Nonprofit Radio for December 4, 2023: Misinformation & Disinformation

 

Amy Sample WardMisinformation & Disinformation

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

Listen to the podcast

Get Nonprofit Radio insider alerts!

I love our sponsor!

Donorbox: Powerful fundraising features made refreshingly easy.

 

Apple Podcast button

 

 

 

We’re the #1 Podcast for Nonprofits, With 13,000+ Weekly Listeners

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

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

Transcript for 2023/12/669_tony_martignetti_nonprofit_radio_20231204.mp3

S3 bucket containing transcription results: transcript.results
Link to bucket: https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/buckets/transcript.results
Path to JSON: https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/object/transcript.results?prefix=czM6Ly9hdWRpby5tcGdhZHYuY29tLzIwMjMvMTIvNjY5X3RvbnlfbWFydGlnbmV0dGlfbm9ucHJvZml0X3JhZGlvXzIwMjMxMjA0Lm1wMw–.1701442235.json
Path to text: https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/object/transcript.results?prefix=transcript/2023/12/669_tony_martignetti_nonprofit_radio_20231204.txt

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

Nonprofit Radio for November 27, 2023: Donor Surveys & People-Powered Movements

Crystal Mahon & Christian RobillardDonor Surveys

You’ll make the most of the donors you have by discovering their potential through surveying. Crystal Mahon and Christian Robillard talk principles, best practices and goal setting. Crystal is with STARS Air Ambulance and Christian is at Beyond The Bake Sale.

 

 

 

 

Celina Stewart & Gloria Pan: People-Powered Movements

This team helps you build more effective and inclusive movements, by encouraging you to think about communications, power and privilege. They’re Celina Stewart from League of Women Voters U.S. and Gloria Pan with Moms Rising.

 

 

 

 

Listen to the podcast

Get Nonprofit Radio insider alerts!

I love our sponsor!

Donorbox: Powerful fundraising features made refreshingly easy.

 

Apple Podcast button

 

 

 

We’re the #1 Podcast for Nonprofits, With 13,000+ Weekly Listeners

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

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

Transcript for 2023/11/668_tony_martignetti_nonprofit_radio_20231127.mp3

S3 bucket containing transcription results: transcript.results
Link to bucket: https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/buckets/transcript.results
Path to JSON: https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/object/transcript.results?prefix=czM6Ly9hdWRpby5tcGdhZHYuY29tLzIwMjMvMTEvNjY4X3RvbnlfbWFydGlnbmV0dGlfbm9ucHJvZml0X3JhZGlvXzIwMjMxMTI3Lm1wMw–.1700693571.json
Path to text: https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/object/transcript.results?prefix=transcript/2023/11/668_tony_martignetti_nonprofit_radio_20231127.txt

And welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I am glad you’re with us. I’d suffer the effects of emphasis if you inflamed me with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate. What’s going on this week? Hey, Tony, we’ve got two convos from 2020 donor surveys. You’ll make the most of the donors you have by discovering their potential through surveying Crystal. Mahan and Christian Robillard talk principles, best practices and goal setting. Crystal is with stars air ambulance and Christian is at beyond the bake sale. Then people powered movements. This team helps you build more effective and inclusive movements by encouraging you to think about communications, power and privilege. There’s Selena Stewart from League of women voters, us and Gloria Pan with moms Rising. These both aired on August 7th 2020 on Tony’s Take two Happy Thanksgiving. Unbelievable were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. This giving season donor box, the fast flexible and friendly fundraising platform for nonprofits. Donor box.org here is donor surveys. Welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of 20 NTC 2020 nonprofit technology conference in 10 made the excruciating decision to cancel the nonprofit technology conference. But we are continuing virtually, you’ll get just as much value. Uh We don’t have to all be close to pick the brains of uh the expert speakers from uh from N 10. My guests now are Crystal Mahan and Christian Robillard Crystal is manager of annual giving at Stars Air Ambulance and Christian is founder and chief podcaster at Beyond the Bake Sale. Crystal Christian. Welcome. Welcome to nonprofit radio. Thanks, Tony. Thanks, Tony, great to be here. Uh It’s a pleasure to have both of you. Um You are both in uh in Canada uh Crystal. You are in uh Alberta and Christian. Remind me where you are. I’m in uh beautiful sunny Ottawa, Ontario, Ottawa, Ottawa, the capital, the nation’s capital. Not to be, not to be disputed with Toronto who uh likes to think they’re the capital. I know well, and many Americans think it’s either Montreal or Toronto. Yes. But uh Ottawa capital. All right. I’m glad to know that you’re both well and safe. Um And, and glad to have you both with us. Thanks. Um We’re talking about donor surveys. Your, your NTC topic is uh donor surveys, your untapped data, gold mine. Uh Crystal. Why are surveys? A data gold mine? Well, we had the fortune of launching a survey. We’ve never done one prior to 2016. And when we did it, we were amazed at what we found. So we learned a lot about our donors in terms of their communication preferences. We made money like easily made net on that. And on top of that, we actually ended up learning a lot about time giving prospects and turns out that there were a lot of donors that we had no idea, had named us in their will or were interested in naming us in their will. So there was a lot of revenue like hidden revenue that we were finally getting access to. So that’s sort of where that line is moving here. What’s what it’s referring to? Interesting. I’m, I’m looking forward to drilling into that more because I do plan to giving fundraising as a consultant. Uh And I’m sometimes asked by clients about doing surveys. Um So I’m interested in what you’re doing as well. Um And, and you’re getting uh gifts, you said you’ve made money back from them. So people do send you gifts of cash along with their surveys. Yes, like this year we did uh early because last year 2019, our Stars Ally survey made $300,000 and then that all all the new people that we found for plan giving, like we’re looking at billions of dollars coming into the door in the future for stars. So it’s yeah, to not do a survey just seems like a huge opportunity at this point. Yeah, my good. Did you say billions with a B no millions with an millions? OK. The audio is not perfect. So it almost sounded billions. So I wanted to be sure because I’m sure listeners have the same question. OK. Millions, millions are still very, very good. Um Christian, anything you want to add to about why these are uh such a gold mine for nonprofits? I mean, besides the fact that you’re using data, obviously to reinforce certain decisions and to highlight certain wealth elements, I would say in terms of your sponsorship potential, I know that a lot of organizations are looking more so into the corporate sponsorship, corporate engagement side of things. And I think with your, your donor surveys, you can really reveal a lot around where people are working their levels in terms of uh positions within a certain company or organization. And that can lead you down some interesting paths from a corporate sponsorship perspective. OK. OK. Um Your um your description of the, the, the workshop said that uh you make the most of the donors you already have and it sounds like you, you both obviously are, are are going there, is there anything you wanna add about sussing out the, the, the the value that’s in your uh that, that you don’t know you have among your current donors? Well, from our perspective, like it’s given us an opportunity to get to know our donors better in terms of what, what are they actually interested in learning about in our organization or why are they choosing to give? And it allows us to tailor our messages and just be a lot more personal with them and act like we really know them as opposed to them just being a number in our database. So it really give us an opportunity to really cultivate that relationship and just continue bringing them on board and continuing that relationship with them. Yeah. OK. Um Is, is most of your uh content in the, in the workshop around the best practices for, for surveys? Is that what we’re gonna be exploring? Mostly Christian, feel free to jump in. I would say that we were working a lot at best or best practices then also case studies. So people would have some tangible examples of how to actually launch one but to consider and what they would actually need to do once they go back to their nonprofit actually. Ok. All right. Well, let’s, um, let’s start with like, where, where do you get started? W who, who, who are the best people to send surveys to or, or what types of information are, are you finding or most uh re responded to or what types of questions are most responded to? How can you help us sort of frame uh uh an outline of what we, where to get started? Well, Christian and I talked a lot about building the proper scope of your survey. So, figuring out like, why exactly are you doing the survey? What are you trying to find out? And once you kind of, I guess tailor down exactly what you’re trying to learn or what you’re trying to achieve that can sort of help you figure out who you need to actually reach out to and what demographic or audience you need to build that sort for. Ok. So like starting with your goals, what’s the, what’s the, what’s the purpose of the darn thing? Yes. OK. OK. Um Christian, you wanna, you wanna jump in around, you know, starting to get this process started? Yeah, absolutely. And I, I think uh as crystal and I were kind of building this piece out whether you’re talking about uh more of a philanthropic focus for your survey or whether you’re talking about more of a corporate kind of sponsorship, focus of it. You ultimately want to ask yourself a number of different questions before you can get going things around. What you ultimately want to know about your donor base or about this particular audience population that you’re ultimately looking for. More information on. Why are you doing this in the first place? Is, is this more responsive, isn’t it more of a proactive type survey to uh explore new avenues? What do you ultimately need to know? I think that’s an important element to focus on is not asking everything but asking the right. Things who do you need to ask? So who is the actual population that you’re targeting at the end of the day? Uh What would you do with the information? So don’t just collect information for, for information sake, not that, that’s not important, but what’s the actual actionable pieces for that? And how are you going to protect that information? I think with the today’s sensitivities around, around data privacy, it’s really important for, for charities and nonprofits to steward that data as they would, any type of gift that they ultimately get. Yeah, in terms of the data stewardship that, that might constrain what you ask as well because now you have um uh conceivably a higher level of security that you need to maintain. Absolutely Tony and even just in terms of sensitivities of, of phrasing certain questions, I think it’s important for you to think about how you phrase certain things and how intimate you’re ultimately getting. And if you do get that intimate, like you said, how do you protect that data? But also what’s the purpose for collecting that particular piece of data aside from, well, it might be a nice to have someday instead of this actually contributes towards our, our bottom line. Now you’re doing uh surveys around corporate sponsorship. Uh Right. That’s, that’s the example you mentioned. So you’re, you’re getting to know where people work so that you might use that information for potential sponsorships. Yeah, I mean, when you look at sponsorship. Ultimately, it’s, it’s very much a business transaction. If you look at how Forbes just uh defines sponsorship, it’s very much the cash and in kind fee paid to a property, a property being, whether it’s a charitable run or some type of adventure or conference in this case, um in return for access to the exploitable commercial potential associated with that property. So you think of any other type of exploitable commercial potential, which is the most buzzwordy definition you possibly could. If you think of any type of advertising medium, whether it’s TV, radio print, you wanna know ultimately who’s in your audience. And one of the best and most effective ways to do that is to conduct some type of survey to really tease out who are some of your very specific or niche audiences in Canada, we say niche. So it’s a bit of a cringe for uh for us up here in the north. But uh having a survey to really tease out who are, who’s in your audience and some of the more behavioral psychographic uh demographic features of that audience are particularly important to, to have to really make a compelling case to, to corporations looking to use sponsorship with your organization. OK. Um What format are you using? Christian Crystal? I’m gonna ask you the same thing shortly. What, how are these offered to people? Yeah. So we, so in the experience that I’ve had, we usually use a survey monkey survey of some kind that allows for a lot of cross tab analysis to be able to say that people who are in between the ages of 18 and 29 have this particular set of income. They have these particular purchase patterns, they care about your cause to nth degree they um are engaged with your cause or with your property and whether it’s through social media or through certain print advertisements or whatever that might be. And we usually collect around 30 plus data points on all of those uh on all of those elements ranging from, again, the behavioral to the demographic, to psychographic to some very pointed specific questions around the relationship between your cause and the affinity um for a certain corporation based on that uh based on not caring for that cause. Yeah. Uh So you said collecting around 30 data points? Does that, does that mean a survey would have that many questions? Absolutely. Oh OK. Now I’ve heard from guests in the past may have even been NTC guests, not this year, but the, you know, the optimal number of questions for a survey is like five or six or so and people bail out uh beyond that point. Yeah. And, and usually before I had actually sent out a survey of that magnitude, I would agree with you, Tony and I would agree with most, I think the, the important differentiators one is that you frame it as it’s very much for improving the relationships and the ability for the, the cause properties, whether that’s your, run your gala, whatever that might be to raise money. And usually the audience that you’re sending that to is very receptive to that. I think you want to frame it also, as you’re only collecting the most important of information. And uh you’re also looking at uh again, like you’re incentivizing it in some way, shape or form. So usually when you tailor it with some type of incentive, be it a $50 gift card opportunity to win something like that, usually people are a lot more are a lot more receptive. And in the time that we’ve done surveys, whether it’s in my, my past days consulting in the space or now doing a lot of work with charities and nonprofits, we’ve sent it to tens of thousands of respondents and you get a pretty, a pretty strong response rate and a really nominal if negligible amount of an unsubscribed rate. So people are not unsubscribing from getting those questions. And in fact, they’re answering a lot of them and an important element as well as making them optional. So not forcing people to have to fill out certain pieces but giving them the freedom to answer whichever questions they feel compelled to. But when you’re doing it for the cause people are pretty, are pretty compelled to respond to those types of questions. Crystal, how about you? What what format are your, your uh surveys offered in? We do both offline and online. So our donor base tends to be a little bit older. So for us, the physical mailing is absolutely mandatory because, because a lot of our donors respond that way. Um But we do also produce an online version for, I guess other parts of our donor base that are in a di different demographic or just based on that person’s preference, just giving them that opportunity. Um But what we did find is that in terms of our offline responses, we had a lower response rate in terms of responses to the survey. But exponentially more donations coming through offline as opposed to online. And then for online responses of the online survey, we had a lot more responses to the online survey but far fewer donations. So we found that there was an inverse relationship there. And I thought that was very interesting. It’s time for a break. Are you looking to maximize your fundraising efforts and impact this giving season? Donor Box. Online donation platform is designed to help you reach your fundraising goals from customizable donation forms to far-reaching easy share, crowd funding and peer to peer options. Plus seamless in person giving with donor box like kiosk. Donor box makes giving simple and fast for your donors and move the needle on your mission. Visit Donor box.org and let donor box help you help others. Now, back to donor surveys. Do you uh subscribe to the same uh opinion about the, the length that there can be up to 30 questions in a, in a survey. As Christian was saying, we personally haven’t practiced that. We usually keep ours between five and 10 questions and sometimes we even tailor it. If we know that somebody is interested in a particular program, we might take out a certain question put in something else related specifically to them. So there is some variability in the surveys, but generally we keep them quite short. But I do agree with Christian for sure in terms of really framing the purpose of the survey. And each of the questions around this is the whole purpose of this is to build our relationship with them and to better serve them and to get to know them better. And I think that really makes a huge difference and then we also do the incentivizing approach as well. So I think that also inspires people to uh I was just gonna ask about incentivizing, OK. Something similar like a, a drawing for a gift card, something like that. Yeah, we get a Stars Prize pack because we wanted to do something that would be specific. They couldn’t get something that they could elsewhere. So, yeah, we, we have started merchandise. So that’s one of our OK. Um I’m gonna thank Christian for not having a good uh a good video uh appearance because this video I’ve done 10 of these today and they’re all gonna be, all the videos are gonna be preserved except this one because Christian um has a very extreme background. It’s really just like a silhouette, a head with headphones is really about all I can see. But um I’m grateful because my background just fell. I have a little Tony, I have a Tony Martignetti if you watch all of these videos, which are gonna be available. Uh There’s a Tony Martignetti nonprofit Radio, um sort of easel, you know, um CEO core, you know, sign and uh it was behind me. Uh It was, and it just fell while uh Crystal was talking. So thank you. Uh Christian. I was just so surprised that you could ask 30 questions on a survey and get some type of uh degree of response. So it, it, it shook my house that I’m 30 data points. What madness is this? I’m so aghast at it. Yes. And then also the fact that the two of you disagree. Um All right. So, but I’m shouting, calling myself out as uh having a, a flimsy background but it lasted through, it lasted through like seven hours of this. I love it. I also say that we don’t necessarily disagree, but I think different surveys serve their different purposes. So I agree with Crystal that in, in that particular case, you only need to send one that has 5 to 10 questions. Whereas in this case, you’re probably sending it to, in, in a sponsorship case, you’re probably sending it to a larger population of people and you only need a certain amount of people to fill it out. So, um, Crystal, I had asked you and you probably answered, but I got distracted by my collapsing background. Uh What, what kinds of incentives do you offer? Uh, we offer Stars price pack. So it’s Stars merchandise. So we wanted to offer something a little bit different other than like a gift card that they could get through any other. Yeah, so that’s all right. Um a different angle for us. Yeah. Personalized to Stars. Ok. Got you. Ok. Um Now was yours specifically uh uh a planned giving survey or did you just have a couple of planned giving questions? And that’s where you discovered this data, gold mine of future gifts and all the wills that you found out that you’re in. It was not, it was not specific to plan giving. So it was more just a general survey. And then we did have a question about plan giving and then we were stunned by the response that we saw in subsequent years. We kept asking that and right now we’re sort of in the middle of doing a whole plan giving strategy and trying to really build that out now that we know that there is this whole core of people that are interested in this and that our donors are open to it. So it’s really opened up a lot of opportunities for us as an organization of all. Yeah. Interesting. Ok. All right. So, you, you learned from the first time this is, you’re in a lot more states than you had any idea. Yeah. Um, le let’s, let’s talk about some more, uh, good practices for surveys. Uh, Crystal. Is there something you can, one or two things you wanna recommend and then we’ll come to go back to Christian. Yeah. One of my major things is that if you’re gonna ask a question, you have to know what you’re gonna do with that data after the fact, like a pet people sign is where people just ask a question to ask a question for whatever reason, but then they don’t action anything out of it. Like to me, it’s very important that if our donors are going to spend the time to actually read through your survey and take the time to respond or mail it in or submit it online that we actually to do something with that information. So whether that’s tailoring future messaging or changing their communication preferences or whatever it is that they’re asking us to do or telling us, I think that’s so important is that you have to have a follow up plan in terms of once these responses come back in, what are we gonna do with them? Who is gonna take action? How are we gonna resource this? How are we going to use this information, I think of um date of birth as, as a good example of that, like if you’re gonna, if you’re gonna develop a plan to um congratulate someone for their birth on their birthday each year, then that can be a valuable data point. Um But if you just, you know, if you’re just asking because you, you know, you don’t have a purpose, you’re just interested in what their age is for some vague reason, then, then there’s no, there’s no value in asking. And if, if it’s just a follow up, if it’s just to know their, you know, when you want to send a card, maybe you don’t need the year, maybe you just need the day in the month. Um But if there’s value to your database for knowing their age and then you would ask the year. Exactly. So it helps you filter down there. What do we need to know? And why are we asking these question? What is the purpose, Kristen? You have a uh uh best practice you want to share. Yeah, I would say consider the not just the population size that you’re not just the population that you’re serving, but also the, the representative makeup. So if you know that your database is predominantly on more of the, the senior side of things, but you’re getting a disproportionate amount of, of more uh individuals who are on the younger side of things in terms of respondents that’s something important that you have to take into account. So the make up of the actual population is um is more important than I would argue than the amount of responses. You can get a crazy amount of responses. But if it doesn’t represent the population that you’re serving and that who make up your donors, it’s, it’s not gonna be valuable data to you. I remember one time we had uh an instance for an organization wanted to uh want to do a survey for sponsorship purposes and in other cases, it’s been for more donor specific like, oh, we’ll just put a note on Facebook or Twitter or something like that. It’s not necessarily your population, it’s not necessarily the group that you’re looking that you’re actively engaged with. Um in a fundraising perspective, you get information to the otherwise and then obviously reflect on that and use that. But um be really clear about the, the breakdown that you need to have in order to make the, the information actually representative of the rest of your database. Um What, what kinds of response rates like? What’s, what’s a decent response rate to a, to a, to a survey? I uh I think it depends what type of server you’re sending. I will, I’ll let Crystal speak to this more, but I’d say if it’s philanthropic, it can vary on the sponsorship side of things you’re looking for. Um a response rate that coincides with a 95% confidence interval with a 5% margin of error. That’s good market data to calculate that. There’s a bunch of big cal complicated formulas that we probably have all repressed from our time. In uh in statistics in uh in university, there’s a, a company called Surveymonkey that actually has a calculator for it. So if you go to the Surveymonkey website, you can actually um just plug in a what the sample size or what the actual size of the, the database you’re sending it to and you can plug in what confidence integral that you want and then what margin of error that you’d like and it’ll pump out a number of a minimum that you need to have. I would say that’s a good starting point. But again, as I talked about before, make sure you have the representative breakup breakdown of uh of who’s actually within your audience reflected in the survey results. And don’t have it disproportionately skewed towards a particular demographic that might be just more inclined to uh to respond to surveys. OK? OK. Um Crystal, anything you wanna add about uh the, the, the confidence it’s, it’s different. But, but yeah, but yeah, that I I withdraw that, that doesn’t make sense for you because you’re doing individual philanthropic surveys. So each response you get is valuable. You find out that someone is interested in plan giving already, has you in their will. That one response has, has great value yes, the purpose of our survey is a little bit different. So we don’t worry so much about that, but I completely agree that the Christian in terms of actually needing to calculate that and being mindful of who you are actually reaching out to with this survey to make sure that the representative of the, that you’re trying to question your survey. What what, what kind of response rate do you shoot for though Crystal? Cause still, you know, these, these things take time and you’re doing some of them are offline. So there’s postage and printing, et cetera. What kind of response rate do you consider good for, for an effort like that in terms of a financial response rate? So what I would clarify that for us, our response to the survey doesn’t necessarily mean a gift and a gift to the survey doesn’t necessarily mean that they responded to the survey. So in terms of number of gifts, we usually aim for between six and 10%. Um But in terms of actual response to the survey, we’ve seen as low as 2% but then as high as 7% depending on the year of the channel. Um So either way, like we have, we’re quite lucky, we have quite a large database. So any of these hands could be 50,000 people or more. So even 2% it is a pretty decent sample and gives us a lot of work to do and a lot of information to build off of? Ok. Ok. Um, for your online surveys, Crystal, are you using surveymonkey also? Did you say I’ve used a couple? We used Surveymonkey last year. Um, it is very user friendly. What I would caution people on is to always read the fine print about whatever price package they’re signed up for because like we discussed for our surveys a lot, a big focus is the financial return on it. So we needed to pick a price plan that involve being able to redirect right from the survey monkey page to our donation form. So you have to be really mindful of things like that. So in some of the basic packages, they don’t allow you to redirect to the donation form and that if you can’t do that, that will really negatively impact your financial return of the number of donations you’re going to see in? Ok. Is there another online tool that you like? Also I used a platform called Response, I believe they’re based out of Sweden or somewhere in Europe. And they were very good to be honest. So and there are some limitations as well with them in terms of what the different packages offer. But right now we’re using Surveymonkey and that’s what we’re sending out our like, for example, like even surveys, we’re sending out the survey Monkey or any of our ST based ones. So that’s what we’re using actively. OK. How about you Christian. Is there another one besides Survey Monkey that, uh, you could recommend? I, I think it just depends on what you’re, you’re looking for Tony. So, if you’re looking for a lot of, let’s say more Q answers, I’d say even a Google form would, would be more than, would be more than acceptable. It really just depends on what functionality you want to get out of. I use Surveymonkey pretty religiously just because it’s like Crystal said, it’s very user friendly. It has the functionality that I need and it’s real and it’s relatively um reasonable in terms of, in terms of price point for what you get. Um It’s also going to depend and it’s up to you to do due diligence on what types of functionality you need. Do you need to integrate with your database versus other software? Do you need certain functionality? Do you actually know how to use a lot of those things? Is there going to be support? And again, like what, what are they going to do with your data? Like do they have access to your data, whether it’s metadata or otherwise? Are there other rules or jurisdictions you have to consider with that, that data privacy? So I use Survey Monkey. But lots of considerations to make. Ok. Ok. Thank you. And um so Christian, why don’t you uh why don’t you lead us out with some uh take us out with uh some I guess motivation, closing thoughts what would you like to end with? Absolutely. I would say from a sponsor perspective, whether you’re a large organization or small organization, the, the riches are in the niches. So to do good sponsorship, it requires good data and it requires those 30 plus data points. But whether you’re a big group or a small group, you can compete at the, the same scale, especially um with the amount of money that’s being spent on cost sponsorship over $2 billion worldwide, which is no small amount of money that’s that you can get access to whether you’re $100,000 a year org or a million dollars plus requires good data. So make sure you’re collecting good data. Make sure you’re clear on uh what you want to use your information for and uh yeah, just be, be diligent in uh in making sure that the, that the data is actually protected. Ok. Um I was, I was, I was gonna let Christian end but since the two of you have such divergent purposes, which is fabulous for, uh it’s great for a discussion, uh, divergent purposes around your surveys. Crystal, why don’t you take us out uh on the, on the philanthropic, the individual donor side? Yeah, absolutely. So, like we were discussing, don’t be afraid to fundraise. Like, just because it’s a survey doesn’t mean that you can’t make money off of it. Your people are supporting you enough that they’re willing to fill out a survey and respond to you, they may be willing to donate as well. And then on top of that, like I said, you, you have to know why you’re asking these questions and what you’re gonna do with that information after. It’s really important in terms of respecting your donors time and the fact that they’re giving you this information, you need to be able to use it and sort properly and safely. And then lastly, I just say, please, please, please test your survey before you actually send it out, send it out to other departments or other people that are not in the midst of building the survey so that you can find out that you phrase things appropriately. You’re actually learning what you want to or the functionality is appropriate. I think that’s just so important because you only have one chance of sending it out. So just make sure that it works appropriately. Ok. Thank you very much. That’s Crystal Mahan Manager of Annual Giving at Stars Air Ambulance. And with her is Christian Robillard founder and chief podcaster at Beyond the Bake Sale Crystals in Alberta. And uh I’m sorry, Crystal, did I just say crystal? Yeah, I know crystal. Say crystal. Crystal. Crystal. Crystal. I know is in Alberta. We don’t make it easy on you, Tony and I, I got through 25 minutes so well. And then it’s a lackluster host. I’m sorry. It’s uh this is who you’re stuck with the Christians in the capital city of Ottawa. Thank you so much, Christian Crystal. Thank you very much. Thanks Tony. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you, Kate. Happy Thanksgiving. A week late. Can you believe that your lackluster host forgot that last week’s show should have included Happy Thanksgiving. We were doing the show the week before and it never occurred to me and I would say parenthetically it did not occur to our associate producer either. That’s the end of that parenthetical. I’ve always wanted to have an intern so I could have somebody to blame. You’ve heard me say it. Give me an intern, I need somebody to blame but just leave it right there. I have to wish you happy Thanksgiving a week late. I hope you enjoyed past tense. Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving last week. That’s the best I can do on Tony’s take two. There’s a nice little, uh, whimsical little rhyme. That is Tony’s take two, Kate. Well, um, thank you for putting it on me. But, uh we all know that it was your mistake and it’s ok. We forgive you. Um Tony for forgetting Thanksgiving. Yeah. All right. I’m not sure that, uh, you’re quite gonna get away with that. It wasn’t on you. I, I put it in parentheses in parent. Oh, I, I need an intern so I can blame them on everything. Yeah. Well, you’re not an intern. You’re the associate producer. I put you in parenthesis. I put the I put the blame statement in parentheses. I thought that would be good. Alright, let’s go. Well, we’ve got Buku but loads more time here is people powered movements. My guests now are Selina Stewart and Gloria Pan Selena is senior director of advocacy and litigation at League of Women Voters us. And Gloria is Vice president for member engagement at Moms Rising, Selena Gloria. Welcome. Hello, I’m glad we were able to put this together virtually. It’s good to see both of you. Um And I’m glad to know that you’re each well and safe and in uh either DC or just outside DC. Selina, you’re in DC and Gloria. Where are you outside Washington, Gloria? I am actually near Dulles Airport. So, you know, some people commute from here but because um mom’s rising is a virtual organization. I don’t. And so when people ask me for lunch, I’m always like, ok, it takes a little bit more planning. I have to bend my mind about it. I have to get my body into D CDC. OK. Um Your uh your NTC topic is a revolution is coming top tactics to build people powered movements. Um Selena, would you get us started with this? What, what was the need for the session? Well, I think um I think one of the things is right now it’s all about people power. You know, there’s everything is so politicized right now and I think that there is often a conversation about how people are involved in what, what government actually represents or what the government is representing. So I think that that’s really, really important. Um We also saw like in 2018 more voter turnout mo more voters turning out to vote and things like that. So I think that that also is as part of that people conversation, like what is compelling people to participate even more or at a greater extent than their democracy. But all of these things kind of work together to figure out, not only do we have people engaged now, but what is important? What does community as more people become engaged? Um How does, how does our definition of our community and communities in general change as more people are included and participate in all of those things? So I think that we’re at a very um interesting and crucial moment in time and so people powered and, and people involve movement. It’s, it’s, I think it’s always happened but it’s just a, a coin phrase. I think that’s especially prevalent right now. OK. Um Gloria E even though participation is, is uh is very high, we’re also largely polarized. So how do we overcome the opposite ends of the spectrum to try to bri bring people together and, and, and organize? Are you talking about everyone or are you talking about voters? Uh I’m, well, I’m talking about the country. Uh I don’t know, I don’t know whether I don’t know whether people are voting. Um But I’m talking about our political polarization. I don’t know if they’re necessarily voting. Uh I, they actually talk about voting so I probably threw it off a little bit, Gloria, they act like I’m asking for clarification only because like some of the most talented and I think unifying um politicians in recent memory, for example, Barack Obama did not succeed in unifying all of us, right? So there are some segments of our um citizenry that will just not do it, we will not be able to come together with them. But I think that for um people who really do want the best for our country and who are open minded enough to um want to hear from other people who have different um you know, slightly different ways of looking at the world. It is possible to do it. And um that goes back to what Selena was saying about people powered movements. Um I think that one of the reasons why that’s become more and more of a catchphrase is that um you know, we are in an era of information overload, we are in an era of polarization and um not believing everything that we’re seeing on the internet and in the news. And so being able to actually really connect with people on the ground in person over the phone, but directly and not going through the filter of social media or news movements is, it’s increasingly important and that will be um one of the main channels for us to unify as many people as possible. So, we’re, we’re, we’re talking about uh creating these both online and offline, right? Um Or uh people powered pe people centered movements. Um How Gloria, how do we want nonprofits to think about uh or what do we need to think about in terms of doing this, organizing uh creating these, these movements. Um First of all, it’s about um inclusivity. OK. So um at least from where we sit, um mom’s rising and me speaking on behalf of mom’s rising right now, um We want to make sure that whatever we do and if its the most people and harms no one at all, if possible. Um So that’s one part of it, how we speak, how we communicate to make sure that what we’re speaking and how we communicate does not reinforce that stereotypes that creates divisions. OK. That’s one way. Um Another way, not way, but another thing to consider are also the tools that we’re using. Um Are we using, you know, people are on, on different kinds of communication tools, some people um only do Facebook, other people only do um email. Um And there are also like text messaging. There are all of these new com communication schools tools coming on and being on top of the different tools is super important because we need to meet people where they are um those are just a couple of thoughts. Ok. Um So we, so Selena, so we’re talking about diversity equity inclusion. Um Let, let’s drill down into a little of the like, what do we, what do we need to do around our communications? That is more equitable and non harming. So I think that’s an important question and that’s definitely something that has been centered um in the league’s work over the last I would say five years, but more intentionally over the last two, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, whose work the league? I’m sorry, I always refer to the league, women voters, women, voters, us. OK. The leagues were at the league. Sorry, folks. The that the full title is just too long for me to keep saying. So I just referred to it as I got you now. All right. So de I is, is very, very important. Um for us, you know, our organization has historically been older white women. We’ve al always had members of color, but I don’t know that they were always at the forefront. So for us, our work is really centered in two questions and in everything that we’re doing, who’s at the table and who should be at the table, who’s missing. So I think starting all of our conversation and the efforts that we’re doing with those two questions allows us to center our work in diversity, equity inclusion and also use our power as um people who have had access to legislators, stakeholders, etcetera. How do we use our power in a, in a way that allows access and inclusivity for more people. So I think that that is really important and something that D I diversity equity inclusion work is hard. Let me just say it’s not easy, you know, it, it gets very uncomfortable. A lot of times when you’re talking about privileged patriarchy and all of the, we have to talk about as it relates to D I. But it’s so important to get comfortable and being uncomfortable and having these conversations is the only way I think that we can start to build a bridge towards unifying. Um because at the end of the day, we may be politically, but at the end of the day, we all share many of the very same values which is historically united this country. Like right now, we’re in the midst of the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus doesn’t care whether you’re a Republican Democrat, black, white female male. It does, it doesn’t matter. Um At the end of the day, we all have to make sure that we’re doing what we can to be safe as individuals, but also our actions greatly impact the people around us. So it’s more of a, it’s more of a community mindset that’s required in order to tap this down. So I know that that’s like a little offset offshoot from what we’re talking about. But I think it all plays together in some way, shape or form? Ok. Um Gloria, how about, how about uh for mom’s rising? I mean, how do you ensure that your communications are equitable and, and non harmful? Um Well, mom’s rising um has very intentionally built an organization that tries to bring different voices to the table. We are intersectional and we are multi issue. And so from our staff, um we’re very diverse in many, many different ways And from the way that we um choose which issues to work on, we also take into consideration um which communities are being impacted. Um And um how we communicate about those and then the way that we um campaign is that our, our campaigns are always overlap. And so there are different people within the organization as well as the partner, policy partners from different issue areas. They help us um vet our issues and in the way that we communicate with them to make sure that, you know, there are um we’re not communicating in a way that, that, that um excludes communities reinforces that stereotypes. Um and raises red flags makes, make, make people feel bad in ways that we don’t understand because of where we individuals as campaigners know. So everything we do is very thoroughly vetted through many different filters. OK. So vetting. Yeah. So please, yeah, Selena, I totally agree with um what Gloria said and I think that’s really important because the league is also multi issue and and kind of has that you have to compete when you have multiple issues, you sometimes have to think a little differently about how you present yourself on each issue in order to not negatively impact the whole set of what you’re trying to accomplish. And so for us in the communication space, um expressly is thinking about whether it’s appropriate, who’s the appropriate messenger when we’re communicating. So, is it appropriate for the league to be a leader in this space or do we need to take a step back and be a supporter? Um So I think that’s one of the things that’s very important for us, communication wise is we’re figuring out what is, what space are we gonna take up in the communication space and how we’re going to communicate this issue? And then the other piece is who’s talking, who is the person that we’re putting in front to actually speak about a particular issue? And is, is that the right person? And are they speaking from the, the lens that’s most appropriate for that particular issue that’s gonna be impacted most as a result of what you’re saying you’re doing? So I think that’s very important. What Gloria lifted up. How do you manage the, the conflicting issues? If, if you know, I, I guess it, I guess there are issues where you have a large constituency on one side of one issue, but something else may seem contrary to that to that large constituency, a different issue that you’re taking a stand on is that, is, that is my understanding, right? When you say, you know, potential issue conflict. Um Yeah, well, when you have a hun 500,000 members and supporters and you’re in every congressional district, everybody’s not gonna agree on, on how to approach an issue. But I think what grounds the league is our mission, our mission is to empower voters and defend democracy, empower people to defend democracy. So I think as long as you stay rooted in what your mission values um statement is, then you can find some reconciliation across, you know, the most seemingly divergent issues. OK. Climate climate change, I think would probably be a good example. I was, I was gonna add, OK, that um just to step back a little bit, the one thing that I am super, super proud of um is that um at least for progressives, I think that we’re actually pretty consistent and about our agreement on issues, we may have um different levels of intensity in what we agree with. But I think that there are very few conflicts. We may not agree on how to get somewhere, but we all agree on where we want to go. OK. So in that way, I, I rather feel at least from um mom’s rising standpoint, we rarely get, I can’t even think of a single instance where we have conflicts because we are not agreeing with each other or with policy partners on the most important thing where we’re heading. Uh So I think that’s a difference because our, the league is, is not um left or right leaning. We’re kind of, we have members who are both conservative and liberal have some of that conflict more in that. But I think you’re absolutely right. Do we all want the same things and a, a healthier, more vibrant democracy? Absolutely. So you have to find some common ground in that space, but we definitely have members who are, who want to handle things one way versus the other. We have to find common ground. Yeah, that, that’s the challenge I was trying to get at. Yeah. OK. It helps. At least it helps me to think of an example like climate change, you know, some, there are some people who don’t even believe that it’s, it’s human impacted and there are others who think we’re decades behind and in, in our inaction to, to uh reverse the effects of human induced climate change. So, um yeah. Uh it’s uh that’s, that’s quite a challenge really, Selena. Um OK. Well, where else, where else should we go with these people? Powered movement ideas? You, you, you, you two spend a lot more time studying this than I do. Uh So what, what else should we be talking about? That? We haven’t yet. I would actually love to hear from Selena how the league is dealing with um doing your work remotely. I know you guys are already virtual. This is like no, no sweat for you guys, right? Well, you know, I mean, we, we do have, you know, our plans range from virtual all the way down to the grassroots, right? And I think um especially for organizations like your Selena, we share the um the, the, the common goal this year of, of voter engagement. I am very sorry. What’s real life like I do it like if I open the door family, my kids might come in. I’m gonna let her out. I’m very sorry. All right. So, you know, um in terms of remote working, but yeah, but how it relates to this topic of people power. Yeah. So I think that’s really, really important and we’re definitely, so it’s, it’s one thing to convert to um teleworking, right? That’s one thing. But when your work is so much advocacy um and especially the leaders on the ground who are doing voter registration, which requires you to be on the ground talking to people, you know, that has shifted our work. So, one of the examples that we have is we have our People Powered Fair Maps campaign, which is basically um trying to get redistricting reform for across the country in a positive way that we don’t have another situation like we had in North Carolina where you’re from Tony and also in Maryland. So we wanna, we wanna make sure that you know, people are represented appropriately, but a lot of the states that we’re working in, they have signature collection campaigns going on right now. So how do you do signature collection when you can’t actually be within three or 6 ft of people? So now many of our um leagues are converting to digital signatures and going through their legislator to make those adjustments so that they can still collect signatures and meet that need, et cetera. Our lab, we have a lobby corps which is 21 volunteers that goes to the hill every month. Obviously, with the hill being uh also teleworking, it created what we thought might be a barrier. But now our lobbies are doing virtual coffee meetings on Zoom just like this and having those conversations with uh legislators, legislative staff and all of those things. So I think that the Coronavirus has forced us to do our work in a different way, but it’s also been great to innovate and be creative and do the work that people love just in a different way. So we, it’s not perfect. I don’t even wanna make you think that this is perfect because it’s definitely not. But I think that uh there’s a lot of positive energy about doing our work and finding ways to do our work in different ways which OK, thinking creatively, you know, II I for our, for our listeners and I don’t, I don’t want to focus just on moms rising and league of women voters us. Uh I want them to recognize how, what we’re talking about can be applied by them. Are they, are they what they need to go back to their CEO S or whatever vice presidents, whoever and what, what kind of like discussion items they need to be putting forward that the organization is not now thinking about uh in terms of, you know, again, people power say a revolution is coming. Um You know, how, how, how can our listeners help create it? I think just becoming involved, like when you’re talking about people powered anything, it’s really about base building. And for me, the goals of base base building are always to, to grow a base of volunteers who have a shared value of some sort. And you’re coming together in order to, to make some progressive movement on that. It’s also about leadership development, um communities and constituency who turn out who are players in, in this issue or what have you and then putting issues to the forefront. So I think that wherever you, what do you value, what’s important to you? Um It could be as simple as, hey, there’s a pothole in my street that hasn’t been fixed in the last year. Can we come together as a community and really talk with our local election officials about making sure our streets are in a position that’s not gonna wreck our cars or um have someone get endangered in some way. So I think it comes down to as on an individual level, what is important to you, what do you value and finding and connecting with those people who also value something similar? And what do you want to change? What is it that you’re trying to change or that would make your life better and who are the people who can support you in getting that done? OK. And that’s consistent with what you said on an organizational level too. Uh the same, you know, what, what are the core values? That’s what, that’s what drives all the work. Uh And, and brings people together just finding that commonality around whether it’s the pothole in the street on the individual level or whatever, whatever you, whatever your part. Yeah, Gloria, what, what, what’s your advice for how people can contribute to this revolution? Um I think that right now um we’re all sitting in our homes and we’re rethinking the way that we do our work and even as individuals, um we’re rethinking the way that we are doing our activism. I think that a very important message right now for activists personally and for organizations that organize activists and try to recruit and build the base is that now is not the time to step away now. More important than ever. It is important to stay on top of the issues, to sign those petitions, to speak up and to share your stories because I will give you a very, very specific example. Right now, Congress is um negotiating, arguing over all of these different critical needs in the Coronavirus relief bills. Right? Well, mom’s rising has been on the forefront of um trying to influence those negotiations and the most powerful weapon we have are your stories, people’s stories. Um What’s gonna happen to your childcare center that has to close down what’s gonna happen to uh domestic workers who suddenly don’t have a paycheck um paid family leave. This is something this is a uh a signature models rising issue. We’ve been working on that forever ever since our founding. It’s one of our signature issues. But now um because of the stories that we have gathered and we are hearing from our members about the need for paid leave and the fact that if we had had paid leave all this time, that the burden of Coronavirus would have been much lighter. This is something that we are powerfully bringing to the negotiating table and we are actually seeing we’re going on paid leave. So all organizations and all individuals, whatever issues that you’re working on do not step away continue to share your stories because those stories have to be brought to the negotiating table for policy. And that’s the only way we’re going to get the policy that we need. Ok, we’re gonna leave it there. That’s uh that’s quite inspirational. Thank you. That’s uh that’s Gloria Pan Vice President of member engagement engagement at mom’s rising and also Selena Stewart, senior director of advocacy and litigation at the League of Women voters, us. So, Gloria Selina, thank you very much. Thanks for chatting. Thank you, Tony. Next week, the Thanksgiving Show. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at Tony martignetti.com were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. This giving season donor box, the fast flexible and friendly fundraising platform for nonprofits donor box.org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m the associate producer, Kate Martinetti. The show, 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 us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for November 20, 2023: Your Case For Support

 

Febe VothYour Case For Support

Whether you call it a case statement or case for support, it’s a critical part of your next fundraising campaign. Febe Voth has devoted decades to the art of crafting these fine documents. She shares lots of savvy advice from her 2023 book, “the case for your cause.”

 

Listen to the podcast

Get Nonprofit Radio insider alerts!

 

I love our sponsor!

Donorbox: Powerful fundraising features made refreshingly easy.

 

Apple Podcast button

 

 

 

We’re the #1 Podcast for Nonprofits, With 13,000+ Weekly Listeners

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

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

Transcript for 2023/11/667_tony_martignetti_nonprofit_radio_20231120.mp3

S3 bucket containing transcription results: transcript.results
Link to bucket: https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/buckets/transcript.results
Path to JSON: https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/object/transcript.results?prefix=czM6Ly9hdWRpby5tcGdhZHYuY29tLzIwMjMvMTEvNjY3X3RvbnlfbWFydGlnbmV0dGlfbm9ucHJvZml0X3JhZGlvXzIwMjMxMTIwLm1wMw–.1700339584.json
Path to text: https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/object/transcript.results?prefix=transcript/2023/11/667_tony_martignetti_nonprofit_radio_20231120.txt

And welcome to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I am your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite Hebdomadal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be forced to endure the pain of hypertropia if I saw that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with what’s on the menu? Hey, Tony, I hope our listeners are hungry because this week we have your case for support, whether you call it a case statement or case for support. It’s a critical part of your next fundraising campaign. Phoebe Voff has devoted decades to the art of crafting these fine documents. She shares a lot of savvy advice from her 2023 book, The Case For Your Cause. An Tony’s take two. The right person were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. This giving season donor box, the fast flexible and friendly fundraising platform for nonprofits donor box.org here is your case for support. It’s a genuine pleasure to welcome Phoebe VTH to nonprofit radio. She is the author of the book, The Case For Your Cause, a guide to writing a case for support that hits all the right notes, Phoebe has spent more than 20 years working in the realm of the case for support. Her work has helped achieve fundraising goals of up to $100 million. The thesis for her master’s degree was on the case for support. The first master’s thesis to be written on this topic in Canada. She studied storytelling under the tutelage of Canadian novelist, Sandra Birds. Phoebe is on linkedin and her book is at Phoebe vth.com. Phoebe. Welcome to nonprofit radio. Well, thank you. It’s really fun to be here. I’m glad you are. Congratulations on the book. The Case. Your case for support. The case for support. Congratulations. Thank you. And I just uh misstated the uh book is not your case for support. The book is The Case For Your Cause. The Case for your Cause. And I’m wondering why you chose uh all lower case letters for the title, The Case For Your Cause. Hm. Well, the person who designed the cover chose that basically. Um but I think maybe it’s a bit of a reflection of me. I’m not a loud person. I’m a person who lives quietly in my head. And so when I saw the lower case treatment, I liked it. It’s about as complicated or as simple as the answer is simple answers are terrific. Um Interesting. You, you feel you’re, you’re a person who lives mostly in your head with your with your thoughts? Is that, is that helpful to a writer? I think most writers live there? Yeah. Uh, that’s my experience anyway. We, we go away and get our assignments, whether it’s fiction or whatever kind of writing. But in my case I go away and do my interviews, spend a couple of days out in the world with people and then I’d come back to my office, close the door and write where it’s quiet and I’d play with words. And, um, so that, that muscle really gets strengthened as you do more and more of the writing work that um you become, um, yeah, you live in your head. Uh And interestingly, I’ve picked up a hobby now as I’ve slid into retirement and I’m, I’ve picked up pottery and that’s also a very cerebral kind of thing. It’s a thing. You go down, I go down to my basement where I have a lot of set up and I’m quiet and there with my thoughts, maybe some quiet music and there’s lots of activity up in the head but not so much through the mouth. So good luck with the interview today. Interesting. No. Well, you, you wrote a book so you’re willing to share your, uh your introspection about writing. And the book came about in part because people were encouraging me to do workshops and maybe do, do some videos and things like that. And I said, I, I think I’d be a dreadfully boring presenter, but I can write. So maybe I should write about the case instead and share what I’ve learned over the years. So you had, you had some encouragement to do that. Uh Especially from one of your students that you mentioned in your Acknowledgments. Yes, I started tutoring people a little bit or coaching and, and she started looking, she said, you know, there’s so very little out there on the case and it’s such an important document, you should write something. So that’s how this ball got rolling. Plus Tom Barraco who wrote the foreword for me, he is uh he’s now the past chair of CFRE CFO International. He two for a number of years has said you really should write something about the case. So there it is, all right, perfect segue to a 129 pages. So I kept it slim and that’s a perfect segue to uh why the the case for support you, you say it’s the our most important document. Absolutely. I think it is because it gives, it gives uh um everyone in an organization, the language uh with which to speak about their work. Um Otherwise you, I use the music analogy in the book. Otherwise an organization can easily sound like an orchestra tuning up. Everybody’s saying their own different thing about the work that the organization is doing. Um they’re telling stories differently, they’re choosing their stories differently. Um They’re framing their arguments differently and it’s just a mess. Um Whereas a case for support, um gathers information figures out what needs to be said or the writer does this figures out what is the strategic way to present the mission and the vision of this organization in a way that it’s relevant to the donor uh or achieves the, the the goal of the document and then disseminate, disseminate this information, this document amongst all the people involved in moving it forward. And so everyone speaks with 11 voice. Um It’s so it’s, it’s like a music score and you, you uh make the case that uh forgive that, but that this isn’t a neutral document. It’s a, it’s a persuasive document. It is a persuasive document. I think I say that if there’s one thing you take with you when you read the book, if you remember only one thing it is that your job is to persuade if you’re making a case. Um And you know, some people who I read, one fellow asked me what, what portion of a case should be persuasion on what should be information. It should all be persuasion. Some people will be persuaded with information and some people will be persuaded with more. Um maybe with stories or something that’s a little bit more emotional, but the whole thing needs to persuade, that’s the job of the case writer to persuade, to take the bits and pieces of information, what they hear from donors. The work that the organization does, where it wants to go the strength of leadership, the importance of the organization’s history and weave it together so that it becomes this beautiful whole that at the end people will say, sign me up, I wanna be part of this. This makes sense. We need to do this or we need to be part of this. Another analogy that you use is uh that the, and we’ll, we’ll talk about this, uh, in, in your writing, you’re, you’re starting with what an attorney would call the closing argument that you’re, you’re making the case upfront that let the evidence prove that, you know, but in this case, it’s let, let us show you that our cause is worthy. Let us make the arguments, persuade you, uh move you to, to support our cause. Exactly. And be that direct about it. Um IA a case a little while ago and you kind of had to dig around to see what is it that you’re asking the donor to? Yeah, you don’t like that at the end. Tell us up front what you want us to do, what you’re excited about, um, what the big deal is. Um And just like a lawyer would argue in front of a judge and jury. I’m going to convince you that. And sometimes when you write a piece, if you begin with that line in your draft and then you remove it, maybe you need to soften it in final, in the final analysis, but it gets you a focus, right? That this is my job to convince you that this organization is worthy of support, that the work we do here is um worthy of support. That’s actually a better way of phrasing it the second way because people don’t give to, they give through an organization not to an organization, I think more so. And um you know, so avoid putting too much emphasis on the organization itself. It’s on the work that the organization does. That, that’s where the emphasis should be giving to the work through the organization. There you are, you’re, you’re, you’re editing me, you’re editing yourself, you just decided you like the second way better. Yeah, see that’s what writers do. We’re used to playing with words and changing things up. So that’s what you get me. All right, I’m up to the challenge. I know you, you challenged me at the outset. Um And so you lay out, you lay out some essential things that, that need to be in the, in the case, leadership, mission and vision um stories, history, very clear about the giving goals and, and timeline as you had just said, um urgency to, to get things moving and, and the significance of the cause. Um All this is to uh to acquaint us uh to persuade us to give to the cause through the organization. Um I, I found it was interesting that you uh you find stories essential. I’ve read a lot of cases that, that don’t include stories. Most people are, well, let’s, let’s say at the near the beginning, most people are not nearly as thoughtful about the case for support as you are. I think a lot of people write these, as you say, you should not do between meetings. I think a lot of these get written over a weekend. Uh They may get written by committee. You do this part. Uh The, these three will write that part and then the two of us will do this other part. Uh You’re much, much, much more thoughtful about the case for support. Thank you. That, that means a lot to me to hear that because I, I my hope with this book is that we can move the dial a little bit on the case, case development away from what you described there where it’s uh kind of a fill in the blank document or let’s just get it done, kind of a document to really, for it to become a really strategic document that, that moves the organization forward. Um If we can go back to that argument about, you know, thinking like a lawyer and the courtroom, if, if we had a reason to hire a defense lawyer, we would hope that that defense lawyer would defend us thoughtfully. I would think if something has happened in our lives, um to do some research to, to think about the arguments not to carve bits and pieces off and say, OK, you write the opening arguments, you write the closing arguments and you go out and do a little bit, you know, talk to a few experts and then we’ll all just throw it together and see what the, what happens, what sticks with the judge. So one could argue that, that what we do in the not for profit sector, social sector is probably on a scale more important than what happens in the courtroom. For a single individual who needs a defense. You know, we have a lot of, we have big jobs to do. You know if it’s a food bank, we have families to feed, we have um education to deliver health care, to strengthen um feeding the hungry. We’re big, we have climate, that’s a big one. We have lots of challenges, difficult, big things to uh to uh address. And so we need, I think we need to really pay attention to the case. Be super strategic. Take the time it requires to, to develop one test it. Um because a lot writes on it. You say that uh this is advice you would have given your younger self. Yes. So why don’t you share how you came to this work and, and have evolved in it? OK. Um I started my career in corporate communications. I work for government, worked for a post-secondary and then I ended up working in the oil and gas sector for a short stint. And I went out on uh on my own. I had a young daughter at the time, didn’t feel it was right for her to be in so much before and after school care. So I thought I can write. Um I will go out on my own and see what I can muster up for contract. And a friend of mine had um uh communications agency and she got a contract that was just one too many for her and her staff and asked if I wanted to, to take it. And it was a case for support for the University of Calgary Faculty of Law. And um that was my first, that was my introduction to the case and I just loved the document. It’s super strategic motivational, it gives you, it’s almost like speech writing. It, it, it allows you to take license to put kind of put words in people’s mouths. Um And yeah, I, I just really fell in love with this, the strategic element of the document and also the, the creativity that it uh afforded the writer. Um you could take some creative license with it. And, and uh a thing that I keep coming back to is this notion that words make worlds. And if we can get the right words out there, then we can create the world. Maybe that, that we want not, maybe that we want to see, think about really su super motivational speeches. Um The big ones, right? I have a dream, how, how words can build up and um create a response in people. And so it’s very challenging and very uh rewarding work. When you think about the impact of how your words can land and in our sector, this hard, you know, might make you’re hard pressed to find um sectors or, or language that is more, needs to be more motivational and can bring about more change than the language of fundraising. We’re asking people to part with, with money, uh whether it’s large or small, it’s still at a, like the, whether the amount is large or small, it’s a significant decision for people, money and, and money and time to, uh you have a quote, you have a quote that I think is right on point to what you’re, what you’re uh revealing for us. Uh what we say, how we say it and how we hear people affects more than the moment. And I, I think that uh bears uh again, on what you’re saying about the case for support, but also on, on fundraising relationships that, you know, uh um how we hear people, those are, those are and what we say, how we say it and how we hear people, you know, those are fundamental to individual fundraising, which is the work that I do in, in planned giving fundraising, but across all, across all relationships, not even just fundraising relationships. But what we say, how we say it and how we hear people I think are, are fundamental to building relationships with each other. Absolutely. I, I totally agree. Um, listening, really active listening can be absolutely revolutionary as opposed to this, listening to get to the next thing I’m listening. But I know what I’m going to say next, but you’re not really listening. And part of the, a beautiful thing I think with the case is that it begins to work in its making you, if you’re building a case for support, you will want to sit down with stakeholders. So probably some major donors, some longtime donors, um some volunteers, leadership, volunteers and other volunteers as well. Maybe you want to. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to sit down with the mayor or uh some, some, someone of a political stripe um whose influence and leverage might um help the organization down the road at some point. It’s, it’s an opportunity to make friends in the community. Um And to listen to them, you’re asking questions about why they think the organization is of value, um What its mission and vision um contribute, what would happen if that organization closed its doors? What would the impact be? You really have an opportunity to let people think about and dig into why the organization and its work exists and listen and reflect that in your case, it’s time for a break. Are you looking to maximize your fundraising efforts and impact this giving season. Donor box’s online donation platform is designed to help you reach your fundraising goals from customizable donation forms to far-reaching easy share, crowd funding and peer to peer options. Plus seamless in person giving with donor box like kiosk. Donor box makes giving simple and fast for your donors and moves the needle on your mission. Visit donor box.org and let donor box help you help others. Now, back to your case for support, that’s all reflected in your uh in your part two, the uh the A AAA trusted, a trusted process where you and you talk a good deal about the interviews that uh should precede the writing and that are part of your own research along with what the, what the uh organization has may give you as a consultant or already has and it’s, you know, sort of its communications library. Uh So the interviews and the pre-existing materials and all. Um So we, we, we can’t talk through the entire book because people need to buy it because we only have an hour together. So you need, you need to get the book uh the case for your cause. Uh I’d like to spend a good amount of time on your, on your part three, which is your advice. You have, you have advice on messaging, advice on storytelling and advice on writing since I think the, the process gets short shrift or if, if not, maybe not, that bad, but it is not done as thoughtfully as you recommend. I thought le let’s spend some time on, uh, on, on the, on the writing process. Um So you have advice on, on messaging and even the importance of the opening paragraphs. Share, share, share your thinking on the, the, the messaging advice. Well, there’s a quote that I used to have up on my office wall. Um, and it reads, it’s by John Steinbeck and it says if the story is not about the Hearer, he will not listen. That kind of wraps it up. Um, it’s easy to write about your programs and services and be dreadfully boring to the Hearer. Um, I tell a story in the book about going to a, a barbecue in our community. Oh, yes, Sarah and Andy. Sarah and Andy and his real name. But it’s not, it’s too, it’s too embarrassing to, to whoever the real Andy is. Yes. Go ahead. Story about Sarah and Andy at the barbecue. So we ran into twos at the bar. Um, Andy kind of just came up to us, kind of accosted us in a way my husband and myself and he just drawn on and on and on about his lovely life and his hospital visits and his Children and how successful they are and vacations and like we just wanted to run away from him and then we turn around and a little while later we see Sarah, I haven’t seen Sarah in a long time and she’s there with her daughter and granddaughter and we just can’t stop talking. We just, I could have had another hour with Sarah and I thought some, some fundraisers are like this. Some cases are like this. How do you become the Sarah and not the Andy. And for one, I think I had much deeper relationship with Sarah than I ever did with Andy. And she was interested in me in my life, um, in our lives and everything had sort of connected a lot more. So, you know, that, that goes to your advice about knowing your reader because you knew Sarah much better than you knew Andy. Yeah. And I was interested in her life and, and she was interested in mine. It was a two way street. Right. So don’t be the boring guy at the barbecue. No. Know your reader, know your audience. I mean, that, so it’s one truth to take away from this. If your job is to persuade, if you’re writing a case and able to persuade me, you have to know me, know your audience. That’s the basic philosophy and crux of any writing to be successful. You have to know who you’re writing to. Otherwise your, your ch your chance of being meaningful to that person if you don’t know what, what they care about. Um It’s pretty slim and, and much of that will come from your interviews that you, that you will have done thoughtfully because, uh because Phoebe explains them in part two of her book that, that we’re gonna get. Um So this notion of knowing your audience is not a new one for a communicator. It goes way back all the way back. Well, probably before even, but it’s recorded with by Aristotle 300 year specie. Um And he says that it is in accordance to the character of the audience that one can examine the passions and emotions that the orator may excite. So, no, you know what, know what they care about. And in, in our work, people give to advance the things that they value. So understand what people value. Um Let me give you one example here. Um My elderly mother um lived in a condominium in a nice little community and there was a community center down the hall, sorry down the street. And she was approached by a fundraiser to um support uh a program for troubled youth that was supported at the community center and they talked about the programs and services and blah, blah, blah. And it did not move my mother. She probably felt a little badly about uh about the young people, but you know, she gave to her church and she had her or getting established. But I think if they had approached her and said maybe through a story here that, that um the outcome of the giving might result in less crime in the neighborhood Uh, right. Sometimes you have to be very, uh, diplomatic in how you say things and that ST, that’s also a time when story comes in and story can be very helpful to shed light on, um, a, a topic that it’s maybe a little bit dicey to speak directly to. Um, do you know what I mean? But if they had told her a story of a young person who, whose life had been straightened out through this counseling and had turned away from a life of petty crime. Um that I think maybe there would have been a different response from my mom because the one appealed to her values, right? And the other just spoke about the organization’s good work and, and maybe the benefit to the young, the young person. But we all approach life with a degree of self interest. So, you know, consider um consider your audience self interest as you’re writing, you’re very thoughtful about words. Um Sometimes I, I think that um uh expletives uh swearing is, is uh can give us a nice uh Everybody understands what everybody understands what we’re talking about. This is sort of a common reference, I suppose, you know that. So you um so I, I heard a comedian once say that there are so few words that mean anything anymore that we, we need to rely on the, on the swear words to, to convey, to convey what we want to say sometimes. So you you, uh you have advice about a shitty first draft of your, your case for support. Talk, talk about the uh the shitty first draft. Very easy to have writer’s block. It’s writing a case. Even for someone who’s done it for many years, it’s intimidating to stare at the empty screen and know that uh an organization’s to some degree, an organization’s ability to move their mission and vision forward and for the people who would benefit from that kind of hinges a bit on, on what you’re going to produce, that’s super intimidating. Um It becomes less intimidating if you give yourself some breathing room some license. Um Anne Lamont, I don’t know if you’re familiar with her as a writer. She’s a wonderful writer. She wrote a book on writing called Bird by Bird. And this is the advice that she gives in there just to label your first draft, a shitty first draft and who cares how it turns out, who cares how it reads, just sort of puke the words onto the page, then play with them a little bit and you just, you just relax on the screen a little until you and then you find your voice and then you get going. But I have to say even with that shitty first draft label, um I rewrite the lead over and over and over for most cases because if I lose the reader in the beginning, if I don’t frame up an argument that’s meaningful to the reader or donor. It’s all over. Yeah, I can, I can have terrific text on page three and four and five and six. But if I’ve lost them, if I’m not meaningful, if I don’t approach them from an angle that’s relevant to them, it doesn’t matter what falls, you also suggest coming full circle from, from the beginning and sort of closing the circle at the, at the end. Yeah. Um That is um that is something somebody taught me that you and it’s, it’s really good, good advice. I think um you, you want to end the way you start, it just provides a nice satisfactory kind of wrap up at the end. So if you begin by talking about Xy and Z, you allude to Xy and Z at the end, um it, it creates a nice package. Yeah, it’s, it’s a good way to write and if you begin to pay attention to, to speeches and how people write, like people who know how to write, how they write, that’s, you’ll see that pattern. I, I see a lot in journalism. So another thing that’s uh been very useful to me is to write into your headlines. If you know, if you’re getting a little bit stuck, figure out what are the main points you want to talk about. So let’s say you’ve got really excellent leadership, create a headline that speaks to the strength of the leadership and maybe weave in to that, why it’s important like strong leaders in a time of something or other. And then you take the paragraph below and you unpack that headline, explain that maybe you need two or three paragraphs below to explain the headline. And what’s really nice about writing that way is that people are just skimming your text then um then they get, they get the high points by reading your headlines. You don’t have to read all the supporting texts. Do you outline? Do you outline before you start writing? Uh not really, but I create a document plan. So when I worked in corporate communications, I wrote communication plans all the time. Um and I took the format of a communications plan and made it a document plan. So what is my goal? What are the object like goal overarching big things that I want to achieve with this? What are the objectives? Do I want to tell, you know, 10 stories through this document or am I good with just two? Do I think, what do I think it means um to, you know, to want it to be friendly to? So, yeah, so cool, objective audience identify the audience in quite some details. What are my key messages? What do I want the takeaways to be when someone’s finished reading the document or had had it delivered to them verbally, however they come across the case. Um and then some timelines and a few other details there and I use that as my guide. OK? That uh I don’t know. That sounds to me, that sounds to me like an outline, but I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna force you to call it an outline. You, you call it a document plan. I’m not, I’m not forcing you to call it an outline. Your, you have your methods. T 2020 25 years in the making. We’re not, I’m not, I’m not trying to remake your method. It sounds like it sounds to me what I envision as an outline to me, an outline would be more one paragraph about this and one paragraph about that. And then I moved to this topic and then that topic, I give myself the freedom not to be boxed in by go from one paragraph to the next to the next. Like not one topic I found being um uh having clients, if I presented an outline when the draft was delivered, they would want the draft to match the outline. Well, sometimes it flows better if I move things around a little bit and that through that, through some of them. So I moved away from that. Yeah. Right. As you’re, as you’re writing, right? You’re gonna reorganize. And uh you also suggest having uh like AAA copy and paste section, I forget what you call it over on the like another a second document or that where you, you, you never delete that. That’s that your advice really is never delete. Just copy. Well, if you have, if you have reasonably good text and you just find, oh, it doesn’t belong here. This isn’t working. Don’t throw it away. Start a second document and put all your scraps like a cutting the cutting room floor. Maybe I overstated to say never delete. But, but if you like something you just don’t know, it just doesn’t fit where it is. It might fit somewhere else. Don’t delete it. Save it, save it elsewhere. Exactly. Because it might fit somewhere else or move it around. If it doesn’t belong where you have it, maybe it belongs somewhere else in the document. So before you get rid of something, make sure you can’t use it somewhere else. But on that note, um be prepared to cut out, edit out your darlings. You might have the section that you think is just beautiful. It just sounds almost like a poem or it just, you’re just proud of it and it doesn’t fit. You gotta, you gotta remember what the goal is and stay goal focused and if your darling sentence or paragraph doesn’t belong, it doesn’t belong. Yeah. II I appreciated that one. Sacrifice your darlings or something you say something like that. Um But I, I really appreciate the uh the license that uh shitty first draft gives. I I’ve Yeah, just, just titling it that it’s very simple advice from uh Anne Anne Lamott. Uh It’s very simple but you know, if you’re thinking that way then, uh, it does, it frees you up, just start getting thoughts out, like you said, puke them out, you know. Yeah. Yeah. The other thing for me that’s super helpful, um, is the time of day that I write. I want the house quiet. Um, I don’t want distractions and I, I think that’s probably pretty common so often. I will, maybe I’ll wake up at night and I’ll have a thought. I will either have a notepad beside me where I can write it down, but more often than not, I will get up in the middle of the night and write. It’s when I do my best work. So someone listening out there maybe just try it and see, maybe, maybe your best work is that early in the morning or mid afternoon. Um, a very cool thing that I find with that kind of approach is, wow. I wonder how the document would have turned out if I wrote it yesterday in the middle of the night, it would have been a different document. That’s the cool thing about a creative process. It’s what it’s what’s in you, what, what is percolating and, and what happens to come out just at that moment and if it’s usable and good, that’s wonderful. You just confirmed that you are much, much, much more thoughtful about your case for support than uh than the average nonprofit writer is because they’re, they’re not this would sound like advice if for someone who was writing a work of fiction, uh you know, to have a note notepad by your, by your bed stand. Um So, you know, you’re, uh you’re taking this a much more thoughtful approach, but you know, the note stand, the, the notepad by the bed is not a bad one even for um someone who’s not a, a full time sort of case writer, but someone who needs to write a case for their, for their, their work because our night brain works differently. I think our night brain is more creative than our day brain and it’s problem solving that happens in the night. So if you’ve given your brain kind of an assignment to think about something and solve the problem, like what, what is my best lead? What is it that people are going to respond to? And you wake up at three in the morning and you have a thought, write it down because it might be gone at six o’clock when they, it’s definitely gone. Yeah, you, you swear, you won’t forget it, but you always do. At least, at least I, I always swear I won’t forget something in a dream and then I always do. Yeah. So it’s a simple, simple thing to do in case that the thought comes. No, this is savvy writing advice. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you, Kate. When you get the right person who knows exactly what you need and how to do it. It makes all the difference. The guest this week, Phoebe Voff is perfect example. She’s been working with case statements for over 20 years or a case for support, whichever you call it. But it just reminds me that the right person for the right task, but it may not even be a job. It might just be some task that you need some project when you find the right person. I had another example myself talking to a financial guy for something this week. He knew exactly what the problem was and exactly how to fix it. So I’m encouraging you to, I guess that means hire the expertise you need when you don’t know how to do something, find somebody who knows it. They, they’ve, they’ve, they’re expert in it and there’s no point in your trying it out as a novice when you can get somebody who’s expert, they’ll do it quicker. Yeah, you, you have to pay them but your time has value the time that you’re gonna learn. Getting up to speed and you’re not gonna get as far as they already are because you’re gonna get the person for the task that’s been doing this for years, maybe decades. Like Phoebe vs, I encourage you. It’s worth the money. Get the right person for whatever project, whatever task, whatever it is that you need done that you don’t have the expertise yourself or you don’t have it in house. It’s worth going out finding the person. The outcome is so much more likely to be so much more successful. Then if you did it yourself or if you did it in house done by folks who are not really sure how to proceed. That is Tonys take two Kate. Well, thank you to all of our guests and the right people who helped make this nonprofit podcast, what it is, you know, all the names that we share at the end. They are the right people for our show. They absolutely are. You’re included, associate producer, Kate. Um Absolutely. And I’m, I’m very glad I, I’m very glad I brought you into the show several months ago. I really am. Well, we’ve got Buku but loads more time now, back to your case for support with Phoebe Vos. Let’s talk about storytelling. Uh The second part of your, your part three is advice on storytelling and you talk about dressing truth in story and I think you were alluding to that earlier, but I didn’t wanna, I didn’t want to amplify it. Then I, I wanted to talk about it as part of your, the, the strict advice conversation. Uh, dressing truth in story. Yes. Did you read the Parable? The Jewish teaching story? I did. Yes. Dressing that they, uh they, they invited the truth in. Will you tell the tell the parable? So here goes truth naked and cold had been turned away. From every door in the village, her nakedness frightened the people. When Parable found her, she was huddled in a corner, shivering and hungry, taking pity on her. Parable gathered up her up and took her home there. She dressed Truth in story warmed her and sent her out again, clothed in story. Truth knocked again at the villager’s door dose. This time, she was welcomed into the people’s homes. They invited her to eat at their table and she warmed herself by their fire. That’s a Jewish teaching story. I think as humans, we are wired for story, there’s something that, that grabs onto a story. Whereas cold facts and information doesn’t stick quite as, as well. I remember taking my daughter to um some kind of presentation. She would maybe have been, she was elementary school age and there was a speaker and she sat nicely the whole through the whole thing. And on the way home, I said, what do you remember about what he talked about? And she remembered the stories he told these are things we remember. These are things that we remember. Um because somehow they touch us human to human. Um statistics and numbers are they support things but, but it’s the, the, the people reason that’s why we do things. Um and, and the stories illustrate um how our sisters and brothers in the world fair and how we can help them. I think I have my own anecdote of that. I I used to open my conference uh training sessions about planned giving, telling the story of my very first ask, which was in seventh grade when I had a terrific crush on Lisa Maggio and I asked her to go steady at our seventh grade dance. And the story continues. And years later, people remember that story. They, you had that, you had that story, you had that story about Lisa or some. Sometimes I didn’t even remember her name. It’s remarkable or they didn’t remember the name that you told that story about, about uh your first ask in, in elementary school. You know, uh it’s the same as your daughter, but it’s just years later, literally, people remember that. Remember the story. Yeah, it’s our operating system as humans, I think, look, look at Netflix, look at the storytelling that happens on the streaming systems now and how the Yeah. Yeah. Um Movies uh a series. Uh People sit night after night, after night to hear stories being told. So are I think nonprofit stories are maybe more like parables. They are stories with some kind of meaning. Um Where there’s, there is a goal for a storytelling. I want you to flush that out. Yes. You want each story to have a purpose. Yeah. So it’s, it’s really helpful um As you’re writing your case to sit down and say, what do I need my stories to do? Do I need them to show impact? Do I not need them to maybe put a donor, tell a donor story. Why people, why not? Some, some someone else is giving to this cause? Um Is it about vision, what the future, what, what world we want to create or how we want to change things for people or is it about the mission? Um I had a, a case that I worked on many years ago and pretty well, it was a new organization in Canada. They existed elsewhere in the world, but it had just come to Canada. So we didn’t have that much to talk about. That was of interest uh in terms of um what it was, was actually doing, it was more about the impact that it wanted to achieve. So kind of a blend of mission and vision. Um And we, we took the whole thing and we just w one story and after the next with a little bit of information about where they were going and what they were about and it was this beautiful warm case at the end and um this organization is doing very well today. So it did help them get off to some kind of start. Yeah, you also ask us to consider opening with a story. Wh why, why you might, why pardon me, why you might or might not do that? The reason you would really want to open with a story about a story might just uh get people’s attention whether you need to open with the story or not, it’s a nice way to open. But if people don’t really buy into what you’re doing, um If there’s, if there are people questioning what your organization’s mission and vision is about, like, for example, if the, if the hearers um belief is that um all homeless people are lazy, uh If you begin to tell them a bunch of stats and information about your programs and it’s going to fall on deaf ears. So a story can help tell. Uh maybe a story can help change their belief. If you can show that all homeless people are not lazy, but they fell on hard times and you know, put some flesh on the bones of that story so that the ground that the facts and figures will fall out, uh The thieves will fall into fertile ground, right? When, when they hear the facts and figures and information about the programs, then they’re not going to dismiss them so quickly. Or if at all, let’s, let’s say a little bit about plot. You, uh you, you lay out the elements of a, of a story characters and setting point of view. Um say a little say about share your thinking about the plot. Well, a story, even a short nonprofit story and they are super short, usually compared to uh fiction, um just a few paragraphs, but you have to have an arc, an arc of a story. You have to have a beginning, middle end. Um But consider playing around with the sequence a little bit, uh is a good place to begin. The story is right toward the height of the action, not necessarily a sequential. Um You know, I, I think I tell a story in the book or I do tell a story in the book of a mom who comes into the emergency with her teenage daughter who has a headache. Um, They’re afraid there’s something terrible and she gets sent. The young girl gets sent for an MRI and we find out everything’s ok. There’s something was causing the headache, but it wasn’t a brain tumor or meningitis or something terrible. So I’m supposed to write a donor story about this, but I’m really happy for the family that it was nothing terrible. But it’s easier for me. It’s an, it’s an MRI center that you’re writing about. That’s right. Uh It would have been a lot easier for me if I’d had a little more drama in the store, maybe they covered, uncovered a brain tumor and the girl’s life was saved because of this machine. But instead, uh this is what I had to work with. So I started the, the telling of the story at the point where the mother was watching her daughter’s brain on the screen and how terrifying it was for the mother and then went back and filled in what, what brought them to the emergency and then how things turned out. So you can look for the point of highest drama, highest emotion and try to try to begin your story there or just play around with sequence. A story doesn’t have to be told. Um uh As in, in time sequence, it can be told that, you know, begin at the end or in the middle or wherever it makes sense to begin just again. Like I said, with the shitty first draft, give yourself freedom to, to try on a few different approaches. A lot of Quentin Tarantino films are an example of that. Yeah, shifted, shifted, shifted times point of view is another important one. If I can jump in here, I know our time is running short. No, we’re OK. Yeah. No, a little anarchy is OK. Please point of view is a really important one who tells the story. Um Is it the executive director of an organization? There are benefits to having the executive director build, tell the story. You’re building a relationship with your donors, you trusted voice. Um So there are benefits but the executive director can resign tomorrow. And then there’s the, the risk of that voice. Um the closer to the heart of the action you are. If it’s um you know, a, a home for unwed mothers or um uh abused, abused women, let’s say a home for abused women. If you can tell the woman’s story that might have more impact in hearing it directly from her and then told through somebody else’s uh uh perspective. Yeah, there isn’t a right or a wrong. But the thing to do is to, to be thoughtful about the perspective you choose. If you sit down to write the story, think about which perspective will be most meaningful and most powerful um and pursue that and each voice comes with different uh benefits. Right? There are pros and cons for each voice, whether it’s first person or uh you know, if it’s a doctor telling a story about a new piece of equipment, he can speak with an authority that a patient can’t and he can explain the technology in a way the patient can’t. But there are pros and cons to each. You just need to consider whose perspective, whose point of view you use. What about taking license uh with a story you, you had uh writing for the MRI Center, you said it would, it would have been in easier writing task if there had been something more dramatic, not that, not that you are wishing that on the young girl naturally. But what about uh taking some liberties with the, with the story, maybe maybe mashing uh uh several characters together to, to make a, to make a more complete story. How, how do you feel about that sort of create a composite character composite? Yeah, I think if you do that. Uh And I think it’s legitimate to do it, but you have to you have to reveal that. Then at the bottom of the story, I think you have to say that this is, this represents, this is a composite character. This represents uh what we see in the clinic every day. Um I think, I think the reader here needs to be respected and told that that is me. That’s my, would be my, my response to that. Another way you could approach that is maybe sit down with a doctor or uh somebody who, who sees all these different characters. Uh, people come in and, and have a chat with that person and tell the story, like reflect the conversation you’re having with, let’s say the doctor, the radiologist or whoever. All right, but be, be intellectually honest. Absolutely. Yeah. Alright. Yeah, that’s how I would want to be treated so right. That’s how you have to treat others. I think your, your third advice portion of the, of the, uh, of the advice. Uh, in part three is advice on writing and we, we, we talked about some of some of your advice there, sacrifice your darlings and don’t be so quick to delete. But uh save and, and move. Um, what else, what else could you say about the writing task? Um, know what you want to say. That makes, makes it a bit easier to write and you know what you want to say. But often, not often you can, you can get to the screen and you can sit down and you need to, you know, you need to build up the section but you don’t know what you’re saying and you’re just spinning your wheels. So then that’s a good time to pause and say, OK, what is it that I want to say in this next section and be clear with yourself, what the next section needs to cover and then it’s a lot easier to get going. It sounds, it sounds silly to say it, but a lot of times writers block happens because people don’t know what, what they they need to cover in the next section. You also suggest the active voice, which that, that, that stood out to me. II I uh I actively try to avoid the passive voice. Uh explain that one for us, the active voice is just stronger and more engaged. The action happens in the voice. It didn’t happen yesterday. It’s not happening tomorrow. It’s happening now. Um And it’s stronger and more colorful. Uh So that’s the voice to strive for. Um Yeah. Um What else? Um Well, you have not uh not over qualifying. Yes. Don’t want to overqualify. You want, you want to be authentic like um a lot of times writing is stronger if you, if you remove the qualifiers, like what, like what are some examples? OK. Just uh you know, it was a very sunny day, it was a sunny day, that’s strong, much stronger than a very sunny day. Um So all the little adjectives, try removing the adjectives and you’ll probably have more confident writing. The other thing to do is to look at verbs. Once you’ve written a document, go back underline all your verbs and see if you can make them a little puncher, more active or stronger or more reflective or so if you can find a better verb because they add color and life to a piece of writing. Do you use a thesaurus? Very much? Not really. No, I don’t, I do use it but not very much. Um What I do often do if I, how do you find the punchier one? Uh I just think of a different way of saying you’re walking, you’re walking thesaurus then. All right. I, I rely on a, I rely on a thesaurus to help me. Yeah. The other thing to do is to take whatever it is that you’re not quite happy with. If it, if it’s more than just a verb, put it in your second document just for 10 minutes, try to rewrite that paragraph for that sentence, see what you come up with and then contrast the 21, see which one you like better. Maybe it’s a blend that’s often how it happens for me. Go ahead. You have, you have one you like yes, outward focus. Um It’s not about you, it’s about the reader. So whenever you’re writing, stop and say is this is this inward focus or is it, is it looking out the way it should um in fundraising, sometimes it’s easy to state the negative we need this or that because of this or that there. The need is so great. You can try to flip the negative state, write the negative statement. But then see if you can flip it into a positive affirmative statement. You want your case for support to be a hopeful, joyful documented solutions oriented. It’s not presenting a bunch of problems, it’s presenting solution and hope so. If it’s easier for you to write the problem down, go ahead and write it down and then go back and edit it into a positive sentence or paragraph. Can you give an example of that? Oh What could it be? Um OK, I’ve done a lot of work for, for health care organizations. So um the wait lists are too long for uh for people to access an MRI for example, this is a truth in Canada. Yes, you have, you have this one, you have this one in this example in the book. OK. Right there. That’s not cheating. No, that’s OK. That’s fair. That’s not cheating. Instead of saying um the wait lists are too long. You can say that with your help, we can, we can reduce wait times, we can um we can make sure that people get, get access within whatever time is reasonable that that what would happen within days rather than months. Yeah. Yeah, and in your own community. So, you know, once you begin to, once you flip it into the positive, then you can also build on it. Sometimes you had some advice, uh more, more savvy advice uh that think about your community without your work. What if, what if your work was to cease, what would that mean for your community? A lot of times you can get, um you can see the significance of something if you imagine it gone. So if, if you, if your organization sure closed its doors and didn’t reopen, nobody stepped in to fill the gap, what would be the consequence of the organ on the community? The people who rely on you and think of it as ripples in the water. So yes, the people who rely on you day to day, they would be impacted. But what about the next ripple out? What about the neighborhood? What about, you know, whatever or whatever sector you are in within the sector? How will it be affected? If, if you went away, the food bank went away, people who rely on it to put food on the table would be affected for sure. But would there, what would happen to the community? How would those people fare? Uh would there be more homelessness? Would there be would, would kids not do as well in school? For example, the kids of those families who relied on food bank and maybe they don’t go off to university because they’re hungry and you, you can, you can build on things like that and then go looking, go looking for uh supporting evidence. As a case writer, you have to be a bit of an investigator. So if you think that food bank is closing and it’s going to affect Children, think long term, what would that happen? How many kids who go to university have been, maybe at some point in their life, been been supported by the food bank? Can you find that out? Maybe go talk to? I don’t know, find some, somebody who might have done some research into that and see if you can use that and as you build your argument. Well, this whole conversation has been uh inspirational around doing a more thoughtful case for support. So, uh but I, I’m gonna, I’m gonna ask you to just kind of coalesce and, and leave us with, with even more, more inspiration, more promise. What, what, what can our cases do if we’re just more deliberate and thoughtful about our writing? Well, I go back to, to the courtroom analogy that we sort of started with if you have a case that has been um kind of thrown together, written on the back of a napkin and pieced together and maybe a little bit more like a paint by numbers kind of a case. And you, you create a case that is more strategic, more thoughtful. I I’d be surprised if you don’t see a difference in, in, in everything you do, how you recruit, uh the, the volunteers, you’re able to recruit the consistency that you’re able to speak with. Uh When you put together your um grant proposals, you’ve got a well to draw from. You have your information, your statistics, your stories, your descriptors, you have an argument that’s um compelling and stirs hearts and minds. Um And so it’s like the lawyer who stands up in front of the judge and jury and he’s prepared. He’s thought about how his words are going to land on the judge and the jury. He’s going to have a better outcome than the one who just rushes in and hopes to wing it. So I think, I think, um, especially small nonprofits who have not had the luxury of investing in a, um strategic case. I think it could really make a significant difference. Having one, she takes her own advice, ends, ends where she started. There you go. Phoebe Voff, her book is the Case For Your Cause. A guide to writing a case for support that hits all the right notes. You’ll find the book at Phoebe vth.com and Phoebe is spelled Febe Phoebe. Thank you very much for sharing all your, uh your wisdom. Thank you so much. Thank you for inviting me here. I enjoyed this. You’re a very thoughtful guest and I, I don’t, I don’t mean kind. You’re, you’re thoughtful and, and deliberate all all, all, I don’t know you, you speak the way you write, I think. Thank you. You know, there’s a section in the book about asking good questions and that was your job today. You asked fantastic questions. Oh, you probably said that to all your, all your podcast hosts. All right. Thank you. All. So, so some you don’t. All right. Thank you, Phoebe. Thank you very much. Next week, Tony will pick a winner from the archive. You trust him, don’t you? If you missed any part of this week’s show, you better. Trust me. I beseech you find it at Tony martignetti.com. We’re sponsored by donor box. Outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. This giving season Donor box, the fast flexible and friendly fundraising platform for nonprofits donor box.org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I am your associate producer, Kate Martinetti. The show’s social media is by Susan Chavez, Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation, Scotty. You with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out there and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for November 13, 2023: Fundraising 401

 

Laurence PagnoniFundraising 401

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

 

Listen to the podcast

Get Nonprofit Radio insider alerts!

I love our sponsor!

Donorbox: Powerful fundraising features made refreshingly easy.

 

Apple Podcast button

 

 

 

We’re the #1 Podcast for Nonprofits, With 13,000+ Weekly Listeners

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

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

Nonprofit Radio for November 6, 2023: Your Website Performance

 

Charles LehositYour Website Performance

The first of its kind, 2023 Nonprofit Website Performance Report reveals startlingly disappointing performance across nonprofit websites. RKD Group’s Charles Lehosit explains the shortcomings and how to make the advances needed, so your site’s vital signs improve.

 

Listen to the podcast

Get Nonprofit Radio insider alerts!

 

I love our sponsor!

Donorbox: Powerful fundraising features made refreshingly easy.

 

Apple Podcast button

 

 

 

We’re the #1 Podcast for Nonprofits, With 13,000+ Weekly Listeners

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

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

And welcome to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I am your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite Hebdomadal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be thrown into Primo Dinia if you pained me with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with what’s coming? Hey, Tony, your website performance. The first of its kind 2023 nonprofit website performance report reveals startlingly disappointing performance across nonprofit websites. RKD groups. Charles Laos. It explained the shortcomings and how to make the advances needed. So your site’s vital signs improve on Tony’s take two. Thank you were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. This giving season donor box, the fast flexible and friendly fundraising platform for nonprofits donor box dot org. Here is your website performance. It’s a pleasure to welcome Charles Laust to nonprofit radio. He has been described as an entrepreneur solutions, architect, strategist, technologist, and futurist. He’s got a lot of people describing him. Uh It’s uh it’s, it’s admirable just that you got that many people thinking about what you are as Vice president for technology at RKD Group. Charles develops solutions that answer nonprofits business needs. He’s a leading expert in application development, email marketing, lead generation, mobile development website development. We’re gonna talk a lot about mobile versus website and artificial intelligence. He’s on linkedin and the company is at RKD group dot com. Welcome to nonprofit radio, Charles. Thanks Tony. Nice being here. Nice to meet you. I’m glad you are. I’m glad you are. Thank you. We are talking about the 2023 nonprofit website performance report. Uh I’m sure you believe that this report was, is important. We needed it, right? I’m not gonna ask you, you know, but what, why, why should we be paying attention to uh the speed with which websites load? So um two things, one organic traffic is such an important source for uh traffic to your website and ultimately for your online revenue, right? There’s probably no nonprofit on earth would like to say, yeah, I, I’m fine to give up some, not some organic traffic from search. And so because of organic searches, like uh critical role in that valuable traffic. A lot of nonprofits are paying for um SEO or uh to optimize their website. And so this is um this is a, a critical uh component in that optimization and it’s something that nonprofits that are paying for SEO should doubly pay attention to because um you know, the it’s very easy to wipe out your seo investment. If you are, you know, you pay for seo and, and optimize a page, it’s, it’s not frozen in time as updates are made to that page, as updates are made to your site, you’re making impacts that are uh impacting your, your core web vitals. That’s some jargon. And uh and ultimately your, your page speed uh scores. All right. Well, we got a few things there. Now. What’s the jargon? You said, You said it so fast, I didn’t even catch it. So, uh Google, Google has coined the term core web vitals, core web vitals. CWVS. Of course, it’s common knowledge. You CWVS, it’s like EKG, you need an annual EKG. Uh you, you gotta watch your CWVS exactly a little bit, uh more frequently than annually. But, um, not every day, not every day. We do have some people that just obsess and I love you all that obsess over it just don’t obsess over it every day. Uh So core web vitals describe um the end user experience with your website and it’s completely defined by Google. And if we think about like Google has a pattern of doing this, right. Google has told us over the years that security matters. And if you don’t have an SSL certificate, if your website doesn’t have http S support in it, uh then that’s gonna impact your ability to rank and be found in search results. If your website doesn’t support, um, mobile, uh then that’s gonna impact your ability to be uh to rank in search results. I remember though, I remember those being issues that we, we have to pay attention to mobile now because whatever it was, 85% of users are opening page, we websites on mobile. So now we have to be mobile optimized. That was like that was like the uh there was a cry for a year or so, you know, um accessibility was another one. Exactly. Stability is important. Um And I remember the HTTP S too, the uh S we all got to get a HTTP S. All right, this is the, this is the uh it’s the, it’s the, that’s the banner call for the year. Now, we all gotta be secure sites. I remember these things. Exactly. So Google’s definitely ratcheted up like, you know, think of like security is important. No one’s gonna argue against that, you know, mobile optimized is, is, you know, in accessibilities board, no one’s gonna uh argue that but you think of the stairway of complexity and now it’s almost like they’re saying you got to leap three or four steps on this next one because they’ve really combined. Um There’s more than one metric and, and the core web viles where security was really binary is you either have, you know, an SSL certificate or you don’t, you are secure, you’re not and, and mobile optimized, you could argue is the exact same way. And so core web vitals are, um, are definitely uh more complex uh metrics for, for really all organizations. All right. So it’s, it’s, it’s more technical. We’re, we’re, we’re refining. I’m not sure, you know, uh a, a to me, accessibility is a big thing. Security. Very big thing. Mobile optimized. Very big thing. Um I, I mean, these are important. I’m not saying I’m not saying the report is frivolous but uh I wouldn’t have you on if I thought it was frivolous subject. You know, we I’d be talking to someone else naturally. So and so you would be too right now. So, so, so, so I’m not saying that, but we’re like, we’re, we’re getting uh more degrees of refinement. So maybe more precise, precise degrees of refinement of the, the our our internet experience experience. Google is trying to define what a good user experience is and that’s, it’s so hard, right? And so what Google is trying to say is that a good user experience starts with, how quickly does your content load, how quickly is the most amount of content available? And, and when your content is available, uh does it shift around? So when someone starts to, to read something on your page, does the content jump to another area and they have to go look for it uh like an Easter egg? And so that’s, that describes uh at a high level, the core web vitals and, and Google is really trying to say this is what um this is what makes up a good user experience. OK? And just make it explicit for us why Google gets this credibility? I mean, how, how much of search is still done on, on Google versus the, the, the, the alternatives? Yeah, like all of it. No, not all of it. It was like 99% and then 1% for bing and, and, and, you know, I think a lot of people in the search business are paying attention to A I agents and what they’re possibly doing to Google’s business. But the reality is that um Google search, Amazon search uh being searched. These are, these are um this is where people go to seek information, get questions answered still today. And so Google dominates that space and so that allows them and has allowed them for years to dictate the terms to say, you know, hey, if you want, this is what you need to do to um you know, be found by Google’s users, right? So what Google wants to do what they want to avoid is for, for you. Whenever you’re searching for something and you go to a result that Google’s put in front of you, they don’t want you to go to that result and then have such a poor experience that you come right back and you then maybe give up on Google and go somewhere else, go to Facebook or go, go somewhere else. And so um Google is, is uh you know, letting people know by these metrics, the folks that are, that have better co of violence that have better, they are performing better. They will uh outrank you if it’s one for one, you know, if you have the same similar content and um you think about like cancer research, so similar content, similar like health related articles, uh the article that has better core rev vitals is going to uh uh should outrank the, the, the other. OK. All right. Thank. Just wanna make this uh make it explicit why, why this is important. Um And clearly, there’s some Google self-interest too. They don’t want people to get results that they’re not satisfied with. Uh because you know, that’ll, that’ll hurt their, that’ll hurt their own, ranking, their own, their own experience. Uh People’s experience with them, I should say, yeah, and they have to provide value so they can provide more advertising. OK. Yes, we’re very concerned about their, their bottom line. All right. So these core web values, is that what is that the uh the multiple factors that are measured uh in the, in the report, these are the core web values. That’s absolutely right. Like overall, OK. So cool. Let’s start with uh just following your report. Uh Le let’s, let’s first tell folks uh cause I may forget later. So you have a lackluster host. I’m sorry about that. I may forget later to tell folks where to get the report. So where can they get the full report? Oh, gosh. Um So, well, it’s at the RKD group dot com group. This is our 2023 nonprofit website performance report. And if you Google uh nonprofit website performance report will, would be the first result. Um And yeah, we also have a blog post that I wrote um called Website Performance Matters and you’re probably failing at it. Um very cheeky there. Sorry. And that links to the this research um which is, you know, freely available for, for everyone, right? And the research also links to the blog post. We’re gonna talk about both because the blog post has the uh the what to do about the poor performance that you are uh that odds are you are experiencing? All right. So it just gave away a little bit, but let’s get into the details of the first uh core value, you know, vital, core value, we core web vitals, they are like vital signs, right? Your blood, you have to measure your uh your oxygen saturation, your blood pressure, your heart rate and your overall performance of your website. Exactly what, what is, what, what is overall performance? So it’s a, a cumulative score that’s based off of a lot of jargon. Um So let’s, let’s, let’s mention the jargon names and then we can unpack those, but the cumulative score is based off of first contentful paint. That’s 10% of your score speed index. That’s another 10% of your score. Largest contentful paint that’s 25% of your score. Total blocking time, 30% of your score and then cumulative layout shift, that’s 25% of your score. Hopefully that we’re gonna talk about some of these, the the content, especially the content full. Uh One the first, the largest we’re gonna, we’re gonna break these down. So not to worry uh Charles is not in jargon jail because uh we’re go, we’re gonna, we are gonna define these and talk about them. It’s time for a break. Are you looking to maximize your fundraising efforts and impact this giving season? Donor Box’s online donation platform is designed to help you reach your fundraising goals from customizable donation forms to far-reaching easy share, crowd funding and peer to peer options. Plus seamless in-person giving with donor box live kios. Donor Box makes giving simple and fast for your donors and moves the needle on your mission, visit donor box dot org and let donor box help you help others. Now, back to your website performance. So overall performance is a, is a an amalgam of the fact that the uh the vitals that you just mentioned, I love, this is vital signs. You know, it’s the health, it’s the health of your, you know, just like the health of your body is based on your weight and body mass index and like blood pressure, etcetera. The uh the vital signs of your website. All right, same thing. Uh Overall performance. Uh I, I’ll, I’ll leave the headline for you. How are we doing overall performance? So, overall performance, um you know, 80% of nonprofits are, are failing um at their core web vitals. And I, I think many are many more are paying attention this year than ever before. Uh But I think many are still, this is an area that’s new to them and, and where they need some uh some help with awareness and education here. And um you know, to kind of develop like new habits, new good habits, as you mentioned. Uh how do you keep your healthy, bo your body healthy, you know, the same, same kind of starts. So applied to your, your website uh when it comes to adding, adding new content, what are you eating? What are you putting into your website? Well, is that new image uh optimized for the web or is it, you know, a giant five megabyte file, that type of thing? OK. And now for each of these vital signs, uh they’re evaluated in mobile, you evaluated them. You, you, you, you did, you do the study or you just uh were you actually doing the, the, you were 2000 websites that you evaluated? Did, did you actually do the work? Did you actually do the work? Put the, put them in uh both um I came up with the, the concept and um I do a lot of this work uh for individual uh nonprofits like our, our clients at RKD. And so, um, you know, we started with, uh I think a list of uh 3000 nonprofits and uh that got whittled down a bit, but we had a, a really good representation of uh the industry and the different sectors uh within our industry. And uh so, absolutely. Um uh I was, you know, part of this part of this study. Um It’s, and you’re right, there is a, a desktop version of these scores and a mobile version of these scores. If you’re paying attention, you know, your desktop scores are a lot more forgiving, they’re probably a lot better than your bubble scores and your mobile scores. You probably wish uh you could ignore this. But what, yeah, we’re gonna talk about each, each of these factors, as I said. But why is it that overall mobile uh uh performance on, on mobile devices is much poorer than on desktop devices. Why is that? So, um it is, is primarily the, the amount of content that we’re putting into our, our pages, right? And so uh think of, think of anyone’s home page and there’s uh almost no end to what people feel like I need to. This is the f front page uh o of our, our online experience of our user experience. And so there’s so much there and we often want it to be interactive and so maybe we want video to it. And so video on desktop is more forgiving because most people have a broadband connection, video on mobile. Uh you know, Google will judge you over like a four G connection. And uh and so it’s less forgiving to have all of this like really heavy interactive experiences and content on on mobile. And so I, I think that’s a good spot to say like achieving 100 isn’t the end goal here. Um You know, we wanna have positive scores, we have good scores so that we rank well. But um sacrificing what you need to communicate, a message shouldn’t be the goal. Uh Meaning like here, here is a uh uh a dark page with light text, here’s a, a light page with dark text and that’s it like that’s, we’re not, no one’s arguing that we go there to that extreme. Although that would, you would score really well. Well, that was, yeah, but that was back in uh dial up and uh DS L days when, before, before we had images and everything was text and, and page load speeds were like 30 seconds. Yeah. And so um and, and some of the mobile scores are still impacted by um that like a four G connection uh time. And so we know we know that’s not everyone on mobile. And so we just have to be aware of that’s, that’s part of uh what, how Google is kind of ranking and judging our, our mobile scores and the report breaks it down by uh by sector. You have probably eight or so uh sectors for each of these vital signs. We’re not gonna go into them. Folks can get that kind of detail if it’s, you know, arts and culture versus education, etcetera versus human services, et cetera. But um we’re, we’re, we’re doing poorly in mobile. Uh I mean, the, the percentage of yeah across the board, right? It doesn’t matter what your sector. Um the um the the percentages of pages that either failed or were poor were poor or needed improvement is very much higher than the ones that were made it good. Unfortunately. Un un un very true. OK. And uh and desktop uh much different desktop scores, it’s across all sectors. It does. And, and one of the reasons for that is Google doesn’t put the same threshold of four G on desktop like it does on mobile. And, and so it’s easier to, to score higher on on desktop. And part of the reason that is also if we think about like where do we often start when we’re designing? So many are still starting from desktop and then thinking well, this all of this will just kind of scale for mobile but it’s mm it’s still quite a bit uh for mobile there. And it’s, it’s why, you know, if we, we think about what might it take to score better in mobile. It’s gonna probably take a lot more folks starting with a mobile design and scaling that up. Interesting. Ok. Ok. Uh ok. So let’s move to our, our next vital sign. 1st, 1st I I, the layman’s term is first piece of content. That’s exactly right. Yeah, but you have a fancy, you have a fancy term. What was it? So, first, contentful paint, first, contentful paint. It’s contentful or contentful. It’s, I guess it’s got to be contentful. It, it is, it’s paint 1st, 1st contentful paint. Exactly. Why don’t they just call it first piece of content? You know, why do these mit engineers need to need to complicate things? All right, it’s the first piece of content that loads on your site, right? That so it could be a text block or it could be an image or it could be, I don’t know your header or what, what? Right, any of those things could be first. And so this is really, um this me metric measures the first point in which the user can see anything, anything. And the first paint, um a, a fast first paint should happen in, you know, 1.8 seconds or less, which today sounds reasonable. But um you know, we start adding doodads and video and we start looking at it maybe a three second first paint and then all of a sudden you’ve got a lower score right over three was poor, isn’t it? Exactly. Exactly. Uh Right. So, between 1.8 and three was uh needs improvement and then over three was poor. Where did we get? So, attention deficit that three seconds is a, is, is a long time. Um That’s a, that’s a, maybe that’s a, uh when, when did we, when did we, uh when did the goldfish beat us on our attention? On an attention span? Right. That’s a metaphysical question. Uh Maybe more for a neuroscientist or something. So, uh but all right. So three seconds is poor for the first piece. And then we’re not talking about the whole, we haven’t gotten to the whole site yet. This is for all the content we’re talking about the first piece longer than three seconds poor. Exactly all the largest, the largest pain is probably a natural place to go next, right? So I just want, I just want to make clear that we’re uniformly bad. 1st, 1st piece uniformly bad on mobile, uniformly better at desktop. It’s so much easier to score better on desktop, right? OK. Yeah. Largest go ahead. Largest paint will be um the, the point at which the largest content is loaded. So that, that, you know, maybe just dropping content f and just call it first paint, largest paint in your head at work. So largest paint would be, when is the majority of your content available for the your end user, your visitor, your, your prospective donor or supporter. And this is you know, shockingly fast, right? This needs to be shockingly fast. So you think about if a good score is 1.8 seconds or less for first paint, a fast largest paint is still uh 2.5 seconds or less. And so it, it the majority of your content cannot uh take too long to follow the first part of your content. And in Google size, right? So still under we’re under three seconds, 2.5, 2.5 seconds. Yeah. And you know, there’s a lot of studies in the ecommerce world that, that show that the cost of doing business. If your ecommerce site, you know, if you could shave a second off of your ecommerce site, what that normally does to, uh to um revenue and conversion rate and, and we don’t like to think of donors and, and nonprofit constituents in the same way, but they’re the same people, the same people that are shopping on Amazon are on your web, right? Amazon and its ilk have raised the bar for, for all websites. People expect that kind of seamless performance uh experience uh because they get it from Amazon. So, so they’re ticked off when they don’t get it from your nonprofit. Exactly. But which is not really fair if Amazon can do it. Why can’t you? Well, uh, ok, because Amazon has, I don’t know, trillion dollar research budgets and tens of thousands of engineers and you don’t. But, uh everybody’s, let’s face it. Everybody is not that, uh, not that forgiving when they evaluate, uh, their experience with your nonprofit. Uh, I, I see that even, especially among, I’m thinking about board members who have their own businesses. Uh, they’re a lot more forgiving of their own businesses than they are of the nonprofit board that they sit on. Um. All right. All right. So, let’s, let’s take a break from, we’re gonna get to the next one after largest content, but uh folks can evaluate their own websites. Oh, yeah, the same, the same way you did, right? With the 2000 that you put in, where, where do, where do people go to evaluate their own site and, and have it measured quickly? Yeah, great question. So, um in Google, Google Page Speed Insights, uh the URL is page speed dot web dot dev, um you don’t have to remember that if you just Google Page speed insights, this page speed one word insights would be the second word. Uh This should be the first result for you and then put in your URL and, and keep in mind when you put in that URL, that’s just one page. You’re testing, you’re not testing your whole site. And so, um just keep in mind like in, in probably when you’ve got people giving you opinions on this, um like a board member, uh they might, if they took a peek at your scores, it’s probably just your home page, which is probably the most content heavy page and, and you have, you hopefully know your top landing pages that drive, uh, you know, your most valuable traffic and this, that and the other. So, uh, don’t just look at your home page, don’t just look at a donation form, take a look at your top landing pages and see how you’re doing, um, overall. Ok. Right. So that perfect sense. Yeah. Right. If you just put in your dot org and, and there, right. It’s just a home page, but you can drill down to those top pages that are, are that, that get the most hits that are most important to you and put those URL S in. And I did, I went to the tool. It’s very simple. It’s just like a Google, it’s just like Google search, just put a URL in and, and click and you’ll get scores on all these uh in all these factors, the vital signs, I don’t know what it’s called, but all the vital signs will be evaluated for your, for whatever URL you put in. I like that. I’m gonna just start calling it vital signs as well, like like respirations and and blood pressure. All right. Um Next one is our speed index score. What is this vital measuring speed index, how quickly your content um is visibly populated? So, uh this is just ultimately, how quickly does everything load? I know this sounds like it should already be captured uh in first paint and largest paint. It’s a separate metric for whatever reason in Google’s world and a fast speed index should be, um you know, 3.4 seconds or less. This is the whole page though. This is the whole page. Initially, we were measuring first piece of content, largest piece of content. Uh This is the entire page. This is the whole page. And do you think about the progression from 1st, 1st paint in 1.8 seconds or less? Largest paint? 2.5 seconds or less? And now the whole page in 3.4 seconds, it’s a, it’s not, you know, you’re talking about hundreds of a second milliseconds. It’s not a lot of time in between these things happening. All right. So 3.4. So the, the for the whole page, you’re letting you go over three seconds, but not, you can’t have 3.5 over 3.4 is needs improvement. Right. Exactly. And what was poor? What, what above what score is or above? What time was poor for the, the speed index score? Oh, gosh, let me actually look at the report on that one. Ok. I just, uh uh I’m just amazed by the lack of a lack of attention or lack of patience that we all have. I’m not, it’s not like I’m saying, I wait, I’m willing to wait 30 seconds for a page to load. And so a poor is together. But no, you’re actually right. A poor score is, um, so needs improvement is, um, sorry, I was actually reading the wrong thing. Um, it should be, uh, over four seconds for Needs for, uh, oh, so it gives you four seconds for the, it gives you four seconds. Yeah, for, for or for poor. Oh, over, wait, over four is poor. Ok. That’s not a lot of time for an entire page. Four seconds. And, and there’s so there’s research that sh that, that if people have to wait too long, they will, they’ll just go away. So um yes. And so what Google, you know what Google is saying is they’re seeing is like you click on a link and you come back or maybe you clicked on what a lot of people probably talk, you click on four links and you know, you’re, you know, you, you aren’t engaging with them or you’re not engaging with them long enough. So that Google goes like, ok, um you spent so many seconds here and it wasn’t enough, you know, this is quick, quick tangent, you know, but in, in Google Analytics four, there is a metric called an engaged session. And the default Google has deemed the default time for an engaged session is 10 seconds. And I, I think that most seconds that’s engaged, I think is engaged. I thought like 30 minutes is engaged. No, no, I think, and I think most of us would actually go like 10 seconds is, um, somebody just kind of window shopping. It’s just kind of like, what, where’s your phone number? What, where’s your address? Like 10 seconds is, and so in Facebook and Google’s world 10 seconds or more as an engaged session. Uh, but I think for a nonprofit that’s trying to make meaningful connections, uh You know, your metric should be, um, a minute, you know, it’s come on, I mean, I, I think Google needs more baby boomers. Uh, and, and, and great generation because we would say like 20 minutes is an engaged session. All right. Exactly. All right. Anyway, that engaging with a person anyway. But even a website, uh, 10 seconds. All right. Uh, yeah, a minute. It just doesn’t seem like a lot of time. I don’t, I mean, you’re reading things, I mean, videos, I understand videos are supposed to be 90 seconds or less. Um, all right. What a world we’re living in to flush it out like this. I mean, I’m, we’re all living it every single day but to talk about, to talk about these speeds, it’s, uh, it’s almost surreal that II I, it’s, yeah, it’s surreal. It’s hard to, hard to imagine it being true now for, uh, our nonprofit friends out there and, you know, when you’re ready you can change your, you can customize your definition of an engaged session and so your engaged session doesn’t have to be Google’s, um, you know, 12th definition you in the future, you can change it to be 30 seconds to a minute, 20 minutes, you can do that. But if you have Google Analytics for off the shelf with that, uh, default setting, it’s 10 seconds. Ok. All right. But it’s changeable. All right. At least, at least the thing is forgiving uh to by human, by, at least by my human standards anyway. All right. Um Let’s deal with accessibility. We’re, we’re doing, this is a good one. We’re doing, we’re doing, we’ve improved over the past many years and this one is the, the best of all the scores that we talked about. All the vital signs that we’ve talked about so far. I agree with you. I agree with you. We’ve in our physical uh locations. We are, have made our physical locations more accessible and inclusive. Uh It’s important that we make our online um content more accessible. Charles is Charles is showing the thickness of his glass. Charles has bad, bad eyes. All right. And so uh I’m not the only one and so we um Google is, is definitely made accessibility um a factor. And so um this is not a hard one to get, right? And you want to get this right? Is it actually 100% overlaps with Seo. So, you know, the alt text on an image. Well, that’s part of accessibility and that also is needed for Seo your good, good page headlines, good page titles. Uh good uh contrast so that people can read. So we’re not doing uh Tony. Let me, let me hear your thoughts on um gray font on a like really light gray font on a white page. That, that, that sounds terrible. I mean, 61 I would be, I would be squinting. Why does this have to be so hard to read? So, yeah, that um contrast is uh important and because it makes it easier to read. And so Google just has seen from people that um where things are, are hard to read. Um whether or not accessible for uh folks, they, they leave and they don’t come back. All right. Uh Th those are the vital signs that uh that I’d like to cover because I want to spend the rest of our time talking about what to do about these issues that you will have discovered when you go to page speed insights uh tool that, that Google tool. Um All right. So you have some advice about uh what, how to prioritize because you know, we, we wanna, we wanna have a good experience for our users. We also want to rank high as high as possible in Google search results. So how do, how do we approach the, the uh the remedy to, to what we, we are likely to discover because we’re all doing so poorly, especially especially in mobile. So um the, I guess I would say step zero is make sure that this is a priority for your whole team. Um You know, if you have a, a partner, uh it’s like an seo specialist or an agency that’s working with you, it can’t just be a priority for them because if you have different team members or even different teams that are creating content, uploading content, uh updating content on your website. Um You know, your, your website is rarely a static set and forget it thing. It’s, it’s um always being updated and touched. And so any investment that you make, um really, you have to have uh step zero b everyone on your team, everyone with your organization that touches the website has to be um you know, following um your own guidelines for uh your healthy vitals uh to have your, you know, healthy and positive vital signs once you’ve got that cause that’s really gonna be whether or not, hey, you know, I spent so much money I invested in, in improving this. And is it going to be the just as good as it was when the investment was delivered, the work was delivered or is it, is it eroded? We would, we really want to avoid uh wasting that investment. So, uh once you’re past steps here, I recommend that you do an audit of your website tags. And so these used to be um hard coded pixels. You know, people used to put a Facebook pixel and a Google pixel and every other pixel like hard coded into their site and we were taught. All right. That’s not the best way to do it. We have moved all of our tags to a tag manager, like Google tag manager or TLI m most nonprofits are using uh Google tag manager, so we’ll stick with that. And so that’s a good thing. Google tag manager makes it easier to control like where a pixel loads where, where an advertising tag loads or doesn’t load. Um What uh I think too many people do is they add tags and then they, but they’re not actually going back and saying what shouldn’t be here anymore. And so, uh here’s a, here’s a little question for the audience is uh how many of you out there uh have Google Analytics three tags still uh loading and your tag manager um As Google Analytics three isn’t capturing, isn’t collecting data for you anymore. And I bet, I bet it’s more than zero. So the tags and this is a, here’s a, here’s another uh neat trick to try. They call it a trick. It’s not, it’s not a trick if you have the ability to have a, like a staging environment for your site. And I hope that you all do. So if you mean, if you have a developer environment where you can make changes and it doesn’t, it doesn’t impact um the your, your site visitors experience do your page speed insights with no tags, like no tags on your, your staging side and see and then, then take a look at what the uh the same uh page speed score is with your production site with the tags on. That’s the cost of all of the, you know, conversion tracking your digital analytics. Um That’s the cost of, of, of that. And I’m not arguing like we, we need that knowledge, We need that information, but there’s a cost to it. There’s an expense and it’s going to impact your, uh, your vital signs. Uh, it’s gonna ultimately impact the, um, the page, uh, the page speed as the time to load the page will be like, do you have 200 tags, 300 tags and tag manager? And it’s all of those are loading. And so, um, it’s good for you to see the total cost of those. So you can know. Well, how often do I need? Can I, can, I just do spring cleaning once a year? Do I needed to have a program where we are looking at, um, retiring tags and removing tags every quarter? Um, it’s probably not, it doesn’t need to be that frequent as every quarter. But if, um, you’re not looking at it at least once a year, chances are, you’ve got like dozens of tags that could be, um, retired and removed and, and that are adding to your, that are lowering your score. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you, Kate and thank you for listening to nonprofit radio. I am grateful that you support the show that you’re listening to the show and I understand you might not listen every week, right? You might see a topic doesn’t work for you, but overall you’re subscribing and listening. And I am grateful I’m channeling you. I’m thinking about what topics interest you, guests, interest you, even while I’m talking to a guest, the questions that you would wanna ask. So I’m doing what I can to encourage you to listen and, and I’m, I’m, I’m glad that you’re there. I guess that’s all to say. I don’t take our listeners for granted. I’m grateful that you’re listening and I’m working hard along with Kate each week to uh keep you alone. We want you listening. So, thank you. Thanks for being with us. And that is Tonys Take two Kate. Thank you so much, nonprofit family for sticking with us and for staying with the pod father at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Thank you. All right. Yes, absolutely. Grateful for our listeners. Well, we’ve got Buku but loads more time now, back to your website performance with Charles Laos are tags getting added incrementally as, as content updates. Is that what happens to me? I thought tags were were, well, I had a misunderstanding about tags. Uh I, I thought they were just to describe o overarching, you know what the page is about. Oh no, no, no, that’s so there’s a tag in like wordpress can describe uh the content or the like, you know, describe maybe an image. Are we talking about page? Are we talking about page level or talking uh talking about um uh the the page level? But it’s not in the not in like your content management system, this would be uh like a Facebook pixel so that um your, so that Facebook can know whether or not this person converted on a Facebook ad or Google Google level where Google can know this person converted on a Google ad or, and that type of thing. So all of that, those are all pixels and tags that end up getting loaded on your site. And so those, you know, we, they were originally called a pixel, which sounds like a really innocuous thing, but really anymore, they’re a bit a piece of code that can load or pixels. And so it’s a bit of javascript that can load more code and, um, and it ultimately impact the, uh, the, the how fast or how not fast your sites. OK. OK. That’s for our, for our listeners and for me that that’s sufficient level of detail on tags. Pay attention to your tags, audit them. Sounds like semi annual, you know, twi twice a year or somebody should be paying attention to them at least once a year. I would, I would say at least once a year if you have, uh, you know, under 100 tags, if you have like, uh like 300 tags or more, then this should be a semi annual uh routine for you all. Ok. Excellent. Thank you. Uh, sliders. You’re concerned about sliders. Now, sliders is that these are these images that when you open them, I guess they’re mostly on a home page. But no, they could be other pages too. That’s true. I mostly see them home pages though. The, the, the images slides and there’s five or six dots for you to know how many, how many images there are gonna be or you can select them. Is that a slider? That’s exactly right. That’s a slider. These things. Uh They’re not so they’re not, they’re not so vogue anymore. They’re not um they’re a little out, they’re out there. I still see them around. I didn’t know people have a hard time letting go of their sliders. Right. OK. Why, why are they not as popular as they were like, what, three years ago or just or so? Was it in four years ago? Yeah, you’re right. No, they, they were the standard um three or four years ago for sure what happened, what happened to sliders. So, user experience experts and Google folks like Google have really been steering us away from um sliders where you have one space that has five messages, seven messages and it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, when you’re talking about that that main hero spot on your home page that first loads. There’s I I completely understand why you wanna have. Well, here’s message one and here’s message two. Totally understand why. Uh That is the um that’s gonna result in the, the, the biggest loss in in your health, your uh health vitals, your core web vitals. Um especially if you have, you know, 357 images. It’s not the text that loads in it. It’s the, the images because all of those images load on your site uh in the slider. And so it’s adding to the overall weight of the site. And um kind of a AAA good little sidebar on sliders is the um not enough nonprofits are optimizing the images for the web. And so, you know, it’s, it’s uh very common to see a one like every image to be one megabyte or larger. And so then, all right, you’ve got three images that’s three megabytes, five images, five megabytes and you’re talking about over a four second load time on mobile for sure. And so um here’s a little, a little secret for anybody. It’s free, tiny PNG, tiny PNG. Um you drop drag and drop your images into tiny PNG and they will, it’s a free service and it will uh give you an optimized version. So uh if you’re working in, I don’t know Photoshop, you’re playing around with how much compression should I do or don’t do, don’t do that just drag and drop your images to tiny PNG and um and use that free service to make sure the images on your site are optimized for the web. Cool. Well, I love free resources, tiny PNG dot com. Yep, that’s it. All right. All right. So sliders. So I get for, for, for folks that never implemented sliders when they were popular when they were vogue. So now you’re ahead, you, you, you, you’re so far behind, you’re ahead. You didn’t, you never did the sliders. Now, you’re, now you’re ahead. So it was, it was valuable. So it was worth it to not to not be, not be uh cutting edge. Now, that sounds like my approach to fashion. So yes, that is uh behind your head. That’s exactly right. You’re waiting for bell bottoms to come back. I am too. I know I am. I, I’m waiting to take out my bell bottom suits again. Um All right, sliders not so popular. Not a good idea. Uh The technology changes, I guess because they were, they were the seem to be the standard for website design for, for uh I don’t know how for how long, but I’m thinking like four or five years ago, they were, they were very popular. Lots of, lots of sites converted to the big, big bulky slider files. It was innovative at the, at the, when they first came out, it was innovative because like my, my, it solved the problem. My problem was I need to highlight more than one thing. OK. Yeah. All right. Uh What else? Uh We talk image optimization. I know that’s I snuck in there. Um tiny P NGA really great resource, tiny PNG for wordpress users has a wordpress plug in. Um They have a paid service and tiny PNG also um will let you put in a URL for your, you know, like similar to page speed inside. You can put in your um the page URL and it’ll analyze all of the images on that page and it’ll let you know um where you can do better and then it will offer you a download to have all of those images uh fully optimized. It’s I mean, oh my gosh, what a what a valuable free service. It’s, yeah, we love it. We love it. All right, tiny PNG dot com. Um You have something to say about light boxes, light boxes. So these are pop ups. These are moguls we’re going to call it but you can see but you lightbox, you can see through it, right? Light box where it’s semi uh semi transparent, semi opaque. These also had their moment. Uh I think, I think lightboxes came before sliders, I think. Yeah. Well, the definitely the, like the advertising pop up, that kind of I think introduced this idea of like, hey, why do I do that on my own side? Like I’m not, I I’m trying to say this is what I want you to focus on right now. This is the most important thing for you. So yeah, join our newsletter, sign our petition. OK. Light boxes are, are they, are they out like sliders or they’re, they’re just, you need to be judicious about their use or what we need to be really judicious. Google has um really judicious to the point of don’t use them if you are. All right, Charles trying to nail you down. All right, you don’t have to be so definitive. But if you’re in a competitive market, if so, if you’re um if you’re a food bank use them, you’re, if you’re a food bank, you’re probably not competing with another food bank in your immediate area, use them. Uh If you’re in a competitive market, let’s say, let’s call it cancer research for it to be easy. You could, you could say disaster relief. Uh If you’re in a competitive market. Um Google has said uh light boxes are no on mobile, light boxes are no mobile. So if you are using lightboxes and mobile, that’s a problem. Uh And, and Google is saying that uh translates to a poor user experience. And so lightboxes, that means if you’re, if you’re in that space where you have more competitive peers, we’re not, we might not be saying that you directly compete with them, but there’s a lot of uh competing options. Um then uh lightboxes, you should focus on lightboxes on desktop only that if you’re in a space where you’re the only one focusing on animal welfare in uh Lawrence, Kansas, you’re fine to do cause then you’re not really competing for ranking and um uh animal shelters in, in Lawrence, Kansas. And so you find to use light boxes on bubble and desktop, just know, ultimately, there is a cost to that in, in your core web vitals, but it’s um black boxes and mobile for competitive uh markets really, really risky to your organic search traffic. Help me understand lightboxes versus pop ups. Are they, are they now the same when you’re, when you’re saying light boxes do you, are you including pop ups? No, I I was distinguishing but, you know, again, you know, lackluster host. Uh I don’t work in tech, I work in planned giving fundraising. So to me, a light box was, was a pop up that you could see through and a pop up was a pop up. That was um ok. Couldn’t see. 00 OK. I was talking about a pop up. That was so my, my, my definition of a pop up was more of the, the lightbox that was um opaque. But I guess because I think, you know, you know, the definition. So let’s describe it as um if it’s a pop up and it doesn’t block any of the background behind it. I mean, it, I mean, it doesn’t have any shroud then uh Google is OK with that. If it, if you have a, a pop up that has, or, or a light box, it has a shroud, meaning it’s semi opaque, it’s semi transparent but it blocks content in the background or your access to it. Then uh that’s what Google is saying. That’s a nil on mobile if you’re in a competitive market. OK. All right. And clearly, uh my definition and my understanding is outdated. Don’t be surprised. Uh So pop up, pop up is what we, we refer to them as pop ups. I mean, I’m sorry, we refer to them as light boxes. That’s what, sorry, I’m sorry. All right. Light boxes, light boxes, stop saying pop ups. That’s the last time I’m gonna use that word, the light boxes. All right now, you know, I’m not following this the way you are. Um What, what else should we focus on Charles you got in there in order to make sure your content loads the fastest you should be using what’s called a CD N which is uh a content distribution network. Um You really wanna seek hosting solutions that are integrated with the CD N so that you don’t have to try and solve for this separate. But um you know, so a hosting solution for those of you on wordpress uh WP engine has uh a built in CD N for you and you should take advantage of that for anyone. Uh That needs a separate solution, cloud flare, cloud flare has a really great uh and, and really, really cost effective CD N for you um to help um essentially deliver your content faster. So um the concept this, what this used to describe is that your server might be in California and your site visitor might be in DC. And so the CD N will host images and on their servers closer to DC. So that, that request doesn’t have to go all the way to California to go get the content to go all the way back to DC. And so instead um us clo uh a CD M like cloud flare might have uh your images on your site posted in uh like uh North Virginia data center. So that it’s um that site visitor had accesses your, your site content, faster CD N, faster content CD N content distribution network. Yep. OK. OK. And then you have some advice specifically for WordPress since WordPress is such a popular hosting uh creation platform, WordPress. Um So many nonprofits are on WordPress and uh really, so many websites are on wordpress. And so if you’re on WordPress, um you should really be on WP engine as your uh web host unless you’re doing something. Um There’s a, there’s a few people that maybe W pigeon is w pigeon isn’t the best option for. But the most part, if your website is um um gosh, how, how do I qualify this for you? I under under 10,000 pages WP engine is a really great option for you. Under 5000 pages WPN is a really great option for you. WPNWPWP one. You wanna make sure you want to ask your tch and consultant or if you’re on like you have one Go Daddy hosting, this is not something you want to stay on. Go Daddy hosting for your site. You wanna eventually go OK? If I’m that some of the things that you would do to optimize your health scores or optimize your core of vitals, you can’t do without a proper host. So WP Engine is a proper host for wordpress sites. Uh Go Daddy, sorry, go Daddy. Not so much for you. Um Within WP engine, there is uh an option called uh WP Engines Advanced Network that um is like a, a easy button for uh page performance and page speed. And so uh if you’re on WP Engine, it’s, you’re probably not using that yet. And so definitely uh ask um your website partner, your uh internal technical folks to about the advanced network. The, the next thing for wordpress would be Gutenberg. Uh Gutenberg has been out for a number of years now. Gutenberg uh is the, this is funny to, to say it’s the native editor in wordpress. So meaning like when you, when you are on wordpress, when you are editing content, the native editor that ships would wordpress is Gutenberg. Well, it wasn’t the first editor that ship would wordpress. And so over the years, people worked with their favorite editor that came with so many bells and whistles to make it, make it easier to edit content. Well, those legacy editors um are load the content loads slower than content and Gober and so um people have actually um there was a, a button to defer like I don’t wanna use Gutenberg and I’m gonna, there’s actually a plug in, they would use to Defer uh Gutenberg and push that back. And uh definitely, if you’re, if you’re building a, a new site in 2024 in wordpress, it should be in Gutenberg. It is uh your se your seo um uh consultant or partner will uh will love you for that and so will your pay speed scores? OK. It’s all about the vitals. All right, Gutenberg, go to the original, go to the original printing press, use the Gutenberg. Here you go. We’ve come full circle with uh with technology there, right? All right. You have one more. I got Auto for WordPress, WordPress develop sites. Yeah. So this is again an easy button. And so auto optimize will um gosh, you wish you had this for your own uh life where your body would just sort of exercise itself and would avoid um any kind of bad eating habits. But auto optimize is uh does a lot to advance and improve your page speed scores. Um It’ll also improve your uh images and um also um make your, your, your sight load a lot faster. It is um going to be a lot less expensive to test out auto optimize and see. Did it break anything? Is it, did it, did it improve anything than to uh you know, hire a really expensive uh consultant to do all this work by hand. So definitely um consider if you’re on wordpress, test these things, test these things in a staging or development environment, meaning not in a live environment where we might break something for a site visitor or a donor. And so when we test these things in the staging environment, we can say, oh, this doesn’t break anything and it gave us a 30% improvement to our scores or 50% improvement to our scores. We’ve seen some really drastic um improvements to scores with auto optimized and it’s, it feels like in some ways it’s the easy button for uh wordpress sites, Charles. We’re gonna leave it there. All right. So the, the uh the report is 2023 nonprofit website performance report. You’ll find it at RKD group dot com or just search that report name. Uh And I think, you know, uh to the uh you, you, you’re looking at your own scores like bone density and A one C and cholesterol and triglycerides and uh total cholesterol and uh high density and low density lipoproteins. You gotta look at uh you know, you gotta look at your, at your first piece of content, largest content, your speed index scores. These are all vitals, vitals. Are you looking at your own health, health metrics every day? Right. So, is there a parallel? I mean, uh, well, a little more often, I mean, we hopefully you’re doing a uh primary care physician visit once a year and eyes and uh, dentists should be twice a year. So some of these things are a couple of times a year, right? Some things we obsess over, like you might obsess over blood pressure more than triglycerides. But we’re, we’re, it’s all, it’s all in a balance, right? Is that a fair analogy? It is. I think if you’re obsessing over it daily, that’s an unhealthy obsession. And, and I think if you develop good habits, like you would with, uh, your own, uh, diet and exercise routines then for your website, um, like that priority zero or step zero, I talked about then, um, then you shouldn’t be surprised when you are looking at your core. We vitals, uh, quarterly or semi annually. Um, I would look at it more than once a year, but I wouldn’t look at it every single day. That’s just, uh, when you see a change, uh, on any given day. Yyy, you know, it’s, it’s, I, I think that is, uh, uh, a distraction. All right, Charles Lajos, he’s on linkedin RKD Group is at RKD group dot com. Charles, thank you very much loved it. It was a pleasure. Thank you. Next week, it’ll be one from the archive. If you missed any part of this weeks show, I beseech you to find it at Tony Martignetti dot com were sponsored by donor box. Outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. This giving season donor box, the fast flexible and friendly fundraising platform for nonprofits donor box dot org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Martignetti. The show’s social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guide and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.