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Nonprofit Radio for May 20, 2024: Sociocracy & Attract More Donors

 

Justin BirdsongSociocracy

It’s a new form of decision making you might want to try out. Justin Birdsong from Skeleton Key Strategies introduces us to circle structures, domains and aims, and linking roles, as he acquaints us with this more equitable and inclusive, sociocratic decision making method. (Recorded at the 2024 Nonprofit Technology Conference.)

 

Shannon Bowen & Emily DiFrisco: Attract More Donors

When your development and communications teams work collaboratively with strong relationships, you’ll draw more donors and increase your fundraising revenue. Our panel shares their strategies. They’re Shannon Bowen with Monsoon Leadership and Emily DiFrisco at the Center for Environmental Health. (Also recorded at 24NTC.)

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite abdominal podcast. This is show number 691. That means we’re only nine weeks away from our 7/100 show and 14th anniversary. Not that we are wishing the summer months and weeks away. Certainly not, but we are close to the big one. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be forced to endure the pain of Burrito Genesis if you got under my skin with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer Kate to introduce what’s coming. Hey, Tony, this week we have two more conversations from 24 NTC Sociocracy. It’s a new form of decision making. You might want to try Justin Birdsong from skeleton key strategies. Introduces us to circle structures, domains and aims and linking roles as he acquaints us with this more equitable and inclusive decision making method and attract more donors. When your development and communications teams work collaboratively with strong relationships, you’ll draw more donors and increase your fundraising revenue. Our panel shares their strategies. There’s Shannon Bowen with Monsoon leadership and Emily De Frisco at Center for environmental health. Antonis take two through infants. Eyes were sponsored by virtuous, virtuous, gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising volunteer and the marketing tools you need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving, virtuous.org and by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. Donor box fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor box.org here is Sociocracy. Welcome back to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of 24 NTC. You know what it is, you know that it’s the 2024 nonprofit technology conference. You know that we’re at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, beautiful Portland, great food city. And you know that we’re sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. What you don’t know is that I’m now with Justin Birdsong, founder and principal of Skeleton Key Strategies. You’re now informed fully, Justin. Welcome to nonprofit radio. Thank you so much, Tony. I’m so glad to be here. Pleasure, pleasure. Thank you for joining us for our coverage where we are, you and I are going to talk about equitable governance and consent based decision making an introduction to sociocracy. That’s it. All right. I think we better start with a definition of sociocracy. Absolutely. So, sociocracy is a peer governance system that is based on decentralizing power and hierarchical power structures and uh more equitable distribution of decision making in organizations. What do we say? To the CEO S who think they just heard a definition of the word anarchy um to a certain kind of CEO with a certain kind of, um you know, power centric mindset, they wouldn’t be far off. Um I think the difference is that it’s the opposite of anarchy in the sense that sociocracy actually has really strong uh process and governance procedures. So it’s not that there’s no rules of the road. It’s that the rules of the road are about integrating all voices, making balance for dissension and um objections to certain kinds of decisions and making sure that everybody has a voice in the kinds of major decisions that drive either an organization or a team or uh it’s also used extensively outside of organizations and more informal kinds of settings like cohousing communities. Oh, interesting. OK. Or maybe we’ll get to some of those other settings. Sure. Uh But we’ll be focused on our, our listeners are small and mid size nonprofits. Yes. So I think they would be fertile ground for, for your ideas. I think. So I think an important thing I can say right up front is that sociocracy is a really different methodology from most of the kinds of power structures we are used to having, especially in businesses and nonprofits. They tend to be traditionally hierarchical in nature. There’s nothing wrong with hierarchy. It’s just ultimately decision making rolls up to a certain kind of level of decision making and the buck stops with one ultimate decision maker. Some smaller nonprofits are a little bit more flat in nature. We’re a little bit more democratic. We’re sort of, everybody gets to weigh in, but there are pros and cons to that as well because that can make it really difficult to make a decision and to integrate everybody’s different perspectives when they are in competition with one another. And so sociocracy attempts to sort of balance the things that are useful about hierarchical methods and flat and democratic type methods into a consent based approach where that balances all of those voices and seeks not just to have a sort of one decision maker or a consensus or a majority of decision makers who agree with one thing, but that every single member of a decision making group will be able to consent to a particular way forward as you alluded. Uh This is going to require leadership. Yeah, buy in. We’re not going to be able to, we’re not going to be able to do this without the senior leadership being on board 100%. Um you sort of made the case but let’s make it explicit. So, uh what, how would we make the case to maybe to our vice president to bring it to the CEO, maybe our CEO to bring it to the board um help us make the case? Yeah, absolutely. I think that ultimately depends on what the organization is struggling with. So when organizations and I think I’ve seen this in a lot of nonprofits, both large and small is how easy is it to make decisions? And then even if it’s relatively easy to make decisions, how brought in are people to those decisions? How easy is it to manage people through change? Because those conversations may have happened when they weren’t in the room, or somebody may be moving forward with something that they think the right thing, even though they may not feel like their perspectives or objections were heard. And so ultimately, that can sort of slow down or impede the success of a major project or a new initiative. Um And what sociocracy is designed to do is to level that playing field just a bit while still having an active facilitation role to make sure that everybody is being heard, make sure that um when somebody raises an objection that has to do with the effectiveness of the mission or the aim of whatever it is that we’re trying to do that, we’re able to hear and balance that and incorporate any of those objections through maybe altering the proposal a little bit or saying we’re going to extend the timeline of this so that we can give it a try. But then we’re going to commit to checking back in and making adjustments if we need to et cetera. So you just referenced some of the symptoms of less than ideal decision making that we might, that we might encounter slow processes, people not feeling bought in, um, anything else that would sort of trigger, you know, maybe we can, we can be doing a better job of and, and could be more successful at decentralizing our decision making. Yeah, I mean, I think the types of organizations that are drawn to something like sociocracy are also generally doing it from a sort of equity perspective. They’re just generally interested in decentralizing decision making, maybe making things a little bit less top down um organizations that are close to organizing or social justice tend to respond to this type of model because it’s about sort of disrupting traditional power structures in a way that just generally appeals to people while also understanding it’s a big shift and sort of putting it into practice is uh is complicated and um it involves a lot of letting go of uh the traditional sort of seats and, and controls of power that people are used to in organizations. Hence, you know, the senior leadership has got to be uh has got to be willing to have some fun with uh decision making but make decision making more equitable, exactly less flat as you, as you already explained. OK. Um We need to have a foundation, there’s some things we need to learn like circle structures. Yes, some things. OK. So set us up with our foundation. Yes. So this is, and this is by the way, also how there are bits and pieces that you can borrow from sociocracy, even if your whole organization is not ready to sort of move uh part and parcel into a socio cratic model. Um Essentially the way that we sort of take the hierarchical structure and adapt it for sociocracy is by having a relationship between sort of parent and child circles. And you can think of the core of those being a general circle, which in most organizations is kind of like your C suite, you sort of executive leadership and decision makers and then governing that is a mission circle which in nonprofits is typically akin to the board, may or may not not be all internal folks, but which are trying to make sure that the organization stays aligned with its declared mission and purpose in the world. The general circle is about managing the organization and then stemming off of that central circle are sub circles which are equivalent in many ways to teams and departments. And the thing that’s a bit different is the model by which these circles are linked. So as opposed to being sort of purely top down, there’s a system of double linking where there’s a leader and a delegate that is a member of both every parent circle and the child circle. And part of what that enables is for there to be two perspectives that get shared in both the parent circle and the child circle. And that the leader is making sure decision making happening uh or influence or questions happening at the parent level circle are being communicated down to the sub circle. And then the delegate is doing the same thing in the reverse, making sure that what’s happening in the sub circle is reflected back to the parent circle. And the explicit delegation of power is that rather than all of the decision making happening at the C suite level, that executive general circle level, anything within the declared domain and aim, which is an explicit sort of set of standards that get defined when you create these circle structures is, you know, my marketing sub circle has an explicit aim that is about, you know, publicizing and communicating about the role of our organization. And their domain includes potentially things like the website, the email list, anything that falls squarely within the domain of a sub circle, they have the autonomous decision making power to make decisions and recommendations at that level without necessarily always having to run things up a chain to a uh a general circle for buy in. OK. All right. That, well, that’s the big shift. They, they have the autonomy, they, they have the, they, they have the authority and they also have the responsibility, the accountability, responsibility for their, for their decision. OK. Now, at one point, you had said the parent child and the, the, the parent circle and the child circle. Uh I don’t that, that still sounds hierarchical. I, is there a better? I’m, I’m not trying to revolutionize sociocracy. I just learning about it for the past 9.5 minutes. But uh I don’t know that, like I said, it still sounds hierarchical. Well, there, there are different words we can use. Um I think it’s not wrong to say that it is, it is taking the thing that is effective about so about hierarchy, which is the fact that there are different levels of domain and oversight that are needed when an organization is handling both high level strategic and mission level impact type things and then all the way down to the weeds of the operations. So I think it makes sense that there’s still relationships and gradations of responsibility. Um And they are still related to one another in that sort of binary relationship that we can think of as hierarchy. But typically hierarchy stacks power and decision making at the top and the farther down in the hierarchy you go, there’s less decision making and that’s explicitly inverted in sociocracy and some decisions do need to go up to the parent. Exactly. I mean, there’s always the case where a sub circle itself, even though there’s a lot of uh rich process around decision making and how you get consent and how you integrate objections. There’s always the case that a sub circle can’t in itself integrate all the objections and make a fully consent based in which case that’s part of the reason why we still have the parent circles. Ultimately, things can be escalated up. If they can’t be solved at the sub circle, they don’t have the data, whatever information can’t resolve the conflict, they may not have the relationships to make their decision effective. It could be that it could also just simply be that there’s opposing viewpoints that are both valid. So when someone has an objection, it, first of all, it really needs to be based on something that is related to the aim and domain. I think this proposal that’s on the table, say it’s about a certain kind of marketing channel that we want to open up and somebody may have a really genuine objection that can’t be about their sort of personal feelings and preferences. But it is about, I genuinely think that us going into tiktok is going to erode our aim, it is going to make us less effective at our aim and domain. And therefore I am going to withhold my consent from our ability to move forward with that. And the group can try to integrate that objection by again, sort of saying, well, we can try it for a period of time and then check back in, we can amend the proposal and say we’re only going to do tiktok for certain kinds of campaigns, there’s ways to sort of balance that out. But if the group cannot ultimately arrive at consent rather than consensus full consent from everybody involved. Then worst case, that’s why you have parent circles to escalate things up to. It’s time for a break. Virtuous is a software company committed to helping nonprofits go generosity. Virtuous believes a generosity has the power to create profound change in the world and in the heart of the giver, it’s their mission to move the needle on global generosity by helping nonprofits better connect with and inspire their givers. Responsive fundraising puts the donor at the center of fundraising and grows giving through personalized donor journeys that responds to the needs of each individual. Virtuous is the only response of nonprofit CRM designed to help you build deeper relationships with every donor at scale. Virtuous is CRM fundraising, volunteer marketing and automation tools. You need to create responsive experiences that build trust and grow impact virtuous.org. Now back to sociocracy with Justin Birdsong. Le let’s shift away from the theoretical for a minute. Tell, tell me a story, tell me a, a success story of uh sociocracy decision making. Uh Sure. So I think one way that I have been able to implement it in a very small way is with um some colleagues of mine who were putting together uh their own sort of strategic plan for their new consulting company. So it’s a small, tiny, tiny group, group of three and they were looking for some sort of system of power that would enable the three of them, two founders and the sort of first hire underneath them to equitably balance the decision making power between them and then also position them to grow as they imagine they’re bringing on eventually mother staff. How could they do so in a way that continues that same method and doesn’t kind of concentrate all of the power and decision making in the hands of the founders. And so this is actually a really good example of where, you know, we went through the sort of whole model top to bottom. And there were lots of things that they were like, you know, I don’t know that we’re going to fully adopt that, that that sort of feels like in some ways that’s impeding us. We might not need quite this level of process and decision making. But we really, for example, liked the uh the circle structures because it gave clear aims and domains that could be distributed and it allowed them to then divorce in some cases themselves from one of those circles and say, OK, I’m going to step back and let these two other principal consultants take the operations circle and they have full aim and domain about that. If they need my input, they can come to me because all three of them are in the general circle, but I fully trust and delegate all of my trust responsibility to them. And it’s enabled them to um understand where they need all three of their decisions versus where they can move faster by making autonomous decisions themselves in smaller groups. And how long has this start up in uh engaged this way? They are in their third year and they adopted this early in 2023. So about a year and change and they’re still successful, they’re finding that it’s easier to, again, they sort of, they can move faster without anybody feeling disenfranchised because there are explicit agreements up front that these two individuals are double linked into this parents circle. They have autonomous decision making power over this particular domain and aim if it’s operations, if it’s product development, et cetera. And um and there’s no overhead of having to constantly run things back up the chain. I can see how this would make an any organization more, more nimble, you think more reactive in, in a, in a good way. I don’t mean knee jerk reactive. But you know, like the three of us in our circle can huddle and we can make this decision maybe in 10 or 15 minutes where we might have to wait for the next meeting with the vice president or the, or the CEO and that’s not scheduled for another whatever 10 days, you know, we can resolve this right now. That’s the best practical application of it is that it just allows people to move swiftly and it puts into place agreements of I at the time we set up the circle, we imbue it with this trust if you’re in this circle, otherwise I would be in the circle if I didn’t trust you to make the decision, I’m going to delegate explicitly this power and that allows us all move a little bit quicker. Plus, it tends to raise this sort of sense of morale because everybody has a voice at the table and has explicit ability to influence whether or not decisions get made and move forward. Now, what is your role in sociocracy? Are you, are you, is there a certification for teaching this and implementing it for organizations or skeleton key? What are, what are you doing around sociocracy? Well, at skeleton key, it’s mostly a thing that we have imbued in certain scenarios. Like what if we’re setting up a kind of committee? We are always kind of looking at like power dynamics and what’s going to enable an organization to move fast. Sometimes we are calling it sociocracy. Like with the group of consultants, I was mentioning other times, it’s more like principles of equitable decision making that we just try to weave in. Um but there is um there’s a number of organizations that do this, but I spent all of last year working in and training with an organization called Sociocracy for all that is an international NGO. But it’s based in the US. And their whole mission is about sort of spreading education about socio cratic models. And I trained in their sociocracy. Sociocracy academy for all of 2023. And um and that is where I learned a lot of this content and was able to practice it with people all around the world who again are using it in some places in the sort of eco permaculture sort of movement, cohousing movements. There’s lots of places where this is being used that are outside of sort of formal nonprofit organizations. And so now do we have our foundation set? Can we move to the next step of process? There’s, there’s something called rounds and integrating objections. And so do we have our foundations we’ve created? OK. Uh So what does it look like in practice then? And so this is where we’re, we’re sort of, we’re inner circles, right? We’re in our, our meetings and we’re trying to have more effective meetings. And one of the ways that we facilitate, there’s a strong, strong facilitation role at all levels of sociocracy and most meetings are run through what are called rounds. And that’s essentially whoever is in the facilitator role in that particular meeting, which is often rotate. Yeah, is going to make sure that every single person in the room or in the circle gets a moment to talk. That’s explicit. It takes some of the pressure off because everybody knows that at some point they’re going to get called on, they’re going to get to say their piece even if they have nothing to say and they can just pass. So it takes some of that pressure off of people feeling like they need to insert themselves. When, when does my chance come? I, I didn’t get a chance yet. The meeting’s gonna end. I’m not gonna, everybody gets an explicit chance. Exactly. It also helps to balance voices because then you don’t, it’s the facilitator’s role to make sure everybody’s being heard. It’s sort of the reasonable, roughly equally, nobody’s dominating that contrary to our purpose here. Exactly right. And so we are facilitating things through rounds. And so for example, when we are making a decision, there will be a proposal on the table. That’s the sort of traditional way that we talk about whatever the topic is the proposal. What is it that we’re deciding on and somebody might run, the facilitator would run us through first is a clarifying questions round. So we’re going to go around. Everybody gets just a moment to say, is there anything about the proposal you don’t understand or need more information about? We can go through that as needed once all the clarifying questions are asked, there’s a second round that is about reactions and that’s when people can start say like, you know, I am hesitant about this or I actually think this is a really good idea or, you know, I have some real concerns about this particular proposal as it’s articulated. And then that would be followed by an explicit consent round that is literally going around. Do you consent to this, do you not consent for this? And within that the sort of range of tolerance of consent, you know, there’s gonna be people who love it and they like, yes, this is perfect for me. I’m super enthusiastic about this and then there’s other people who are like this is fine, like it works for me, maybe it sort of falls into this sort of neutral territory and both of those count as consent. Um And then the third option is I object, which again, I have something about this proposal. I feel like it’s going to interrupt or be counterproductive to our aim. So I have an objection. I’m going to clearly state what that objection is. That’s that sort of last round. If there are objections, then the group is going to attempt to integrate those objections by potentially extending the timeline. Um Saying, you know, can we modify the proposal in some way that accounts for this or can we agree to move forward with this proposal as written? But know that we are going to check back in at some specific point and revisit it and what ultimately we’re trying to get people to consent within, to move whatever it is into that range of tolerance of at least being able to say like, OK, this works enough. It’s good enough for now. OK. So I have to be heard. Yes, my, my objection has to be heard. If, if, if that’s where I that’s where I start out precisely. OK. Um Say a little more about the role of the, the person who has the dual uh the dual appointment. They’re in the, they’re in, they’re in the, the parent circle, but also the child circle that is the liaison is that the leader and the delegate, the delegate, the delegate has the two, the dual role, dual assignment, let’s say yes. So the circle leader, you know, which may or may not always be the circle facilitator by the way, but they are the sort of designated leader of convening that circle. They may be the one that’s calling people together or sort of managing outcomes, et cetera. Um leader. Less likely to be rotating, it’s selected. Actually, there’s a selection process that’s similar to the rounds where somebody gets nominated. We discuss qualifications, people can amend their nominations and then the group decides on who the leader and the delegate are and the delegate is another participant who is explicitly not in the leadership role, but they sort of represent everybody else. And so their job is is to again, sort of keep in some ways, keep each other honest, right? Like if you and I are both in our marketing sub circle and then we have to go up to our general circle because we are double linked and you’re the leader and I’m the delegate, you may be reporting out on something that our decision making group did in the sub circle. And I’m another perspective. So I can even just sort of qualify sort of what you said is like, actually, there’s something else, I think the general circle needs to know about how that decision was made. We had to integrate this particular kind of objection and this was the nuance about that. And so it makes sure that there’s two perspectives being represented in every conversation, which helps again, sort of make sure that there’s no one person’s perception or, um, you know, allegiance to a certain kind of outcome that is going to prevail in every case. What else? Uh, what else should we know? I mean, you have some, uh, things that you’ve suggested about the, the, the topic, um, understanding how it improves equity and inclusivity. I mean, I think, I feel like we’ve talked about that at the outset even. But what, what else, what else should folks know about this, this process? I, I think ultimately the thing to know is that it is, um, it is a set of tools and I think one thing is people see it and they may have a really, well, they have a really strong reaction one way or the other. Yeah. Right. It’s unlikely to be neutral, talking about the neutral in the decision making. But I like it’s ok, you know, I could live with it. It’s probably gonna be, I think it’s very positive or very negative. I think that’s exactly the case. And so, um and while that is true, and I think even, you know, a thing that sociocracy for all that organization that I was training with, you know, they do implementations of this in organizations and they are frequently unable to move forward because if there’s not the kind of buy in and alignment about the kind of seismic change it represents, if you are an existing organization with a traditional hierarchical structure and you’re planning to upend that, that is not something to be done lightly. Um But the thing that I think I want to reinforce is that I see it as not just a monolith but a whole set of practices and tools and um sort of micro processes that can be used and adapted, especially when you are in an operational or a technological or project project based kind of role because you are constantly making decisions in agile projects, technology implementations, you’re constantly trying to like get stakeholder buy in to be a level in a certain way and make sure that decisions are soundly informed by different, maybe even competing perspectives. And you want to be able to integrate objections from different stakeholders and project members because they may have something really valid to say that you may want to adjust a little bit. And so I see it as a whole tool set from which people can learn and take pieces of it that they can implement. Even if you’re going to do it within a traditionally hierarchical organization? Is it difficult in uh sort of the, the delegation of where the authority ends for each circle? I mean, there, you had, you had said at the outset, there are certain things that are not gonna be conducive to this or the CEO is just not gonna give up uh uh give up sole authority over. Um But say a little more about delineating the, the boundaries of each circle. How do we, how do we define that? Sure. It’s when you, when you’re creating a circle structure of any kind, even if you were going to sort of just do this within, uh let’s say you have a technology department and you have a couple of different teams and you sort of, and you want to be able to adapt this just even within a department, you could sort of the thing that you do when you’re defining it is you first are articulating the mission that unites the whole group together and then you are delineating the aim and domain. The aim is what we’re here to accomplish. And then the domain is the set of things, usually multiple things that then fall into our responsibilities and oversight. Like for example, one group may have the domain of the website, another group has domain over technology infrastructure network desktop. Another group has domain over project management and applications, things like that. Um And so you define those things at the outset and you are clear about what does and does not fall into the domain and you try to make sure everything is captured somewhere. And then of course, you know, organic organizations are constantly changing. New things will come up and when they do come up, it’s the job of that parent circle to figure out. OK. Whose domain does this fall into? Does this stay with ours? Does it move into one of the sub circles or do we even need a sub circle of off of that? Do we need a new sub circle that has a clear domain? And that’s the way by level setting right at the beginning about who has, who gets to decide who decides, who decides everybody decides at the beginning? Ok. OK. Leaving it there. You feel like we gave it adequate coverage? I think so. Thank you very much, very interesting sociocracy. Um Justin Birdsong, founder and principal at Skeleton Key Strategies. I love the company name too. Skeleton Key. Thank you so much. That’s brilliant. I appreciate it. Thank you, Justin. Thank you Tony and thank you for being with Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of 24 NTC, the 2024 nonprofit technology conference where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Thanks so much for being with us. It’s time for a break. Donor box, open up new cashless in person donation opportunities with donor box live kiosk. The smart way to accept cashless donations. Anywhere. Anytime picture this a cash free on site giving solution that effortlessly collects donations from credit cards, debit cards and digital wallets. No team member required. Plus your donation data is automatically synced with your donor box account. No manual data entry or errors make giving a breeze and focus on what matters your cause. Try donor box live kiosk and revolutionize the way you collect donations. Visit Donor box.org to learn more its time for Tonys take two. Thank you, Kate. A couple of days ago, I was on the beach. Uh I just sat myself down, still not warm enough to go, you know, sit for six or eight hours under an umbrella, not quite that warm yet we’re getting there. But uh I was just out uh walking and I decided to sit down and there was a little infant, uh I’d say 23 months old or so and she was being held by, I’m not sure it was mother or grandmother. I think it was her mother and the, the so the mother was facing the, the, the sand and the dunes and the houses and she had their baby facing out uh to the ocean and this little infant was just so captivated by, you know, the vast ocean. I guess the waves and she was just like serene and uh they were like 20 ft away or so, you know, it’s not, not really that far. And, you know, the baby wasn’t fussy, just calm and, I don’t know, h, I don’t know, I don’t know if babies think, I don’t know what, I don’t know what infants think about. Do they even have the capacity to think or what they, they, what, I don’t know what they’re doing in their minds, in their brains. But she, she was just so calm on her mom’s shoulder over her mom’s shoulder and I was just thinking, oh man, that the ocean and you know, she could feel the breeze and maybe smell the salt, although she doesn’t know it’s salt air. She just knows it smells a little different than, than her house. Uh unless her mother cooks with a lot of salt, but all the senses from a little infant from like a two or three month old infant. And I was thinking just how unusual it must be for her, the wonder, you know, and just to sort of seeing it through the infant’s eyes too. I was enjoying it myself, especially like more than usual that that afternoon, but just, you know, through an infant’s eyes, the world or in, you know, and just the ocean for the first time. It was, it was uh it was really moving, it was really something uh and it went on for many minutes. Uh the baby was just captivated, we can all be captivated by life. See the world through infants eyes now and then, and that’s Tony’s take two K. I would love to go back in time and look at the world through like five year old Kate’s eyes because I’m sure it was so much more colorful and bright and just exciting and I really like, didn’t take anything for granted, you know, at that age. Right? Because so much was new, like this little infant watching the, watching the ocean and hearing the waves and uh yeah, you know, we get a little jaded so take time to smell the roses. We’ve got Buku, but loads more time here is attract more donors. Welcome back to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of the 2024 nonprofit technology conference. We are all together in Portland, Oregon at the Oregon Convention Center. Nonprofit Radio is SCHED, is sponsored by Heller consulting at 24 NTC Heller does technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits with me for this conversation conversation like I’m 14. My voice breaks are Shannon Bowen and Emily Def. Frisco. Shannon is founder and CEO at Monsoon Leadership. And Emily de Frisco is senior Director of Communications at the Center for Environmental Health. Shannon Emily, welcome. Thanks for having us. Glad to have you on nonprofit radio. So we’re talking about your session topic. Have you done your session yet? We did it, you did it all right, as you’re fresh off the stage. So all the questions maybe we asked some about, about some of your questions that came up your session is full court press harness development and communication teams to attract donors. Alright. Sounds like we’re breaking down silos. Uh Emily, let’s start with you. Why do we need? I think it may be uh it may be widely known, but I want to make it explicit why do we need this session? We need this session because it’s never been more clear that there are silos, you can absolutely collaborate and work together to achieve your shared goals. So we had a lot of fun in our session, taking a lot of questions from folks who were learning just how to collaborate across the teams and how to really achieve their goals. Uh Shannon, what what happened? Why, why are we in this situation? Development and communications. They, they seem like ideal partners. Why are we siloed? What happened? Well, I think it’s hard for humans to work together in general. So that’s just across the board. Um But Emily and I worked together at Center for Environmental Health and really, we harnessed all of the different vehicles to connect with our donors. So not just donor emails, but also using social media website pop ups, you know, earned media, everything to really attract new donors and engaged at a deeper level with their existing donors. And so we really wanted to share that story because it is actionable and you can do it today at your organization. All right. So, so how we got here is just human nature. Well, I don’t know what happened, what happened to the, what they seem like symbiotic partners. I think that sometimes people put a lot of pressure on development because you got to bring in the money and you’re paying for people’s salaries. And so sometimes in organizations, it’s like, oh, well, development is more important than communications. But really what Emily and I saw as they are part and parcel, working together to increase the brand reputation and that brings in your major donors. So really, instead of working in opposition coming together and co collaborating on campaigns can increase your impact exponentially, which is what we did at ce H Yeah. And sometimes there can be a little tines as Shannon mentioned, you know, between communications and development. Um but we really valued each other’s expertise, respected each other’s expertise. And that really set the tone for collaboration for our teams as well. Ok. All right, Emily, let’s stay with you. How do we start to break down the silos? How do we start to collaborate, see each other as, as equal partners? What do we do? Yeah, it starts with communication with setting up meetings, brainstorming together, creating campaigns together. Really soup to nuts, sit together and work on something in a collaborative way. Instead of having, oh, my team is working on this, your team is working on this and never the Twain shall meet. Um really collaborate from the get go and that you will have a stronger campaign meeting together and from the beginning and then sharing success at the end. So it’s not just development going and presenting to the board, you’re bringing communications along and saying, hey, we did this great campaign together. I’ve never seen that. I mean, I always see development, presenting development outcomes. OK. All right. What, what else can we do? Yeah, I mean, I think communications serves a vital role in the organization and just having communications needs to have the humility and respect of the development team when they approach the development team to understand that um you know, fundraising for the organization is so it is so challenging. So sometimes communications folks can get kind of a little bit set in their ways and just really from the get go valuing fundraising and really just putting your best foot forward and valuing the expertise will set you up for success. What if development and communications are both under the same, let’s say vice president is that that’s not sufficient. I mean, you still still the two teams should be meeting together. I mean, I, I can see a scenario where they, where they don’t even though they’re under the same vice president. Exactly. I actually am also a Chief Advancement Officer for an organization in Seattle. And so I oversee development and communications and still even within that, you need to bring everybody together to say, OK, how are we using each vehicle to achieve our goals. And so we’re not just, oh, we’re only going to send print appeals, we’re only going to send email appeals. How are you incorporating social media? How are you incorporate video or I currently work with genetic scientists. We’re talking about podcasting because they don’t really like to be on camera. You know, I think that we have to be creative about those different mediums to increase the brand recognition, but also to talk to the donors about the content that they’re interested in and really it’s coming together brainstorming that we get our best ideas. All right. And that, that’s a great transition to another one of your learning outcomes from your description, expanding social media as well as earned and traditional media who speaks to is that this is my favorite topic is press and media. I still believe it’s the best way to reach the most amount of people when you have a piece in the New York Times or the San Francisco Chronicle or the Chicago Tribune. Um You know, you’re reaching millions, tens of millions of people at once. So it’s very important to develop in your communications team, a robust press and media strategy, develop that calendar and then keep some of it flexible for breaking news and then work with your executive director, your program directors, your science director, whomever you have at the organization who’s really moving and shaking and come up with a way that you can develop news for your organization and you can use one of the fancy platforms that there are to pitch journalists like Cision or Meltwater. There’s other ones as well help a reporter out Harrow. Is that still a thing? Yeah, I think it is. Yeah, I think so. But you can also be scrappy about it and build your own press list using an Excel spreadsheet. Um, that’s a possibility to build relationships with journalists that way. And then when you have, have a press release, ready to go, you pitch the journalist and you make a splash with that news and try to connect it to current events and then once you have that piece that you landed, um then you can approach your development team and say, hey, we’re in the San Francisco Chronicle today on the front page and that is so validating for donors um and for board and for everyone who cares about your organization’s mission. You said something that I want to flush out a little bit with, um have a relationship with journalists before you’re pitching before there’s a news item, news hook related to your work. Say a little more about developing that relationship, you know, like uh building the digging the well before you’re thirsty, you know, building the relationship before you want to pitch the journalist. There’s so many ways to do it. You can follow journalists, you like on Twitter who are reporting on issues that your organization works on, you can tweet at them and say, hey, thank you. I read your piece. It was great. I would love to connect with you. Um You can build that press list, as I mentioned and you can proactively share with them the work your organization is doing in our session. We talked a lot about virtual town halls, basically a fancy phrase for a webinar. And you can invite journalists to your webinars, invite them to your virtual town halls. They might write about your work. At the very least they’re going to get educated about the work your organization is doing. So all of those are things you can do to build relationships with journalists and to the extent that there’s still local journalism, which is not, not nearly what it was 10 years ago. Uh that includes local journalists, not only the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. Absolutely. We just had, um Fox News come out to our office in Oakland yesterday. They came out at like seven pm and interviewed our CEO about a report that we launched yesterday. So local journalism is still alive and well, although it has, you know, as you said, there’s been some setbacks but you can still reach local journalists and they’ll still report on the work your organization is doing ok. All right. So you’re earned in traditional media, uh social media, Shannon. Do you want to flush out social media a little bit. I’d actually love to hand this over to Emily because she has an amazing hot of depressed story um about tiktok. Yeah. So we released this toxic fashion report yesterday. Um We have tested a lot of consumer products for toxic chemicals and we found over the period of the last 10 years, high levels of lead in purses and other accessories at Ross and Burlington stores. So of course, we’ve sent them legal notices, but it’s kind of like a persistent problem. So we released this report yesterday, detailing kind of our results and the legal actions that we’ve taken. And we did a Tik Tok video on it um which we didn’t expect to get a lot of traction because it’s really um like kind of a slide carousel with music and as of today, it’s reached over 300,000 people. So social media there is, is still a wonderful way to reach people. Ok. Uh Is there a broader lesson that uh our consultant from uh Monsoon wants to extrapolate from the, the, the tiktok breaking news? Well, I think that you have no idea which of those 300,000 views is going to be your next major donor and major donors are looking for causes that resonate with their values and they’re looking out in the world. They’re watching Tik Tok and we had an experience at Center for Environmental Health where we had out of the blue, an email to our info at Ce h.org started con connecting and talking with them and they turned into a $300,000 over a three year donor and you just never know who is, who is reading, who is watching. But you, you have to find a way to engage them and bring them in. And then once they’re there using all of your communication strategies to steward the donor and bring them even closer and increase that gift. And so I really think that all development directors should be savvy in communications and be open and willing to new communication channels like tiktok, you know, Twitter was the hot thing five years ago and now we know it isn’t. So you gotta be open to linkedin Tik Tok all the different ways that people are engaging now because it could shift and you don’t want to be left behind. Now, these were two anecdotes that both called up the number 300,000. You’re not making this up, are you? I guess it’s just our lucky number, I guess. So, skeptic in me, I’m sure you’re being very truthful for non nonprofit radio listeners. I mean, you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t lie to you. A scout. I was a girl scout for a long time and scouts on her counts, otherwise it would have to be a pinky pledge, but scouts on her counts. Um Anything else you want to say about media, whether social traditional earned? I think social media is a great way to showcase your organization’s work. And what we do at ce H is we have a comprehensive editorial calendar. We keep some of it flexible and we do different strategies across different platforms. Um linkedin is growing really quickly right now. So is tiktok Instagram a little bit? Um So definitely diversify your strategy across social media. The news is very hard, it’s very depressing. Our work is sometimes challenging. So I always encourage um social media strategists to celebrate the wins. So when you do have a piece of good news or you are part of some legislation that passes, you know, really celebrate that on social media and you will find that, that those are some of the most highly engaged with posts that you create. And I’ll also add that in our session. We talked a lot about email strategies with donors and segmenting your list and really talking to your donors in different ways in different places. Glossing over here we go. So when I came to ch there had been a two year vacancy in the director at V Monro. So our donors hadn’t heard from us. So the first thing we did is we set up a what we call our three things email and this was a monthly email from our CEO to our major donors. It came from his name. It looked like a normal email to the point that people respond back and be like, oh, it’s so great to hear how you’re doing. Here’s my, my wife, how it’s like, oh, this is the development team, but it looked like it was, it was fresh off his email. Exactly. And we had huge engagement with it and we actually ended up, we were writing a story about, uh, toxic chemicals and exercise. You wouldn’t think that’s how you’re gonna get back, one of your biggest lapse donors. But we did and she wrote back and said, oh, I’m using this brand blah, blah, blah. We had it tested by our toxic team wrote back to her, not only did she come back as a lapse donor, but then she for the first time ever introduced us to her family foundation. And we got a second gift from her family foundation and it was all because of this email and the interaction, the opening the conversation through that email. And so we really believe in the power of segmented emails, talking in different voices, providing different content that all aligns with your brand, but really speaks to the donor. And how does this align with our bigger purpose of bringing together? What do you say? Harnessing the development and, and communications teams? Well, and I think that’s because we would repurpose content from the communications team. And we would hear, oh, this is what’s hitting really big on social media. This is what you know, reporters are really interested in and we would tailor that content to the major donors based on what was hitting and lo and behold, it would engage in conversation. And our donors would say, hey, I want to hear more about that report, you know, how did you guys even think to test lead in purses? You know, and so I think it’s like if you don’t know the data of the other team, you don’t really know what your audience wants and we need to deliver the content that our audience is actually interested in. So you got to entertain too, purses and exercise bands and socks. We did a whole Safe Socks campaign in clothing, high levels of BP A in all of our workout clothing, sports bras, leggings, shirts, shorts. Um Yeah, so this is one of the issues that we’re tackling with our public interest litigation, telling companies get the BP A out of the clothes. Ok. Um, we still have more time together. You, you did a what a 60 minute session, right? So we’re not, we’re not flushing out some things. We’ve only been talking for about 15 minutes. We, we’re not flushing out some things that you did for your live session. Well, I think one thing that we talked about is really about validating your brand, that there are a lot of people that are tackling the same issues that you are and you also have a great mission, but you really have to your brand to attract top donors. And so using her media using virtual town halls where you’re your CEO in line with other stakeholders that builds a trust of your brand and validity that you are actually the right person to be delivering this mission that all increases the dollar amount that you’re gonna get from donors. So you really have to be thinking about all of these things working together to validate your brand because there’s a lot, a lot of great missions, there’s a lot of great organizations, but why are you the right person to do this work? And that’s what’s going to get a new major donor or a larger gift from an existing donor? What were some of the some of the questions that you got? We got so many great questions. Let’s see. We definitely talked a lot about virtual town halls. People were very excited about that topic and exactly what Shannon was just saying about bringing together different stakeholders to kind of validate your brand. Um We talked about a lot about press and media coverage and talked about how you don’t have to have a huge budget and you don’t have to have a super comprehensive plan. You can get started just sitting down with your executive director, your program directors, your science director, whomever you have, who’s really moving and shaking at the organization and create a piece together and what you want to do for that is think about what the work your organization doing, what what’s happening, what has changed because that’s what reporters want to talk about is what has changed in your organization or what has changed in the work and then connecting it to current events, what’s going on in the world that you, that’s connected to your organization’s work. And then you can write an op ed together hooks we talked about and you can pitch it to different reporters or you can publish it on your website, you can publish it on linkedin and that’s a way of really driving thought leadership forward. Absolutely. We also had an interesting question about how many staff we had and who’s actually watching the metrics and who’s reporting back the metrics and why we were inspired to do this session is we both have small teams. So Emily had two staff and I had three staff and it really just takes a dedicated portion of one person’s time to look at the metrics and to discover the gems. I told a story of, I had a staff who would look at who opened and who clicked on the emails and she brought it to our team and she said, hey, there’s this donor that’s been, they only give about $500 but they’re opening and click everything. And when I looked at them, they’re actually a producer in Hollywood, maybe we should re engage them, guess what we did. And it turned into a $10,000 donor. And so by having someone just take a minute and look at those, bring that data back to the team. You can actually optimize your process and get a bigger result. And so, you know, we’re not a huge shop, we’re small shops, but we just kind of work smarter, not harder and really by working together, even though it’s monsoon consulting, you’re not enormous, you know, creating tidal waves and tsunamis. No, just little lightning bolts, you can create a tidal wave with a few amount of people. That’s true. That is true. Well, our 300,000 on Tiktok today. There you go. That’s just today, that much breaking news that we didn’t make it to our slide show because it just happened. Is there any more questions that came that you think could be instructive for us? I think there is definitely some people that just felt really frustrated, you know, that they wanna do things this way or they want to try new ideas and the other team member doesn’t want to. And I think that Emily and I are both early adopters of technology. We’re both really open minded and it’s like you have, everything is moving so fast right now. You have to be open to new technologies and new ways to communicate with your donors. And if you do things, the same thing over and over again, you’re gonna bore your donors and you’re gonna see attrition. And so I think that just one of the main takeaways is be creative take risks. You talked about an idea that failed and you have to be open to failure to be able to be successful. And I think that both of us have that same ethos and we brought that to our teams and that’s why we could create so much success in a short amount of time. You know, while I was there, our development team brought in close to him, million dollars over our goal. We could not have done that without the support of the coms team and all of their creative ideas and immersing our donors in this message that what we’re doing is important and vital and urgent. And that’s where I feel like you’re missing out. If you’re not harnessing your communications team, you’re missing out on the bigger ripple effect you can make for your donors. I’m dying to leave it there because that was a beautiful closing. However, there’s a story that you teased a story of a failure that was, that’s instructive. Why don’t you tell that story? Yeah. So sometimes your op ed that you craft that you spend so much time on does not get picked up. So we have had, you know, an op ed on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle. And then there was another time that we spent a lot of work on an op ed on the very sexy topic of leaded aviation gas. I know people are falling asleep already. So this is actually a big problem because in this small little municipal airports where the small aircraft are flying, a lot of leaded aviation gas is released. And then the folks living in that area have high blood lead levels. So we wrote this op ed about this California airport and how the Children living nearby had blood lead levels on par or worse than those in Flint during the height of the lead poisoning crisis. So we had a lot of facts and figures and a lot of solutions that talked about our litigation kind of making, you know, unleaded aviation gas more prominent and prevalent. Um and nobody bit, we pitched it out a bunch of different places and nobody bit, but it was ok because what we ended up doing is posting it on our blog and um kind of made lemonade out of lemons and that page has been one of the most viewed pages on our website. So it all worked out in the end even though we failed along the way to place the op ed. How about we leave it there then? A good uh a willingness to share a failure that resulted in a highly viewed page. And uh also uh Shannon’s uh two minutes ago, very good wrap up, which I was, I was, I was very tempted to end there, but I wanted to hear the story. You can’t tease the story with failure though, but that’s why it wasn’t a failure. That it was the most red page on the blog and on a linkedin article which, you know, really harnessing all the linkedin tools is a great way to reach your audience. And I don’t think people should be afraid of failure because if you’re trying new things, you will fail and you should embrace it and learn from it and it’s going to work out, especially something that’s outside your control. Like whether newspaper accepts your op ed or not. Exactly. Exactly. But if you don’t try, you’re certainly not going to get published, right? And then you balance out with things. You can control your blog, hosting your own virtual town hall, hosting your own panel event, you can control those things. So yeah, you have some percentage of stuff you’re thrown out into the world and hoping it sticks and the other half you’re actually controlling and make sure it fits within your strategy. That’s Shannon Bowen founder and CEO at Monsoon Leadership with her is Emily De Frisco, senior director of Communications at the Center for Environmental Health. Shannon Emily. Thanks very much. Thank you. I’m glad. Thank you. And thanks to you for being with nonprofit radio’s coverage of the 2024 nonprofit technology conference where we are sponsored by Heller consulting, technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Next week, more from 24 NTC with strategic meetings for teams of one and cyber incident cases and takeaways. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at Tony martignetti.com. We’re sponsored by Virtuous. Virtuous gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising volunteer and marketing tools you need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving, virtuous.org and by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supports, generosity, donor box, fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor box.org past flexible friendly fundraising forms. Love it. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Martignetti. The show’s social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guide and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for December 4, 2023: Misinformation & Disinformation

 

Amy Sample WardMisinformation & Disinformation

Amy Sample Ward returns with their insights into what to do about these maladies plaguing our world. They reveal smart internal tactics to reduce the odds of your nonprofit’s info being misused by bad actors; what to do if it is; how to avoid your org itself being a source of misinformation; and a lot more. They’re the CEO of NTEN and our technology and social media contributor.

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Hello and welcome to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I am your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d bear the pain of nocal Beura if you dampened my spirits with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with the highlights. Hey, Tony, this week it’s misinformation and disinformation. Amy Sample Ward returns with their insights into what to do about these maladies plaguing our world. They reveal smart internal tactics to reduce the odds of your nonprofits info being misused by bad actors. What to do if it is how to avoid your org itself being a source of misinformation and a lot more. They are CEO of N 10 and our technology and social media contributor on Tony’s take two December, good wishes were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. This giving season donor box, the fast flexible and friendly fundraising platform for nonprofits donor box.org here is misinformation and disinformation. It’s always a pleasure to welcome Amy Sample Ward back to nonprofit radio. You know who they are for Pete’s sake. Nonetheless, they deserve the proper introduction. Of course CEO of N 10 and our technology and social media contributor, they were awarded that 2023 Bosch Foundation fellowship from just this past summer. And their most recent co-authored book is the Tech that comes next with AUA Bruce about equity and inclusiveness in tech development. They’re still at Amy Sample word.org and at Amy RS Word. Welcome back, Amy. What a pleasure. Thanks for having me. I’m excited and I appreciate an intro that doesn’t list the number of years or episodes I’ve enjoyed on nonprofit radio. That always makes me take, take a bit of a pause. Well, we regale you on the anniversary show, right? Each July we’re coming up. This next July will be the 7/100. Wow. But only then will we remind you that which show you began in? Yes, I can accept these terms. Close listeners will remember but uh but the others who may not remember, you’ll have to wait till the 7/100 show to learn what Amy’s first show was. So we’re talking about uh misinformation, disinformation. Why don’t we just start with the basic explanation of what the differences are between Miss Miss and Dis Yeah, I appreciate starting at the beginning because I do see especially in this, you know, world of tweet or Instagram sized language where people kind of write Miss slash disinformation, but they’re not interchangeable. They mean very different things and the implications for your organization or even the potential that your staff do wanna these things is very, very different, right? Um A good way to remember. It is misinformation is a mistake. So, misinformation is you or a staff person or a community member even saying the wrong thing, you know, they said 73% instead of 37% or something where it doesn’t have an intentional agenda, right? It’s not, it’s not created or distributed as a way of trying to um do something whether nefarious or just, you know, against what you’re trying to do. Um And misinformation, unfortunately, like we can still talk about, this is something we, we need to think about as organizations, especially when we think about um trying to have staff out in the community um being present, sharing their thought leadership, all of these places. We humans, we do make mistakes, we do say 73 instead of 37 right? But that means we just maybe just said that to, you know, and we’re here um at a big donor recognition event and we say the wrong percentage and all those people then they want to be informed, they wanna look like they know things. So then they repeat the same wrong stat, right? So it is something we want to think about. Um and there’s some tactics for making sure staff have all those resources um to fact check themselves and to share things. But I think the more concerning one of these two is disinformation. Um And that’s not to say that your staff don’t and intentionally or unintentionally create um or, or participate in disinformation, but especially want to talk about what it looks like for your organization’s images, content, data website, et cetera to be used as part of someone else’s disinformation campaign. Um And that means again, people who are creating or sharing or distributing information with the intention that it is, you know, going to change people’s mind and that they know that what they’re doing is not factually correct. Yeah, the intentionality is the distinction. I like misinformation. Very good, helpful and disinformation, of course. Intentionally interesting. Yeah. Uh Right. Uh Yeah, let’s definitely talk about what happens if you’re essentially a victim included in disinformation, disinformation, post article campaign. Right. I OK. Excellent. All right. Um So some basic things, you know, uh we could be like on an individual basis as well as an organizational basis. Some simple things to help you avoid on either level, misinformation and disinformation. I think, you know, basic news literacy, you know, let’s, let’s flush out, flush this out a little bit for folks and maybe it may be covering things that are obvious. But II, I think there’s value in the, in the basics, you know, just, yeah, and, and some of it really is kind of a, a journalism like go back to the basics um place that we don’t all have that kind of training or background. So it’s not um I’m not saying this to say, oh, everybody you know, knows this and isn’t doing it. No, a lot of people have never had the privilege to get this information or to be trained to do to operate in this way. But I think as organizations, we already see that there’s silos, there’s certain staff who know certain things and other staff who don’t. So that’s going to still be the case when it comes to organizational data, data or information reports that you’re putting out etcetera. Um But creating kind of a information center for all staff. And again, not thinking well, only these three people on the communications team who are the ones who do our presentations need to know it, put it in a place where all staff can see. Here’s the deck that explains our organization and our, you know, latest numbers of impact or how many people we’ve reached this year, right? Um That’s a number that many people on staff maybe have an occasion to say and you want them saying the correct number, right? Um Having uh uh we used to create a cheat sheet, for example, where in 10 puts out lots of different reports and they have so many different data points in them. But what are the ones that we know the community is most interested in, regardless of which report it was in? Let’s make one cheat sheet for staff that says, ok, this is the trend on this topic and here’s the number of organizations, you know, that responded in this way on this other topic in one place. Um That way anybody who’s presenting or answering a question from a community member is all pulling data from one place. If the a new year goes by a new version of that data, it’s updated in that document, people are still going back to the same place. They’re not like, oh, let me find this year’s version of this, right? They’re always going to the same place. Um And what that looks like externally, which is where the kind of misinformation to the dis gets connected is making sure just as a a good journalist would, would cite their sources, organizations need to be comfortable citing their sources too. But I think um part of this has come from feeling like we need to be the authority on everything we say. Uh And, and what that means is that organizations don’t, you don’t have the latest information on every topic under the sun. That’s fine. What you’re, what you’re an expert on is your mission. So cite the source for the data on your page where you’re making the case for what you do. Is it from the census? Is it from a partner organization? Is it from a state department? You know that, that you work with actually putting in where that 37% came from is going to mean that if someone out there has an agenda and they’re saying, oh, yeah, I’ve heard that 37% of people XYZ, they’re not able to reference your website as part of their disinformation campaign because your website really does list, here’s the link to the census where this came from, right. They’re not able to modify what you’re saying. You’ve made clear where you got your information. Otherwise that website, you know that article where you don’t link to any sources, you don’t list how that data was collected is really ripe for interpretation. And that’s really what disinformation campaigns look for. Something that’s coming from a legitimate website. You are a legitimate organization, you have a legitimate website and if it’s not clear they can use that however they want, right? They can reposition it. Yeah. Yeah, cite your sources and, and you might be the source. Of course, it may be maybe your own data, maybe your own research might be your own annual report. But citation, citation. Yeah. Very smart. Right. So you can’t be, you can’t be linked back to as the source because you’re giving the source of the correct information. Excellent. Yes. Is there, is there more? Well, I think that, yeah, there is definitely more. I just wanted to stop but yeah, no, there is more. And I think um you know, just as we are suggesting you cite your sources for that 37% maybe written on your website. A place where organizations often don’t think about adding their logo or their website or anything else is other pieces of content they’re sharing. Um But creating almost like a watermark, you know, your logo in the corner or um maybe if you made a little infographic to share online and it says in the corner, this is from, you know, n tens, 2020 report on X, right? Because creating content that’s meant to be shared off of your website is even even more likely to be uh picked up, right? And used conveniently in disinformation when it doesn’t, when it’s, when it has no anchor, right? When it doesn’t have the watermark, it just looks like a fancy stat that somebody else posted. So making sure you think about anything that, that you’re sharing externally where it isn’t on your website and you’re controlling it. Can you add this watermark? Can you make sure that a source or a reference is written inside the graphic? Not just in, you know, maybe the caption that you put with it right? Inside that graphic? All right. Awesome. What else? What else should we be doing? Well, I think the other piece of this is so that’s proactive, right? Let’s make sure staff have the resources to say the right things and also the content we’re putting out on our website and our email out into social, it is cited has the right information that’s all proactive from our side. But what do we do for everything we can’t control? Right. So the other side of this is monitoring and often an organization only finds out that they, their content, their data, their imagery is part of some disinformation campaign because they got tagged or recognized by a community member who, who saw that content somewhere else, right? And they were like, wait a second, you know, I recognize that photo or, or whatever. Um So we’ve said this probably on the first episode I was on, which was too many years ago, you know, when we were talking about any other type of social or, or online listening, but it’s still the case setting up alerts to track your organization’s names and mentions online folks think, oh, this is great because, you know, we’ll know when we’re in the news, you’ll also know if somebody is, you know, trying to, to misuse your content. Um So, so not overlooking that, especially within certain systems. So, you know, maybe you work with a certain community that uses Instagram a lot, for example, or tiktok and you don’t really use your full written out, you know, maybe of a five word name, you know, making sure you’re setting up notifications or following hashtags on those tools that use the kind of name or abbreviation or acronym or even, you know, maybe tag that would be most likely used if you were getting pulled into something. Um because it’s really gonna be through that type of listening that you find your content being used. And then of course, what do you do if you see that? Uh I think some folks feel like like any other type of potential trust breakdown, you know, OK, we should come out really strong. We’re gonna make some big statement like we do not support or like, don’t worry, your data has not been stolen, that doesn’t necessarily convey that you understood what was happening there, right? Um So I think instead if you see your contents getting picked up and misused, maybe, you know, and this isn’t like at the level of of an international scene, this could be locally, maybe some of your um event photos and and talking points are being misused by a local representative, right? Um This doesn’t need to be huge scale, it should still be meaningful, right? And not to be on the scale of the uh the Israel Hamas War, but it’s just, but it’s important to you, but it’s important to you. It’s still your name, it’s still your reputation and it’s a perversion of your content. Exactly. It’s time for a break. Are you looking to maximize your fundraising efforts and impact this giving season donor boxes. Online donation platform is designed to help you reach your fundraising goals from customizable donation forms to far-reaching, easy share, crowdfunding and peer to peer options. Plus seamless in-person giving with donor box live kiosk. Donor box makes giving simple and fast for your donors and moves the needle on your mission. Visit donor box.org and let donor box help you help others. Now, back to misinformation and disinformation. The one tactic that folks have used when that is the case when OK, your stuff is getting, you know, twisted a little bit. One option. There’s a couple here, one is to flood the system. So instead of trying to add more attention to that person and try to say no, that isn’t what we said or that isn’t what that graphic is for, right? Ignore them and flood the system. So make sure that you have a correct fully sources cited blog post on your website. So that if people Google what that person just said, they’re finding your correct blog post, that you have a recent social post that points to that, that clarifies this information again, you need to tag them, you don’t need to say anything about them, but make sure that if people are reading what’s out there and are like, what is this? And they do a search for you, they are seeing what you want them to see and not that right. So there’s one flood the system, make sure it’s all all correct. And so far as you can do it. And then the second is really not gonna be seen by a lot of people and that’s contacting the, the folks who are posting this often in disinformation, the folks doing the posting are not the ones who created the content for them to post. Um And so they are also in a little bit of a more precarious position than whoever gave them the content, especially on a local level where it’s harder to hide like, you know, each other locally. So contacting them and saying, hey, this is not good, right? Whatever the case may be and engaging with them. Um Especially saying, could we have a public engagement around this, this conversation? Um Folks, organizations have turned that around and been able to great, we had a town hall because our, you know, recent report was of interest but wasn’t understood. And now you’re getting positive attention because you were able to engage that person and turn it around. Um Of course, if they say no, you’re wrong, we’re right. Our content is good. Well, you know, where you stand and you can move to a uh uh maybe option two B which is then to, you know, go into the process of reporting those accounts, reporting that content. Um The challenge there just so folks are already thinking about it is when we’re reporting content on, on the, on the greater internet across social media, et cetera. Folks are gonna see if that content has already been used by other users, if it’s been shared or posted. And so if what they’re posting and you’re now reporting is very similar even to your own con content or to content that others have posted, it likely will not get taken down because, you know, the the content review process will say, oh no, this is like what widely used widely known, right? Versus thinking that it’s this one accounts content. Um and it’s kind of a catch 22 when it comes to managing and reporting disinformation. So the, so the more widely it’s been used, the less likely it is that you’ll, that, that the originator that you’re talking to would, would remove it. Well, they wouldn’t be the ones removing it. You’re, if you’re reporting it, you’re asking, you know, meta to take it down or something. Um And in that point they are, you’re essentially reporting that user. Um And that user and their content is all part of whatever meta would be looking at to say, oh, is this a nefarious thing? Is this bad? You know, and a lot of folks don’t have success getting it taken down because there’s the, the content is similar to content that’s already up. Maybe they weren’t the ones that created it anyway. So that I just want folks to know. It’s not just a one click. Oh, great. It’s removed. That’s why it’s not step one because it is very difficult for a lot of folks to get disinformation accounts stopped. OK. OK. I know you did a little reading and thinking about disinformation too. What are your thoughts? I did. Well, II, I was, I was on a different level. Um, I was thinking about folks trying to validate something that they might, that they need. Let’s talk about that. Um All right. Well, you’re, you’re being very gracious look. So, but, but I don’t want to deviate from our best practices that you’re enumerating. Like you got, you’re, you’re down to level two B already. So. All right. Well, all right. I know you wanna, you, you probably feel like you’ve been talking a while but everything you’re saying is valuable and you got more insight into it than I do. That’s why you’re our technology contributor. So don’t, you don’t, you don’t need to be humble, but all right. So we, we, I wanna know if there’s a step three after two B but we’ll come back to it. Um Yeah. No, just sources like, you know, if, if something seems a little unusual to you or, I mean, you, you can’t, we, we cannot fact check everything we read. There’s just, there’s just too much but so if something seems, uh as David Letterman used to say a little hinky uh because I was just in Indiana with my wife. So hinky, pinky is on my mind because that’s where Letterman was from. Uh You know, there’s a place like uh Politifact, Politifact, they have their Truth 0 m. It’s green, red or yellow and it usually they’re green or red. There’s, there’s not a lot of yellow. So politifact, I mean that, you know, you want to go to a bona fide source. Politifact Snopes has been around for a long time and they are legitimate fact checkers. Um If you’re, if this may come up, if you’re, if you’re creating content, that’s not, uh that, that’s not based solely on your own data, but you’re relying on other people’s data. There’s, there’s something called the crap test. It’s craap. Um and it is, it’s, it’s quite bona fide now. I I was not aware of it but uh it got links from it. It’s linked to by Texas A and M University. Uh even Central Michigan University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Oregon State University for you, Amy uh Southern Utah University, University of Chicago. So there are respected universities and uh some of them seem to be library systems of those universities though that recommend the crap test for their students. So you can just Google crap craap. It’s an acronym for currency. You know, how, what’s the timeliness of the information relevance authority? What’s the source, the accuracy of the, of that source overall and the purpose for which the the data, uh the data was posted or the purpose for which the source exists, you know, is there some nefarious agenda? So currency relevance authority accuracy purpose uh the crap test to, to take a look at and there are a lot of factors within each one of those but determining whether data that you’re relying on is valid, right? I really like that. A couple um reactions coming up for me, especially thinking about nonprofit staff who are trying to do this or, or muddle through this one is when you’re creating content or, you know, trying to put up a blog post or a page, whatever letter you’re writing. Um And you’re looking for sources, if you aren’t comfortable writing right there in the letter or right there on your website, you know, where that fact came from, then it’s not a fact you can use. Um, I know we’ve definitely talked with organizations where, you know, they’re like, oh, it’s the perfect stat and like the perfect, just what we want. But it’s kind of like a sketchy organization or like, it’s not an organization that’s mission aligned and, you know, so let’s just use the stat and like, we don’t need to, if you’re not, you know, if you can’t cite the source, then it’s not a stat, you can use it in that’s intellectual dishonesty, right? It’s just, it’s like a gut check, right? Um So there’s that the other kind of reaction that’s coming up for me is I know, you know, nothing is simple. It is complex to say, OK, well, this needs to come from quote unquote, authoritative source, but there is no authoritative source in this kind of white dominant. Are they a university or are they a paper or whatever? Maybe on the topic you work on. That’s OK. You know. Um but for example, in Oregon, we found I was um on the board of an organization that did gender equity uh work, especially policy work to support gender equity organizations. And found that in there was not a, a report or a survey or a government census on certain data related to all kinds of factors, gender, domestic violence, et cetera on, on, on certain topics for over 20 years. So, yeah, maybe there was a stat you could find from 1989 we’re not using that stat, you know. Um And so instead of saying, OK, well, there’s like nothing good. So we don’t, don’t have anything to sort uh to, to site or what we have is so old, we’ll just reference it. No, that’s how they framed a lot of their content. These stats are so old, we can’t even use them, right? And that became a talking point that made them an authority, right? So we are going to do research because it isn’t out there. Um And it created an opportunity for their website to become the author authoritative source. Other organization could link to, hey, here is their report. Maybe it’s not the same as a census, but at least it’s something the state didn’t even care to report on this, right? So, um an opportunity to think about not just OK, there’s a real lack of data and your organization is at a disadvantage. Maybe naming that really clearly on a web page will mean that when folks go to fact check, oh, this local representative said that it’s 37%. They find your website where you say don’t trust anyone who tells you. There’s a number, there hasn’t been a survey in 40 years, right? Like, wow, now you’re educating people, you know, that that’s a very savvy turnaround. Yeah. And having, you know, quick facts on our, on your, on your missions topic, you know, on, on Portland Land, Conservancy, whatever it is that you do, having that quick reference page means you will come up when people do an internet search and maybe you’ll get to frame how they think about any stat or talking point they come across from somebody else. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you, Kate December. I know it’s a critical month right at the end of Thanksgiving and giving Tuesday comes that important month where I know you can be looking for 2530. I’ve seen like 40% of your annual fundraising from this single month sometimes. So if that’s your situation, you have my good wishes. I’m thinking about you. I’m rooting for you. I hope you’re giving Tuesday. If you were in giving Tuesday, not that you needed to be necessarily, you could sit it out. But if you were in, I hope you did well, if you didn’t do well or as well as you would have liked brush that off. Don’t let your giving Tuesday impact what you’re thinking about. You know, don’t, don’t second guess yourself for your, your December strategy. Giving Tuesday stands alone. I hope you were very successful. If not, don’t let it impact the coming month. You’ve got my good wishes. I’m like I said, I’m rooting for you. If you do everything you can, then you have nothing to be ashamed of. That is Tony Stick Two Kate. Good wishes to everyone from Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Well, we’ve got buu but loads more time. So let’s go back to misinformation and disinformation with Amy Sample Ward. I, I’m, I’m gonna take us back to your best practices. Conversation. What, what else you, you put a lot of thought into this, what else should, should we be doing if we discover that our content is misused? Yeah. One thing that’s specific to, you know, social media profiles or accounts that you’d have that aren’t on your website that I’ve seen some organizations do. And I really like, um is they have put in their bio and of course, that’s limited, you know, some accounts, you have five characters in an emoji or something, but like where you can have this information, um I organizations have referenced really concise, you know, we don’t post stats or we only post infographics from our own research or something that kind of gets out ahead of if their, if their organization’s account is then getting tagged in some tiktok, you know, videos, comment thread where people think they’re referencing their stats. Anybody that then clicks through to that organization’s bio will see. Oh, they, they couldn’t have posted that because they only post X, you know, uh whatever it might be. So that’s another place to think about how you frame what your content might be is, you know, here your profile on whatever tiktok, I, I guess the Portland Land Conservancy maybe would have a tiktok. I don’t know. Um but you know, putting in your bio, like we are sharing tips and strategies if you want research data, contact this email or you know what, however you might frame that but making it so that even in the course of the kind of fast action of social media where people are tagging or commenting or whatever your organization gets thrown in the mix, anybody that sees that and clicks through will know whether to think you were really part of that content or not even just by what they land on your account with, you know. Yeah, your account B OK. Um And is that something it sounds like that belongs on your website as well? Maybe maybe on the footer of every page where you have your whatever your tax ID number and your address, maybe a disclaimer because because this the the trouble is so ubiquitous II, I think it deserves, you know, it sounds like it deserves to be on every page. Well, and it’s interesting that you say the ubiquitous comment because, you know, I think it’s pretty similar to conversations we have with organizations, especially smaller or medium sized organizations who, uh, about security where they’re like, no one cares about us. No random hacker, you know, thinks we’re important, like we’re not on anybody’s radar, nobody’s coming for us. And so they don’t plan and they don’t think about any of that until all of a sudden, do we have cyber insurance? Like, what do we do when there’s been a breach? Like, they, they think that it doesn’t apply to them because they think, like, they’re not an important fancy spinning this organization, but that’s not why a security breach would happen. Right. Um, just from a kind of accidental breach of staff doing something or from, uh, ransomware. It’s because you care about your content. Not because the person hacking you does, you know, they just know that you’d pay to get it back. Similar, similar mindset with disinformation is, yeah. Who no one, no one knows about us. No one would try to do whatever, you know. Oh, that disinformation is just for the war or just for some government, whatever. Yeah, it’s for everything. There’s a reason that people have, you know, malicious intent to shift, you know, pers perception locally or, or nationally on all kinds of issues and whether you work in homelessness or food security or animal rights. Like every topic has its issues and it’s folks who wanna take down, you know, organizations or wanna shift whether money goes to that sector or not. So, I’m not trying to be like a fear monger, but it is, it is worth spending some time making sure that you do have these practices in place and that you do know what you would do if something happened. You know, I think it’s naive, Unfortunately, it’s regrettably, uh, in, in the culture over the past probably 10 years or so. It’s become naive to think that your organization is too small or your work is too benign. Your work could be incendiary to anybody. Right. And look at the, the pizza, the pizza shop in Washington DC. It’s a, it’s a pizzeria. Well, you know, who’s gonna attack a pizzeria. But, yeah, yeah, including the guy who went there or went to, I don’t know if he got to the store but the guy who went to DC armed and he was, I think he was stopped before he got to the, whatever the pizza gate place was called, I forget. But, uh, yeah, so there, there is nothing so benign. I mean, you know, uh, animal welfare, like a no kill shelter. There may, there could just be people who think that not, that only not, they may not be so incendiary as to think that animals ought to be killed. But why is that? Why are they getting money. But my, but my um you know, my I just got laid off but the, but the No Kill Shelter just expanded building just they just had a campaign and raised a half a million dollars and expanded their building. But I just got laid off, right. Any, any cause is fodder for, for any kind of, you know, irrational criticism. But that criticism could run pretty deep and, and be dangerous. And I know that you have had some smart and insightful recent conversations about A I with A Fua and Beth and George and all these different people. And I want to make one bridge over to those conversations as we’re talking about disinformation. But some of it is also created by A I A I is great generative A I specifically is great at coming up with content. That’s why it was created to make it, it also is making up fake sources. It is is making up fake information. And so the more that people start getting used to A I tools being out in the in the wild here and are using them themselves, the more people are going to be hopefully looking for sources and they might see something and click on it and see that it’s fake because you know, this generative IA I tool made it all up and then they come to your website and they click on a source and they see it’s real. So they are going to trust that more, you know. Um And it just really, I think underscores the need to make sure the content on our websites um or out in our emails, et cetera is really what we mean it to be. It is fact checked. It’s correct. It cites its sources because we’re now putting that website up in a, in a sea of content where a lot of it is gonna be created by a robot and not and not correct. You know, you’re talking about the uh show from June 5th 2023. Uh It’s called Artificial Intelligence for nonprofits. Uh We had uh Beth Cantor Afua Bruce, your co-author George Weiner and Alison. Fine. That’s the, that’s the show. Yeah, that was a full explanation. Uh conversation about the risks, the opportunities, uh bad practices, uh potentially good practices. Um My, my bias comes out when I say, yeah, I say bad practices, potentially good. I qualified the good but the bad I left, I left. That’s just bad and maybe good. Uh My, my bias comes out. Uh My bias comes out in that conversation too. So June 5th, uh the show is called Artificial Intelligence for nonprofits. I am very concerned. I’m very concerned. Um Anyway, we don’t need to rehash that conversation. Um We were just uh so, all right. All right. This is uh this is valuable, this is valuable stuff. Nobody is um nobody is immune. No cause as good as you think your cause is imagine somebody who thinks it’s as evil as you think it is good because, because that person could very well exist probably does. It’s just a matter of how incendiary that person is, right? And I think that there’s two pieces related to this, that of course, a lot of what we’ve just talked about are actions, nonprofit staff can be taking to post content in a certain way or, you know, create resources internally, et cetera. But I also think there’s two opportunities here to build better, closer relationships with other organizations. So that um even if you’re not all working on the same issue, maybe you all work in the same community or maybe you all have a similar funder or, you know, whatever the relationship might be. But using this as saying, hey, I know that we all want there to be accurate information out there. We did a survey and we have this, you know, here’s the data I I I’m happy to share it with you so that you can trust it. Can we all agree to say it’s 37% so that we are, you know, getting out the word in a more consistent way to proactively fight any disinformation that comes out later, right? People will see three different organizations are all citing the same source, all agreeing that this is the content, right? Similarly using uh potential, the using the potential for disinformation as an entry point for conversations with a funder to say, we know this is a topic that not everybody supports, you support us. We’re so, we’re so glad that you do and how could you support us making sure that there is accurate reporting or more, more research than the limited amount we’ve been able to do, you know, so that more information is out there for the public and, and again, we’re proactively cutting off the influence of disinformation on this topic. Um So I think that’s an important entry point for those conversations. Even if nothing comes of it, the funder doesn’t give you more funds. I wish they would truly, um, maybe they don’t, but it’s part of, it’s something that you’ve planted with them that, hey, this is a role you need to be playing if we need accurate information out here, if we want these missions to be successful. Right. So, um 22 places where this conversation we’ve just had about disinformation maybe helps you start new or different conversations with partners or funders. Yeah. Yeah. And that comes, that brings to mind the, uh the information gaps that you were talking about earlier, you know, the turn, turn that around into something positive and try to get funding for the research that hasn’t been done since 1989. Right. Exactly. Exactly. What about the tech companies? Let’s shift a little bit. Uh, I’m interested in your opinion of their responsibility. They are, uh, they are absolved from the responsibility that media companies that news organizations have under. Um, uh, the Communications Act that was, uh, I think it’s article 230 or something, something like that. But, uh, of, of the, of a, of a communications, a federal, a federal statute, they’re exempt from, from that because they, they claim that they are, they’re merely like a bulletin board. They’re not, they’re not a content creator, they’re a content disseminator poster distributor. So they’re not responsible that this is where this is where I think their argument breaks down. Therefore, they’re not responsible for what gets posted on their billboard. Well, when I was in seventh grade, there was a billboard monitor we took down if it was from last week’s, it was advertising last week’s seventh grade dance, we took it down because you don’t need that anymore. It’s, it’s, uh, that’s, that’s old versus disinformation. But, uh, obviously, um, I believe they ought to be, well, he’ll do a much higher standard. I, I, I’m not, I’m not opposed to the journalistic standard or something. Very, very close to that. Right. Yeah, I mean, I think this is, uh, but I’m also interested in your opinion. Yeah, this is, this is unfortunately not a, a new point of frustration, of course. Right. Um, folks feeling like whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or whoever else, you know? Sure you, the company didn’t create that content but you are allowing it to be disseminated and it is wrong. Um You know, we get disinformation is is kind of a Venn diagram in this context with hate speech, there’s there’s this kind of out of proportion understanding or reference to freedom of expression that is that is being used often to cloud whether or not there’s accountability to be taken. Um And I think of course, I think that the platforms need to have a level of responsibility to either prevent or then address harm when it happens because they have allowed this content to, to exist and be disseminated. I think similarly, organizations should really think about, are you prepared to be responsible for harm that comes from content that you may post? And that’s not to say that, you know, every time you’ve been posting on Facebook, it was malicious and you were doing something. But um you know, are, are you maybe going to start using certain tools that are generative A I or something else? And are you ready for what content maybe comes out of there or do you wanna say, hey, we are only our humans are writing our content about our advocacy because we know it is very important that it is 100% accurate, you know, and, and uh we need our experts to do that or um you know, we are only going to post parts of our research when it can be posted in full and these parts of our research are able to be posted as an individual infographic. There are definitely reports that easily are misinformation can be disinformation if they’re posted without the full context of that report, right? And so maybe you wanna say we can’t just have this random thing going on Facebook because it will easily turn into something that we we aren’t necessarily ready to be responsible for. So let’s post ourselves. It’s not to say someone else couldn’t take a screenshot and post it. But you as the organization didn’t start that, right? You are saying we are posting this in full context as a full report document. Um So just some places to think about guidelines or at least guard rails for staff and how they post and, and where, where they post that content. Yeah. All right. Guard Rails for making sure that you’re not, you’re not becoming the bad actor. Right. Right. And right. And you may not even, you’re not doing it intentionally but, you know, context is, is, is, is critical. Yeah. So, yeah, so, yeah, you got to scrutinize uh uh policies, right? What, what’s the role of a generative A I in your organization? If it has a role? Uh what are the, what are the allowable purposes uses where not, you know, you don’t and you just don’t want to be embarrassed as well. Uh Putting aside disinformation, you know, you don’t want to be that was that college? Um There were, there was a, there was a college where the, the, um, one of the officers posted something that was supposed to be thoughtful about a shooting at a local, in a local community. It was a university officer and, and it was just, it was posted by Generative A I, and it, it, it was, it was off color and it was, it was worse than just neutral and not, it was worse than not saying, not persuasive. It was poor and, and it, you know, and it created a whole, uh, you know, it, it created a big problem for the, a big pr problem for the university. Um, you know, so you don’t, you don’t want, you don’t want, you know, it’s your reputation, you just, you need to be judicious about. Right. Who, who posts in your name? Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. And again, it’s not because that means you can lock it down and control random other internet users. You can’t. But anyone that goes then to fact check what that random internet user posted about you will see thoughtful, carefully posted content and no, oh, that you didn’t create that. Right. Because that is clearly out of step with everything else they can see from you or is factually not matching what you have on your quick fax page or, or, you know, whatever else. I know this has been like an hour of tips and people are like, oh, my God, stop to giving me more tips. You know, I, I can only do so many things, but even if people do two of the things we just talked about, that’s a, that’s a good direction for getting into a better position. Yeah. Well, I think people are, uh, often overwhelmed when, when you’re a guest because you have, because you have too much value. You bring too much value. Stop, turn it off. No, no, no, it’s a buffet. You take what works for you and, and if, if, if you don’t agree that this could be a potential problem for you, then, uh at least you’re making that decision informed. Right? And I hope that it doesn’t, I hope that it isn’t an issue. Yeah. Yeah, of course. We wish no ill will on anyone, right? Uh Naturally or anything that we haven’t talked about that any approaches, we haven’t explored angles. We haven’t, you know, the only thing that I will say is that I think this is perfect time to be talking about this. Um, you know, it’s November 30th when we’re recording this. Not that it’s live in this moment, but, uh, a year from now, not even a year from now, six months from now, uh, in the US as politics kicks up its its cycle again, every topic is potentially a topic that a person in a debate references, right? Or a candidate on TV, references or that somebody wants to put into a commercial. And that means, you know, over the next six months you really wanna make sure your content is in order that you only have, you know, stats you stand behind on your website in case you know somebody’s in a debate, they reference the food insecurity rate in your area and you’re like, I know that’s wrong. Can you prove it wrong? Is it on your website? The correct number? Right. So um I just wanna make sure that not again, there’s no fear in this, no anxiety, but just the timeliness is a year from now when it’s election time, we wanna be ready before that. So let’s make sure that you have the content on your website that you want folks to be able to reference and source and well, before the campaign start kicking everything up again, context, you’re right. 2024 is an election year. Be conscious. All right there, Amy Sample Ward, the CEO at N 10 and our technology and social media contributor, Amy. Thanks so much. What a pleasure. Thank you. Yeah, this was a good one. They’re all good. Next week, Gene Takagi returns with a discussion of Sam Altman chat G BT and why they’re relevant to nonprofits. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at Tony martignetti.com were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. This giving season donor box, the fast flexible and friendly fundraising platform for nonprofits donor box.org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Martignetti. The show’s 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 be with us next week for nonprofit radio, big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for November 13, 2023: Fundraising 401

 

Laurence PagnoniFundraising 401

That’s Laurence Pagnoni’s latest book. When this first aired, it was his new book, but Laurence’s strategies and tactics are timeless. It’s a series of masterclasses for all levels and a collection of revelations he gained over 35 years in nonprofit management and fundraising. (This originally aired May 29, 2020.)

 

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

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

Nonprofit Radio for September 11, 2023: Donor Retention

 

Dennis Fois: Donor Retention

The challenges are real and widespread: Aging donors; smaller gifts; and abysmal retention rates. Dennis Fois brings strategies and tactics to raise your consciousness and turn things around. Let’s talk about emotional connections, multithreading, and multichannel, just for starters. He’s CEO of Bloomerang.

 

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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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[00:00:35.77] spk_0:
And welcome to tony-martignetti Nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I am your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be hit with Bera France if you lit me up with the idea that you missed this week’s show, Kate, our associate producer. What is up this week?

[00:01:10.67] spk_1:
Hey, tony, it’s donor retention. The challenges are real and widespread aging donors, smaller gifts and abysmal retention rates. Dennis Fo brings strategies and tactics to raise their consciousness and turn things around. Let’s talk about emotional connections, multi threading and being multichannel just for starters. He is CEO of Boomerang on Tony’s take two.

[00:01:13.14] spk_0:
It’s September 11th

[00:01:46.46] spk_1:
were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. Donor box fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor Boxx dot org and by Kila grow revenue, engage donors and increase efficiency with Kila. The fundraiser CRM visit Kila dot co to join the thousands of fundraisers using Kila to exceed their goals. Here is donor retention.

[00:02:14.42] spk_0:
It’s a genuine pleasure to welcome Dennis Fo to nonprofit radio. He is CEO of Blue Marang. He’s had a broad international career spanning more than 25 years developing and leading high performing multicultural teams in the technology, customer experience, relationship management and financial services sectors. He’s on linkedin and the company is at Boomerang dot Co, Dennis Fois. Welcome to nonprofit radio.

[00:02:23.67] spk_2:
Thanks very much for having me on tony.

[00:02:25.64] spk_0:
Pleasure. Pleasure. And uh where are you uh speaking

[00:02:28.54] spk_2:
from? I’m speaking from Carmel in California.

[00:02:35.88] spk_0:
Carmel, California. All right. Uh And the, the, the business is in Indianapolis, is that right?

[00:02:58.75] spk_2:
Originally started in Indie? And um as I think a lot of uh technology companies post pandemic has ended up all over the place. So we are very much scattered around the US. We are remote. So most of our employees work from home and then we, we work together, uh when we meet, we have events around that. But uh I want to mention about 30% of our employees in India and the rest outside of India nowadays. Ok.

[00:03:08.92] spk_0:
Ok. And it sounds like you’re intentional about getting the team together in person. Is that you, you find that, uh we, we’re, we’re digressing from our main topic. But, uh I’m, I’m, I’m interested and I think listeners are too. You, you, you find that important for uh for a uh a virtual team,

[00:05:30.12] spk_2:
super important. And I think um you have to be very intentional, deliberate about it. I, I mean, I’m one of those people that um as we all went into the pandemic and we had to do certain things that were just basically necessary. I did want to take some learning side of it because we did learn a lot. I, you know, I, I was an office rat before the pandemic or first in, first, last out and I sort of noticed a few things during the pandemic. They were actually very pleasurable and I think it doesn’t work for every company. But if you take, take hours, for instance, we work for small to midsize nonprofit organizations all around the US, what’s really cool is is that if you have your employees all around the US, you can actually give some time for employees to do something locally and that opens doors so you can create a better connection. We now have employees everywhere. So if there’s a customer, you know, I’ve, I’ve got customers here in Carmel. I did, I didn’t know that. So now we can connect, we can meet for a coffee. I can do. So I’m actually volunteering some with a local dog rescue. So it creates this sort of more emotional connections. Folks can pick up their Children from school. It’s a, it’s a, it adds an interesting layer to your company that in my opinion, can create a deeper connection with employees and potentially higher retention rate. So I’m not, you know, there is a, there is a shrewd business side to this too, right? Um And that is that employee, we talk about donor attention to the employee retention is a topic too. And um uh embracing some of the learnings that we’ve taken away rather than going back to an old model. Seems to me, uh it feels like the right thing to do. So we, we’re, we’re making it work. But yes, you absolutely have to be very intense about uh when you get together and what, then you shouldn’t be staring at presentations that you need to make it about human connection. And uh and that requires a lot of thinking. Um So it’s not because we don’t really have a good model uh where we, where we can learn from each other. So we, we’re figuring it out. Yeah,

[00:05:34.13] spk_0:
we’re working it out and you’re, I, I understand intentional and it’s worth investing in clearly,

[00:05:39.39] spk_2:
for sure. Yeah, for sure. Yeah.

[00:06:20.36] spk_0:
All right. All right. So, thank you a little digression. Uh But as you said, yeah, we’re, we’re here to talk about uh donor retention. Uh What? Uh Well, II, I think it’s pretty widely known that we’re doing quite poorly as a sector in donor retention. Uh It’s 75% or so of one first time donors are, are lost after, after that first gift, which is abysmal. I mean, it’s un it’s, to me it’s unsustainable and unless, unless you have an enormous acquisition pipeline which you’re spending a lot of money on, which is quite a bit more expensive than retaining, uh, it, it seems unsustainable but, but it, but our, I, I’ll call it, our donor mortality rate continues to be very bad.

[00:10:01.84] spk_2:
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, um, if this was a business, we would be out of business. Right. Um, I agree with you entirely. The statistics are a little paralyzing at times I feel and, um, I would say, and sometimes there’s a lot of uh sort of negative communication around it. Some folks getting, getting very stressful about it, I would say in part, it’s also down to uh execution, right? Uh So what I mean is if you see uh your organization in 11 half of the organization about is about heart is what you care about what you’re passionate about. But the other part of it is the the brain part is where you do need to run it as an organization and what we are seeing a fair amount of in the small to mid size, say from 250 K to 25 up to 25 million. That is, it’s, it’s, it’s really not really approached and run like a business, you know, as a business, the moment you’ve acquired your first customer, this is the first donation, you, you be Fighting Tooth for Nail to retain that customer. We all, we all know that it’s much cheaper to retain existing customers. So, so it’s, it’s bizarre to see but, but then I started sort of digging in because, uh, you know, you get, you get to, uh, you get to ask why, well, why, why is it? It’s not that it’s been 30% that it’s 70% now, it’s been structurally like this for a very, very long time, you know, that better than I do even. And so why, why is that? And we don’t really have great answers. But for me, it comes down to a lack of establishment of emotional connection. I think that ultimately why most of us give is because there’s a level of feeling associated to it. It’s not a transaction for most people to donate. Whether it’s a small donation, there’s a, there’s a, there’s a feeling whether it’s a feeling to make yourself feel good or whether it’s a uh altruistic Phil philanthropy, what whatever the feeling is, it’s about feeling. And when you think about that, you and then you ask yourself and say, ok, what am I doing to, to help that person get more connected to my organization? That’s where it starts to unravel real quick. So, capital campaigns are about transactions and numbers. Um when we, and, and it’s very knee jerky. You know, when we, when the numbers are low low, we’ll run a big campaign and it feels a little bit like a transactional approach. Well, thanks very much. Our course was to raise so many thousands. We did it, we did the sele, but we’re forgetting the basics. Let me give you one which I found shocking statistic you and I experience this. You’d think that saying thank you when somebody’s donated would be pretty common practice, right? So I’ve just donated in whatever form I’m receiving some form of. Thank you. I’m not even talking about the most impactful way of doing it. I’m just talking about. Thank you in a way, an email, whatever it, when you look at it, the statistics are pretty bad. So we, we, we, we look at this because we, we work with our prospects and customers about how, where can we improve some things if I give you sort of an aggregate number saying thank you within say the first two weeks of a donation happens in less than 13% of cases. No, 13

[00:10:07.11] spk_0:
what two weeks? It’s supposed to be 24 hours, 24 hours for a perfunctory and then maybe there’s a follow up, you know, I like to see a follow up call or a handwritten note or something, but the perfunctory should be 24 hours and you’re saying two weeks and it’s 2 13%

[00:11:15.01] spk_2:
13, 13. And then if we lengthen the time to 30 days, at which point, I don’t even remember what I’ve done to be honest with you, but then that number goes up to 18% 18. So it’s, it’s a crazy number if you think about if you set that number up against 75% 1st time donor retention rate issues, right? And you say, say, but we never say thank you to me, rather than looking at really structural societal, economic reasons for why things are the way they are, we should really start to look at, are we doing absolutely everything we can to establish an emotional connection? And frankly, if you miss a thank you. Yeah. Yeah. It sort of feels like you’re, you’ve, you’ve, you’ve got a, you had a false start, right? Yeah. Now

[00:11:35.34] spk_0:
you’ve, you’ve, you’ve blown the, you’ve blown the opportunity if, if, if you’re responding with a, a even a perfunctory. Thank you. As I said, I’d like to see 24 hours but within 48 hours that you’re going out to two weeks and it’s only 13%. Uh, and what, what is, what is that? I’ve never heard it that low. That awful, what, what is that based on that? That’s boomerang clients. Yeah,

[00:12:48.42] spk_2:
we look at and prospects. So we, we, we, um, uh, I, I’ll give, I gave you sort of an aggregate number. Some folks are much better, better at it than others, but you’d be surprised. It’s certainly not in the, it’s never in the high 80% or something like that you’d be. And there’s always a reason why people say I didn’t have whatever address or there’s always some reason, but there’s also no reason because if you and I would be running a business, there’s always a way to say thank you to someone. Right. So, so it, it feels to me, uh, there’s plenty of, you know, hurdles that we can keep up with. I didn’t have the right email address, didn’t have the right phone number or something happened. I didn’t do it, whatever, but it’s structurally super bad and it’s always in the low single digit percentage across the board. In fact, we often, um, engage with prospects like that when we look at sort of, uh, they might have other systems or other tactics and as they’re looking for another system, they want to also improve the processes. Right? And we often do these sort of assessments where we, um, uh, that’s what we do. We actually make small donations on behalf of us and we should see we track what, what happens and that’s, that’s how we get that information. And, uh,

[00:13:14.60] spk_0:
if you, if you’re not responding within 24 hours, I think it looks like you just don’t care. Right. Talk about grabbing someone from the heart first, you know, to, to give them a feeling, AAA warm feeling anything more than 24 hours. Looks like your gift doesn’t really mean too much to us. In 30 days. 30 you may as well not, I don’t know. To me after two weeks, you might not even bother it. You’ve already, you’ve already blown the relationship unless I don’t know unless you call with, uh, uh, some kind of catastrophic story, uh you know, which is not, not likely, uh you’ve blown it, you’ve blown the opportunity.

[00:15:41.99] spk_2:
Yeah, completely. And, and, and we often get uh a little bit of setback when you sort of look at and say, hey, am I supposed to say thank you? Like do I, what, what does it matter if I say automated email, for instance, as a thank you to everyone that’s not very personal, it’s not very emotional. And I agree. But if you start by saying thank you to your first time donors and have different means to engage with your retained donors, that would be a good start. You can’t tell me that you, you have so many first time donors that you can’t deal with the volume like that. That seems, that seems like a that’s a very high bar to achieve. That’s not what we are seeing, right? So I think if you just narrow it down and say just hit the notes I had um I wasn’t, I had a, a charity rally where we had sort of a thing with old cars and this was to support a local dog rescue. And uh we did a bunch of things like auctions and stuff like that and we made a donation and it was so amazing that the following day um I got a voice mail so they didn’t get with me, but that voicemail was fantastic. It was just a voice mail from the executive director and it was just like, it was just a, a very nice warm, I heard the voice. It made me feel super good. I thought I did the right thing and, um, and now there was a, you know, a typical newsletter that follows. So I actually read that newsletter now. Right, because I’m, I’ve got something there. Actually, I love that lady. I love how passionate she is about making sure that these dogs end up in the right homes and how deliberate she is about all of that. Um And she’s, she’s got me like they’ve got me, I want to do more and, and I thought it was as simple as just dropping me in a a voicemail. She didn’t even try to call me. It was just a voicemail straight into my inbox, but because it was a voicemail and not an email, it was much more personal and I’m pretty sure that day maybe from that event, let’s just be generous. Say that she had five or six new donors, right? New first I done this. Is it really that hard to to send five? Thank you. Um I don’t know, seems like it seems like it’s doable.

[00:15:45.98] spk_0:
Now. You, you’ve mentioned this dog rescue uh a couple of times now. So why don’t you shout them out properly? No, I

[00:15:50.85] spk_2:
can’t. I can’t because this built a pool. They,

[00:15:57.27] spk_0:
they, they all right, you’re a big, you’re such a big dog lover. You can’t shout out to you. All right. All right. All right. Well, we know we

[00:16:03.26] spk_2:
have the opportunity though, tony, but I think I’m gonna get it. Um I’m gonna get it wrong somewhere with someone. It’s a very

[00:16:10.28] spk_0:
small town, right? We know we have a dog

[00:16:46.14] spk_1:
lover. It’s time for a break. Donor box, quote, donor box text to give led to one of our more successful fundraising events, a concert sharing the keyword short code and scannable QR code made giving easy for our supporters. And they did give that’s from Josh Young executive director of hydrating Humanity Donor Boxx, helping you help others donor Boxx dot org. Now back to donor retention.

[00:17:09.28] spk_0:
So in with automation, I mean, this, you give a gift, you have to provide an email address and and or a phone number so you can send them an email or a text again, this perfunctory, you know, within 24 hours. I I just don’t see any reason why with, with automation that are pretty standard, right? And you should be able to send an immediate

[00:20:01.36] spk_2:
technology problem. It’s not a technology problem. There are no technological hurdles here. I mean, systems might be difficult to use and what have you but you can, it’s not rocket science. Once you’ve done it, once you can, you can figure it out that I think the, you know what it’s the way I think about it, which is fascinating. I think we have three big challenges that we need to think through. They’re gonna be pretty structural. We’ve got aging donors, we’ve got declining small donations. So from uh gifts up to $100 and from 100 to $500 are down across the board and we have a very hard time retaining first time donors. Those are the three like big uh themes if you can call them that or headwinds, whatever you wanna call them that we need to think through. Ok, these are gonna be here for a while. How, how do I, how do I respond to those? Right. And the bizarre thing is that because we have aging donors, we need to think about our uh our donors as a whole. We need to think about. Ok, how do I tap into younger donors? How do I tap into, how do I broaden my connection to household and not have a singular donor within a household? So you need to think about that. And it’s remarkable then that when we’re presented an opportunity to have a first time donor that we would, we wouldn’t be obsessed about retaining these donors in some way either by and if and if the friction is around the donation, I’d rather take a small recurring donation over a haphazard first time donation. There’s a, a strategy too. So we have all the tools in place. It’s just that it’s almost like we are applying principles that we have. We, we, we’ve applied for years to today. But today things are really starting to accelerate. So when we think of don, you know, frankly dying donors uh and not being part of estate planning and such, we really need to think about tapping into different generationals. And now that generation uh you have then you have other questions which is, is email, the best medium, et cetera, et cetera. But um uh there is an amazing opportunity there in my opinion, to, to, to tap into because we are getting the first time donors in, we are getting them. So it’s not like the next generation is nonn generous. It’s quite the opposite. Actually, the generation that we all love to hate the Gen Z and the millennials are extraordinarily driven by impact and doing good for the world. They are probably one of the most in tune generation. We’re just not connecting with them and uh and their rotation rates will continue to show what they’re showing if applying these type of uh methods here. So it’s a, it’s a challenge.

[00:22:16.22] spk_0:
I, I wonder if some of the problem with connecting with the millennials and Gen Z is that the leadership are baby boomers and they’re not listening to their own millennial and Gen Z employees or the or they’re not even seeking the advice of those younger folks about how to, how to connect the younger donors again. Emotionally. I, I think, I think if you start with the heart the brain follows. So you had that heartfelt genuine sincere voicemail, just a voicemail and it, it, and it’s drawn you in and that’s so that’s an example. Um They’re so they’re not, they’re not taking the advice. And I think these boomers of which I’m one, a young one, a very, a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very young boomer, but I am just barely a baby boomer. You know, uh the generation is not taking the advice of younger folks, seeking the advice of younger folks, but how to connect with younger folks and that and that they are your future planned giving donors. Planned giving is what I do, fundraising consulting and strictly in planned giving. So if you wanna have that pipeline of long term, you know, the the ultimate, the ultimate gift for a lot of people is in their estate plan. If you want to benefit from that ultimate giving, you need to be treating these folks well from the, from the jump from that 1st 24 hours that we’re talking about and, and then beyond and you know, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve broadened beyond the, the the initial thank you. But um you know, that’s, I mean, that’s a again back to a business, I mean, that’s how a business maintains a, a pipeline of customers. But you know, you have, we have to have a pipeline of prospects right throughout the, throughout the age spectrum, throughout on all the different ways of giving monthly sustainer and major and people give just once uh once a year or, or give just to a particular program, just give around the gala. If, if we’re suffering an event like that, I don’t want to get into the difficulties of event, major event fundraising. But you know, we’re, we’re just not, we’re not, you’re right, we’re not creating like think of it like a business and we’re not, we’re not treating our pipeline of prospects and donors appropriately.

[00:25:47.71] spk_2:
So, you know, what strikes me is, um, a a because it, I, I can imagine that it’s, listen, it’s hard. There’s a million things to do your research constraint. Um uh it’s, there’s a, there’s high stress involved with fundraising, but there seemed to be some opportunities to rather than try and figure it all out on your own. There’s a, a dozens and dozens of millennials that want to do volunteer work and instead of doing, letting them do volunteer work on your core nonprofit course, why don’t enlist them to help you with the communication using social media? And just the, there’s so many of these, of that generation is so in tune with it. But what I’m seeing over and over again is we are recruiting them for helping them with the local dog rescue. I had that conversation with them. I said, I noticed that one here. This is why I, um I, I’ve been a very long time. Uh, uh donor of and they, what I noticed is, hey, I get all these lovely updates about dogs that need a home and placement. But I hardly ever see what happens after and the real reason why, like, what I care is I wanna make sure that those dogs go to the right place and I believe in your ability to do that. And that’s why I, I, I’m prepared to sort of help out. But the story that I really want to see is a happy dog in a happy household. But I never see those stories. Yeah, occasionally there’s one in the newsletter but you’re placing like so many dogs and, and then the penny drops, as we would say is, um, why don’t we get some of the, there was a volunteer, like there was a, there was a girl that was sort of helping with the shelter and, you know, helping to take care of the dogs and getting them ready, you know, making them look good for, uh for these, uh for the visits. And she was very, very skilled at social media. She was on Instagram. She was all this book and it, and she saw them well, now why don’t we just get these new families to record a little short video on their iphone uh after, you know, a couple of days in the home, like the first week, you know, the first week with Fluffy and it needs to be a very like badly shot video not produced. It is what it is. And then they said, what do we do with the video? You just give that video to me. I’ll take care of it. She said, and it was wonderful. And within a honestly, within a week, I think it turned into this whole thing that now they basically say, hey, as part of the placement of the doc, we need you to give us an update on how it’s going. And that update is a simple little video. They send it to it that now goes on the social base that gets connected to the newsletter, goes on the website. And now there’s a whole different audience that they’re tapping into and these dog stories are starting to do their rounds. Now, what did that cost? Not very much. Uh would a ba baby boomer be very good at executing that? Probably not. But you don’t have to like, you can use volunteers in different ways that you can use volunteers to help you with reach. And in fact, might actually be more helpful because we, that generation probably connects better to their own. Then sort of a grumpy, old boomer or young boomer uh grumpy.

[00:25:52.68] spk_0:
Now you added grumpy. That was not, it

[00:25:54.84] spk_2:
was affecting to myself.

[00:27:08.24] spk_0:
All right. Well, you take that on yourself. Fine. I take about grumpiness. You, you threw that in, you tried. All right. Yeah, it uh it just, you use the, that you have, whether it’s volunteer, it’s on your team. Uh Maybe it’s a consultant. You know, what you’re describing is, it sounds precious. The, the production value is meaningless. It’s, it’s the, it’s the substance and, and, you know, they, they probably now, you know, or they, they will soon have courses of these videos videos that they can repurpose on Instagram, tiktok, Mastodon, youtube, uh their, their own site, of course, uh uh links in newsletters, you know, uh 30 a AAA compilation of uh you know, 32nd videos or something. It’s, and, and that, and that’s the impact that, that, that’s the impact that a lot of people want to see and, and especially well, donors really, I think across the age spectrum are much more cognizant of impact, much more interested in impact. But I, I think younger folks are even more so um Dennis, let, let’s talk some more about some tactics of drawing in making that emotional connection, getting the heart and, and letting the brain follow.

[00:32:02.04] spk_2:
Yeah. Um um a, a couple of things um on that. I think we, we as an industry rely very heavily on email and I’m not so sure that’s a great idea. Um I think email is useful and helpful, but I don’t know about your inbox what that looks like. Um Mine looks pretty challenging. I’ve got a work one and I’ve got a private one and I take a deep sigh in the morning. When I have to sort of make weed my way through whatever, you know, irrelevant stuff, it starts with deleting a whole bunch of stuff and then hopefully I haven’t deleted it too much. So, email is challenging to get attention. Number one and two, it’s actually not easy to make email, uh, create a sort of reinforce of establish an emotional connection because you have to be actually quite good, quite good with, with words. And that’s a high bar, I think um that to, to there are some science out there about how you should write. I mean, the dr is always right about these stories. So the more of these stories you have to your point on impact, the more you should do it. But relying on email alone and then thinking that you have done it, I think is a pretty big mistake. Um I think you have a I like email as a uh uh you mentioned a couple of idea of uh of things like a newsletter or an update. So something that we basically uh is periodic. Uh So, hey, we’re here, this is what we’ve done. That’s great. That’s wonderful. Um But I much prefer that folks and we start to see that experiment with different media and voice, for instance, is still very much underutilized. So people don’t really use Zoom voice. I I there was actually an email that came in for someone that just recorded um a blurp like they had like a, it was like a zoom like we’re doing now today and they included that zoom into it, but there was no video, it was just voice and they were just telling, uh, there was an update of the month but they said we’re gonna try something different. We’re gonna, I’m gonna, so the executive director spoke on the zoom. I thought that was nice. So it was, so that was unusual. So I had a voice, I had him talk. There was a bit of a, a funny moment so you can hear them laugh as they said that I, I had it plugged it in my airpods as I was walking so easy. I don’t have to really uh you know, be concentrated on my, on my desk to read it all. So I thought it was a great, great way to use it. Video is still very underutilized. We all like, you know how it is, it’s not that difficult anymore to uh to have the video. You can still use your email to send it. Um And so I think when it comes to tactics that we have to be careful not to rely on one and just set it and forget it, right? So you basically say, oh yeah, I’m I am communicating with my donors. I’m sending an email. I send a, an um a newsletter every month. Uh Yeah, you know, is that the bar like is the, what is the latest. What is the late, what have you tried? What other things have you tried? Do you know whether they open it and read it? Do you do? Do you have that? Because nowadays we know? Right. We have a pretty good idea of, uh, whether folks read it or not and then what do you do with that information? You just continue sending stuff the other question I have. So that’s one thing it is about the tactics is don’t rely on a single attack. They just set some sort of a goal that every year or every quarter of it, whatever it is feasible, you try something new and see if it sticks, just stick it and stay with it for a few months but just try it, try it. Um, the other thing I would say is as much as there’s a reliance on, uh, the medium, email, phone video, whatever, there’s also a reliance on, uh, the recipient, which is who we’re sending it to. What I find. There’s a concept in business that’s called single threading, um, which is, uh, never referred to as a positive thing. It’s a bad thing. The single, single threading. So what we, what, what it means is that you’re basically when you’re trying to, uh, connect with an account with a prospect, it’s usually a business. And when your single thread in the account, it means that you’re only speaking with one contact in the, in that organization and you know, that a decision usually has to make with multiple people. And very often, even if there’s a CEO CEO would want to make sure that her team is consulted, et cetera, et cetera. So whether these folks are making, whether others are making the decision or influences is irrelevant. It’s very rare that one person calls all the shots. It’s much more common that multiple people have to be engaged, consulted and informed.

[00:32:50.86] spk_1:
It’s time for a break. Kila increase donations and foster collaborative teamwork with Kela. The fundraiser, Crm maximize your team’s productivity and spend more time building strong connections with your donors through features that were built specifically for fundraisers. A fundraiser, Crm goes beyond data management platform. It’s designed with the unique needs of fundraisers in mind and aims to unify fundraising, communications and donor management tools into one single source of truth visit, Kila dot co to sign up for a coming group demo and explore how to exceed your fundraising goals like never before. It’s time for Tony’s take two.

[00:34:17.23] spk_0:
Thanks Kate. This week’s show gets published on September 11th, the anniversary of the day that changed our country changed the world profoundly. We all remember where we were, I was uh an employee. It was the dark days of uh employment for me at Saint John’s University in Queens, New York and Saint John’s is up on a hill and we could see downtown Manhattan. So it was in a distance but we could see it happening live. We were going between watching, live and, uh, for real and watching on TV, you know, more close up, of course, but everybody’s got their story of September 11th. And, uh, I think we should just, um, use the anniversary as a, a time to remember to keep in mind the victims, the immediate victims, uh, this week, uh, and also, uh, not only the ones who died that day, but those who are still dying from their service there and from exposures, let’s just remember those folks this week that is Tony’s take two. OK.

[00:34:23.98] spk_1:
You reminded me of a saying I once heard they’re gone but never forgotten.

[00:34:27.55] spk_0:
Yes. Yes.

[00:34:30.29] spk_1:
Let’s go back to donor retention with Dennis Fois.

[00:35:31.20] spk_2:
So you want to become multithreaded to increase your alt of success, in my opinion, the same is true for a household. If you solely rely on the first contact that you ever had, that is the the donor that has actually made the donation. But you know that they’re part or you might not even know that they’re part of a household and you’re not making any efforts to deeper connect and create more contacts in that household organization. You’re missing a big, big, big trick and a big opportunity because I think that the more we can establish an emotional connection at the household level, the higher, higher the chances that things make sense as part of a state planning this is a long drawn process but being simply relying and only communicated to a single donor, in my opinion, is a risky affair. And so doing events where my partners or Children are involved, do whatever you can. You obviously can’t ask who else is in your household. Give me their email addresses, understand. But there’s not, but you could make events deliberately and purposeful, designed to bring the family together, to bring them all in and then start to collect data as part of that event, right? Uh I don’t see a lot of that. Yeah.

[00:37:28.92] spk_0:
Yeah, it’s consistent with your first ideas, not be singular channel, you know, be multichannel, uh be multi thread within the, within the household. Exactly. Yeah. Iii I see that play out a lot uh in events where the there might be a couple there. Again, I do planned giving. So the events I’m going to are usually for older folks. Uh not necessarily plan giving age, but plan giving prospect age. And there are a lot of couples uh whether they’re married or partnered and I see a lot of conversations with one person in, in the couple and it’s, it’s usually, it’s usually the male in, in a, in a, in a traditional hetero couple. Um And, and the, the female is, you know, largely ignored but, you know, but whatever the couple dynamics, I i it’s a mistake to just be talking to the one person because you, you you want the support, you want the buy in, of, of, of the couple. Um, just, it just, it just makes things so much smoother. Uh, you, you reduce any contention around giving that might be playing out in, in the, in, in the home that you have no idea about. You know, so don’t, don’t talk to one person to the exclusion of the other person in, in the couple. Right. Iii, I see that a lot and I bet in person events, right. That, that’s a mistake.

[00:40:20.01] spk_2:
That’s a big mistake. And I bet tony that it’s if you were to go back, even if they’ve spoken or connected in some way, I bet that if you go back and look at the database and say, let’s say the household and we had a nice conversation with me and my wife that when you look back at the database, my wife’s contact information is not in that database. Right? So, because it’s again, none of these things happen with one conversation that like it’s, it’s very rare. I mean, as a magical when it happened, it’s wonderful, but it’s usually it takes time, it takes repeated connections, interactions over a long period of time. And so the best chance we have is if we broaden our reach, but not just broaden our reach, we’re constantly trying to find new people all the time. To your point, this big funnel machine. But if we can expand within our existing donors, we absolutely improve our retention rates. In reality, if you improve your retention rate by about sort of 10% or so, you triple the lifetime value over time over your, over your donor base. So it’s, it’s, it’s, it behooves upon all of us. How do you improve retention rates? Well, it’s not just constantly talking to the same person and sending them more stuff. That’s, that’s, that’s, that’s, you know, that, that has a diminishing return. So, and I feel that we probably need to talk more in the industry about it and share ideas or how others are doing it and talk more about these tactics because I feel that some of the uh some of the nonprofit organization that we talk to want to do it, they, they, they, they’re not afraid of experimenting but sometimes sort of lack the applicable ideas because the industry has started to become quite academic and we talk about things, you know, theoretical concepts and big numbers and scary numbers and frankly paralyzing numbers at the time, it like doesn’t inspire me to act, right? And I think we should maybe need to do a slightly better job as an industry. And I think you do that with your things like your, your podcast where you get deeper into the things and just ideas that I can sort of, you know, walk away but give me one or two ideas that I can do tomorrow then and I can at least I can sort of figure out whether it works or it might work for some, it won’t work for others. But if you don’t try you don’t know. And the reality is there’s no one approach that will work for everyone but relying on email alone and only talking to your donor is a guaranteed, guaranteed, uh, path that sets you to become part of the statistics. Yeah. That’s basically how they’ve been built

[00:41:00.80] spk_0:
on the wrong end. Yeah. Yeah. It, it’s shallow. It’s, it’s not a, it’s not a hard, uh, it’s not a heart to heart connection. Um, you know, as you were, as you were speaking, I was thinking, you know, when, when you call, if, if the, if the non, the non primary donor answers, do you just ask for the donor or do you say? Oh, hello. You know, and wouldn’t it be great if you could hearken back to the, to when you had the conversation at the last event with that other, the, the other person? Oh, it was such a pleasure to meet you, you know, or, or do you just say, you know, can I, oh, hi. Can I speak to Dennis? You know, that, that, that’s, that, that’s, that’s a, uh, it’s a turn off. It’s perceived by, by both people in the couple. Uh, it, it may not ever be spoken about or, or even worse. It might be, but it, it’s detrimental in either, in, in either case. Um, it’s just a, you know, it’s, it’s fundamental respect for, for people.

[00:42:38.17] spk_2:
Well, I agree in respect but also, um, sound business mind. Right. If you want to, like, if, if it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a good business practice. So there’s, there’s the head and the heart that comes together if you were to think that any time that you connect with someone, the donor, but you get somebody else on the phone as a prospecting opportunity, that might be the right mindset. You know, because you, that’s how you treat a new event. When you, when you with this new families and new folks coming be all overdose, right? To tell the story and why you started the uh the organization. Uh the same is true for this prospect with the big benefit that it’s a warm prospect. It’s not a cold prospect, right? Because there’s no connection. So if you think about how do I increase donation sizes, how do I become maybe part of recurring giving? Those are, those are the situations where that happens where both both partners have an emotional connection with the cause and stimulate one another and say, hey, this is something we want, really want to support as a family now that always leads to more sustained and higher donations. Um First, as being one of the two partners that supported because this is their uh their charity of choice.

[00:42:48.49] spk_0:
Other, other thoughts Dennis about tactics that folks can at least experiment with.

[00:45:17.14] spk_2:
Um, yeah, well, so what is, what it has been pretty successful? This might be, um, a little sort of personal but what has been successful here locally? Um, II, I, it was actually quite interesting. So we, um, there are these groups of, uh, people that get together for hobbies, in our case, I’m part of a club that likes old cars. So old people and old cars come together once in a while and they, they do, they take whatever excuse on the wrist to sort of drive these things. And, uh, but we wanted to add a little bit of more depth to it. So we started to, um, to seek out whether there were uh interesting nonprofit organizations around us that we could support somehow. So to make the, so we would basically say, hey, as part of this drive, there is a cost to the drive and that this, this cost was basically fundraising. So we would raise through these drivers a donation and we would then have a, um, have that money go to a, uh a charity of choice, right? One that we would say, hey, this month we’re gonna be supporting this. What I found remarkable is that very few nonprofit organization had identified that a lot of these events were happening. I’ve got a local tennis club, there’s a local, there’s a very, very big car community here in Carmel and Monterey. It’s just a thing. So everybody that lives here knows that. But what I found staggering is that it was actually hard work for us to find. We actually had to seek out nonprofit organizations and explain that we wanted to do some events. And then once we had that people were very generous and said, oh, we come over and speak, we can say a few things about what we we will do and we would attach an auction, little auction, something around to just make sure that these are affluent people. So, you know, making donations is, is a, is, is not a high friction situation. Um But what I found remarkable and a missed opportunity which we’re now making more available is tap into these um communities. So, you know, there are in Indie, it’s the same in Indianapolis. There’s a lot of communities that have certain themes that folks that get together, a lot of them would be very happy, supported co courses. And so what I’m seeing, but

[00:45:34.49] spk_0:
pardon me? But these are essentially giving circles. They are. And I, I had the, I had the evangelist for giving circle Sarah on the show just within the past six weeks or so. Um So, you know, whether it’s a car club or a bunch of folks who meet once a month in someone’s in rotating homes or, you know, or it’s some other, some other uh organization that’s willing to do fundraising and, and granting you’re, you’re essentially, you’re talking about giving circles in, in your community.

[00:49:25.30] spk_2:
100%. That’s a wonderful way of, of uh putting it and uh talk about building a funnel and building connection into, into your community. Uh And they very often become repeat themes, especially if there is an emotive connection with the individual. If the executive director does a good job at presenting, being there, telling the story of the organization, you know, you, I would say it’s almost guaranteed, there’ll be some sort of successful. So it’s really worth doing. But again, it’s about being proactive and seeking those out, making an effort to actually find out what, what is around me. Uh That seems to me, I was blown away. Uh It’s now become a thing with us or every month. There’s something that sometimes there’s twice a month or something. Um But what is also interesting is that most of us end up giving to the ones that we are really connected with, right? So there is the, the event itself that produces us, but some of us actually get, we had a, we had a lady that um had a very traumatic situation with her husband and a child and a child had a disease that was very difficult to cure. And it sort of inspired her to create a, a organization or profit organization to help folks with, um with a, in a similar situation. And she, when she told her story, I most most of us couldn’t keep it together to be honest. So it just becomes like a different level of connectivity and accountability. And so, so I I, no, no, I wanna help you. This is crazy. There is no support from um uh health care that this is sort of under recognized. These people are out, out, out, out, all out on their own. Actually with a little bit of money, a lot can be done. So you start to connect the dots to say what I can actually have a real impact here and help to make a situation better. I can fund. If I can fund this lady, people’s life will change. And when you get to that sort of level of this is where my money or time can go and this is the impact I can achieve I want. II I mean, I’ve had a reluctant to say donor for life because we know that that’s a difficult thing, but that’s a level of connection that no email in the world, no phone in the world can be, can hope to achieve. And so if you’re not out there connecting with an audience like that new circles, um you’re making it yourself very hard, I think to find these people that are, that are then spreading the word because I didn’t talk to all this about it. So we know how that all works, right? So I would say those are still very underutilized idea. So this the this idea of using multiple channels of communications expanding within the families, sort of the multi threading thing that we’re talking about and exploring the circles rather than treating individuals of transactions. We have a lot of room for improvement when it comes about executing and doing good, better, best on those. And so in a way, the statistics that we talked about are not that surprising because frankly, if you’d run a business in the way we are running as an industry nonprofit, these are the statistics that you would get. It’s like fast in, fast out. Yeah, it’s, it’s a classic bad business model like,

[00:49:30.53] spk_0:
yeah, uh Boomerang wouldn’t survive that way. No, no,

[00:49:33.29] spk_2:
no, no. My board would swap me out real quick. You had

[00:50:47.46] spk_0:
clients, you had clients for a year and, and 77% of them uh stayed only that long. Um Yeah, loyalty, you know, it’s, it’s all, it’s all the heart, loyalty, connections. Um speaking from the heart, respecting people. And then, yeah, you know, and, and so I, I speak kind of altruistically or, or maybe not academically but altruistic. Uh and uh and lofty and, you know, you remind us that it’s also all good business. It’s all good business to, to think of the partner as a, as a, as a prospect uh to, to have folks telling their own story in a, in a simple iphone video with low production value from the home with dim lighting and, and the sound is cutting out and the Children are in the background but the, you know, but the, but the newly placed dog, uh, pet is, is, is, is barking wildly and, and that’s the, you know, that’s the impact. That’s perfect. So, it’s, it’s, it’s, that’s the, those are the moments that are sincere and genuine, connect with our hearts and end up being good business.

[00:53:29.50] spk_2:
Yeah, I could not agree with you more. And, um, that head and heart thing, we, I think when we, when our organizations get la get larger, nonprofit organizations get larger, you, you, it’s ok to think of a part of it as a business. It’s ok actually because the more effective the organization becomes the greater the impact you can achieve at our company at Bloomer. We, we have often sort of struggle with that balance where you sort of say, well, do, is it all about growing revenues? Is that basically the, the mark of a success for us or how do we measure impact? But the reality is you should not put pit those two things against each other because if you could see uh fundraising volume or revenue, you could see that as fuel and you need fuel. We need fuel. So you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t shortchange yourself or making sure like you feel really good, you’ve done this wonderful thing, but it doesn, doesn’t scale because it requires you to do it over and over. It can scale. But now you’re not putting fuel in a tank and we, we have to have few because the more fuel we have the greater the impact that we can choose the more resource. So the problem is that we have in this, in this industry, it’s difficult for us to attract and retain talent. So as much as we have a donor retention problem, look at the employee retention problem that we have in this industry. And if you become more successful at creating scalable and repeatable initiatives, which you’re experimenting, you’re trying things, you’re making these emotional connections, we can attract high quality people into the organization that can sort of sustain and increase that momentum. So I, I often, when we talk about this, it feels like, yeah, but you can’t run a nonprofit organization like a business. And I said, well, why not? Um why not? Um You, you know, if you, I, at some point, I’d like to work in an organization like this, but you better believe it that I be, I’m gonna be very intense in the work. I’m not gonna sort of be relaxed because I work in a nonprofit because I’m gonna be super intense if we’re wasting money or if we are not following up on things or something goes out, that is a little bit half baked. That is not a high standard. Like why, why wouldn’t those things apply? Isn’t that what makes things better, like striving to better standards doing something, trying something different growing as an organization. So I think we have to be destigmatize the, the brain part uh in this industry and say that it’s OK to pursue growing as an organization because that growth allows to achieve far greater impact than the individual to start. The organization ever thought was imaginable. So we growth has to be part of an obe of the objective of the organization.

[00:54:20.17] spk_0:
Dennis. I’d like to leave it there. Thank you, tony and II I unical agree with you about perceiving our organizations as businesses. Uh III I, I’d take a step further and say, I think it’s essential. We, we don’t, we don’t lose our heart. We don’t lose our mission that the two are not mutually exclusive. We, we can, we can pursue our missions and our values as well as think of ourselves as a business. That’s, that’s not the zero

[00:54:25.96] spk_2:
sum, 100% 100%

[00:54:36.40] spk_0:
Denis Fo Fois. He’s CEO of Boomerang. You’ll find Dennis on linkedin. You’ll find the company at Boomerang dot co, Dennis. Thank you very much for sharing your thinking. I appreciate it.

[00:54:43.89] spk_2:
Huge. Thanks for the opportunity, tony. Really enjoyed it. Thank you. My

[00:54:47.07] spk_0:
pleasure. Thank you.

[00:54:57.22] spk_1:
Next week, donor dominance with Ian mcquillan. If you missed any part of this week’s show,

[00:55:00.36] spk_0:
I’d be you find it at Tomm martignetti dot com

[00:55:11.98] spk_1:
were sponsored by donor box. Outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. Donor box fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor Boxx dot org.

[00:55:20.32] spk_0:
I love that alliteration

[00:55:38.38] spk_1:
and Bikila grow revenue, engage donors and increase efficiency with Kila. The fundraisers, CRM visit Kila dot co to join the thousands of fundraisers using Kila to exceed their goals. Our creative producer is Claire Meyer. I’m your associate producer, Kate Marett. The show’s social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein.

[00:56:06.34] spk_0:
Thank you for that affirmation. Scottie be with us next week for nonprofit radio, big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be.

Nonprofit Radio for August 21, 2023: The 5 A’s Of Awesome Fundraising

 

Cara AugspurgerThe 5 A’s Of Awesome Fundraising

It’s a valuable back-to-basics conversation with a bunch of tips you’ve probably never heard. Leading us through is Cara Augspurger from Donorbox.

 

 

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[00:00:35.76] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to tony-martignetti Nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite Heb Mittal podcast. And oh, I’m glad you’re with us. You’d turn me into a mono. Thus, if I had to see that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with what’s coming?

[00:00:59.48] spk_1:
Thank you so much, tony. We have the five A is an awesome fundraising. It’s a valuable back to basics conversation with a bunch of tips. You’ve probably never heard leading us thorough is Kara Augsburger from Donor box on Tony’s take two.

[00:01:02.29] spk_0:
It could have been the end for me,

[00:01:12.22] spk_1:
were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity, donor box, fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor Boxx dot org.

[00:01:21.65] spk_0:
I love that. I love that alliteration. Kate, fast, flexible, friendly fundraising forms, love that.

[00:01:29.32] spk_1:
It sounds cool, but it’s not very fun to say

[00:01:34.42] spk_0:
tough,

[00:01:37.39] spk_1:
very tough. Now, here is the five A’s of awesome fundraising.

[00:02:08.04] spk_0:
It’s a pleasure to welcome Kara Ox Beger to nonprofit radio. She is a longtime development professional, currently serving as fundraising coach for donor Boxx and focuses on consulting with nonprofits of all sizes. Her expertise is in coaching, annual fundraising, project management and communications. She’s on linkedin Kara Ger with A P, not A B. It’s not.

[00:02:14.32] spk_2:
No, it’s not tony

[00:02:18.75] spk_0:
and the company is at donor box dot org. That’s correct.

[00:02:22.03] spk_2:
Thanks, tony. Thanks so much for having me. What a warm welcome pleasure.

[00:02:26.13] spk_0:
Pleasure to have you from Noblesville, Indiana.

[00:02:29.41] spk_2:
That’s correct.

[00:02:30.90] spk_0:
And we’re talking about the five A’s of awesome fundraising. So this is not just, this is not just, you know, lackluster, mediocre type fundraising. We’re talking about awesome fundraising,

[00:02:46.79] spk_2:
right? The five A S, you know, our donor box team coined the term the five A’s of awesome fundraising to really introduce the concept and help people remember the cycle of fundraising. So, you know, identify, cultivate, solicit steward, we just made them a little easier and put an a next to each of them. So we have, it’s

[00:03:22.00] spk_0:
the cycle that we’re accustomed to. Exactly. But all right. So refreshers are important, valuable basics, basics, lots of people trigger, you know, they’ll say, oh, you know, that’s just a good reminder, good reminder. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna share good reminders. Excellent, excellent. So, uh I’ll let you introduce your, your first. A

[00:04:21.71] spk_2:
Well, sure. So we often at donor box, we are working with fundraisers who are really, really good at delivering on their mission. They’re really, really good at um creating innovative programs, but maybe they’re struggling to understand some fundraising fundamentals. And so my job is to kind of create ways to make learning those fun and engaging. And so that’s was the basis around the five A’s. So first we attract new supporters to your organization, you know, that would be identi identification and cultivation and then we ask them to come alongside you by giving, then we promptly acknowledge those gifts, right? And then we account for those donations and we do it again and again and again. So it’s attract, ask acknowledge account. And again, so those five A’s, they’re not fancy, they’re not innovative, they’re nothing new. Um But those are kind of those fundraising fundamentals that successful nonprofits are actively doing and actively incorporating into their communication cadence to bring donors into the life of the organization and really cultivate that sense of belonging.

[00:04:40.93] spk_0:
All right. So let’s, let’s focus on attraction. Yeah. What, what uh what are your reminders there, your tips.

[00:04:51.46] spk_2:
So, you know, you, you need to attract new supporters to your organization and then you need to make sure that your organization is attractive to those. So, uh you want to make sure that you are um actively on social media that you’re telling compelling stories of your mission and action, you’re showing people ways to get involved by volunteering and things like that. So you’re attracting those people, you’re, you know, the fundraising fundamental. So you’re cultivating them to your organization

[00:05:31.48] spk_0:
and some of those uh some of those uh a attraction mechanisms might be as simple as, like, sign a petition. Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t have to be come in person or something. We can, we can have, we could have a lift but something that gets people uh initially

[00:05:34.05] spk_2:
engaged. Yeah. You’re aware, you’re building awareness for your organization. Yeah.

[00:05:38.95] spk_0:
OK. That’s another good a but that’s not in awareness. It’s like a subset. So, uh I’m not, I don’t want to pervert the whole donor box. Uh the whole donor box. A team of five A make it six.

[00:05:49.76] spk_2:
We don’t want no.

[00:05:50.75] spk_0:
Every time you say an A word, I’m not gonna say, oh, there’s an A but uh awareness is a subset of attraction and being, being attractive. Talk a little more about the, the being attractive part how you, you know, how you appeal.

[00:06:37.23] spk_2:
Yeah. So you know, you repeat the cycle and you want to keep your organization attractive to your current supporters. So maybe that’s where you introduce a survey or you ask what appeals to them most about the mission. You could uh engage with them through some newsletters, some good communication about what’s going on or, you know, in person. So you can invite them to coffee, invite them to events, invite them to volunteer. Um And it’s not just about doing those things, it is about staying relevant in the minds of your supporters. You know, we know supporters are supporting fewer organizations these days, dollars are limited. And so you really want to stay in the forefront of your supporters’ minds. And so that’s where you really just want to keep that communication cadence. Um going throughout the year, you don’t want to just go, go to your donors when you need something, you want to communicate and build relationship and stay in relationship with them.

[00:07:05.75] spk_0:
Yeah, that is critical. Not only sending solicitations, you know, however many times a year, let’s drill down, let’s drill down a little bit on the, uh, the surveys, surveys. What, what’s your advice around survey? You know, like length? Um, I don’t know, time of year, uh, how to get folks to do the survey, you know, what, what are your tips around those things?

[00:07:53.68] spk_2:
You know, I think my, uh, my advice to anyone is as, um, personal of the ask as you can make it. I think the more, um, engagement you’re going to get around it. So if you could say, hey, tony, I’m gonna send you a survey in the mail or in the, you know, in your email. And if you have five minutes to really give me some insight into what you see, you know, in the organization, boy, I would really value that if I could ask you that on the phone or if I saw you at an event or something like that, you might be more engaged and more apt to complete that survey. So, that, you know, and you can even personalize that at a scalable level through some emails, some make your email look really personal through some mail merges and things like that to really make it seem like you’re speaking one on one to the receiver. So that’s how, that’s an

[00:08:20.22] spk_0:
introductory email. Yeah. Yeah, couple of days I’m going to send you or something

[00:09:13.79] spk_2:
like that or, yeah, I mean, just however the communication, the communication schedule works out for you, you could even, you know, package it together with the survey link or something like that. But yeah, just as, as interpersonal as, as, as possible. So it looks less like it’s from the organization and more from the person who’s sending it, whether that’s the executive director or the communications manager, the development manager, whatever it is. So I think that one on one really feeds engagement. Um, but as far as like length, what we’re seeing that is working really well is micro content so short, actionable. Um, you know, I think if people see how far along they are and in the steps, you know, you’re at step one of five, question, one of five, something like that. That kind of keeps people motivated to complete it as opposed to this never ending survey that, that never ends. I know, I know,

[00:09:14.86] spk_0:
I appreciate the progress bar. You’re 10% or 20% or right, one out of five or something. I like to know that I like to know where the end

[00:10:31.15] spk_2:
is. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I think if you have um, well crafted questions, so you’ve worked with, you know, a board member or your staff ahead of time to determine what is, what’s your outcome on this survey? What do you really want to glean from this information? I’m working, I’m on the board for um, a nonprofit here in uh the Indianapolis area that works um to provide um services to people who are a little food insecure. Um But the foundation, so there’s a foundation that’s set up to, to kind of um resource the food pantry and, and the services. So there’s some confusion right now on, do I give to the church that runs the services or do I give to the foundation or whatever? So, what we’re doing is we’re crafting a survey to say, hey, do you understand the difference between the foundation, the church, the food pantry? How does that work? Um And, and really trying to get to the purpose, our purpose is clarity around our communication and where to direct people to give money, but we need to work backwards and craft the questions so that they really are um short and compelling and impactful and give us the answers that we need. So I think as long as you’re, you’re really paring down um and really honing in on the purpose of the survey, I think you’ll be able to, to draft some short, uh, really, really great questions that’ll, that’ll drive the, the answers that you’re looking for.

[00:10:56.06] spk_0:
You have a maximum number of questions that, that you’re working toward in your survey.

[00:11:13.30] spk_2:
I’d like to stop it. I’d like to leave it at five. I think five is a good number. Um, you know, I think if they’re quick questions, if it’s multiple choice, those would go a little faster than those open ended. So maybe you’d have a little more wiggle room for some questions there. But I think, you know, too, I think there’s always an opportunity for an executive director or someone to step in after you complete the survey and say, hey, tony, those were really great um examples you shared in that survey, would you be open to a conversation to talk a little bit more about what you think and you know, those opportunities, those touch points are really part of those five A’s, you’re keeping that conversation going and saying, I see you and I value the input that you have into our organization.

[00:11:41.30] spk_0:
I think people would be very grateful for like personal follow up. Now, if you’re, you’re sending thousands of surveys, you know, I don’t know. Uh hopefully you get more than a dozen responses. Sometimes surveys can do poorly. So you might, you might only get 12 or 15 or 20 responses and then you can be personal um with, with those, with those folks and look, I mean, you’re thanking them in a way for, you know, for being among the small percentage of people who did reply.

[00:12:09.52] spk_2:
Oh, for sure, for sure. And what, what’s the, what’s the old adage that you ask for it? You ask for money and you get advice, but you ask for advice and you get money. Well,

[00:12:19.67] spk_0:
that, that may result indeed. Or you, or you might, you might get a, a new volunteer or something. You’ll, you’ll certainly get somebody grateful. Uh, after you’ve, you’ve, like, personally followed up and said, you know, your answer to this was important or

[00:12:32.16] spk_2:
whatever. Yeah. It’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for conversation, an opportunity to grow that relationship.

[00:12:58.25] spk_0:
Another thing, um, folks have said is that you don’t ask for information that you, uh, you can’t preserve and, and act on like, if, like, if you’re asking a survey question, would you rather we email you or use direct mail or text? Then they give you the answer. You have to, you have to honor their, their answer. Either that or don’t, don’t ask the question. Yeah,

[00:13:14.38] spk_2:
exactly. Yeah. Yeah. If you’re not gonna segregate that information into your data and you end up mailing someone who said they only want an email, then it may have backfired on you the whole process, right? You really,

[00:13:17.36] spk_0:
yeah, then you have hurt the, then you hurt the relationship better to not even just ask if you don’t have the capability for text. Don’t offer communications, you know, by, by

[00:13:26.08] spk_2:
MS for sure, it goes back to the whole big, big goal that what outcome do you want from the survey?

[00:13:33.26] spk_0:
Absolutely. Very true. As you said at the outset, right? All right. Uh You feel OK with uh attract and being attractive?

[00:14:15.40] spk_2:
Yeah, I think so. I think, yeah, identify and cultivate and um really get them introduced into all that your organization offers. So that is a track. OK. Then you’re ready to ask. Oh, you are ready to ask. And I think so many nonprofits think that that ask is exponentially um hard and it’s an exponential, you know, use of time in fundraising. But really if you’re doing these other things, well, that ask gets a lot easier, but it, it is important to ask and if you are only telling, you know, stories of impact and um you know, really advocating for your cause, but you never ask for money, you’re missing a big opportunity there.

[00:14:23.10] spk_0:
Now you ask, could come in other forms too, right? It might be. Now, now we’re talking about something more than, you know, sign a petition, but it could be volunteer.

[00:15:14.76] spk_2:
Mhm Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. One pitfall I see with that though, tony is um a lot of times in a fundraising appeal, I think we sometimes as nonprofit professionals are kind of uncomfortable about that ask and what we tend to do is gloss over it in the fundraising appeal. So, hey, tony. Can you give me $50 or volunteer or share this email? I think it’s really important in a fundraising appeal to have one call to action and if you’re asking for money and for a volunteer and to share the word, guess what people are going to do, the one thing that doesn’t cost them money. So if you’re asking for money, make sure that that’s super clear. And that is the only call to action in your, in your fundraising appeal.

[00:15:47.97] spk_0:
Yeah, I, I didn’t mean to dilute your, your, your, your fundraising. Ask if I was just saying, you know, you could be asking for something else that’s substantial, which is a gift of time. Yeah. But no, I absolutely agree. You don’t dilute, don’t and don’t be humble. You know, you, oh, you know, we hate to ask. But could you, you know, you have, needs, your work is important and you have, needs to, to fulfill that work, to fulfill that mission. Ask with

[00:15:48.71] spk_2:
confidence. Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. Um Fear free fundraising is, is kind of the approach I take there. You, you need to know what you do, why you do, why it’s important, um, what you’re doing differently than anyone else and be really, really proud of that. And when you kind of have those things ingrained in to your thought process, why do you care, then it’s much easier to communicate that to other people? And you don’t feel like you’re tap dancing around it all the time

[00:16:17.36] spk_0:
and, and you don’t want to take for granted that, that people understand all that, you know, because you work in it, day in, day out, week after week, et cetera. But, but everybody else

[00:16:28.17] spk_2:
doesn’t. Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely.

[00:16:31.82] spk_0:
Um, have you seen any, uh, any good, uh, asks lately that you can, uh, you can share?

[00:17:48.29] spk_2:
Well, we’re, we’re getting ready for the biggest ask of the year, right? The year end fundraising season is always a good one. Um You know, I help a lot of organizations really learn the art of appeal, writing. And so, um I’m excited to, I actually have a live in person workshop with a lot of new fundraising professionals in, in about two weeks. And so I’m excited to work with them through that process and see what they come up with. Um But as far as good asks lately, gosh, they’re all over the place. Um We have a nonprofit that we work with called Maya’s Hope and I actually just saw on linkedin before I got on this call, they had a really clear compelling ask to become a monthly donor at $10 a month. And what they show was a picture of a boy in Ukraine and what he, he has special needs and his mom is unable to work right now, has two young Children. They live in a war zone, right? Um But what $10 a month provides for him. There was a photo of it and it was some diapers and some hard to get medication for his, you know, for his situation. And it was saying for $10 a month, um you can give this mom peace of mind that her son is gonna get what he needs for the month because you give to this organization, you put the, the materials in this mother’s hands and relieve her burden and you know, relieve the, the pain that her son is going through because you give to this organization and it was just such a clear, compelling, um, as it really stuck in my mind and I saw it really just a few minutes ago.

[00:18:17.38] spk_0:
Um, it’s personalized. Yeah,

[00:18:19.63] spk_2:
it was, it was

[00:18:20.49] spk_0:
mom. It’s her son.

[00:18:22.19] spk_2:
Mhm. Yeah. And, and you know, and I think that they target demographic. I think a lot of their donors are probably mothers, um, who are kind of feeling the same things about their kids. And so they have a, it’s a woman run organization and I think they have a lot of female donors who just really feel that the tug at the heart strings and understand when they give a little bit and another mom might have some relief.

[00:19:07.57] spk_0:
Maya’s hope is an example that uh we’ve cited in some of our sponsorship messages with donor box because they, they have incredible, I forget what their percentage of increase was when they, when they moved to the donor box platform, but I don’t know if it, if it was the 400% 1 or it was the 267% 1 or whatever. But they’ve been cited in our, in our

[00:19:22.81] spk_2:
message for you. Oh, yeah, I actually I meet with them once a week and so my, my meeting with them is this afternoon. So I’ll be sure to mention that to them that, that you’re noticing them. They’ll be very happy about that. It’s time for a

[00:20:00.99] spk_1:
break. Donor box quote, I regularly experience how donor boxes easy setup and ultra swift pay fast checkout deliver. What we need. Donor box allows us to focus on why we do this, our clients and their needs. End quote. That’s from Jenny N A board member and recurring donor at Organic Soup Kitchen in Santa Barbara, California donor box helping you help others. Donor box dot org. It’s time for Tony’s take two.

[00:22:34.42] spk_0:
Thanks, Kate. I had a rough experience harrowing experience earlier this week. It was just uh four days ago. I was in a car accident. My car was totaled, totally smashed in the front. Uh It’s total. I walked out of it. Uh My, my steering wheel airbag went off my head, hit it and III I smelled this acrid burning smell and I heard hissing, I quick, you know, checked myself, I unbuckled my seatbelt and I was able to just get out and, and walk remarkable could have been, it could have been a lot, a lot different. There were four cars involved and there was someone who was not as fortunate as I was, he was, had to be extricated from the car by the fire department with those jaws of life and they bandaged his head and I could see there was still blood coming even through the bandages. I could see him and he was taken away on a stretcher in an ambulance. He was the worst hurt. You know, it just, it just could have been a lot worse who obviously grateful that I was unscathed. Not even a nose bleed. Uh My, my glasses didn’t even bend, hitting the, the airbag makes me think of my uh father in-law who’s no longer living. Uh because he was an automobile engineer. Cars are engineered to absorb impact with, with crumple zones in the front and the back. I, I needed the one in the front. That’s what saved my life, you know, but crumple zones and safety zones and airbags and the sensors and that’s, um, that, that’s a credit to my father-in-law and all his colleagues in automotive engineering. And it makes me think about how, how close I came and just makes me grateful for scientists, engineers who make our lives safer. That was just this week. And that is Tony’s take too,

[00:22:39.05] spk_1:
Kate. I’m glad you’re with us, Uncle tony.

[00:22:41.45] spk_0:
No, thank you.

[00:22:44.06] spk_1:
We’ve got, but loads more time now back to the five A’s of awesome fundraising with Kara Ox Beger.

[00:22:55.77] spk_0:
Anything else on the, on the ask?

[00:22:58.13] spk_2:
Well, you know, I think so much effort is spent on thinking of that first gift. Um but I think it’s just as important to really earn that second gift. And so that is actually a really great segue into our next A OK.

[00:23:20.15] spk_0:
Oh, I just, I thought of one. OK, before we get, before we get to this, to the next a uh acknowledge um in, in writing, you know, if you’re, if you’re doing, whether it’s digital or print II, I hate to see the asks buried in a, in a dense paragraph, you know, make it, I think, make them stand out now again. Don’t be, don’t be shy and, and humble in your asks. Yeah. Make sure

[00:24:58.19] spk_2:
that it’s clear somewhere. Yeah, what we really encourage people to do so we teach appeal, writing and what we encourage people to do is start with um their direct man letter as an anchor of their communication series around their ask. And in that direct mail letter, what we have them do is make sure that you can understand if you only read the bolded parts of the letter that, that actually tells the whole story. So you have the um the problem. So, and I mean, I’m gonna use this, this Maya Hope example again. So, um mom doesn’t know what to do. Uh son is in need of medication. So, you know, throughout you’re telling a narrative but, but that is, that’s the problem, right? And then you talk about how the organization can help with that. Oh, but Maya’s Hope provides these materials and then you put your call to action and for $10 a month, this child can get what he needs and mom gets peace of mind. Um So if you, if you in the whole narrative of the letter, if you bolded those pieces, the, the reader would be able to really understand what the problem is, what your solution is and how they can help. And then what we do is encourage people to take that anchor piece. A lot of people don’t even do direct mail, but I think it’s a good idea to even start by writing it. And then you can syndicate that direct mail letter into an email or an email series and some social media posts to follow up with that. So you’re really taking um a story and using it as a fundraising campaign for a short period of time and really curating all of your communications around that, that anchor piece.

[00:25:21.21] spk_0:
Do you have advice around uh maximum length of uh I mean, clearly, you know, emails should be shorter but, but uh uh you know, maximum length for a direct mail, you know, print piece.

[00:26:17.87] spk_2:
Well, you know, Mal Warwick is kind of like the, you know, the official go to for me for direct mail writing and he says longer, longer is more compelling. Um, four pages. I’ve never in my life sent a four page appeal letter. Uh but they say, you know, the research says the longer the better I’ve received some in the mail. Um, but no, I, I tend to stick to a front of a page in the back of a page and insert a response device and a carrier envelope in a return envelope. So that’s the package I usually like. Um I think a lot of people think that you have to, you have to just limit the length of a mailed letter to just the front of the page. But I think you can go a little longer. Ok? Especially if you’re telling a good story. I mean, it’s all about storytelling and and really keeping the donor engaged. If you, if you’re writing, well, the donor will turn the the donor will turn the page and keep reading.

[00:26:33.14] spk_0:
Acknowledge. We, we, we almost, we almost got there. You teased right now. Now we’re into that important acknowledgement. I know you’re gonna say that acknowledgements should come fast.

[00:26:49.30] spk_2:
Yeah. So earning that second gift right? We know that acknowledgements need to be prompt and personally um and really make an impact. You want the reader to understand that you are so grateful for their support, so that sincere gratitude, so prompt, personal, sincere gratitude. That really goes a long way.

[00:27:06.00] spk_0:
I love sincerity. You know, and you don’t have to be long to be sincere, genuine heartfelt in your, in your, in your gratitude.

[00:27:21.33] spk_2:
Absolutely. And, and I think, I think, you know, I think that’s something that we, as people are really craving right now. That authenticity, that sincerity. I think that we’re living in such a fast paced life and we have all this A I and all this tech around us that when we get something sincere and authentic, um it really stands out to us.

[00:27:37.92] spk_0:
I’m a big fan of handwritten notes.

[00:28:37.26] spk_2:
Yeah, I just wrote about 15 last night for a fundraising campaign. I’m working on. So, yeah, I, I feel it. I, I’m a big fan of them too. I love receiving them. I love sending them. Um I know it’s a lot of work. I have, I have organizations that I work with. They’re like, I don’t have time for that. Well, there are ways you can, you can modify it. You can do um a mail merged email that looks like it just came from your, your inbox and you can really be like, hey, I just saw your donation come in. I, I really wanted to let you know right away um what this will do and you know, you can, you can really be a little creative. You can even print some Acknowledgments hands, sign them and write a little note on them. Um I received an acknowledgement from an organization, the other day where it was actually written and signed by a volunteer. And that’s OK. I think that those kind of things are just fine. I think you just really need to acknowledge that gift and we know that um that, you know, I think donor attention is down right now. I think a lot of people are saying I’m losing donors and I’m losing donors. Um And I think acknowledgements are the key to that donor renewal. You know, I mentioned earlier, a lot of organizations focus on that first gift. Um But really earning that second gift is what’s important and that’s where acknowledge comes in.

[00:28:55.36] spk_0:
You just gave a lot of good uh tactics for, for, for handwritten or, or something very close to it. Uh Another one is that, that’s, it’s a terrific activity for a board board members. You give them a list of 15 or 20 they can either they could do it in a board meeting or they could take it home with them. You just give them the stationary, take it home with them. I’m sure they’d be happy to mail them,

[00:29:38.78] spk_2:
make a phone call, they can make a phone call. Yeah, leave a voicemail. Yeah. Give them a little script that, you know, most, most calls go to voicemail anyway, just give them a little script that they can leave in a voicemail and, and that’s really impactful. Um What, what always helped me when I um was in a role, I was in a um director of development role and my primary responsibility was acknowledgements. And what I did is I blocked out the last hour of my day on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I made that my handwritten note uh time. And so I went through, I went through the reports. I made sure that they got um notes, but I built it into my schedule and then it was just part of my day and part of my routine for the week. And then I got to go home feeling like I actually accomplished something right

[00:30:37.96] spk_0:
for anything that’s, that’s important. You know, you have, you have to make the time, you’re not gonna find it. Listeners maybe heard me say that if you’ve been listening a while, you’re never gonna find the time, you’re gonna make it. So you have to make it if handwritten notes are important to you an hour a week, two hours a week, delegate it to your board, delegate it to volunteers. That’s a great idea. You know, it’s, people are gonna be thrilled to get a handwritten note because I, I agree with you that we are thirsting for some, some more personal contact coming out of the pandemic when we were, we were prohibited from having personal contact and, and you’re right with artificial intelligence uh growing in popularity to get something that, you know, is genuine, authentic. Um or even the substitutes that you mentioned, you know, if you can, if you can’t do the literal handwritten note, the ways you mentioned to come close, you know, something that’s, that’s email. That, that sounds genuine.

[00:31:07.67] spk_2:
Um, and again, yeah, I think, I think when it comes from the individual, not the organization that adds just a little more impact, um, it makes it seem a little more authentic and, um, yeah, I, I think that one on one is where the relationship grows.

[00:31:25.08] spk_0:
And then if you want to follow with a more formal letter that, you know, maybe says, you know, the, uh it gives your tax deductible tax deductibility disclaimer if you want to include that, you know, that could follow several days later or a week later after the, after the, the, the, the phone message from the board member or the volunteer or whoever. So, you know, you don’t have to incorporate it all in one. And well, how do I sound genuine if I also want to put a tax disc disclaimer in?

[00:31:53.15] spk_2:
Yeah, absolutely. Um The

[00:31:55.33] spk_0:
disclaimer message could be automatic but the, the first thank you could be genuine, sincere and handwritten or a phone

[00:33:07.90] spk_2:
call. And there are some ways you can blend the two I know um donor box, you can customize your donation receipt, so you can warm up that language that they get right away. When they make an online donation, you can add in a little story or a video. Um You can really warm that up. I like to use the analogy. I think a lot of people are confused. I’m glad you brought this up, tony because I think a lot of people are confused about the difference between a donation receipt and an acknowledgement. And so I like to use this analogy. So your donation receipt is like the receipt you get um at the grocery store. It’s very transactional. It says um you know, you purchased this item on this date for this much money where in a management is like, um, a thank you note to your favorite aunt because she sent you a birthday gift. And so you would never say dear auntie thank you for the sweater valued at $49.95 that you mailed on August 15th. Um, no, you would never say that you would say. Wow, thank you so much for your generosity. That’s my favorite color. I’ll wear it all the time. Um, and then I think there’s a big pitfall too. A lot of people will ask for a second gift in their acknowledgement. You know, hey, thank you for, for giving $10. Would you give us $10 a month? No. And use that analogy then as your, as your litmus test, you would never say dear auntie, thank you for that sweater. Can you send me some jeans and some shoes to match it? No, you would never do that. So if you kind of use that as a litmus test of what you’re sending out. Um I think that that’s, that’s usually what I do in my mind. Anyway,

[00:34:09.76] spk_0:
there’s another opportunity to ask for the follow on gift to ask for the gift to be a sustaining gift monthly. You have other chances at that. Don’t, don’t blow your, your gratitude time on on talk about diluting now you’re diluting your thank you with a with a second ask. It’s just like you said, don’t dilute your ask, don’t dilute your, your gratitude with a with a second ask or request for anything. You just make it a straight. Thank you and touch the, touch the person again at another time.

[00:34:12.91] spk_2:
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. And like I said, if you’re doing those other things, well, if you’re, if you are acknowledging and you’re showing that you’re accountable for those donations and you’re, you know, continuing to make your organization attractive when you do ask for that monthly gift or whatever is next, they might be able, you know, raise their hand a little faster and say, yeah, I’m in

[00:34:44.45] spk_0:
indeed indeed. Give them the chance, right? Let, let them, let them maybe self identify too. All right. All right. All important. Uh We’re up, we’re up. Well, go ahead. You, you announced this one, you see them at the beginning, but you can announce our fourth. Awesome

[00:35:39.70] spk_2:
A our fourth A is a count. And so that would also fall under stewardship in that, you know, typical fundraising cycle. But this is where you’re showing impact for your gift. And we know this is important because, um, donors say they stop giving because they believe that their gift won’t really help or the money won’t be used. And so that’s where you have to account, account for that hard earned money that your supporters give to your organization. So show the impact, show the, the numbers of people you’ve fed or the number of shoes you’ve given away or the an animals you’ve saved, tell stories of how life change happened because someone gave. And so that’s what I mean by account, it’s as easy as just showing a little impact. It could be numbers, it could be stories, it could be anything that really gets that point across and keeps people wanting to learn more about how their gift, um went to work.

[00:35:46.87] spk_0:
And Maya Hope example, you used kind of incorporated the two into, into ask and also account, you know, by showing what the impact would be for your $10 monthly gift. You have another example, maybe of a, uh, of a, of a impact, an account that, that stays with

[00:37:09.82] spk_2:
you. Yeah. You know, there’s always, you know, nonprofits do a good job of kind of some year end annual reports that maybe you get in the spring or after the fiscal year and that’s not really what I’m talking about. Um, you know, I just got an, an, um, an email from a nonprofit I support. And it said in a very informal term, you know, in a, in a very informal tone, y’all really stepped up because you gave you, um, provided money for this many teens in this program and you helped dig a well at this site in Africa and you did this and you did this and you did this and it was about six bullet points of what I did and it, I know that my, whatever, my $25 I gave or whatever didn’t do all those things. But it, but addressed it, it said corporately because you gave these things happened. And so I think those are, that’s just a really quick, easy in my inbox. It took me two minutes to read it or less. Uh, but I, that stuck in my mind and I was like, yeah, ok, my money went to work and it did all these things. That’s really amazing. So that’s what I mean by account that doesn’t have to be a large, you know, overly processed brochure mailed, you know, that kind of thing. It can be stories of impact, it can be one on one. You know, I’m sitting across to you from coffee and, and I wanna tell you about somebody who came through our door and was hungry or thirsty and how, you know how we helped them. It’s as easy as that, that’s a count

[00:37:38.12] spk_0:
and you distinguish it from the, uh, the annual report

[00:37:56.31] spk_2:
and, and, and that, that is an impact report. Yeah. And that, I mean, I think that that’s important too. That’s a really great way to show um in a very large format how to, you know, you’re accounting for those donations that are entrusted to you. It’s intimidating for so many nonprofit professionals to think. Oh, I have to knock out an annual report. It’s important you should do it. But throughout the year use these little opportunities to show um that you’re accounting for those donations.

[00:38:12.69] spk_0:
Ok. Anything else? Uh accounting, accounting

[00:38:26.79] spk_2:
wise, well, acknowledge an account, makeup stewardship. Good stewardship means donor retention, right? So that’s, that’s the end goal, donor retention. They want those donors to come back for their second gift and their third

[00:38:29.64] spk_0:
gift. Yeah, because we know that acquiring a new donor costs us so much more than retaining. And uh yeah, our retention rates are very poor, right? Like 20% or something, the 80% of donors leave after the first gift.

[00:38:44.09] spk_2:
Oh, yeah,

[00:38:44.86] spk_0:
17% is our retention rate or something. It’s very, very pitifully low.

[00:38:51.26] spk_2:
So for yeah, you’re bringing in 10 donors and eight of them are turning around and never coming back. But the statistics show that if you have repeat donations. So those people who give second um make their second gift and third gift, their retention rate is closer to that 60% level. So those are the kind of numbers that you really want to, to um report on. You really want to keep your eye on as you are creating your fundraising strategy for the year.

[00:39:19.49] spk_0:
And that’s our uh again, right? Our, our fifth, our fifth a of awesome fundraising is again,

[00:40:10.49] spk_2:
again, yeah, repeat. It’s, it’s just repeat. So as you repeat the cycle, you know, you’re focusing not only on attracting new donors, right? But making your organization attractive to your current supporters. So you’re engaging them, you’re inviting them, you are starting that conversation and just keeping that conversation going and you keep that cycle going year over year. We have um one woman who runs an organization who’s in our fundraising coaching and she shared with me that they have an organizational commitment to ensure that any supporter receives at least two communication touch points before they’re asked again. So that is just a framework that you can have as part of your organizational practices and really just kind of keep that in the back of your mind. So if you’re not over asking, um now there are seasons that are very ask heavy like year end fundraising. You might feel like you’re really, really asking a lot during that time of year and that’s ok. Just make sure that you’re balancing out your communication touch points throughout the year so that they’re not all ask heavy,

[00:40:27.79] spk_0:
you’d probably like to see an annual plan.

[00:40:29.98] spk_2:
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Communications

[00:40:32.17] spk_0:
marketing plan.

[00:40:34.14] spk_2:
And when you’re mapping out that plan, keep those five A’s in mind and just make sure that you’re, that you’re plugging touch points in that, that apply to those throughout the year.

[00:40:45.52] spk_0:
Anything else, Carrie, you wanna, uh, you wanna leave us with could be, could be outside the five days of awesome fundraising if, if you like anything. Uh, um,

[00:41:15.80] spk_2:
yeah, I say, you know, now is really the best time to shore up some of those good fundraising practices to really um take time to say, ok, what am I doing right now? Have I done a good job of, you know, accounting for the donations people have given to me. Have I taken time to say thank you. Um And that was a really good time to really assess that and make up for a backlog if you haven’t before we get ready for that year end fundraising. So that will help your organization stand out in your supporters’ minds when it’s, when it’s time to ask again. But I think now is a very important time to really make sure that you’re aligned for all that’s ahead in the coming months.

[00:41:40.81] spk_0:
Kara Ger with A P, not with A B No, she’s the uh fundraising coach for donor box. You’ll find her on linkedin. You’ll find the company, of course, you know, because uh they’re graciously sponsoring nonprofit radio, you know, that the company is at donor Boxx dot org. Kara, thank you very much. For sharing. Thanks so much.

[00:42:08.78] spk_2:
Oh, it’s been such a pleasure, tony. Thanks so much for having me next week.

[00:42:15.72] spk_1:
We don’t know, but it’ll be a good one. If you missed any part of this week’s show,

[00:42:19.01] spk_0:
I’d beit, you find it at tony-martignetti dot com.

[00:42:31.82] spk_1:
Were sponsored by donor box. Outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity, donor box, fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor Boxx dot org. I love

[00:42:40.97] spk_0:
that alliteration. And by the way, when I said tough, I didn’t mean tough for you to say I meant too bad. You gotta say it

[00:43:03.87] spk_1:
too bad yet to say. Try to say it five times fast, fast, flexible and friendly fundraising for, for your nonprofit. Our train is Claire Myer. I’m your associate producer, Kate martignetti. The show social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is like Scott Stein.

[00:43:24.35] spk_0:
Thank you for that affirmation. Scottie be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.