Category Archives: Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio

Nonprofit Radio for February 13, 2023: Inflection Points As Your Nonprofit Grows


Brooke Richie Babbach: Inflection Points As Your Nonprofit Grows

There’s a nonprofit life cycle with recognizable stages. At each point, you need to align your goals, plans and actions with the stage you’re in. Brooke Richie Babbage, CEO at Bending Arc, puts it all together.


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Transcript for 627_tony_martignetti_nonprofit_radio_20230213.mp3
[00:01:37.59] spk_0:
And welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast and oh I’m glad you’re with me, I’d be hit with Pyrex AEA if you made me hot with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Inflection points as your nonprofit grows, there’s a nonprofit lifecycle with recognizable stages. At each point you need to align your goals, plans and actions with the stage, you’re in Brooke richie Babbage Ceo at bending Arc puts it all together, Tony State to nonprofit Radio 50, it’s my pleasure to welcome for her first appearance on non profit radio Brooke Richie Babbage. She is an organizational design and social impact strategy advisor and coach. She hosts the nonprofit mastermind podcast and is the founder and ceo of bending arc through which she supports mission driven leaders across the country in launching and scaling high impact nonprofits over 23 years. She’s been a lawyer, leader and social entrepreneur at social change organizations throughout the US. She and her work are at Brooke richie Babbage dot com Brooke Welcome to nonprofit radio

[00:01:45.26] spk_1:
high tony I’m really excited to be here.

[00:01:48.07] spk_0:
It’s a pleasure to have you. Thank you. Thank you for being excited.

[00:01:51.16] spk_1:

[00:01:52.90] spk_0:
you’re in, you’re coming to us from Brooklyn new york, is that right

[00:01:57.43] spk_1:
Brooklyn Brooklyn new york. It’s where I Live and work with my family

[00:02:00.37] spk_0:
yeah Alright there’s some Tv show I used to uh watch we’re going back like seventies eighties uh oh no wait no no. Earlier than that it’s from the honeymooners, which was the fifties. But

[00:02:12.78] spk_1:
I actually loved that

[00:02:14.58] spk_0:
show. You love the honeymooners? I

[00:02:17.09] spk_1:

[00:02:31.52] spk_0:
I wasn’t watching here in the fifties, not quite that old, but there’s a, there’s a line Ed Norton says Brooklyn U. S. A garden spot of America or no. He says Brooklyn new york garden spot of America coming to you from. He’s somebody asked him where he lives or something and I think he says Brooklyn new york garden spot of America. So alright, you’re in the garden spot. Cool. Uh let’s, I wanna, I wanna get through something, just flush out something in your, the introduction that I read. What does an organizational design and social impact strategy advisor and coach? Do

[00:04:52.56] spk_1:
I love that you asked that question. Thank you. So most simply put I help nonprofit leaders figure out the best way to design their organizations. I think that when we talk about growing a nonprofit or leading a nonprofit, you know, doing nonprofit work, it tends to be really high level and we think, you know, leadership and management and fundraising and all of those are obviously really important. But really what makes the leadership and growth of a nonprofit most effective is when you think about the details of the design, Right? And I love that word, the intentional choices you make about who you hire for, which roles, which programs you offer in which communities, how often you meet with your board, what you do at board meetings? Those are all design decisions you’re sort of constructing or building something as you go. And I think it’s really fun right in the same way that I’m not an artist at all. So for any artist listening, this may not actually be the right sort of analogy, but I think of it like building, you know, a work of art, you sort of take different pieces of inspiration and you construct something from the ground up. I think designing an organization is very similar and I’ve also found that particularly for smaller nonprofits where the executive director or E. D. Like has their fingers on everything notching down and saying to them actually, you don’t have to think these big lofty thoughts about, you know, board growth or board development. Actually that’s just the everyday choices you make about picking up the phone to call your board chair or you know, having breakfast with a board meeting. Those are design choices and it can make them feel a little more in control of what their organization is becoming. So that’s what I do. I help leaders do that.

[00:05:24.57] spk_0:
And and so the organization is gonna develop over time, which goes right into the life cycle we’re gonna talk about. So unlike a sculpture. I mean the sculpture has to be done at some point otherwise. Well, I mean a true artist might say it’s never done, but that artist is gonna be starving for her lifetime because they’re never gonna sell anything because their art is never finished. So, so unlike a piece of art, it can be changed over time

[00:05:30.86] spk_1:
and should be

[00:05:37.11] spk_0:
intentionally designed actions, processes staff overtime.

[00:06:10.96] spk_1:
That’s right. And I think the key is, and the reason that I include organizational design and not just strategy and growth is that it can be easy, particularly as organizations are growing quickly and I work with organizations under $2 million 500,000 to their first million. And that’s a really fascinating time as you know, you and I have talked a little bit about in our first call, but it organizational leaders can look around and feel like their organization is happening to them or around them. Right. How did I wind up with this board? How did I wind up with this particular culture And so reminding them that they actually can make choices. They and their team, they and their board, other stakeholders can make intentional choices, gives them some power back and can feel empowering at a time of organizational growth that can really feel disempowering in a lot of ways.

[00:07:16.85] spk_0:
And you and I are gonna flush out what we talked about in our, in our preparation call today. So I don’t want listeners to feel like there’s something Brooke is holding back on nonprofit radio listeners. Absolutely, there’s nothing, there’s nothing that she and I talked about previously that we’re not gonna talk about today, We’re gonna in fact we’re gonna go into quite a bit more detail. So let’s do that. Um, do we have these recognizable benchmarks in the, in the life cycle? Uh, and I think it just makes sense to go through the six of them. Could you just preview them, you know, high level. So folks know what’s coming and then we’ll then we’ll take a step back and look at look at each one a little more in more detail. But if you just overview.

[00:07:26.72] spk_1:
Absolutely, yeah. So should I start maybe by just saying what I mean by nonprofit life cycles? Like why that’s a framework that’s helpful and then talk about the

[00:07:36.14] spk_0:
Yeah, yeah,

[00:08:30.65] spk_1:
yeah. So basically, you know, as you were saying, organizations continue to grow, they continue to redesign and redesign themselves. And so I talked about, I did not make this concept up when I talk about non profit life cycles. It’s a concept that folks discuss. It’s really about the process by which organizations grow or depending on the organization decline through particular changes in their structure, systems and processes. So it’s a series of phases, recognizable phases along development and I really like I like framework. So I’m a big, I’m a Virgo total framework person. Um, so this is really helpful for my brain to say, okay, in the same way that you think about a child or person developing, We go through these phases. Right? And so you asked what the six R. And the six that I’m focusing on are the growth phase is there also? So for stagnation and decline phases that we won’t talk about today.

[00:08:35.49] spk_0:

[00:08:36.77] spk_1:
we don’t want to talk about

[00:08:37.38] spk_0:
this but

[00:09:55.71] spk_1:
so the six growth phases are similar to write the growth of a person or I use the growth of people as a way to help people remember them. So the first is birth and launch. The second is infancy right after birth and lunch. The next is childhood. The next one is teenage hood or early growth phase and then young adulthood or late growth phase. And in a lot of the literature organizations talk about sort of a growth stage organization or a growing organization and I actually think that early and late growth stage organizations are different and I’m sure we’ll talk about why. So I separate them out into two different stages of development and then you have maturity or the zone of maximization which is you know when organizations find their groove. And one thing that I’ll say is this isn’t necessarily properly linear. So it’s not necessarily that an organization is always and always going to be in this, we found our groove. Everything’s clicking zone of maximization. They may fluctuate. There may be aspects of their organization like their staffing or their board or their fundraising or their program design that is more or less developed. So these aren’t you know, you’re not sort of trying to get to like a sculpture, trying to get to and stay in one of the phases, you really just want to be aware of where you are. So you ask the right questions.

[00:10:07.20] spk_0:
Okay, So you, so you might be maturing in some respects

[00:10:11.50] spk_1:
and not in

[00:10:16.44] spk_0:
Others. one aspect of resource development, fundraising is in childhood, but you know, like staffing and programmatic,

[00:10:23.90] spk_1:

[00:10:37.18] spk_0:
board is clicking so it’s in early growth or teenage puberty, you know, I was hoping, I thought you might call teenage hood puberty, but you didn’t want to do puberty. I

[00:10:37.57] spk_1:
don’t want to wade into that.

[00:10:38.77] spk_0:
No. Yeah,

[00:10:41.85] spk_1:
nobody feels good about

[00:10:43.42] spk_0:
that word. That’s what’s happening. That’s right.

[00:10:48.62] spk_1:
At least some people look back on teenage hood and are like, well there are certain parts of teenage hood that were exciting, you

[00:10:53.75] spk_0:
know, it

[00:10:56.23] spk_1:
sucks for everybody.

[00:11:07.86] spk_0:
Exactly. Alright, so, so birth and launch now, let me, let me uh either you, I don’t see that you put like timeframes like, so it’s not time bound,

[00:11:10.61] spk_1:

[00:11:10.95] spk_0:
mean, I guess

[00:11:14.10] spk_1:

[00:11:14.60] spk_0:
birth and launch for like five years, which to me seems like an awfully long time to be in a birth phase, but your time bounding them, it’s based on where the organization is not

[00:11:26.34] spk_1:
how many years

[00:11:27.56] spk_0:
and months have elapsed.

[00:11:58.60] spk_1:
Absolutely. It’s not time bound and it’s not based on budget is the other thing that I’ll say, um, and I think that’s a really good point that you’re making because if you time bind it, then organizations start saying, okay, we’ve been around for a year and now it’s time to move past launch and we should be in infancy when in fact, I’ve worked with lots of organizations that have the characteristics of an organization in launch phase. Right? They don’t quite move out of that for years. And if they don’t recognize that, then it’s actually something that keeps them stuck. So it’s not time bound. And it’s not about how much money you have.

[00:12:07.74] spk_0:
All right. So let’s talk about the first one in birth. Birth launch. What do we look like? What like what should our goals be? What should you have in mind at this at this stage? Absolutely.

[00:12:51.67] spk_1:
So the first one is birth and launch. And it’s actually the simplest one. It’s the one that people sort of recognize the most. The key characteristic here is that you’ve identified a problem and you’re and you’re developing a solution. So usually these are founders. These are people that have no team, you know, maybe volunteers helping them tends to be sort of solitary work. And the the goal here is to clearly define the problem and your solution right to move out of this phase. What you want to do is make sure that you have a clear enough picture of what your theory of change is, right? You what you’re gonna do in response to this problem. That is how you move out of the launch phase. Okay.

[00:13:13.63] spk_0:
What’s your, your theory of change is what,

[00:13:17.79] spk_1:
So it’s basically the

[00:13:20.14] spk_0:
relationship. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:13:24.40] spk_1:
Know how you’re gonna change the world. So when I say theory of

[00:13:27.50] spk_0:
change, we

[00:13:28.86] spk_1:
talked about the changes like we have a mission and we have strategies. Why do we choose the strategies to address this mission?

[00:13:37.05] spk_0:
Yeah. Um, and so so funding, what, what is that? You know, I’m, yeah, I mean a lot of listeners have been through this stage.

[00:13:48.39] spk_1:

[00:13:54.03] spk_0:
might still some are still in, I’m guessing most are have advanced but respective irrespective of where they’re, where listeners are standing. What is what is funding look like here.

[00:14:26.26] spk_1:
So typically and obviously everything we talked about here, there are no right or wrong. There’s not nothing that’s gonna be true for everybody. But typically funding at this phase is almost entirely the founder and or people in the founders networks like my organization was just my friends. When I started my organization, I basically, you know, I was a poverty lawyer and I decided I was going to start this organization and most of my friends from law school had gone into law firms. And so I threw a big party and I basically said, you guys make more money than I do. Here’s the mission. Here’s a vision, here’s what I’m trying to do. Let’s do it together. Um, and that was, that was how I started, you know, and my parents, so between between those people. Yeah, so that’s usually the funding at this at this stage.

[00:14:48.73] spk_0:
Um, anything else about birth launch,

[00:14:51.50] spk_1:
you know,

[00:14:53.04] spk_0:

[00:15:51.24] spk_1:
guess the one thing I would say about again moving out of birth launch and just back for a second, one of the most, one of the ways to use this whole framework is to try to recognize which phase you’re in, so that you ask the right questions, right? So that you are focused on doing the right thing at the right time. So it can be really exciting to say, you know, oh, this is my stage of development, right? I’m in a birth stage, great. We recognize it. But the way the framework becomes helpful is then to say, okay, therefore what’s the strategic objective of this phase, what does it look like? What do we need to focus on to move to the next phase in a healthy way? So for the startup phase, what it looks like to move to this next phase with the goal of this phase of moving through the next phase is clarity. Have you clearly defined your problem, Have you clearly defined what you are going to do in response to that problem? And once that’s clear, then you start to see organizations move into the more formal start up phase and or infant phase and I’ll also say a lot of organizations never, you know, we talked about sort of time boxing this, There are a lot of organizations that don’t actually move out of the launch phase.

[00:16:14.32] spk_0:
They, so they, what, what keeps them there, They don’t have a sophisticated view of the, of the problem and they’re gonna, they’re gonna

[00:16:36.63] spk_1:
usually one of three things happens. They can’t get that clarity either around the problem or their solution. It’s sort of stays fuzzy and they just can’t launch, they won’t, if you do have that clarity, you’re never going to get funding that isn’t just your friends and family, You’re not going to build a network of support. They can’t move beyond that face because they don’t have the clarity to sort of rally support. A second thing that happens is, and this happened a lot during covid you have people seeing real problems that had always existed. But there was this explosion in new

[00:17:01.99] spk_0:

[00:17:38.03] spk_1:
stage or launching nonprofits and mutual aid groups also. And what can sometimes happen, which I think is fantastic is organizations look and say, oh, we don’t actually need to be a separate nonprofit, right? There is a problem that we’re working towards. We do have an idea for the solution, but we don’t need to build a whole institution here. We’re gonna partner, we’re gonna become a program of another organization. We’re gonna collaborate or form a network. And so that’s another thing that happens. And then third. And I and fairly certain that there are people listening for whom this resonates growing an organization or launching organization can be really hard. It’s a lot of work. And so you just have some people who decide they don’t want to do that, right? That’s they will, they will work to fight the problem that they’ve recognized in some other way as a board member, you know, joining the staff of another nonprofit. So those are the folks that don’t move beyond launch.

[00:17:59.37] spk_0:
Yeah. So you could go from launch to decline.

[00:18:05.50] spk_1:
Exactly, yeah.

[00:18:07.33] spk_0:

[00:18:08.34] spk_1:
failure to launch, just never sort of really launch Absolutely.

[00:18:12.70] spk_0:
Um, you mentioned, you know, long standing problems that were brought to the, to the consciousness through the pandemic. I’m guessing you’re talking about racial disparities, income disparities, the wealth gap,

[00:18:27.29] spk_1:
health disparities in

[00:18:28.86] spk_0:
health education.

[00:18:31.52] spk_1:
These are schisms that have always been there. And so I hesitate to say, oh, people started to see problems, they’ve always been there, but I think they were laid bare in a very unique way.

[00:18:42.76] spk_0:
Yeah. There are certain groups that suffer worse in, in any and then then lots of others. And every time there’s a crisis it’s brought to our consciousness to the consciousness of people who aren’t paying a lot of attention.

[00:18:56.53] spk_1:
I was gonna say two more to the consciousness.

[00:19:03.37] spk_0:
Yeah, yeah. More right now, you mentioned something, this is um, I would take us down a little bit of a side road, but I always, I always come back. I’m usually able to, you mentioned mutual aid groups. I’ve just been reading about those. I did not know that they exist. They that they exist and that they really came uh, they really bounded in popularity and

[00:19:23.53] spk_1:
uh, around

[00:19:43.68] spk_0:
the pandemic where, you know, it was this form of giving and uniting and people helping others that I think, you know, statistics don’t capture in terms of giving, you know, giving numbers, whatever giving us a does, you know, I’m always skeptical of them anyway. But even more so down talk about these, these local grassroots organizations. Then there was a data base of hundreds of them that was mutual

[00:19:48.40] spk_1:
aid here in new york. Mutual aid N.Y.C. was just amazing.

[00:19:51.30] spk_0:
Yeah. Say, say a little more about what sprung up these mutual aid. I’m just, I’m just reading about it this week and now you just said it, I would like to make sure listeners know that these exist.

[00:21:01.18] spk_1:
Yeah, absolutely. So mutually groups loosely defined are sort of networks of people and groups that come together and organize to provide aid to provide support to people into communities where they see the need. And one of the distinctions between, say, a mutual aid group and a non profit is non profits are incorporated right there corporations, they file taxes and all of the things mutual aid groups are not, they are unincorporated, collaborative collectives of self organizing people. And so they, one of the things that I personally found really exciting and intriguing that emerged more so during covid around these mutual aid groups is that there’s always been this sort of idea if you want to do mission based work if you want to support your community, start a nonprofit or join a nonprofit. Right? So we had this sort of for profit government and nonprofit distinction

[00:21:04.18] spk_0:

[00:21:05.28] spk_1:
or pillars or, you

[00:21:06.36] spk_0:

[00:21:59.67] spk_1:
but the reality is that those are sort of false distinctions, Right? And there’s a lot of sort of history. I used to teach the history of nonprofit um, law. So I won’t bore folks with that, but the distinctions aren’t actually necessary. And what I loved about the rise of mutual aid support and and action networks of people, unincorporated networks and collaborations is that people basically said, no, we don’t have to get caught up in the institution building piece. We just want to do the work. We and so we’re going to find other ways. And what’s interesting even now at the tail end of Covid is that you’re starting to see even more of a redefinition of how social impact work is done. Different forms of nonprofits, hybrid nonprofits, mutual aid groups That are finding ways to get funded even though they aren’t 501 C3. So there’s been this really beautiful expansion of social impact work and I, my entree into it was through coming to understand mutual aid groups and mutual aid works here in New York.

[00:22:24.02] spk_0:
I don’t know where I was. I regret that I didn’t know. I mean maybe listeners know and I just, I’m just completely in the dark. I was about this during the pandemic. I mean I would have, I would have given them voice. I would have had, there’s a there’s a woman who compiled a national database or the state by state of the mutual aid groups that you’re talking about the new york new york Association of Mutual aid Societies. I wish I had known about them during the pandemic. I don’t know where the hell I was.

[00:23:32.52] spk_1:
I think a lot of it was the first thing I did. You know, I work with these nonprofits leaders through my programs and everything. And when Covid hit I just started getting emails and phone calls and texts from people in my network. What are we doing? Like how do we address these problems? And I started hosting these weekly strategy and action calls, These national calls on zoom where people executive director to just show up and talk to each other. Um and I was just listening to what was coming up in these calls. And so every week, sometimes multiple times a week there were dozens of executive directors, sometimes the same groups, sometimes not just showing up and saying, here’s what we’re seeing. You know, and a lot of these organizations were partnering with mutual aid groups. So that was how I came to understand the role they played in the ecosystem was just being on these calls every week listening to people and they kept coming up and then I sort of you know did a spiral deep dive research. You know

[00:23:46.13] spk_0:
Now it sounds like they were they sprung up, they were agile, they know the needs of the local community.

[00:23:53.15] spk_1:

[00:23:53.84] spk_0:
they’re defining community whether it’s state or county or even just town. You know, they know the needs, they know the levers of power

[00:24:01.96] spk_1:

[00:24:05.16] spk_0:
the community however that they defined, you know they can they can I mean within a week they could be serving people

[00:24:10.80] spk_1:

[00:24:11.08] spk_0:
their to submit their 10 23 and exactly the I. R. S. With board and you know eight months later, you know we’re halfway through the pandemic. You know within. Yeah it’s very exciting. Thank you thank you for flushing that out. And I don’t

[00:24:25.52] spk_1:
know I

[00:24:28.73] spk_0:
regret that. I didn’t know more. Well

[00:24:29.46] spk_1:
now you do

[00:24:30.74] spk_0:
pandemic. Yeah

[00:24:32.06] spk_1:
and they’re not gone. So actually

[00:24:36.72] spk_0:
you know that’s that’s right, you’re right. They’re not gone. We should be doing a show on mutual aid groups. That

[00:24:41.62] spk_1:
would be awesome.

[00:25:09.52] spk_0:
Yes. Alright, alright. It’s coming infancy. Let’s move on. We have uh at this stage we’re gonna be we’re gonna be 100 years old and we’re gonna be two hours into the show and the show is gonna die. But the show is going to die before the before we reach mature maximization. I no, no, it’s my fault because I digress. But let’s move to infancy. What do we look like here? What are we talking? What are capital look like? What are our goals?

[00:27:30.90] spk_1:
Yeah. So this phase is usually still mostly the founder and organizations that shift into the start up phase have some kind of legal status at this point. So they may be a 501C3. There are a lot of the corpse, right hybrids. But they have a structure that houses the work. And so this initial distinction between the founder and the work of the founder and the institution that needs to be built. It starts in the start up phase and I think that’s really important to highlight because as organizations grow and develop that distinction between the founder or the leader and the institution becomes more important. And so it really starts here, right? Funding isn’t for just the salary of the founder, the funding is, there’s overhead there maybe rent, right, there may be other team members, there maybe stipends for program participants etcetera. So the goal of and I always distinguish their sort of five considerations in each stage, like what’s the goal of this phase of development, What do we need to focus on? How are we designed? And then you you mentioned capital. Right, where’s the money coming from? What does funding look like, what our strategic objectives and what does our team look like? These are sort of the five dimensions of questions or considerations to ask yourself at each phase. And so for this phase, the goal is really proof of concept, right? How can we take this theory of change these strategies or the programs or the activities, the work that we’re doing and demonstrate to people other than our closest connections that there’s a there there, Right, that these strategies are actually going to help move us in the direction of the mission. That’s what I call proof of concept. And so there’s, you mentioned being agile and nimble, there’s a lot of program design experimentation. The design tends to be very organic and responsive. You have maybe a small team of people sort of out in their community or in the world doing work and iterating very quickly. So it’s, it’s a phase that’s marked by a lot of energy. Things are changing very quickly. Also really limited funding. So startup funding can be really tough. I happened to start my organization in new york where I actually think accessing startup funding was a little easier than some other communities. A lot of the organizations in my accelerator program are not in new york and the start up phase can be hard to get funded because most funders look for proof of concept, they want to see that, you know, what you’re doing is actually working. So the goal of this phase is really proof of concept in large part so you can get funding and stakeholders etcetera.

[00:27:58.00] spk_0:
I’m seeing big leadership challenges.

[00:28:00.43] spk_1:
Uh we’re only

[00:28:01.68] spk_0:
we’re only in the second

[00:28:02.43] spk_1:
stage, you

[00:28:13.00] spk_0:
know proof of concept, big changes, hiring staff rent, you know there’s as we progress there’s enormous challenges to leadership. Is

[00:28:16.13] spk_1:

[00:28:27.59] spk_0:
person. Do you see that much? I mean is one person capable of taking an organization as as ceo founder remaining ceo through maturity is that I

[00:28:56.18] spk_1:
have to tell you, we could do a whole other podcast conversation on that question there. Do I personally think one person should do it all? No I don’t. And this is coming from somebody who started and founded multiple organizations, all of which had one E. D. Or one Ceo. And that was me. I think that this institution building piece is massive and I think that the idea of one person holding the responsibility for the hiring, the strategic vision, the resource development, the co governance with the word it’s a lot. And the biggest challenge that the leaders that I work with have is the sense of overwhelm the sense of constantly juggling so many balls. It’s it’s a

[00:29:16.13] spk_0:

[00:30:04.07] spk_1:
Yeah and I think you’re right to highlight it starts here right once there is an institution, right? Once there’s this formal legal structure there is there’s an organism that must be supported and built and you know held by someone, there’s a really interesting movement towards different models of leadership of shared leadership that was not Common when I was coming up, you know, 20 some odd years ago you had an executive director and they were at the top and they were in charge and I think there’s been a really great conversations happening more and more and I think more funding for and support for models of shared leadership. Co leadership. One of the organizations that I worked with had this really interesting for person leadership team. So there was no one executive director, they each sort of had their sphere of influence and they made to sit. Now there’s management and leadership challenges inherent in that also. But people are really experimenting with this. How do we hold this work?

[00:32:30.71] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two Non profit Radio 50, That is the coupon code that will get you 50% off planned. Giving accelerator. The course starts early March, we will be done together by Memorial Day, so it’s a three month course, You’ll spend an hour a week with me and your peers in the zoom meetings and they are meetings not webinars so everybody can talk to everybody else and you can interrupt me without having to put a question in the chat. It doesn’t work like that, just speak up and everybody helps each other. That the pure support is incredible. Um, it’s all about launching plan to giving at your nonprofit, that’s what we’re working on together. Making planned giving for you easy, accessible and affordable for small and midsize nonprofits. If this at all sounds interesting to you. You can check out the accelerator at planned giving accelerator dot com. You’ll see that the general public is getting 40% off the full tuition. You use non profit radio 50. No spaces maybe that’s obvious. I don’t know. No for a coupon it’s probably not obvious. non profit radio 50 with no spaces will get you 50% off the full tuition through february good through this month. So there you go. You’re entitled, it’s all at planned giving accelerator dot com. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo but loads more time for inflection points as your nonprofit grows with Brooke richie Babbage. Let’s advance the childhood.

[00:34:58.48] spk_1:
So childhood is where just like a child? This is where the organization begins to walk and talk on its own. So there’s more meaning wholly separate from the founder or it should. Right. So this is an indication, have you moved into the child? Have you moved out of the startup phase? There’s more stability organizations are still figuring out what it means to be an institution and to separate the work from the founder, but this is where you might start to actually see a small staff. Right. That not just volunteers. Often there are some combination of independent contractors, maybe some part time people one, maybe two full time people. A lot of times. This is where the founder will start to pay themselves. It’s really interesting to me how many founders make it all the way through and you’re not? Yeah, you’re nodding all the way through the start phase and choose to divert funding to other things. But right around now you start to actually have salary lines, you know, in your budget, you’re also gonna have more regular fundraising. So the childhood phase often marks the beginning of meaningful external fundraising, meaning it can support salaries, there’s some separate program funding. And because your fundraising is, your resources are going up, your expenses are also going up. So you have more robust programming, you’re investing more in institution, you’ll start to see overhead, etcetera. And transitioning out of this phase, when we talked about sort of, what’s the strategic question to ask? To move beyond transitioning out of this phase really requires a focus or emphasis on intentionality. So, the hallmark of the childhood phase is, you know, you have this small child who can stand on their own two ft. They’re like, you know, wobbling a little bit, but they’re standing there, small team, a little bit of fundraising. The pieces are there. And so to transition to this next phase, you have to start to say which of these pieces? And this is the organ organizational design piece, which of these pillars that we started to, you know, our anchors, we started to put down are working which ones are the right ones do we have the right team? What should our work look like over the next year? This is when you’ll start to see organizations actually have a long term strategic plan, a three or five year plan as opposed to just sort of each year we’re doing this, you’ll have a strategic fundraising plan that’s not just throwing spaghetti against the wall. It’s oh, but wait, do we want to have one event or two campaigns? Right. They start to be more intentional about leaning into what’s working?

[00:35:11.80] spk_0:
How about the board? Where where’s the board at? In in childhood? To me that sounds, that sounds like the toddler toddler phase you said beginning to walk in childhood. So where,

[00:35:22.61] spk_1:

[00:35:30.65] spk_0:
where’s the board at? Maybe I’m, maybe I shouldn’t call the toddler state. I’m not trying to rename your, I mean, I’ll

[00:35:32.96] spk_1:
tell you, we, my youngest son just turned five and we still call him the baby. So you know, it’s all, you know, it’s all words, but

[00:35:40.43] spk_0:

[00:35:41.12] spk_1:
all relative.

[00:35:42.25] spk_0:

[00:36:06.97] spk_1:
So your board is still, it’s not a true what we call governance board. This is still gonna be a hands on working board. And most often what you see in this phase is most of the sort of authority and decision making will still actually sit with the executive director. You still have executive directors running or co running board meetings, rallying board members as troops. Even though boards are moving out of the start up phase, which is highly hands on. You’re still going to have a board that most often looks to the executive director for direction and doesn’t necessarily see themselves as holding any sort of co governance authority or autonomy.

[00:36:26.24] spk_0:
All right, there might be more hands on still in fall in small ways like the board will take on this event or something like that

[00:36:35.47] spk_1:

[00:36:35.91] spk_0:
help with the mailing. You know, it’s, it’s be more ministerial uh functional than than strategic and

[00:36:44.61] spk_1:
at strategic and forward looking. Absolutely,

[00:36:47.52] spk_0:

[00:37:01.04] spk_1:
right. And I think one of the ways that that often shows up is, you know, a startup board often are like staff, right? They do all of the things in a childhood board, they’re not staff anymore, but they’re still more responsive than they are proactive. They will show up when called as opposed to saying, hey, as board members, we will proactively take on this role, this responsibility that tends to come later.

[00:37:17.38] spk_0:
Now we’re moving into the puberty, puberty phase,

[00:37:21.49] spk_1:
you are going to insist on calling a puberty,

[00:37:24.24] spk_0:
I’m not insisting teenage hood, teenage hood, its early

[00:37:27.78] spk_1:

[00:37:29.02] spk_0:
the hormones are raging,

[00:37:30.93] spk_1:

[00:37:32.23] spk_0:
what’s happening to us now? Yeah,

[00:38:09.49] spk_1:
so the growth stage organizations are often lumped together, right? We talked about sort of growing organizations, but like I said, I think they’re actually two phases and when you actually pay attention to those five sort of questions that I talked about, you know, what are the goals, what is fundraising look like, et cetera. You start to see early growth phase teenagers where the organization is stable and walking. There’s some intentionality and they’re really focused on scale, right? You mentioned hormones, they are sort of full steam ahead. You know, I was just joking with my husband about being a teenager and learning to drive and getting my first car and I just, I would drive a half a block to the store, right? There’s just like this energy, there’s constant forward movement,

[00:38:22.22] spk_0:
which has changed a lot by the way.

[00:38:24.67] spk_1:
Oh yeah, I’m

[00:38:25.91] spk_0:
hearing about teenage kids who don’t really don’t care about their driver’s license anymore.

[00:38:29.26] spk_1:
Oh no, I was, that was like the biggest,

[00:38:35.59] spk_0:
no, no for me too, I couldn’t wait to get my, my learner’s permit driver’s license, but today’s today’s teenagers. It’s not, it’s not that big a deal and I’m not talking about urban, I’m talking about stories from friends, I don’t have Children. So I don’t, I don’t know from this is the guy with no kids pontificating about Children, so take it for what it’s worth, which is probably nothing. But what I hear from my friends who do have Children is the driver’s license, like the permitting and licensing, it’s not that big a deal anymore

[00:39:02.42] spk_1:
fascinating. I can’t can’t tap into that because that was such a big deal for me and all of my friends

[00:39:10.33] spk_0:
are not there yet,

[00:39:11.27] spk_1:
not even close, I have an eight year old and a five year old

[00:39:14.22] spk_0:
and the new york

[00:39:15.05] spk_1:
kids so that there’s also just a different relationship to driving I think in new york

[00:39:21.14] spk_0:
city like new york. Yeah, I

[00:39:22.23] spk_1:
was a midwestern kid. So everybody, you know

[00:39:24.77] spk_0:
suburban suburban Jersey, I mean that was that was the freedom, that was

[00:39:30.00] spk_1:

[00:39:50.18] spk_0:
first time I could go out without a chaperone or something or the first time I was allowed to babysit, you know it was huge. It was huge. I couldn’t wait right on the birthday independence. Alright, I don’t think it’s that way and from what I hear it’s not that way anymore. Alright anyway, I’m sorry. Aggressed into the driving but your, let’s take it, let’s take it from the traditional way that you are starting your, you got your learner’s permit,

[00:41:36.43] spk_1:
that’s right. And so you’re like really excited to move forward. So the early growth phase is just growth, its scale and it’s a real fraught time. So this is often and I know I said there is no sort of budget assigned but a lot of the organizations that I work with like I said are you know late six figures and are in this, we want to grow, there is a need in our community, there is a need around our issue and we aren’t meeting it fast enough, we want to hire more people, we need to grow our board, we need to do more and this intentionality that they built during the childhood phase, the systems that they started to build their like we want to stress test them, right? So we are adding more programs. We are adding more people to our programs. We are growing, there’s more robust fundraising. So we’re bringing in more money and this juggling act can get really chaotic during this early growth phase because the addition of new team members, you know, one of the biggest conversations that I have with folks is they’ll come into my accelerator program. They’re saying I have the money to grow, right? So we raised this money to expand in this way. Who do I hire to do? What? I’ve never had to think about a staffing structure. I’ve never had to think about salaries in any way that was equitable. I just sort of paid people what we had and now I actually have to have some kind of you know, policy around it. I’ve never, my board has never had to review an audit and now they do, right. So this phase is marked by tremendous growth and increase, increased impact, increased staff and an attempt. You talked about leadership challenges an attempt by

[00:41:46.57] spk_0:
Leaders and bring this organization further or you’re not the right one.

[00:42:53.27] spk_1:
That’s right. And so one of the really important strategic growth focuses here, right to nail this phase and be ready for the next one is really actually around leadership, right? If in childhood it was around systems and stability intentionality here, it’s very often that the executive director has to begin to change their style of leadership, their definition of leadership and their own skill level, whereas before being an effective leader and again I’m generalizing here, but in the childhood phase it’s we’re hands on, I meet with my team all the time, we have a small but mighty group, we make our decisions together, sort of all hands on deck. That’s a really different leadership style and set of skills than more differentiated staff where maybe you have a leadership team and people that report to them, not directly to you, where you have board members that are now starting to join that are calling you and saying, hey

[00:43:01.72] spk_0:

[00:43:08.96] spk_1:
happening with the audit, what’s happening with the strategic plan where you start to have these other this other way that you need to show up as a leader and that is often a big challenge. That we talked about. This inflection point, that’s one of these, you know, I have a training that is what got you here, won’t get you there. This early growth phase is where I came up. Like why I say that

[00:43:32.05] spk_0:
what what what got you here won’t get you there. It sounds like the passion is not gonna be sufficient anymore,

[00:43:36.74] spk_1:
nope, not at all.

[00:43:37.75] spk_0:
Passion might have gotten you through childhood, but it’s not going to get you through teenage hood and into young adulthood.

[00:44:55.31] spk_1:
That’s right, it’s not going to get you into young adulthood and I like that we were talking about driving because this idea of, you know, you could crash, but you could go so quickly and not actually master, not master build your skills around things like you know, paying attention to financials, this is a big one that comes up during this phase, that up until now the nature of funding was sufficient that you know, I have E. D. S that are just like I look at our bank account once or twice a week and I have a good sense of our money, so that’s not actually financial management and that’s okay if you have $200,000 and one staff person and it’s all programming, but once you have different, funders multiple salary, lines some overhead. maybe some restricted funds, you actually have to pay attention to your financial infrastructure. Just as an example, that’s a different skill set, that’s a different allocation of your time in the week and making that shift, if you don’t, just like a teenager can run themselves into the ground, the organization can run itself into the ground. And so you definitely see organizations at this phase, not, not make it out of the early growth phase, they just get stuck in this sort of overwhelming chaos.

[00:45:04.05] spk_0:
It’s perfect, let’s move on.

[00:46:17.70] spk_1:
Yeah, so if they write, if they make it through the early growth phase, into the late growth phase, what’s happened is they have gotten comfortable with scale the organization. So the key characteristics here the organization is growing. It has figured out how to calibrate staffing or capacity with funding the right the right size to their programs. They feel like they’re growing in a way that that can be held and sustained. And now the question for late growth stages, how do we make sure that this growth that we’re experiencing is still anchored in our values and mission. So sometimes in order to grow, you have organizations that take on funding and they look up and they’re like, huh? So we have all this funding for this program that looks great. I can’t remember why we started that program. Right. Or we have 13 programs and everything feel scattered and I don’t really know that they’re all rooted and like why we started to do this to begin with. And so the goal here is learn to stay stable amidst growth. Right? How do we make sure that we’re anchored in our

[00:46:21.22] spk_0:
growth in

[00:46:39.54] spk_1:
the mission and the values? Absolutely, Absolutely. And so for the executive director, the leader, the strategic focus here is to fully transition into this mature organization. Right, full adulthood. How do I work on the organization? Not just in the organization? How do I get out of the weeds? How do I actually delegate to and rely on a leadership team or whatever the structure is, How do I rely on the systems we’ve set up so that my role is bringing in new resources, forming new partnerships. It’s visioning, its generative, it’s strategic.

[00:47:04.68] spk_0:
What does the board look like here in growth?

[00:48:04.78] spk_1:
So ideally at this point, the board functions more as thought partners, ambassadors and cheerleaders, they are being leveraged as resources out in the world. Right? So if you contrast this with the start up phase or the or the childhood phase where the board was still looking really inward, right hands on working board, what you start to see here in a healthy growing mature governance board or governance body, there are a lot of organizations now that are moving away from a traditional governance board and they have a governance team or a governance body. But the group of people that play that role is they are ambassadors, they are taking what they’re getting from inside the organization, the mission, the work, the passion and understanding of what the organization does and they’re going out into the world as cheerleaders as strategic advisors and bringing resources back into the organization. So there’s a shift to facing outwards and ideally you have board members that are proactive in that facing outwards, you know, they’re leveraging their resources, their networks etcetera. So you start to see that shift right around here

[00:48:15.58] spk_0:
explain the distinction you made between a governing board and a governance

[00:48:19.94] spk_1:

[00:48:21.47] spk_0:
It’s not really

[00:49:43.42] spk_1:
Yeah, it’s not a hard distinction. It’s their similarly to some of the conversations that folks are having around leadership, shared leadership, different models of co leadership. I’m seeing a lot of similar conversations around non traditional governance and so whereas in a traditional structure, you have, you know, these organizations and it has a board of governance board, board of directors, there are a lot of organizations that are rethinking what that body is called and how it works and what its relationship is to the organization. So one example is an organization that I’m working with now is thinking about, they’ve had a traditional board for about 11 years and they are thinking of actually separating fundraising and resource generation from community accountability and active governance. So reviewing the financials, making sure the audits, okay, there’s some core governance responsibilities that the board has, but one of the concerns they felt they were seeing or they have is that they’re bored. Their traditional board felt really separate from the community that they serve and are working in. So there was this like hierarchy that had been created and so they’re playing around with a governance team, which is going to be a larger, less structured, so no officers, no committees, no standing committees,

[00:49:50.69] spk_0:

[00:50:02.86] spk_1:
collective of people who play different roles. Primary among which is creating a feedback loop of accountability to the community that the organization serves. So they’re just, they’re not calling it a board. I am very early in my learning about this, but I do think they’re really, really cool conversations, there’s an organization change elemental that on their blog they actually underwent a complete overhaul of their governance board. They now have a governance team and they mapped the process on their blog. It’s a really great read, I highly recommend it.

[00:50:27.61] spk_0:
And what’s that organization again, it’s

[00:50:30.06] spk_1:
called? Change, elemental change,

[00:50:32.40] spk_0:

[00:50:36.48] spk_1:
Yeah, so that’s, that’s like growth phase, maturity,

[00:50:40.32] spk_0:

[00:53:04.53] spk_1:
is a stable organization, It has good systems, it has good bones, its mission aligned. Right? So this routing in the values and mission is solid and it’s having a good impact. I think the best way to think about this sort of mature zone of maximization is we’ve hit our stride, we have the right people in the right roles, we have the right systems, people understand their jobs, our boards functioning obviously right, the nuts and bolts are gonna be messier but largely speaking when you look around and the right pieces are working the right way. You’ve hit the zone of maximization and you made a point earlier that there may be aspects of your organization that hit maturity while others don’t, you may look and say our board is nailing it, they are thought partners, they are active, they are engaged, they are ambassadors, we, this is really great but the team, the staff, I’m still, I feel like we don’t have, you know role clarity, we’re not really nailing it there, that’s okay. Right, so there’s a sort of maturity in one area and perhaps teenage hood or still growth phase in another. And being able to recognize that means that as a leader as a team, you can pinpoint where to focus your not sort of looking globally and saying, oh our organization still needs to go, No, actually it’s the team that you want to focus on or it’s the fundraising that you need to focus on. So that’s this phase, it’s um, it’s really stable. And what’s exciting about this phase is that the goal becomes deepening of impact, that the institution is solid. And so now you’re thinking, how do we do better? Right. How do we meet the needs of more or in a deeper way. This is when you start to see organizational leaders think about things like thought leadership, right? Which is like jargon a way of saying how do we build, take this point of view or expertise that we have as an organization doing good work and help other people see this point of view, understand like how do we leverage our expertise for the benefit of other people who care about this work? So that’s essentially thought leadership, you’ll see executive directors more external to the organization, out building partnerships etcetera. And so they can do that at this phase because the institution is stable because they have a team holding top as, as a friend of mine calls it, right, doing solid, strategic and vision work, they have the systems etcetera. So they can be out in the world especially bringing more people in to an institution that is really good and

[00:53:19.42] spk_0:
also sharing with

[00:53:20.87] spk_1:
with exactly

[00:53:21.91] spk_0:
the world with their learnings have been

[00:53:29.51] spk_1:
what we’re learning. Exactly. It’s a really exciting, exciting time. Yeah, yeah, so that’s that’s sort of that final stage stage.

[00:53:44.30] spk_0:
So now your work becomes a lot clearer I think because you you can work with organizations and leadership to, you know, not necessarily like pinpoint your at this stage, your board is over here and your funding is up there, but leaders that want to advance or feel stuck,

[00:53:57.40] spk_1:

[00:53:57.66] spk_0:
know, you can you can help them look strategically introspectively.

[00:54:02.08] spk_1:

[00:54:03.01] spk_0:
where where the institution is and where it wants to be and

[00:54:07.92] spk_1:

[00:54:09.01] spk_0:
bridge that

[00:56:33.86] spk_1:
gap. Absolutely. I think one of the words that I hear most frequently from organizational leaders. So I work with leaders of two programs, one focuses on launching, launching an early and and birth and childhood and the other, most of my work is with the early and late growth stage organizations. So organizations that are trying intentionally to scale and usually from six figures to early seven figures and the word overwhelm comes up in every conversation. It’s just overwhelming. There’s, I don’t know how to prioritize, I don’t know what to do. First of all of the things that I have to do. And so most of what I do is as a thought partner and also not emotionally connected. So it’s easier for me to see the chessboard is help them figure out the right thing to focus on at the right time. Right? What is your stage of development? What should your goal be? And what is the, the strategic objective that you want to to achieve so that you’re ready to move on to the next phase? And I always say to people, it doesn’t make sense to be focusing on the strategic objectives of being a teenage organization if you are a child, right? Or you know, or if you’re an infant like that, that it’s gonna frustrate you, it’s going to be overwhelming if you have a hands on board made up entirely or almost entirely of your friends and family and you are trying to get them to be a proactive, highly skilled governance board that leap skips a bunch of phases. And so a lot of the challenges that the leaders that I work with are navigating is that they look around at other organizations again at their budget size or maybe that organization is also seven years old and they try to reverse engineer or sort of pace themselves against these other organizations. And when we start to work together, one of the things that happens most commonly at the beginning is they realize, oh, we’re not there yet, Right? So I, I shouldn’t be trying to raise $1 million dollars from individual donors yet. I don’t have any major donors there’s some phases that you’re missing. And so that clarity can sometimes help bring on some calm, right? You don’t have to worry about the million dollar major donor yet. You’re not there. How about we build your major donor base? How about we clarify who your donors are and develop a system for getting in front of them and then that will move you to the next phase, in the next phase, etcetera. So that’s most of what I, that’s the organizational design that I help with.

[00:57:03.31] spk_0:
Your work reminds me of something that a friend of mine who’s a consultant often says his Lawrence Lawrence Bignone, I wish he pronounced his name, but he doesn’t pronounces it tony that we should, we should all sort of personally and professionally be aspiring to a better set of problems.

[00:57:25.24] spk_1:
Oh, I love that.

[00:57:26.68] spk_0:
Yeah, yeah. So you know, we’re always gonna have headaches and problems, but they become, they become more sophisticated, more refined,

[00:57:36.10] spk_1:
right? He

[00:57:45.08] spk_0:
says, you know, a better set of problems to solve. I like that too. Uh, seems to capture the, these, these different stages.

[00:57:46.86] spk_1:

[00:57:48.71] spk_0:

[00:57:50.57] spk_1:
And I think we don’t beat ourselves up as leaders. If, you know, if we define being a successful leader as solving all the problems, we’re not having any problems. Well then that job’s gonna suck because

[00:58:05.82] spk_0:
it’s never, but

[00:58:06.55] spk_1:
instead I really like this, right? If if the goal is what’s the next best set of problems that I’m aiming for, um, it gives us honestly permission to fail forward, which I think is really important.

[00:58:22.19] spk_0:
All right Brooke, I, I feel like uh,

[00:58:24.61] spk_1:
I feel like we covered it all. This was great.

[00:58:29.54] spk_0:
Well, okay. Um, yeah, now you know, not to be frustrated with where you

[00:58:32.12] spk_1:

[00:58:33.42] spk_0:
but to be introspective about where, where the problems are and what it takes to get you.

[01:00:13.76] spk_1:
Absolutely. I um, I posted on linkedin last week that if I had a tag line, it would be growth with intention and I think that both in life and definitely as a nonprofit leader, this idea that growth can be fraught. It is fraught. There are always challenges their growth edges. There’s relearning, there’s unlearning, there’s a lot that goes into growth itself and I think a lot of the overwhelmed the burnout, the fear, the insecurity and uncertainty, all of the things that nonprofit leaders all experience. And I’ve been there. So I know those can be reduced if we just lean into intentionality. Right? If we, if we say, hey, what’s happening, what do we like that we’re doing? What don’t we like that we’re doing? What questions should we be asking, right? That that intentionality can help us drown out the noise, right? The things we don’t actually need to be focusing on the things that we, we don’t need to be comparing ourselves to. So I think that that can be really helpful and that’s I think why I like doing organizational design and strategy work because I find that that comes fairly easily to me the sort of seeing the, the order, the through line and when I’m able to help other leaders gain some of that clarity, there’s there’s really a calm right? There’s a there’s like a deep breath that people are able to take and I remember some of the toughest days as an executive director and having people help me with that so that I could take a deep breath was really transformative. So that’s what I try to do for folks

[01:00:29.74] spk_0:
growth with intentionality.

[01:00:31.37] spk_1:

[01:00:32.28] spk_0:
Brooke richie Babbage, you’ll find Brooke and her work at Brooke richie Babbage dot com Brooke thank you so much. Really insightful, valuable thank you.

[01:00:43.03] spk_1:
This was a great conversation, thank you for having me, tony

[01:01:29.46] spk_0:
my pleasure, I’m glad you loved it next week. Leadership development with two folks from the bridge span group seems to parallel very, very well with what Brooke and I just talked about leadership development. 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 Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott stein of Brooklyn, Thank you for that information Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%,, Go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for February 6, 2023: Mr. Wake Up Excited, Go To Bed Fulfilled, Returns


Eric SaperstonMr. Wake Up Excited, Go To Bed Fulfilled, Returns

I had to have Eric Saperston back. After the October 17, 2022 show with him, I got more positive comments than I remember for any guest. This time around, he shares how important nonprofit volunteering has been in his life, the joy he gets from coaching, what he’s learned from his series “Three Things,” and more.


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[00:02:10.54] 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. Oh I’m glad you’re with me, I’d be thrown into encyclopedia Fauria if I saw that you missed this week’s show. Mr wake up excited, go to bed fulfilled returns. I had to have Eric Sapperstein back after the October 17, 2022 show with him. I got more positive comments than I remember for any guest this time around. He shares how important non profit volunteering has been in his life, The joy he gets from coaching what he’s learned from his series, three things and more on tony steak to guilt here is mr wake up excited, go to bed fulfilled returns. What a pleasure to welcome back Erik Sabiston to non profit radio there were so many comments the last time he was here just a couple of months ago that I had to have him back. He’s in such high demand though that I couldn’t get him back as soon as I wanted him back but he’s very gracious and he is back and I’m very glad he’s Erik Sabiston, he wants to know if you’re waking up excited and going to bed fulfilled. He’s successful Meeting magazine’s top keynote speaker, executive leadership and communication coach, director of the award winning film the journey which is in my carefully curated DVD collection. I don’t just let any movie in there. He’s also the best selling book, live in wonder. He’s host of the hit series three things which we’re gonna talk about and you’ll find him all at eric Sapper Stone dot com. Welcome back my friend,

[00:02:17.89] spk_1:
uh tony Such a treat to be back. Thank

[00:02:33.95] spk_0:
you. I’m glad you are. I know our listeners are uh folks, folks loved your, your appearance a couple of months ago and uh how to have you back to talk a little more Aloha, you remind, just reminding folks, you’re, you’re in Hawaii on a farm where, where in Hawaii,

[00:02:41.73] spk_1:
I live in Maui Hawaii and uh I live um

[00:02:48.35] spk_0:

[00:02:48.57] spk_1:
like to tell people I live in the, where the garden of Eden meets Willy Wonka

[00:02:54.32] spk_0:
and why is that? Where’s

[00:02:56.03] spk_1:
the Willy Wonka?

[00:02:57.84] spk_0:

[00:03:25.09] spk_1:
live in the most remote part of Maui on 100 and 80 acre organic farm with just uh it’s a food forest essentially, so we can walk around and there’s papayas and there’s mangoes and there’s lychee and there’s Ramadan and there’s coconuts and there’s just so much food and so it’s, it’s like the garden of Eden. We, you know, we have waterfalls and then, and then we can walk around and, and and pick something right off off the tree and it’s like, wow, these snows, berries take like taste like raspberries and it’s just, it’s just, you know that, that’s the Willy Wonka part is just being able to walk around and just pick incredible, unique fruit right off the right off the land and put it in your mouth and it’s just, it’s magical.

[00:03:59.53] spk_0:
Alright, I’m visiting, I’m visiting. Uh let’s start off with what we wrapped up with the last time we did, we uh we were talking about your your your three things, your three things series, Where’s that stand? What’s going on with that?

[00:04:09.19] spk_1:
You know, thank you for asking. You know, the three things has been a real um uh like I said, I would say my new journey, my first journey was bridging the gap between young people and elders and calling up really wise people when I was in my

[00:04:17.50] spk_0:

[00:04:20.89] spk_1:
And that led my 30s. And then now I’ve been thinking about, well I guess this is a kind of a funny story when I was on the Today

[00:04:25.95] spk_0:

[00:04:27.07] spk_1:
promoting my movie

[00:04:28.98] spk_0:
uh when I was on the Today Show and then there was Good Morning America. Uh then there was then it was morning joe and of course I did uh I did Rachel, you know, he just Rachel, I did Rachel, I did Lawrence, you know?

[00:05:37.89] spk_1:
Uh well I was just saying when I was on the Today Show and uh my parents had watched the segment and my father had said, you know, it seemed like you were on there for a long time, you know, that was that was a pretty long segment, how long were you on there? And I said I was on there, I think six minutes in total. And my dad said, oh you better start thinking about how you want to spend your other nine minutes of your 15 minutes of fame. And so I’ve been thinking about those nine minutes a lot and that is the the the evolution of the I guess the the opportunity for me to step out again into the international stage here is um things and it’s been so fun. We started off, it’s been an organic process, I think I started three things maybe 11 years ago where I started interviewing people um

[00:05:41.99] spk_0:

[00:05:43.21] spk_1:
and walking around and we travel around the world and I’d walk up to strangers on the street corner and to say excuse me, can I come up and talk

[00:05:49.45] spk_0:
to you?

[00:06:28.63] spk_1:
And that was always really exciting just to walk up to strangers and uh and see if we couldn’t befriend them and then some people would be a know that many people were yeses and then we would put a camera on them and I’d ask them a series of questions that were three things questions at that time. It was really centered around uh what are three things your father taught you or what are three things your mother taught you or what are three things that you share with your younger self or what are three things you’ve learned about communication or just random questions that I would ask people and they would drop in and share these really poignant heartfelt. Uh we were we were we were doing it before humans of new york, but it was very much like that idea of just dropping into the humanity of people

[00:06:38.69] spk_0:
and that

[00:06:57.00] spk_1:
we did. We’ve got uh we’ve got thousands of interviews and I think we’re gonna turn that into an art exhibit and interactive art exhibit at some point. Uh and then that evolved into we had a wonder summit uh in san Diego, where we brought 65 people from around the world to come together for this uh weekend party, which was caused creative night, more wonder in each other’s lives. And as an opening for that experience, we we had all our friends, we took three things questions and we put them in a little hat and we had everybody

[00:07:11.00] spk_0:
pick a

[00:07:31.07] spk_1:
three things question out of the hat. And uh and then as a as a as an exercise for the for the weekend, everybody was was charged with the opportunity to go talk to everyone at the event and ask them their three things question. So if your question was, what are what are three things you’ve learned from making the mistakes? Uh and my question could be, what are three things I’ve learned about getting lost. Uh and then I’d go ask everybody my question. You go ask everybody your question throughout the entire weekend. Then at the end we had a closing circle and then

[00:07:48.22] spk_0:
everybody, they

[00:08:15.58] spk_1:
got a chance to share what their question was and what they learned from asking 65 people. Uh and and it was phenomenal. Everybody gave many ted talks about leadership, communication, intimacy, relationships and everybody got to share because they got to poll all these, the collective wisdom of everybody that was there and then share the commonalities, which was phenomenal. And then, um, uh, the pandemic happened and I was just prior to the pandemic, I was working on a series called Legends by the Fire, where I was interviewing iconic legends by a campfire. We had interviewed steven Tyler from Aerosmith and Weird Al Yankovic, who just got uh, got a movie out that’s doing really well. Uh, and we interviewed Kenny Rogers, I’m a big music guy. So we interviewed these guys as pilots,

[00:08:41.97] spk_0:

[00:09:13.57] spk_1:
before he died. And it was awesome. And then the pandemic hit, and when the pandemic hit, you know, that that idea kind of fizzled on the, on the fizzled out. And then zoom happened as you know? And with zoom technology, it was incredible. I can zoom out and speak to people all around the world. And so I just pivoted and started calling up really extraordinary visionaries and pioneers and champions of industry and asking them a three things question. So we’ve created a series that’s really designed to extrapolate wisdom quickly from extraordinary people and that’s what we’ve been doing. And it’s been phenomenal. We’ve interviewed so many incredible people? And we’re coming out with our first season at the end of this quarter,

[00:09:28.84] spk_0:
what what’s a uh, what’s a Sapper Stone take away from all these thousands of three question interviews, What what have you, what have you gleaned about strangers?

[00:09:43.79] spk_1:
You know, it’s so fun. I won, I’m an optimist and I’m able to

[00:09:49.55] spk_0:

[00:09:50.25] spk_1:
to people and just reassure them, create a safe space.

[00:09:56.30] spk_0:
Are you, I gotta ask you, are you, are you optimistic at the beginning of every new year?

[00:10:06.49] spk_1:
You know, I’m about domestic every day, the new year. The new year doesn’t really matter to me much, You know, I’m not a new year guy, I’m not a holiday guy, I’m not, I’m not to me every day

[00:10:15.38] spk_0:

[00:10:15.94] spk_1:
I know it may sound like a platitude, but I, you know, I grew up, my father, my father had a stroke when he was 20

[00:10:21.83] spk_0:

[00:10:22.59] spk_1:
and he was,

[00:10:23.95] spk_0:
he, yeah,

[00:10:48.11] spk_1:
he was the main breadwinner in my family and a superstar. And when, when he lost his ability to be himself in the way he envisioned himself to be and became bitter and angry. It just as a, as a child growing up in that environment, it just, it taught me to live every day, like it’s my last and so I’ve just, I’ve been doing that for so long. Um, yeah, I, I think that’s, that’s a big part of it. So I’m I’m an optimist by nature and I think one of the, I guess, what have I learned from asking people three things questions,

[00:10:58.27] spk_0:

[00:10:59.04] spk_1:
think as a guy who has been a professional interviewer and and has has has conducted thousands of interviews at the beginning.

[00:11:07.87] spk_0:

[00:11:08.11] spk_1:
would write really elaborate questions uh paragraphs and then sit or stand in front of somebody and read the paragraph. And by the time I had read it, I mean everybody was lost and forgot what the

[00:11:20.65] spk_0:
question was.

[00:11:22.12] spk_1:
And so I learned right away that brevity is great. And then I started uh writing tighter questions and then um then I realized that

[00:11:32.85] spk_0:

[00:11:33.13] spk_1:
asking a single

[00:11:34.89] spk_0:

[00:12:19.99] spk_1:
ended question, I would only get so much information was like what’s one thing you’ve learned about leadership or what’s one thing you’ve learned about communication and then people would share. And that was really cool. But it would it would it would meander on and it was very hard to follow sometimes the plot and by asking people a three things question it adheres to the basic tenants of storytelling. It has a set up a conflict resolution, a beginning, middle and an end. So what I realized by asking people three things questions, it really makes all of us sound smarter because we’re able to consolidate our ideas in a very powerful form that is universally gettable and

[00:12:20.27] spk_0:
you share something uh I don’t know, shocking, most interesting that uh clever that that you heard from all these thousands of folks. I love the idea of talking, I love the idea of just talking to strangers what

[00:12:36.92] spk_1:
strangers are? My my favorite, I mean strangers, just that,

[00:12:40.88] spk_0:

[00:12:45.28] spk_1:
know, there’s, there’s um I guess the big takeaway frustrate, I’ll do to strangers and then I’ll talk about one of my latest three things interviews with, with legends. That

[00:12:53.05] spk_0:
thing about

[00:12:56.61] spk_1:
strangers is that I at the very core essence, I think of who we are as humans, we want to relate, we’re relating creatures and we’re just waiting for somebody to, to create the right

[00:13:10.81] spk_0:

[00:13:39.60] spk_1:
for us to share our heart with one another. And I really believe that. So I would walk up to some, the coldest or titus or frustrated people and I’d also walk up to some of the most joyous and bubbly people and both categories of folks, just when given the chance to really ask a sincere earnest question and because I genuinely want to learn from this person, all the societal fear kind of melts away quickly and people drop in and it was incredible to watch people that I’ve never met all of a sudden just start crying or tear up or be emotional about something. And it’s, it’s like,

[00:13:57.20] spk_0:
um it’s

[00:13:58.36] spk_1:
like medicine, I guess in a way, good medicine, I would walk by somebody and just be able to ask

[00:14:04.27] spk_0:

[00:14:05.15] spk_1:
question. It felt like they were waiting their whole life for somebody to ask them and then they would just jump in and deliver something that was poetic and impactful, um, share share,

[00:14:18.01] spk_0:
share something

[00:14:32.56] spk_1:
I interviewed uh this elder man, um That that was at a mechanic shop and uh and I said what are three things that inspire you to live and wonder? And

[00:14:36.58] spk_0:
um the first

[00:14:37.48] spk_1:
one he said was childbirth? Uh the second one is that he was in the back of his car with his daughter driving the car with his daughter and his daughter went into labor uh and then he had to stop the car and deliver the baby in the back of the car, which was really incredible. And then

[00:14:58.52] spk_0:
then he

[00:14:59.02] spk_1:
said family,

[00:15:01.08] spk_0:

[00:15:31.61] spk_1:
then he started to break down and cry because he and that daughter were estranged and they haven’t been speaking in years. And then then as this really amazing masculine man just, he cried and then you could just see on camera he’s just swallowing that pain and then just holding himself back into his body and then saying, Those are my three things.

[00:15:34.13] spk_0:

[00:15:34.30] spk_1:
just got back into composure, but it was, it was like in the moment watching it, it was we we call it an emotional burp. It just, it just popped up without like it just, it bubbled up out of him and he couldn’t control it, it was just a moment in time and we’ve had many of those. So that was that was extraordinary.

[00:15:54.36] spk_0:

[00:16:03.78] spk_1:
right now, one of, one of my interview guests Pat Simmons is out on the, he’s the he’s in the band called the Doobie Brothers and they just got inducted into the Music hall,

[00:16:07.03] spk_0:

[00:16:07.37] spk_1:
of their out on their 50th anniversary tour, selling out venues all around the world. Uh they’re incredible, he’s the guy that wrote the song, Oh Black Water keep on Rolling, Mississippi Moon, won’t

[00:16:20.60] spk_0:
you keep

[00:16:21.57] spk_1:
on shining right, he’s awesome. And I I interviewed him and I said, Pat, what are

[00:16:26.68] spk_0:

[00:16:36.14] spk_1:
things you’ve learned about songwriting? And he said, well number one, keep it simple. Number two,

[00:16:37.89] spk_0:

[00:16:43.75] spk_1:
about what, you know, Your own experience and three don’t bore

[00:16:44.70] spk_0:
us get

[00:16:49.46] spk_1:
to the chorus and I just thought man, that’s such a good lesson for all of us in communication and leadership and all that is just, you know, keep it simple. Talk about what you know, and don’t bore us get to the point,

[00:17:21.86] spk_0:
how about your your speaking, you do a lot of you do a lot of key noting and other other types of speaking. What what what what do you love him? What do you love about that kind of work talking to big audiences?

[00:17:55.70] spk_1:
You know what I like about talking to big audiences is Well, first it’s I I hold speaking with such reverence, you know, you know, even you and I right now I feel like the way I visualize what we’re doing is you and I are in a teepee right here, there’s a fire between us and you’re a chief and I’m a chief and and you have the talking stick and then you graciously give me the talking stick and we pass the talking stick back and forth and and I, I, whenever I’m invited to give a speech in front of a big audience, I feel like it is such an honor, I mean to, to, to be given the talking stick and to to be given time, I think that’s probably another thing that I value so much is

[00:18:09.85] spk_0:

[00:18:10.98] spk_1:
the one thing uh that after interviewing thousands of really successful, extraordinary people, the one thing, we don’t have enough of his time and we’re all fighting that clock and so I’m just so committed to not, not wasting people’s time. And so when somebody says, hey I want you to come and give a speech in front of an audience, it’s it’s a huge responsibility to make sure that I’m providing value because people are giving me

[00:18:39.91] spk_0:
their time,

[00:18:47.63] spk_1:
It’s a big, big, big, big request, so getting in front of an audience like that I find um uh intimidating, exhilarating,

[00:18:50.72] spk_0:
um I

[00:18:52.11] spk_1:
still get nervous backstage and then um I walk out there and

[00:19:00.00] spk_0:

[00:19:00.25] spk_1:
feel like you know, all the people that I’ve met interviewed, you know, jimmy carter billy, crystal Henry Winkler, Jack Canfield, my angelou on and on and on that, I feel like what gets me out there in front of all those people is I, I just visualize

[00:19:19.75] spk_0:

[00:19:20.20] spk_1:
these people that gave me their time knowing how precious time is. They gave me their time and shared their life lessons and their wisdom. And then I feel like I’m a conduit. I get bridged the gap. I get, I get to share all this wisdom that I’ve learned with an audience to help them on their journey

[00:19:41.54] spk_0:
and and I think

[00:19:42.86] spk_1:
that’s what pushes and drives me to do that.

[00:20:49.41] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two. I saw on Twitter, the average attention span is nine seconds and I thought that’s enough time for my mother to create guilt. I’m coming over for dinner. Can’t you stay for the night? I’m coming to stay for the night. Can’t you stay for the weekend? I’m coming to stay for the weekend. Take me on a cruise. I’m taking you on a cruise. Can’t you move back home? I’m moving back home. Let’s get cemetery plots. I’ve been doing that bit recently to open webinars and I thought I would share it with you. It’s that simple. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo but loads more time for Mr wake up excited. Go to bed fulfilled returns with Erik Sabiston. So you’re at both ends of the spectrum. You talked to individuals, strangers alone and you talked to big audiences thousands, I guess hundreds, at least write thousands of thousands of folks. You’re comfortable in both you and that was that was that

[00:21:05.79] spk_1:
was one of my visions when I was in when I was growing up. I just, I I always thought

[00:21:11.94] spk_0:
that that

[00:21:29.13] spk_1:
one of the things that I wanted to be in my life and thought that this would bring my life joy and opportunity, pretty and adventure was to be the kind of person who can talk to everyone that that to me was really important. I remember uh watching the movie and reading the book Willy Wonka and there was for some reason it’s a very small detail, but it caught my attention as a child and that was the Wonka elevator. And when charlie gets in the elevator with Willy Wonka and and he says push any

[00:21:52.83] spk_0:

[00:22:38.15] spk_1:
And because what’s magical about this elevator is that it doesn’t go up and down it goes anywhere you want to push it so you can push any button, it’ll take you there. And I remember that metaphor and I thought communication and language is so important and talking to people is a portal into everywhere. And so I can talk to people on the street that are strangers. I can talk to President of the United States, I can talk to rock stars. I can talk to people who are in the kitchen washing the dishes. The more people that I can talk to, the more fulfilling my life is uh, and and that’s been true for me. I’ve, I’ve really enjoyed meeting all kinds of people and they bring such uh uh laughter and levity in life to my journey. And I’m so grateful for that skill. And I wish everybody had that. I want everyone to have that skill where we remember that we’re relationship oriented and to, to, to risk talking to another because you never know where that conversation is gonna take you.

[00:23:21.78] spk_0:
We’re relationship oriented. Yes, treating people like uh, simple golden rule a lot of times. It sounds cliche, but you know, to treat people like you’d like to be treated, you’d like to have them treat you. But uh, I see it lacking in so many corners of our culture that I don’t think it is, it’s not cliche. I think it’s, it’s relevant um relationship.

[00:23:36.04] spk_1:
I just interviewed a a hospice nurse and

[00:23:36.85] spk_0:
it was phenomenal

[00:23:38.05] spk_1:
talking to

[00:23:38.64] spk_0:

[00:23:39.62] spk_1:
And one of the things I’ve been a hospice nurse, his job is to

[00:23:42.65] spk_0:
help shepherd

[00:23:44.27] spk_1:
people, you know, that are dying uh

[00:23:47.47] spk_0:

[00:23:47.68] spk_1:
the next next place, you know, and

[00:23:49.79] spk_0:
and and help the families to help

[00:24:08.55] spk_1:
all of it. Yeah. And it was really cool. I said what’s the greatest lesson? You know, I’d ask them three things questions and right now I’m not thinking, I can’t remember the first two, but I remember the third point and that was that he was saying that that the golden rule,

[00:24:11.74] spk_0:
he said was

[00:24:17.15] spk_1:
a rule that he believes is outdated. And I thought, whoa, that’s pretty strong statement, the golden rule of studying world religions. Every world religion has some version of the golden rule written in their sacred transcripts that is do onto others as you would like done unto you. And that’s been a big guiding principle that many of us have been taught throughout our lives. And it’s it’s a it’s a great guiding principle

[00:24:43.49] spk_0:
and he

[00:24:43.92] spk_1:
was saying that it’s outdated and even Assumpta tiv and I thought wow this is bold, what do you mean by that? And he said, look I’m here helping people that are dying and if I do onto them as I would like done unto me, I might put a pillow underneath their knees or I might grab a cloth

[00:25:03.75] spk_0:

[00:25:36.11] spk_1:
put it on there because I think wow, this is what I would want, I want to, you know, a cold cloth on my forehead and what he’s learned is what he’s calling the platinum rule which is to do onto others is they would like done unto them that way. It’s not presumptive, it’s not, it’s not, it’s not me thinking I know what’s best for you. It’s me actually taking time to check in with you and say, hey how can I be of service to you and then offer that value? I thought that was really insightful. So given Given given no no rule where there’s takers and people that are not cool, okay, I like having the golden rule as as a good guide post and then I think if we’re thinking about advanced leadership and communication skills, I like this idea of the platinum rule doing onto others as they would like done unto them. I think that if we get more into that realm uh then we’re really uh building a very cooperative and caring society.

[00:26:08.74] spk_0:
Are you a musician? Eric play an instrument? I do

[00:26:09.77] spk_1:
love music. What do you play?

[00:26:13.21] spk_0:

[00:26:13.39] spk_1:
know I play uh I play the guitar, the drums, uh the shaker. Uh I always thought it’d be fun. You know all these cool people start all my friends that are rock stars, you know they they’re a lead guitarist and they start a band or they could even be the bass players, start the band, maybe even a drummer that starts the band. But I always thought I wanted to be the guy that started the band being the egg shaker.

[00:26:37.09] spk_0:

[00:26:37.15] spk_1:
always thought that’d be a that I thought that’d be a fun way to start a band. What do you do? I’m the egg shaker.

[00:26:42.49] spk_0:
Is the shaker. Is that the is that the instrument? That’s wood and has all the beads around it. Is that the shaker?

[00:26:48.26] spk_1:
Yeah there’s so many different, yeah there’s so so many different versions, you know I just

[00:26:57.13] spk_0:
hold it a little closer hold it closer to the mic when you play your

[00:26:59.81] spk_1:

[00:27:04.91] spk_0:
Yeah like

[00:27:05.32] spk_1:
that that’s a shake

[00:27:07.32] spk_0:
is your guitar very far away.

[00:27:11.29] spk_1:
Yeah that’s not near me at this

[00:27:12.75] spk_0:

[00:27:15.62] spk_1:
itself on music. You know you know, one thing I, one thing about music is

[00:27:19.76] spk_0:

[00:27:58.54] spk_1:
really is the universal language is the guy that studies language and, and wants to connect with people. Uh, it’s, it’s, we were in Morocco and just rolled up in the, in the souks there and some Moroccan guys playing guitar and singing, which you know, I don’t even know what he’s singing and uh, you know, Sarah and I are walking by and I have a shaker in my bag and all of a sudden just stop getting next to him and start shaking and all of a sudden there’s a crowd of people and we’re making music together and smiling and laughing and hugging and it’s just, it’s, it really is. It’s uh, I think the two universal most powerful things we, we can do is smile. I think smiling is a universal language that transcends everything and, and welcomes people in. And I think uh, singing and playing music is another one that just creates community instantly.

[00:28:16.51] spk_0:
Know what I love about smiles. Even through the pandemic when everybody was masked, you could tell if somebody was smiling at you.

[00:28:25.16] spk_1:
Yeah, the eyes,

[00:28:35.27] spk_0:
the eyes get a little squinty and you could just, and maybe they wrinkle a little bit around their temples and the face exposed enough of the smile around the, around the mask that you could tell when people were smiling at you. I always like that.

[00:28:44.62] spk_1:
Me too. That’s a sweet visual,

[00:28:54.55] spk_0:
You’ve done some work with nonprofits for nonprofits. What what’s, what’s been the impact of that work

[00:28:58.23] spk_1:
on you?

[00:28:59.10] spk_0:
You on, on you, not on the nonprofits, on, on eric

[00:29:20.33] spk_1:
on me. I, you know, I started so young. I’m really grateful for my family having a value of service. And yeah, I started really young volunteering for camp and then volunteered for the special olympics being a coach. And then

[00:29:25.37] spk_0:
when I

[00:29:26.21] spk_1:
was in college, I ran the volunteer center, got invited to

[00:29:31.25] spk_0:

[00:29:32.05] spk_1:
the olympic torch. Uh, ended up becoming

[00:29:36.13] spk_0:
a vista

[00:29:42.99] spk_1:
volunteer, which is like the current AmeriCorps volunteer. Um, yeah, you know, I think, I think the,

[00:29:46.22] spk_0:
the big

[00:29:53.72] spk_1:
takeaway for volunteerism for me is that beautiful adage. Today I met a man

[00:29:55.37] spk_0:

[00:29:56.00] spk_1:
had no shoes and he complained

[00:29:59.84] spk_0:

[00:30:23.51] spk_1:
he met a man who had no feet and I think that has been such an impact for me that just being in the volunteer community. Uh, it works on so many cylinders, you know, to, to be of service, to make a difference to remember how grateful I am for my life and all the blessings that I have. Um,

[00:30:24.54] spk_0:

[00:30:43.59] spk_1:
it’s, it’s meaningful work. It’s just, it feels so meaningful And um, you know, that’s a big thing I learned on the farm. The farm culture is, is, uh, we always talk about the difference between consuming and contributing, You know, that’s a great question to ask. Are we consuming more than we’re

[00:30:47.68] spk_0:
contributing? And

[00:30:49.20] spk_1:
we’ve become a very consuming culture? Give me give me take, I want I need this is my right, this is and and all that is,

[00:30:58.66] spk_0:

[00:30:58.84] spk_1:
doesn’t bring us closer and it doesn’t build

[00:31:02.28] spk_0:
um cooperation

[00:31:17.40] spk_1:
or inspire civility. It’s it’s it’s the opposite. And I think if we walk around in our lives showing up anywhere in our lives and ask ourselves this question, how can I help?

[00:31:20.26] spk_0:
And that

[00:31:21.28] spk_1:
uh is just a beautiful question just to ask, how can I help? How can I help in this moment? How can I help in this moment? How can I help in this moment and to be people that are of service always. So I for me, I think probably now I I’ve conflated, I don’t see myself volunteering anymore. I don’t, I just see myself being of service everywhere. I can

[00:31:53.76] spk_0:
you do a lot of executive coaching too. And so how do you how do you see yourself in service to, to those folks?

[00:31:57.31] spk_1:
You know, my executive coaching career started

[00:31:59.74] spk_0:

[00:32:08.47] spk_1:
not I was studying speech communication in college and emphasis on leadership and one of my assignments early was I had, I had worked with the United Way in SAN Diego at the time and

[00:32:17.12] spk_0:

[00:32:17.46] spk_1:
Ceo, the guy was running the United Way there in SAN Diego I had offered as one of my thesis papers to do a communication audit

[00:32:27.81] spk_0:
with him

[00:33:20.12] spk_1:
and that was the beginning of my journey where I went in and I interviewed and studied the Ceo and asked him what was his mission, what was his vision, what are his guiding principles, what are his commitments, what are his values? And then identified essentially what his um rudder was to his boat uh and what his, his, what what what pushes and what pushed and drove him to be who he was, what was the sum total of his character. And then we figured that out. And then I created a survey that would then go test who he says. He was like the assignment for me is to to make sure that what we’re saying and who were being is in alignment. And so I got a chance to go interview his wife, go interview, his colleagues, go interview people on the board, go interview his son and then be able to go check

[00:33:30.26] spk_0:

[00:33:31.03] spk_1:
and go, okay, this is what this person says they value and then what’s

[00:33:35.15] spk_0:
the experience

[00:33:36.97] spk_1:
that people who are in that person’s life have of them and is what they’re saying about who they are in alignment with what people’s experience of them are. And it was absolutely fascinating to be able to go come back and report back to this person the blind spots in their life. That’s one of the things that I’ve learned so much by talking to wise people is

[00:33:59.49] spk_0:
that there

[00:34:49.59] spk_1:
is what we know, there’s what we don’t know and then there’s what we don’t know, we don’t even know it because we don’t even know it. And it’s that blind spot that we don’t know is the thing that will trip us, prevent us from getting the promotion, will have the husband or wife wake up one morning and say I’m leaving. It’s it’s just it’s the part of us that we just I can’t see who I am to you. I can only I’ve got my own perception of who I am. I’ve got my values, I’ve got my principles, I think I’m being this particular way. I convince myself of being this particular way and then I walk through the world. And if I the only way for me to get access to this quadrant of what I don’t know, I don’t even know, I don’t even know it is to be able to to ask others to contribute. And um that reminds me of one of my early interviews with the president of coca cola Donald Keogh who and I you know the most powerful ceo in the world with the most recognizable brand in the world. And I had asked him what separates those who achieve from those who do not. And

[00:35:05.68] spk_0:
uh he

[00:35:06.85] spk_1:
said what separates those who achieve from those who do not is in direct proportion to one’s ability to ask others

[00:35:12.74] spk_0:

[00:35:51.81] spk_1:
help. And I’ve always thought that was just so significant. We’re a culture that that is afraid to ask for help or we think asking for help is a sign of weakness and it’s actually a sign of strength. And this exercise is asking the people in our lives for help to give us feedback on what what’s their experience of me? I know that you know with my romantic partners there, you know, um I can tell her all day long, I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. But it doesn’t really matter that I’m telling her I love her. What matters is what’s her experience of me and is her experience of being loved by me. And that’s what this exercise does is it gets it taps into the experience that other people have, not just what I believe it is. And so these that was the beginning of my coaching journey where now I’ve done thousands of them and recommended to everyone, every executive or anybody that’s listening to this

[00:36:08.80] spk_0:
podcast. All

[00:36:32.90] spk_1:
of us can use a linguistic chiropractic adjustment from time to time and uh have have opportunity to just check in check in about who we are, what we are. What are the principles, What are the values, What are the the beliefs that we’ve been carrying that govern our lives? And let’s just check in and make sure that they’re still relevant that we didn’t inherit them from people that we don’t really actually value any more. Their outdated get really clear about who we are and what we stand for and then let’s go test that. Let’s go, let’s go talk to people in our lives to give us feedback. And what we talk about in my coaching clients is that language is either in the on position

[00:36:49.27] spk_0:

[00:36:51.41] spk_1:
the off position and we want to switch our switches from the off position to the on and this communication audit definitely gives us a chance to a get access to our blind spots, be able to then recognize that they’re there and then choose powerfully to switch them from a negative place to

[00:37:09.35] spk_0:
a place

[00:37:11.00] spk_1:
that serves us better.

[00:38:21.14] spk_0:
It’s the gap between our own perception of ourselves and others perceptions of us. That is what it is, what it sounds like and uh, that, that quote from the ceo of co coco of coca cola that uh, the ability of one to succeed is in direct proportion uh, with their ability to ask for help. I, I put that in a nonprofit radio sizzle reel uh, kind of a teaser reel because I, I think it’s such a simple bit of wisdom. Um, and it was gleaned from your hundreds of interviews on the, in the VW microbus journey, which is, which we talked about a couple of months ago and which of course is chronicled in the film, the journey. Uh, so I, that that bit of wisdom has stayed with me since we first met in 2000, whatever it was 10 or 11 or something like something like that. Um the ability of the ability to ask for help, you

[00:38:21.94] spk_1:
know, as a, as a, as an entrepreneur, it helped

[00:38:25.83] spk_0:
me, you

[00:38:26.02] spk_1:
know, I have been able

[00:38:27.79] spk_0:
to, to

[00:38:28.77] spk_1:
make things in the world

[00:38:31.30] spk_0:

[00:38:35.38] spk_1:
essentially, I’m not supposed to have made

[00:38:36.50] spk_0:
them because

[00:38:37.69] spk_1:
I don’t have the skills to do

[00:38:40.65] spk_0:

[00:38:41.62] spk_1:
And I think that’s what prevents so many people from accomplishing

[00:38:46.37] spk_0:
uh is that

[00:38:48.07] spk_1:
People wake up one morning and say, I’m

[00:38:50.30] spk_0:

[00:38:51.27] spk_1:
I’m compelled,

[00:38:52.86] spk_0:
then I’m

[00:38:53.25] spk_1:
gonna go do this thing, I’m gonna eradicate this injustice, I’m gonna go write

[00:38:58.38] spk_0:

[00:38:58.92] spk_1:
book, I’m gonna make this movie, I’m I’m gonna go do something really extraordinary. And after the initial buzz of making that declaration, they go tell some of their community

[00:39:10.50] spk_0:
about it.

[00:39:11.18] spk_1:
And then their community out of love says, oh, you want to do that thing. Well,

[00:39:18.07] spk_0:

[00:39:19.38] spk_1:
you study

[00:39:19.97] spk_0:

[00:39:22.34] spk_1:
No, Oh then you probably can’t do that, or you know, do you have a bunch of money? No, you

[00:39:29.49] spk_0:

[00:39:30.41] spk_1:
can’t do that. And you know, for my, my, I studied speech communication and I was telling people, I was going to make a film and they’re like, well,

[00:39:38.67] spk_0:

[00:39:41.43] spk_1:
you go to film school? No, well

[00:39:42.88] spk_0:
then you can’t

[00:39:46.04] spk_1:
make a movie then. And so there’s a lot of people that will

[00:39:48.75] spk_0:
put a lot of

[00:40:01.50] spk_1:
doubt and insecurity in somebody’s vision because their, their credentials or at the time that they’re talking about, it doesn’t match what it is that they want to make. And this idea of asking for help is just it’s it’s a bright light and a dark world. It just it’s a it’s a it’s a compass that that that gives somebody a chance to move from one place to the next. And that is that I was able to

[00:40:17.85] spk_0:
make, take a

[00:40:18.21] spk_1:
movie and not only make a movie, I was lucky to make an award winning film that has touched and inspired millions of people around the world and because I was willing to ask

[00:40:27.33] spk_0:
for help,

[00:40:37.31] spk_1:
that was the only reason why it happened. I had a good vision. I knew my story, I was willing to do the work. And the only way to make a movie at that time for me was to enroll Disney and to enroll Billy Crystal and Roland Jaffe was an Academy Award winning director, took me under his wing and it buys me and Henry Winkler, you know, the great actor and Fons and producer and director I had and and Michael Greer, who is an award winning editor, edited the film and

[00:40:57.29] spk_0:

[00:41:32.89] spk_1:
many people helped me make it into an awesome film. I’m I’m just 11 guy, but it took a whole village to make it happen. And if I wasn’t willing to ask for help, it would have never happened. And so that’s why I think it’s so profound is that anything you and I and and the listeners we want to create in our lives. It really comes down to having a clear vision of what it is we want and then go seek out people, why is smarter uh and ask for help. And I’ve discovered that that people

[00:41:34.07] spk_0:
want to help

[00:41:35.56] spk_1:
people find value and joy and their life’s purpose gets illuminated when there’s an opportunity for them to contribute and help. Another

[00:42:03.17] spk_0:
eric’s Epperson is keynote speaker, leadership and communication coach. He’s got that award winning film, the journey. You’ll find it all at eric Sapper Stone dot com Erica. Thank you very much again. What a pleasure! What a pleasure!

[00:42:07.65] spk_1:
You know, a rising tide lifts all boats. Thank you so much. I was a privilege to be here on your show. It’s a privilege to be your friend and I know you all these years and I’m grateful that we get to stay connected uh and and uh and and keep keep popping back into each other’s life,

[00:43:08.20] spk_0:
genuine pleasure indeed. Thank you very much ERic Next week. Inflection points in your non profits growth with Brooke richie Babbage! 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. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott stein, Thank you for that. Affirmation Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%, go out and be great.

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


Kumar KannanSpend Wisely As You Buy

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.
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[00:01:50.34] 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. Oh I’m glad you’re with me. I’ve come down with Treacle. Oh my itis if you strangled me with the idea that you missed this week’s show, spend wisely as you buy, 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 cannon from procuring LLC educates us on tony steak too. I’m grateful. It’s a big pleasure to welcome Kumar con into non profit radio he is principal of procuring LLC. He has 30 years of global leadership experience in sourcing and procurement. He spent 16 years at Owens corning where he managed an annual spend of $900 million in categories such as I. T. Marketing HR and finance Kumar also led IT sourcing at American Airlines for eight years. The company is at procure all services dot com and he’s taken in K A N N A N at procuring services dot com Kumar Welcome to nonprofit radio

[00:01:53.21] spk_1:
thank you, Tony, very happy to be here.

[00:02:24.25] spk_0:
It’s a pleasure to have you. So let’s talk procurement. Uh you’ve you’ve you’ve spent a lot of money over 30 years but I see it’s it’s your job to spend other people’s money wisely wisely. Right carefully thoughtfully. All right, so what do you think? Generally because we have plenty of time together high level what do you think nonprofits could be smarter about buying wise

[00:03:54.60] spk_1:
I think I’ll speak generally to that tony Um, companies tend to not place in my view as much focus on sourcing and procuring smartly as they could. Often it’s an afterthought I think in many companies and, and nonprofits included in that their core business is their focus. And so this almost becomes an afterthought. But if you step back, Um, in nonprofits, 25-30% of their revenues is spent on buying things and services in manufacturing type of companies that can go up to 60%. So if you’re looking at a 500 million or a billion or a $5 billion dollar organization, that is a huge amount of money. Um, so it just makes a lot of sense to approach this in a structured fashion with the right talent, the right skill sets and right experience so that you’re making sure that you are not spending more than your shirt and that you’re not leaving money on the table because every dollar saved in procurement goes to the bottom line to either return to your shareholders or to use it in your projects and, and programs. All

[00:04:39.03] spk_0:
Right now, our folks are most likely not at the billion dollar spend level or even billion dollar annual revenue level. Uh, you know, we have lots of folks who have annual revenues, annual budgets. Let’s talk about annual budgets in the low to mid-6 figures. So, but your point of course, well taken, you know, they’re still spending money on buying. You said 25-30%. Um They’re still buying things, they gotta buy things, least things they are terms associated with all these purchases and and we could uh we could be doing a little savvy er and and as you say of course putting money to the adding money to the bottom line. So the first thing I want to talk about is something dear to me because professional fundraising relationships, you know, people don’t think of this in terms of buying, you know, I need, I need a case of paper, I’m gonna run to the staples or I’m just gonna click and you click and buy and I’ll have it in a couple of days.

[00:04:58.13] spk_1:
Uh talk

[00:04:59.90] spk_0:
to me about relationships with, with your your vendors, how, how this is beneficial, how to build them up, why not just buy it as you need it, help us out with relationships.

[00:06:36.45] spk_1:
Sure. And that’s that’s a really great you know, starting point on sourcing and procurement because it’s one of the things that even a lot of mature social organizations don’t necessarily focus on and I think having strong relationships adds a lot of value. Um The now you’ve got to be a little careful obviously about spreading yourself thin, so you want to identify who are the key suppliers with whom you want to invest that time and effort to build a relationship. These are typically suppliers that are providing either services or commodities that are core to what you are producing or delivering to other people to your customers, right? And managing those relationships is is not different than frankly managing good relationships even within your company. So when you run into supply chain constraints, when you run into, you know, inflationary markets, you can depend on your supplier because of your relationship to be able to put you on the top of their list versus a purely transactional sort of relationship. So when you look at your entire supplier landscape, what I generally recommend doing is identify that go with that 80 20 rule and identify maybe your top 10, 15, 20 depending on how many, how many suppliers you have any supply base as your strategic or constraint kind of suppliers

[00:07:04.00] spk_0:
and for a lot for a lot of our listeners that maybe just five, you know that maybe there maybe 10 vendors overall and they can identify three or five where they’re spending, You know, I guess you’re spending 80% of your money on with 20% of your vendors, right?

[00:07:51.22] spk_1:
Exactly, exactly, exactly. And you want to build a relationship with them, recognize that the supplier, sailors guides have a great visibility into your organization right there there to sell you stuff, right? But they’re also bringing their expertise and knowledge in the products and services they’re selling to you. So by having a good relationship, I like to say you’re kind of creating a disproportionate mindshare from the supplier, because you can use the suppliers, you can leverage suppliers expertise to create value for your end customers. And that’s an area that, that many many companies do not take advantage of. And I’m a big proponent of building strong supplier relationships because they bring a lot to the table, right? I may not have to invest in expertise. I could depend on the supplier to bring that to the table.

[00:09:19.34] spk_0:
Let’s, let’s make this concrete with an example. Let’s take a let’s take a soup kitchen in a, in a food bank. So food is their primary expense. Maybe aside from labor, we’re putting, we’re putting labor costs aside. I’m sure they have a lot of volunteers in this hypothetical organization, but you know, labor may still be, but in terms of what they’re procuring from the outside, let’s say it’s, you know, it’s, it’s food, there’s grocery items produce, which they have spoilage issues. Um, and let’s say they have some, uh, they might have some trucks to maybe pick up food. They might have relationships with some, some supermarkets, some restaurants that they pick up food on, you know, probably daily basis. So maybe gas, gas insurance on the trucks, maintenance on the trucks, you know, those may, So let’s say food, gas, maintenance, those are there in this organization. There’s are there three top vendors with food being the predominant one, the number one, what, what can I expect from my my grocery and and produce and dairy suppliers that vendors that they can, they can help me with.

[00:09:53.30] spk_1:
Sure. Sure. So if you think about food, uh think about a situation where your fragment of your food purchase amongst a lot of different suppliers, right? And you’re approaching it transactional e then you are exposed to kind of whatever the pricing is. If the food is, if that particular sort of food is available with that supplier, he or she is gonna decide who they want to sell it to, right versus if you have a relationship and you’ve consolidated this bank one, consolidating the spend leads to lower prices because now you have volumes whatever that volume, maybe maybe $100,000 right? Versus splitting it between 10 suppliers and spending 10,000 with each and then not known.

[00:11:06.48] spk_0:
So even if even if some of the items that we buy frequently are more expensive with with one vendor, it’s still better. I’m not saying they’re expensive on their most expensive on everything, but you know, it’s maybe some key items, you know, maybe bread is more expensive from them than somewhere else, but their dairy is lower and and and we overall they just seem like a better company or like maybe they’re more reliable or something. It’s better to consolidate and pay a little extra for the what I say for the bread but have a relationship versus bread being transactional from the baker down the street and the but the dairy comes from the farm of and and the produce is coming from uh from the U. S. Supply or you know whatever these big companies are. So it’s better, that’s what you’re saying. It’s better to consolidate even on some of the items you’re spending

[00:11:26.71] spk_1:
more exactly in total. You’ll be spending less and to you will be a bigger customer for that supplier when you call they’re going to pay attention to you right? And if you are connected well enough with them, they may be able to tell you, hey look this stuff is going to go up in price two weeks from now. We suggest you place the order right now the timing of the order can have right

[00:11:32.70] spk_0:
not right. They’re not gonna, they’re not gonna inform all their customers.

[00:11:36.78] spk_1:

[00:11:37.18] spk_0:
may have 1000 customers. They’re not going to inform all their customers. Their prices may go up in a couple of weeks

[00:11:42.30] spk_1:

[00:11:47.16] spk_0:
they’ve got something else coming. You know, they see a shortage coming in something that you buy often they’re not gonna be able to write, they’re gonna do that with the folks, they have relationship with who are their their better customers, they’re bigger customers

[00:11:58.91] spk_1:
right? And they may show up in time when you when you actually need something urgently they may actually go out of their way to deliver that to you quicker faster, cheaper.

[00:12:03.22] spk_0:
Yes you get you get favor right? You’ll get favors. Okay,

[00:12:06.98] spk_1:

[00:12:23.72] spk_0:
relationships and so should we, you know, like should we try to have meetings, you know, instead of doing this all online ordering and face? Well, you’re not going to build a relationship through online clicking and shipping, but instead of just phone, uh or you know, probably phone with most vendors. Should we, should we have meetings? I mean get meet face to face. Well, you know, when, when you’re in town, please come by things like that.

[00:13:17.82] spk_1:
Sure. I mean, you can, you can get as sophisticated as you want or you can keep it simple but absolutely having that face to face, meeting that connection with your supplier helps a lot because always putting a name and a face together, meeting with them that forms a bond, you know, and people ultimately want to work with people, right? If I’m just a phone call or I’m a website, who cares? Right. Why would, why would you go out of the way to interact with me if you don’t know me at all? However, if you and I meet for coffee every now and then we could discuss business then that’s the objective, Right? I could be talking to you in those meetings about how my, I’ve spent with you, What are the kinds of things I’m buying and you may come back and say, hey look here are some alternative commodities that are coming down the road that might be better suited for your needs. They may be priced less. So you get an insight into things that otherwise would not be available if you treat it as just a transactional purchase.

[00:14:00.90] spk_0:
And again this is you know this is your top, your top spend vendors now, this is not every vendor, this is your top three maybe or so something like that, where you see your spending the bulk of your money. Alright, the relationships and you know what you just said, we could have been talking about fundraising, we could just as easily been talking about fundraising relationships, what you just said in the last minute or so. Um Alright, relationships. So that leads to and you know we were talking about consolidating, consolidating around the vendors that

[00:14:09.30] spk_1:
are that

[00:14:10.51] spk_0:
are I guess. Well how do you, I suppose we are, let me ask you this suppose we are pretty fractured in our in our buying of food, how do we pick which vendor to consolidate around?

[00:15:48.57] spk_1:
I think first you want to get a view into watch your supplier landscape. So who are you buying things from and how much are you buying and what are you buying? Right. And let’s say you talk about you pick a particular category and typically we categorize these categories for each of the different types of spend that big categories. Right? So food gas, maybe within food, you may have categories like you know there could be meat, there could be a vegetable, there could be something else, Right? Just depends on how large your operation is and how you want to categorize that there isn’t a straight answer for that, but you have to figure out what’s appropriate for you. So you build that category and then look at who are the suppliers in that space. Typically, if you have never done a competitive bid before, we generally recommend go out and put out an RFP, which is like a request for proposal to say, look Mr MS supplier, this is the kind of product we want to buy, right? These are the specification, these are the deliveries that we need and this is what we think we’re going to be spending overall from a quantity perspective annually, we’d like you to bid on this. So you get bids from different suppliers, look at the bed, see what, what kind of suppliers this is. Call them and talk to them and pick one and contract with them on an annual basis,

[00:16:14.60] spk_0:
listeners, I just lost my internet, so tomorrow and I got cut off and so now you hear that my sound is not anywhere near as good as it was with my nice studio mic because now I’m on my phone, maybe our Kitchen and food bank could do an informal RFP like, you know, we we project spending $50,000 on and you know, uh you know over this, you know, like so much per month or you know, maybe we could do this in an email that is not as formal as a, as a full RFP.

[00:17:39.91] spk_1:
Yeah, absolutely tony I mean, I, you know, I I don’t want people to be scared off by, you know, these jargon type of things like R, F, P S and R F Q and all, they can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Right. I mean just think about it. Just me, if you were to go to buy a car, you probably go to three dealerships and ask for quote, what you’re basically doing is an RFP you have in your mind, what kind of car you want, what specifications and you go and look for it, right, that’s exactly what an RFP is. But the only thing I suggest is just think about what it is you’re buying and to what, what are the characteristics that are important to you, right. How much you’re spending, maybe an idea of how that spend, you know, happens over the year. What are the kind of products you’re buying, What are the minimum requirements for those products? And I wanted to be absolutely, you know, one day old or I can live with a week old product, what does the deliveries need to be? You know, I need it yesterday or I can give you a week’s notice all those things, factor into the pricing that you receive. So if you sit and think about what exactly it is you want to buy and how you want to structure your spend. That’s an RFP, you could do it in one page or you can do it in 100 pages.

[00:18:15.89] spk_0:
Okay. Okay cool and that that car buying analogy is perfect. So you’re you’re right as you’re shopping around the three different dealerships, there’s your RFP. Okay. Very so long as consolidation you have, there’s something, well there’s something called group purchasing organizations or G. P. O. S. How can we, can we find these or do we create them ourselves or what what what what flesh this out for us?

[00:20:40.77] spk_1:
Okay so the G. P. O. S. Have been around for you know several decades. Uh They really started in the medical industry so small hospitals and clinics and all decided they didn’t have enough spend individually. So they like to get together and and combine their spend so then they have more power to negotiate and then go and talk to these big medical providers and put contracts in place with them. So GPS started in that space, they’ve expanded now into other areas like for example restaurant food supplies. There are several G. P. O. S. That cater to individual small restaurants. So if you started a restaurant you would go to one of these G. P. O. S. And sign up and become a member with them. Um early on in the early days they used to charge you a membership free. Now I believe many of them do not, right? And then you have access to their contracts and the prices they have negotiated now what you miss and that is you don’t have a direct one on one relationship necessarily with the supplier. However you have the choice, you have the ability to kind of take advantage of the G. P. O. S. Pricing and contractor. So for a lot of your spend again, if you apply the 80 20 rule as as a nonprofit you may say look 2080% of my spenders with these 10 suppliers and I want to have uh you know, direct relationships with them because they are extremely important to my uh to my services. However, the other 20% of the standard with like 500 suppliers, I would rather go to a GPO and just kind of pick up the best prices that they can offer. Right? So there are some G. P. O. S. Now, I believe the medical G. P. O. S are also expanding into non medical areas. Right? And then there are some G. P. O. S that cater only to, you know, the broader manufacturing and other service type of organizations. So nonprofits can certainly go and sign up for them. You can check them out on the website. I don’t want to necessarily endorse one or the other on the show because a lot of them have good services, they bring good capabilities to the table. They actually will help you consolidate your spend and actually analyze your spend to see how you’re doing, how, how you’re doing your spend and whether opportunities like to maybe make some changes in the way you buy things so you can, you can kind of rely on their expertise as well to take a look at your spend pie and see what’s the best way to structure it.

[00:23:50.55] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two. I am grateful, very grateful to the many people and companies and nonprofit agencies that are helping me to promote planned giving accelerator for the next class starting in March, lots of webinars and podcasts uh guest spots and I’m grateful and I have to shout them out, gotta gotta recognize them. They are sherry, Kwame, Taylor Lawrence paige known, I wish he’s pronounced his name pinon but he doesn’t Julia. Campbell non profit solutions, hurdle Callahan, nexus marketing brian saber at asking matters. We are for good podcast NATO National Association of Y M. C. A Development Officers A F P Long island new york chapter J Frost and Responsive non profit podcast. I’m thankful to all these folks for hosting me giving me an opportunity to meet their audiences, give them value of course, talking about planned giving and then have a chance to explain plan giving accelerator. If you are interested in plan giving accelerator, it’s all at planned giving accelerator dot com help you launch your planned giving That is Tony’s take two And I’m sorry about the sound issues this week. The delays and it’s slowed down and dragged out. It sounds like somebody’s stepping on my tongue. But thank you for listening through it. This week. We’ve got boo koo, but loads more time. I love the book. Ooh, you gotta for spend wisely as you buy with Kumar cannon and maybe if we cannot find a GPO around what we’re procuring, uh, maybe we can partner with another. It could be anything, it could be a non non profit or could be a company in the, could be a company in your community or that you have a relationship with doesn’t have to be another nonprofit that you know, that they’re buying the same, the same, uh, goods that you’re buying the same food you’re buying. Maybe you can partner with them and, and negotiate, which we’re gonna get to negotiate better terms with a, with a common vendor when there’s, you’re, you’re buying more together than you are separately.

[00:24:06.09] spk_1:
Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean you hit the nail on the head there. I mean, I would, I would also add to that and say, you know, think about your big donors, your big donors are probably sitting on some boards or some other companies that, you know, you’re going to them for donations. Why not go to them and say, Hey, look, you’re sitting on the board of Del. Why don’t you get me some good computers, you know, at a cheaper price or something like that. Right? I think you can access your your donor base to for that.

[00:24:56.81] spk_0:
Yeah. Very good. I’ll bet I’ll bet for board members people are hopefully they’re savvy and they’re they’re thinking that way but good, good, good to say it explicitly. Um And you know, in our this hypothetical food food banks and soup kitchen that I set up. Uh you know, one of the one of the things they were buying was insurance. So I just want to make the point that this this does not apply only to tangible goods but services to you. You can have you you should have relationships with your insurers.

[00:25:07.05] spk_1:

[00:25:07.78] spk_0:
can create your own GPO around insurance buying.

[00:25:11.67] spk_1:

[00:25:12.31] spk_0:
And this all applies to services as well as goods.

[00:25:25.57] spk_1:
Yes. I mean I think the point you make tuning on kind of uh several maybe, you know, nonprofits kind of coming together uh and maybe hiring even an advisory firm to help consolidate their spin. So you can even create an informal gpu you don’t need to put a formal GPO structural place and you can take advantage of consolidating your spin.

[00:25:42.88] spk_0:
Yes. All

[00:25:43.79] spk_1:

[00:25:47.41] spk_0:
So let’s talk about negotiating and and you know, we’re gonna lump together I think

[00:25:50.08] spk_1:

[00:25:51.46] spk_0:
you know, well

[00:25:52.52] spk_1:

[00:25:53.24] spk_0:
pricing and and payment terms and warranty terms these all these all fit together I think under negotiating. Um But let’s talk about just being comfortable

[00:26:05.45] spk_1:

[00:26:05.64] spk_0:
know getting comfortable talking about terms with

[00:26:09.87] spk_1:

[00:26:10.98] spk_0:
cos you’re spending money with

[00:27:15.89] spk_1:
right? Um And you know a lot of us are just not comfortable asking like you know and we tend to take the price is given right Especially if it’s a commodity type of item. You know who goes to negotiate Kroger or whole foods or wherever you do your grocery shopping right? But if you spend a significant amount of money I would say ask. And that’s one of the biggest things that holds people back. We just don’t ask just going and asking and saying look you know I’m willing to put this much of spend through your organization. What can you do for me? And you’ll be surprised at the benefits you get just by asking that question. At worst they’re gonna say no we can’t do it. But the chances are they will give you something of value. Um So I think it’s getting over that initial hurdle of asking. And uh if you do that you know you can probably get a whole lot of additional value. Whether it’s in in in in in the ability to return things if you don’t like it if you buy access whether it’s getting lower pricing whether it’s them storing stuff for you free of cost and delivering it when you need it. So you can get a lot of value just by asking.

[00:27:41.86] spk_0:
Excellent okay so yes don’t don’t be afraid like you said, you’re gonna be no worse off,

[00:27:48.58] spk_1:
yep. All

[00:27:50.87] spk_0:
right, so you just brought up some excellent terms, you know, people are not going to think of this. I don’t know, maybe maybe listeners are brighter than their lackluster host things like returns, return terms, storage,

[00:28:06.55] spk_1:
you know,

[00:28:37.24] spk_0:
we’re short on, we’re short on freezer space, you know, can you store for for 10 days we will pay for it. But can you hold it? I mean that those are I mean that’s a simple thing for uh A grocery or you know, a meat uh vendor to provide. I mean they probably have 10,000 square feet of storage space. So carve out a little bit for our for our side of beef for you know, for our whatever’s alright, alright, returns storage, okay. Uh let’s talk more, you know, pricing payment uh warranty warranty terms, help us understand what’s what we could be benefiting

[00:30:04.31] spk_1:
from. Sure payment terms, that’s a that’s a great you know, item of value that that you know, a good solid sourcing can open up and and frankly it’s It’s not that difficult to get better payment terms. A lot of people don’t just don’t actually see value when there is real value on there. The sense of think about this if you were paying for what you buy immediately versus paying in 60 days or 90 days. There’s real value in keeping that money for another 60 or 90 days, maybe you’re borrowing something from the bank. Right? Maybe your cash flow is, is not quite, you know, uniform and there are peaks and valleys. This helps you build up your working capital. And again in these cases I find that a lot of people are, don’t even think about going and asking the supplier to give them 60 day payment terms. Right? If you’re flush with cash, different story, you couldn’t care less. Maybe the cost of money to use zero, you just pay up. But even then I would say ask if you’re going to pay immediately, ask for a discount, Right? vs paying in 30 or 60 or 90 days.

[00:30:07.12] spk_0:
Yes, brilliant. Right. Right. Yeah. I think I’m certainly not thinking of when you talk about payment terms, I’m thinking of price, give us a discount but payment over time. Give us 60 days, 90 days and if we’re gonna pay immediately, give us give us a deeper discount. Yes.

[00:30:25.71] spk_1:
Yes. Yes. So you have

[00:30:27.96] spk_0:
like, you know,

[00:30:45.59] spk_1:
2%, for example, the terms like uh, 2% 30 net 60, which basically means, Hey, if I pay you within 30 days, I’ll take a reduction of 2% in the, in the price. Otherwise I’ll pay you in 60 days. You know, you can structure a lot of different kinds of payment terms. Keep it simple again, let’s not complicate it too much. Um, just say you’ll take a discount if you pay upfront. Otherwise you want that 60 payment terms. So you pay them after 60 days.

[00:31:07.56] spk_0:
Okay? You sound like a real insider would say uh 2% 30 net 60. All right, come on. You’re dealing with a savvy buyer here. Let’s, let’s talk about, let’s start.

[00:31:13.65] spk_1:

[00:31:14.46] spk_0:
Let’s talk about 2% 30 net 60. Come

[00:31:16.81] spk_1:
on. This

[00:31:18.77] spk_0:
is where we should be starting. Alright, alright. I’m an inside buyer now. Alright. Anything else about price or payment terms? Anything else in that in those categories?

[00:32:28.52] spk_1:
Yeah, I also recommend think about you may think you’ve negotiated the price and everybody goes back happy and then on the invoice show that you’ve got three additional items that it do it right. It could be um delivering, afraid they could be afraid of charge. Hey, fuel prices gone up. My transporter is now charging me a fuel surcharge. So I’m going to get it from you. So look for some of these hidden things and discuss it up front. That’s why having a good contract in place, health, You know, you want to be very clear what you’re finally gonna pay for that product. They’ll put handling child this child and that child and suddenly looked at your phone bill, you know, like 15 items they’ve added to it and who knows where that money goes and it ends up being 20% of your of your actual what you thought you were gonna pay and adds another 20% of it. Um So so being very clear about what are these additional items or making sure that your price reflects what you’re actually gonna pay. Plus maybe a sales tax. So make sure you know who’s gonna, you know who’s gonna, who’s gonna pay for the freight. Are there any handling charges um for

[00:32:49.23] spk_0:
for nonprofits or even their their sales tax exempt?

[00:32:53.46] spk_1:

[00:32:54.85] spk_0:
So I mean that’s really not even something to negotiate. That’s just that’s just state law. You give them your I. R. S. Tax determination letter and they should not be charging you sales tax. So, but you know, you’re mentioning lots of other terms beyond beyond your sales tax. Just making the point that sales tax is just that’s a given.

[00:33:14.90] spk_1:

[00:33:21.77] spk_0:
right. These are excellent. Come are great insights, great insights. Um uh warranty, let’s talk about warranty terms,

[00:35:27.37] spk_1:
sure warranties, you know, very from product to product. Sometimes. Often the suppliers will will say, hey this is our standard warranty, right? You know, you buy a piece of software, they’ll say, you know, 90 day warranty, which means the 90 days you can return the product, But there’s a lot more that goes into this, right? So you would want to understand now in the case of things like software products, you know, people may say, you know, 90 days you can return the product, but we will give you a replacement. Like product, we’re not gonna refund your money, right? You need to understand that. That’s what is gonna happen right? If you want your money back, you’ve got to be very clear that the warranty is money back and then you have to be very clear about understanding what qualifies as a warranty, right? Is the product the fact that you open it and then realize it doesn’t work for you. They will typically water into their specifications. If your specifications are different from their specifications then guess what you’re stuck. It doesn’t meet your specifications. So again, it goes back to kind of that whole RFP kind of question. Think about what it is you want to buy and what’s important to you, right? And you can negotiate warranty terms. If you’re able to consolidate and have a large enough spend, if you walk in and say, hey I just want this For you know $100. They’re probably not gonna negotiate warranty with you and you don’t want to spend your time doing that either. But if you’re gonna spend $100,000, you probably want to want to negotiate good warranty terms and understand when warranty kicks in and if warranty kicks in, what’s the remedy, right? Do you want your money back? You want them to replace it with another product and if they replace it with another product, you want to make sure that that product works. So think about warranty as something that gives you protection um that what you are wanting to buy is actually delivered to you.

[00:35:34.76] spk_0:
Awesome, awesome. What else? I don’t want to let you go

[00:35:38.78] spk_1:
yet. What

[00:35:40.09] spk_0:
what else can we talk about buying wise that that I haven’t asked you about,

[00:36:50.94] spk_1:
I think when you talk about, I like to, I like to say strategic sourcing and within that I’d like to talk about again, we talked about supplier relationships and management, supplier relationships with more than just meeting people and getting to know that it’s understanding how they’re actually performing in your environment, which means kind of having the data to understand your spend. You know if they were delayed, if they were late deliveries, if they were spoiled goods, having that data to have a really robust conversation with your supplier and to make sure that that they performed to what you expect them to perform and if they don’t there could be penalties. So managing your suppliers performance can be a, can require a little bit of effort but it tells the supplier that you are serious about how they perform for it. So

[00:36:55.30] spk_0:
just by just by opening the conversation you’re you’re letting them know that you have standards that you expect them to meet.

[00:37:49.90] spk_1:
Yes, yes. And tracking those standards. So having data um the other thing that’s valuable now is using technology. So really the underpinnings of all these other strategic sourcing and you know, supply management, the underpinnings are really three things people process and technology, right? Having the people who have the skills to do this kind of work, having processes that are repeatable and not just ad hoc so that everybody knows how this process works and frankly having good technology and today there’s a lot of technology available that can at least automate and make life easier for the people who are doing this kind of work right. There are simple subscription software that can help you do your sourcing much more efficiently, that can make your organization look a lot more professional when you’re going to suppliers and that can help that can provide the data for you to analyze and look at what your spend looks like. A lot of cases. I find people don’t even know what that actually looks like,

[00:38:14.66] spk_0:
what this the technology. Uh are there any platforms that you can name that? Not necessarily endorse,

[00:38:23.16] spk_1:

[00:38:24.03] spk_0:
I’m not sure folks are familiar

[00:38:26.03] spk_1:

[00:38:30.11] spk_0:
procurement software applications.

[00:39:11.08] spk_1:
I would, there are, there are lots and lots of, you know, sourcing software available. tony What I recommend is just google for Gartner’s Magic quadrant. Gardner is is as you know, you know, this advisory firm consulting firm that does a lot of work in in in the technology space and they they publish a magic quadrant where they identify the top dozen 15 supplier technology suppliers and a whole plethora of different spaces and out of that you can actually pick and and and drill in and see, you know who those suppliers are, what are their strengths, What are their weaknesses. And then you can decide which three you want to talk to. So I would say start with that Gartner magic quadrant in the space in which you’re interested in uh in the technology that you’re interested in.

[00:39:48.38] spk_0:
Okay. The Magic Gartner’s magic quadrant. Alright. Um Alright leave us leave us with something else. This is incredible. You know, I don’t think people are thinking about this at all. I know sophisticated strategic sourcing which I almost put you in jargon jail for. But you were you flush you flushed it out so I didn’t feel you deserve to be sentenced to jargon jail.

[00:39:59.43] spk_1:

[00:40:22.93] spk_0:
You’re you’re you’re you’re you’re helping us. So we we we take these things in the cooperation we have a cooperation agreement. You’re kind of we flipped you we picked your brain uh We flipped you to a cooperating witness. So no no sentence. What else? Anything else? Anything else you can leave us with around the relationships or the consolidating or being

[00:40:26.90] spk_1:

[00:40:28.54] spk_0:
All this negotiation that we talked about. What else can you leave us with?

[00:40:36.32] spk_1:
Um The thing that the one thing that I leave you with a couple of things that I would leave leave your

[00:40:43.19] spk_0:

[00:42:18.74] spk_1:
um focus on sourcing. Uh make sure that you’re actually paying attention to it because a lot of money could throw out the door and you don’t even know it number two. Uh as I mentioned earlier just to recap, look at sourcing as these, as strategic and as supplier management. Two big buckets. Strategic is what you buy, how you buy it from whom you buy. Supplier management is about once you’ve decided your supplier and you’re you, you know what you’re buying that the supplier performs the way you want them to perform. And the underpinnings of these are the kind of talent you have, the kind of processes you have and the kind of technologies you use. Think about this landscape and make sure that you have the talent available to focus on each of these areas. You don’t have to boil the ocean right pick on a couple of them consolidation to drive value negotiations. There are lots of great negotiation training courses available, develop your talent, you know, give them the skills tools and abilities to do the job more effectively for you. And I think at the end of the day you will find that it adds a lot of value. It streamlines your processes and you don’t have to run around with your hair on fire because of emergencies. Now those will happen. But you’ll be better positioned to manage them and having good relationships with your suppliers will again make it much easier for you to manage those ups and downs and emergencies that are bound to show up.

[00:42:49.99] spk_0:
Mark Cannon, He’s Kay Cannon, K K A N N A N at Procuring services dot com. The company is at procuring services dot com camara. Thank you very much for sharing all this expertise.

[00:43:04.82] spk_1:
Thank you for having me tony for the real pleasure.

[00:43:32.16] spk_0:
Thank you. Next week. Eric Sapperstein returns by popular demand. 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 Meyer Hawk shows, social media is by Susan Chavez. Marc Silverman is our Web guy and this music is by Scott’s tony Thank you for that information. Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for 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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[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:

[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:

[00:03:20.48] spk_0:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

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

[00:43:24.49] spk_0:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

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

[00:04:38.40] spk_0:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

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

[00:15:05.15] spk_0:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

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

[00:24:59.98] spk_0:

[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:

[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:

[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:

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

[00:28:28.81] spk_0:

[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:

[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:

[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:

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

[00:32:20.07] spk_0:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

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

[00:36:32.20] spk_0:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

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

[00:45:21.37] spk_0:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

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

[00:54:52.51] spk_0:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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.