past doesn’t define your future. Your 2022 doesn’t constrain what you can do in 2023, literally each day, week month, you’ve got the whole year of opportunities, new chances to excel. So don’t let the past hold you back. If your last year wasn’t up to what you would like it to have been. You’ve got a whole new year of opportunities. Welcome to your 2023. Take it in embrace it. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo, but loads more time for gene and Amy’s 2023 outlook with Gene and Amy Amy twitter. What the hell?

[00:32:12.79] spk_2:
What

[00:32:32.70] spk_0:
the hell? Yeah. Well immoral, immoral and unethical. To begin with the new ceo Elon musk. But uh, what the hell do we do with our, with our twitter accounts and we all three of us here have won. Nearly every nonprofit let’s assume has won. What we, we sort of have a sense of the landscape. What what, what’s your advice?

[00:33:24.47] spk_2:
I think to, to sum up my feelings. I would say like down with twitter and long live the internet. But what that means to me is a lot longer. You know, I think The decision about whether your organization should use Twitter or not is the same today as it has been every day since 2007 or whatever when I launched right? Like there’s always been, I think the need to consider if a tool you’re using that is not yours, you don’t get to own it. It is always permanently gonna be someone else’s tool, right? You’re just a visitor there. If it’s values match your expectations. If the community is there like all those same questions that we’ve talked about for years

[00:33:28.67] spk_0:
are still the same

[00:35:56.59] spk_2:
questions, you know, But I think what happens is organizations hopefully do ask those questions when they join something and then it’s like a closed discussion. And what I would love to see is that organizations re ask those questions every day on these platforms, right? Um, I would love to say the conversation isn’t about Elon musk because I would like to never have a conversation about. However, he’s really making the conversation about him by taking up a lot of the space and making the decisions right? Um, even today suspending the account that was like a bot that just posted when his jet went places and now that’s been suspended. You know, it’s like, okay, there’s just so much going on there. The issue to me isn’t, what has Elon tweeted or what has he done and more? Is it a platform that has the capacity to be safe for your users in your organization? Well not if every single member of those safety teams has been fired. Right. Um, is it a platform that’s going to be reliable because maybe you’re using it to communicate in real time situations, updates, et cetera? Maybe not When the again teams that support the reliability and uptime of the tool have been fired. So if it is meeting your needs, if your community is still really active there, if it feels like it’s a good fit, I’m not gonna say empirically, there’s only one answer to using any tool. Is it a tool that intent is using anymore? No, it doesn’t meet either the reliability or the values piece that we expect. We’ve seen tons of community members. Um, board members organizations, you know, post their last tweet and some of them, it’s like a very sad goodbye. And for others, it’s find me on linkedin, here’s, here’s my profile, right? Um, and for others, the last tweet didn’t even know that it was the last tweet. It just was the last tweet and then there weren’t, weren’t anymore, You know, it wasn’t a sign off, it just kind of ended. Um, but I’ll say all that and pause and then and and hear your thoughts.

[00:36:38.40] spk_0:
So what, you know, the concerns about safety reliability, these teams having been fired. Um, what about just taking a wait and see what might replace them? I mean, it’s still, we still are now january while we’re like two months into his 2.5 months or so into his ownership. Um, Should we, should we wait? Well, and I should say we’re recording in mid december. So it may not even, it may emerge by the time this comes out in early january. Um, should we, should we wait and see what

[00:37:59.71] spk_2:
was, I think something to think about is that there is no clear timeline for what wait and see means there, there has not been a, we’ve fired all of these teams that provide the reliability of the tool and the safety of the tool or at least the illusion of safety of the tool. Um, and we’ll be hiring for those teams on x date, that’s not been the process, right? So, um, that’s not to say posting your last tweet includes deactivating your account and leaving and everything right. It could just be Maybe you stop using it. Um it could be like in 10 has done, we don’t put money into the tool so we don’t buy ads, we don’t promote things right? So we’re not investing in what it is and the accounts open, we still have a notification set so that if a community member chooses to like tweet at us and say hey how come I can’t find this about the conference, we still see it and could provide that customer service, right? Um but it’s not a place that we are spending our time spending our dollars spending our energy even if you could still find the antenna count right? Um And I think that’s a place that for us feels like we haven’t walked away from the community or whatever parts of the community are still on the platform but we have made clear our stance is that this is not a place that feels worthy of that investment right?

[00:38:20.11] spk_0:
What have you done personally with at Amy R. S. Ward?

[00:40:22.50] spk_2:
I already used twitter so inconsistently like there’s one day where I just see five things and I’m like like in everybody’s tweets and replying to people and then I like accidentally go five weeks without tweeting just because I you know I wasn’t I wasn’t logged in or I wasn’t looking at things. Um I don’t know that I have tweeted recently, I don’t have, I don’t have even in my tab purgatory of my two screens, I do not have twitter open anywhere um I think the place, it’s really interesting. The place that twitter started out for me is kind of where it has returned to of very hyperlocal like there’s so many Portland’s folks that I don’t otherwise see because I never leave my house or you know they don’t work in nonprofit text so I wouldn’t otherwise connect with them but there I could still see them on twitter, I think that’s a place where it started out and I still want to know what the replacement is. Of course I’ve had lots of calm conversations with folks who are like well where should we go and we can talk about that but I also would encourage organizations to remember that you probably are already in more places than just twitter. You know, you probably do already have a linkedin page or if not pretty easy because your employees probably have linkedin profiles and you know, set up some space there um and most importantly, out of all of this again, you and I have talked about this but I really want to make clear in the midst of this kind of twitter, what is social media anymore conversation that you never owned any of that data, you never owned those pages, you never own those profiles, you never got to control them, you do control your website, you do control your email list, make sure that you are building up that list. That you are communicating with people directly in channels that you can directly um, message to because that’s no matter what happens, twitter returns and is a place of Utopia, you still won’t own it, right. And you will own your list and you will own your website and making sure that you’re, you’re really thinking about spending your time and money and staff time in those places. That’s

[00:40:52.33] spk_0:
really valuable. Basic but valuable reminder to cherish and build on what, what you do own your your site, your list. Yeah,

[00:41:01.38] spk_1:
I think there’s, you know, some difficult equity considerations in in twitter’s value um as well. So beyond what the owner who is also the only board member, uh,

[00:41:09.93] spk_2:
that’s the best practice, Right?

[00:42:24.32] spk_1:
Uh, so beyond beyond him, uh, there’s the consideration of, well, where are the folks you are serving? Where are they at? Is there a virtual town square where they’re at? Because many, maybe on twitter and they may still be there and for you to give them messaging, that might still be important. So I’m not, I’m still on twitter and conflicted about it, but I don’t want to be judgmental about charities that decide to stay on twitter because that may be still a really important way for them to reach out to their audiences. Um and for the audiences, I don’t want to be judgmental of them either because there are a lot of people who are not privileged to be able to access a lot of other technology and other platforms. They might, you know, find twitter super easy and you know that’s what they have and I’m not yet willing to say we’re just going to leave twitter to become this, you know, white heterosexual male dominated platform and Ellen and his bros can do whatever they want with that without any pushback from other perspectives there,

[00:44:15.41] spk_2:
I hope Tony Let’s make a 2023 resolution that gene and I get to do more shows together um because it brings up such a good just hearing you share that Gina and I agree with everything. Um as always let the record reflect, I always agree with Jean and I am always doing legal activity. Um is, is the version of this from a few years ago about facebook, right. And there’s some really unique and important differences between the twitter options available just like because of how the platform works versus facebook, you know, twitter is public by default. You don’t have to have a twitter account to go see what an organization had been tweeting about. Here’s some information right versus facebook which is very like within the world of facebook um the data trail that that creates is very different right? Organizations could say despite the hellscape we’re staying in twitter and we are to loop back to the previous conversation, um, an abortion fund and we are going to make sure that we are sharing information. No one has to interact. No one has to like ask us for it. But we’re putting this information out right in a place where people maybe find it in a search on facebook doing that or saying here’s our upcoming fundraiser to raise funds for abortion funds. Everyone who RSVPs for that event and has a texas address, has just created a data trail that is likely very problematic for them, Right? And the organization maybe didn’t even understand that’s what is happening, Right? So they are very different platforms, very different ethical dilemmas for sure. Um, but but what they mean for you as an organization staying there and what kinds of compromises you might be creating for already vulnerable communities are very different because they are just very different platforms, right? That operate differently.

[00:45:09.04] spk_0:
If we if we should decide to go elsewhere. Uh, let’s let’s talk about And you well, you mentioned, you may want to put on twitter that you can now find us on, we’re gonna talk about mastodon and uh, there’s another one post. Um, but you may want to just alert folks that your activity has moved, you know, over or or like you said, find us on linkedin or you know, we’re very we’re still very active on facebook. You know, instagram maybe, you know, maybe our channel. You know, whatever you want to I think you want to let folks know what you’ve decided without just disappearing. Mm

[00:45:14.16] spk_2:
hmm

[00:45:14.93] spk_0:
And

[00:45:16.37] spk_2:
like you probably should have those links on your website. So have updating your bio to say,

[00:45:22.54] spk_0:
you

[00:45:54.15] spk_2:
know, visit our website and find the channel that works for you or something. You know, you don’t have to um, you don’t have to write that farewell letter As in last tweet with every link to every site. Right? But making sure that you do think about what a user is going to see if they do try to look you up and have the bio be updated or whatever. Um there there are a lot of folks talking about mastered on host, these other platforms. I’m, I have accounts on them. You are welcome to find me. I’m not posting a bunch there or anything but you know me, I like to just see how tools developed. So I’ve had accounts on both of those and um,

[00:46:06.02] spk_0:
you’re more, you’re more altruistic than I am. You like to see how the, how the, how the platform develops. I just want to grab the name tony-martignetti

[00:46:15.28] spk_2:
before for

[00:46:22.96] spk_0:
somebody else who’s been on my show. I’ve had tony-martignetti other, another tony-martignetti on my show. Um, he never had me on his show come to think of it.

[00:46:25.18] spk_2:
Well there is as of today no other amy sample ward. So there’s only 1 20

[00:46:31.88] spk_0:
but but I’m not posting, but I wanted to grab the grab the real estate but I did it for more selfish reasons you

[00:46:38.05] spk_2:
did altruistic.

[00:46:39.81] spk_0:
I

[00:49:20.47] spk_2:
mean I think that um as is true with a lot of social media platforms that have been uh financed by and developed by the privileged communities of tech development, that’s who’s mostly on those platforms already right? Even though they’re very different mastodon is, you know, kind of like what’s the open source values, whatever. I haven’t seen a lot of that and and post trying to be more about like what are you really thinking and like content focused mostly screenshots of tweets so it feels a little um, a little, a little bit of whiplash but I wouldn’t say that it’s bad if you are like tony and you were like, but there’s so many organizations with our acronym like we want the the handle go for it but don’t go fill the account with content as if you are present there, just just sit on the handle, you know, because once you have a complete profile, Well now it looks like you are trying to post there and people don’t know how to interact right, just hold, it reserve it in your name, put the password in last past, you know, but but don’t, don’t um like I’ve always said and 10 doesn’t have an account on these platforms even though I just said that I do and a number of staff do because you aren’t going to use individual first platform as an organization. Well, if you haven’t been an individual first um, to actually know how it works. What’s the ins and outs of this tool? What are the norms? Um, mastodon works a little bit differently than folks may have experienced um, where you are in order to even create an account, you have to pick kind of what, what server you want to be associated with that changes what name it changes your default kind of news feed. Um, so there are a lot of things that you aren’t going to know out of the box for your organizational profile, you’re gonna need to play with it. And they’re, all these tools are developing a lot faster as they see hundreds of thousands of new users, you know. Um and I think again, back to the values point, they are also experiencing the challenges of lots of users write posts. Said that it only took six days before they had to take swastikas down. So what is it, what are the, what are the platforms doing, what are the values there? How are they moderating or managing content safety users before you say, oh yeah, let’s have our organization profile there.

[00:50:14.09] spk_0:
I did see uh a nonprofit power user and and very popular person, of course Beth Kanter, uh she’s active on mastodon. She didn’t just, she didn’t just take an account, but she’s actively moved there. Um, posting lists of other nonprofit folks to to follow that, you know, that she follows, so that another, another drop another name, J Frost, I see he’s there. Um so I mean that’s just, that’s just two people uh but beth in particular happens to have many hundreds of thousands of followers or had on on twitter. Um so it’s, it’s pretty monumental decision to believe that kind of um that kind of largeness and, and go to something where you know, you’re now, you now you now have zero followers on on day on day one. So that’s a significant decision. Um so I’ve seen and there’s some other folks too, but those, those, those are the ones that come to mind that, that have made the move there and and are active and actively encouraging others to

[00:50:38.88] spk_2:
come,

[00:50:41.86] spk_0:
you

[00:50:42.71] spk_2:
know, and I, and I think not to put Gene on the spot, I know this isn’t what you were prepared to talk about, but

[00:50:49.29] spk_0:
I

[00:51:51.18] spk_2:
think we saw this with facebook and you know, facebook had its own rules about how they would kind of pursue this. But these new, these new platforms will have to have their rules too. And that is organizations who don’t necessarily have a registered trademark but are very clearly like the United Way of Portland or something, you know, and then somebody went on there and created that account already, right? And is trying to sit on it, twitter has experienced, you know, people sitting on the accounts and then um people needing to have access to them and saying that’s actually my name or my organization’s name or you know people that sit on the U. R. L. S. Of like World War three. Oh now there is one, we need that U. R. L. You know whatever um so that that will there there will have to be a course whatever that course maybe for resolution on that. I also I just don’t want people leaving the conversation feeling like they need to spend the next two hours finding these platforms requesting an account and trying to sit on their organization’s name themselves. Like if you want to you can but don’t feel that’s not the takeaway here.

[00:51:56.72] spk_0:
Yeah, don’t do it, don’t do what tony-martignetti did or

[00:51:59.98] spk_2:
just don’t feel obligated that you have

[00:52:01.69] spk_0:
to,

[00:52:03.61] spk_1:
I’m sitting on a post account tony and I’m active on mastodon uh as well. So yeah I I think it’s going to be a tricky thing but for organizations, if you do find somebody using your name, you may want to bring it up and challenge that you talk to a lawyer about that, especially if they’re putting anything in that misrepresents your organization, if they’re acting like they’re spoofing your organization and putting out some content that’s not true or bad for you, make sure you put a stop to that

[00:52:34.39] spk_0:
I guess there are people who would do that and just hope to make some money at it Like

[00:52:40.35] spk_2:
there’s definitely money to be made. You

[00:52:44.04] spk_0:
know, if I get the ford motor company or Tesla or something, you know, I’ll be happy to sell it to you for $150,000 or well a million and a half seems to be my price. So

[00:53:08.96] spk_2:
I mean we see that with U. R. L. S already right. People just buy lots of U. R. L. S. Waiting for somebody to create a product called like the or uh, the oreo slushy. Great. Now we invented it. We need to buy that U. R. L. From you, you know? All

[00:53:09.20] spk_0:
right.

[00:53:10.19] spk_2:
We’re all in the wrong business. Let’s just go buy a bunch of

[00:53:29.93] spk_0:
alright, um, amy anything more? We should talk about mastodon. Oh, I did want to just clarify for folks because you mentioned mastodon, you have to select a server. It’s really just to me it’s a community. sure, but there are only about 10 of them. It’s not like there’s a knitting community and a and a rock climbing and a soccer, you know, it’s not like that. Not yet. But I don’t

[00:53:39.52] spk_2:
want to use the word community and have folks get to that first page and see the word server and have no idea where the word, you know, But yes, you’re right. You are, you’re kind of choosing the space. That’s your entry point into the world of mastodon

[00:53:57.09] spk_0:
And there is one with a social good label to it. So Beth Kanter is at Beth Kanter dot Social Good something.

[00:54:03.76] spk_2:
It’s

[00:54:04.20] spk_0:
like you said it it affects your

[00:54:06.10] spk_2:
your name

[00:54:06.92] spk_0:
affects your screen name, your your handle your I. D. Yeah.

[00:54:57.74] spk_2:
Um I the only last thing that I’ll add in our final minutes here is a very long time ago, people have been like O G listeners um you know, we used to say, well how would you know what social channels your users are on And you know, we’ve talked about having in your own website for your user profiles or in donation uh forms wherever you might be getting feedback from folks now that they have to put their U R. L. In, but just a checkbox like Oh yeah, we do. You I have a facebook account, an instagram account and whatever, you know, whatever it might be. Um make this is an opportunity to go check those lists and say maybe we should add mastodon on or maybe we should add post or we should update what options were actually providing. So so that you could notice, oh, there are a lot more people now here. Maybe it’s worth us looking at that platform. Right. So if you’re doing some year end data cleaning, look at your at your profile forms or your feedback forms where you might say, what tool, you know, what are their channels are you on and add some more of these newer tools.

[00:55:20.84] spk_0:
Amy sample ward Ceo of N 10 for the time being. She’s at

[00:55:26.18] spk_2:
they

[00:55:45.50] spk_0:
are at amy R. S Ward and Gene Takagi, principal attorney at the neo nonprofit and exempt organizations law group for the time being at g tech, but also you’ll find him on mastodon and post amy. Thank you jean, thank you very much.

[00:55:47.74] spk_2:
Thanks so much. tony I really do want to do shows together with jean.

[00:55:51.47] spk_0:
No, I concur yes, that’s uh that’s a good idea. Well let’s make sure we do another couple of these this year.

[00:55:57.73] spk_2:
Perfect,

[00:56:27.95] spk_0:
alright and again, happy new year. Next week. Erica mills Barnhart on common communications conundrums. 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 B with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. Go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for December 19, 2022: Grameen Team Dream

 

Alex CountsGrameen Team Dream

In his brand-spanking-new book, “Small Loans, Big Dreams,” Alex Counts recounts the story of Grameen Bank’s wild success moving millions of people out of poverty by elevating microfinancing for the poor. Alex tells the story and shares valuable lessons beyond economic development.

 

 

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[00:02:03.49] 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 be stricken with galactose EMEA if you tried to sugarcoat the idea that you missed this week’s show, Grameen Team dream in his brand spanking new book, small loans, Big Dreams Alex Counts recounts the story of Grameen Bank’s wild success, moving millions of people out of poverty by elevating micro financing for the poor Alex tells the story and shares valuable lessons beyond economic development. tony take two take time for yourself. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C O. It’s a pleasure to welcome back Alex Counts. He is the author of the book, Small loans, Big Dreams, Grameen Bank and the micro finance revolution in Bangladesh America and beyond His other books include Change the World Without losing your mind and when in doubt, ask for more which we talked about on this show. In 1997 he established Grameen Foundation with the support of nobel laureate dr Mohammed Yunus became its President and Ceo and ran the Green Foundation for its 1st 18 years now. He’s an independent consultant to nonprofits including the India philanthropy alliance and an adjunct professor at johns Hopkins University, He’s at Alex Counts and Alex counts dot com. Welcome back to the show Alex Counts. Pleasure

[00:02:11.83] spk_1:
to be here. I love what you do, tony and just so looking forward to the conversation

[00:02:16.17] spk_0:
Oh. Thank you absolutely yes, we have the hour together. My pleasure as well. Thank you, Congratulations on the book.

[00:02:23.78] spk_1:
Well, it’s it’s great to have it out there. It’s a you know, it’s a third edition um but it was so, so much needed to be out there because so much has happened since the second edition really feels like a new book and it was about quadruple the work, I thought it would be to get it out, but it was more than worth

[00:02:53.85] spk_0:
it. Absolutely more than worth it. Of course, of course. Alright, let’s start with a basic understanding what let’s acquaint folks with what microfinance is. So we know everybody’s on the same page to start. Sure,

[00:03:55.37] spk_1:
well, you know, mike as some histories of microfinance explain this, my book isn’t one of them that, you know, the, the idea of bringing financial services to people that are excluded from them as a way to help them self actualize, get out of poverty, get more control over their lives goes back Hundreds of years. People have been trying it in fact, um the pawnshop in its origins several 100 years ago was an effort to bring financial services and it kind of morphed into something that’s now kind of seedy, but in its modern incarnation, Muhammad Yunus and some other innovators in the seventies said we want to bring financial services, especially loans to people who lack collateral are illiterate. Poor women have all the disadvantages in, in country of Bangladesh where he started and we want to design a bank. Uh that is, is not just has them on a, like a kind of little charity program, but it’s actually designed especially for them and gives them financial services, things you and I take for granted alone when we needed a place to deposit our money, insurance services, makes it available to them. And what they found is

[00:04:07.05] spk_0:
people

[00:04:36.65] spk_1:
are so hardworking and so grateful for it that they really prioritized paying back the loans, depa visiting money when they had extra and it made for a bank that was able to sustain itself over time and help many of those women and their families get out of poverty, if not in that generation then set up their Children to get out of poverty. So, and you know, it’s it’s loans to start start or expand a small business. Um and uh is is, you know, so it’s not just loans for consumption or loans for uh some of it may go to that, but it’s mainly loans to engage in some sort of productive activity that the poor are doing already for the most part, but just do it a little more capital.

[00:05:23.14] spk_0:
You quote Mohammed Yunus uh saying that I think it’s access to capital or or access to credit is a human, right? Let’s acquaint us with Muhammad Yunus because he’s, he’s key to the, to the, well, he’s the founder, He’s key to this expansion of microfinance. I know he’s a mentor of yours, a colleague of yours, a friend of yours, acquaintance with this with this nobel laureate, you

[00:05:45.25] spk_1:
know, I’ve I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life, big and small, but one of the best was adopting him as a mentor at a time where he was willing to take on someone with, you know, only know skills, just idealism and energy. Um and I’ve adopted many more mentors, but he was he was a very good choice. Uh um and basically, when he talks about credit as human right? Just just to take that he’s, you know, people have criticized it and people who criticized him up and down. Uh and you know, that’s part of being a public figure and getting the Nobel prize and all

[00:05:53.35] spk_0:
something bold.

[00:06:58.93] spk_1:
Exactly. Um and if if you if you want to do something bold for society, you know, and you want to be successful, get ready for criticism. It’s it’s coming your way. But basically what he’s saying is, you know, and when the U. N. Says that everyone has a right to free speech or to health, health for all the way it was normally done was it was like it was the responsibility of governments to bring that to people? And he said, why don’t we give people a right to actually realize those things for themselves and and he thought that one of the key tools that people could use to actually realize their own right to food and right to shelter was to actually have the credit to be able to to be an agent of their own empowerment rather than waiting for someone else to do it. And so that’s why you said it was it was the human right that could help bring a lot of the other human rights to people who lack them. But basically he was a you know, so you know, son of a of a kind of upper middle class jeweler, not very wealthy but not poor in Bangladesh uh went off on a Fulbright fellowship like I would do to his country, but he took the full full right to the U.

[00:06:59.74] spk_0:
S. Uh

[00:07:45.46] spk_1:
got a PhD in economics at Vanderbilt. And while he was, you know, thinking about staying in the United States, he liked it here when his country fought a liberation War and became independent in 1971 he got caught up in the idealism of building a new country and he moved back to what would a country that kind of isn’t far from what Haiti is today in terms of broken down, nothing works. No, you know, just it was, and he said, well let’s just start and he started teaching. Um but but he didn’t get too far into teaching Economics at the second most prestigious university in the country um before he just started saying, gosh, you know, this seems kind of empty teaching when people are starving outside my classroom, let’s go figure out, let me get close to the problem um that and see what’s going on there and see if I can even help one person. And through through a series of hundreds and hundreds of conversations with people in the villages around his university,

[00:07:55.99] spk_0:
he he

[00:08:04.06] spk_1:
said, first of all, agriculture is important. So he started a pretty successful agricultural program, but then he said that didn’t really do it. He said that fundamentally people lack access to capital to apply their skills in the market place. Um And then he started a tiny credit program, but then he had the boldness and the and the tenacity to develop

[00:08:16.87] spk_0:
his own first with his own money.

[00:08:55.03] spk_1:
Yeah, he his 1st $27 was he just, he couldn’t, but then he said wait a second, I can only do this, I can’t do this for you know, I so then he started getting banks involved in doing it institutionally. But originally he was just he was shocked that such a small amount of money was holding people back because basically people were, you know, in the thrall of of money lenders and basically most of the profits of the work they did, they were they were quite skilled stool makers in that village. It happened uh and they were making these beautiful stools and getting a tiny fraction of the value of them because they didn’t have the money to buy the raw materials. So he just he likes $27. Will will will set you all free from almost slavery, you know, I’ll do it today, but then he said, What’s the institutional solution to this after they he saw them succeed and

[00:09:08.21] spk_0:
that and that

[00:09:09.14] spk_1:
Started what became Grameen Bank, which today serves eight million women across this country and has been a model for programs serving tens of millions more.

[00:09:23.87] spk_0:
And uh he and the bank won the Nobel peace Prize In in 2006.

[00:09:45.80] spk_1:
It was a big surprise. I mean, I I thought if he was ever gonna win, it was gonna be 2005, which was the international year of microcredit, which we a bunch of us kind of had been conniving to get the U. N. To adopt and they finally did and but and once they didn’t get it, then we thought it was lost cause and they, you know, they have oddsmakers for who’s gonna win Nobel prizes, you know, like for everything And he wasn’t even on the like the top 10. And yet he is a surprise he wanted um and it was, it was just, you know, an amazing recognition. Um it was also a double edged sword as I didn’t, as I barely understood then I should say. Um it was going to bring new resources and attention to him and his work and people that worked with him like me but would also bring new scrutiny and criticism and enemies uh and all that played out in the years after that surprise announcement.

[00:10:14.77] spk_0:
Did you go to the ceremony?

[00:10:16.60] spk_1:
I did. Um I

[00:10:18.78] spk_0:
looked okay. I looked for you in the audience. There were, there was a couple of videos, I didn’t see you. I want, I figured you were there. I looked for you.

[00:10:57.73] spk_1:
Yeah, it was, you know, it’s, it’s always you know, kind of a classic problem. You get a big honor and who travels with you and and all. But you know, I was fortunate enough to be invited. I, I sat in row 12 next to my board chair, Grameen Foundation and friend Susan Davis. Uh and uh uh and uh and it was just you know, it was, it was like this dream come true and then you go to this concert afterwards and like Lionel Richie and Sharon Stone and all these people are celebrating it just, I remember walking out of that evening and like oh my God, like everything we wanted in terms of, you know, getting people to pay attention to what Muhammad Yunus had done that we always felt was not given the attention, it deserves, its like that era is over and it was over but the year ahead

[00:11:10.10] spk_0:
was didn’t

[00:11:24.61] spk_1:
turn exactly as we thought, but but it was an amazing recognition. The Norwegians do a super classy job with it. The weather stinks of that type of year. But other than that, it’s just it’s every aspect of it is done beautifully and they’ve really the whole city, maybe the whole country, I didn’t really travel is like it’s a city designed around the concept of

[00:11:31.65] spk_0:
peace.

[00:11:32.39] spk_1:
Um and museums and everything about it is um they’ve like adopted the Nobel Peace Prize almost became their like civic religion. Uh and it’s just beautiful.

[00:11:56.01] spk_0:
You know, my work is planned giving the Nobel prizes were originally a gift in Alfred Nobel’s will to uh to I think to a university. Yeah,

[00:11:56.50] spk_1:
there’s something around that history

[00:11:58.02] spk_0:
and and

[00:11:59.12] spk_1:
then all of them are in all the mix up. The peace Prize I believe are given in Sweden. But because he believed also in Norwegian Sweden kind of solidarity, he had the peace prize done in Oslo and uh and that’s been a tradition ever since, I guess that must have been in his will as well,

[00:13:01.15] spk_0:
This idea of of $27 being transformative to to someone’s business. Um and and you know, let’s just let’s just say a little more about that. He started in Bangladesh. And then, but then, I mean the bank between the bank and the foundation, I recorded uh Philippines, Nicaragua, India Uganda Rwanda Cameroon Haiti Indonesia. Uh the us were gonna, I’d like to talk something about the US to uh where maybe $27 isn’t quite transformational, but still what we would consider small amounts of capital can be can be Transformative, but you know, talk about those opening days where and what what the lives of the women were like that, $27 could be could be so influential. So so valuable to them. Well,

[00:13:30.32] spk_1:
it’s, you know, it’s a little misleading because $27 was worth more than and the and the and the and the Bangladeshi Taco is worth more. But you know, still it’s a it’s a small amount, it’s let’s let’s say in today’s dollars, it might be uh you know, a couple $100 for 40 people. Um And we’re talking

[00:13:31.17] spk_0:
About, let me just orient folks, we’re talking about mid 70s, the bank started in 1976.

[00:16:07.80] spk_1:
Yeah, he exactly, he he had been kind of walking around the village is um basking in the glow of the successful agriculture project, but then the people who didn’t have any land were like, we didn’t really get help much. Um And so he said, well what would help you? And then basically he found that and this has become a generalized issue that, you know, as as my board chair, Susan Davis said um she said, you know, in the in in developing countries, there aren’t enough jobs, there isn’t a social safety net. So basically a lot of people, it’s You work for yourself or you starve. Now you may not be the greatest entrepreneur or you may be very good, but it’s your only choice. And so you try your best to do some sort of economic activity that you don’t need to rely on someone else to employ you or the government to give you resources, you’re on your own. And so people use, I mean some of these businesses are capitalized with the equivalent of $10 or $15. Um and and it’s very inefficient because you know, they need to go back and buy raw materials every day. And that costs money. And so, and so suddenly if you, if you have someone running a a tiny tiny business, whether it’s trading or manufacturing or services and you go from having working capital of $15 to $100 that can be revolutionary, that can bring efficiencies that can allow you to take risks that can allow you to go to scale that you wouldn’t, and then, and some people stabilize their, you know, they don’t, poverty isn’t gonna end in their generation, it may end in the next one because they use a little bit of surplus to educate their kids. But other people, you know, people that might have been Bill Gates, uh, if they lived born in different circumstances. Next thing, you know, their business is $500 of capital and $1000 and $10,000. Uh and uh, and again, people say, well not not all of the poor entrepreneurs and true, but but all poor people want to survive. And again, when they’re not jobs, there’s no social safety net, you gotta, you gotta try your best at business because that’s your only option and you’re probably gonna be more successful of two conditions. One is you get capital and two, if you, if you’re in a supportive network of people that are going to try to open doors for you throw business your way, talk you out of bad ideas and and and foolhardy risks because as I say, running nonprofits or, or you know, I would have a lot of good ideas, but one out of every three of my ideas was a bad one and I would have smart people around me to talk me out of the bad ones because I didn’t know what they were. Well, the same thing is with Grameen the ingenuity of what he said is he organized people in these support groups or solidarity groups and you couldn’t, you couldn’t borrow from the bank unless you were part of one. And those groups have incentives

[00:16:21.14] spk_0:
to be

[00:16:37.07] spk_1:
there to kind of support and oversee and help each borrower which is, you know, important for any, I mean you talk to any business man who survived or woman, they’re gonna say, you know, there were, there were moments where I almost came off the rails, but someone helped me. Um, and a family member and investor, a spouse, whatever and you’re trying to re create that supportive environment social environment through building it into the lending system. And and that meant that you didn’t even need collateral because you had that supportive network the incentive to repay. And and you know, absent short periods after a natural disaster, Grameen has had 97 98 99% repayment for its entire history.

[00:17:42.86] spk_0:
You just scratched the surface of something that I’d like to go a little deeper on our misconceptions of the poor that there that that that they’re not bright that they’re not ambitious. Uh many may in fact be illiterate, but it goes beyond, it goes beyond the the misconceptions that we have that in terms of their their innate skills and resourcefulness and desires. Talk some about what you think are misconceptions here in the US are around the poor. Yeah.

[00:18:05.26] spk_1:
And and and people tend to be particularly misconceived around the poor in their own society. You know, they might say, well the poor of Asia are hardworking maybe. But in my own environment. And because you see the way the way I see it is, you know, we have to tell ourselves stories that that we can kind of live with ourselves if we don’t live in poverty of why it’s okay that people um why there are people here that I don’t have to like, you know spend a lot of time trying to address that because if you know, if if they’re

[00:18:12.39] spk_0:
not, if

[00:18:13.44] spk_1:
they’re not bright if they’re not hard working if they’re somehow engaged in uh self destructive behavior and all of that happens sometimes. But if that’s the root cause of it, then I can kind of let myself off the

[00:18:24.12] spk_0:
hook and I can let

[00:20:14.45] spk_1:
my government off the hook, I can let my charitable work because it’s like they do it to themselves. And and yet the truth is that people that live in conditions of poverty in certain ways are more highly skilled than you and I um as one of the women and I quote in the book who ran a kind of a like a microcredit program in Connecticut, she says, you show me a woman on $600 a month on a welfare check or through a business who can like get her family through the month, month after month. Like that’s a scrambler. That’s someone who can like optimize finance more than you and I can and and so you know, we you get thrown into an environment, you and I were to get thrown into environment and let’s say the language issue wasn’t there and we had almost nothing and you know, you know, and a lot of people around us that almost nothing we would fail. And they would succeed because they know how to, they know how to kind of get the most out of a small amount of resources and you and I aren’t used to doing it’s a skill we don’t have. And so when you start and this is Mohammed Yunus is kind of brilliance and it’s really generalize Herbal outside of the financial services, is he? It’s really a strengths based approach. It’s like, let’s and and there’s a management theories like this that I’ve been exposed to a little bit, which is, they say, you know, if you’re a worker in the white collar worker and don’t spend your life trying to trying to address your weaknesses, just put yourself in a job that maximizes your strengths and forget about your weaknesses. And, you know, it it’s as good as far as it goes. But in this case he’s saying, let’s let’s look at what the poor, the mere fact that they’ve survived poverty means they must have some skills and drive and determination and tenacity. And then let’s build on that and let’s build a financial system that kind of, that draws that out rather than looking at them as a series of deficits that need to be addressed by, you know, you know, by well intentioned people that are gonna teach them something, uh you know, at the end of the day about surviving with a little the small amounts of resources, the poor have a lot to teach us.

[00:22:25.12] spk_0:
It’s time for a break turn to communications. They have their bi weekly newsletter out, they talk about sort of timeless strategies, things that they’re advising you take a look at again for the new year that they’ve talked about in the past over this past year going public with a new strategy. New strategy is only as good as your ability to explain what it aims to achieve and why it matters to your key audiences. The case for creating a PR wolfpack enlist a squad of allies to help drive your PR efforts because journalists are so overworked and burdened, it’s hard to get their attention. Are you overlooking your most important audience encouraging you to speak smartly be intentional about when you’re talking internally to your, your own teams and the power of apology saying you’re sorry and meaning it never goes out of style. Of course, there’s a link to each of these where you can read the full post in the newsletter. They just give you a little little paragraph and I reduce that to a sentence. You can get their newsletter which is called on message. If you go to turn hyphen two dot c o. Because why would you want to do that? Your story is their mission. That’s why now back to Grameen team dream. Most of these folks I think are are born into poverty. You know, so it’s it’s been generation after generation. And as you said earlier, you know, if if if they can’t get themselves out of poverty in, in their own generation, you’re you’re confident that the next generation will will be better off than than their parents. That’s

[00:22:25.43] spk_1:
right. And, you know, the research on microfinance, which is a whole controversial area that I’ve taken

[00:22:30.37] spk_0:
some, I’ve

[00:22:57.38] spk_1:
taken some stands on that been highly criticized and um and we can get into that if you want. But basically what it tends to say um is that, you know, a segment of borrowers somewhere between 10 and 25% do extremely well. Like there there again, these are these are people that might have been Bill Gates um or mike Bloomberg, if they’re born in different circumstances, you give them $100 and wake up five years later and they’re like, they’re doing great uh for that village. And uh then there’s another segment, pretty much most of the rest who are only gonna benefit modestly, like their entrepreneurial skills are limited there, they’re there and they work hard with it. Um and and people say, oh my God, only, you

[00:23:10.99] spk_0:
know, you know,

[00:24:09.40] spk_1:
Only 25% succeed. Well, the truth of the matter is 25% succeed wildly and the rest succeed modestly. But when I when I’ve gone back to visit with people who have benefited from microfinance, you know, and and some of these studies just follow them for six or 12 months and I go back like six years or 12 years or 20 years later, I see that, you know, they’re still living in conditions that maybe aren’t that much better than they lived before, but especially when you lend to the women who tend to think inter generationally have a longer term um kind of you than men do. I think on average and all the societies I know that they they took that extra money and they invested it in the nutrition of the Children so their brain development was a little better. They hired a private tutor to make sure they would pass the government exam so they could get a good job. And then you see that you know that the the educational status, the nutritional status, the ability to get a job or to create your own job. Um it’s just wildly different from one generation to the other. So if you look at that woman, did she get out of poverty in the two years since she started bothering three years? No, but did she have a plan that she was now able to put into motion so that her Children, you stop that generational cycle of poverty with her generation very frequently I saw. Yes. And and again, I don’t think the researchers have have had the patience to look at that. Look at those long term trends, but to someone who’s been around the field for 30 years, they’re very obvious to me.

[00:24:46.96] spk_0:
I’m glad you brought in women because initially the bank was lending to anyone, but women turned out to be the better credit risk. They were more reliable re payers than than the men. Can you flush that out a little more than than what you said. Just you know,

[00:25:11.00] spk_1:
this Mohammed Yunus didn’t begin as this kind of like this feminist, you know, ideal. He he just, he kind of approached it pretty and pretty simple, pragmatic way. He said the banking system as I understand it has three balls, it’s anti poor, anti women and anti illiterate.

[00:25:17.38] spk_0:
So

[00:27:02.17] spk_1:
I wanna I wanna bank that that you don’t need collateral, you can be poor and borrow um that you don’t have to read and write will figure that one out. So you and I want 50% of my borrowers to be women because 50% of population is women. Uh and and and those are the objectives he set for himself. Now a few years in he noticed something, he noticed that the women were very dedicated to repaying their loans absent some major tragedy. They always paid back. Men were a little more erratic. Um Men’s business were a little more profitable, but they were also but also they took more risks and and more than failed. Um And uh and they and the women really kind of that that group solidarity uh took root a lot more uh you know, being supportive of each other. Um and having that kind of conscience to say, gosh, my business is going well. But the woman in my group is struggling. Let me go see what’s how I can help her just seems to be more of a kind of a feminine characteristic. Uh And so from that point onward, he said, you know what, basically all new groups that we form, we’re gonna be women. He didn’t kick out the men. He said they came in, but we changed the rules and um and I think, you know, and what ultimately happens here now, some people criticize microfinance. Well then, you know, borrowers, the women borrowers, but they give the money to the men. Sometimes it happens, sometimes they give them part of the money and they keep part of the money for their own business. Uh There are lots of variations. But but what what what Muhammad Yunus ultimately said is we want to help poor families, but if normally the representative of the family to an institution is the father or the husband and might work in some cases, but he said, microfinance works best when we’re helping the family, but the representative of the family is the mother or the wife. Um And then she, and that gives

[00:27:08.50] spk_0:
her kind

[00:27:49.63] spk_1:
of respect in the community and within the family, it gives her some kind of leverage even if she hands over the loan to her husband. Still, it came through her. Uh And that kind of changes the way he sees her oftentimes. Um So he once, once he saw this dynamic that it worked better, especially from the perspective of reducing poverty. Um then then he said, you know, I’m just gonna go with women here. I’m not gonna ignore the men, I’m going to, you know, pay them respect. But they are the husbands of our clients, uh, and we respect them, but we don’t lend to them, We don’t do business with them, especially on the loan side. And if they want to deposit money with us fine. And And he and he advised people who took his idea forward like Grameen America, which has done it so successfully in the us for the past 12 years. Um he said start with women only. Like we we just we made a mistake early on the 5050 thing was an experiment. And but once we learned, you don’t have to do that. Just start with women and just go with it 100%.

[00:28:25.25] spk_0:
I want to shift a little bit, I guess maybe from the, from the factual to the to the more opinion, because you’ve worked in poverty alleviation for decades. What what do you what do you see as the causes of poverty? Well,

[00:30:35.60] spk_1:
I mean, the causes of poverty, I mean, you know, you go, you know, at its core, um you know, you have to look at, you know, you have to look at colonialism, you have to look at racism. You have to look at some of the, I mean, ultimately, if you if you go back before the Industrial Revolution by today’s standards, everyone was poor, like 95% of people were poor. Um, and uh, and so that was the norm. But then once, once, as we as a civilization started to kind of accumulate wealth uh um that then, you know, there were there were there were people in a position to um to kind of get benefit from that wealth um whether it was natural resources or industrialization or whatever, that um that certain people just were able to accumulate a lot of wealth and and others weren’t. And and that’s when you and and again, I look at when I think about poverty, I think much, much less about income, which can fluctuate and not be that great indicator, but assets. And one of the things you see in this country is the average african american family is many of your listeners know as about 10% of the net worth of the average white family. Um and so assets give you options, assets allow you to think, gosh, we see a business opportunity, let’s take that. Um We, you know, we, we want to, we want to kind of place a bet on our brightest kid to go to a very expensive school and when you have assets, you have options. Um and maybe people don’t always make the right decision with their options, but by having them and within a family structure where you can kind of, you know, bring in bad decisions and you know like like it is with the solidarity group. So um so I think, you know, the poverty to score is about um is ultimately about wealth and it’s about assets. It’s about productive assets who owns them. And are there ways in society um to ensure that people that don’t have access to productive assets, whether it’s an education or working capital for a business, um, if they can’t get them to the market mechanism through a pure capitalistic economy that there are other places they can go um whether it’s the state which has pros and cons or whether it’s a kind of a special purpose organization, like, I mean that there are alternatives for people that, and for those of us that have a degree of assets, we don’t need a lot of help. Um but for those that have, don’t have much in the way of assets and don’t have much in the way of options. Are there alternatives to them? And the countries that have made the most progress around poverty have created those kind of non market or quasi market alternatives. So people can accumulate wealth and and basically create options for their family that are, you know, commensurate with people that have been able to accumulate wealth one way or the other.

[00:31:29.57] spk_0:
I feel like it’s time for a story because the book is replete with stories of people succeeding some different degrees as you’ve suggested to different degrees, but um I don’t, you know, you pick one maybe a story about one of the solidarity groups or an individual give us uh give us a make this personal yeah,

[00:31:33.61] spk_1:
so you know, so first of all, you know I

[00:31:35.17] spk_0:
had before

[00:32:38.86] spk_1:
I was really qualified to do this book, the Bangladesh side, I needed to learn the language, I needed to do my homework in terms of the culture um and uh and yet to be able to, you know, it helped being an american to tell it to a global audience um but I really need to immerse myself. And one of the, one of the people I got to know um was a woman named non sometimes go by Nani um and she was from a hindu family, this is a majority muslim village, majority muslim country, but up until fairly recently the religious minorities were fairly well treated in Bangladesh, one of the, you know the good things, many good things about the society and so she and you know her her hindu caste was typically involved in somehow kind of making sweets and out of, you know, cottage cheese is the raw material of most indian sweets and desserts, you know, and uh and so she, her family through a series of things, you know, stupid lawsuits from one family to another, which is, you know, which happens in this country in every country and and some more natural disasters. They’re they’re basically they’re working capital to do their business that they knew very well was depleted and so ultimately they just had nowhere else to turn but to have the men in the family,

[00:32:50.92] spk_0:
you know

[00:34:36.60] spk_1:
Hire themselves out as day laborers for wealthy farmers and that was it and their skills kind of start to erode and when grooming came, in they lent you know $80 was the first loan uh and nobody’s like we’re back in business and she started slowly, you know, being to buy milk, turning into cottage cheese, sell the cottage cheese, turned the cottage cheese into sweets um and then started to trade, you know, so slowly slowly it took three or four years. Um you know, they kind of revived a dormant skill and one of the things that you know, I you know and got the whole family involved after school, the kids would go home and they would help with their piece. Um and because she was very entrepreneurial but if you looked at her pre grammy and you just say oh this is some sort of uneducated family, the women are kind of lazy, they’re just sitting around the men work in the fields when they can get work otherwise they just sit around and they must have no skills and they were highly skilled but lacking capital lacking, you know that that they basically their skills were just not being used and then the, and I used to sit around, I watched them turn, you know gallons and gallons and gallons of milk into basically like usually like a duffel bag full of cottage cheese or sometimes two or three of them. And it was, you know, using very, what we call primitive thing, uh, tools that would have been, you know, would have been well recognized in the 18 thirties here in the US. Uh, and they still work. Um, and so, but one of the most interesting is at 1.1 of their breakthroughs and there were a series of breakthroughs and setbacks, like any businesses, they got a contract with a, with a, with a shop in the capital, uh, to supply them with cottage cheese that the shop would then turn into sweets according to their own cooking method and baking method. And

[00:34:36.83] spk_0:
so, so

[00:34:38.06] spk_1:
it was a great contract. And what would happen is they would bring in like imagine a duffel bag stuffed with cottage cheese or two or three and they would deliver it, they would take it on bicycles, 10 miles to the bus stop, they would get on a bus, go to Daka, deliver it and then the store owner would say, okay tomorrow, we need to, to um, duffel bags full like one today, but we need more tomorrow. And so, and then they would just have to deliver whatever the, whatever they asked

[00:35:05.21] spk_0:
for. So

[00:35:53.34] spk_1:
that’s a, that’s a lot of work to do that. And then they had, you know, two men in the household would then again bike with like, you know, £80 of cottage cheese on their crossbar and then get on a bus and go there, come back. So at one point, there was a major transit strike um, and, and non evil is very, very compelling person in her group, but I’m going to talk about the men for a second in the family because she kind of put them to work and they’re like, once they got this, they were never gonna let it go. So there was a transport strike, 14 days, the busses were not running in the country, I was stuck in the capital, and I was like, what? And I finally got back, the strike was over and I said, did you lose the contract? Because the deal was, if they ever don’t deliver what they’ve asked for the previous night, the contract is null and void, that was the, that was the deal. So they said, oh no, no, what everything was fine, what do you mean, everything fine? Um, you know, said,

[00:35:56.01] spk_0:
well, instead of

[00:36:57.80] spk_1:
only biking 10 miles to the bus stop and getting on a bus and going 40 miles to um, the capital, we just biked the whole 50 miles and then we would turn around the next morning and bike back and we did that 14 days in a row, um, you know, because that’s what you need to do to keep this, um, and uh, and you know, tony who is really like the mother hand of the whole family and frankly the mother had of the whole group of borrowers in that in that village. Um you know, she just insisted on it and uh and so you had this family that was just you know, was was that kind of so passionate about their business would never let this contract go. And then she was also very kind to other people like she was the one who would insist on a very poor woman who want to join grameen that people kind of have doubts about. She’d say let her in, I’ll guarantee her loan like like if she doesn’t pay like you know, she knew how to kind of pay it forward, give back, you know, she, she knew that had that $80 loan set her free, let her recover her past glory. Her family as a, as a sweet making cottage cheese making family and she was willing to pay it forward. So just uh you know, remarkable kind of woman was, was not educated herself, but all of her Children were getting educated. That’s where a lot of her profits went to. And you know, I just got to meet and get intimate with the people, Some were not as nearly as successful as she were, but they revealed things about themselves and

[00:37:16.40] spk_0:
then I was, I

[00:37:17.59] spk_1:
followed a bunch of women who were borrowing from microcredit program modeled on on the south side of

[00:37:23.24] spk_0:
Chicago

[00:37:47.41] spk_1:
and they also let me into their lives in a in a surprising degree. Uh but you know, I stuck around for two years. So they didn’t do it on day one and I just got to see how it could be applied, okay, not with an $80 loan, but maybe with $1000 loan that could grow to be 34, 5000 if they paid back over time. And I saw the same dynamic in a in a in a in a in a really poor neighborhood in Chicago that I saw in rural Bangladesh and just got to know and be friends with, you know, about a half dozen women. Both really get to know them very well. Uh intimate details about their histories about when they’ve been going through the worst thing in their life and the best things. And uh and they gave me permission to write about all of it in the book to give people a sense of that. You know, poor people are not hopeless people, poor people are not um

[00:38:16.24] spk_0:
our

[00:38:16.65] spk_1:
people, you know,

[00:38:17.30] spk_0:
just lack a

[00:38:36.28] spk_1:
few things um in order to kind of get back on track and they wanted that story to be told. And I told it the best that I could. But you know, the original edition suffered from some of the maturities that I had in my late twenties when I wrote it. And it was a good writer. But I wasn’t like I wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t as um just sensitive to the things I should have been. And so this book, I was able to really take all the great writing of the first edition, but also take out all the things that weren’t quite right. Uh, and uh, and this is the book it always meant to be that came out, you know,

[00:39:53.15] spk_0:
two months ago, non ease story is going to resonate with any entrepreneur or ceo, you know, you do what you have to do when, when cash flow is poor and payroll is due in a couple of days. You do what you have to do. Whether that means tap the credit line or get a credit line approach, fundraiser, approach donors in a way that you wouldn’t, wouldn’t like to, but go without yourself. You know, you do what you do what you have to do. And by the way, the couple of things I mentioned first were access to capital. You know, you get a credit line or tap a credit line or go to fundraiser. Sorry, go to donors. Well, those are, those are three sources of two. Those are two different sources of access to capital that Nonnie and the millions of other women in poverty, you know, didn’t have before before Grameen, but do what you have to do. I mean, everybody’s everybody’s been there who’s in charge of something. Yeah,

[00:39:53.53] spk_1:
I mean, and you know, and, and I mean, I think I was probably channeling her when, you know, in Year two of Grameen Foundation, when we were, we had a, you know, first of a couple of financial

[00:40:02.53] spk_0:
crises.

[00:40:31.26] spk_1:
Um and uh and I just said, well I’m gonna go off salary for three months to conserve our cash so that my my employees get paid and uh, and we, you know, we don’t run out of cash and I did that and do that again a year later and I never had to do it again after that. But I realized that, you know, I’m not, I have a little bit of a safety net. My wife had a decent job and uh, I could, you know, turn to my family if I needed to and you know, that had everyone else appreciate that I sacrificed. Um and uh and they just kind of dug in and and uh, and shared my, you know, deep in their commitment to the mission of the organization which was spreading women around the world. It was a very noble thing that we’re trying to do uh take a success

[00:40:44.21] spk_0:
model

[00:41:18.57] spk_1:
uh that uh and and bring it to its full expression globally. And so and we pulled through both of those crises and grew to become a pretty good sized organization. And without without that you no willingness to just do what it takes in that moment. Maybe that organization just kind of dies an early death. Uh and uh, and I wasn’t gonna let that happen, nor was she. And so the tenacity to to to build a micro businesses a large business and nonprofit. It’s, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s similar. Um, and and, and as you know, i in my, my other book, changing the world with losing your mind, I try to talk about that’s important, but it’s also important for you to take care of yourself to to, you know, you can work intensively and sacrifice for short bursts, but then you need to replenish yourself. Um and uh, and that’s, that’s another important part of it all. But yeah, there are times where you just need to do whatever it takes. Uh and uh, and then you have your war stories to tell your kids and grandkids at some point.

[00:43:44.10] spk_0:
Yeah, when you look back, it’s so much less painful when you’re looking back, of course It’s time for Tony Take two, please, over these next couple of weeks, take time for yourself. And that doesn’t necessarily mean be by yourself, although it might whatever it is that lifts you up. If that’s being with certain people who energize you and lift you make you feel good, bring out your best spend time with those folks as much as you can. Uh and that may, or that may not be family. I realize that hopefully it is, that would be very nice. But in a lot of cases, that’s not always family. I understand, believe me, I understand, uh, without getting into a therapy session. So, but we all have obligations? Of course you got to fulfill those, that’s what they are. But beyond that, what is it that lifts you up? Maybe it’s weightlifting. I don’t know, whatever it is that juices, you take time to do it. If it’s with other folks, please seek them out. If it’s by yourself, please make that time too. And you got to make that time, you’re never gonna find it, you have to make it all. This is to remind you that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. And there’s a good fresh New Year coming. You’re gonna be taking care of a lot of other folks. Take care of yourself first. That is Tony’s take two for these next few weeks, enjoy, we’ve got boo koo, but loads more time for the Grameen Team dream with Alex counts. Are these loans in part grants of pride? I see it as boosting people up just because you know, they can build something that that that they can point to and they have people who believe in them. So I saw this as sort of a pride, a pride boost. It’s

[00:43:59.42] spk_1:
it’s, you know what it is, is in a way that it might be more dramatic than these some of these people have ever had in their lives. It’s a vote of confidence.

[00:44:08.64] spk_0:
It’s

[00:44:35.95] spk_1:
like you can do this. Um we’re gonna put we’re gonna put our money, we’re a big institution in your hands, we trust you. Um Again, trust you because you convinced some other women in the village that your business plan made sense and they’re gonna be there for you, but we trust you. And what often happens with the first loan, not so much, no money was like off to the races that, you know, within months, but a lot of women who maybe have more modest entrepreneurial ability, like

[00:44:36.71] spk_0:
they, that

[00:44:37.38] spk_1:
first year they’re, they’re like really nervous.

[00:44:39.77] spk_0:
They,

[00:44:40.69] spk_1:
you know, they make a make a business decision that isn’t that smart and they just kind of scrape by at the end of the year, they pay off their loan and like there’s, there’s not a lot of surplus there, but they pay it off and they like are so relieved. Um, and

[00:44:56.18] spk_0:
but then they’re

[00:44:56.85] spk_1:
like, wait, this isn’t that hard,

[00:44:59.24] spk_0:
Like

[00:45:11.14] spk_1:
I paid back a loan that was more, I got more money as a loan that I never held in my hand in my whole life and I invested it and it didn’t go perfectly, but like I can do this. And so I always think of the first loan is like a starter loan. It’s like the preseason, you know, in baseball or football where it’s like, you, you just, you know, you’re just trying to get your sea legs um, to mix metaphors I suppose and

[00:45:23.41] spk_0:
I don’t know much about sports to begin with,

[00:45:35.22] spk_1:
but, but it’s like you, you know, you, you get to do a trial run. Um and yet someone trusted you and you and you didn’t let them down and you’re like you know what, this is that hard

[00:45:37.67] spk_0:
like I just need to

[00:46:06.35] spk_1:
Relax like I’m like I’m actually worthy and these women are here to help me and then from the second loan which normally they’ll allow you to take if you want to maybe 50% more than you took the first year. So you go from a $50 loan to $75 loan. And that first loan is that it’s really a confidence building loan. It’s people discovering their capabilities as a market actor and as and as someone in their family and in their communities. Um And one of the things they looked at is um there’s a study, a study done in Bangladesh and I wish there had been more studies of microfinance in Bangladesh. But the ones that were there were very and they said that you know, a woman, a woman who borrows from Grameen, they defined what empowered person was about how influential she is in her family and in her society and whether she, you know, whether she can make large purchases on her own without her spouse’s permission and they

[00:46:29.50] spk_0:
Just you know 10

[00:46:32.23] spk_1:
different indicators and and a woman who is borrowing from Grameen was eight times more likely to be empowered with really mean, which means she has some, some real say about what happens in her life and she’s she’s an agent, not just just someone who waits for things to happen. She makes things happen. And then they found that actually

[00:46:50.53] spk_0:
women

[00:47:58.80] spk_1:
who saw other Grameen women work, but they didn’t themselves join Grameen. They were 2.5 times more likely to be empowered than people who are not in Grameen in a non Grameen village. So empowerment was almost contained contagious. Um and and that first loan um which, you know, people, I mean, I watched it, this is not exaggerate, people’s hands are shaking when they get the money. It’s just it’s a it’s a vote of confidence beyond which people um think that they were ever going to get in their lives. And while they may stumble a little bit and they, you know, in being nervous, um you know, because they, you know, they, once they get the hang of it, uh they’re very grateful to the organization, they never want to let it down. And they start discovering capabilities that they had that they didn’t know they had before. And it’s and it’s, you know, it’s whether, you know, a lot of people have this experience in school where a teacher saw potential in them, gave them a vote of confidence that they discovered their intellectual abilities and I certainly had that in school. And uh and in this case it’s really just almost basic level of being a human being and an economic actor in a in a culture where again jobs and safety nets aren’t present, everyone is on their own and here you’re saying, you know you you in this market economy you can make it work and I’m gonna I’m gonna put a bet on you and if and if you know, and then go for it and it just it’s like it’s transformational in the sense of a vote of confidence amount of money isn’t that big, but what it signals to the person, the community is huge.

[00:50:18.66] spk_0:
So so your vote of confidence, so empowering, empowering. Um I want to move to the Foundation because that that brings us to the U. S. And south side of Chicago. But I want folks to know there’s so much more about the history of Grameen in the book. You know, there was a crisis in late 2010, 2011 and a front page Wall Street Journal article. You know, you gotta you gotta get the book for the for this rich history. Um So all right, but I would like to I’d like to talk with the talk about the foundation. You let it for the 1st 18 years. Uh it came 21 years after the beginning of the bank. If I had my years right, it was it was 1997 and the foundation, I’m sorry, on the bank was 76. And the other thing I want to say about the bank, you gotta understand this was a bank with branches. There were there were hundreds of branches throughout Bangladesh and in other countries. And then they and then in the branches uh some of them had a health Grameen Health Grameen education. And then you can read about Grameenphone and Grameen telecom all empowering. I mean these were not you know, these were not like telecom companies that are that are to uh to spread telecommunications about the country. This is well it does but it does it through individual entrepreneurs, you know, buying a phone or renting a phone and and sharing time a couple of minutes, everybody in the village gets two minutes or something to to check the market price for their for their commodity. So, you know, it’s just I mean this is this is not just like some office in the capital in Dhaka. There’s branches throughout the country and in other countries, branches of a bank. It was it was a bank Grameen bank. So All right, that’s uh that’s the bank. We gotta we gotta but we only got so much time. So we gotta move to the foundation. So you gotta get the book to read more about the bank. The Foundation um 1997. You were you were charged just kicked off with $6,000 and a desire to expand this work to to the poor in in the US you

[00:52:05.37] spk_1:
know my original vision when I wrote to Muhammad Yunus to ask him to host me as a Fulbright scholar was I said um You know with a lot of naivete and that you would have when you’re 19 years old but I said your work should be expanded around the world and I want to help you do it. Uh it shouldn’t just be a solution for your country and you know he was already thinking about that, but he really, it took until 97 when I kind of proved my loyalty to him and my my understanding of what he was doing, he said he said we all these people say to us you know we want to help you take your model global Alex, why don’t you set up an office in the US and try to kind of like mobilize all these people to take make this a global movement um and there were already some small beginnings but take it bigger and so of course I felt totally unprepared to do that and untrained and but I just said you know, yes sir, I’m gonna give it my best shot. And he gave me $6000 which by the way is not a lot of money to start an organization with uh but I didn’t know that and I didn’t care, I just wanted the chance and so we basically just tried to um not really knowing what we were doing, trying to kind of harness all this energy about Grameen in Bangladesh could be a model for many other countries and we were like without a lot of resources in the start let’s let’s let’s try to make that happen um and uh and just one of our early things wins and we had some setbacks and things that you know didn’t go well of course, but there were there were three social entrepreneurs in India who said we we want to take a mean to big scale in India and we’ve got

[00:52:06.40] spk_0:
um

[00:54:30.80] spk_1:
we now collectively reach 46,000 women which was a lot for the time and we want to grow that to 164,000 women basically triple quadruple outreach and we can do it in, we can do it in 30 months but we need and we need $8 million but all we need from you Alex is a million dollars upfront. Uh and we can use that to attract other money within India and I was like game on and I got named steven Rockefeller nelson Rockefeller’s grandson, a great guy, I just bumped into a reception, you know this is you need to just be working networking every way and he just helped me raise a million dollars in like six weeks in the spring of 2000 and then these we happened to choose the right people to bet on in India because they met their goal of quadrupling outreach of two women in India and by the way they at one point they said, microfinance will never work in India, the caste system, you know, it’ll just, it’s only Bangladesh, it’ll never work in India, but these, these were the guys and when they, when we gave them that million dollars and that and that gave us a kind of a calling card, we said listen, we know how to pick the winners, we know how to get them the early money that unlocks more money and so we just designed all sorts of programs to help in Nigeria and East africa and Philippines and Haiti um you know that we, we just were able to spot people who had that kind of entrepreneur spark, but that also that ethical compass of Muhammad Yunus and bet on them, give them attention, give them money, give them a loan guarantees and and some of them just really hit it out of the ballpark in terms of becoming the Muhammad Yunus of their country. Um and uh and that it just felt great, right, that vision I had at 19 when I wrote this member to, you know this letter to Professor Yunus and despite all of my inadequacies as a leader, especially in the early years uh to be able to attract the money and talent to uh to basically kind of stake people who wanted to apply unisys insight in their countries and let them do that, I just got the biography of a guy who, it was kind of the Muhammad Yunus of Nigeria, which is not an easy country to work in. As as most of your listeners probably know uh it’s more a place where you get, you know, scam solicitations to, you know, to give over your bank account numbers, but there are some very ethical social entrepreneurs and this one guy, Godwin, he just needed just like a start and an ally. And uh and he and during Covid he wrote his memoir and uh and and and sent me a copy. And while, you know, the editing wasn’t done quite as like as well as it should have been all that, you know, to read things and to say like repeatedly like Alex counts and his team

[00:54:45.58] spk_0:
like

[00:55:21.35] spk_1:
helped us at a critical moment, otherwise this thing could have just collapsed or this thing could have just you know, or I might have collapsed and and to know that he’s not alone in that and I give I give 99% of the credit to him, but to have been an ally to people that were trying to uh take this, take this microfinance revolution and concept to some really hard countries where there’s deep poverty um you know, that’s enormously satisfying and uh and and it was and we had a great time doing it. And then uh and then, you know, the other thing that we may not have much time to talk about, but the Early Grameen lending in Chicago That I mentioned earlier

[00:55:22.98] spk_0:
that a team

[00:55:47.37] spk_1:
Of Bangladesh’s took that and have grown that in the US to an amazing degree in the last 10 years. And finally we can say that microfinance not only works in in the us, but it might even work better than it does in Bangladesh. Uh and it’s just so satisfying to see that. And I had very little role in that. Um but it kind of helped bring some sensitivity to the potential of grameen here. And then a team of Bangladeshis and americans under the leadership of Andrew Young. The former Ceo of Avon have just hit that one out of the park. And it’s just amazing to see

[00:56:14.78] spk_0:
Talk, let’s talk something about Chicago. I understand you that’s not well that wasn’t within your 18 years. You you you were limited, you know, you can only do so much in 18 years. You know, don’t be too don’t be too hard on yourself. Um What what what have we seen in in the US in in helping helping the poor uh emerge.

[00:56:22.06] spk_1:
So, so, you know, again,

[00:56:23.79] spk_0:
I prior

[00:56:46.01] spk_1:
to starting Grameen Foundation when I did the research for this book in Chicago. Um I saw that small loans on a small scale could really help people. But what they didn’t do in Chicago, this program called the women’s self employment program. They didn’t figure out how to kind of systematize the lending process so that it can be done highly efficiently in a large scale but on a small scale I saw Grameen works but the system of massif eyeing it didn’t exist and so I went off to do Grameen and I tried to

[00:56:56.88] spk_0:
help

[00:56:57.71] spk_1:
people who were doing microfinance in the U. S. Didn’t really go anywhere. And then Mohammad Yunus got kind of frustrated with you know those people like me who were trying to apply a smile in the US and he sent he sent a Bangladeshi guy who had done some consulting for us in the Dominican republic. So he knew some spanish

[00:57:14.21] spk_0:
and

[00:57:14.51] spk_1:
he just said like start knocking on doors in like Brooklyn and queens and most of them slammed in your face but just ask them like imagine you were in a Bangladeshi village and just ask them like would you be interested in alone for starting your expanding a small business. And like most people slam doors in his face but some of them said I’d be I mean I’m sure you can’t deliver that you’re probably a scam artist but if you ask yes I could use $600 to start a business but you’re never and he would like note them down

[00:57:41.30] spk_0:
and

[00:57:41.69] spk_1:
Basically they started lending in 2008 like the global financial crisis is whatever and they’re like let’s let’s do this and 2009 they start to get a couple 100 borrowers in New York City, the first branch um and

[00:57:56.23] spk_0:
fast

[00:57:57.14] spk_1:
Forward 14 years and they’re about to lend their $3 billion dollar

[00:58:01.01] spk_0:
in

[00:59:03.65] spk_1:
Amounts averaging 2000 A 99% repayment. Um and and they have and the research which was done on their Jersey City branch intensively for three years shows that asset accumulation credit scores increasing many social and economic indicators are going in the right direction there. So it’s just it took time um and to get the model right. But but people trained by Yunus again, I I can say that what I did is I really took the model from the U. S. Base and help it grow to other developing countries and uh and you know I’ll forever be proud of my work and that but other people it’s also inspired by Eunice um said we’re gonna we’re gonna figure out this U. S. Market uh And it’s mainly been kind of latino women um though they’re increasing their numbers of african americans and other minorities and and caucasian entrepreneurs but it’s mostly Latina women who kind of come from countries where this kind of entrepreneurship at the grassroots level is more common. Uh So they went with the thing they started with what was likely to work but they’ve just done a bang up job and shown that microfinance uh can work in one of the poorest countries in the world, can work in one of the

[00:59:14.92] spk_0:
richest.

[00:59:15.78] spk_1:
Um And And it’s all inspired by a soft spoken Bangladeshi economist who just wandered outside of his classroom and said how can I help

[00:59:43.70] spk_0:
When you say 99% repayment rates? I mean that that’s a triple a. Plus plus, you know, portfolio of of borrowers. I mean the the commitment that they have, it’s it’s remarkable what what kinds of businesses just generally, you know, did you see clusters of types of businesses in here in the U. S.

[00:59:47.00] spk_1:
Sure a lot of them have to do in both Bangladesh and here uh with food um So selling trading food whole, you know buying it wholesale, selling at retail or opening up like a hot dog stand or Tamale

[01:00:01.33] spk_0:
stand. Uh

[01:00:43.19] spk_1:
some of it is catering business, some of it is opening up a little coffee shop, also car detailing, car maintenance, lawns care. A lot of people doing the opening up a little beauty salon or just or just something as simple as getting a chair in someone else’s, you know, kind of you know, manicure pedicure, you know, kind of a thing uh services um selling machine to make clothes. Um And uh and and all sorts of you know just very creative things. One woman going back to the, when I was involved in this um kind of prior to growing America, there was a woman very smart, she wanted money for a camera and what she did is she would go through neighborhoods in in uh poor neighborhood in

[01:00:47.96] spk_0:
um

[01:00:48.75] spk_1:
in Brooklyn. And she would woman would come out of a beauty shop and said you want me to take your

[01:00:54.14] spk_0:
picture. Um

[01:01:03.91] spk_1:
And this was before cell phones and picture and and like you know for $15 you can get a picture of yourself like looking at your absolute best. Um and uh and she made a business out of that like she, you know, and uh and she would you know get the person’s address and mail it to them because again this is kind of you know little the technology wasn’t as advanced and like people

[01:01:15.59] spk_0:
had ideas.

[01:02:37.50] spk_1:
Um And and so you you think of all of those um um you know, a laundry business, a cleaning business, I mean all that that again sometimes people either can’t do it on the scale that they need to or they can’t do it all without a you know, a few $100 of alone. And again the vote of confidence is critical in the US. Uh and and this comes through in the stories I tell in the book. The vote of confidence that having a supportive group of other women to be there for you is as important is the money. Um And uh and Andrea Young with Grameen America like Professor Yunus, he started experimenting with, okay, what else could we do to support these people educational scholarships, student loans, um giving them good high quality vegetable seeds to grow vegetables um etcetera etcetera. And uh and once you’ve got that economic engine where you lend to the poor, they pay you back with enough interest to pay the costs of the lending operation. Then you can kind of on top of that start a health clinic as you mentioned, which they did in Bangladesh start a rural a solar energy company to bring them solar panels. Um A lot becomes possible once you have that basic lending operation that is you know, break even slightly profitable and bringing that vote of confidence in that capital to to people who who lacked it. We’re often you know, just shocked that anyone would would think about them as a potential lender and

[01:02:42.12] spk_0:
would invest in them. Yeah, you cite someone in the book who says there’s a fortune to be made working at the bottom of the economic pyramid. And that’s that’s where Grameen worked and they did make a they did make a modest profit as you described um Would in the U. S. Was it’s was it mostly women also did that, did that part translate also?

[01:03:05.53] spk_1:
Yes. Uh you know, there are variations on microcredit and Grameen but the people that have kind of been most directly inspired by Mohammad Yunus. They took his advice and they just made it on all women operation from day one. Again does it doesn’t mean that the husbands and the and the kids get involved in the business, like a lot of family businesses. But the woman is the one who um is the liaison from the, from the lender to the family and that’s and that’s worked. Well,

[01:03:43.83] spk_0:
all right Alex Grameen Bank Grameen Foundation, all these decades, you’ve you’ve worked with Muhammad Yunus, what what do you want to, what do you want folks to take away from the Grameen experience?

[01:03:48.75] spk_1:
Well, I think I just, I think that

[01:03:50.59] spk_0:
it’s um

[01:05:18.56] spk_1:
you know, next time you pass a small business and you’re thinking of, oh, I’ll just look in the window and then I’ll buy on amazon what they’re, what they’re carrying, you know, as you use your market power. Um you know, think about the little guy think about the micro entrepreneur who may or may not be getting a micro loan, but they’re still struggling and and use your economic power. Um find mentors like I found Mohammad Yunus to to let you think about, you know, you’re you’re not, you’re nonprofit, you know, the people who listen to your radio program obviously have a lot of idealism and I just think the right mentor at the right time, you know, you can take your idealism and your work ethic and just take it to a whole new level if you’re willing to trust in a mentor and let them guide you, that’s that’s a lesson and that, you know that and that poverty doesn’t really need to exist poverty is a construct based on I think a lack of imagination um and it’s a and it’s a, it’s a construct based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what, because we we we we we create barriers between ourselves and poor people, right? Uh and between and people of other races uh many and we just, we don’t really understand what they’re capable of and Muhammad Yunus figure that out and and once you, once you figure that out, a lot of things become possible and you can really see it in the, in the, in the kind of in the distance, as he would say, a poverty free world, there’ll always be inequality. Um but there doesn’t always have to be poverty and the key insight there is the potential of the world’s poor women, They can be the engine of eliminating poverty if they’re just given the chance, the tools and the votes of confidence and Mohammad Yunus was a shining example of that and I was privileged to play a small role in what he did

[01:05:38.71] spk_0:
Alex counts. The book is small loans, big dreams, Grameen Bank and the micro finance revolution in Bangladesh, America and beyond. You can get the book at Alex counts dot com Alex, thank you so much. Thank

[01:05:56.16] spk_1:
you Tony loved being on your program.

[01:06:03.63] spk_0:
The book is a delight and the stories, Rich, congratulations again, thank

[01:06:04.08] spk_1:
you so much.

[01:06:59.27] spk_0:
Next week, there ain’t no show. Same for the week after. We’ll be back on nine January with Gene Takagi and Amy Sample Ward together. Let’s hear what’s on their minds, respectively. And collectively for 2023, I hope you enjoy your holiday season. Please do take time for yourself. Take care of yourself so you can help the others. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. 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 Steiner Brooklyn. 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.