Nonprofit Radio for August 22, 2022: Accounting For Nonprofit Leaders

 

Tosha Anderson & Zanni Miranda: Accounting For Nonprofit Leaders

In our penultimate #22NTC show, Tosha Anderson and Zanni Miranda introduce key accounting concepts to help nonprofit leadership avoid the common pitfalls they see. Tosha is CEO of The Charity CFO and Zanni is with Nonprofit Solutions.

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[00:01:51.40] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d suffer the effects of pseudo papillae Dema if I saw that you missed this week’s show Accounting for nonprofit leaders in our penultimate 22. NTC show Tasha Anderson and Zanny Miranda introduce key accounting concepts to help nonprofit leadership avoid the common pitfalls. They see Tasha is ceo of the charity CFO and Zanny is with nonprofit solutions on tony take to the endowment excitement webinar, we’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c. O. And by fourth dimension technologies I. Tion for in a box. The affordable tech solution for nonprofits. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant D just like three d but they go on to mention deeper here is accounting for nonprofit leaders. Welcome to nonprofit radio coverage of 22 N. T. C. The 2022 nonprofit technology conference. My guests now are Tasha Anderson and Zanny Miranda. Tasha is founder and ceo of the charity cf. Oh Zanny Miranda is operations Manager at nonprofit solutions. Tasha Zani. Welcome to nonprofit radio Thank

[00:02:05.94] spk_1:
you for having us. Yeah,

[00:02:07.50] spk_2:
thank you so much for having us on

[00:02:11.89] spk_0:
pleasure. I’m glad we’re gonna talk about this. But 10 things every nonprofit leader should know about their accounting

[00:02:17.66] spk_1:
Alright.

[00:02:23.44] spk_0:
I I suspect this is an often ignored um ignored area by by nonprofit leaders until there’s some kind of a problem I guess or until the the 9 90 has to be filed, you know, so maybe once a year they become, or maybe there’s board reports, but in between all that, um I suspect it’s ignored. Uh Tasha, do I have that? You’re nodding? Is that

[00:03:12.03] spk_1:
yeah, I think, yeah, I think it’s ignored because it’s for a lot of small organizations. It’s not their primary role. It’s not what they’re experienced in. It’s not their skill set and it becomes one of those things, it’s not an immediate issue. It’s not something I’m particularly good at, it’s something I’m gonna have to teach myself and I’m gonna have to um very kind of the procrastination that I put into it. And then it’s when things kind of abrupt Show up like our 9 90 return or we realized we have an audit or our books have gotten further and further behind and now we have to hurry up and scramble for that, you know, board meeting or something to that effect. Um that’s kind of best case scenario. Um worst case scenarios are other more significant things that might come up with our accounting. Um that that all of a sudden becomes more of a priority.

[00:03:34.21] spk_0:
Like, alright, we’re focused on motivation. What are what are one or two of those worst case scenarios?

[00:04:46.20] spk_1:
Well, some of those worst case scenarios, I think more abruptly we get a lot of clients that work with us that have a lot of government funding and government funding usually includes um some pop up surprise what they call site visits. So if you anticipate uh your site visit or kind of your audit, I use the word loosely with audit. But if you expect your funder to show up on, you know, this period and then they end up coming in sooner or more regularly, either normal or whatever. They just changed their protocol and you’re not prepared for that. That then calls into question your ability to manage the program, your ability to manage the finances of that particular program. And we’ve seen organizations be at risk for losing their funding. And we’ve seen that more often than not, which we’ve kind of talked about and the original presentation that Danny and I did some of the challenges around um not just, you know, keeping caught up with the accounting, but the succession planning um in the transition. I mean, we’re in the midst of what they call the great recession. And so what organizations do that put all of their eggs in one basket with respect to this kind of swiss be nice if you will position that holds also financial management. And when those positions turn over, we’ve seen organizations find themselves really vulnerable situations and it becomes very apparent when it’s time to start sending those periodic reports to your funders or when they start to come out, when you look at your records, it’s a problem.

[00:05:06.79] spk_0:
You’re referring to the great resignation. You mean succession planning. Okay.

[00:05:16.60] spk_1:
I’m

[00:05:35.54] spk_0:
listening. I’m listening channel. I’m channeling listeners. They’re gonna say, wait, great recession. That was many years. Alright. We know we know what you meant. Alright. So Zanny, why don’t you why don’t you kick us off? We got 10 things people are supposed to know nonprofit leaders are supposed to know. So let me ask you before we kick off with our our list. Is this specifically the C the C. E. O. Are we, are we at that level? You know, listeners here are small and midsize nonprofits. So that could be like one or two people up to. I mean 100 or 250 employees could be a midsize nonprofit. Are we in the meat with this? We’re talking about nonprofit leaders. I assume we are.

[00:05:57.71] spk_1:
I

[00:05:57.89] spk_2:
actually think that this information can be for any leader that is self designated or you know, does hold one of those executive positions. I think what we share in this presentation is really about making sure everyone is on the same page across the entire organization. So it’s really for anyone,

[00:06:28.03] spk_0:
uh, with, uh, okay. But we don’t want our Ceo and other other C suite executives ignoring these things. Certainly.

[00:06:30.92] spk_2:
No. Okay.

[00:06:32.33] spk_0:
Okay. All right. So why don’t you kick us off? What’s uh, what’s your

[00:06:37.25] spk_2:
first one is definitely benchmarks and metrics and making sure that you have defined expectations about what those are and how they fit with your organization and I’ll actually pass this one over to Tasha because this is definitely her area of expertise as the C. P. A expert.

[00:07:54.23] spk_1:
Yeah, sure. Uh, so really what we mean by defining benchmarks? Oftentimes, what we see is that not just the tactical work of bookkeeping and accounting is delegated to one individual, but almost the full financial management and responsibility. Understanding how much money is in the bank account. Are we receiving the funding that we thought we were, Are we utilizing the contracts that we’ve committed to our to our funders? Really high level, even where we are with our fundraising goals. And I’ve personally been someone that kind of delegated that responsibility and financial oversight. And I just think it’s imperative whether you’re a for profit business and non profit business at the end of the day, it’s a tax designation. It’s not just because you’re a nonprofit, you should not be delegating full financial ownership and responsibility of your organization to one single person. This is really where that leadership at the ceo level or executive director level, there needs to be some understanding of what your benchmarks are. What are you trying to measure in the holding people accountable to it? And I’ve seen so often where the accountant or the bookkeeper is delegated the responsibility of the budget and they might be doing the bookkeeping in the reconciliations and all that. But is anybody really looking at that budget and holding anybody accountable to it? So what we’re really encouraging is that the leader, you need to understand where things are and what expectations do you have? What processes do you have in place to make sure that you’re moving in the right direction? So

[00:08:19.70] spk_0:
following the budget doesn’t belong with the bookkeeper.

[00:08:23.50] spk_1:
The

[00:08:23.97] spk_0:
bookkeeper does the work.

[00:08:49.29] spk_1:
Yes, the bookkeeper prepares the reports, diving into Why is this off from what we expected? That is joint ownership, frankly, in my opinion, from from the individuals that are charged with that. So your program team, maybe your fundraising team. And I recognize we’re talking with small to middle size at a minimum. The Ceo is looking at this or the executive director and so often times I see uh leadership teams that are just delegating that responsibility and they’re not really immersing themselves in the financial management, the way that I think they should

[00:09:00.00] spk_0:
be alright. You didn’t have to, you know, you two don’t have to go in sequence. You could have picked one that you’re, that you’re an expert on. You know, you don’t have to do it the same sequence. You did it in your in your in your seminar. Alright.

[00:09:13.07] spk_2:
Well, I definitely wanted to make sure Tasha kind of came from the C P a standpoint,

[00:09:18.39] spk_0:
you know, make

[00:09:21.36] spk_2:
sure they all knew, Yeah,

[00:09:22.75] spk_0:
she’s the charity. CFO so

[00:09:24.30] spk_2:
she knows what she’s talking

[00:09:26.01] spk_0:
about

[00:10:08.64] spk_2:
and I have to say I come from the small nonprofit side. So we have a mighty team of three full time and one part time person. So we are, you know, definitely representative of some of the groups that are probably listening. So and these are all things, these are all things that we have learned through working with Tasha that um are very important and we went through a transition and planning and uh had a transition in leadership which then created a transition into changing our bookkeeper um to the charity CFO. So we went through a lot of what we’re talking about in terms of the the sort of scarier situations of how did we get ourselves in this situation? What does this all mean? Where all the, you know, how do we get everybody on the same page? So we definitely learned our lessons.

[00:10:21.81] spk_0:
Let pick one that you are familiar with that you can talk about what’s next.

[00:11:23.37] spk_2:
Yeah, let me take a look. So I know that so kind of speaking about like getting into a sticky situation or number four is I would have understand my compliance needs. And I think that when you do like Tasha was saying, when you have those government funders or even really complicated funding grants from foundations, sometimes they require progress reports, they require year end um reports that can be really calm complicated to do at the last minute and they can be really complicated if you have not set yourself up for success at the very beginning. And so one of the things that we sort of have said is that you really need to take a look at what the grant is requesting from you when they’re, when you’re in that grant search process. And before you apply or maybe right after you apply, making sure that you’ve got things set up with your accountant and things set up in your chart of accounts to make sure that when you’re going through and processing and actually spending money related to these grants, you’ve got everything in place, you know, from the onset, so that it makes it a lot easier to pull those reports and to get that information instead of scrambling and going through, you know, a year’s worth of credit card receipts.

[00:11:50.57] spk_0:
Yeah.

[00:11:53.20] spk_2:
Mentioned

[00:12:17.33] spk_0:
compliance. And there’s, there’s state state laws also depending on what state you’re in. You know, there are, there are the laws that you have to be registered in each state where you solicit donations, that whole charity registration morass that I used to have as part of my practice. Um, you know, keeping keeping track of that. Um, there, there could be, uh, other, I mean, there are federal, there are federal rules that have to stay in compliance with, so there’s, there’s a lot, there’s a lot in that word, compliance.

[00:12:35.20] spk_2:
Yeah, exactly. It’s not just the funding that you get, it’s making sure that, you know, the things that you’re doing are following the law all year, not just when someone comes knocking

[00:12:43.02] spk_0:
and and Tasha, these often come up in audits right? They’ll be they’ll be uh I forget with the technical terms, but they’ll be like memo items in uh report items in an audit that you know, you’re not in compliance with something here. Things like

[00:14:10.94] spk_1:
that. Yeah, findings. And what’s really interesting. I have a funny story when so I used to be a CFO of a non profit organization and we had 14 different government contracts that were a little larger probably than maybe an average listener. We’re about, you know, 6 to 8 million a year. And uh that’s that’s that’s to me that seems large because so many organizations are much smaller than that. But really that’s not huge and what’s really, we went through every single one of our program contracts and wrote down all of the things we’re responsible reporting out to them. So not just on the financial compliance side but also like program outcomes and those sort of things. Anyway, we had five pages front and back on an Excel spreadsheet when we printed it out was five pages, front and back of all of the things that we were responsible for reporting out to someone. And so the more more complex your funding gets, whether it’s multiple foundations or government funding sources. When we hear the word audit. I think we think at the end of the year we have a C. P. A firm that comes in and does an audit. But oftentimes what people don’t realize that you may have multiple audits or inspections or reviews or whatever word you want to use for the same funding, right? You might get um, you know, kind of beat up at a local level through some pass through fun. Then you might have that sourced through the feds and then the feds might come in and do an audit, right? And then your auditors that come in at the end of the year that you hire will also do an audit. So I think that sometimes I’ve seen our clients not necessarily read the fine print of those grant agreements to know what they’re going to be responsible for doing and what frequency. So they find themselves kind of working reactively and scrambling to get that stuff.

[00:15:57.46] spk_0:
It’s time for a break. Turn to communications media relationships and thought leadership. You need one to get the other. You got to have the media relationships. So you get exposure and become the thought leader. Turn to will help you build those relationships. They’re former journalists themselves. And by the way, as you’re getting that exposure, they’ll help you craft your messaging. You get the increased exposure. You’re seen as a thought leader in your field. The thought Leader, the thought leader in your field, they can make it happen. Turn to communications, your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. Now back to accounting for nonprofit leaders. You wanna know as any said, you want to know ahead of time what the requirements are. First to make sure that you can comply with them. You have the infrastructure either internally or or through a provider to do it, you know, and if it’s if it’s beyond you, then that that’s not a grant that you should be applying for because you can’t keep up with the I mean the money may look nice, but you can’t keep up with the back end requirements and you’re gonna end up in a bad situation. Okay.

[00:15:58.93] spk_1:
Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:16:00.26] spk_2:
Absolutely. No.

[00:16:01.56] spk_0:
In advance. I’m sure this especially applies to a government, a government agency. Yeah.

[00:16:07.28] spk_1:
And that’s funny. We we talked about that a little bit in our session just because there’s money available may not be a good deal. Just what you’re doing, not just the infrastructure. Um, there’s a lot of considerations where it might make sense for an organization to not accept funding. Um, it just doesn’t make sense. And asking ourselves those hard questions before we just

[00:16:25.90] spk_0:
before, Yeah. Look, look closely at what your obligations, your responsibilities are gonna be. All right. All right, well, let’s stay with you, Tasha. Why don’t you give us another another thing. Leadership should know about.

[00:17:33.03] spk_1:
Alright. I think another thing that leaders don’t always realize again, because most leaders of nonprofit organizations, they don’t come from the financial business management side of the biz right? Oftentimes you’ll see leaders that maybe come from the programmatic side of things. Um, and that’s fantastic for a lot of reasons. But what I think some people default to hearing, well this just can’t be done or this financial report can’t be created in the way that you want. And I really encourage leaders of organizations again, to define those expectations of what they’re looking for and ask their account to develop tools that help them measure if we’re on track or not. And this is usually by way of financial reports. And I hear this all the time. Tasha, you know, I get the standard set of financial reports from my accountants. It doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t make sense to my board. We don’t know where we’re at, we don’t know which direction we’re heading and what I tell people all the time that financial reports, Yes, your auditors will require to look in this perfect box and it has to look exactly like that. But that’s for the outside world. Think about what your organization needs internally and create those measurements, those tools, those financial reports. That makes sense for you internally. So that you can make business decisions based upon that and what a lot of people don’t realize.

[00:17:52.75] spk_2:
We

[00:18:53.12] spk_1:
Have over 150 clients. Probably many, if not all of them have some level of customization to their reports. So they need to get reports that make sense to them, not already nonprofits have to have the same internal financial statements. In fact, you shouldn’t have the same internal financial statements and start asking yourself what do you need to see? So I’ll give you an example. I have one organization that was really, really cash strapped. They had all the revenue sources in place. They could not understand why are we cash poor, Why do we not have any money? And the reality. After a quick look at some of the financial reports, I realized they were building their funders but they were never collecting them. There were some issues with the quality of their invoicing and some problems they weren’t troubleshooting and poor training and just some other issues that are actually pretty easily fixed. But going forward once we were able to get caught up on that building, the ceo want to make sure that never happened again. So she wanted to make sure she got a detailed listing of what invoices were still outstanding because she started understanding the, the, the timing of when payments were expected to come in and once things started to go off track

[00:18:59.15] spk_0:
basically

[00:18:59.70] spk_1:
immediately, basically

[00:19:01.09] spk_0:
talking about tracking your accounts payable.

[00:19:02.88] spk_1:
Yeah, accounts receivable in this case or payable

[00:19:14.25] spk_0:
receivable? Your receivables? Yeah. I took, I took accounting for poets in college. So I do remember that, um, assets equal liabilities plus owner equity. Is that still true?

[00:19:19.74] spk_1:
That is true.

[00:19:20.97] spk_0:
Axiom still still valid. Like a law of physics doesn’t change. Okay.

[00:19:25.52] spk_1:
In the nonprofit world, we say we don’t have equity because there’s no ownership. But the concept is still the same. We called net assets in the nonprofit world, but the concept is still the same

[00:19:34.74] spk_0:
assets equals net assets. Oh no, we

[00:19:37.60] spk_1:
called the net assets. Yeah.

[00:19:39.61] spk_0:
But the other side is assets, assets equals net assets.

[00:19:43.54] spk_1:
You could do assets minus liabilities equal net assets or assets, you know, equal, you know, however you want to do the algebra of the formula, you could say in multiple different ways. But um, yeah, we say assets minus liabilities equals net assets, but

[00:19:58.75] spk_0:
assets, my stuff, that makes sense to me, assets. Everything you have minus what you owe your liabilities, which I know, I know I’m grossly oversimplifying by when I said what? You know, but again, I took accounting for poets. So you’ll have to excuse that. I’m trainable. I guess I wasn’t, uh, yeah, equals your net assets. Right. Everything you have minus what you owe is is the net

[00:20:21.20] spk_1:
okay.

[00:20:22.47] spk_0:
We don’t have to go any deeper than that. We shouldn’t.

[00:20:24.85] spk_1:
No one wants to hear that. But

[00:20:26.63] spk_0:
Not profit leaders should not profit leaders should, I’m not a nonprofit leader. So I’m not, I’m not on the hook for this. Alright. Um, name another one. Somebody. Somebody throw out another another top 10.

[00:21:32.17] spk_2:
Well, I think, um, following up to sort of, what Tasha was already saying is that you can have all those in place, but if you don’t have anyone, um, doing checks and balances or even around to take over key processes. If someone goes or if someone’s out on vacation, that’s a really major risk. You know, we were in the training or the workshop last week and a lot of people really resonated with this, you know, don’t burn out the one person you have on your team who knows how to do payroll? Who knows how to do vendor payments? Who knows how to do the bank deposits. There can’t be just one person on your team who knows how to do all these things. There needs to be some, you know, some thought to succession planning. Some thought too. Um,

[00:21:32.59] spk_0:
or not even not even succession planning, just like you said vacation.

[00:21:36.04] spk_2:
Yeah, just process documentation.

[00:21:38.00] spk_0:
You know, we got somebody goes out on maternity leave. We still have to process, we still have to process vendor purchase orders.

[00:21:52.11] spk_2:
Yeah, we had someone chat in the comments saying I’m going out on maternity leave, but I still have to process payroll, which is not

[00:21:53.91] spk_0:
great.

[00:22:14.59] spk_2:
That’s not great for your staff’s morale. So definitely just making sure you’ve got some of those basic processes written down, trained, um, cross trained with different people and having backups in place so that people can take a break and people can, you know, not have that looming over their head when they’re supposed to be on maternity leave

[00:22:20.03] spk_0:
or, or

[00:22:21.18] spk_2:
family leave, you know, it’s not sustainable.

[00:22:37.49] spk_0:
Um, I have seen that too, in, in uh, clients that I’ve worked with. I do plan giving fundraising. Um, and you know, we have, we need vendor, we have vendors, there might be, there’s, uh, you know, there’s a company that that manages the soft that provides the software for playing giving calculations. Well that purchase order has to be paid. You know, my purchase order has to be

[00:22:49.87] spk_2:
paid. It

[00:22:51.37] spk_0:
seems sometimes to be one person who can do it and we’re all, we’re all screwed if that person is busy or away or whatever. Alright, let’s stick with you. Give us another one.

[00:23:26.25] spk_2:
Sure. Another thing that you brought up was having the right software to use. So, um, you know, we found when we were in our sort of leadership transition in our, uh, you know, transition between bookkeepers. We just had someone who was, you know, taking our information and then,

[00:23:27.07] spk_0:
you know,

[00:23:27.81] spk_2:
kind of piecemeal putting it together, like looking at the paper receipts, looking at this and really it’s just not sustainable long term to do that. And there are so many options with technology

[00:23:38.44] spk_0:
now to

[00:23:39.84] spk_2:
really make the transition easier. And a lot of nonprofits do qualify for

[00:23:46.85] spk_0:
discounts

[00:24:08.43] spk_2:
for some of these larger tech companies, they have a lot of for profit people using their services. So they, most of the time will have a nonprofit discount or even offer their their software for free. And really it just becomes a matter of making sure that the people in your organization are up to speed. And um, I think Tasha had an incredible case study that she shared about what, how she saw this kind of go sideways um, in her own practice. Okay,

[00:24:35.66] spk_0:
Natasha before you tell that story, aren’t there? There’s also scores of smaller companies that are devoted to nonprofit financial management we through the years. And non profit radio I’ve had one or maybe two of them as sponsors. You know, there they’ll say that, you know, quickbooks is basically they’re they’re, they’re thinking is Quickbooks is not made for non profits. You have to be able to do fund accounting and things and you know, so we’ve got, we’ve got the software solution that’s an accounting financial management devoted to non profits. You don’t have to modify Quickbooks or Intuit or something. Or maybe intuit’s Quickbooks, I don’t even know.

[00:24:58.47] spk_2:
But

[00:25:03.05] spk_0:
counting for poets, but you know, um, so you don’t have to use these major companies that there’s smaller, smaller apps devoted to nonprofit financial management. Right?

[00:26:34.72] spk_1:
That’s right. That’s right. And it’s funny, I was gonna talk a little bit about that because I think that there are a lot of organization accountants that will say nonprofit accounting is super special and we have to have everything special. Um, and I, I don’t disagree with that completely. But the challenge is it creates a, it creates barriers for nonprofit organizations to be able to um work with some of these providers, especially if the proprietor like proprietary software or things of this nature, What I try to do with our clients is create software solutions that can work with nonprofits have a really low cost point price point on those things. And more importantly, the software is very user friendly. There’s a lot of free training resources. So we actually use Quickbooks. I’m not being paid to say that I have no formal partnership with Quickbooks, but I like the software because if they needed to bring their accounting back in house when working with us, they could find bookkeepers or accountants that have experience with with Quickbooks. And so sometimes I think it’s a matter of preference. I say as an account that has my own preferences for how I like to do things. I think it’s, I can say that, but what I think is um important for nonprofits to understand what technology is available out there to Sandy’s point and how can they use that to alleviate some of the manual um time consuming task going back to not burning out your one person that does everything. If you can find ways to autumn streamline that they can maybe focus on bigger value added work or just simply take a breather or focus on work that feeds their soul a little bit more than just doing data entry into the accounting. So

[00:26:50.44] spk_0:
Okay, Zanny said you have a story well

[00:26:51.15] spk_1:
in this particular case. Sure. Yeah, sure. So

[00:26:54.90] spk_0:
speaking

[00:26:55.97] spk_1:
of tedious work that burns people out and it’s very time consuming. So I started working with an organization way way back many, many years ago and

[00:27:04.76] spk_0:
they, this is not, this is not a story about.

[00:27:07.30] spk_2:
No not

[00:27:12.05] spk_0:
but it’s not okay.

[00:27:14.12] spk_1:
No I have a friend. No it’s

[00:27:15.73] spk_0:
not. Yeah

[00:29:06.76] spk_1:
exactly. No it’s about software and how software can change how we do things. So I started working with an organization which actually is now a client of ours um in a very contract away a few years ago and we realized that they were heavy credit card users, credit cards are debating the existence of all accountants out there for every nonprofit. I promised you can quote me on that. I’m sure. Uh And the problem is that there’s not a good system for collecting the receipts, it’s very manual. Um You have got a copy, you gotta scan, you got a code, you got to get into all the people. Anyway, they have about 20 credit cards that have hundreds if not thousands of transactions a month. The accountant, the finance director um is they hired that person for that high level skill analysis, Financial thought leadership. That person was spending a good week of her month. So 25% of her working days, reconciling and tracking down all of these hundreds of receipt if not thousands depending on the time of the year. And one of the things that we immediately realized this person actually left the organization and the organization was left scrambling trying to replace it. And one of the things we realized immediately, we could save a lot of time. If we just have software, your team is already making copies of the recedes, forwarding it to the account, the account has to use all these Softwares to stamp it with electronic approvals and all that. We could replace that whole manual back and forth email flurry of system with the software, like many of nonprofits out there now use things like expensive fi or dext or or something like this where the user of the credit card actually just takes an image identifies what type of expense it is if it’s designated to a specific funder, um, if it’s restricted or not and then submits it off to the accountant and the accountant just matches them up with what’s actually ending the bank account. So this whole flurry of hundreds and hundreds of unnecessary emails, all of this monotonous detailed work that you’re bogging your accountant down with. Um, now has freed up their time to be able to do other things. In this case, it actually saved them cost because we don’t have to do that much work and it’s not as labor intensive, but if you did have somebody in house that you wanted them to focus on higher value work that that’s more valuable to the organization. You can use technology to do that sort of thing. So I’ll echo what Danny had said.

[00:30:27.33] spk_0:
It’s time for a break. Fourth dimension technologies. The free offer. It’s still out there exclusively for nonprofit radio listeners, complimentary 24 7 monitoring of your I. T. Assets for three months. They’ll monitor your servers, network and cloud performance, they’ll monitor your backup performance all 24 7. If there are any issues, they’ll let you know ASAP and you will get a comprehensive report on how you’re doing at the end of the three month monitoring. And they’re gonna throw in a few surprise offers as well. It’s complimentary, it’s on the listener landing page, tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant mention deeper. Let’s return to accounting for nonprofit leaders. Tasha, name those couple of resources that folks could look at again.

[00:31:03.46] spk_1:
So again, I like kind of uh out of the box like package is really easy to use expensive. Fi is a really popular one. Um dext formerly known as receipt bank is one. So those are two that work really well with Quickbooks are very user friendly. Um, you can have your people that use credit cards a lot of times they’ll have like apps on their smartphones and so they just take a picture of it while they’re out spending, you know, the money rather than worrying about lost receipts and things like that. So those are two really common ones that are again, really low price point and easy to implement. Easy to use

[00:31:09.49] spk_0:
is dexter D. E. X.

[00:31:11.25] spk_1:
T. That’s right, yep.

[00:31:12.88] spk_0:
Okay. And expense if I. Okay. Yeah. Alright let’s stay with you. Tasha give us another, we’re halfway through our list by the way I’ve been keeping track,

[00:31:22.99] spk_1:
we’re not combining any of these.

[00:31:24.99] spk_0:
Alright if we end up as long as

[00:31:26.49] spk_1:
well we’ll tell you when we run out,

[00:31:29.94] spk_0:
as long as we cover the content. You know it doesn’t we end up doing them uh 10 things but we ate you know ate under eight topics as long as as long as you’re not holding back on non profit radio listeners that

[00:31:39.14] spk_1:
we’re not holding.

[00:31:40.16] spk_0:
That’s my concern. That’s my audit. That is my benchmark. Is that the content is there doesn’t have to be under 10 distinct rubrics. But we have done five anyway. Alright.

[00:34:04.12] spk_1:
Okay so the next one I would say uh that uh nonprofits don’t necessarily realize that there’s not a one size fits all with accountants. And I think I realized this when I started hiring my own accountants and staffing um the work as the charity CFO for on behalf of our other clients. And what do I mean by this like any profession accountants and their experiences, skills and expertise vary. So I kind of divide up in this 80 20. Roll the infamous 80 20 rule 80% of accounting is very transactional input output. You need somebody that’s very good at attention to detail, very consistent, very reliable thrives and routine. They like doing the same things over and over again. There are a lot of accountants out there like that. Um They do a great job Then there’s like the 20% of accounting, that’s the creative accounting but not you know, go to jail creative accounting. I’m talking moving the needle with the organization, building better budgets, building financial models, really thinking how we can implement best practices or re imagining what our accounting function can look like implementing software. For example these are the visionaries. If you will, you can probably guess which one of those I am. I find that most organizations, all organizations need both of those skill sets, the challenge is oftentimes, although the label on the title on the resume or the job is accountant or CFO or controller or whatever, but the reality is there’s two different types of accountants. Now, some people could try to do both but that’s not where their skill set is. So if you took someone like me a 20% and you put me in a job where 80% of my time is doing, you know, detailed work on routine tasks. I’m not gonna stick around for a long time, I want to do things that feed my soul and on the flip side if you take a more transactional tactical accountant, that’s really good and you expect them to solve all of your financial world problems, you’re probably not going to get as far as you would hope. And I think that many organizations think that they could hire an accountant to do all of those things and and I think that that’s not realistic and that’s why we see some turnover in these roles um or organizations struggle with, I just need somebody that does both of these things. And I don’t think people really realize that accountants are not all the same. And so many organizations, money is not such an abundance that we can just both of those accountants.

[00:34:13.35] spk_0:
So

[00:35:27.46] spk_1:
a lot of nonprofits have to decide what’s most important. How can I get both of those um Accounting needs met tactical detail because that’s 80% of the work, you know keep the wheels turning and the bills paid. Um and but how can I also get that financial thought leadership that I’m looking for. So what I’ve seen in some cases that organizations will maybe higher and operate person, I just did a podcast the other day saying like nonprofits are quitting their accountant and what I meant by that is non profits are moving um similar to Danny actually probably speak better to this than I organizations are moving to more of an operations person that’s kind of the hub and spoke and they’re outsourcing outsourcing some of that technical work right? Maybe it’s hr maybe it’s accounting, maybe it’s I. T. But you still have somebody that can maybe do some of the tactical work because they’re on the front lines. They’re interacting with the staff in a more significant way. Or maybe they’re outsourcing that financial thought leadership. Or maybe they have a financial thought leadership in house but they’re using some other staff people to help do some of the bookkeeping. So that again you keep people doing what they do best um and creating work that’s meaningful for them. So not all accounts are created the same.

[00:35:31.32] spk_0:
Not all made the same

[00:35:32.19] spk_1:
as the biggest takeaway.

[00:35:33.35] spk_0:
Alright. Um I have to ask though, are there any accountants who would say I’m in the 80%?

[00:35:39.97] spk_1:
Absolutely.

[00:35:41.15] spk_0:
I’ve got a whole team.

[00:35:42.20] spk_1:
Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny because I have 32 employees and I would say probably 70% of my staff falls into that and we need to make sure that people see a path that they can take on additional responsibilities but not so much that they’re gonna be overwhelmed. Um

[00:35:59.67] spk_0:
I thought maybe all accountants think they’re in the creative,

[00:36:03.16] spk_1:
definitely not.

[00:36:06.28] spk_0:
Not that they actually are but that they think they are. It’s it’s a self image question.

[00:36:10.31] spk_1:
Well that’s a great point. I sometimes think as accountants are known to have maybe inflated egos of herself. If I dare to

[00:36:20.20] spk_0:
say. All right. That’s that’s where it was coming. That’s where I was coming

[00:36:22.06] spk_1:
from not

[00:36:23.07] spk_0:
where they are but where they think they are. All right, well, we’ll uh we’ll concede that you’re definitely in the 20% because you you can’t run a company called the charity CFO if if you’re if you’re not be the otherwise you’d be the charity bookkeeper,

[00:36:37.98] spk_2:
you’re

[00:36:39.11] spk_0:
not the charity bookkeeper. Alright. Um Danny, you want to contribute something.

[00:38:53.16] spk_2:
Yeah. So, you know, as Tasha was talking and and sort of talking about how, you know, technology needs. Like everyone can just use decks to take a picture and know what account to send it to and have everything all easy peasy kind of ready to go and like technology takes care of it, blah blah blah. Well, you can really get yourself into trouble if you don’t actually know what the structure of your accounting system is. So let’s say you have a program person who is using dext or even just you know, trying to code something on their receipt to share with their accountant. But they put the wrong chart of accounts. Well, the accountants just gonna do what the person told them to do. Say, okay, it’s in this one you told me to put it in there. Um And you don’t want them to be creative with that. You want the budget to match the chart of accounts. You want the chart of accounts and all of the expenses to go to the right place. But you don’t really know if that’s going to happen correctly. If you don’t train the people on the ground making the expenses sending in receipts if they don’t have the right information and you’re not kind of sharing that widely and having everyone understand with the chart of just the very basic things are and what, how to code things for your accountant. You’re really gonna get way off by the end of the year, you’re gonna, it doesn’t matter what fancy technology you have or if you have a 20% or 80% accountant, they’re doing what you’ve asked them to do. And so making sure that you’ve kind of got everybody buttoned up and, and learning what the basics are for your chart of accounts. And there’s not gonna be uh, one size fits all, like list of chart of account for every organization. That’s definitely something that comes out of programming comes out of requirements from your funders, It’s all related to your specific business. So we definitely went through some growing pains as we transitioned and had to essentially redo a lot of our chart of accounts because we realized our accountant that we had previously was sort of getting a little creative about which we didn’t provide any direction. And so they got creative on each month where these different same expense was going in a different chart. And so you have to sort of figure out how to unravel that. And then if it gets too far down the line, it’s really hard to do, it takes

[00:39:22.55] spk_0:
a lot, I don’t I don’t quite understand this one that you have to, you have to, so so you can educate me the way we were all supposed to educate the people who are spending the money when you say the chart of accounts, what why? I don’t understand why this is to everybody who’s out spending money, like you said, share the structure of your accounting system with widely, I don’t I don’t see what why that’s important.

[00:40:27.22] spk_2:
So let’s say, I mean I do this on a regular basis, so this is sort of my job is to make sure everyone in our organization knows what’s going on and how things code correctly. So, you know, let’s say at the beginning of the year, we’ve coded our organization provides professional development training, leadership training and um does some consulting work related to that as well. So we take a lot of our programming and we’ll bring it in house to people. So those are two different things. We have workshops that are open to the public and we have specialized consulting work that we do. So let’s say we have a consultant or a facilitator that we’ve hired to do a workshop. Well we’ve got a different chart of accounts essentially for saying how to split that consultants time. So we have one bucket that says, oh this is our consulting expense. But if you just put it in there and say, oh that’s a consulting expense or you know, this is a hired outside facilitator that we’ve brought in. But we don’t say whether it was for our workshops or for the, you know, the on site consulting specialized work that we’ve been contractually obligated to do with an organization.

[00:40:47.28] spk_0:
How

[00:40:48.49] spk_2:
are you going to know how much you spent

[00:40:50.86] spk_0:
for

[00:41:12.37] spk_2:
each of those different program types? So you really can have, and we have the same facilitators and they do different types of work for us at at all times, but we want to know at the end of the year what was our expense for our consulting work? What was our expense for our workshops and things like that? So we have to be very deliberate and understand when someone’s sending in an invoice or sending in a receipt that they’ve sort of coded that correctly.

[00:41:50.67] spk_0:
Okay, so it’s all a matter of like allocation to the right allocation to the right uh budget line or or general program area. The way you’re describing, you know, you have to you have two distinct areas, You are Alright, so allocating expenses and revenue, obviously two to the right, you know, not just that, it’s it’s just not generic revenue, but, you know, because at the end of the year we want to know what our expenses and our revenues are like in across. Well, in your example, you know, on both sides of the work that you’re doing, right? The public workshops and also the private consulting,

[00:41:58.74] spk_2:
right? Yeah. And so that can be really complicated if you let it sort of go down the wrong path. But you’ve got one of those really complicated federal funding grants and you’re not supposed to allocated a certain amount to this program. It’s really supposed to go to this program. Um,

[00:42:16.88] spk_0:
and

[00:42:17.10] spk_2:
you can kind of, you know, can be a lot of a bigger process to undo later on.

[00:42:22.88] spk_0:
Right, do it right the first time instead of trying to do forensic accounting to try to figure

[00:42:27.65] spk_1:
out. So

[00:42:28.76] spk_2:
it’s important for people who are, who are sending in those, you know, those pictures of their receipts on decks or expense. If I too have coded it correctly, before they send it to the accountant to make sure that they understand what account it’s supposed to go into or come out of.

[00:45:01.97] spk_0:
Okay, very helpful. Thank you. It’s time for Tony Take two. I’ll be on a panel endowment excitement, fundraising and management end quote. So where are you with your endowment? Do you have an endowment? You might be at zero or maybe you have a mid size middling endowment or you’ve got a vast endowment. The other three folks will be able to help you with endowment management principles. You probably don’t have a vast endowment. I bet there aren’t too many listeners who have vast endowments, but for the outliers, there’s something for you in this panel as well, for the vast majority of folks, no endowment or teensy weensy, itsy bitsy endowment or something in the middle. I’ll be doing the planned giving fundraising part of endowment excitement, fundraising and management. I’ll be the fundraising part. Talk about how planned giving is enormously valuable for endowment starting or endowment building. The other three folks there, the smart folks in endowment management. So we got the fundraising, we got the management doesn’t matter where you are in your endowment status capacity robustness, if you like. There’s something for you. It’s August 25 at noon eastern time. Oh and I should say we are sponsored graciously by an ex unite. Thank you and next unite. So to make your reservation, you go to N X unite dot com and you click webinars and panels and if you can’t join us on august 25th at noon, sign up and you’ll get the video. Of course it’s 2022 naturally. So I hope you’ll be with us either live or archive. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo but loads more time for accounting for nonprofit leaders with Tasha Anderson and Zanny Miranda. Tasha. Your turn. You wanna, you wanna contribute.

[00:45:49.01] spk_1:
Yeah, yeah, I’ll contribute a little bit more to that one. But to kind of sum it up for me what I tell people. There’s usually a lot of frustration. I don’t understand my accounting and I usually tell people, it’s not that you’re using quickbooks and quickbooks is not sophisticated enough. It’s that it’s not set up the right way and then the user that’s using it is limited. And what I tell people kind of garbage and not that the work is entirely wrong. Right? It’s accurate. The dollar amounts accurate, the vendor is accurate, but if it’s not in put a certain way, then you’re not gonna be able to get reports out a certain way. So you kind of have to think more globally. Uh, you know, how do you want this to come out and then you have to understand the intricacies of the system in order to get the end result. So what Danny is referring to is just understanding high level, what is it that you want to see? How is that information can be put out and then making sure that the inputs are going in the right way so that you don’t have that forensic accounting that you mentioned trying to go back and figure that out. And so many organizations go through that forensic accounting exercise every time they have a simple report. Um, a simple report.

[00:46:17.39] spk_0:
Yeah, I’ve seen some of that. I know it’s it’s expensive. It’s, it’s time consuming. Didn’t have didn’t have to have been done badly to start with. All right. Let’s move on. Let’s move on,

[00:48:42.83] spk_1:
moving on. So the next one I would say, um, that nonprofit leader should share more about their financial information in their financial position with other people within the organization. And what do I mean by that? I kind of alluded to it earlier that I have been in situations where it’s just the Ceo and I carry the weight of the financial management, the financial, he’s right. And I’m not just talking like, oh my gosh, we have enough money to make payroll. I’m talking about being the person, the point person to explain to the board why we didn’t hit our fundraising goals, why our program contracts not fully utilized, why we were over underspending and salary expenses because we have vacancies in the various departments or what have you. Um, and that’s kind of what we’re talking about. It all kind of feeds together. So if we understand what those KPI S, those benchmarks, those metrics for measuring, we have an accounting structure in place to properly categorize and track these things, not just by thunder, but by department we customize our reporting in a way that’s meaningful. Maybe that that translates to creating a income statement or a financial report, a budget actual by department and then sharing with those that run those divisions of the business, their area of responsibility. That’s where I like to get to that the fundraising, you know, professional within the organization actually gets a periodic report. So they know what they spent in order to raise the money and where we’re at and what we expected them to do the same with the program team, same with anyone else that has that area of significant responsibility. And so often I see that again, the financial person and the ceo bear that responsibility and they end up being the money. Police, can I spend money for training? No, can I do that? It’s kind of crushing for morale a little bit that you have to police every dollar spent. And in a perfect world we would include all of these individuals in the budgeting process. Okay, fundraising department, what what do you need to spend this year? And how much honey are you bringing it? Same with the program team. You know, all of the different people involved. I like to get input from them. They give me their budgets on what they believe they need to spend to meet the outcomes and the objectives that they’ve laid out to do. So if that means we need to add another staff person, if that means we need to pay for more programs, supplies or go to a couple conferences, whatever it is. Um, let me know. So that when whenever you come and say, hey, can I, you know, attend this conference this year, I can then in return say was that in your budget and assuming the cash is available, people start owning their own things and there and we hold them accountable right,

[00:49:19.57] spk_0:
Right? Like delegating responsibility for the budget that you’re responsible for rather than rather than as you said, you know, having to ask, I mean you’re, you’re empowering folks, you’re educating them and empowering them to spend their budget responsibly. And obviously, you know, that’s part of performance review and, and, and through the benchmarks and the metrics that we talked about first, we’ll know whether you’re, whether you’re doing it accurately or

[00:49:26.46] spk_1:
not

[00:49:27.23] spk_0:
wisely or not. I guess it’s probably better than accurately, but Okay, Alright. So like delegating, delegating budget responsibility and accountability as well, of course.

[00:49:39.06] spk_1:
Alright, where’s

[00:49:43.20] spk_0:
the role of the board here, Tasha in should it just be a quarterly review of of the overall financial picture? Should it be every board meeting? Let’s take a board that meets, take a worst case scenario, a board that meets monthly. Do they need to see a monthly financial picture? Can it just be quarterly, semi annual? What, what do you think?

[00:52:09.36] spk_1:
Yeah, So that’s a great question. I think it kind of depends on the organization, uh, small struggling organization, I think probably needs more oversight than one. That’s pretty well figured it out and they’re pretty mature. I would say kind of best practices that you always provide financial reports at every board meeting. Um, maybe you don’t pour over it in a huge level of detail, but the reality of the fiduciary responsibility is up there with one of the top board responsibilities. So I personally would never recommend having a board meeting for which finances were not considered solely for that reason. Um, I will say a lot of the nuts and bolts of the oversight, the financial oversight. Oftentimes happens at the finance committee level. So oftentimes the finance committees will be reviewing more detailed reports on a monthly basis, asking whatever questions they need to ask, then, you know, usually a summarized version of that information is given to the overall board. I mean, we don’t definitely don’t want to spend board time discussing why we’re overspending and office supplies. Right? When we’re ignoring the, you know, the big elephant in the room on why we’re off of our fundraising projections by 50%. I think you had those conversations before. So we want to keep it really high level. Um, but the, the details get done at the finance committee level and the, um, the, the high level discussions happen at the board level. And I’ve seen the spectrum of some boards that are really involved in the financial management so much to say that it probably crosses the, uh, you know, some boundaries in terms of your role is oversight and not actually managing the organization. Um, and then I’ve seen some words that are probably too passive, uh, and will come back around once financially the organization starts struggling. And what I’ve seen that consistent, um, a consistent presence and a consistent accountability from the board. That’s what keeps organizations in a good place. I mean, if you just keep coming in and out once things start to get a little rocky may be having some consistency and some accountability will keep the pendulum swinging from one way to the other. So to answer your direct question, every board meeting I think should have a financial review. Um even if it’s only five minutes to just update everybody on, are we on track or we off track is usually what I like to tell people

[00:52:31.79] spk_0:
and it helps to have a finance committee that’s paying closer attention. If you’re, you know, if your board is has that expertise and and frankly is big enough, you know, a five person board may not, may not be big enough to have a finance committee and you don’t want to have just one person looking at it because that that’s a mistake. I think

[00:54:00.86] spk_1:
I want to say something to before we go into the last one, I don’t want to run out of time. But what I think is the most important thing cause I wanna, I wanna validate what you’re saying that not every board is big enough to have a finance committee. Um and not every board has an abundance of accountants lined up trying to join their board. I recognize that fact, what I think is really important, what I think what I like to do for our clients is to create the financial information um presented in such a way that they can have the board can ask questions and have fruitful conversation. What do I mean by that? Oftentimes they get all these really long reports with all these numbers. They don’t actually know what any of it means. And there’s this intimidation level where many board members just don’t feel comfortable asking questions out of fear of looking silly or uneducated. Right. And so what we do, we put together an executive summary. And so I would encourage anybody listening to have their account and create some sort of executive summary to give a narrative that explains the context or what’s really going on and more of a written format. Because if you just simply give financial reports, you’re gonna keep butting up against the same problem. So what I try to do is create a process that will drive conversations at the board level. So if we write, hey, we are off from our fundraising goals. This is a red flag or you know, maybe not in those exact alarming words, but they may not necessarily interpret that just by looking at the report. So, but if somebody read that, they could say, well, what are we going to do about fundraising?

[00:54:11.56] spk_0:
Right, context.

[00:54:14.57] spk_1:
Yes. Yes. And I think that that engages boards more to have some of those financial conversations. Um, so if that’s not being done, I would really recommend

[00:54:24.64] spk_0:
that. All right. Sandy, you have, we should be wrapping up with another one or two unless we combined or something. But as long as the content is there, you have, Do

[00:54:31.81] spk_2:
you think we combined a couple, particularly around succession planning and making sure you’ve got your processes in place? Because they’re sort of,

[00:54:39.89] spk_0:
we didn’t leave anything out there. Well,

[00:56:31.28] spk_2:
there’s one thing that I think Tasha was almost alluding to and if you if you’re answering yes to any of these questions, does my organization feel siloed? Are we not getting the right reports from my accountant as my program staff and development team, not communicating any of those details about what requirements are or when reports are due. If your board is sort of questioning things and they can’t figure out what’s happening if any of those things are happening, it’s really not your accounting, it’s your culture and so making sure that across the board accounting doesn’t just stop with the accounting team. It doesn’t just stop at the Ceo or the chief or executive level, I should say. You know, it’s really a team effort. Everyone in the organization, from the receptionist to the program staff to the board president, they all need to know maybe not every single detail of course, but they need to have a general picture and an idea of what is happening in the organization. And some people need to have more information than others. Like I would say, a program staff person needs to know very detailed information about their accounting as much or as the same amount. So they can have a great conversation with the accountant to make sure that they’re on track that they’ve got their budgets aligned and sort of creating a culture where you’re unsure what the other program team is making and how much money they have to work with versus how much you have. You know, why does my executive director keeps saying no to me spending money on these things that I think will boost morale or will actually get better outcomes for our program. What’s happening is that if those are questions that you’re having, it’s really time to examine what’s happening in your culture and maybe try to change some of that, um, sort of fear or change some of that mindset around sharing information about money,

[00:56:56.55] spk_0:
accounting may not be your problem. Maybe something deeper. Sometimes technology is blamed to the technology may not be the problem that maybe the culture in the organization Zanny where is nonprofit solutions and where are you? You may not be in the same place as

[00:57:46.31] spk_2:
I know. Now, now everyone can be everywhere. Of course we are based in SAn Diego. Uh, that is not our geographic limit though for nonprofit solutions. I also live in SAN Diego. Um, but we are online, so we do a lot of virtual workshops and trainings and we can also do our contractual work. Um, so if anyone wanted to hire us for leadership training and um, we do have a lot of management training for new managers. So that is all can be done virtually and we’re now that things are starting to get a little bit easier to to come together. We used to do everything in person and so now we’re slowly getting back to in person but I would say the majority of our work is virtual so we can really be anywhere in any time zone. What’s

[00:58:04.96] spk_0:
the website for nonprofit solutions?

[00:58:06.91] spk_2:
It’s N. P. Solutions dot org.

[00:58:11.39] spk_0:
Okay, Tasha, where where’s the charity CFO, wherever you are, That’s where the charity CFO is.

[00:58:27.72] spk_1:
That’s right. Well, our office, our headquarters and all of our team are based here in ST louis Missouri. So although we work remotely with our clients, our team is centered here in ST louis. We do have not Office, we collaborate here, however, um only about 30% of our clients are here in ST Louis, the rest are all over the country from coast to coast. So we work with clients all over the place in the United States

[00:58:38.12] spk_0:
and what’s what’s the website for charity? CFO,

[00:58:40.91] spk_1:
yep, it’s the charity CFO dot com.

[00:58:44.29] spk_0:
Okay, I love I love Missouri because I lived for five years in Warrensburg. Warrensburg where where Whiteman Air Force Base is,

[00:58:53.37] spk_1:
I

[00:59:03.01] spk_0:
was in the Air Force for five years. So I lived in Warrensburg, we used to spend more time in Kansas city because it was closer but we went to some ball games in ST louis. Okay. All right. Uh Tasha Anderson, founder and Ceo of the charity CFO and Zani Miranda Operations Manager at nonprofit solutions. Thank you very much. Thanks for each of you sharing. Thank you.

[00:59:19.83] spk_1:
Got

[00:59:22.92] spk_0:
a great balance between professional C P A. And the the practicing learning client who’s who’s got some significant accounting responsibility but not a C P A. I love the balance. Thank you

[00:59:32.47] spk_1:
very much. Thank

[00:59:33.73] spk_2:
you. Thanks

[01:00:48.65] spk_0:
to our listeners for being with tony-martignetti non profit radio coverage of 22 N. T. C. Thanks so much for being with us Next week. Our final 22. NTC show your tech problem is actually a people’s problem. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c. O. And by fourth dimension technologies. Their product is I. T. Infra in a box, the affordable tech solution for nonprofits, but they’ve got the free offer going on. So that is at tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant D just like three D. But they do want to mention deeper. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff shows social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott stein, Thank you for that. Affirmation Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95 go out and be great

Nonprofit Radio for August 15, 2022: Board Members Are People Too

 

Judy Levine: Board Members Are People Too

One size fits all rules may not make sense for your board, especially if you’re embracing diversity and equity in board membership. Our guest, Judy Levine, is a longtime board coach, trainer and consultant, and she leads Cause Effective.

 

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Every nonprofit struggles with these issues. Big nonprofits hire experts. The other 95% listen to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Trusted experts and leading thinkers join me each week to tackle the tough issues. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
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[00:01:23.53] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast and oh I’m glad you’re with me, I’d be forced to endure the pain of pseudo calista toma if I had to hear that you missed this week’s show board members are people to one size fits all rules may not make sense for your board, especially if you’re embracing diversity and equity in board membership. Our guest judy Levine is a longtime board coach, trainer and consultant and she leads cause effective Antonis take two endowment excitement. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. And by fourth dimension technologies i Tion for in a box. The affordable tech solution for nonprofits. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant D just like three D but they go one dimension deeper here is board members are people too.

[00:01:29.04] spk_1:
It’s a pleasure

[00:02:05.22] spk_0:
to welcome to non profit radio judy Levin She has been executive director of cause effective since 2006 and she has over 30 years experience as a nonprofit management advisor At cause effective since 1993. And as an independent consultant. She has trained and consulted with well over 1000 nonprofits on issues in fund diversification, donor engagement and board and organizational development. Cause effective is at cause effective and at cause effective dot org judy Welcome to nonprofit

[00:02:06.47] spk_1:
radio

[00:02:09.02] spk_0:
pleasure to have you, I’ve had your colleagues through the years Greg Cohen and Susan comfort who I know Susan is completely retired now and Greg is mostly retired now, but now we’re uh they’ve been sort of stepping stones to the top now. We have the executive director.

[00:02:27.11] spk_1:
Okay,

[00:02:28.12] spk_0:
Alright.

[00:02:30.21] spk_1:
I’m

[00:02:37.36] spk_0:
good. Okay. Um my my apologies. Susan comfort is someone else. Susan, Gabriel is who used to be

[00:02:43.00] spk_1:
at

[00:02:43.99] spk_0:
at cost

[00:02:45.01] spk_1:
effective

[00:03:06.63] spk_0:
Gabriel and and Greg Cohen. So um you’re concerned about equity on boards. Uh, but at the same time, you know, we’re trying to maintain standards but we want we want a diverse board standards don’t always apply to all the all the different cultures. We’re inviting in, help me set this up.

[00:04:46.22] spk_1:
Well there’s always a fear of the difference, the different and uh there’s also a fear of um acting inappropriately around the different and those two fears um sometimes stop a board from real honest, um an accurate reflection on what’s at the table and what’s the most appropriate way to support the organization’s mission. Um And especially, you know, ever since the racial reckoning of 2020 and the understanding on nonprofits parts that they needed to reckon with their own D. E. I. B. Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Um my sense is that that that happened that that reckoning has happened on a staff level at a different different pace than it’s happened on the board level and some of that has to do with fundraising and people’s fear that if they rock the boat, they will not have the fundraising return that they have now. Um, And I’m here to say two things. One is that there is plenty of, uh, salaried capacity in this country for people of color, although not as much, not as much wealth accumulation, certainly generational wealth accumulation. And that’s a very real factor. Um, so to think that you need to diversify your board that you need to reach into the client base, which may be true, but is not the only way to diversify your board from the, uh, the group. It has always been

[00:05:05.08] spk_0:
okay. That’s, that’s number

[00:05:39.72] spk_1:
one. The other is that, Yes, you may have to rethink the one size fits all package and that’s been a mantra in our boards is that everybody has to hold the same standard and we know that everybody is the stain standard and we don’t want double standards or triple standards. Um, I’m here to really help people rethink the idea of universal standards versus standards. That makes sense for where that person is coming from and what they can, what they can actually bring to the table if they do their best.

[00:06:17.02] spk_0:
Okay, let’s take the first of those because there’s, there’s an, there’s an assumption there that people of color are not gonna be able to meet our fundraising expectation. So we’re gonna have to, we’re gonna have to reduce our board giving to invite folks of color in. But that, that, that’s just unfair and unfair and racist you’re not, if you’re not finding these folks, then you’re not looking hard enough for people who do have the means, uh, to, to meet your, to meet your, your board expectation, your, your board fundraising expectations

[00:07:26.98] spk_1:
and, or you’re not looking, um, with the right messengers and, or you’re not understanding why your cause is going to be of deep personal interest just to a person of color. Um, all of those factors have to be there. Um, you can’t, you don’t ask anybody on the board, You don’t ask somebody on the board of an animal shelter. If they have no connection to animals, they don’t care about animals, you gotta look. Uh, so in the same way you have to understand, let’s put it this way. There are, there are legacy charities, um, the Urban League, um, you know, very, that, that there are huge fundraising machines that are people of color lead. Um, there’s a sense of the ownership that this is ours. Yeah, may not be in your board as currently constituted. That needs to be opened up.

[00:07:32.26] spk_0:
Yeah, that’s a, that’s a holding onto that’s holding onto power and structures and not allowing someone who looks different comes from a different background into our, our playground

[00:08:34.14] spk_1:
well, and it’s more than not allowing. It’s actually, um, it’s more than just a not doing, it’s something that you have to actually do do, um, is to understand, um, how who makes decisions. Is there an in group and out group? Is there a biding one’s time uh ethos um which doesn’t work well when you invite people of color on and then they have to buy their time and they’re the only ones that are biding their time. And yes, it might be historical that everybody else bathe their time years back, but people gonna lose, lose, you know, they lose patience. So it means that you have to do much more rapid um leadership development, onboarding and power sharing. Then your board may be used to.

[00:08:43.52] spk_0:
All right. I don’t want to derail what what what we were intending to talk about, but I just

[00:08:46.12] spk_1:
I think it’s,

[00:08:47.72] spk_0:
I mean, I think it’s important to point out the implicit bias that goes along with this, assuming that you’re gonna have to lower your standards basically. Just assuming you got to lower your standards if you have people of color in. I

[00:09:00.60] spk_1:
think it’s all of

[00:09:02.51] spk_0:
gross and erroneous.

[00:09:06.87] spk_1:
And board members, all board members need to be owners, not

[00:09:12.44] spk_0:
guests. Right. And yes, and not treated like guests. Alright. Alright. So one of the things you said is that um one size fits all

[00:09:21.36] spk_1:
is

[00:09:36.76] spk_0:
not, is not gonna be the right model necessarily. So what what’s what’s an alternative? So if we’ve got a, we’ve got a $15,000 annual give get bored requirement uh and and two thirds of it has to be from your personal, your your personal assets. So $10,000 from you and if you want to either give or get the other 5000, you have an option there, but you have to give at least $10,000 a

[00:11:27.90] spk_1:
year. One of the things that I talked about that took me, you know, frankly, you know, a while to understand is the role of generational wealth transfer in people’s capacity to have disposable income. So that um, you know, uh, often times white people come from there. They’re not coming from money money, but they’re coming from a position of um comfort. Um, and so they’re not necessarily carrying family members. They’re not, they’re not pulling their family out of poverty along with them. Oftentimes, certainly black people who are in a may make the same salary, but they are carrying people in their family. And so you can’t say, oh, this person makes X salary and that person makes X salary, therefore they have the same capacity. You only find this out by talking to and listening to someone and I universal give assumes universal capacity. And yes, we said, okay, this gives the floor and everybody should go over the floor. We all know that people rise to the floor. So the question is, is there a way to help this person get and to change that relationship and or is there what are we, what are what we are after on the board? Someone who is using their connections for the, to the extent for the organization’s behalf And what comes in is relative to those connections and that capacity,

[00:12:58.91] spk_0:
it’s time for a break. Turn to communications media relationships, you know, how important relationships are in all aspects of your work and, and personal side to the past couple weeks, I’ve been talking about fundraising, but relationships are everywhere that applies to the media as well. You want to get heard in the media, you want to be that thought leader that you know yet you are that that you know, that other folks ought to know you as it’s gonna happen through media relationships so that when you are calling the journalists are so much more responsive to picking up the phone that supplies to journalists, podcasters, bloggers, conference leaders, wherever you need to be known. Right turn to can help you build those relationships so that you get heard in the media outlets. When you need to be, they’ll help you with the relationships they know what to do. Turn to communications, your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. Now, back to board members are people too. Alright. So we need to, we need to get to know our board members. Uh, and you know, I understand your point. You know, some folks may very well be supporting helping other family members, not necessarily out of poverty, but I mean could be, but not necessarily out of poverty, but they’re they’re they’re helping other family members that aren’t doing as well as they

[00:13:16.31] spk_1:
are. And

[00:13:39.08] spk_0:
a lot of that can a lot of that can very well come from the lack of inter generational wealth through the generations at that. Uh, folks of color got screwed out of, essentially. Um Alright, so, alright, and I still want to go back to the fact that, you know that I don’t want to operate under the assumption that you have to lower standards just to invite folks of color fundraising fundraising standards. I don’t want to I don’t want to operate on the assumption that you have to lower standards.

[00:14:00.20] spk_1:
I’m

[00:14:00.94] spk_0:
trying to defeat that assumption.

[00:14:02.80] spk_1:
Okay,

[00:14:26.69] spk_0:
Okay. Um All right. So what about the uh, what about the pushback? Well, before we get to the pushback that you might hear from your white board members about we’ve been doing this for so long and it’s been fine for us. So why can’t it be okay for them before we get to that? What might what might some of this look like? What what kinds of what kinds of uh activities can can folks do if they if they can’t make the not able to meet the requirements. Are you, are you suggesting rewriting? Do we rewrite the

[00:14:37.01] spk_1:
the

[00:14:37.21] spk_0:
expectations for all board members

[00:14:39.05] spk_1:
or suggesting using that as a starting point? Not an ending

[00:14:42.32] spk_0:
point.

[00:15:08.52] spk_1:
That’s a starting point with each board member, um, about their, how it relates to them, to their assets, to their relationships to their circumstances. Um, and where, which areas they can go above and beyond in and which areas they need to pull back from and everybody’s gonna have a different answer to that, those equations. The fact is that they are, you know, I’ve been on board with very mixed income levels and the people who had the higher incomes understood that in order to have a board with mixed demographics, they had to do more weight bullying in the fun

[00:15:23.13] spk_0:
gathering,

[00:15:29.39] spk_1:
that, that was part of the value system was that it was not, if they wanted everybody equal, they would have everybody just like them. If the value system was to have different voices at the table, then the value system had to be that some people did more direct fundraising and direct giving and some people did more outreach and some people did more political converse, you know, conversations, etcetera.

[00:15:48.53] spk_0:
Okay,

[00:15:50.64] spk_1:
I

[00:15:50.79] spk_0:
want to make sure we want to be having these conversations with uh, these individual conversations with potential board members right before we’re in the recruitment process, before we invite someone to be on a board or before we accept someone to be on the board, we want to be investigating these things

[00:16:10.94] spk_1:
so

[00:16:12.03] spk_0:
that they know what to expect, so that they know what the expectations are and we know what we can

[00:16:47.56] spk_1:
expect. I, I, you know, having done a lot of board recruitment with nonprofits through the years, I would say two things, I think you have a before as your recruiting, you say, here’s the kinds of things that board members are expected to do. Um, and um, you know, how do these rest with you? Um, and you’ll find out some of them are scary. Some of them are, you know, oh, I couldn’t do that. Some of them are like, oh, this, I could definitely do that. I don’t know that. I would pin someone down to an exact um, prescription. You’re trying to get their temperature,

[00:16:49.39] spk_0:
but you

[00:17:17.83] spk_1:
know, it’s a courtship process. And so people go above and beyond what they thought they could do when they’re really excited by the mission and they’re given the tools they didn’t know they needed. So uh, in the courtship process, I would put this menu out and say, you know, how does this look to you, How could you see yourself in this? Um, but I wouldn’t take that as the last word because board service should be, people should be going into places that are not comfortable for them.

[00:17:21.63] spk_0:
And

[00:17:43.27] spk_1:
that’s partly the role of the board chair is to, is to live that by example is not just to be good at what they do, but to live by example. I tried this and this was, you know, I thought I was gonna throw up, but actually I didn’t throw up. I did really well at it. And then I tried that and I did throw up. So I, you know, somebody else will do that one from now on. Um, and so I want to be honest with people, but I don’t want to pin them down to something that are not being ready ready to be pinned to.

[00:17:51.29] spk_0:
But you make a good point about board bird service being a challenge. You do want, you do want folks, you’re you’re you’re leveraging the fact that they love your mission, your work, your values. They stand beside you with that in those ways. Um, You want them to to be challenged. You want board service to be meaningful? Yes.

[00:18:19.09] spk_1:
And you you want them to learn something from it because that’s part of what they get out of. It is not just a happy club, but that they’re gaining a different kind of sense of themselves of what they’re capable of,

[00:18:24.49] spk_0:
interesting, different sense of themselves, what they’re capable of. Yes, challenge. That’s the challenge. That’s the challenge. Go beyond comfort zone. Try this and see whether you throw up or

[00:18:35.40] spk_1:
not. Right? Kind of. But I mean, you need to try it with a lot of support and with the tools,

[00:18:42.18] spk_0:
yeah,

[00:18:42.95] spk_1:
throw somebody into the lion’s den.

[00:18:46.17] spk_0:
All right. What about the uh the pushback from white board members that, you know, we’ve we’ve been. This has always worked well for us. We’ve always had this very rigid uh uniform, giving everybody’s given the same through these years? What why why do we have to now? What’s the advantage? Why, why should we change now?

[00:19:09.91] spk_1:
Okay, so I need to be polite here. Um, you

[00:19:13.62] spk_0:
can be firm, you can be firm and realistic, you have to be

[00:19:16.04] spk_1:
polite counseling of white folks and I think it’s part of our job as white folks to help other white folks to a different place.

[00:19:22.57] spk_0:
Alright, so don’t be, don’t be soft on nonprofit radio listeners. I’ll admonish you don’t do

[00:20:31.72] spk_1:
That. Um, it’s 2022. We know stuff now is white folks that we didn’t, that we were able to be blind to for hundreds of years. Yes, and we don’t anymore. So there’s a moral obligation to act differently. Our non profit is is here for the public good. And it it we believe that to do that, we need to reflect the full spectrum of voices that is that public and or should be concerned with our mission. That means that we need to have a table that is really welcoming to all those voices that they’re not just here, but they’re actually, we’re gonna share the ownership of this mission. And that does mean that we need to pull apart the stuff that we’re comfortable with and that’s unspoken because it’s gonna be a mystery to somebody who doesn’t come from our background and it was already part of this

[00:20:40.51] spk_0:
and what’s the advantage to the organization, Let’s make it explicit, uh, to doing this?

[00:21:26.65] spk_1:
We are living our values in our governance and if we’re not that’s pretty um compromised. Um so one is congruence without organizational values and what we’re here to try and carry out. Um the second is sort of more robust conversation and decision making because there are different points of view at the table because it’s not people with it’s not an entire crew with the same assumptions and frankly you’ll have more interesting conversations. That will be a more interesting club to be part of. That’s not why to do it. But it’s a side product.

[00:22:41.83] spk_0:
It’s time for a break, fourth dimension technologies. They’ve got the free offer going. It’s exclusively for non profit radio listeners. It’s complimentary. That’s why it’s free 24 7 monitoring of your I. T. Assets And they will do this for three months. They’ll look over your servers, your network and your cloud performance, they’ll monitor your backup performance all 24/7. If there are any issues they will let you know right away. Plus at the end you get a comprehensive report And they’re also going to include a few surprise offers as well. They’re gonna take good care of you. It’s all complimentary, it’s for three months. It’s for the 1st 10 listeners. It’s on the listener landing page Just like three D. But they go one dimension deeper grab the offer, let’s return to board members are people too. All right so that sort of answers uh dumbing down.

[00:22:44.15] spk_1:
You

[00:22:50.48] spk_0:
know, we’re not we’re not we’re broadening broadening and there are advantages. What would you say to folks that are the advantages to them personally learning, learning, learning about, learning from folks with different backgrounds.

[00:23:47.71] spk_1:
There is an incredible gift to be had to be able to listen. I’ll say this personally as a white person working in a diverse environment. Um, it is humbling and awe inspiring to be in a place where you can really hear from people who didn’t, who are just like you and have them change your mind and open your mind. That’s what you gain by being in a diverse environment. And not only will you make better decisions for your nonprofit, but you will learn more and be a kinder person who in and of itself understands the way you interact with the rest of the world in a different way

[00:24:35.83] spk_0:
folks. If you want to see a diverse team, then uh, pause the podcast and go to cause effective dot org. Go to their team, this team or staff page and look at the look at the pictures of the staff at cause effective dot org and then of course, come right back and press play again. Don’t don’t don’t don’t start browsing, you know, don’t go to amazon dot com to just look at cause effective dot org and you’ll see, uh, an enormously diverse team there? Um, All right. So, you know, that

[00:24:37.08] spk_1:
that’s

[00:24:38.22] spk_0:
anything more you want to say about why this is worth it for the organization or for the people.

[00:25:32.29] spk_1:
Um, we live in a diverse world. I mean, you know, no matter where you are, um, we, we live in a world in a country certainly and in a world with lots of different kinds of people from lots of different kinds of backgrounds and doing a lot of different things to the table and that are really interesting to interact with. Um what better way to interact with them than in the support of a cause you love. So there’s, you know, you’re all putting your, you know, shoulder to the wheel together. Um, it it gives you your life spice to be doing this in a way that’s not homogeneous and your organization itself will be stronger.

[00:25:47.52] spk_0:
Yeah. In the ways you just, you talked about a few minutes ago. Yeah. You have some ideas about how to do this. Uh, it’s sort of efficiently shave, shave some some time off.

[00:25:53.59] spk_1:
Well, one of the things that, you

[00:25:55.75] spk_0:
know, we

[00:26:58.51] spk_1:
all know that executive directors well run boards, executive directors are behind them at kind of every step of the way. Um, but in boards that really take off, there’s board to board conversation that the executive director kind of monitors, but it’s not board of every conversation. And so, and when that happens, it’s because there are, there’s not just a board cheerleader, but there are many leaders. So there are leaders of governance where there might be a leader of on boarding or there might be a leader of uh you know, there’s different ways to chunk it up so that there’s leadership which leadership leads to ownership. Um and so part of your job as the board liaison, whether is to understand what that web of relationships could is and could be and then to do in essence what we call, you know, HR staff development, but with board members, so you’re asking them to take on certain things and then your job is being a coach, not being a doer.

[00:27:04.42] spk_0:
We’re talking about the ceo executive director now.

[00:27:09.62] spk_1:
Yes, yeah and and development director also

[00:27:12.35] spk_0:
Development and and working closely with the board chair. I mean, it’s gonna help enormously to have a culturally sensitive board

[00:28:29.33] spk_1:
chair. Um I send board members, especially white board members to trainings and not just what is D. I. But to reel immersive, you know, one or two day trainings about the how this culture rests has rested on um racial injustice. Um I say if you’re gonna be part of this organization, you need to have this basic understanding. Um and we need you to do this two day training and here’s, you know, how to pay for it. Um because there’s a basic understanding of that that really shifts in those kinds of very immersive trainings. I’m not talking about a two hour what HR does at a large corporation. Um And you know, we just said these are our values and you have to really get it if you’re gonna be part of this team, I would certainly do that with board leadership, that this is a journey and this is part of the and we want the board to be part of this journey, and we need the board leadership to start it out. And if the board chair won’t do that, you do a succession plan, it’s not like you kick them out right away, but ultimately, your board’s not gonna progress until you have somebody at the head of it for whom this is the air they breathe.

[00:28:42.34] spk_0:
Mm.

[00:29:10.30] spk_1:
Now, you can have a chair and a president, you can have an honorary chair and an honor. You know, there are all kinds of ways to move people to the side that don’t, you know, kick them off this planet. But ultimately, you need to have someone who does, who breathes this stuff and who you don’t have to explain why this matters. And then it’s deeper than going to a training to understand what that implicit bias exists,

[00:29:19.69] spk_0:
Right? one of those two hour trainings, okay, say a little more about joyful board service, what we, what we can aspire to.

[00:29:41.65] spk_1:
I, you know, I get this so often were board members, the board that we’re working on, their their niggling, They’re going after, you know, do I have, you know, is it 2000 or 3000? What do I have to do? That’s the question as to what as, you know, it’s like I’d like to get away with as little as I can. Um and and it’s an imposition on me

[00:29:49.85] spk_0:
as

[00:30:47.66] spk_1:
opposed to I will do everything. I can, I may not be successful at everything, but I’m gonna give it a shot because this mission matters so much, and if I can help it, God willing, I’m going to and there’s when people are at the table with that attitude, there can be a joy at both delivering yourself and seeing other people deliver and celebrating that. Um and you can build that in, you can build in celebrations. You can build in, you know, balloons for somebody when they hit a certain mark. Um you have to build in, not just um the actual dollars, but you can build in, they made thank you calls and they never talked to anybody before. You know, there’s all kinds of ways to build in a sense that I can do be part of the fundraising process, which then builds more courage for the next step. But it doesn’t happen unless you think about it,

[00:30:53.61] spk_0:
celebrating small successes. That’s that’s a terrific idea.

[00:30:59.73] spk_1:
Yeah. And you want to build in this this sense for every board member so that they are looking for ways to celebrate each other.

[00:31:06.28] spk_0:
Mhm.

[00:31:10.79] spk_1:
So it doesn’t just come from you the the ceo it doesn’t just come from the board chair, but that they’re trying to help each other up that ladder.

[00:33:20.95] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two. I’ll be on a panel called endowment excitement, fundraising and management. I’m fundraising. Uh, two smart women are the management and that’s, that’s the key about about panels. You want to be the sole person on your topic that way you’re at no risk. You can’t ever be called out for something stupid that you say because, uh, other people, the other panelists don’t know. Right? So, I mean, I don’t know endowment management. I mean, I know a little bit about spending rates and uh, three year moving average, you know, etcetera. Prudent investor rule. But, but I know very little compared to them about endowment management. And they probably know even little less about planned giving than I know about endowment management. So, everybody stays in their lane. You don’t have to worry that if you’re ever invited to be on a panel, be the sole expert in your area. All right. So, um, uh, that was a bit of a digression. But so the panel is endowment excitement, fundraising and management. It’s on august 25th at noon Eastern time, graciously hosted by N X unite. So I’m grateful to them. Thank you to register, you go to n X unite dot com. It’s like november X ray unite dot com and click on webinars and panels, there’s your registration. That is tony stick to, we’ve got boo koo, but loads more time for board members are people too with judy Levine you like to see board members socializing outside? I mean I, I can presume your answer, but I want you to say socializing outside outside the form of the board meetings.

[00:33:48.16] spk_1:
I do, but I also am realistic. Um, I don’t think it’s necessary for them to be personal friends. In fact, I’ve been on board with people who are personal friends and it’s tough because then they kind of talk about things outside and they’re like becomes factions and you certainly don’t want relatives on the same board that I’ll tell you right now. Um, not just married, but brother and sister were playing the, you know, the childhoods, you

[00:33:55.48] spk_0:
know, I can see in your face and it sounds like you’ve been there.

[00:33:58.97] spk_1:
Yes. Um,

[00:34:00.97] spk_0:
I

[00:34:01.69] spk_1:
don’t know. I think that people have to like each other.

[00:34:04.74] spk_0:
Yeah.

[00:34:05.77] spk_1:
And I think you need to have some social places, you know, it’s been hard, don’t,

[00:34:09.85] spk_0:
they need to get to know each other outside the

[00:34:15.36] spk_1:
board. Um, but that’s different than, um, but

[00:34:16.70] spk_0:
outside their board service. I mean, maybe not, maybe not necessarily

[00:34:23.34] spk_1:
to me that’s part of their board service. Um, that part of the board service is understand, you know, it’s team building

[00:34:28.51] spk_0:
and the organization can facilitate that. Right? I mean can we have, can we host drinks or dinner after a meeting.

[00:35:52.47] spk_1:
Yeah. Um, it’s, that’s one of the things that’s been much harder in zoom. Um, my board, you know, cost effective itself as a nonprofit and they had a board dinner once a year, but they sat at my house and one year I had the flu and they had at my house anyway. I just went to bed and they stayed up till like midnight and cleaned up after themselves and left, um, that we this, so we have a game night now once, once a year on zoom because it’s once a year, everybody comes and they do all kinds of like 32 truths and a lie and all kinds of stuff, but it’s not quite the same. Um, we did have an outdoor picnic this summer and about half the board came. Um, it’s hard, you know, that’s the hard thing is now getting people out of their shell because we’re all used to now doing everything by zoom or going to work and coming home and you know, scurrying home. What zoom has that? I haven’t quite figured out is that time before meetings. That time in the middle of meetings. You know, those are the times of the after meetings, Those kinds of times when people would talk to each other about their kids, building that in. Um, what we’ve done, some of it is in the, you have to do it in the middle of the meeting because people run out at the end of the meeting and they won’t come early, no matter. They say two board members will come

[00:36:00.09] spk_0:
early.

[00:36:36.70] spk_1:
But if you break into smaller groups in the middle of the meeting, even if it’s only diets or triads and give them something to discuss. Um, you know, one of my provocative questions is how does your birth order affect um, the way you take on leadership, which gets into all kinds of personal background, it assumes strength and it gets people talking to each other. So having a section like that in the middle of each board meeting can help people to start to bond and then obviously changing, you know, changing the groups

[00:36:40.26] spk_0:
up,

[00:36:49.81] spk_1:
making that group a hint. Make those small groupings deliberate. Don’t just leave it to the zoom universe to deliver. You

[00:37:15.11] spk_0:
can either make them random or you can assign people to be with other with other people. And the assigning is is much better. Yeah, I’ve done that in some of my trainings. Um, alright, what else, what else you want to touch on around this, this equity and equity and boards and, and inviting folks in and joyful board

[00:39:14.65] spk_1:
service self interest, which I think it has to do with understanding the, the meaning of your cause to people who are not directly affected by it. So, you know, when we’re teaching fundraising will say, um, okay, you don’t fundraise just for the people who have direct interest to your cause because that’s your clients and if you could raise your money from them, that would be earned income and you wouldn’t be a nonprofit, but you can’t raise money from people who have no connection to your cause because it doesn’t make sense to them. Why are they gonna lie on it? And that’s the same thing with board members. You can’t ask board members to fundraise if you don’t feel connection to cause and or to audiences that don’t feel connection, but you have to find the enlightened self interest, which is myself as a member of the city, this neighborhood, this grouping that I care about Children having a head start. That’s why you’ll often find like a mom’s group in Westchester suburb of new york that’s fairly wealthy. Most of it um, will take on fundraising for a program in the inner city because they understand the meaning of this work for Children, even though it’s not their Children. And the reason I’m bringing this up is because that’s where the ownership comes in the sense that it’s on to, it’s up to me to make a difference for this. And that this matters to me, even though it’s not my personal experience. And I think that’s group conversations conversation in the courtship process and then it’s group conversations at the board level to keep that fresh. And it has to be deliberate because it’s the board service devolved into finance monitoring.

[00:39:20.93] spk_0:
Oh yeah, if it’s right. If it’s allowed to

[00:39:24.91] spk_1:
discussions about why the mission matters

[00:39:28.50] spk_0:
whom

[00:40:02.43] spk_1:
does the mission matter beyond just the direct recipients are very inspiring and they give your board members personal uh you know, nurturing and the tools to go out to their context with different kinds of language. And you will often find, you know, I’m looking for areas in which different people can be experts, not just the people who have a lot of board experience or who are, you know, longtime experienced fundraisers, but that people with different points of view can have the position of being an expert.

[00:40:10.97] spk_0:
Mhm.

[00:40:12.96] spk_1:
And this is where you will find points of view that your classic cabal has not thought of

[00:40:26.45] spk_0:
conversations. Yes, I love how you pause and and think through and then make your next point. I’ve just been talking to you for 40 minutes, whatever. 35 minutes I’ve learned. All right, give her a couple of, give her a couple beats because she’s got she may very well have more to say. I love your the way you reflect. IIi don’t have that gift. I tend to be more more impulsive and I spew everything out in one shot.

[00:40:53.64] spk_1:
Well, that’s why you’re on the radio and I’m

[00:40:55.08] spk_0:
not

[00:42:16.41] spk_1:
normally um you know, I wanna having served on the board, not that many because I take it really seriously. Yeah. Um And then being a an executive director myself and um being a consultant support gives me humility about about the possibility of board service. Um And I feel like uh people who are only on staff have expectations uh and anger when board members don’t meet their expectations, whereas I’m trying to say it’s human nature to triage the kind of people who will agree to be on the board are often fully committed, I don’t wanna say overcommitted because you commit to what you commit to and it makes sense for them to do what they have to do and not more, because there’s always something else calling on their time, let alone, you know, the idea that they might want to play golf or read a book if you do that. If you understand it, that that’s rational, human behavior, then you don’t get as angry at people, you manage them,

[00:42:17.96] spk_0:
that everyone’s gonna triage that they’re gonna they’re gonna assess their

[00:42:21.34] spk_1:
priorities and

[00:42:22.84] spk_0:
they’re gonna they’re gonna act accordingly

[00:42:33.84] spk_1:
and it’s up to you to have a dialogue about that. It’s not that you you know, there’s something wrong with letting people slide or something, but it’s um it’s understanding and helping them understand how to fit in with all the different priorities of their life,

[00:42:40.74] spk_0:
right? And where does this mission fit in? And you’re among your priorities?

[00:43:11.76] spk_1:
You know, it’s why i um when when I when groups do uh board member um contracts or whatever they call them. Um I suggest that there actually be calendars in there so that you, somebody can say to you, I can’t do that in june because my twins are graduating high school, in which case we’re saying, you know what, we’re gonna take you off of that and we’re gonna take you off of May so that you can have a very because they’re not gonna do it anyway.

[00:43:14.85] spk_0:
Yeah.

[00:43:15.70] spk_1:
And then they just

[00:43:18.05] spk_0:
or

[00:43:22.19] spk_1:
they don’t respond to emails, so having respect for all the different polls rationally on board members time and life and energy and then helping them understand how to fit this in in a way that makes sense.

[00:43:51.30] spk_0:
Alright, let’s give you, I want to give you a chance to talk about cause effective because it is a non profit. It’s a it’s a consultancy for nonprofits, their advisors, consultants. What what uh what’s the breath of the work and how how do you work with with your client nonprofits?

[00:43:57.71] spk_1:
Well, you know, I’d say we are 40 this year, we are about to celebrate our 40th anniversary.

[00:44:02.85] spk_0:
Congratulations. For decades.

[00:47:33.85] spk_1:
Um And I’d say that the common theme throughout has been changing how organizations are resourced, um changing the balance of money and therefore power in the sector. Um and it’s both increasing it and increasing it so that it’s not just that the most well resourced nonprofits get more resources, but that it’s non profits that are located in disenfranchised communities and the people who work there and um uh and volunteer there are able to raise the money, they need to further those causes. Um and to govern themselves because to me, governance is integral. E apart, it’s more than just raising money, but if you don’t have a governance structure that works, you’re not gonna have a fundraising structure that works on the voluntary level. Um, and that’s where you get to organizations where the staff fund raises. But the board doesn’t have volunteers don’t. Um, so we have, we work, we do a lot of cohort work where we’re looking at development Directors of Color and help, um, working with them over a six month period of time, um, in a particular program that we have to help them really address, um, the barriers to their being successful and not only to talk about it, but to actually address it. Um, we, so we do a lot of individual coping with, with, with executive directors, who may be having come up through fundraising and, but, you know, you need to do it if they did. It is not part of the fundraising structure. The organization is only gonna get so far, um, and board members, a lot of board consulting, especially now with boards that, no, they need to diversify and don’t really like, they know they need the composition, but they don’t, they don’t necessarily know that they need to act differently to have different people in different seats. Um, we do everything from, you know, eight hour retreats on zoom, maybe six hours, uh, two year long coaching engagements to what we call deep transformation, which is a lot of times people come to us and say, well, my board won’t fundraise and we get in there, we start talking to board members and we find out there’s all kinds of reasons, it’s not just that they don’t know how to ask for money, but it’s that there’s not financial transparency, there’s not a real partnership between staff and board. Um, there’s not a peer to peer accountability on the board. Um, there’s a inner group of three board members who do everything and everybody else slides. Um, you know, there’s all kinds of reasons that we will help, we will actually go in and help address. We say that that’s a symptom, my board won’t fundraise and there are, you know, many, many causes of that and we will, we, one of the things we’re known for is that we will go and address the cause. We’re not just gonna do the tactics. Um, we also do a lot of fundraising consulting for groups that have had a lot of government support or a lot of foundation support and know they need to diversify and they don’t necessarily have, you know, a Lincoln center board, um, but it is very possible that people around the country or the world will care about what they do and we’ll back it up and want to make it happen if they, you know, for one thing they say is that our fundraising, the one thing that’s, that’s some limited time. There’s only 24 hours and maybe one second or maybe now two seconds in the day. And so you need to make choices that are smart with how you spend your fundraising time. Money is not the limiting factor, but time is and so will help groups really understand what are the likely avenues and how to structure the resources they have to reach those

[00:47:43.87] spk_0:
Days get longer. What’s one or 2 seconds

[00:47:51.27] spk_1:
actually they did make a ruling and there’s like they added a second or something. Oh,

[00:47:51.54] spk_0:
I didn’t hear about that. I’ve been squandering my two seconds a day. How long have we had this? How long have we had these longer

[00:47:57.57] spk_1:
days. Six

[00:47:59.88] spk_0:
months.

[00:48:00.43] spk_1:
Yeah. I don’t know how many seconds that is. I can’t do the math that fast. No,

[00:48:20.41] spk_0:
But six months is 100 80 days. Times two seconds, 360 seconds. It’s a good six minutes I’ve, I’ve squandered. Alright. I’m gonna try to get it back right now by cutting you off. No. All right. Thank you for explaining. And thanks for a frank conversation. We don’t, you know, for our for nonprofit radio white listeners. We’re not, we’re not, we’re not going easy. You have to have you have to have honest conversations. So thank you.

[00:48:58.91] spk_1:
Yeah, I, I think this has been some of the, you know, I’ve been in this field for 30 years and this has been some of the most rewarding and deep work. Um it’s not surface, it really addresses, you know, I had to go back to everything I assumed from my childhood on and understand that there’s there are different realities and that um it’s not that I can go back and change it but I can change my behavior going forward so that I further a different kind of future.

[00:49:31.46] spk_0:
Mm She’s judy Levin, she’s the executive director of Cause effective. You should have already been at their website because you would have seen their diverse team when we uh when I suggested take a pause and then you came back but if you haven’t been there or if you don’t remember where it is, it’s at cause effective dot org. And they’re also at cause effective and judy Levin, thank you very much. Thanks for sharing.

[00:49:33.80] spk_1:
Thank you. It’s great to have this kind of conversation

[00:50:47.97] spk_0:
next week Back to our 22 NTC coverage, accounting for nonprofit leaders. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I Beseech you find it at Tony-Martignetti.com. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o and by fourth dimension technologies i tion for in a box, the affordable tech solution for nonprofits but they also got the special offer going on the free offer grab it. It’s all at the listener landing page, tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant but they go on to mention deeper. Our creative producer is Clam Meyerhoff shows, social media is by Susan Chavez. Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott Stein. Thank you for that. Affirmation scotty, You’re with me next week for nonprofit radio Big non profit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for August 8, 2022: Increase Data Literacy Across Your Nonprofit

 

Alexandra ManneringsIncrease Data Literacy Across Your Nonprofit

Widespread data literacy helps your teams build a shared language of data communication, recognize good and bad data, and appropriately apply analytics to improve decision making. Alexandra Mannerings makes the case. She’s from Merakinos. (This is part of our continuing #22NTC coverage.)

 

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[00:01:50.98] spk_0:
And welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh I’m glad you’re with me, I’d be hit with mega low kyra if you handed me the idea that you missed this week’s show increased data literacy across your non profit widespread data literacy helps your teams build a shared language of data, communication, recognize good and bad data and appropriately apply analytics to improve decision making. Alexandra manna Rings makes the case she’s from Morocco knows This is part of our continuing 22 and T. c. coverage on Tony’s Take to Tiktok we’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C. O. And by fourth dimension technologies I. T. Infra in a box. The affordable tech solution for nonprofits tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant D just like three D but they go one dimension deeper here is increased data literacy across your non profit Welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio coverage of 22 N. T. C. You know what it is? It’s the 2022 nonprofit technology conference, you know that it’s hosted by N 10. My guest now in our coverage is Alexandra Mana Rings, founder of Morocco knows Alexandra Welcome to non profit radio

[00:02:01.04] spk_1:
thank you so much for, having me here today tony quite

[00:02:04.37] spk_0:
a pleasure Absolutely welcome for your first your first time maybe first time lets see

[00:02:10.11] spk_1:
Yeah it’s my first time with NtC. So

[00:02:12.68] spk_0:
oh, is it okay? I go back to 2015 or something. I’ve been doing interviews from NtC used to do them when, when it was an in person conference, I did them live on the uh on the exhibit floor. Oh,

[00:02:25.70] spk_1:
that’s fun. Maybe someday we’ll get back to their

[00:02:27.60] spk_0:
next year is supposed to be next year in Denver, it’s supposed to be

[00:02:31.09] spk_1:
well, perfect. Because I’m already in Denver,

[00:02:34.26] spk_0:
fingers crossed. Is that where you are? Oh

[00:02:36.80] spk_1:
well

[00:02:40.79] spk_0:
NtC is gonna be local to you. There you go. Save your savior, save the cost of a hotel

[00:02:43.06] spk_1:
room stay.

[00:02:44.65] spk_0:
Actually, people people, people who are local state because it’s so much fun up till like 9 30 10 o’clock at night, they don’t really want to be like driving home, rather just take an elevator home, you know, to their room. So consider that possibility too. All right,

[00:03:00.57] spk_1:
your

[00:03:08.94] spk_0:
session is the imperative to increase data literacy across your organization. Why is this important? Help us understand overview

[00:03:12.62] spk_1:
Why

[00:03:12.93] spk_0:
does this matter for everybody in the organization.

[00:05:36.37] spk_1:
I feel that data literacy matters for two critical reasons. The first is because it is very difficult to get through your professional life efficiently and effectively, if you are not data literate. And the second reason is it’s very difficult to get through your personal life if you are not data literate. And the reason that I believe this is because data literacy is a subset of literacy, we wouldn’t, we would imagine that getting through life if you weren’t literate. If you couldn’t read or write to be nearly impossible. And data literacy is the same thing. I think we get confused with data literacy because we think it means only the production of data products, right? We think that this means I have to be someone who can create those fancy graphs, build data models, be a data engineer, create data warehouses and that’s just a tiny component of data literacy. I joke that you wouldn’t say you weren’t literate if you couldn’t read Hebrew or you weren’t reading, you know dostoyevsky, that’s a very subset of literacy that is reserved for specialists. Same with reading a medical textbook. Sure there is technical literacy that’s needed if you work in very specific technical rules. But we expect the rest of us to be able to read at a certain functional level and we should expect that we can use data at a certain functional level. And the reason for this is that so many things use data literacy that I don’t think we ran recognize are actually data literacy tasks. For example, you go to the grocery store and you see two different items that are different sizes and you need to decide which one do I buy and one is priced at 2 49 1 is priced at 3 15. You’ve got to compare across different situations, different context of those numbers and decide what’s the right one using the values of what you need to actually get done. That’s literacy. Exactly. That’s arithmetic. Or write another example with data literacy um is also understanding how our brains function with numbers. So you go to buy an item, right? And you see the little strike strikeout number was like used to be 9 99 and now it’s 3 49 or whatever. And that leverages a technique called anchoring by exposing us to a higher value number were more inclined to think that the lower value number is a better deal than we would have had. We just seen the original that that actual price,

[00:05:48.88] spk_0:
we’ve just

[00:06:06.27] spk_1:
seen 3 49 right? We would respond differently to that foreseen 3 49 against a previous 9 99 price. And so part of data literacy is also being aware of how we as humans ingest and interact with numbers and we have to deal with those kinds of things all the time. And then I

[00:06:07.40] spk_0:
have an example. I share an example with

[00:06:09.53] spk_1:
you. I

[00:06:39.33] spk_0:
remember I thought so fascinating menus in restaurants, people will perceive a number with a dollar sign in front of it to cost more than if the price in the menu is written out. No, no, there’s no Arabic numbers, it’s written out 12 $12.12 dollars 50 cents. That’s written versus dollar sign 12.50. Because you don’t think of, you don’t think of the written out as money. It’s not something out of your pockets, not something you have to spend. It’s just, it’s just an abstract word, $12.50 or abstract words. I thought that was fascinating.

[00:07:24.83] spk_1:
And there’s so many things like that where because we’re humans and the way that our brains work, we have all these shortcuts that allow us to do these extraordinary things that computers are still trying to catch up to. But it also means that occasionally those shortcuts have these odd side effects and these sorts of things like anchoring are some of those odd side effects and being aware of them can help you not be misled by people who might try to to use that against you. And then sorry, go ahead.

[00:07:27.30] spk_0:
Remember my question. I

[00:08:05.40] spk_1:
was gonna say as well that another part of data literacy is being able to be appropriately skeptical of the numbers that you see around you, right. You don’t necessarily have to know how to produce those numbers. You don’t have to know how to calculate those sorts of things, but you do need to you know when you should trust numbers and when you should maybe ask a few more questions about where those numbers came from. And in order to be able to be effectively skeptical rather than just either say I won’t trust numbers because you can’t trust numbers, blanket statement or being other. Your other option is that you just have to go entirely based on who’s giving it to you and that can, can be helpful. It can be a decent shortcut. But you want to be able to actually look at each number in each case and say, you know what might be some shortcomings of this number or what else might I need to do to really understand how I could apply this number. Understanding the limitations of the data that it came from.

[00:08:22.98] spk_0:
All right. You need to be able to react in individual cases.

[00:08:26.77] spk_1:
Yeah. When

[00:08:44.81] spk_0:
when you’re seeing numbers right. All right. You need to give your cat some love the second time up on your lap. I saw she was very you couldn’t even to listeners. You couldn’t even tell. But she gave the cat a couple of strokes. Put it down and came right back. That wasn’t enough. Not not even close. All right. Um Do you have a background in in data science or in any something quantitative?

[00:09:15.49] spk_1:
I joke that I’m a scientist who works with data rather than a data scientist. Data scientist is a a fuzzy term. Um But for the most part, a lot of people interpret it to mean having a lot of technical skills coding, data engineering. But my background is actually in life science. I have a PhD in epidemiology. I studied spillover of pathogens from fruit bats into people in West africa for my PhD. So I say that that gives me a really good way of asking questions of numbers and all of my quantitative skills have come out of. How do I actually process information to get me the scientific answers that I was looking for?

[00:09:29.69] spk_0:
How did you get from spillover fruit bats in western Western africa? Yeah,

[00:09:35.03] spk_1:
I wasn’t gonna

[00:09:36.15] spk_0:
non profit to the nonprofit technology conference,

[00:09:40.04] spk_1:
God blessed the broken road rascal flatts.

[00:09:43.25] spk_0:
So

[00:09:51.56] spk_1:
life, life has funny things. Um, I guess the shorthand of it is I was intending to go into global public health. It was where my passion was very, very interested in, especially in the space of zoonotic disease. So things that go from animals into people which now we’re all very aware

[00:09:59.87] spk_0:
of coronavirus is

[00:10:01.02] spk_1:
right. Exactly.

[00:10:02.84] spk_0:
We, aside from conspiracy theories is very reputable. E deemed to have emerged from

[00:10:13.43] spk_1:
Yes, yes, no, coronavirus as we know are have, uh, they’re the reservoir for most coronavirus is, But yeah. And so that didn’t end up working out quite the way that I wanted. And so I found myself through a number of different things here. And I am very glad I did. I enjoy it. Very, very much good.

[00:11:02.27] spk_0:
We’re glad to have you. My law career didn’t work out very well and here I am nonprofits, fundraising and podcasting. So all right. So that seems like enough motivation hopefully for folks. How do we start to get um, everybody in the organization, I mean, you said everybody can do better with data literacy in their jobs than without. So how do we get this to trickle down to folks that may believe that their work, it’s very, maybe manual or just doesn’t involve data. Let’s let’s start with those folks that that would believe that they’re they believe that their job just doesn’t require data literacy. How are we going to get them on board?

[00:11:58.08] spk_1:
I mean, I think the first is to make sure that we all understand what we mean by data. I think it’s easy. I I run into a lot that people think that data means finance. Right? And I again, like data means numbers and numbers or money and therefore they’re the same thing. And if I don’t deal with money, I don’t have to deal with data. But really all data are data are bits of information that we can store and repeatedly collect and come back to again. And when you think of data, that way you’ll start to realize that a lot of what we interact with our data. Images, our data, your emails are data. Your timestamps are data right? Every click that someone made on your website is data. And so there are very few jobs that don’t in some way involve some element of data.

[00:13:30.10] spk_0:
It’s time for a break. Turn to communications media relationships, you know how important relationships are in fundraising essential. They’re just as essential in media exposure. Both of the turn to partners are former journalists. One of them is Peter Pan a pinto who was an editor at the chronicle of philanthropy. So they know what to do and what to stay away from, to build relationships with journalists. Those media relationships are going to get you heard when you need to be heard, make you the thought leader you want to be. It’s all about relationships. Turn to communications. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. Now back to increase data literacy across your non profit you say something repeatable and collectible. I mean we’re all doing repeat tasks. Even even those of us who do manual work, there’s a way to do it better if you’re I guess intentional about collecting some simple data.

[00:13:47.09] spk_1:
Exactly. I mean, you can think about farming, which is probably one of the most manual labors out there and there’s an incredible wealth of data available that many farmers, especially small scale farmers are putting to use to really help them whether it’s tracking rainfall, soil moisture, ph of the soil germination rates. I mean changing weather patterns are critical for farmers. So understanding new flowering times, um, and last frost dates. All of that is data. And if you can understand it and interact with it appropriately, you’re going to be better at your job.

[00:14:06.43] spk_0:
Okay, so

[00:14:25.43] spk_1:
that would be the first thing is, is how people realize that there are very few jobs out there that don’t involve data and if you can get them there, then I think the next step is socializing it. Let’s discuss it. Let’s have donuts and coffee and chat about our data and make it comfortable and easy space to be in where we can ask questions where we can explore where we can feel uncertain and like when we started discover terms that we don’t actually know what they mean and and asked, hey, does anyone know what variants actually means or or what do we mean when we talk about a standard deviation? Can someone help me know how to interpret a standard deviation and just discuss that chat about it, make it accessible.

[00:16:05.56] spk_0:
And now it’s getting a little now it’s getting uh more well now it’s getting more technical, but but you start to bring people along by having a broader definition of data. Data is not necessarily numerical, as, as you said, anything repeatable, collectible that you’re doing in your job. All right. Um then you start to use start to weave in your standard deviation and variance. Um Now I’m calling on my high school, I mean my college, my college statistics, I took I probably took statistics for poets or something. So I’ve heard the phrase standard deviation. No, I know I know that between an average and immediate. I’m trainable. Trainable. Um, Alright, so, alright, so we’re talking about, so we get everybody together, we’re talking about, you know, data in our, in our day to day work. And I remember to you said in your personal lives as well. But you know, we’re going to focus here on the organizational level. That’s all our listeners are in small and midsize nonprofits most mostly shout out to our board members and to those who are vendors to nonprofits as well. I know you’re out there, I know you’re there, but you’re supporting small and midsize nonprofits. Um, alright, so where do we go? I mean, all right. So we get to start and realize, help people recognize that data is a part of their work life every day.

[00:16:15.64] spk_1:
What

[00:16:15.93] spk_0:
are we gonna do with that information with that fact?

[00:17:53.46] spk_1:
So I like to sit down and say, what are the most critical questions that if you got answered, you would feel more comfortable with the decisions that you’re making or you would be able to make more effective, efficient decision. And the thing is, is even people who may or may not recognize the elements of data in their work. They usually know these questions. So if you are a development officer, the first thing you’re gonna say is man, if I knew which of my donors were more likely to give bigger gifts, I would know who to spend more time on or if I knew, you know, as a volunteer coordinator, the most effective way to reach out to my volunteers to make sure they respond. That would make it so much easier for me to figure out what modality, what method to reach out to them to. Well, both of those questions are questions we can ask of the right data sets. And so without making anyone be a super technical data person, we can find out what those questions are and then start to say how do we get the data to answer them? And and there will probably be a point at which you may get to a question that requires some more technical data expertise that you might not have in house. But until then ask those questions, look at the data that you have, see, who in your organization might be able to help you answer that. And this is where that socialization part comes in because if you’re a volunteer coordinator, maybe you don’t necessarily know how to dig into your volunteer database and find that. But maybe your program evaluator does. And even though maybe that program evaluators used to focusing on program data, You could carve out a little of her, his or her time to spend 20 minutes on your data and maybe give you some new insights of. Hey, I noticed that when you send emails, you get a 50% open rate. When you’re sending those text messages, you’re getting 5% of them responding. Let’s focus on email communication for your for your volunteers. Something simple like that.

[00:18:14.49] spk_0:
Okay, that’s that’s pretty achievable too. I mean that that’s something that’s easily easily figured out. Alright, alright, this is uh better living through data literacy.

[00:18:26.77] spk_1:
Alright,

[00:18:32.73] spk_0:
better living, better working Um part of your session was um well recognizing good and bad

[00:18:35.25] spk_1:
data.

[00:18:37.47] spk_0:
What do you want folks to know there?

[00:20:29.73] spk_1:
So this is again where I’m not sure that there’s a good way of getting this kind of knowledge unless you have someone come and teach it to you. You can self educate. There’s a lot of great resources out there but you have to have the time to invest in it. But these are learning things like survivor bias. So in my presentation I told a story about Abraham wald who is a statistician in World War Two, who the military approached and said, hey, a bunch of our planes keep getting shot down by the luftwaffe to write World War Two. The german air force is the dominant force in the sky. We have to keep our planes in the air against the Germans or we’re gonna lose. How do we armor these planes so that our planes last longer. And he had all the data from every bomber that returned and where the bullet holes were And when he looked at this, you could see and he did some quick back of the napkin statistics and he could see that there were areas that were twice as likely to be hit on the plane than others. So the tail was more likely to be hit. The ends of the wings were more likely to be hit. This sort of gap in the fuselage between the cockpit and the engine were more likely to be hit. So militaries like that. Is that where we armor and he was like you armor, where the bullets aren’t hitting because you were missing planes from your data set. They sort of looked at him and they were like what? Because I am looking at every returning plane. The planes I don’t see are the ones that got hit in a place that made them go down. And he had the data literacy to recognize a limitation of the data set that he was working with. And I used that as an example because he didn’t use a fancy formula to find that out. He didn’t run some algorithm to find that out. In fact he couldn’t have because his insight was on what was missing from his data, not what he did with the data he had. And so so this, what he discovered is this concept of survivor bias which is, there can be systematic gaps in your data based on the factors that you used to collect it. You know how you’re getting that data. In his case. It was literally a survivor bias right that the planes

[00:20:48.21] spk_0:
that went down

[00:21:00.00] spk_1:
couldn’t be in his data set. But we find this in other cases right. If you’re trying to study student success and all you have are data on alumni, you’re missing everyone who dropped out. Um, and so those sorts of things are, are things we need to be aware of when we’re looking at data. So survivor bias is a great example of bad data. Um And it’s not necessarily it’s bad. It’s limited. There’s there’s a shortcoming to it.

[00:21:19.36] spk_0:
Okay. Okay. I think I have a book that talks about things like this. Alternative interpretations of data based conclusions talks about like confirmation

[00:21:25.02] spk_1:
bias.

[00:21:26.17] spk_0:
Um It’s a college. I’m not kidding, I

[00:21:31.05] spk_1:
would believe you and now I would point out the confirmation bias is something a little bit different survive

[00:21:36.11] spk_0:
for some reason I kept this thing hypotheses rival hypotheses. For some reason I kept this in college. I don’t know why

[00:21:43.61] spk_1:
rival

[00:21:44.89] spk_0:
hypotheses. Alright well

[00:22:11.97] spk_1:
and that brings up a whole second issues. So you have issues that you have to understand with your data right? Are your data incomplete or your data biased in some way? And I don’t mean that like the data itself has some internal bias. I mean that the way that you collected it leaned towards a certain sample or another. Another great example is if you’re looking at um survey data and your survey was collected by landline phones That is not going to be a representative group of people because I don’t know anyone under the age of 40 who still has a landline

[00:22:19.27] spk_0:
and

[00:23:32.88] spk_1:
so it’s again not that the data in the data set are wrong per se but they are incomplete in a biased way. It’s gonna be heavily leaning towards older people in your sample. So those are functional problems with your data themselves that you have to be aware of and know know how to adjust and respond to what you brought up with confirmation bias and how we interpret that data and apply it to decisions is like a whole nother can of worms that I sort of reference with how we react to numbers and and this is really important too because I think that we often jump to a conclusion on interpreting a fact without realizing that we do it. So I could say and I actually had this happen, I was looking at uh the amount of money that hospitals in Colorado we’re spending on construction. So just how much money do Colorado, hospitals on the whole spend on construction. And I shared this with this number with an individual and she goes, I knew it, they’re spending way too much. And I was like well that wasn’t what I said, I just said it was however millions of dollars and she goes, yeah, I know. And she was immediately applying her interpretation to that number without realizing it. So I said 50 million let’s say. And in her head she heard me say hospitals are spending too much, but all I said was 50 million. So this like jump that we make to putting a value on the number or judging the number or applying that number often happens seamlessly and we have to be really aware of that as well.

[00:23:51.42] spk_0:
Yeah, I think I yeah, I do that all the time something. Reading something in the paper and say, oh my God, that’s so low.

[00:23:58.43] spk_1:
How

[00:24:07.38] spk_0:
can how can it be that small? But you know, without a context for comparisons that are similar. All right. Yeah.

[00:24:08.29] spk_1:
And that’s all part of data literacy as well is being able to bring to light how you’re interpreting your numbers. So that if, if you’re using something, if you’re falling prey to something like confirmation bias, you’re more likely to notice it or at least be able to counteract it in some way.

[00:27:28.92] spk_0:
It’s time for a break. Fourth dimension technologies. They have a free offer. It is exclusively for nonprofit radio listeners. It’s complimentary. I said free. Yes. Free is also complimentary 24 7 monitoring of your I. T. Assets. They’ll do this for three months. They’ll monitor your servers, network and cloud performance. They’ll monitor your backup performance. All 24 7. Any issues they will let you know asap Plus you will get a comprehensive report at the end of the three month monitoring and they promised they’re gonna throw in a few surprises as well. All free, all complimentary. It’s for the 1st 10 listeners. It’s on the listener landing page at tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant D. Just like three D. But they go on to mention deeper It’s time for Tony to take two. I am a uh, what is that called again? Oh Tiktok. I am a Tiktok Pioneer. Alright. So There’s a billion users. I’m an early adopter. I am on Tiktok. If you are there, uh, following hashtag nonprofits, which is a very widely seen one, like 360 million views I think. Uh, there’s another hashtag, uh, tiktok for nonprofits. Uh, and I’m also of course, uh, using hashtag plan to giving. So if you’re on Tiktok, I’m having fun with it. I hope you are. If you’re there, uh, it’s the, the app is so damn easy to use, so intuitive and so powerful. So this is a, you know, this is a revelation to me. A billion people have tested it. Try it out now and now it’s my turn. So yeah, no, it’s really is. I’m finding it fun and simple. And So if you’re there, there, there are a bunch of other nonprofit folks there, but we need more if you want to, you want to join. I’m 60 not too old to be on Tiktok at least by, uh, by my estimation, you might ask some 14 year olds, they may have a different opinion, but we’re not. Uh, I’m not 14 and we’re not talking to 14 year olds here. So, uh, doesn’t matter. Come in, join Tiktok. Follow those. The hashtag nonprofits, uh, Tiktok for nonprofits join us on Tiktok. If you’re there, check me out. Love to have you. That is Tony’s take two. What do you know about that? We’ve got just about a butt load more time for increased data literacy across your nonprofit with Alexandra mana rings. I feel like we’re, this is valuable, but we’re getting, we’re kind of ethereal

[00:27:34.55] spk_1:
here. Let’s

[00:27:49.99] spk_0:
drill down to the small and midsized non profit listeners that we’ve got. What are they gonna, how how is, how are they going to implement data literacy? I think we’ve talked enough about innovation. Why it’s important. How

[00:27:51.15] spk_1:
are they actually gonna do something?

[00:27:52.81] spk_0:
What are we gonna do with data literacy? What are we going to do with data literacy in, in our humane society?

[00:29:25.72] spk_1:
So the first thing that I tell people to do is conduct the data audit. This sounds fancier than it is. Basically. What you’re gonna do is you’re gonna get everyone around the table or virtual table and you’re gonna say what data sources do you have or know about that? You could access and get again as broad as possible. Start with this definition that data are repeatable, collectible pieces of information and say, what do we have out there? And if you start it with it on index cards or sticky notes awesome. I don’t care. Just start to get a sense of what you have out there and where it lives. And then you can start to apply a little bit more description to them. So if you know, okay, we have a student database, We all use that as how all of our students apply for our um scholarships for example. Well, could you make a table that says all of the data elements that are available there. And can you do that for as many of the data sources as you have and then get together and share that. Just tell everyone this is our little data dictionary. Here’s all the things we could find and what’s in them and what you’ll start to find already is people in the organization go wait, what we have we have student birthdate. I didn’t know that I could use that from the birthday cards. I was trying to send out or oh hang on, we track retention. This program over here was trying to figure out if if you know our coaching program was actually you know, improving retention and they were having, they were collecting retention in a separate survey. We can get rid of that survey and just use you know what’s happening over here. And so already people are gonna start to engage in the day to ask new questions, bring it on board because they didn’t even know it was there and they’ll find ways that they can start to bring it into the work that they do. A lot of people want to use data and they just aren’t aware of where it exists in the organization.

[00:29:48.62] spk_0:
What else. What else can we? All right. So we’re starting with this data on. So

[00:29:52.28] spk_1:
that’s that’s the first

[00:29:53.58] spk_0:
thing conversations right? People are seeing connections. People are seeing duplication.

[00:32:30.11] spk_1:
Yes. This will likely spin off something that is is necessary for data literacy though it’s not the same thing which is you’ll start to realize the need for some data governance and data standards. Right? Make sure can we standardize how we collect birthdate? Can we make sure we all do it the same way? Can we standardize how we define our donors? You know when I say repeat donor, do we all mean the same thing? Can we standardize how we calculate that so that we’re all on the same page with how we talk about it and part of that data standards that does feed into the data literacy is not just to document then all of your pieces of data. But let’s create a shared vocabulary. When I say you know a lapsed donor. Do I mean the same thing as someone you know in development is gonna mean And can we all agree? All right. When we say lapsed owner, what we mean is blank. We’re gonna calculate it this way. It means someone who hasn’t donated for one or more years. Perfect. We can all agree on that definition. And now when we use this, we’re gonna understand each other a whole lot better. So that would be the next step of this is data audit, shared vocabulary. And some of that shared vocabulary is just gonna be like do we mean the same thing? and some of it will be actually writing formulas right? I’m going to calculate churn this way. Let’s all agree we’re gonna calculate at this anymore then I think the next level is figuring out how you’re going to use the data that you find in your data audit and those metrics that you agree on, how to calculate in the decisions that you make daily and strategically. And this requires a culture shift as well as a process shift. The culture shift is around making sure that you are intentionally asking for that information when you go to make those decisions. So as a leader are you putting on the agenda a period of time where its data review? Are you making sure that you give people time to get those numbers to you so that you can incorporate them in your decisions? And then as you know a frontline worker, are you identifying the places where you might need data and don’t have it and passing that up the chain so that those resources can be earmarked for that. Whether it’s just giving you some more time whether it’s figuring out how to bring systems whatever it might be. So you can have that data in your decision making and the culture shift also is about when you sit down to make that decision, are you saying do we agree on this decision or are you saying? What do the data say about this decision, right is it about the people behind, you know, each option that you’re looking at or your gut feeling or how sensible that common sense. And I put that in quotes because I have a lot of issues with common sense things. Are you picking based on that or you picking on the thing that seems like it has the best evidence to support that it will get you where you want to go.

[00:32:58.81] spk_0:
Sense. And intuition

[00:33:00.64] spk_1:
right?

[00:33:01.82] spk_0:
Can lead us astray

[00:33:02.98] spk_1:
if you’re not aware of how they work. Now. I like to argue that to some level intuition is our unconscious data evaluation

[00:33:11.98] spk_0:
because it’s that well informed. You think

[00:33:26.63] spk_1:
well it’s unconscious. So it’s not all that well informed, but it follows the same model, right? Intuition is basically saying, here’s what I think will happen based on what happens to me in the past. And so the problem with intuition is it’s limited to your own experience. Whereas data can broaden that intuition to lots of other people’s experiences, right? Everyone in your student database gets to contribute to that data driven intuition rather than just your singular experience,

[00:34:13.55] spk_0:
aren’t we? Uh, particularly poor data uh, data analysts, you know, as we we we think, oh, the price of gas is is the highest it’s ever been. But we don’t know that in the early 19 eighties actually had spiked maybe not absolutely higher, but as a percentage it was it was a greater increase or something like that, aren’t we? Um I don’t want to necessarily say intuitively but inherently aren’t we? Inherently bad data scientists or of you know bad data aggregators aggregators.

[00:34:23.20] spk_1:
It’s a great question and the answer is sometimes and sometimes not,

[00:34:29.49] spk_0:
you know,

[00:36:08.85] spk_1:
so we as humans are incredibly good at making and finding patterns. In fact we are still better than many ai systems. Certainly better than any of the like hard coded ways of finding patterns. Um Like my two year old can could figure out the difference. I mean actually before when she was like 15 months old she knew the difference between dogs and cats, right? She would look around and be like that’s a dog basket cat, Ai still trying to figure that out. For the most part if you show them pictures of dogs and cats, they get close but they still get mixed up. And our ability to find those patterns and extrapolate those patterns out accurately is unparalleled. But to your point we’re not very good at being able to bring huge amounts of numbers together in an accurate kind of way. So if you throw a spreadsheet up and you’re like what is the spreadsheet tell me right? Like what’s what’s the average increase in prices? What is the peak of the prices and the dip of the prices or whatever. It might be. We’re not very good with handling like those huge amounts of numbers. Um And we do have other cognitive shortcuts that can can trip us up sometimes. So what I like to always say is that for us as humans, we want to use our skills where our skills are better than computers. And we want to give tasks back to computers where they’re going to be better. So again, for us, where we’re going to be a lot better, is looking at lots of different pieces of data results from data analysis and understanding how that fits together in the big picture. But how do we put together a decline in overall donors with an increase in average donor? So guys, with this engagement level of volunteers, we can put that together and understand what that might mean for our nonprofit a lot better than the computer is. But don’t ask someone to buy hand, go back and track how many hours every single volunteer did get an excel sheet to do that.

[00:36:38.99] spk_0:
Okay, leave us with, uh, leave us with some inspiration about data literacy and, and uh, what it’s gonna do for our, our, our work.

[00:38:19.95] spk_1:
A simple question. Right? So for me, the reason that I called this presentation, the imperative is I believe that we do have an imperative. We have both a moral imperative and a practical imperative. The way donations are really going and the way funding is really going for nonprofits. People want to see impact. They want to know when I give you $10. What happens with those $10? And in the past we’ve been able to say, oh we bought 15 lunches for those $10 and that was enough. Now what people want to say is well, are you helping people, you know no longer be unemployed? Are you keeping people out from being homeless? Are you able to actually make farmers more secure against rising temperatures? And those kinds of impacts are difficult to do with just simple check marks, right? Simple counting. You have to have more sophisticated data technologies and more sophisticated analytics to really be able to measure the impact that people want to see. So that’s the practical side of the imperative is if you want to survive as a nonprofit, you’re going to be able, you’re going to have to show and calculate and track the actual impact that your organization is having. The moral side is that we as nonprofits exist to make the world a better place and I don’t know of a better way to succeed at that than by using data effectively. The scientific method, the whole approach of testing things, measuring whether you get closer to your goal and adjusting what you did and trying it again is the best way that I have found to get good results. So if we are saying that we are here to make things better, then I believe we have then a moral imperative to do the best we can to make things better. And data literacy is a critical tool in that.

[00:38:52.55] spk_0:
The imperative to increase data literacy across your organization, Alexandra mana rings are first PhD epidemiology guest, I’m sure we’ve had master’s degrees in epidemiology but never a PhD I’m quite certain she’s founder of Morocco knows m E R A K I N O. S Alexandra. Thank you very much, enjoyed it.

[00:39:11.66] spk_1:
Thank you so much for having me here today.

[00:39:13.59] spk_0:
My pleasure

[00:39:15.37] spk_1:
and

[00:40:37.77] spk_0:
thank you for being with nonprofit radio coverage of 22 N. T. C. The nonprofit technology conference Next week. A 22 NTC pause board members are people too with judy Levine if you missed any part of this week’s show, I Beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by turn to where like I’m 14 voice crack were sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits your story is their mission, turn life into dot C. O. And by fourth dimension technologies I. T. Infra in a box. The affordable tech solution for nonprofits. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant four D just like three D. But they go on to mention deeper and they’ve got the offer go to the listener landing page. That’s it. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant grab the listener offer. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. The shows social media is by Susan Chavez Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott stein, thank you for that. Affirmation scotty. You’re with me next week for nonprofit radio big non profit ideas for. The other 95% Go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for August 1, 2022: Tech Policies That Reduce Toxic Productivity

 

Marina Martinez-Bateman: Tech Policies That Reduce Toxic Productivity

First, what is toxic productivity? Then, as your teams use technology more often for work, how might your practices be hurting the people who work with you? Finally, what are the better practices and policies? It’s all covered by Marina Martinez-Bateman, from New Coyote Consulting. (This is part of our continuing #22NTC coverage.)

 

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[00:02:04.85] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d be hit with sudo a graphia if you wrote to me saying that you missed this week’s show tech policies that reduce toxic productivity first, what is toxic productivity then as your teams use technology more often for work, how might your practices be hurting the people you work with? Finally what are the better practices and policies? It’s all covered by Marina Martinez Bateman at new coyote consulting this is part of our continuing 22 NTC coverage On Tony’s take two. Please start your plan giving with will’s part do we’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c. O. And by fourth dimension technologies I Tion for in a box. The affordable tech solution for nonprofits. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant for d just like three D but they go one dimension deeper. Here is tech policies that reduce toxic productivity. Welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio coverage of 22 N. T C. The 2022 nonprofit technology conference hosted by the very smart folks at N 10 will help us all use technology in our work with me now is marina Martinez Bateman. They are ceo of new coyote consulting marina. Welcome.

[00:02:10.16] spk_1:
Hi thanks for having me it’s a joy to be on the show.

[00:02:31.96] spk_0:
Oh joy thank you very much and we’re just getting started joyful already I love it. Thank you your session topic is tech policies for reducing toxic productivity. Natural question is how could productivity possibly be toxic? What what is this thing?

[00:04:06.63] spk_1:
Well, it’s like anything else, right? You know, you buy a couple of pairs of nice shoes that you like. It’s not toxic, there’s nothing wrong here. It’s just engaging in some, you know, some trade some some joy of craftsmanship. If you start buying shoes instead of food, buying shoes instead of paying the rent, then you have a real problem, right? And productivity is like that, you know, it’s just like any other thing that we engage in, we can do it so hard that it hurts us. Um toxic productivity is when we will choose work over things that we need like taking lunch breaks or moving our body or engaging with family and community things that sort of are essential to our mental and physical health. And then you know what happens is as we engage more and more with this toxic level of productivity are actual real true product. Our output diminishes and then we see our output diminish, we get really upset about that and then we double down on being more and more productive and and then our output diminishes because we’re exhausted and we’re not getting filled up in other places and we double down again and it can lead to, you know, you can create uh you know really unhealthy spaces, you can um you know make yourself ill, you can hurt yourself. You can get hurt. You know how many people have fallen asleep while driving um because they’re working too many hours. Um you know, how many times do we make really silly mistakes when we’re exhausted? Um Those things sort of creep in and creep in and then your identity starts to change into being someone who can’t get things right, who isn’t able to perform when that was never a part of your reality. You’re just engaging way too hard in work. Thinking that that’s the answer to your problem when really it’s the cause.

[00:04:55.89] spk_0:
And before we go further and toxic productivity, let’s remind folks in case there’s any question. Uh, you said, you know, and it replaces being filled up by other spaces like community, family friends. Let’s remind folks of the joys that and and maybe there’s even research that shows the physiological changes when we’re engaging in things that are not work.

[00:06:45.10] spk_1:
Yeah. Yeah. So you get different parts of your brain activated when you’re engaging in hobbies that are different from your work, um, your creative life. You know, if you have a creative job, um sometimes doing something that’s not so creative or doesn’t require a lot of like big innovative leaps. Um can be nice, like, you know, tidying up or taking a walk or um doing something physical, like hiking or going out into the outdoors, going fishing and camping etcetera. Or even going shopping or going to the movies, like those things when they’re safe. Of course, because it’s still covid right now um are important to engage in because they activate other spots of your brain and also just your body moves differently on a hike than it does in the office or at a desk. Yeah, first of all it moves your standing desk, even if you attach a treadmill to it or something can never really replicate going outside. Um and then, you know, were people even introverted people need other people. We just do, we’re not um we cannot exist completely alone. Um we have to be able to engage in the people that we have in our personal bubble, However big that bubble is we have to be able to sort of like activate um that empathetic drive that we all have as humans or that, you know, the vast majority of us do. Um and we we just have to be in in concert, you know, how many of us have been at work, especially in the nonprofit sphere and things are sort of looking gloomy and we’re thinking, oh, the world is filled with bad people, everyone’s making terrible choices. This is the worst. You know, And then you go to dinner with a friend and you’re like, wait, the world is wonderful, this is great, everyone’s making great choices. I bet all these people are just trying to figure it out because that human connection needs to exist for us to be people in the world, which is you know why we’re here is to be people.

[00:07:04.40] spk_0:
Thank you for that reminder. We are we are communal, we are social,

[00:07:08.46] spk_1:
even

[00:07:33.77] spk_0:
the most introverted to some degree still as you said, you know with however however however many or few it may be uh contact community. Alright. Alright. So what are nonprofits doing that uh is leading us to toxic productivity and we’ll certainly get to the solutions. But what are we doing to? I don’t wanna I don’t wanna say improve it to induce it, induce

[00:11:52.01] spk_1:
it. Yeah. I mean part of it is that we have these and these are, it’s great that we all want to end hunger and that we you know, no one’s being like though But it’s hard when you have 16 people and they’re all making 20-50 to 100% less than they could make in the free market trying to end hunger from a small office with broken chairs and a raccoon that won’t leave the trash alone. You know like we are so severely under resourced in non profit and that’s not our individual fault by any means. It’s the culture and the structures of the culture that we live in um where poor people are the people that build this country and their labor is so exploited that they are um kept poor so that the rich can stay rich. Um and then we get the nonprofits and generally those are the people we serve are the poor or people who are missing something from their, their experience or their needs. And uh, and we’re under resource too. I mean it’s a whole, it’s a whole culture, right? It’s a whole structure, It’s a whole system that’s made to make it so that we have these incredibly vast missions and we have a broken pencil and our own gumption to make it happen. And um, and it is, you know, we as individuals cannot solve that entire problem by ourselves. One, we can’t solve the problem that we’re working on by ourselves. We can end hunger alone. Um, even the most vast and well resourced organization would have to work with others in order to make that happen. Um, and part of that. So we have this like we have these vast resources. We are severely under resourced. We have these vast missions. Yeah, and were severely under resourced. And then, um, what we as organizations do on the, on the organization to organization level is that we compete with one another. We don’t coordinate with our organizations in our same sphere or it’s hard we find it hard to coordinate. Um, we also don’t recognize that we’re under resourced. Um, frequently we will sort of like, you know, when you get a bunch of nonprofit workers together in a room, we’ll joke about, you know, how we don’t have a chair that works in our computer is 15 years old and all these things. Um, but we don’t talk about how that makes the mission harder to do. And nor do we talk about how we’re still hitting goalposts were still crossing finish lines were still making things work. And where did those resources come from in general? They come from the individual workers. Um, and some of us have vast resources to put to this and some of us don’t. Um, but there’s no adjustment, a there’s no adjustment of expectation based on how much resource we’re individually putting into the work to make it across the finish line. And there’s also no um, it’s seen as an individual failing if we can’t do this impossible work with very little resource in the, in in in terms of money, in terms of time, in terms of support, in terms of whatever we’re all fighting an uphill battle. And um, and our organizations frequently lean into that martyrdom and lean into that, you know, while I was working 17 hours yesterday, while I was up at two o’clock in morning, finished with this grant, Well, I was, you know, and um, and it doesn’t have to be like that. I mean if we live in a world where we think that our clients deserve education, food, um, healthy ecology to, to roman community art, all of these things, you know, medicine and um, recovery and all these things that we provide to people if we think that our clients deserve that. How come we’re not getting that for ourselves. Like how many of us are pushing off things like doctor’s appointments? How many of us us have skipped um, significant times in our family members lives because there was some campaign or something that had to go on. And then also how much of that um, happens because of expectation, you know, when we start a nonprofit, we’re working with nothing. We work our way up, we become leaders in the, in the sector. And then it doesn’t seem weird to us that the people of the workers that are coming behind us are experiencing the same hardships that we experienced because it’s normal for us to struggle in this way.

[00:13:14.45] spk_0:
It’s time for a break. Turn to communications media relationships, you know, how important relationships are in fundraising. They’re just as important in media exposure. Both of the turn two partners are former journalists, including one peter Pan a pinto who was an editor at the Chronicle of philanthropy. So they both know what to do and what not to do to build your relationships with journalists. Those relationships are going to get you heard in the media, turn to communications. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o now back to tech policies that reduce toxic productivity. A lot of what you’re saying is that it’s it’s culture and and mindset. So I guess you’d like to change the culture and change the mindset and change the investments. Um, so please, let’s, uh, let’s start talking about what we can do differently.

[00:14:17.04] spk_1:
I think what we can do differently is it starts with the leadership and nonprofits. People who are lower on the work chart do not have as much power, although a lot of people, especially right now with the great resignation, um, a lot of people who are lower on the r chart are sort asserting their power by leaving, um, environments that are toxic or don’t work for, um, what their vision is for the future. I think gen z is a great motivator for us to all take a look at how we’ve been working in the past and how it has harmed us and how if we don’t get right and start cycle breaking, we are going to be perpetuating the same harm that was done to us, which while it’s not fair that we were harmed, it’s also not fair to, to sort of sloth that off onto others. Um, but in leadership in the non profits, we have to stop thinking that because it happened to us. It’s okay for it to happen to other workers, especially younger workers.

[00:14:18.77] spk_0:
Like it’s some sort of, you know, rite of passage, you pay your dues and then you’ll then you’ll emerge a better leader in the, in the sector, you know? That’s, that’s silly. Yeah.

[00:14:31.40] spk_1:
Yeah. And

[00:14:32.07] spk_0:
punishing to be, you don’t have to be punished to be successful.

[00:14:41.74] spk_1:
Exactly. Can we be like, can we be the non profit executives and ceos that we needed when we were younger and that we didn’t get, can we do the things that that would have helped us to heal or would have helped us to be safe or be properly resourced or succeed even if that’s not something that we experienced when we were younger in career.

[00:15:03.98] spk_0:
Alright. Um do you have specific uh specific things that leaders can, can encourage? Like you must take time off. So, you know, I don’t wanna see anybody not using their vacation time. And you know, these folks who say, hey, I haven’t had a vacation in four years. I’m so proud of myself thinking like, don’t blame me, that’s your own

[00:15:23.35] spk_1:
fault.

[00:15:24.55] spk_0:
Yeah. It’s been that long. It’s your own fault for not taking, you know? So what, what, what can leaders do, you know, specifically to avoid this? The toxic productivity

[00:18:02.90] spk_1:
is, Yeah. That that sort of thing where it’s like, well, it’s not my fault that Sharon hasn’t taken a vacation in seven years saying that is a thing we can put to bed and we can say actually, if I’m in charge of this organization and of course we work together with our boards and advisory council sometimes with governmental agencies, whoever we’re helping to steward this change with. Um but if I am the Ceo here, I am the executive here then if someone hasn’t taken a vacation in four years, that’s, that’s on me. Um, This is the, this is the container I’m building for workers. Um, I see my view my duties as the Ceo very explicitly to keep the people in my, you know, in my organization safe. That’s one of the things that, that I have, you know, task been tasked with is to keep people safe. Um, if I can tell people what kind of work we’re doing and where we’re going and what our goals are, then I have to take responsibility for their safety during that journey because I’m the one taking them at that place. I’m the one on that journey with them. Um, and so asking, you know, why is it, why is it that Sharon feels like she can’t take a vacation. Um, Is there something going on internally that is making that happen? Does she not have anyone who’s trained on the thing that she does? Does she, um, has she not gotten a performance review in four years and she’s so she doesn’t feel like she can take a vacation because she doesn’t even know how well she’s doing her job. You know, there’s just a bunch of little things that we can look at and it takes time, which most of us don’t have. And I advise leaders to look at our plate and find out where we’re being performative lee productive, How many of the things do we do every day That looks like we’re doing something but at the end of the day it doesn’t actually, it doesn’t actually contribute to the mission. We can spend three hours on something and um and not only are no more Children fed, they’re not going to be on that labor that we just did, but it looks really good. It looks like we’re doing a lot. How can we cut that out and then focus on, let’s get somebody cross trained on Sharon’s job so that she can finally take a vacation. Let’s let’s make this a safe space for our workers to make healthy decisions. And the truth is that because a lot of our sector has for so long leaned into this under resourcing of workers, there becomes a pathology around being under resourced. There becomes a sort of like um system wide martyrdom.

[00:19:20.63] spk_0:
It’s time for a break. Fourth dimension technologies. They have an offer for you. An exclusive offer for nonprofit radio listeners, complimentary 24 7 monitoring of your I. T. Assets for three months. They’ll monitor your servers, network and cloud performance, they’ll monitor your backup performance all 24/7. Any issues they will let you know ASAP Plus at the end you will get a comprehensive report. After the three months They’ll throw in a few surprises a couple of things as well that I did not mention. It’s all complimentary and it’s for the 1st 10 listeners. The offer is on the listener landing page, go grab it, tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant D just like three D. But they go one dimension deeper. And this offer goes even deeper than that. Let’s return to tech policies that reduce toxic productivity. There’s something called the brotherhood of suffering.

[00:19:23.27] spk_1:
Exactly.

[00:19:24.01] spk_0:
It’s it’s I’ve read about it in prison populations where I mean the phrase says it, the brotherhood, sisterhood, um the hood of suffering, the uh the shared experience among all folks of being in something that’s ritualistic, punishing suffering difficult. And then and it ends up being a source of almost pride.

[00:19:52.07] spk_1:
Yes,

[00:19:52.65] spk_0:
that we’re suffering this way together, right? I’m sure you want to turn that on its head and and disabuse us of

[00:21:28.90] spk_1:
that. It’s and it’s hard, it’s entrenched. There are people for whom for whatever reason and then this does become an individual problem. Once you’ve done all of the systematic things around alleviating that suffering around creating um you know, the concept of abundance even as we’re in these systems where we’re under resourced and part of that is acknowledging how we’re under resource and and and speaking its name out loud um which is capitalism and racism and colonialism. Um once we sort of do that in our organizations, there are still going to be people for whom it is necessary they need, that they feel for whatever reason that that this is what they have to do, this is how they have to work. Um and and in general what I find um in the times that I’ve managed to create this package, which is really hard to do, Well we have all these other external forces sort of like working for us to have this hero complex to keep in this savior mindset. Um When I’ve been able to make this abundance package the sort of container where we can all work in abundance towards our common goals. There are a couple of people who will leave and sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes it’s not thankfully, but sometimes it is messy. Um But it’s because they need to be in an environment that feels like home to them and that toxicity is going to feel like home until they make the choice to step out of it and and recognize that this is this is a choice that that they’ve made their systemic issues at hand and then there’s individual issues at hand and we as C. E. O. S can do a lot to solve the systemic issues and also we can never make someone heal

[00:21:54.39] spk_0:
themselves. What’s some of that performative work that you uh that you mentioned, just if you could take off two or three things that are performative but lacking in value and and and benefit

[00:22:13.27] spk_1:
um staying in the office on a day when there’s no reason to, you know, if uh something like something tragic frequently happens, if there’s something terribly tragic in our community,

[00:22:19.73] spk_0:
requiring

[00:23:47.90] spk_1:
requiring everyone to keep their butts in their seats is just ridiculous. No one’s working. That’s not gonna happen. Um, even sort of staying in the office when there are things going on that are, are wonderful. Um, for example, uh, if it’s, you know, if we are living in a beach town and it’s a great surf day and we are a surf, you know, protecting the surf non profit everybody goes surf. Like come on, this is our whole thing. Like it doesn’t make any sense. If we are, say we are, you know, very into free media and we have a free media conference in town, nobody should be expected to come to work. We should get tickets to the free media conference and we should go to that. Um, you know, there are a lot of things I think, um, you know, if we’re a big sports town and our team is winning, nobody’s going to pay attention to work. There’s no reason to be here. All of these things. You know, they’re all individual to the nonprofit. Then there’s also things like, you know, some of us and I’m one of these people, I admit it, I love to see a meeting room packed with people. We love it. But half those people do, they need to be there. Do they really do this really important to, to the running of the nonprofit that, that, you know, so many people are there for an hour doing nothing and, or you know, getting information that could have been in an email or you know, etcetera. Um Yeah, I think there’s some people have gone into the, Oh, I can’t remember what they call it, but they do 15 minutes stand ups every morning and they’re never 15 minutes long. They always run over.

[00:23:55.84] spk_0:
Yes.

[00:24:43.06] spk_1:
Yeah. The morning huddle. I mean if the morning huddle makes you guys productive and it helps your nonprofit do the thing you’re, you’re put here to do great. But a lot of times these huddles are just performative and it’s awful and everyone’s so tired because it’s the first thing in the morning and there’s no reason for them. Um I think also there’s a lot of like email checking that happens throughout the day for me as one of the ways that I am performative li productive and and my my only employee is remote. We’re all remote here so no one’s watching me. No one can see me in here. But I will sit here and check email because I want to quote unquote, feel productive. And so then I spent 2.5 hours moving emails around the digital space doing nothing and I leave and then I leave, you know, I have to go to lunch or it’s the end of the day or something. I didn’t need to be there and do that. There was there was no reason.

[00:28:05.26] spk_0:
Alright. Those are good. Yeah, good examples. Thanks. It’s time for Tony’s take two. This is still my silver jubilee in planned giving and august is still national maker Will month. So let’s take part due of starting your planned giving program with wills. These are gonna be reasons 45 and six reasons one through three were last week reason number four. There’s no lifetime cost to your donors. These are long term gifts. A gift in a will is a gift of cash to your nonprofit at the donor’s death. So no lifetime cost for your donors giving by will sustainability. This is all about the sustainability of your work, your mission, your values. That’s what the conversations are all about. It’s the survivability of your work in the long term. That’s what the conversations are about. That’s what plan giving is going to help supplement is gonna really be more than a supplement. It’s going to be critical to your long term survivability, your sustainability reason number six endowment, whether you have no endowment and you need to start growing building one or you have a modest endowment, you want to grow it more or you have a good size endowment and you still want to grow it more because when do we ever say the endowments big enough? No need to add to that anymore. Let’s stop that. Cut that off. That. Never. So wherever you are with endowment, even if you’re at $0.0. Most of the gifts by Will the vast majority come unrestricted and that means you take as much of that unrestricted money as possible and put it into your endowment. That long term savings for your nonprofit, that you’re only spending a little bit of the income or maybe even less than the annual income each year. That’s how you grow that endowment gifts by Will I realize there’s tension there. You have immediate short term costs, expenses that you have to cover as well. But as much as possible, those unrestricted dollars that come from gifts by Will’s sock that away into the Endowment, That’s how you build your endowment. And of course that helps, uh, reason number five, your sustainability. Right? It all works together. So that’s reasons 4, 5 and six for starting your planned giving program with wills. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo Yes, the boo koo is back, boo koo, but loads more time for tech policies that reduce toxic productivity with marina Martinez Bateman. Is there more that, that we can ask of our of our leaders. You not that you haven’t given given, given a lot of, a lot of advice, but uh, is there any more that, that we can expect from our leaders to help us make the right choices.

[00:32:17.95] spk_1:
Yeah. And part of that is so we are in a unique space as leaders where we are suffering from the exact same ailments that our people are suffering from and we are suffering from the exact same structures of oppression that our people are, something, I mean not the exact same ones, but we’re here. We’re in it, right? So all of that. Um, you know, all the systems that are set up to make it so that personal health and art and the environment and food and health like um, communities and all these other things that we fight for right in the nonprofit sector. All these things are devalued, we’re in the same boat. Um, and also we do have power within the walls of our organization. Sometimes it’s limited, Sometimes there’s other factors at play, but we have more power than anyone else in the building almost um, with very few exceptions and so part of it is that we have to make certain sacrifices as leaders, which I think all of us know, but those sacrifices are probably not going to be the ones, the ones I recommend are not gonna be the ones that we expect. So, um, we need to protect our own time. We need to be seen eating lunch. We need to be seen taking time to move our bodies. Um, a lot of the things that we do as leaders are are the second we get to work the second we log on whenever our day starts, we are being seen by everyone of the organization. Even if it’s a small organization, even if it’s a remote organization, we don’t realize how visible we are. Um, and so when we model these behaviors for people taking vacation, telling people about how wonderful and restoring the vacation was, reassuring people um that it’s okay to take vacation for themselves, leaning into abundance even though we know what the budget is and we know scarcity very intimately um making those choices um that are that are on mission, um that are values driven because that’s what we’re called to do. Um and then having to make tough calls as a leader is it’s why we’re here, it’s why we got put in this seat. Um it’s why we sought the seat, we wanted this position most of us and um and so it’s time to sort of like what we sacrifice when we have this out, like when we’re modeling this good behavior is we sacrifice any delusions that we might have had towards the productivity nature of of, you know, performative productivity, right? So those big meetings have a ton of people in them that are really kind of just ego strokes for us, we can get rid of those, that’s a sacrifice that that is a good sacrifice to make. Um a lot of times we do things like we have those big meetings because we’re not feeling very productive, but we want to see everybody’s face, you know working. Um and really what we needed to do was take lunch and start taking lunch probably three months three or four months ago or years ago or 10 or 1520 years ago. Um and then we would feel productive and filled up and we would need a big meeting of 15 people that doesn’t do anything. Um So so modeling the behavior ourselves is very very important and um and specifically in a way that is seen um It can be very hard because as leaders we want to say well I’m gonna take I’m modeling the behavior, I’m gonna take off early, I’m gonna go home and um that is valid and if we need to do that we should do that. And also say okay everybody we’re going home early this day is just whatever happened this day is in the pits, let’s go home early. If we can of course some of us can’t do that because we have certain service obligations. Um But we can do things like look around the room, take the temperature of the room and say all right, everybody we’re getting you know pizzas delivered or whatever. Uh We’re just going to sit down and hang out together and blow off some steam. I can feel it, we just we’re not doing productive work right now. You

[00:32:40.29] spk_0:
know, be thoughtful, be intentional about creating about the culture you’re creating and that culture starts with leadership. Whether whether you might be the Ceo or you might be a mid level leader, you might be uh lower on the work charter. Lower level leader, but you’re still leading two or three people. Right? I mean it applies. This is not only for the ceo your ceo but this is not only for C E O S. Alright.

[00:32:58.79] spk_1:
Yeah. The people like your choices are going to be dependent on what’s up with the people and focused on them and then model the behavior that you because you know that a lot of us don’t realize how seen we are in our organizations were very, very visible if we’re in a leadership position.

[00:33:17.88] spk_0:
Yeah, interesting. You made the point, you know, even even in a virtual organizations like yours? Virtual company. Well so flesh that out. How do you feel like folks know when you start logging in, when you’re reading email etcetera. How is that seen, how is it seen,

[00:34:04.48] spk_1:
how am I checking in? You know, if we have a digital chat platform, how am I checking in? Am I showing up? Am I saying Hey I’m here. Am I asking questions um am I you know, am I asking for feedback? You know, am I am I visible enough for you? Am I you know, am I bugging you too much like um and listening to people interesting people when they tell you what’s going on with them? Um and also trying to remember, it’s very hard, it can be very hard with everything going on that you have to do as a leader. But when someone says, hey I’m gonna be out for the afternoon, put it in your own calendar and make sure that you don’t reach out to them during that time. Yeah.

[00:34:31.80] spk_0:
Right. Those, those uh slacks or texts or emails, whatever it is that start sorry to bother you on your day off. But, but of course the university and the gator cancels everything before it. But I need, you know, blah, blah. That, you know, there’s so much of that could, you could just wait until the day off is over. So the week off, you know, and, and you, you said earlier, you know, cross training so that people feel they can take time and so that the organization doesn’t suffer when they do

[00:35:20.51] spk_1:
exactly if so, and so doesn’t have the thing. I’ve cross trained this other person, which of course, you know, it’s easy for me to sit here in my office and say cross training when a person listening is looking at me like what with what resources with what people, but that’s where the sacrifices come in. You have to say, okay, well, this vanity project of mine doesn’t happen because cross training is happening instead or this. And somebody bristled when I said vanity project, I know it, but we all have them, They exist. We’ve got to accept that that they exist. So instead of the thing I want, we do cross training because that’s, that’s, and eventually I’ll get the thing I want probably, especially if it’s mission aligned. And it makes sense. But we have to prioritize workers needs and comfort because we have a lot of options here. The people that we employ have less options than us have fewer options than us. And so we need to to honor that.

[00:35:33.89] spk_0:
What about some questions that you got questions or comments you got in your session and what, what do you what do you what stuck out for you?

[00:35:56.29] spk_1:
I always get this question in all, every time I teach this training, I get this question. And it’s some version of the, you know, my co worker, my direct report, my boss, my board member is very into toxic productivity. They’re very into this. They’re they’re the ones that are always, you know, I was answering emails from the hospital when I was in labor with my second daughter or, you know, all of this stuff. Um, that’s, that’s very badge of honor. You know, we wear these sort of like wounds like metals and non profit. Um,

[00:36:14.11] spk_0:
that’s the personhood of suffering. The personhood of suffering. It isn’t bad. They do become a badge of honor. I’m always the last person to leave the office. Yes.

[00:39:21.34] spk_1:
Yes, exactly. Yeah. And uh, and and and this person is that they’re they’re toxic productivity is harming people. They’re pushing the culture, you know more and more to work more and more. Um, they have unrealistic expectations of people that work nearer with them, etcetera, etcetera. It’s harmful. And what I always tell people is, you know, you can do this. Uh first of all, your proximity to this person is not a coincidence at some point, you guys probably saw eye to eye on this or were working together in tandem to create something that really worked for you. Um you know, I look back on my nonprofit career and one of the my best times, one of my favorite times in my career was just deeply into toxic productivity. And so was everyone else around me. And it was wonderful because we were all on the same page. We felt like such a good team. We were so unified and the way we thought about things and the way we thought about things was deeply unhealthy. Um, but I tell them, you know, you can tell this person, especially if you really care about them outside of work. Um, you can say, I think we’re in a toxic relationship. I think we are operating in a way that is making each other less healthy. That’s not not helping us thrive. I want to try and heal from this. I think that healing is going to bring about a really incredibly positive change not only for me, but for the work that we’re doing here. Will you, will you heal with me, will you come in this on this journey with me and you can ask them with sincerity and the truth is that you can’t do anything else other than that. Just ask them and if they say no, you can’t keep asking them, you have to you have to respect that and everyone has has their own path, you know and not everyone is going to hell at the rate that you are going to hell at, not everyone is going to hell the way you think you should or they should. Um Some people just have other journeys and so if you are that person’s boss you can make decisions about, okay well we’re going in a different direction, we need competencies around healthy productivity, you don’t have the competencies around healthy productivity that we need, therefore we’re no longer a good fit and that hurts. It’s hard to say those things, but if I had, you know if I said you know we’re gonna go we’re gonna move towards gap accounting, everyone, you know, we’ve got to do things uh best practices ways and and not have you know our accounting all willy nilly and our account at the time was like nope, I do my accounting on post its and I will never not do that. You can’t make me change then we would have to get into accountant, wouldn’t we? So it’s the same thing when we’re trying to create this healthier productivity. If someone doesn’t want to learn or become competent in this in this new work way, we can’t keep them on just because we like them or because of what they did in the past that was helpful. Um, we can honor them and say that, that, you know, thank you very much and we can also release them to continue on their own journey, whatever that is.

[00:39:39.03] spk_0:
What have we not talked about that? Uh, you want to?

[00:39:50.18] spk_1:
Um, good question. Uh, I

[00:39:58.22] spk_0:
mean I do my best to channel our listeners, but you’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I’m just coming to it. So maybe the stuff that we, I haven’t raised,

[00:40:02.09] spk_1:
Yeah, let’s talk about perfectionism

[00:40:04.55] spk_0:
because perfectionism

[00:41:37.88] spk_1:
is a, we know for a fact, we know that perfectionism is a, is a feature of white supremacy. Perfectionism is um pervasive and insidious in our culture as a whole, but also a nonprofit culture. And so when we are practicing healthy productivity, when we’re trying to learn how to do things differently, the fact that we’re doing things in a way that we haven’t done them before means that we’re not gonna be as good, effortlessly good at them. Um, as we were before, even if we were doing something that ultimately harmed ourselves and our organization and our mission, we were really good at it for a long time, we had a high level of proficiency. So when you sort of like decide to go home at five o’clock and walk around the block and then take a bubble bath or whatever. That’s not gonna feel super good because you’re not gonna be super good at it. Um I can’t tell you how many times I used to buy coloring books because I was like, I need to be less, you know, work centric and I need to do creative things. I miss being creative and so I would buy those adult coloring books and I would hurt my fingers from coloring so hard because it had to be perfect. Um and then I would think, okay, no, I can’t do this, it’s too, it’s too physical, this coloring is to physical, I’ll go get in a bath that will relax me and I would sit in this bath just tense because I’m supposed to be relaxing and I’m, and I’m not doing

[00:41:42.14] spk_0:
right,

[00:42:34.73] spk_1:
Exactly right and but it’s not working because you, you’re not familiar with it, it’s hard. The first time you did anything, it was just kind of a little bit difficult and a little bit unwieldy and overwhelming and you know, for those of us who have been neglecting our other, the other parts of our lives for however long because of work, it is daunting to go into a place, we feel very new act, especially when we’ve been in a place where we feel extremely um you know, experienced and Exactly yeah, so the perfectionism of like if you are going to engage with your community and if you are going to engage your creativity and you’re going to go on a hike and you’re going to, you know, reclaim the other part of your life that isn’t work, be willing to do it badly

[00:42:38.22] spk_0:
because

[00:43:06.34] spk_1:
It’s that important, you have to be able to do it badly because you have to get through that sort of like new, unwieldy part. Um and it’s okay to say like I’m really new at this, I’m only going to hike for 15 minutes or I’m only going to sit at the trailhead and look at the hiking place and then I’m gonna go get back in my car and go home there. There’s no level of engaging with your non work life that is not going to be beneficial. There’s no, it’s not like you have to hike to the top of the mountain. I mean, this is part of the toxic productivity that’s been, you know, making this this bad scene this whole time, right, is that we feel like we have to um do everything the best the most, regardless of what else is going on.

[00:43:29.56] spk_0:
You’re not gonna, you’re not gonna start your physical fitness journey with a triathlon. You know, you’re gonna run around the block and in a week you’ll be able to run around the block twice, pardon me, or

[00:43:37.66] spk_1:
maybe just walk to the end of the block

[00:43:51.58] spk_0:
or whatever, however you start, right? But but starting and you’re saying, you know, your embrace the discomfort because it’ll become comfortable and you’ll get better at it. You know, you’re in a pattern now where you’re, you know, you’re like you said highly efficient, highly efficient at toxic behaviors.

[00:44:40.44] spk_1:
You’re really good at this and you can be really good at something else too. I mean I remember there was an interview with terry crews who is an actor and he’s very muscly and um, people always ask him, how do you get so buff? Like you always, and he said, look, the gym is my happy place. And so I can’t tell you a person who doesn’t really like the gym how to get like me. I look like this because I hang out at the gym all the time. It’s my favorite place. But he also says, you know, go take, if you really like something, take it to the gym with you. So if you really like romance novels or mysteries or something, go and go and take your mystery novel to the gym and just sit there, read your mystery novel and then go home and then, you know, you don’t have to pick up a weight. You don’t have to do a single thing. Just hang out there because it’s for a lot of people like the weight room at the gym even, especially it’s like a very new place. It’s pretty foreign. There’s a lot of traditions. There’s rules, You don’t really know what they are. Um, so climb acclimatizing yourself to a new place, you

[00:45:01.71] spk_0:
know?

[00:45:03.53] spk_1:
Yeah,

[00:45:06.13] spk_0:
Alright leave us with with something inspirational, please marina,

[00:45:11.70] spk_1:
there’s been

[00:45:12.13] spk_0:
A lot of inspiration summit up some up 40 minutes as best you can.

[00:45:56.91] spk_1:
Well when we think about how much we as non profit workers on an individual level, on an organizational level and on a sector wide level have been able to achieve and and move the needle on with with how little we’re given if we made sure that we ourselves were properly resourced in order to do this transformative work. Imagine how much more could be accomplished by people who are showing up fully in their power to this mission work. I mean it’s incredible. And then also the thing I like to remind everyone in my trainings is that this is generational work. I have generations of people behind me, you know relatives and ancestors who have done their own mission work and I will have generations of people in front of me doing the mission work that they’re called to do and all I have to do is show up for my part my link in that chain

[00:46:15.19] spk_0:
marina, Martinez Bateman ceo. New coyote consulting. I have to ask why is it new coyote consulting. What is that?

[00:47:51.63] spk_1:
Its new coyote because I wanted a name that spoke to my ancestry which is Mesoamerican and uh and which spoke to my sort of like presence and the way I show up and the Aztec there’s an Aztec god way which means very old coyote and um I thought he’s um frequently gendered as a as a male but very also frequently gendered as non binary or female. So I’m non binary. It felt very like I felt a lot of kinship with with that and then um old very old coyote is a storyteller and he teaches through storytelling so that felt very appropriate to me as well. You know, he’s not didactic, he’s not teaching humans lessons or if he is ever teaching humans lessons, it’s in this very jokey sort of way. Um, he brings people along with him on journeys rather than sort of like telling them to go places. Um, and I uh, I also feel like in the context that I’m in, which is a very white context and a very colonizer context frequently a lot of people will call my work new, they’ll say that the things I’m doing are new, these new ideas, their new concepts and for me they’re not new. They’re very, very old. Um, but also new coyote is a transformer. He’s a trickster. So he, he becomes the thing that you need in the moment and I thought, well then we’re a new coyote, we’re not a very old coyote, we’re a brand new one. So that’s why I named us new coyote. Yeah,

[00:48:02.71] spk_0:
again marina Martinez Bateman Ceo at new coyote consulting marina, thank you very much you’re

[00:48:09.07] spk_1:
welcome. Thank you so much for having me on

[00:49:33.75] spk_0:
you’re welcome to and thank you for being with tony-martignetti non profit radio coverage of the 2022 nonprofit technology conference hosted by N 10 next week increase data literacy across your nonprofit you see how all these data and tech topics are fit together. It’s all very highly produced here very highly. If you missed these things just don’t happen if you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com were sponsored by Turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o and by fourth dimension technologies I. T. Infra in a box. The affordable tech solution for nonprofits. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant D just like three D. But they go on to mention deeper and now they’ve got the offer, grab the listener offer at the landing page. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff shows social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott Stein, thank you for that affirmation scotty you’re with me next week for nonprofit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great

Nonprofit Radio for July 25, 2022: Cybersecurity 101

 

Matt Eshleman & Sarah Wolfe: Cybersecurity 101

Our #22NTC coverage picks back up with a summary of the tech threat landscape, key policies and procedures to have in place, and how to make the case for devoting resources to IT protection. Our guests are Matt Eshleman and Sarah Wolfe, both from Community IT Innovators.

 

 

 

 

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[00:02:05.14] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast my goodness. Last week’s show was great fun. They’re all fun. But the last weeks 600 show was great fun. Oh I’m glad you’re with me for this week’s fun show I’d be thrown into an echo Griffo sis if you clawed me with the idea that you missed this week’s show, Cybersecurity 101. Our 22 NTC coverage picks back up with a summary of the tech threat, landscape key policies and procedures to have in place and how to make the case for devoting resources to IT protection. Our guests are matt Eshelman and Sara Wolfe, both from community I. T. Innovators, non tony steak too. My boys just cracked like I’m 14 years old, please start your plan giving with wills. We’re sponsored by turn to communications. Pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o and by fourth dimension technologies I. T infra in a box. The affordable tech solution for nonprofits. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant four D. Just like 3D but they go one dimension deeper Here is cybersecurity 101. Welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio coverage of 22 NTC. The 2022 nonprofit technology conference hosted by N 10. Our coverage brings me now Matt Eshelman chief technology officer at community I T innovators and Sara Wolf sales

[00:02:15.50] spk_1:
manager

[00:02:16.64] spk_0:
Also at Community I. T. Innovators. Matt serra. Welcome to non profit radio

[00:02:23.14] spk_1:
Thanks. tony It’s good to be here.

[00:02:25.34] spk_2:
Thank you. Glad

[00:02:42.84] spk_0:
to have you. Pleasure to have both of you. Um Your session topic is defending against Bogart’s and boogie men understanding and pitching cybersecurity for the accidental techie sarah. Why don’t you get us started? Let’s define accidental techie. I think we have a lot of them listening but they may not know it.

[00:03:13.44] spk_2:
Yeah so accidental techies are the people at an organization that are not necessarily somebody who’s been trained in I. T. But is relatively tech savvy and so they end up being the ones who help their coworkers with tech issues or are the ones that end up wearing the I. T. Support hat even though they might necessarily have they haven’t necessarily gone through professional training for it?

[00:03:32.14] spk_0:
Okay. Right so they know enough that they know more than others but they’re not they’re not professionally trained in technology. Okay and and matt why are why are Bogart’s and boogie men your your description says an accidental techies biggest nightmare what’s lurking there?

[00:03:38.23] spk_1:
Well I think yeah

[00:03:51.34] spk_0:
I don’t even know. Yeah I’m not even an accidental techie. Okay there’s the first problem you like you’re suffering a lackluster host obviously. Okay. Alright

[00:04:28.24] spk_1:
so they I think the takes the form of kind of your your biggest fear and so yeah whenever it appears it it shows up as as what you’re most afraid of um you know and I think for for folks that are supporting nonprofit organizations. Yeah there is this fear of of kind of what could be lurking out there, What kind of threats could impact your organization. Uh and for many folks, especially the accidental techies, they don’t have that background training and experience in terms of how to protect their organization. And so that’s why we wanted to to have that session to help provide some tools and equipment so that people that, you know, have that responsibility, but maybe not the training can pick up a few, a few tips.

[00:04:40.74] spk_0:
Okay. Why don’t you, why don’t you start us off? What would uh what would you like folks to know about that? They don’t know well enough, but they ought to.

[00:05:30.74] spk_1:
I mean, I think the biggest thing for for folks to understand is just I think the importance of what’s called multi factor authentication. So M. F. A. It’s often referred to uh it’s something that, you know, which is your password and then something that you have and for most folks that would be an app on their smartphone. Um and what this gives is an extra layer of protection, you know, we all know people’s passwords get compromised and and kind of stolen all the time. But if you can add that extra layer of, you know, an app on your phone to protect that login, then you’re much much less likely to have your account compromised. And kind of, what we see is that most compromises then, you know, will then lead to other things that you know have significant damage in terms of, you know, emailing, you know, all of the contacts in your organization’s database, uh sending out malicious links, you know, sending out updated payment information so that can kind of lead to a lot of other bad things. And so if we can protect that account with M. F. A. Then the organization becomes a lot more secure.

[00:05:46.54] spk_0:
Okay. And you’d like to see this mandatory? Not opt in

[00:06:16.74] spk_1:
that is exactly right. You know, Microsoft and the other big Um you know, tech providers are starting to enforce that now as a as a requirement, but if you’ve been in office 365 or if you’ve been in Google apps for a long time, uh it’s not required and it’s something that organizations need to take a couple of steps in order to set it up and roll all their staff provide training uh just to make sure that it’s set up and working correctly.

[00:06:27.54] spk_0:
Okay. So we should be doing it, we should be opting in where it’s optional and we should make make it mandatory if we’re the we’re wearing the hat of the uh the accidental techie,

[00:06:32.04] spk_1:
yep. Exactly. Right.

[00:06:37.94] spk_0:
All right. All right. Sarah, what else, what else can you share for? Are these folks

[00:08:13.14] spk_2:
I think for the next biggest thing uh is, you know, making sure that your staff, you know, are actually aware of the different security risks and things like that? Having a security awareness training program is one of the best ways to make sure that even if something, you can have all of the fancy tools in the world, every single like filter and everything, something’s going to slip through. And if you have staff that know what to look for and know not to click on something or not to go on that website or not to, you know, enter their information in various different places. Them having the knowledge is going to be one of the biggest returns on investment in terms of security, antivirus. Uh, we only, we had so few um, issues with antivirus last year, out of the 696 security incidents that we were dealing with, Only seven of them were viruses and only 45 of them were malware. And so it’s much more important for staff to be able to identify what’s a spam email, what, spearfishing. How can I tell if I’m looking at an email from somebody else whose account has been compromised and having the training to make them aware of. That is definitely worth the investment. And there are great tools out there, like, no before that, you know, are really easy to use.

[00:08:31.84] spk_0:
Okay. And so, uh, no, first of all, it was no before like K N O W K N O W before. Okay, I didn’t know about this, but I figured out no. Before. All right. But that’s not that’s not really saying much but any case. Um So is that a security training? Like is that online security training that folks can get it? No before or like how is this accidental techie gonna push this and and offer the training in their in their non profit

[00:10:02.94] spk_2:
That’s great. Yeah. So uh that’s a learning management software and that’s specifically for cybersecurity behaviors and tools. The way that you’re going to pitch this for your organization is to first gather your data, get your plan of attack. And a lot of times you know that involves one Looking for friends in the company to support you to getting data and you know trying to make sure that if you are able to um like find partners either within the organization or maybe even reach out to your board governance committee, um those people are going to be able to you know, help leverage some of the existing requirements that you have, if an organization needs to apply for cyber liability insurance a lot of times multifactor authentication is going to be one of the requirements. A staff security training is going to be one of the requirements. And so being able to leverage those and then putting it putting your plea into terms that people understand if your E. D. Is looking at, you know, what is the comparing the cost of of security, education software versus you know, financial compromise. Like there is a definite argument to be made there

[00:11:03.94] spk_0:
it’s time for a break. Turn to communications, media relations and thought leadership. Peter pan a pinto, a turn to partner was on last week. He’s a former journalist at the Chronicle of philanthropy. His partner scott is also a former journalist so they know what to do and what not to do to build relationships with journalists. Those relationships are going to get, you heard turn to communications, your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C. O. Now back to cybersecurity 101 you mentioned cyber liability insurance. Is that is that something else? We should be flagging for these for these poor accidental turkeys.

[00:11:08.54] spk_2:
The

[00:11:08.75] spk_0:
beleaguered, beleaguered, accidental techies.

[00:12:16.64] spk_1:
Yeah. I think we’re seeing more and more organizations go through a cyber liability insurance kind of renewal process. Typically that’s something that’s handled by the, you know, the finance department of the organization. What we’re seeing is that, you know, for cyber liability insurance or even for financial audits, they’re becoming a lot more technical. And so it’s likely that if you’ve got any any tech aptitude at all, then you’re being enlisted to help fill out these applications to provide the detailed information that’s being requested. And so yeah, we’re seeing a lot more sophistication being, you know kind of demanded by these insurance companies in terms of, you know understanding which controls are in place because we’re seeing even cases where if you have not turned on multi factor authentication for all your your systems you won’t even be eligible for coverage. Uh and so it’s pretty dramatic that you know organizations are now being, you know, it’s a good idea to protect the organization, you know, for these cyber security controls. But there’s this also this extra layer of requirement from you know, insurance carriers now to say hey like you have to have this so we’re not gonna provide you insurance.

[00:12:40.94] spk_0:
Okay, okay. Sarah, let’s go back to you. I’d ask you about cyber liability insurance and then matt usurped unceremoniously uh usurped your your your your platform. So let’s go back to you what else, what else can you contribute for these for these folks?

[00:13:53.94] spk_2:
Yeah. So with with cyber liability insurance it’s something that oftentimes is getting you know much more of a top down decision making process. Somebody will have, you know, these things like the ransomware and and wire fraud and issues like that have been, we have bubbled up more inter in like the public awareness and so there’s a lot of top down pressure for these things to get adopted and you know there one of the things that they’re also going to ask for is you know, what are your plans? Do you have an acceptable use policy for your I. T. Do you have a plan for when something does go wrong, you know what do people know what to do, who to reach out to, what steps to take? You know because you know you you hope for the best to plan for the worst. And there are a lot of really good resources out there for developing these sorts of acceptable use policies for for creating incident response plans and you know you can um really it can get overwhelming sometimes the number of you know different resources that are available and what to use and what not to use. So you know partnering with somebody who does know you know a little bit more about cybersecurity or is providing that knowledge to the community. Um

[00:14:43.94] spk_0:
Let me guess that that that’s the work of community I. T. Innovators. Am I going out on a limb taking a taking a stab in the dark? Yes. Okay well we’ll get I’ll give you a chance for this for the shout out. Alright explanation. But I’m gonna ask you first what are what are some resources for folks? I mean I’m you got me feeling bad now for these people because we’re like we’re enhancing their to do list but this isn’t even their job that they’re paid for. But yeah we’re talking about looking into insurance and having policies and now now now they are now realizing they are beleaguered because it’s not even their job, they’re just got foisted on them because they know more than all the baby boomers in the

[00:14:53.77] spk_1:
office.

[00:14:56.64] spk_2:
Sometimes it is baby boomers who are accidental techies.

[00:14:59.85] spk_0:
All right. It’s probably not too often. Thank you for that, but probably not not too often. All right. But so what are some resources that folks can can rely on? You said there’s there are many, where can we look?

[00:15:14.44] spk_2:
So I’m going to start with the the self interest pitch first. Uh community I. T. Has a great um library of publicly available resources on our website and our Youtube channel um that are really great for digging into these kinds of things. Um A great

[00:15:30.38] spk_0:
places website. The website

[00:16:00.74] spk_2:
is uh community I. T. Dot com. Um and the one of the other places that I know that matt has as our cybersecurity expert has a lot of people start is with the cybersecurity framework by nest the um and that website have a link to it. It’s N I S T dot gov two slash cybersecurity framework.

[00:16:03.65] spk_0:
Okay. And I S T dot gov slash cybersecurity framework. So N I S. T. Obviously is a government agency, National Institute

[00:16:11.61] spk_1:
of Standards

[00:16:12.97] spk_2:
and Technology

[00:16:24.44] spk_0:
Technology. Thank you. So. Okay. Um Alright, so there’s a couple of resources um including community I. T. Innovators. Anything else you’d like to share with that folks can rely on?

[00:16:47.44] spk_1:
I’d say that there’s no shortage of resources out there. Techsoup is also a great resource. So in addition to the donations that I think we’re all familiar with Techsoup also has a courses and training and so they have some free resources that I would encourage folks to check out there. Um, so I think, yeah, there’s, there’s no shortage of resources that are out there to help people learn. I think, you know, the big, the big challenges is really putting it into action.

[00:17:16.24] spk_0:
What about a little uh, can we give some uh, psychological support to these beleaguered folks? Now? I’m telling you, you have me feeling very badly for them? Um, what we’ll get back to the to the bog arts and boogie men, I promise. But but uh, let’s let’s take a little digression to how we can support these folks other than recommending things for them to be aware of just like how can how can we support them otherwise.

[00:17:25.34] spk_2:
So I think that, you know, I’m trying not to turn this into a pitch for joint for having an MSP come in and like do you own this stuff for you? Because

[00:17:33.45] spk_0:
what’s an MSP

[00:17:34.70] spk_2:
MSP is a managed service provider.

[00:17:38.13] spk_0:
Thank you. That’s what you are

[00:17:40.09] spk_2:
support, we have

[00:17:41.20] spk_0:
drug in jail on non profit radio So yeah, but I, I saved you from from any any lengthy sentence. Okay, a managed service provider. Okay,

[00:18:35.14] spk_2:
so that is that is one of the ways you know that you can get support. The other thing is you know, really leaning on the rest of the community Text suit is a great place to look for resources and you know, the entire community is a place to ask questions. Um There are also you know on linkedin and facebook and places like that. There are communities that you can reach out to for wanting to event looking for ideas, looking for recommendations. Those are all um possibilities. I uh definitely enjoy seeing how many you know how ready people are when people post on the N 10 forums like I need help with this and like there are definitely people jumping on,

[00:19:12.74] spk_0:
it’s an enormously supportive community. Yeah I I fear that even though I say it a lot because amy sample Ward is on the show very often. She’s our technology contributor. Um and so she’s often saying it to that intent is not only for technologists but I I still think people have that misconception. Um It can be for folks who are not even you know not even responsible for technology in their office but they’re just using it. You know you’re just using it in your non profit and In 2022 like who is not using technology? I don’t think we’re running everything by index cards even if you’re on an excel spreadsheet, you’re still using technology. So.

[00:19:22.64] spk_2:
Yeah.

[00:22:28.84] spk_0:
Yeah. Well that yeah and line printers now you’re talking about when I went to college so be careful Sara it’s time for a break. Fourth dimension technologies. You heard the four D. Ceo jug in last week. Talk about I. T. As a service for nonprofits. They know they’re in a service business. Their I. T. Infra in a box. The I. T. Buffet. If you will is structured around service, take what you need and what fits your budget, leave the rest behind. They know their work is to serve your I. T. Needs comes from the Ceo directly fourth dimension technologies tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant D. Just like three D. But they go one dimension deeper It’s time for Tony’s take two. This is my silver jubilee in planned giving and august is national make a will month next month. So let’s start talking about your planned giving program launch with wills wills. Why should you start your planned giving program with wills This week? three easy reasons. First they are the most popular planned gift by far expects 75-90% of your planned gifts forever to be the most simple planned gift. The gift by will. So it just makes sense to start with what’s gonna be At least three quarters of your gifts anyway Behind door number two there’s no donor education. Everybody knows what a will is. Everybody knows they need a will and everybody knows how will’s work. You don’t have to spend time and money educating donors explaining to them the concepts of life insurance as a planned gift or charitable gift annuities or remainder trusts. You’re sticking with the basics, something that everybody understands and Behind door number three there’s no staff education, everything I just said applies to your staff to everybody knows what wills are, everybody knows how they work and everybody knows that they need one. So you don’t have to train your staff on life insurance and gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts completely unnecessary. You’re starting with the basics and you may never ever decided to go further and that won’t matter. But the place to start is gifts by wills for those three reasons, three reasons for today in any case. And that is Tony’s take two. We’ve got just about a butt load more time for cybersecurity 101 with Matt Eshelman and Sara Wolf Matt.

[00:22:29.94] spk_2:
What

[00:22:30.17] spk_0:
else? Um, let’s go back to

[00:22:32.94] spk_2:
what,

[00:22:33.16] spk_0:
what we can the rockets and the boogie men that

[00:22:36.24] spk_1:
we want

[00:22:36.47] spk_0:
to help these folks look out for.

[00:23:01.04] spk_1:
Um, yeah, I would maybe also just kind of come back in terms of what’s good about investing in this training is that it’s, it’s good to see progress And I think that’s one of the benefits as Sarah mentioned the know before platform. It’s great. You know, spend a little bit of money to invest in a platform because then you can actually see the progress of, you know, how many people are taking and passing these little trainings and then know before does a little thing called test fishing and you can actually see the percentage change of how many people in your organization are kind of clicking on stuff that they shouldn’t. And so, you know, whenever you test, yes,

[00:23:34.04] spk_0:
it’s great test phishing emails to your enemies in the office, report them when they click, when they click after two days after the training and they click, you can, you can turn them in. Now organization advantage. Now there’s an advantage to being an accident that you’re no longer beleaguered. You’re empowered. Yes, send, send, send a, send a test phishing email to my boss who just turned me down for getting the day after christmas

[00:23:46.84] spk_1:
off. So

[00:23:47.30] spk_0:
yeah, so it’s great.

[00:24:31.44] spk_1:
You can, you know, you can see, you can see progress and so not all of cybersecurity is kind of like doom and gloom and you know, battening down the hatches, you know, against the onslaught. I think it can be fun. It can be engaging. You know, uh, you know, I think organizations that yeah, do elevate it. And it’s something that, you know, people can talk about and talk about openly as opposed to, you know, being being silenced and kind of feeling bad about themselves. If they, if they clicked on one of those messages, right? Like that’s not the approach you want to take. You want to take the approach of encouraging that learning because, you know, if you got caught by a suspicious message, uh, you know, it’s likely somebody else got that too. And so having this kind of culture of openness and engagement. Yeah, is really successful,

[00:24:37.54] spk_0:
right? I agree. Unless it’s your boss who turned you down for the day after christmas, that then it’s then it’s vindictive reported

[00:24:40.64] spk_1:
to the board.

[00:24:49.24] spk_0:
Yes. Oh, without a doubt. So All right, well let’s stay with you matt. What else? Um what else can we? Yeah,

[00:26:00.74] spk_1:
I think the other thing that we started to see more of would be kind of financial fraud or what’s kind of called in the, I think the official terminology wire fraud. So you know, it could be something as simple as those messages people get, you know, that look like they’re coming from the executive director saying, hey, I just need you to buy these gift cards. Call me real quick. I got something for you to do. You know, we’ve seen people get caught up by that, you know, even to more sophisticated cases where people are getting tricked by well crafted emails that say, oh, I need to update my payment information or hey, we’ve got a grantee and they had a problem with their bank account and here’s the new bank account information. So uh you know, that kind of falls into an area where it’s, it’s not just a technology control. You know, there isn’t some product that you can buy that’s gonna magically make that go away. Um but it’s a combination of having training, maybe having some good spam filtering tools in place, but then also having some policy and procedures so that you’re talking about that with your finance department, uh, so that you, you have good processes in place. So it’s payments aren’t made just by one person making a change, but there’s some some review and some betting maybe we need to call somebody. So I think again, it’s it’s not just technology solutions, but really that that kind of the people in process comes in into these equations as well.

[00:26:22.74] spk_0:
It seems like they’re getting more sophisticated. Uh, the little savvy er like uh your your account renewed for $399, you know, click here to see the invoice. You know, I don’t know, they just seem, they seem like they’re improving

[00:27:35.94] spk_1:
well. And I think you’ve identified a key understanding is that uh this is this is a cyber crime. This is a criminal enterprise, right? This is financially motivated. And the bad guys are doing it, you know, not just to kind of go in and wreak havoc on your network, but they’re doing it to make money. Uh and so I think that’s also helpful for organizations to keep in mind, right? You know, you can be the greatest nonprofit in the world and be, you know, have the most noble mission. No, they’re not attacking you because of your mission. They’re attacking you because you have money and, and you might get tricked into yeah, doing that $399 renewal or maybe you updated a payment information and and that was $25,000. And so uh, you know, the mission, you know, does not matter For those, uh, you know, cyber criminals who are financially motivated and it’s a lot easier to, to kind of trick somebody into giving you $400 than it is to, you know, write some super sophisticated virus that’s gonna go on to your computer and encrypt all your files. Then you’re gonna have to try to figure out how to pay them in Cryptocurrency. Yeah. It’s just, it’s a lot easier to try to trick people into giving you money than it is to write, write a new virus. Yeah.

[00:27:49.14] spk_0:
Okay. And then of course there is the community of nonprofits that, that are at risk because of their mission. And because you know, we’re living in a polarized time. It’s, it’s no longer

[00:27:54.27] spk_1:
just

[00:27:55.34] spk_0:
um, hot button issues, you know, like gun rights or, or abortion.

[00:28:00.21] spk_1:
I mean,

[00:28:06.74] spk_0:
it seems like a lot of missions could trigger someone to do something malicious, you know, technology wise. Uh,

[00:28:27.94] spk_1:
yeah, I would say so. We really see that, um, primarily for organizations that are in the space kind of like government think tanks, policy groups, you know, kind of good good government. Those tend to be the kind of attack attract the most attention. Um, and then I think organizations that work on, you know, human sexuality and uh, you know, family planning and abortion services like are in that category as well. Right,

[00:28:39.24] spk_0:
Sarah, let’s turn back to

[00:28:40.94] spk_1:
you, what,

[00:28:41.21] spk_0:
what, what more can you share with us?

[00:31:26.84] spk_2:
Well the one of the things that you know in in that theme of you know it is financial, these these this has become a business enterprise and it’s become you know not necessarily organized crime but it has become something that is a multibillion dollar business. And um That is something that we’ve definitely seen. We’ve seen an increase in the number of incidents that we end up responding to like from 2018 to 2021. The number of cybersecurity incidents is that that community I. T. Was able to track tripled. And so you know there isn’t a way to really fly under the radar anymore and you’re right, these people are getting smarter. It’s not just all Nigerian princes looking for for oil or gold or whatever. It’s you know, there have been times where you know, we’ve seen examples that have been caught in the tools or that did get through and did nearly create an issue. And I sat there and looked at the email chain and I was like, I can’t tell where this jumped in and then you like have to like really highlight and look in and look in the details and you go, oh, oh okay. Like there was just like a one letter change in somebody’s email address, you know, or and like that can you know if if you don’t have the training and you’re not necessarily aware of that stuff and then the redundancy that that matt was talking about um making sure that, you know, it isn’t just up that that all of the keys to the castle aren’t in one person’s hands. Uh so that you can, you know, make sure that there’s additional eyes to see, you know, what you missed or to make sure that this is the real deal is, you know, really important. Um you know what, it’s, it’s definitely a frame of mind thing. You don’t want to be constantly consumed with worry and you know, be paranoid about everything and because that just takes, we’ve got a whole lot of other things going on in the world right now that we don’t need to be panicking about cyber security all the time and just doing a few relatively low cost things can really help with peace of mind. And you know, it’s worth taking the time, you know, penny wise, pound foolish is one of the other sayings that comes around a lot, you know, just to make sure that, You know, you don’t end up having to deal with a $25,000 wire fraud

[00:31:30.01] spk_0:
issue sarah. What were some of the questions that you got from the accidental Tuckey folks who were watching,

[00:31:38.84] spk_2:
they

[00:31:38.91] spk_0:
were with you?

[00:32:14.44] spk_2:
Yeah, there were some questions on like where do we start, like how do I like uh we, we pointed people to the Nist Nist framework has a chess checklist um of things that you can start thinking about and looking at as you know, places to start. There were also um questions about how do I how do I make sure that I can, you know, convince my my edie about this and

[00:32:18.14] spk_0:
leadership by in

[00:33:06.84] spk_2:
leadership buy in and you know, we really for that we really said, you know, try if if if if you’re, if you’re leadership isn’t necessarily into it, you have to get like there’s no right or wrong way to go about things that can be top down, it can be bottom up but making sure that if it’s something where your leadership isn’t as invested, making sure you gather allies, you gather allies and you gather financially focused um data to back you up. You know, cyber security is getting more frequent and it is getting more costly to have to address issues after the fact. And so, you know, those were, you know, some of the really big questions and focuses

[00:33:34.34] spk_0:
you and you had mentioned allies early on the value of having having friends uh sympathetic to the to the cause all you know, making this case together to to the ceo or wherever it needs to go. Um All right, matt you want to leave us with some well matt, let me ask you any questions that you uh that that Sarah didn’t mention that you, that that hit you as particularly interesting important.

[00:34:43.34] spk_1:
Um I think it’s important for for folks to to realize that, you know, just because their data in the cloud doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s, it’s backed up or it’s protected in a way that they, that they think it is. And so I think, you know, nonprofits have done a really great job of getting their data in the cloud platforms. You know, there’s been a lot of great donation programs and discounts and so non profits, I think have done a really good job of technology adoption. Um, but what we see is that they haven’t been maybe as strict on kind of the policy and the governance and some of the other supporting, you know, processes. So we think it’s really important that you understand where your data is and understand how it’s protected and just make sure that that lines up with what you, you know, your organization expects, you know, is it okay if somebody downloads all of your organization data on their personal computer? Like is that an okay thing to have happened? Let’s make, let’s make sure that we talk about it and understand that, uh, you know, and I think the same thing goes again, you know, if somebody deletes a file today, do we need to be able to recover it, You know, a day from now, 30 days from now, a year from now. And so I think just having some of those baseline settings and kind of testing them is a really important step to take

[00:35:01.54] spk_0:
backup recovery. You know those are not necessarily covered by just being in the being in the cloud and how what’s the time to recover?

[00:35:22.44] spk_1:
Right. Yeah. So I think a lot of those, you know quote unquote old school you know security methods or techniques are still important even if you’ve got your date in the clouds again having that third party backup, having an offline copy. Uh those are all really important steps to take to make sure that your organization’s data is well protected.

[00:35:24.94] spk_2:
Okay.

[00:35:26.14] spk_1:
All

[00:35:29.04] spk_0:
right. Why don’t we leave it there then? I feel like we’ve covered this.

[00:35:31.14] spk_2:
I

[00:35:31.51] spk_1:
think we’ve got the foundational element. Is

[00:35:41.34] spk_0:
there anything alright, is there anything on your mind just like oh wait I gotta get this in. Is there anybody, I

[00:35:41.67] spk_1:
mean I’ll put in a plug for multi factor authentication again I think it’s worth saying at least a couple more times

[00:35:46.63] spk_0:
because

[00:35:47.47] spk_1:
it’s the it’s the most important step that that that many organizations can take.

[00:35:54.74] spk_0:
Okay Sarah parting thought

[00:36:16.33] spk_2:
just gonna emphasize what matt said about the managed backup just now um you know it’s really important to know your settings and to discuss them because you know a lot of times data loss is actually accidental and so if you have a way to get it back that can save you a whole lot of heartache and headache.

[00:36:20.38] spk_0:
Okay we want to avoid

[00:36:22.00] spk_1:
both. Thank

[00:36:34.53] spk_0:
you that’s Sara Wolf sales manager at community I. T. Innovators and also matt Eshelman Chief technology officer at community I. T. Innovators. Sarah matt, thank you both very much.

[00:36:37.33] spk_2:
Thank you so much.

[00:36:38.26] spk_1:
Thanks tony it’s good to get to talk to you.

[00:36:39.97] spk_0:
All right, pleasure and thank you for being

[00:36:42.51] spk_1:
with

[00:38:02.03] spk_0:
nonprofit radio coverage of 22 N. T C. The 2022 nonprofit technology conference. I’m glad you’re with us next week tech policies to reduce toxic productivity. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. This is # 601 by the way, I don’t know if you’re counting. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C. O. And by 4th dimension technologies I. T. Infra in a box. The affordable tech solution for nonprofits tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant four D. Just like three D. But they go on to mention deeper. Our creative producer is claire Meyerhoff. The shows social media is by Susan Chavez, marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott stein yeah thank you for that. Affirmation scotty be with me next week for non profit radio Big non profit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great. Mhm. Mhm