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Nonprofit Radio for February 28, 2022: Founder Syndrome

Heidi Johnson: Founder Syndrome

It can severely hold back a nonprofit’s work when the organization becomes the founder. What are the symptoms and treatments? Heidi Johnson is a founder, took over leadership from a founder, and has been studying founders and their orgs for many years. She hosts the blog and podcast, Charity Matters.

 

 

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[00:00:10.24] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to

[00:01:43.04] spk_1:
tony-martignetti non profit radio Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d be hit with parallel alia if I had to speak the words you missed this week’s show founder syndrome, it can severely hold back a nonprofits work when the organization becomes the founder, what are the symptoms? What are the treatments? Heidi johnson is a founder, took over leadership from a founder and has been studying founders and their organs for many years. tony steak too. Spring is in the air. We’re sponsored by turn to communications. Pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. It’s a pleasure to welcome for her debut on nonprofit radio Heidi johnson, she’s a co founder of Spiritual care guild, providing 24 7 chaplain support to Children’s hospital Los Angeles where she serves on the board of trustees. She’s the creator and founder of Charity Matters, a weekly blog and podcast that for over a decade has told the stories of nonprofit founders and their entrepreneurial journeys. It’s at charity hyphen Matters dot com and at charity matters Heidi johnson, Welcome to nonprofit radio

[00:01:48.34] spk_2:
Thank you, Tony. Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

[00:01:59.34] spk_1:
I’m glad. Thank you. My pleasure as well. So you’ve been a founder. You took over from a founder. I presume that in the organization that you founded, you didn’t leave things as bad as you found them when you took over from the founder?

[00:02:07.84] spk_2:
Well,

[00:02:09.33] spk_1:
well,

[00:02:10.24] spk_2:
I’ve gone through it all. I’ve been through it all. Let’s just put it that way. I’ve walked the walk, have walked the walk and I’m happy to share it. Let’s start

[00:02:26.34] spk_1:
the part of the journey with taking over from the founder. Uh, because that’s what we want to avoid folks having to deal with. You know, what, what did it look like? What did you have to go through? Tell us that, you know, it

[00:03:32.54] spk_2:
is, um, I refer to myself as the, the, the second life, the step mom. Um, everybody loves their mom and the step mom, you know, the person who comes in second is usually not as popular and um, and the founder is a beloved person. The founder is is so many great things and I have to say that I do think founders are some of the best humans on this planet. I mean they are, they are the charisma for the organization. They are the why they have the spark, they have the fire, they do beautiful things. The entrepreneurs like I, I have just the utmost respect for every founder I’ve ever talked to. I, I love these people. However, however, I think most founders don’t have a transition plan, a succession plan and I found myself in the predicament of having walked away from the nonprofit that I co founded with a group of people and inheriting one that was 32 years old at the time and had been founded by, um, a nun. So she was super beloved, Oh

[00:03:44.11] spk_1:
yeah,

[00:03:45.12] spk_2:
Oh yeah,

[00:03:46.64] spk_1:
nobody ever wants to cross, nobody wants to cross a nun. No, you can’t, they’re gonna get their knuckles

[00:03:51.33] spk_2:
slapped with the rules, you’re going to hell,

[00:03:52.98] spk_1:
right? I mean never crossing, it’s worse than crossing a priest.

[00:05:42.04] spk_2:
Exactly. So, so I, I come in and this organization has been a youth leadership organization where these, you know, 17,000 alumni have spent their summers with this woman who was like their mother and she is beloved by all and she was ill and not well and just said to the board, I’m gonna just close the organization and the board said, oh, no, no, no, no, you don’t just shut a nonprofit because you’re leaving. Um, that’s not how that works. And so it was, it was not a smooth exit strategy because there was no succession plan. Um, there was a lot of her feelings from obviously what I would call her kids are alumni who loved her and felt like she was sick and being shoved up by the board. It was, it was a big mess and I knew none of this when I was hired, right? I knew none of them. You didn’t know the history even, I knew that she was ill and was leaving. That’s what I was told. So of course I uncovered this pretty early on into my, yeah. And um, and it, it seriously, I, I’ve never been a second wife, I think, you know, knock on wood, but I felt that, um, that disconnect from our core base. Um, the board was supportive of me, but yet the board was still made up of people that were kind of on her team and wanted to talk about what we always do it this way. This is the way we do it because this is the way we do it, not because it’s the right way because this is what we do. And, and so just the battle started from the beginning. You know, it was just, that was just, that was like, you know, the first month

[00:05:57.34] spk_1:
was their staff to or was it just the executive?

[00:06:05.54] spk_2:
Yes. So they’re very small staff couple staff, a lot of volunteers. Um, some volunteers said just point blank, I won’t even speak to you. Like I don’t want to know you. I don’t want to work with you because that harsh.

[00:06:15.24] spk_1:
I don’t want, I don’t want, no, I don’t want

[00:06:35.74] spk_2:
to know you at all. And that was kind of my, um, and mind you, I had been interviewing nonprofit founders um, already for probably four years, three or four years at this point. So I’ve been interviewing nonprofit founders for charity matters. And um, and loving nonprofit founders and find myself in this situation. So it was so interesting having Ben a founder, having interviewed founders and now I am the second wife and I’m trying to navigate through this muddled transition. Um,

[00:07:00.44] spk_1:
very interesting. I thought I assumed that it was joining this organization that kicked off your interest in in talking to founders and your research. And yeah, you had already been doing it. And then unknowingly you find yourself as the, as the step wife the

[00:08:15.34] spk_2:
second, the second after starting a non profit as a volunteer with a group of friends I just became fascinated with. Who are these people that do this work? This work is incredibly Hard and and why would you do this work? I really, it was just fascinated with that. I knew that I had like a backstory and a catalyst and a moment that triggered me to want to do this work. But I was like, who are these other 1.6 million people and what’s their story? And by the way, why isn’t the world talking about them? And at that time, CNN Heroes wasn’t on People magazine Heroes amongst us. There was, there was nothing 10 years ago, there was really nothing about these people that truly are my heroes. So I just started my own personal quest. Um, as I walked away from spiritual care after running it for five years, I was like, who are these people? I need to find my, my people, my tribe. And I went in search of them and started charity matters, um, to start talking to founders. And so that so midway through my journey with charity matters, you know, this other nonprofit came to me and said, will you, will you take over what

[00:08:20.47] spk_1:
was the work of that nonprofit that you took over? Was it wasn’t the camp?

[00:08:33.54] spk_2:
So it’s yeah, so it’s called Task We are a youth leadership organization, a catholic youth leadership organization. And it used to just be a summer program to teach leadership um, in catholic schools. And um, we were serving 300 kids when I took over. Um, and now we’re serving 3000 and you know, we have a staff of were small, were small nonprofit organization. Again, task Ta CSC, it’s horrible acronym. Okay,

[00:08:54.14] spk_1:
all right. So were there people who, it doesn’t matter board members, volunteers may be among the small employee staff. Were there folks that recognized that the previous leader had been holding the organization back or was there just so much love for her that there was no, everybody was blind.

[00:09:54.94] spk_2:
There was, there was mixed, there was a mixed bag, I think our biggest donor, um, who had supported the organization for a long time and was also on the board, uh, realized that the organization to be more and, and he’s an incredible leader and visionary and he, he was really the one and because he had the deep pockets too, said we need to hire someone and, and our foundation will, will support this role and he kind of lead that, um, that task pun intended. um, that task to find a new executive director. And uh, and there was people that were very non supportive of that. But since she couldn’t run it, who was going to do it? And, and, and I think people don’t think about, they just think that these founders are gonna go on forever and it doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t work that way.

[00:11:29.34] spk_1:
It’s time for a break. Turn to communications. Have you thought about thought leadership, would you like yourself or your nonprofit to be a thought leader around your work in your community? It takes time to achieve that kind of credibility, but turn to can get you there, get you to the point where your opinion is sought after, where people come to you for advice, where you’re the leader for your cause and in your community around your cause, turn to communications, your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o now back to founder syndrome. And and, and so the organization, right? So the organization was not sophisticated and here’s the biggest donor or one of the biggest donors saying, you know, my foundation will pay for it. You need to do this. So, you know, they’d be more apt to follow his lead than maybe a more sophisticated organization, but a more sophisticated organization would have had a succession plan and would have recognized years earlier that the organization was being held back, etcetera. So maybe, you know, in some respects, it helped the organization. Well, that he stepped forward and that they, well, it’s hard to say that helped them by not being more sophisticated because they could have been a lot further along than they were when you, when you joined. If

[00:11:43.24] spk_2:
you’re right. And I think just because you’re a small organization also doesn’t always mean you’re now, it’s fair to say that you’re probably not as sophisticated and you are correct in this situation. We were not that sophisticated.

[00:11:54.94] spk_1:
The try to be as light as possible. You

[00:11:57.46] spk_2:
know, the fact that the

[00:12:00.97] spk_1:
was thinking like stultifying of, you know, your fact that the founder had on the organization. That’s what I mean. I don’t mean very savvy. There are very savvy to person organizations

[00:12:17.54] spk_2:
100% well. And I think that what happens and we see this not just in nonprofits, we see this in small businesses is when the entrepreneur, which nonprofit founders at their core entrepreneurs, um, that they, they, they in the business become one, the brand becomes one and there is a blurred line. And I mean, you could use something, you know, as simple as Martha Stewart or Oprah magazine. I mean, obviously they are the brand, right? But in nonprofits, it happens. It’s the same thing happens. And where do you separate the person, the founder and the mission and it’s critical, I think for people to be aware of that in their own organizations.

[00:12:59.64] spk_1:
Yeah. So let’s talk a little more about, let’s flush out some of the symptoms sure of, you know, you’ve, you’ve mentioned, you know, the organization becomes the person, the person becomes the organization. But what does that, you know, a little more detail, what, what does that look like?

[00:14:53.44] spk_2:
Well, there’s, I think there’s a lot, a lot of things that can happen. I think, um, when 11 aboard starts, um, becoming just so dependent on the founder and so worried that the founder is everything that could be, you know, a little sign right there. I think when an organization becomes flat, I think when you don’t see a lot of growth, a lot of new work members coming, a lot of new, different people coming from different areas joining your, cause it’s kind of the same old, maybe cronies club. Um, or things get a little stagnant. There could be a sign there that we haven’t seen like new new people coming in. Oftentimes also, I think people rely on the founder as, because they bring the passion and they bring kind of the purpose and the, why people think of the founder as their, their best fundraiser. And, and it’s lots of cases they are. Um, and there the community builder, but it doesn’t mean that they’re the only person that can do that. And I think, um, it’s easy for people to kind of put all that on the founders shoulders because the founders innately exude that passion for their organization. And so I think that, that, that becomes a problem. Um, and I think that, that basically what happens is that people just start all of a sudden thinking that the founder and the organization is one and the same and they lose sight of the mission and the mission is whatever you’re setting out to do isn’t that person, you’re there as a community to serve that purpose, to serve people. And if it all becomes about that person, decisions are being made based mainly by that person, every decision has to go through that person. These are red flag warnings. Yeah,

[00:15:06.84] spk_1:
everything right. Everything has to go through them all the marketing, any language ng messaging, right, Right. Major decisions like the board is just rolling over all the time. You know, you’re not seeing ever robust discussions,

[00:15:34.64] spk_2:
right? I mean there and boards should always have, um, not healthy conflict, healthy conversation, healthy dialogue. You know, you always want that board member that kind of pushes back that kind of pushes back and says, Hey, what about this or why is this? I mean, we kind of love and hate that board member, but we need that board member, but it’s, it’s so important that you don’t become placated by just making sure everybody’s happy that that, that doesn’t make for a healthy organization necessarily.

[00:16:07.14] spk_1:
So we ought to have a succession plan. All right. So let’s let’s, let’s talk a little bit about the value of a succession plan and then, you know, what, what to do if you don’t have one. Uh, and you’re, you know, and you feel like you’re in this stultifying era with your organization and a founder, you know, how, what, what can you do? But let’s, let’s talk about the value of a succession plan. You know, what some motivation for for spending the time and money to, to create one.

[00:16:54.54] spk_2:
Absolutely. Well, I mean, every healthy organization should have a succession plan. And um, I kind of like my marriage to an entrepreneur and he says to me and his, his words are wise. He said everything you enter, but a marriage should have an exit strategy, Everything, but a marriage should have an exit strategy. So every time he starts a business or goes into business, he knows when he’s going to leave, before he starts, he knows when he’s going to leave and, and he is a consummate entrepreneur. And, and I think that that’s really sage advice now for many of these founders, it’s a little too late for that. They’re too far down the path there listening to this saying, oh my gosh, wow, I should have, I should have thought about that, but we may have boarded, but

[00:17:02.34] spk_1:
we have board members listeners to who may say, you know, we, we ought to have a succession plan because you could get ill

[00:17:52.84] spk_2:
can happen. Yeah, yeah. Anything can happen, right. Anything can happen. So every healthy organization should have a succession plan. And it minimum. I think that if people are starting to, even in the organization bring someone up underneath them, someone that they can, you know, train from within that they could promote that is even there in case of emergency that you have at least a net a person that’s a slight net underneath you in your org chart. It’s critical. It’s critical that you have that at minimum in addition to a formal succession plan, obviously. But I think that people get short sighted and founders especially get so busy wearing all the hats and doing all their things. But the last thing you’re thinking about is their own succession plan. That’s like looking at your own mortality, right? And and that’s and that’s why so many of them don’t have them because they don’t want to face the fact that there’s going to be a moment that they’re going to have to separate themselves from something that they don’t know how to separate from.

[00:18:41.94] spk_1:
Alright, what if someone is a board member or maybe even a a senior part of a staff and that, you know, there isn’t a succession plan. I mean, ideally there should be succession plans, not only for the Ceo, but for all the sea level now, you know, now we’re envisioning a bigger organization, but let’s just start with a, you know, a small, small organization, we’re talking about a succession plan for the ceo. They’re a founder. We’re a board member or a staff member. How do we raise this with? We have to start with the founder. Do we start there? Do we, do we have a coup and go to a board member,

[00:19:40.54] spk_2:
which is really not the way to? Well, I think it really, I think it really depends. I think, I think it’s always nice for, I think it’s there’s a combo between the coup and the conversation with the founder and it depends on the dynamics of your board, an organization. I think if you have a board member that has a close relationship with the founder, it’s really great to kind of tap them on the shoulder and say, hey, we talked to so and so, you know, Freddy founder about their their retirement or their plans for the future. Have they ever expressed to you how long they want to be here and start kind of getting those little seeds planted? I think that would be a really smart, delicate, healthy way to navigate and begin that conversation. Meanwhile, I think it’s important that board members on the side are saying we need our responsibility, Our responsibility as a board member is, is for the success of this organization. We have taken, you know, in lots of cases signed a legal document saying that we are going to support this organization and, and well,

[00:19:59.04] spk_1:
and even if they, even if they haven’t signed a document under under state law, they’re fiduciaries to the organization duties of loyalty.

[00:20:01.24] spk_2:
Absolutely

[00:20:02.38] spk_1:
loyalty obedience, which sounds bad, but it’s not

[00:20:06.35] spk_2:
Bad, but 100% there and all of our jobs,

[00:20:10.49] spk_1:
the loyalty of the organization, not to the person,

[00:20:29.14] spk_2:
it is all about the organization, is all about the organization and getting your board to row in the same direction and realize that it is all about the organization going in the same way in the same path is critical. So that might mean a a cool conversation and whatever you want to call it, a healthy dialogue with, with board members about talking about if they see these symptoms, even if they don’t see them, they should have that plan ready to go. They should have that plan at all times ready. And what does that look like? And, and and how do we do that?

[00:21:20.94] spk_1:
All right. And, and with the, with the understanding that this applies really to all organizations, whether whether you’re you’re still have the you have the founder and the ceo or not, a succession plan is worth the time that it takes. Um, it can be empowering to the folks who now know that they’re part of a leadership succession plan. So you’re more likely to retain your good talent because they know that that there is a plan for them to advance in the organization. So that’s empowering and reassuring to to people in your organization. Um, and it’s just, you know, part of the duty of care and loyalty to the organization. The organization’s future.

[00:21:34.64] spk_2:
And, and, and the irony of the whole thing is that as a founder, you know, because there is ego that is tied with it and I speak as a founder as well. I know that there’s a little piece of ego. You do want your legacy to go on. You think about your nonprofit as your child and you want that to go on and on without you. So part of you is saying, this has to go on and this is what I’m leaving behind. This is my good work on this planet that I have left behind and I have, I have started something beautiful that helps people. And then the other part of you is like, wait a minute who’s taking my child? Who am I giving my child to? That’s my child. And and so there’s, it’s, it’s complex, right? It just is complex. There’s, there’s two sides of this and you want the best for your child, but you don’t want to let your child go.

[00:25:35.94] spk_1:
It’s time for Tony’s take two. Ah Spring. The days are getting longer. In just a couple of weeks, Sunday, March 13. The days are going to get even longer. We turn the clocks forward A week from that on March 20 is the first day of spring. It’s looking like after three years, we’re going to be emerging to something pretty normal. That’s the way it looks today. The last day of february when I’m releasing this, That’s the way it looks so on the most basic and practical level. Or maybe even base level. Think about your summer. There’s gonna be a lot of, a lot of people getting out this summer that have not been able to for three years. Make your plans, get yourself sink, tup, get your reservations. It may already. It’s kind of late, I think. But you certainly got to do it now, if you haven’t already for your for your summer plans, A lot of people are gonna be out spring for me. It means more time outside. Of course, more time on the beach. I found a poem. I’m gonna try this. May I favor you with this code? It’s Emily Dickinson a light exists in spring. A light exists in spring, not present on the year at any other period when marches scarcely here, a color stands abroad on solitary fields that science cannot overtake. But human nature feels it waits upon the lawn. It shows the furthest tree upon the furthest slope. You know, it almost speaks to you then as Horizons Step or Nunes report away without the formula of sound, it passes and we stay a quality of loss affecting our content as trade had suddenly encroached upon a sacrament. I hope that’s OK. Emily Dickinson a light exists in spring. Ah spring, rejoice go out enjoy. It’s nearly here. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo but loads more time for founder syndrome with Heidi johnson from the loftiness of Emily Dickinson to the baseness of cheap alliteration, boo koo. But loads. My goodness. So let’s shift a little. Now now we’re were in your situation at at task. You know, how do you start to win over some folks? I don’t know. Do you leverage your couple of allies or your one ally or you know, what’s what’s your advice for starting the movement beyond the sweet nun? I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine about.

[00:27:07.04] spk_2:
She’s lovely. She’s wonderful. She’s wonderful. She there’s nothing, there’s nothing bad about our founder except that she left, right? And she abandoned her Children, right? And she got sick. She there’s no she’s a wonderful woman. Um but the but how you start that transition when you come in as a second wife. Um and and mom is left and you have, you know, kids that are missing mom and don’t really know who you are. Uh for me it was the board, the board was was made up of um a group of alumni that um that in a way really. I’m the mother of three sons. Um and there were some of these board um members gentlemen who who are fantastic. But as a group, they were like a pack of of kids. They had they were alumni. They’d been to camp together. They were a little gang and they behaved like a little gang and as a mother of sons. Um, my first board meeting was a call before zoom and I listened to them beating up on this one person and I was, I was just a board member of each board member beating up verbally on one. They all picked on one board member. And I couldn’t believe what I was listening to and I remember

[00:27:11.85] spk_1:
was that board member

[00:27:57.54] spk_2:
present on the call? Yeah, everyone was still the call. And I listened to the victim was on the call, I was on the call and I um got off that call and I called each board member and said, you know and I also sit on a number of boards myself. So I do know how bored when you should be run not to mention that we teach that at task and we teach kids how to run a meeting. And um and I called each board member and I said, I don’t know what that was but that behavior is completely unacceptable. And I am not going to be part of any organization that treats its members like this. So if you don’t call that that person that you picked on in that meeting right now and apologize, I won’t be back. This is just unacceptable. And I called, oh I called for men and I told them all the same thing and they all called this person and um, and I was like, oh my gosh, I can’t even believe I had to do this. I felt like I was holding my Children right? And then, and then

[00:28:10.55] spk_1:
you have to apologize to, you

[00:30:02.14] spk_2:
have to apologize, but, but you know, you know, privately shamed publicly praised, right? So I then called um a priest who was a friend of mine who had been their principle of all of their high schools and I served on his board and I called him and I said, you know, so Father Bill, I need a little bit of help. I said, payback is a bit much. And uh, and I’ve, you know, coach here at your board for five years and I need you on my mind right now because I need to open a can of pass on this board and I need someone who’s, who’s gonna scare them and you’re the only guy I can think of that’s gonna really scare them. And so he joined the board, Principal, 50 year old boys, but principal right, put them right back in their place. And yeah, right back in their place. And then his first call, which was my second board meeting, he said, oh, Heidi, you have your work cut out for you. I said, why do you think you’re here? And so little by little, it was also try turning over the board and there was no board. Um, they had, there was no, no timeline on board commitments. We board members have been there for 12 years. Like what? So I had to create term limits bylaws had to be updated. Term limits had to be created turning over the board and getting, so the first thing I would tell a new E. D. Or who’s taking over from a founder is create a board that supports you. And at least if nothing else bringing a couple champions on your in your corner, you can’t, you can’t start that battle alone. You’ll never, you’ll never make it. Yeah,

[00:30:03.83] spk_1:
I have to ask, how do you get board members to vote for their own term limits?

[00:30:09.24] spk_2:
Well, we had the violence

[00:30:11.26] spk_1:
brand new. This is a brand new concept to them. What someday we have to leave the board.

[00:30:16.45] spk_2:
You’re, you’re, you’re

[00:30:18.57] spk_1:
as radical as, as

[00:30:27.34] spk_2:
everybody said. Yeah. Let me tell you a troublemaker. As we thought you were, there was some very unhappy people. There were some very unhappy people, but the people that had sat on other boards and that had a lot of board experience. Um, you know, I woke up and said, this is the right thing for the organization. Father Bill.

[00:30:42.36] spk_1:
Alright. Allies. You gotta, you have to have some allies.

[00:31:05.04] spk_2:
You have to have allies. You absolutely have to and anyone who does a nonprofit work. It’s all about your team and a community, right? And that’s what we do is we build community and build connection. And if you can’t do that and build that then you’re not supposed to be in this line of work. Right, That’s okay. So that’s I think that’s I think that’s number one, that would be my first.

[00:31:12.54] spk_1:
Alright. And how long did that process take in uh in sort of evolving these folks off the board. I mean did they have to remain for their term

[00:32:55.74] spk_2:
limits? So they took a little minute, it took a little minute I would say we are board was our board was functioning in a and and I do I do like healthy conflict but it was functioning within a year. Um it was not a well oiled machine. I also said to my board um early on I set really clear goals. You know, there’s there’s a lot of great books on turning organizations over and every, most of them will say it takes about five years to you know, turn an organization around two to flip an organization to get it running. And so I kind of said to the board, don’t Rome was not built in a day and I need you to know this is going to take time and you know I inherited a database with 17,000 handwritten three by five recipe cards. That was my database really, you can’t make this up index cards and beautiful non penmanship gorgeous. But yeah, her penmanship was exquisite. Beautiful, 34,000 still have them in the storage unit. Uh huh. So, so Rome was not built in a day and I inherited a heart without a skeleton without structure, a huge beating heart with people passionate for this work. Um with zero structure. And so I just said, you know, it’s going to take, it’s going to take five years and like roll up your sleeves and this is going to be, This is gonna be hard, it’s gonna be bumpy, but we’re gonna do this and um, and you know, we’re now eight years, I’m eight years in and we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary, um, this year. And, and we have just had a border treat last weekend, phenomenal, the most amazing group of people, fantastic. And, and all of our board members who sit on a lot of other boards are like, this is the best run meetings, the best run board. Like it’s just, you know, makes me feel really excited when I look back and I have these conversations with you remember where we were and, and, and where we are. So there is hope for anyone listening.

[00:33:46.24] spk_1:
So you want to die, I guess some, some advice to would be, you know, keep that, keep that goal in sight as you’re, as you’re going through these five transitional years. Absolutely. You know, I mean, you know, it’s easy for us to talk about, but you know, you lived it day after day through the board transition. There were probably employee there, there had to be an employee changes. Yeah. You know, that’s a that’s a tough haul for five years. You have to get, you gotta keep your goal in mind. And

[00:34:53.74] spk_2:
and I think setting that timeline for for me and the board, it was it me, it kept me in the race to write, because I said, I’m going to do this in five years and take five years to get this, you know, completely just, you know, running at full speed. And it’s exactly what it was exactly about, right. I mean, certainly things got better and better and better, but um, but I didn’t I think it would be easy to also quit as a new e. D. You know, if I hadn’t said that goal for myself as well, because I said to them, if this is what it’s gonna take. And I knew like, you know, and at five years I got to say, I thought, should I just put a ribbon on, it should put a big bow. But but I’ve just, you know, I I’ve loved it, but I’ve been very, very cognizant, very cognizant. And I almost, um, I don’t want to say I’m aloof um, with my with the kids, but I’m very clear that their job is to love this organization. And and it is not to love me, they it is about loving each other and this work that we do teaching leadership. Um it is not about me, it is not about me, it’s all about the organization.

[00:35:35.84] spk_1:
Alright. Um, the founders, I guess we’re taking a little step back. You know, you talked about founders having a spark, you know, or passion, just make it explicit how spark and passion aren’t sufficient, they’re necessary, but not sufficient for launching a successful company. I mean, a successful business. It’s a nonprofit corporation, but it runs like a business. It’s

[00:36:49.83] spk_2:
a business, it’s a business, why is passion? It’s a business with a horrible business models. We all know, right. A business model that relies on the kindness of others is a hard business model. It’s not the easiest business model, but it works for, You know, 1.6 million of us, we make it work every day, we get up and we do this work. So, um, so it works. I think that, um, what’s fascinating about the hundreds of nonprofit founders I’ve interviewed with charity matters in the past 10 years, is that not one of them, not one of them woke up as a child or said, I’m going to be a nonprofit founder. Not one of them intended for this work to happen. Every single one of them had a moment and something happened. They were on a very different course, every single one of them and something happened. Something dramatic, a catalyst. A really big moment happened to them or someone they loved that forever changed the trajectory of their life and, and in such a big way that they had to stop their career or whatever they were doing and knew they had to do this. And I think that that’s so um admirable and, and so, and that’s where that passion comes from because something happened to

[00:36:55.03] spk_1:
these people would give up their jobs,

[00:38:07.22] spk_2:
give up their job, give up their life, their income, everything. I mean these people are extraordinary. And when you think about it like that, just think about everyone right now as their job, they’re working, they’re paying their bills, they’re feeding their Children and something happens to someone you love something horrible or to you. And and you say, I got to walk away from everything because I need to dedicate my life to this. I mean that’s, that’s pretty remarkable when you think about it. And so to me that’s what makes these people so special and, and and their spark and passion comes from that because almost all of them um are determined if they just help one person who doesn’t have to go through what they went through. If one person doesn’t get breast cancer. If one person isn’t raped, If one person isn’t hungry, if one person isn’t homeless, they all start out with a very pure intention, they just want to make sure that they’re helping one person and before they know it, they have an organization and they’re driving and there’s a lot that goes into being an entrepreneur that a lot of them weren’t prepared for. It didn’t have the skill set and they didn’t and, and they have passion and as you say, that isn’t always enough.

[00:38:18.02] spk_1:
So there’s a big spiking activity, maybe the first six months or year, right? You get family involved, you get friends involved

[00:38:21.36] spk_2:
and

[00:38:26.42] spk_1:
you know, now where do we go? You know, I’ve exhausted my friends and my family, you know, how do I grow this business? And

[00:39:07.42] spk_2:
exactly, and there’s that and there’s usually, if it’s something that happened to someone in their family, their community, the community usually knows about whatever this moment was in the community wants to help, right? Which is the best thing about our country. And as americans, we, we are innate helpers and we always want to help our neighbor. So everyone’s rattling around in those early days because they’re like, I’ll do whatever I can to help. But as that, as that memory lingers, as that moment is behind people, as the passion lingers in the reality of, oh my God, I’ve quit my job and I started this business and I don’t even know what to do. So it’s in, it becomes, It becomes a lot more challenging for these small nonprofit founders. 100%.

[00:39:13.02] spk_1:
And that’s what you hear from the hundreds of people you’ve interviewed

[00:39:16.44] spk_2:
that all of them

[00:39:17.21] spk_1:
are, they are a lot of them in sort of stagnating organizations leading, leading stagnating organizations?

[00:40:19.81] spk_2:
Well, I think I always ask the question I ask every single person I talked to was, you know, what is your biggest challenge? And, and I would say, you know, 85 90% of them would say fundraising, right? Which I know, you know from this is what you talk about every day with, with your guests. Um, but but they don’t have the, they don’t have the skills. They they’re just, they don’t come in with any of this, right? And so it’s, it’s the learning curve is steep. And then there’s just so many control pieces because they’re trying to do everything as all entrepreneurs do try to do everything. They’re wearing too many hats. Um, you know, you think about it there, there’s, they have so many things stacked against them. And the fact that um, that they persevere is, is remarkable because they’re the toughest group. They are not giving up, they’re not gonna give up. They are, they are going to push on, they are going to push on.

[00:40:23.91] spk_1:
Let’s talk some about the service as a leader, a leader in service to the organization.

[00:42:41.50] spk_2:
Well, I think for me, you know, uh, running a leadership organization, which is, which is what I do. We teach. We teach our kids and I think it’s important for all nonprofits to think about this as leaders and every human to think about this as a leader, we teach our kids for things um, that are important in order for you to lead. one. If you’re gonna lead, you have to have a plan and a goal. We talked about that earlier, like mine was that five year goal, you have to have a plan and a goal. You have to be able to communicate that plan on that goal. You know, what’s your mission? What’s your message? How do you communicate to donors to people to friends and neighbors to get them involved? You have to be a mentor. You have to be a lifelong mentor. And I think in nonprofit, bringing your volunteers along, bringing potentially someone in a succession plan that you’re mentoring and underneath you, being a lifelong mentor is critical in leadership because real leaders grow more leaders. Real leaders definitely grow more leaders. So mentoring is a huge part of leadership and a huge part of success for your non profit as well. And then the most important thing we teach our kids and I think that it’s a reminder for all of us is you cannot lead unless you serve and why did we get into this work in the first place? We got into this work in the first place to serve to help people, Something happened. And we wanted to help them, you know, in my case of spiritual care, we had one chaplain for 300,000 Children at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles and we wanted to provide more chaplains and we were there to serve to make that happen. And that was our mission to provide chaplains of all faiths to this hospital and, and every single day, that’s what we did. And I get up every day knowing that I’m serving thousands of kids that have potential to be the next generation of leaders and and that’s something that I carry on my back every day. I don’t go to bed thinking I didn’t make enough pencils, I go to bed thinking I have thousands of kids and I have a lot of kids that have been, you know, locked up with mask and homeschooled and you know, alienated and disconnected and suffering for mental health and they need to be connected and they need to be connected and learn to lead these kids are going to lead our future. And I go to bed at night thinking about the kids that that need to be able to have this experience. So when we’re running a nonprofit, we need to think about those that were serving every single day because that’s why we do this work, it’s not about us as the founder, it’s not about us and our ego and our brand and our name, it is about the people that we serve. That is why we do this.

[00:43:17.70] spk_1:
Howdy johnson, she’s the creator and founder of Charity Matters, the weekly blog and podcast, which is that talking about founders and their entrepreneurial journeys. It’s at charity hyphen Matters dot com and at charity underscore matters Heidi. Thank you very much. What a pleasure. Thanks for sharing. Thank

[00:43:20.77] spk_2:
you. tony

[00:43:21.47] spk_1:
especially for sharing your own story. Thank you.

[00:43:24.24] spk_2:
You are so welcome

[00:43:48.00] spk_1:
next week. Get off the recruitment merry go round. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I Beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o Our creative producer is Claire

[00:44:05.00] spk_0:
Meyerhoff shows social media is by Susan Chavez. Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott Stein. Thank you for that. Affirmation scotty, you’re with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the The other 95

[00:44:07.47] spk_1:
go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for January 24, 2022: Tribute To Michael Davidson

Michael Davidson & Brian Saber: Tribute To Michael Davidson

Michael Davidson died last week. The show is a replay of his last guest appearance, from October 18, 2021. Michael was on with his co-author, Brian Saber, and we talked about their book, “Engaged Boards Will Fundraise.”

If you’d like to make a contribution in his memory, Michael has asked that all memorial gifts go to SAJ, his beloved synagogue in NYC.

If you’d like to share your thoughts about Michael, you can email them to tributestomike@briansaber.com. Brian will send them to Michael’s family.

 

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

Every nonprofit struggles with these issues. Big nonprofits hire experts. The other 95% listen to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Trusted experts and leading thinkers join me each week to tackle the tough issues. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
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[00:02:44.84] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Yeah, this is a tribute show. Michael Davidson died last week. He’ll be remembered as a smart, funny, humble giving gentleman. His decades working with boards and his time as chair of governance matters gave him clarity around building healthy, efficient fundraising nonprofit boards. Michael shared his wisdom so generously including with non profit radio listeners. My tribute to Michael is a replay of his last time as a guest he was on with his co author and colleague brian Saber. If you’d like to make a contribution in his memory, Michael has asked that memorial gifts go to S A. J. His beloved synagogue in new york city. They’re at the S AJ dot org. If you’d like to share your thoughts about Michael, you can email them to tributes to mike at brian saber dot com, brian will send them to Michael’s family From October 18, 2021 here is engaged boards will fundraise. Okay, it’s my pleasure to welcome back Michael Davidson and brian Saber, Michael is a consultant specializing in nonprofit board, development management, support, leadership, transition and executive coaching for nonprofit managers. He has over 30 years experience in nonprofit board and managerial leadership. Michael’s at board coach dot com brian Saber is a co founder of asking matters and one of the field’s preeminent experts on the art and science of asking for charitable gifts face to face. He’s been working with boards for more than 35 years to help unlock their fundraising potential. Brian’s company is at asking matters dot com and he’s at brian Saber together, Michael and bryan co authored the book, engaged boards will fundraise how good governance inspires them. Their book brings both of them and back to nonprofit radio Michael and BRian welcome back to the show. What a

[00:02:48.14] spk_1:
pleasure. Great to be back. Great to be back.

[00:02:50.00] spk_2:
Very happy to be here.

[00:02:51.16] spk_0:
Glad to have you. Yes, congratulations on the book.

[00:02:54.35] spk_1:
Thank you

[00:03:00.04] spk_0:
Michael, Your book title is emphatic, there’s no hedging, no

[00:03:01.25] spk_1:
qualifications. How can

[00:03:04.52] spk_0:
you be so sure, engaged boards will fundraise?

[00:04:17.44] spk_1:
Well, it’s a, it’s a great, great question, tony and it really is the answer to that is in the title If if you’ve got a board that really does care about what the mission and the vision is of the organization, that’s why they’re there. If they have that personal motivation to be involved in your organization and to care about the impact that you’re having in the, in the world and are engaged in the ownership of that impact in managing it, they care enough to do this. Where are our whole premises? We can teach board members how to fundraise, brian has been doing that forever. Our job is to figure out how do we make board members want to fundraise and making them want to fundraise is engaging them, engaging them with their fellow board members, connecting them with their fellow board members and deeply connecting them with the vision and the passion that brought them to your board in the first place. That’s the simple, really, the simple answer for this. If they’re engaged, they’re gonna want to, they’re gonna want to make this organization happen, which includes raising the money for it.

[00:04:32.74] spk_0:
And much of the book is getting that engagement doing it properly. We go from details like the board meeting, which we’re going to talk about two to broader engagement you want? Yes. In fact, you say fundraising must be fully integrated with the active engagement of the board in its fiduciary and leadership

[00:04:55.14] spk_1:
roles. Ryan

[00:04:55.92] spk_0:
Ryan flush that out for us a little bit, uh, we, you know, we got plenty of time together. We don’t have to, you don’t have to pack it all into one answer, but why are we starting to get into their fiduciary and leadership roles and, and they’re that relationship with fundraising?

[00:05:51.34] spk_2:
Well, let’s look at the budget for example, and often a budget is presented to the board. The staff puts together a budget and if it seems like it adds up, the board approves it often, it’s maybe just slightly incremental from the last one, not a lot of explanation, sometimes a lot of detail without higher level explanation. And so the board is basically just, I hate to say rubber stamping it and that, that’s just, that’s very passive if the board is involved in developing the budget and is really given a sense of what can be accomplished with a larger budget

[00:06:01.54] spk_1:
and gets to choose

[00:07:03.64] spk_2:
and say yes, we’d like to do more. And we understand our role in that, that we can’t just tell the staff to raise more. Here’s where the money comes from. Here is our roll. This is how we develop larger donors. It does take the board unless wear a university with a big major gift staff were it for most organizations, the board is the major gift staff. We get that. We want our organization to do more. We’re going to agree to this budget knowing all of that, then they’re in it together. Everyone around the table is a knowing a willing participant that’s very different and we don’t see a lot of that happening. And yes, it’s hard on, especially smaller organizations to get all of this done, but it’s critical. It’s critical not to shortchange the process. If we short change the process, we can’t expect the board to enthusiastically go out and fundraise.

[00:07:31.24] spk_0:
This reminds me of the old conventional wisdom, you know, ask for if you want money, asked for an opinion your if you want to, if you want an opinion to ask for money, you’re you’re you’re saying you’re getting the board’s opinion, you’re you’re calling an engagement. But it’s it’s it’s bringing in the board’s opinions about what the organization should be doing, what should be paring back where it should be heading, is that is that, is that essentially what you’re doing is getting bored getting bored opinions

[00:09:27.04] spk_1:
and ownership because it’s not just their opinion on the budget. They put their opinion into this budget, they work with staff on developing it, but at the end of the day they raise their hand and they say, I approve this budget with these particular fundraising goals included in it. I agree to this, they make that decision. You know, one of the things that’s interesting in connection with this, this puts a lot more work on staff. They got to spend more time on the budget. And very often staff said, oh my God, leave the board, we’ll do the budget. Don’t bother them. It’s going to take too much time to explain all of this to them. They may disagree with us on our priorities. They may think other things are important. I don’t want to get involved in that. Let’s just give him a budget a quick five minute vote and done, right? So it requires staff executive director to say, you know, if you want a board that’s going to fundraise, you’ve got to spend the time listening to them explaining to them, engaging with them and they may come out somewhat differently than you do, you gotta live with that. You gotta live with that. It’s not your organization, it’s your joint organization. That’s, you know, that’s a lot of work. So, you know what we’re saying may sound simple, you know, as for advice, you get money, but the reality is, there’s a commitment involved, Both on the part of board members and on the part of staff to make this, you know, staff comes to us all the time. But Brian, and I hear this 10 times a day, my board won’t fundraise, oh, well, what are you doing to get them to do that?

[00:09:29.74] spk_2:
Right. Another piece of it, which we’ll get to is having them do the right fundraising. So that’s the other half of the equation, which didn’t cover because it is a double edged sword there. Okay,

[00:10:00.14] spk_0:
Michael, can we at at points then push back when, when it comes time for, for board commitments around fundraising and say, you know, you all agreed to the, to this budget, you took ownership of the budget, You held your hands up and voted well, now it’s time to fund what you all agreed to. Can you, can you sort of give it back to them that

[00:10:11.74] spk_1:
way? Absolute. And it requires one on 1 work with each board member. And for me, that’s the role of the resource development committee. So let’s talk about it. We’ll get to brian’s magic number of floor, you know, what are you going to do? And

[00:10:25.14] spk_0:
uh, yeah, well, before we get to the fundraising part, I wanna, I wanna spend time on the engagement

[00:10:28.84] spk_1:
part. Let’s

[00:10:44.14] spk_0:
not go anarchy economy. I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna get this, you talk about a, a culture that creates full engagement, uh who, who’s best for, I don’t know who to call on, you know, I’m a Socratic method from law school, I don’t know, but I don’t want to go like ping pong either, brian Michael, brian Michael, that’s that’s too monotonous. So, you know, who’s who’s best for talking about creating this culture of engagement at on

[00:10:59.10] spk_2:
the board. We’ll let Michael

[00:12:51.14] spk_1:
okay for me, you know, this came out of, I did a workshop with a number of consultants on helping them learn how to do what I do, and one of the consultants whose brilliant, actually, we’ve got a quote from her and what Catherine devoid. Catherine said, you know what you’re talking about, Michael is aboard culture and Peter Drucker, the management guru says, you know, culture eats strategy for breakfast. What we want to do when I talk about a culture is a culture, is a team for me aboard, culture is a team, We see ourselves as a team, we understand, we know each other, we’ve spent time with each other and we jointly want to do something, we jointly believe in this in this mission, okay, And we encourage and support one another. So the culture at base has a system where board members know each other and work together on various kinds of things. Then you have the motivation and then board members can encourage and hold one another accountable for what they’re doing. So the culture starts with, making sure that board members know one another personally, personally know who they are, who they are and from that you can begin to build a sense of a team. We’re in this together, we’re not separate. It’s a very, it’s a very different notion of what the board is. You know, you and I tony were lawyers. Right? So we start, okay, this is the fiduciary responsibility. This is the board, this is what they’re supposed to do brian and I are asking the question yes, we know what they’re supposed to do. How do we make them want to do it? And part of it is the mission, but part of it is their sense of responsibility to each other. Think about a sports team, right? What makes a good sports team? Not a collection of stars, right? It’s a collection of individuals who don’t want to let one another down. I want to do my best because I’m with you, we’re doing this together. And if you get the matter,

[00:13:16.84] spk_0:
you used to use the metaphor Michael of the rowing because you’re a rower and you had the coach boat and rowers have to be working in unison,

[00:14:17.94] spk_1:
right? In in unison. And there’s a great quote which I used in the book from the boys in the boat, in which the coach tells this row, right? You know, you’re a good rower. But let me tell you what you need to do to be a great rower to be a great rower. You need to trust every other guy in the boat when you trust everybody else, you will be great. That’s an interesting notion, right? Because I know if I know Tony, I know you’re pulling as hard as you can, I’m gonna pull as hard as I can. If I’m not so sure about you, why do I kill myself? Right? But I know you tony you’re gonna pull with everything you’ve got. And so I’m gonna pull with everything I got. It’s a very simple kind of notion, but to us, it’s very, very important. It’s creating the board as a group, not as a collection of separate individuals as a team and they hold one another accountable and they don’t want to let one another down. It’s the experience we’ve all had.

[00:14:20.94] spk_0:
Right? How do we start building this trust among board members?

[00:16:33.84] spk_2:
Well, first we look at the time we, they spend together and how we’re using it. So I always say to people, it’s amazing the percentage of a board member’s time that is spent in board meetings and the percentage of the board meeting time that is not spent. Well, so if you’re going to have A two hour meeting every other month, Uh that’s 12 hours and and maybe there in the committee meeting once every two months or once every month or something. But almost all the time is spent together in these meetings. And the meetings have so much, uh, um, reporting, There’s so much happening there. That doesn’t have to happen, uh, there. And, and, and so the meetings don’t allow for this team building where the, where the board members are grappling with the big issues and wrestling with the future of the organization, uh, how the organization is presented, where it fits in a big, big, important issues. And they should be wrestling with those because they’re the board and they have the responsibility for moving this organization ahead, keeping it safe, making sure it’s doing the right thing. And uh, so many board meetings have very little discussion of program presentation of program reporting back from board members of what they’ve seen in the program. And lots of board members rarely even see the program in action. So the board meetings are very report central centric, no one wants to give up their their chairman’s report, their executive director’s report, this report, that report. And we try to move people towards these consent agendas where all the reports go out in advance and are simply approved and you have to read them. You have to read them in advance because you can’t just come to the meeting and expect to have a conversation about them even and even the action steps should be discussed.

[00:17:02.64] spk_0:
You even suggest in the book that questions about what’s in the consent agenda have to be submitted in advance of the meeting? You can’t come to the meeting with your questions about the previous, the previous minutes or or everything or the reports that are in the consent agenda, you got to submit your questions in advance. So we know you’ve read them, How many of us have been in board meetings where people, you can see, you see people for the first time, they get there 10 minutes early and they’re pouring over their board notebook and you’re just sure that that’s the first time they cracked it open 10 minutes before the meeting and what’s really they’re wasting their time at that point.

[00:17:47.24] spk_2:
And then you get one or two board members who hijacked the meeting with questions and they shouldn’t be allowed to. No one gets to hijack a meeting. And if you have this, this structure in place which is much more about discussion and moving the organization forward, building the team and such, then there isn’t that time for these small questions. I mean, I I get driven crazy when budgets are presented and someone goes to one small line item and ask the question, it’s it’s it’s it’s so bad in many ways, we’re trying to move people away from that.

[00:19:07.14] spk_1:
But tony there’s another side to this and that’s the role of the executive director in this Because what we’re urging is that there’ll be substantive questions, for example, on such and such a program. What is the impact of that program and how do we measure that impact? Right. That’s an important engaged board discussion. Executive directors many say, wait, wait, wait, wait. I don’t want them getting into program. That’s my job. If they start talking about programs, it means they’re trying to manage how I do my my implementation work. Right? And we say we want we want boards to be faced with the real issues, as we say in the book, the good, the bad and the ugly. Well, executive directors don’t like to do that. They just want to give the board good news, put out their report and go home and hope that they don’t bother them. So this partnership takes too right. You’ve got to have an executive director who is willing to engage with the board in these substantive discussions about the future of the organization, about the problems that the organization is having about its challenges, not just the good news. So it takes, it’s two sided. You can’t do

[00:19:08.11] spk_0:
this. What is the appropriate role for a board member, board members around program, Michael,

[00:21:23.84] spk_1:
for me, it’s about impact. It’s not about how you do your program, it’s about what your program is designed to accomplish. And how do you measure? What’s the vision? What are you trying to do? How do you measure that impact? I’ve got, you know, I’m on the selection committee for the Awards of Excellence and nonprofit management. And one of the things that we look at is program impact. So let me give you one of my favorite examples. And this is the board involved, an impact, Right? Um you know, I’m a roller. So this is, it’s a rolling story. Okay, So wonderful organization in new york city called Rome new york. No new york works with local high school kids, makes them into competitive rowers, which is really good for their college applications. Works with them on college prep stuff and stuff. They were off the wall about the results of their program, 98% of their kids were getting into college. Fantastic. Right. Fantastic. Well, but they had also been collecting data on their kids. And one of the things that they saw in their data is that their kids were not doing so great in college. And so the executive director and the board started to look at this data and said, you know, we’re we’re focusing on the wrong input. Our endpoint should not be college acceptance. Our endpoint. Our impact point should be college graduation. So now what do we have to do programmatically to reach that. And we have to put resources into different kinds of programs that the programs to keep track of the kids once they’re in school, bring them back. So and it’s over. But it was the board and the executive director looking at the data and looking at the question, what is our goal, what is the impact we’re trying to make? And by doing that, they jointly changed where they were directing resources, some of the staff that they were doing and stuff like that. So that’s an example for me of the board being involved in programs, but at the right level at the level of impact and the level of data, not how do you teach? And that’s what executive directors tend to be afraid of. Once you start talking about program, then they’re gonna start talking about how do I teach and how do I run my classroom and so on and so forth. And that’s the board job

[00:22:06.14] spk_0:
brian, let’s talk a little more about nuts and bolts of meetings. If the, if this is the primary time that the board is spending together, whether it’s committee meetings or bored or full board meetings. Um, in fact I’m imagining you two would advocate for social time for the board as well. But so we can, you know, we’ll get to the social part. Let’s let’s talk more about some nuts and bolts meetings. Were trying to build a team, we’re trying to build trust. We want to focus on the right things. What, what more advice you have around meeting structure.

[00:24:04.24] spk_2:
Well, first of all, the agenda needs to be developed jointly by the executive director and board leadership. Sometimes that’s just the chair, sometimes that’s the entire executive committee and it needs to be developed in advance and everyone needs to know their role and be prepared, not just wing it. Uh so that’s that’s the first piece. I often hear boards talking about one hour meetings. Now. This idea of making meetings very efficient and it reminds me of this issue with government and people want small government, it’s really better government that you want, right? You don’t want to waste the time. It’s not that you’ve got to make it smaller, but it needs to work, right? And I think an hour is not enough time. I think an hour and a half to two hours gives you uh, the flexibility to dig into a topic. Uh you have to have some sort of program presentation every time. There’s there’s no substitute for that. The more we connect board members program and give them an opportunity to ask questions about it to learn about it, the stronger their connection will be. So there needs to be programmed presentation, Michael and I prefer that board members are out there, uh seeing program and are bringing back their own recollections and sharing those with the board. Um, so those those are important. Uh the, you know, we should not have a long Executive Director’s report. We should be asking the executive director just as we ask all the committee chairs to submit their reports in advance. Uh the the chair’s report should be very short at the very beginning, very high level Michael, Would you add to that?

[00:24:06.32] spk_1:
Yes, I didn’t do that. Exactly one is I love to time my agenda’s

[00:24:13.14] spk_0:
Yeah,

[00:24:35.44] spk_1:
I lay out, you know, we we lay out what’s gonna be and then I put this is gonna be five minutes, 15 minutes, whatever it is and that does a couple of things. No one, it focuses the board, it makes us think about where we want big discussion and where we don’t want big discussion and it also gives the chair of the power to cut things off. So if someone’s going off on a on a rabbit or you know, at the meeting, no, no, no, no. We’ve only got five minutes for this. We have to end discussion now because otherwise we’re not going to get to the other. So timing the agenda is a big deal. You know, Michael, I’ve

[00:24:58.64] spk_0:
even seen where uh aboard and I’ve seen this in other meetings as well outside the board setting, where there’s a timekeeper appointed. So so the chair can keep the conversation flowing and relevant. And the timekeeper is the one who says, we only have three minutes left for this topic. You know, like mr mr and mrs board chair, there are only three minutes left on this topic. You know, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do, but I’m the timekeeper and I’m letting you know there’s only three minutes left. But just another,

[00:26:41.64] spk_1:
it’s an interesting notion I actually kinda like it goes back to as you know, I spent a good part of my legal career as a prosecutor and you know, and the notion of good cop, bad cop, right? So so the board chair is a good cop. No, no, I’m not controlling this, right? Someone else is telling us we have to stop, but I’d love to let you talk forever. Right? Yeah, good. You know, so it’s a good thing. The other thing too is there’s a framework for board discussions which rob Acton is used in in in his in his writings and he’s, you know, and he says there are three kinds of questions that boards need to be looking at generative strategic and fiduciary, okay, generative is where are we going, why are we doing this? What’s our purpose? Right? Strategic is how do we do it? And fiduciary other details and you know, and part of what happens is so much of board meetings tend to be taken up with fiduciary matters and not enough time on generative and strategic matters. So again, as the, as the leadership team is thinking about the agenda, they should be asking, you know, are there questions of that nature, generative and strategic that we need to be thinking about, you know, so it’s good paradigm.

[00:26:43.44] spk_0:
Yeah, brian’s got his hand

[00:27:34.14] spk_2:
out and I want to add to that, that when we talk about developing these board meetings, a lot of boards meet if not every month every other month and I’ve always felt the more often you meet and it’s not something we talked talked about in the book, but it’s something I Michael and I have talked about, the more often you meet, the, the more likely it is you’re going to get into more details because less has happened in the two months you get out of the meeting. Everyone has one committee meeting perhaps than your back. And, and I don’t think boards have to meet as a board every two months. I think if they meet quarterly as a board, there’s, it’s easier to see the big picture. It gives more time for committee work in between and and that alone could help lessen the focus on minutia.

[00:27:43.54] spk_1:
It’s an interesting question. Um, I, I go both ways depending upon the organization and, and the size of the board. But one of the things that’s interesting about another question about board meetings is how do we use board meetings to connect board members with one another?

[00:27:58.64] spk_0:
I was gonna get to this. I wanted to get to the social side of this too.

[00:28:01.73] spk_1:
Great. Okay. Okay.

[00:28:03.09] spk_0:
Yeah. So how do we,

[00:29:40.14] spk_1:
Well, it’s very, it’s really interesting because I think, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot as we emerge from Covid, hopefully emerge from Covid. Right? And, you know, very often would say, okay, you know, what we’ll do is we’ll have a cocktail party before the board meeting, have some wine and cheese, maybe after the board meeting. It’s interesting, but it’s a pretty it’s problematic because what’s likely to happen, what’s likely to happen is that board members will talk to people that they know the people that they usually talk to, right? And they’re going to talk with them about the things that they usually talk about, right? Your your your golf game, your your your your your other involvements, whatever things that they have in common, they talk about. And what I’ve been trying to think about it, we mentioned in the book is how do we create a how do we structure the interpersonal connection so that it’s deeper. Um I just did this yesterday. So whatever the most recent thing in my mind always helps, right? So I retreated. I facilitated a board retreat yesterday, which actually was in person. Um and but what we did was before the, before the meeting, and this can be done. We assigned pairs of board members. Everybody was in a pair of two and they had an assignment. What they had to do was to interview the other person, find out about them, what they like, what they do, what their passions are, what they care about, what they read, what kind of music they’re kids, they’re this, they’re not find out about who they are as a person, and then each one had to then introduce the other at the board meeting. Okay, so this is something that takes some time and you can’t do it all the time, but it’s a very interesting way. And I asked him, I said, what was this like? You said, this was great. These are really interesting people. I want to work with these people

[00:29:58.64] spk_0:
going back to your team, Team building.

[00:30:12.14] spk_1:
Team, go back, yep. So if, if we’re, if we’re going to try to create opportunity, social opportunities, we need to think about what’s the best way to do that to achieve our goals.

[00:30:14.44] spk_0:
I’m skeptical. I’m a little concerned about wine. Before the

[00:30:18.04] spk_2:
meeting, you were getting a little too uh,

[00:30:21.86] spk_0:
a little too loose lipped maybe. But but but I love the idea of the introducing, introducing someone you don’t know, you get to talk to somebody that’s outside your comfort zone, but ought not be because their fellow board member. Right. Right. Right.

[00:31:13.94] spk_2:
Yeah. I had a program at one organization where I was where we, we had board members go out after the meeting together and we assigned the groups so that we had a good mix and people would, would meet each other and and they were, the goal was for them to do that twice a year. It’s all about time. Right? But we thought that was important time to spend so that they’d at least go out to dinner with half the board and some of it depends on the size of your board, what you can accomplish, Right? But we didn’t want groups of more than six because we wanted people to be able to talk with each other. So, but we might send two groups of six out in different directions.

[00:32:13.34] spk_1:
Yeah. You know, and it’s interesting, I’ve seen people do very simple things at the beginning of a board meeting, a consultant I’ve worked with, she always starts out every board meeting with a question. So, tell me about the kind of music you like. Alright, two seconds. Tell me about the most interesting book you’ve read recently and why? It was interesting to you. Right? I mean, two seconds we can do that at a board meeting. It loosens everybody up. It enables people who are introverts to have to say something to get out there and talk. It puts a limit for the extroverts on how much they can talk. Right. But it’s a, you know, so you can do devices like this recognizing because it’s important, it’s important to recognize the importance of the board culture that unless we have that sense of connection between people, none of this stuff is gonna work.

[00:32:19.84] spk_2:
Okay. And now let’s bring it

[00:32:21.11] spk_0:
to the to the book title.

[00:32:22.62] spk_1:
Okay. Will

[00:32:24.45] spk_0:
will fundraise Shall shall engage board shall fundraise.

[00:32:28.32] spk_1:
How is No, no, no, no, no. We didn’t use the word shall. Now I I added shall because that’s pretty that’s pretty perspective prescriptive, prescriptive. I

[00:32:58.54] spk_0:
know, yes, contract, contract, your shall versus will um no. The book title is engaged. Boards will fundraise. So how does having better board meetings and board members knowing each other better through these simple social devices? Social methods improve our fundraising

[00:35:18.54] spk_2:
Right. Well, as Michael has talked about a fair amount, it creates a team and a sense of joint responsibility. You’d think that it exists just because they have all joined this same organization. But you can’t just accept that as fact, you have to work on it. So by building this team, this camaraderie by, by helping people understand each other. Uh, there is a shared sense of, of, of responsibility. Second, by really engaging the board in these discussions and having the board understand the organization at a more nuanced and important level. It is easier for them to talk about the organization to feel comfortable doing it to represent it properly and to do it passionately, which is key to fundraising right? Being an ambassador for the organization. So many board members uh, say I, I don’t know enough about the organization to go out and talk about it. I’m afraid I’m gonna say the wrong thing. I don’t know the organization like the executive director does. And one of the steps here is to get board members more comfortable as ambassadors talking about it. Uh, and it’s funny because I always say to board members, you don’t need to know all the details. You don’t have to know every little thing and all the numbers and such. You just have to be passionate and authentic to tell a good story and get people excited about the organization and its incense goes hand in hand with the board meetings. Right? And if we’re concentrating on Mnuchin the board meetings, then the board members think they need to know the minutia. If we stay out of the minutia in the board meetings, then the board members can feel okay, this bigger picture is what’s important. So, so we build a sense of responsibility and we build, uh, more of a comfort in talking about the organization. We also build an understanding of why the funds are needed and what they will do, right? It’s not just we need money. Uh, will you give me money? I love this charity, but this is the impact we’re going to, how they can talk about that. So, okay, so that gives them a basis for going on fundraising.

[00:36:05.03] spk_0:
And that’s sort of a perfect transition to getting now to the discussion of engaging the board in the right kind of funding in fundraising. So, you know, listeners, you just get, you gotta get the book to, to learn more about how to engage your board. Um, they talk about the different duties of care and loyalty and obedience that board members have than governance. There’s, there’s good talk about governance, uh, that, you know, belonging in in one place and management, belonging by the other managements, by staff, governance, by the board. You gotta, you know, you got to read the book to get more of that detail about engaging. So now let’s talk about engaging the boards, you know, specifically in fundraising. You to have, Well, I think six different six things, you know, like make the case identify the resistance. Is that the best way to talk through the engaging the boarding fundraising? Or is there a better

[00:39:01.82] spk_1:
way for me? There’s, there’s another way to start it. And that is what brian has been talking about right now is giving the board members the basic tools, right? Thank you. They know how to tell a story, but they’ve got a story to tell. But one of the things that we look at is the fact that there is discomfort, resistance about fundraising. It is not something we do in our normal lives, right? We we do our jobs, we’re professionals, we don’t go out trying to engage other people in the things that we’re engaged in, Right? So they need help doing that as part of the team. Thing is they want to feel I want them to feel responsible to one another. But in addition, there has to be some guidance from, even from fellow board members or from staff into how to do this. So board member says, okay, I, I know I know these, I know these people, I, you know, I’m comfortable with them, I’m willing to talk about it. I’m a little, I’m uncomfortable asking them for something. They were gonna tell me, no, it’s going to harm the relationship and stuff like that. So time needs to be spent. Either one on one with board members and within a member of the Resource Development Committee or as they remember to go through, Okay, let’s figure out how you do this one with respect to the resistance that you have about it. How do you overcome that resistance? You know, what do you do? So for example, one of the techniques I told board members is you never want the first conversation you have with somebody about your organization to be a conversation. We’re asking for money. That’s the kiss of death. So what you’ve got to get to do is, okay, here’s what you gotta do over the next two weeks. You’re gonna are you gonna talk to any friends? Yes, I’m gonna talk to some friends. Okay. Here’s what I want you to do in those conversations. Find something that they’re interested in that allows you to bring up your experience with this organization. You’re not asking for money. You’re not asking to do anything. You’re just bringing this organization into the conversation. That’s your job. Alright, okay. Now, after you do this, let’s come back and talk about it and tell us what your experience is. Now you can do this with the entire board, right? We’re at a board meeting. Okay, everybody next week or between now and the next board meeting has to have one of these conversations with a friend come back and report at the next board meeting. Let’s see what we learned? What was difficult? What worked did they ask you questions? What would be the next steps? So they’ve got to birth, feel responsible for one another. But it also at the same time gets support from one another for doing this incrementally, because this is new to all of us. It’s new to us. You

[00:39:17.32] spk_0:
have an exercise in the book. Seems ideal for a board meeting where you you asked for board members to list their objections to fundraising and then list their personal experience of either having asked or being asked in the past. And the two don’t do don’t align like, the reality canceled out the objections. Like, whose idea is that, is that yours, Michael,

[00:40:53.31] spk_1:
or that’s that’s me. Yeah, Okay. It’s a very simple exercise. You know, I I like to draw upon personal personal experience. I believe that board members got the answers to all these things I’m concerned about. They just haven’t talked about it. My job is to get him to talk about it. So yeah, they’re gonna tell me about I don’t want to fundraise, that’s going to be this is gonna be that they’re gonna hate me, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Fine. Okay, now, let’s talk about what actually happened in your life? Have you ever given money? Did anybody why? What was there about that circumstance that made you comfortable and want to do that? So we take their experience and bring it back. I just, I’m gonna intercept here and you can cut this out if you want. One of my later readings is I’ve gone back to the Socratic dialogues, Plato’s writings about Socrates because what Socrates believed was that everybody had the answers to all these important questions in their head and his job was just a problem and ask the questions to get it out. And I believe, I believe this about boards, our job is to use their experience, not tell them what they’re doing wrong, take what they’ve done and learn from it and help them learn from it.

[00:40:59.51] spk_0:
You’re right. That that’s worthless. I’m gonna cut that

[00:41:01.53] spk_1:
out.

[00:41:04.13] spk_0:
Um, yeah, brian,

[00:42:07.90] spk_2:
but yeah, so you know, adding to what Michael said, one of the, one of the kickers here is board members having to ask all their friends only to be asked to give gifts in return to the other organizations that you know, with pro quo. And I’ve been talking about this for a decade at nauseam because it is horrible short term, a transactional fundraising. And it’s gotten really bad in our field to our detriment. And everyone gets sort of, uh, the organizations get stuck on this. It’s like a Like cocaine, right? And, and, and, and can’t move away from it. Well, we need the $50,000. The board raises and it’s like, Okay, well your board is going to hate doing this type of fundraising. They’re not going to be inspired when they leave, all those gifts are going to leave with them and so forth. So you’ve got a short term gain, you’re getting some money in the door. But everything else is wrong. We don’t, I always have people

[00:42:10.40] spk_0:
good point about just the last one you said, I want to just amplify when the board members leave. Those gifts are going with that. When I just, I just wanted to amplify that.

[00:43:21.30] spk_2:
When I say that to board, the lightbulb goes off, I say who I’m not? If I’m on the board and I leave the board, I’m not going to keep asking just if I could give gifts to all my friends and what what happens when you have me as a board member, uh, do this is I end up giving money away two organizations I don’t care about just to be nice. And whereas it would be better if I gave all that money into my organization that I love and tell people you give it where you love where, where you where you’re excited because then I’ve made a bigger investment in my own organization, have a bigger stake. I’m more of an investor. And if if I think I first wrote about this 10 years ago that if I had one wish in the nonprofit world, it would be to stop the quid pro quo fundraising today because it’s a sisyphean task. It’s just not getting anyone anywhere. It’s keeping them from anything strategic and it and it is burning out the board members. And when board members come to the board, often they’re on their first board. They assume that this is the type of fundraising we’re going to ask them to do, which is why they have such resistance.

[00:43:32.80] spk_0:
What do you want to see in in its place?

[00:44:19.29] spk_2:
What I want to see is the board members to serve as ambassadors and what I call many major gift officers. So let’s look, people look at the big shots, they look at the hospitals and the universities and these massive organizations because they raise so much money and they’re very visible and they all have what we call major gift staffs. They have, Uh, staff whose sole responsibility is to take 150 200 prospects donors and cultivate and solicit them and steward them along. Right. And, and those staff for year after year have these people have this portfolio if we want to call it that. Yeah. And that’s great. But most organizations have a budget under $1 million. Most organizations are lucky if they have one development officer who’s doing everything. Special events, direct mail, grant writing,

[00:44:34.29] spk_1:
crowdfunding

[00:46:35.38] spk_2:
You name it and maybe has 5% of their time to actually go out and talk to significant individual donors. So what I want rather than this transactional fundraising is for every board member To be a mini major gift officer with four prospects slash donors on their radar screen, who they stick with And those may or may not be their own contacts. Many organizations have people who need more attention than they’re getting and they don’t get it because the executive director and our director of development don’t have the time. I’d sooner see the board members taking donors out to coffee, calling them and thanking them for gifts, attending cultivation events with them and asking them what they think than being worried about soliciting the gift. I’m much less concerned about board members asking for a gift. They don’t have to ask for a gift as a matter of fact, and I only was thinking of this this past week. Major gift officers don’t always ask for the gift. So I was a major gift officer from my alma mater. I was in charge of solicitations in the midwest big gifts. And you know, there were times I asked many and there were times when someone else asked the president, the senior vice president, um, volunteer this idea that just because you’re cultivating and stewarding someone means you’re the Askar. It actually doesn’t even add up with professionals. So I want the board concentrated on this other work, which most of them are willing to do. Oh, I’ll happily call for people and thank them for their gifts. So I’d be happy to take people out and thank them and get to know them better. Ask them if they’ll come with me or or send them a personalized update. And this is incredibly important work. If we’re going to build relationships. And the other point I put out the three of us know the numbers that most, Most of the money, most of the charitable gifts come from individuals, 85, everything you had

[00:46:42.59] spk_0:
When you had requests. It’s like 88 or so. But yesterday that request is 77 or something like

[00:48:00.07] spk_2:
that. The largest gifts come from people. We know if you look at your own giving right and where the and individuals are really loyal. I ask people all the time on boards. This is part of breaking down that resistance. What’s the longest number of consecutive years you’ve contributed to an organization Now for many, it’s our alma mater, right? So I graduated in 84. I’ve been giving to them for 37 years and I’ll give them till I die. And many people do. That could be your church there. We give for decades. So we don’t, it’s not about the short term win. It’s about what I call an annuity of gifts over what could be decades. If you bring someone in and they get excited most of our organizations or institutions that are going going to be doing our work forever. Some are meant to put themselves out of business and result some problems. But most nonprofits will be here for 100 200 years assuming the planet is and you know helping people with medical needs, helping seniors, helping kids get educated, whatever it is, building community. And we want people to have a state for a long time. So let’s have board members help build that state with these individuals

[00:48:24.87] spk_0:
and that that also relieves board members of the, the fear and anxiety of having to be the solicitor. You know, some board members will step up to that, some will with training, but it’s not necessary. You’re saying board members can be building the relationships in all these different ways. Maybe hosting something in your home with four or six couples or something, all these different ways. You know that you mentioned the thank you, notes the acting as the ambassador all these ways and then maybe you’re you’re cultivating them for someone else to do the solicitation, maybe maybe the board member is involved in it or maybe not, you know, it doesn’t have to be

[00:49:04.17] spk_2:
right. It goes back to the good cop bad cop, you know, the board members, the good cop and then brings the Executive Director and Director of Development and to ask for the gift that’s perfectly legit perfectly legitimate. I played that role many times as an Executive Director Director of Development where I asked um, yeah, where the board member cued it up right

[00:49:27.37] spk_0:
and you’re collaborating in the relationship, the board members reporting back, letting the ceo no. You know, this is this is how it went with her. But you know, the ceo is asking, you know, do you feel like it’s maybe it’s the right time for me to ask or for us to ask or is it still too early? Or look, she expressed interest in this particular program. And you know, the board was just talking about expanding that, putting putting more resources to that. This could be a very timely topic for me to bring up at a, at a meeting with her or the or the three of us. You know, you’re you’re you’re collaborating around the relationship, you’re strategizing about when the best time is to actually do the

[00:50:19.96] spk_1:
solicitation, right? And going back to board meetings for a second. One of the things you want to do with the board meeting is acknowledge the people that have done this. You know, wow, let me, let me tell you, the executive director said, let me tell you that. You know brian and I brian introduced me to so and so and we had a meeting and you know, we walked away with a check for $5000. Thank you brian. That’s what you gotta do, right, celebrate. It builds it celebrate the winds and it builds it into the culture. You don’t want to be the only one who never gets it. Thank you. Right? Let’s

[00:50:30.36] spk_0:
talk about the expectations, establishing expectations around giving and fundraising for

[00:50:32.75] spk_2:
board members. Yes.

[00:50:34.60] spk_0:
Who wants to kick that off? Let’s spend a little time with that. Yeah, brian,

[00:53:22.35] spk_2:
can I? Because I’m, I have, I’m rabbit about this one actually to, um, I cannot stand minimums and given gaps, give or gets excuse me. I believe that everyone should do their best on both. Besides everyone should give a personally significant gift as an investor in this organization and do their best at fundraising. And, uh, without going into great detail. What I see time and again as a minimum gift ends up being a ceiling, not the floor. You think everyone’s gonna, okay, everyone’s gonna give at least this. But most people then give that, it feels like do is you set the, the amount low so that most people can reach it. You still have some who can’t. And, and it’s been proven again and again, that that minimum gifts do not generate the largest gifts, minimum gift requirements don’t help. And people say, well, how do board members know what to do? And I said, well from the very beginning, and we talk about a job prospectus in the job description, You tell prospective board members, here’s the range of gifts we have. Board members giving anywhere from $500 to $5000 depending on their capacity. We ask people to do something very significant, given the who they are and what they can do generally, right, we want everyone to feel that they’ve made a gift. They thought about that’s important to them. Some people said ask for that. One of the top three gifts you give anywhere, which is a very concrete way to put it and, and, and works. So on the gift front, you give people guidelines. And here’s, here’s an interesting thing. You actually asked board members for a gift. I’m amazed. We’ve never in good best fundraising or best practice fundraising. We ask our major gift donors for an exact amount, you know, Tony. Would you consider a gift of $10,000 etcetera? And yet we let our board members just give whatever they want to give. Why would we do that? I really push asking every board member for a specific amount that, that, that is personally significant to them, makes them think about what’s significant And on the get side, I really believe it should be the best of your ability because if we say you’ve got to give or get 5000, a board member with a lot of capacity can just give the whole thing and not do any work or swap gifts with friends. And, and yet, and the board member with less capacity is left, um, doing the hard work and that doesn’t make for a team. Everyone needs to do the hard work together.

[00:54:44.54] spk_1:
There’s a couple of, I mean, I, I’ve learned this from brian and that’s my become my mantra with working with, working with boards about personally significant gifts. And there’s a couple of there’s another consideration now, especially with with our desire to diversify our boards, don’t, we may be reaching into populations that don’t have access to resource, but they’re important in terms of perspectives that they bring to our deliberations. And so having this as the standard personally significant gift for everybody. It’s equal, we’re all equal. We’re all giving the best we can. Another part of that. And I really like what brian says about, you know, asking our board members, it’s a negotiation, Right? It’s not a no, I need $1,000 from you and that’s what you gotta do because you’re a board member. It’s what I, you know, let let me let me tell you what I give. Okay. And now here’s what I think might be reasonable for you. Let’s talk about it. Okay. Is it really is is that a reasonable gift for you? It’s not demanding its opening a conversation as as the possibilities. So, you know, I mean, I’ve done some capital fundraising and very often we ended up in a negotiation. You know, I asked, I went in asking for a certain amount which I thought that person could give or we thought that that person could give when I put that number on the table and kept my mouth shut for a few minutes, you know, so they came back and they said, well, you know, that’s a little okay, let’s talk about it then,

[00:55:06.14] spk_0:
Support support training? It could be training, could be staff, support for the, for the, the board that the, that the, the, the employees, the staff are, are obligated to give either their own or through a consultant. What kind of, what kind of board, what kind of support do we need to give? Our board members around fundraising?

[00:58:29.12] spk_2:
There are 22 pieces here. The first gets back to something, Michael said a long time ago about staff and the need for staff support in terms of the board meetings and the board members being involved, board members will only help with the fundraising to the extent they have staff support. They’re always gonna need staff guidance materials, someone to bounce ideas off of and and such staff need to be managing this, reminding board members of their next action step with a certain donor, um, providing materials and so forth. So staff have to keep the tracker, as I call it this, even if it’s an Excel spreadsheet with a list of everyone and who does what and, and, and, and constantly move the process forward. But probably the most important thing is training because, as Michael noted, board members come with very little experience and a lot of trepidation and the more training they can get, the more comfortable, they will be the more comfortable and effective. I always ask when I do a training, how many of you have ever been asked for a gift the way we’re talking about it. How many times has someone said, Michael, would you consider sitting down with me so I can ask you for a special gift to our organization. The truth of the matter is with all the asking out there with all the fundraising in every form. Very few people end up in these conversations. It’s the big, big, big, big donors, Right? And, and so many board members have never been on the other side of the equation and really have no idea what one of these meetings about. They assume you just go in and you ask for money, you just say, you know, will you give this? They don’t, there’s no way for them to know because they haven’t experienced it themselves. So we need to teach them what it is. Uh, and, and that it’s all about the relationship, which definitely takes some of the pressure off. It’s always about the relationship and it is never about the gift to me. That is the number one rule in fundraising. And I will leave money on the table time and again, I just, I just coach someone an hour before this conversation who’s the head fundraiser for a program within the school because a donor um, offered up an amount before being asked for an amount and it’s a significant amount and a big step forward. And the question becomes, do I go back, do I negotiate? And some of this is happening by email and I said in knowing the stoner, I said, you take the win. It’s about the relationship, This is much, this is big for you. There’s always next year, the year after and so forth. So teaching board members, it’s about the relationship, not the gift, whatever happens this year, that’s okay. We’re building the relationship helps them feel more comfortable because they think they’ve got to go in and come out with whatever you all were hoping for. You know, it’s a, it’s a it’s um, and we’re guilty of building this mindset. We as a culture.

[01:00:50.81] spk_1:
The other side of it is that there are some very for me very simple things that boards can learn how to do to build a relationship. For example, one of one of the things I very often do with a board retreat, simple exercise or on fundraising. I tell people, look, you’re now going to somebody, you’re sitting in somebody else’s fundraising dinner and there’s somebody sitting next to you. Okay, So you want to have a conversation with the person sitting next to you, get to know them. So here’s your job. You’ve got to ask that person questions about what they’re interested in their lives and zones of fourth and you’re looking for someplace in them that connects with your organization. Then when you find that place, then you can introduce your organization, but that’s your job and we, you know, we pair up and people around, you know, around the room, sit down and try to have these conversations and realize that they can because these the way in which we want to build relationships is a technique and it’s something we need to practice and become comfortable with. You know, people are not used to really interestingly asking questions. We all tell people things about ourselves, but we don’t ask them questions about themselves. So, I mean that’s one of the pieces of support, right? Doing those kinds of things, telling stories quick. You all went to visit the program, tell me something that happened in that program that you saw that really was important to you. That inspired you. That made you think about the value of this organization. Tell me the story. Well, people don’t know how to tell stories. They have to learn how to tell stories. It’s it’s but it’s a very simple, you know, these are not complicated techniques, but it’s all part of becoming comfortable in what brian is talking about in this ambassador role relationship relationship relationship.

[01:01:14.41] spk_0:
I love the relationship, not the gift like that brian. All right, we’re gonna leave it. We’re gonna leave it there with the with the support idea. You gotta support your board members, Michael Davidson, consultant and coach. He’s at board coach dot com. Ryan Saber asking matters, asking matters dot com and he’s at brian Saber, Michael brian thanks very much. Terrific.

[01:01:18.66] spk_1:
Thank you. It was a pleasure tony great questions. Thank you. My pleasure.

[01:01:31.31] spk_0:
I’m just, I’m just trying to keep things going. Look book and the book the book, it’s Michael and bryan, who cares about Michael and bryan is the book you want? The book is, the

[01:01:33.13] spk_1:
book is

[01:01:35.71] spk_0:
the book is engaged, boards will fundraise how good governance inspires them. It comes out this week, this week of october

[01:01:44.63] spk_1:
18th yes,

[01:02:17.91] spk_0:
it’s not a long book, but it is long on value as you can tell from this outstanding conversation, lots of value in the book. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. The shows, social media is by Susan Chavez. Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein, thank you for that. Affirmation scotty Be with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. Go out and be great

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It’s a common challenge. The strategic plan is ambitious, but there’s not enough revenue to fund all the future excitement. Sherry Quam Taylor returns to get to the root problems that are holding your nonprofit back from full revenue potential. She’s CEO of Quam Taylor, LLC.

 

 

 

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[00:00:02.84] spk_2:
Hello

[00:01:43.74] spk_1:
and welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d suffer the effects of tinnitus if I had to hear that you missed this week’s show. Strategic plan done now pay for it. It’s a common challenge. The strategic plan is ambitious, but there’s not enough revenue to fund all the future excitement. Sherry, Kwame Taylor returns to get to the root problems that are holding your nonprofit back from full revenue potential. She’s Ceo of KWAme Taylor LLC. I’m Tony’s take to holiday time off. We’re sponsored by turn to communications. Pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o What a pleasure to welcome Sherri Kwame Taylor back to nonprofit radio She’s Ceo of KWAme Taylor LLC. She works with nonprofit ceos and boards are struggling to secure the unrestricted revenue needed to fulfill the dreams in their strategic plans. Sure. He helps them reimagine their entire approach to revenue generation and reveals how they can break free from the limitations of traditional fundraising. Our consulting practice is at KWAme taylor dot com Sherry. Welcome back to nonprofit radio

[00:01:46.14] spk_0:
tony How are you? I’m well, good. Thanks for having Yeah, Thanks for having me. I was excited to see this pop up on my calendar today.

[00:01:54.80] spk_1:
You weren’t planning for

[00:01:56.77] spk_0:
it for a week. I mean, yeah. As I worked all weekend long for my, for my content. Yes.

[00:02:01.75] spk_1:
You’ve been struggling at it, not struggling but you’ve been working on for weeks. Right?

[00:02:05.64] spk_0:
Yes, I’m so nervous.

[00:02:21.44] spk_1:
All right. So, so I outlined the problem in the introduction. But before we get to those root problems shouldn’t funding be a part of the strategic plan? So that the plan and its financing are considered together and not separately, ideally.

[00:03:27.14] spk_0:
You’re speaking my language already tony Yeah, it really should. But the problem is so many organizations come to me with a strategic plan that has all these amazing ideas, amazing next steps, you know, growing their programs and mission. But the strategic initiative kind of says we need more money or more major gifts or we should do more of these things. And so it actually, I find that it’s addressing more of the symptoms of an organization’s, who’s funding has maybe plateaus or maybe they just kind of raised the same amount of money every year. But oftentimes the funding problem and more times than not, it’s actually fixed at the root. And so yes, it should be included in there. And yes, it always is. But so often, uh, you know, I have a client now who, who’s brought me their strategic plan, it’s like we had this big growth, uh, initiative and like we just aren’t hitting it. And so the how do we do that is usually missing in the strategic plan.

[00:03:59.54] spk_1:
Okay, so all right. So if it’s addressed, it’s addressed little superficially. We’re not, we’re not we’re not getting to the root cause it’s kind of glossed over, we’ll increase our fundraising. Well, maybe maybe they identify a couple of initiatives, but you’re saying right, they’re not getting to the root problem. And so they’ve got this wonderful plan and a lot of excitement around it for the next 3-5 years but they’re not hitting their revenue targets, that they need to realize the true excitement of the, of the, of the outcomes.

[00:05:43.14] spk_0:
Absolutely. And so it’s a lot of, you know, more and more corporate sponsorships, more grants, more events, more appeals. Some of those are good things like don’t hear me say they aren’t, but we have to remember also, typically the board or leadership whose having a great amount of input in the strategic plan. They’re usually expert to something else. You know, they aren’t strategic fundraisers. Um, so, so they’re doing their absolute best. So sometimes we have to get the voice of outsiders. I know you would agree with me to come in and say, actually that’s not how that problem gets fixed. And so I so it’s a this is really, you know, the strategic plan, which is what we’re talking about today is is one part of it. And the kind of the cousin comment I would say coming to me and it’s really ties to this is um, you know, we have this budget, we want to grow the budget, but we’re always in the red were never raising enough. And so there’s this disconnect that, you know, frankly, I study and watched so closely in my practice and I’ve just really been able to see quickly, you know, what is the sticking point? Why is your funding platt Toad? Why is it another year in the red? And so we’re going to talk about these, these symptoms versus root cause because, uh, you know, my strongest clients these last few years have been the ones who said We’re kind of not going back to doing what we were doing pre 2020. We’re actually going to push ahead and, and, and do things differently. Run our businesses differently, solve the problem at the root so that we actually can have greater impact, which, gosh, I’m so thankful they’re doing that because there’s never been a time we’ve needed them more.

[00:06:20.94] spk_1:
Yeah, it’s always right. It’s always, it’s always the truth. I mean, it’s always the case. You know, always the case, especially with the pandemic, but beyond the pandemic, nonprofits take on causes and missions and goals that, that individuals can’t do that. Government isn’t suited for that. The corporate sector isn’t going to take on. In fact, a lot of times the corporate sector is antithetical to the, to the goals. Um, but non profits, you know, our, our, that sector is ideally suited for work of all different types and, and raising money to do it, but they’re not raising sufficient money. Um, so essentially, you know, you’re saying, you know, you can’t keep doing the same things and expect different outcomes.

[00:06:37.16] spk_0:
Yeah, I guess that’s

[00:06:40.04] spk_1:
it. I can get real problems.

[00:08:22.14] spk_0:
Yeah, I think that’s a great way to phrase that it’s, you know, in some of these symptoms of, of perhaps we’ve been kind of trying to do the same thing or, or trying to do more unless, right. Um, you know, a lot of these symptoms are our cash flows too tight because maybe our strategy is, yeah, we need more money, but it’s too restricted. Or maybe then if we’re not bringing in enough restrictive cash, were unable to grow the reserve, were unable to grand grow our endowment. Um, you know, the other thing we’re gonna talk a little bit about today is that never being able to justify overhead spend, Right? Like if I hear that, it’s like, I know fundraising situation that we need to fix so I want here, here’s what I’ll tell you. I asked on a weapon or I think it was last mid last week, I started with a question and frankly it probably sounded like a bit of a silly question on the webinar and what I asked was, do you need more money, does your nonprofit need more money now? I knew the answer to that, right? But typically it’s like, yeah, we need more money. That’s what our strategic plan says, but rarely does an organization just need more money. They need flexible money. They need unrestricted money to accomplish the things the initiatives that growth in their strategic plan. You’ve got to have money for overhead. And I find that that’s why a lot of times we can never fund the strategic plan is stated because we aren’t fundraising for unrestricted cash from a single source says you’re makers, meaning I can pick up the phone and talk to chris he crested sherry from, you know, and and those gifts are not from people who truly understand the need and actually want to give to every year. And that’s a very specific types of type of fundraising. We’ll unpack that today. But, but so often I’m finding that we’re not doing the fundraising things that are actually attracting those donors.

[00:09:02.04] spk_1:
All right. So let’s get to some of these root root problems. What, what, what, what can we talk about? What you just mentioned? We’re not attracting the right donors. You know, you’re concerned about attracting the right people. Talking to them about the right things about the true needs for overhead for endowment for growth. I should ask you where do you want to start with these root causes?

[00:10:15.84] spk_0:
Let’s start here. I’m going to address that once. Third, because here’s the thing. We always start with the fundraising issues, right? But that’s that’s actually like step three or four over here. So the biggest thing I want to talk about one of the most fun things, I guess I should say that I love talking about is this concept and frankly tony I wish I coined the phrase, but I didn’t, but it’s irrational frugality. I love that phrase, you know, I suffer from it rational frugality. And, and what I mean by that is, um, we have to start being comfortable if we’re gonna solve frankly some of the world’s and nations and states and communities most pressing issues we have to really ask ourselves, are we making $1,000 decisions and expecting giant results? Or are we making $10,000 decisions? $100,000 decisions? And so it costs money to raise money. We need to be spending more on overhead so that we can put more gasoline in the engine to raise more money for programs. And so often I see the handcuffs on organizations when we’re trying to make these big growth initiatives, but we haven’t taken the time to actually look at what does the spend need to be for us to actually reach those initiatives.

[00:10:29.84] spk_1:
Well, let’s let’s let’s let’s dispel the myth that overhead is bad because you’re talking about overhead, like investing in people you want to do more. Absolutely want to do more fundraising. You might very well need more fundraisers. Absolutely. That’s salary and benefits and other forms of compensation. So let’s get rid of this concern that overhead is bad,

[00:12:16.74] spk_0:
right? And so I hear you, you know, I kind of sometimes make these statements like, I’m not talking about scarcity anymore. We’re beyond that, you know, are sectors beyond that. But I gotta tell you it’s, it’s kind of playing out. I think in a different version or a greater version and this is what, you know, all size organizations. Uh, I think we’re seeing part of that in this great resignation. I know we could have a whole whole discussion today about that. But um, the, if you saw my actually, if you saw my screen right now on my computer, you know, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an ORC chart looking five years out and it’s saying what is the spend we have to make, you know, parole to actually be raising the money. That’s in your strategic plan. What is the true math? And so it’s so often you’re so right comes in the, in the package of I’m expecting my one development director to be all, all of revenue, all of marketing, all of communications. Oh, and because you also do, you know, social media and so so often, I mean, I’m gonna be really frank here. So often the reason our strategic plans are not being funded or not, we’re not able to fund them is because that person is wearing, you know, the hats of four staff people. And so I know it feels like an investment. I know that spend feels scary, but when you run the numbers and then you have the right person on the bus. You make so much more money if you have to be comfortable with spending and investing in your organization to actually make those leaps and bounds that you want to.

[00:12:25.24] spk_1:
Alright, right person on the bus. You’re talking about the ceo are you talking about donors?

[00:13:44.04] spk_0:
Uh, in that context, I was talking about staff members, I was talking about, um, you know, oftentimes what we find and this is also why I love, you know, the sector that we work in. Maybe it’s a program person who, you know, was really great with the foundations when they were coming in. So now they found themselves over on the fundraising side and they’re awesome. It foundation grant request proposals, reporting maybe they’re good at planning an event, you know, good at telling the story of those that are impacted. But oftentimes they don’t have matric gift experience. They don’t know how to sit across the table with an investment level donor and lead them to an ASC secure their best gift. And so it’s the spend on the staff tony But I’d also say this great resignation, you know, buzz, we’re all talking about is also that, um, it’s the skills to equip the staff to do the things that actually attract the overhead monies that attract the flexible funding that attract unrestricted gifts that allow you to put gas in the engine. So there’s a disconnect on the skill set so often of who’s on the bus and, the types of fundraising an organization needs to be doing.

[00:15:29.04] spk_1:
All right. So, you know, we need to be honest with ourselves. Our boards are donors about what, what are true need is fund this ambitious strategic plan. And we’re deceiving ourselves if we’re thinking that the person that’s doing the, the marketing communications can now take on fundraising when we have, when we have an increased revenue plan because of the strategic plan. It’s just not, it’s not fair to the person. It’s not fair to the organization. It’s not fair to the cause that you’re, that you’re working toward your just not being honest with any of those things or any of those, any of those entities, people or, or the, or the cause itself, it’s time for a break. Turned to communications content creation. Do you need something written for you? Have you been thinking about a project that is gonna take hours? You just haven’t gotten to it. But it’s going to be valuable when it gets done. Turn to can help you. Like, I’m thinking white papers, research, case studies, They can write that stuff for you. They can learn about what it is you want to say, get to understand your work, your mission, even your values and incorporate that into the piece or the series that they do for you. So if you’ve got this big backburner project has been on your to do list and it involves writing turn to, can help you turn to communications because your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o

[00:16:01.54] spk_0:
the second underlying root cause which you’ve so so nicely led me right into um, frankly would be this budget element, right? Like, uh, like you said, we have to be honest with ourselves of what the true need is and and not, well, let’s, let’s just budget and squeak by neck If we make more money, it’s gonna be great. But we actually need to have a plan of how would you fully finance your organization?

[00:16:02.67] spk_1:
Right. What does full financing look

[00:16:04.27] spk_0:
like? What it actually

[00:16:27.64] spk_1:
doesn’t look like? You know, a five or 8% increase in fundraising from, from the previous year that you could reasonably expect that one person to get. You know, it probably looks like something much much larger than that, which that one person just isn’t capable of doing so take off the shackles. Stop being, stop deceiving yourself and all those other entities that I named and the cause itself and and right. All

[00:16:32.03] spk_0:
right. Look, I love that you’re up on on my soapbox with you Tony to the funding. Well, because

[00:16:37.81] spk_1:
it’s deception. You know, you’re you’re you’re lying to yourself and and everybody else was important around you and to the cause that you’re that you’re working time self

[00:18:53.14] spk_0:
can I say something about this budgeting thing. I can’t because I love talking budgeting, which always surprises people when it’s like wait, I thought she was the fundraising person Like I am, but we gotta, that’s over here until you’re honest with yourself and you’ve actually created a true need space budget Not this week by right where you can sit down with someone and say, can I share with you? What are $3.6 million dollars need? Looks like this year. Honestly, even though maybe the board approved is a 3.4, but you know, you need a little bit more in reserve and you know, cash flow is tight. And you know, you know, you, you have some growth initiatives coming down the pipeline until you can honestly sit and say and explain to them. I’m talking top of the pyramid, right? The top, top level donors until you can explain to them what the true need is then and only then can your team, your fundraising team actually put a plan in place to hit that 3.6 in my, in my example. So so often people come to me, I mean I’d say more than not with their budgets. I always ask for the profit loss statement and it will say, well, yeah, we have a $5 million need In the income on that same budget will say 4.2. I don’t, I don’t know how we’re going to do it. Right. So you we have to have the plan to fully finance to fully balance The expense and the revenue. And I find that we spend 90% of our time and I’m going to talk on board a little bit here too. We’re spending 90% of our time approving the expenses and nit picking all the stamps and that we couldn’t ever do that. You know, our percentages scary, scary, scary. We’re not spending enough time on literally understanding what we need to be doing month by month. That actually reaches that number and then all of us leadership staff board aligning every hour. We do spend fundraising on those activities that gets you off the spin cycle that gets you onto the things that you need to start doing. So you can start securing more unrestricted cash and invest as flexibly as you need to into your strategic plan.

[00:19:06.44] spk_1:
Investment level. Yeah.

[00:19:08.32] spk_0:
Investment level.

[00:19:19.54] spk_1:
Let’s talk about another root issue, which is you, you, you just started to scratch at it not having investment level conversations with donors. Yeah, let’s let’s let’s let’s let’s just shout out what is one of those conversations look like? Who are we talking to?

[00:22:59.44] spk_0:
Sure, sure. So, you know, this is all about, I suppose the easiest way to say this is, this is about donor segmentation, right? And, and we’re busy. You know, we just said, we’re wearing, you know, 62 hats when we shouldn’t be. But so often I find that we are still approaching donors as a one size fits all. You know, the, my, my methodology, you’ve heard me say this many times tony when you had me on a number of different opportunities to to chat with you, I want everybody giving their best gift to the organization and I want them giving that gift every year. And so if $25 is that person’s best gift, that is remarkable and amazing and I want to serve them as such. But if someone’s giving you $25 and you see their name, you know, on an annual report or you’ve done some sleuth Google searching, it’s like, Oh my gosh, they’re giving $25,000 down the road. Well, we have some work to do. And so, so much of my work is helping teams understand what that investment level conversation looks like. And so I find so many people avoiding it because they’re so worried are we going to do it wrong? Um, you know, I don’t want to be that pushy salesperson, right? I don’t want to be begging or B B that used car salesman. But here’s the thing, you have to be able to sit down and share your plans, your strategic plan. You have to be able to share how you’re going to achieve those initiatives. And most of all you have to be able to articulate the financial need the organization has and way too often the development staff, maybe they don’t have access to it. Or perhaps they don’t understand it. They are not privy to All the numbers, we just walked through. And so I want my fundraisers if somebody has the ability to write 25 500K. I want them sitting down. Of course we’re telling stories. Of course we’re doing all the traditional, you know, helping them understand the crisis, all those things. But the one thing that major donors are dying to hear is about that, what I asked earlier, do you need the money? So I want you sitting down saying, can I share with you our our $3.6 million dollars need this year. Can you share with you? How we’re growing? But I share with you how we’re funded. Uh you know, I can share with you what your gift has done in the last few years and to sit at that table and know the answers to the financial questions that we really, really, really hope that they don’t ask in that meeting. What am I asking? Because those questions are actually indicators of what’s going to keep them from giving their best gift to your mission. And so when I see investment level conversation, I want one on one. You know, that looks like a lot like zoom still these days. Right? I want exclusive information. I want stakeholder language because why? These are people who have also probably business owners and entrepreneurs in the community. These are people who have also had to sit down and ask for investments. They had to sit down and answer the tough questions. So sit down and have that businessperson to businessperson conversation with them so that they really understand what a gift to your mission can do. And so often we default to, well let’s just send them the appeal. Let’s have the event. And I gotta tell you they’re not giving their best gift in those reaction, all types of ways.

[00:23:02.64] spk_1:
Let’s talk a little about a little bit of a tangent or something you just

[00:23:05.68] spk_0:
mentioned. Love a tangent.

[00:23:15.74] spk_1:
Uh, peer to peer soliciting. So maybe this doesn’t, this may not. This is a tangent from the root issues. We’ll get back to the root issues, but you want fundraisers to be talking to the, to their donors as peers say, say, say more about what we shouldn’t be doing and what we

[00:25:14.94] spk_0:
should. Yeah. This, this concept was taught to me by, by my coach and she, she had heard it from a Deborah Tannin who’s a researcher. And so it’s really this concept of um, knowing that the best version of yourself showing up in that donor meeting, it’s just you, you know what I mean by that is not some version of you who thinks they need to show up slick and I’m the fundraising sherry, not that person. It’s just, it’s just you. So when I say peer to peer mindset, I’m doing this on, on equal playing grounds here. Um, it’s really staying in that like, you know, tony Like when we have a conversation like, hey Tony, how’s it going? How’s your weekend really staying in that zone? Um, of course you’re being professional about it, but not turning into the, like I’ve got to get through all my stuff and I’ve got to get them to understand why they should give us the money. And you know, kind of, it almost turns into that, that pushy feeling, right? And that comes out of our mouth. The flip side of that is that, oh gosh, I don’t want to, I don’t know. I think it’s been too soon. I don’t want to appear like I’m begging. And so then our tone turns to, well, I don’t know if you could do it or I don’t know if you would do it. But I wondered if none of those tones that you heard give that donor confidence, you know exactly what you’re gonna do with that gift. And you can’t wait to come back and tell them how their gift has impacted lives and you are offering an amazing opportunity to them today. And so when we stay in this more neutral zone, uh, and I try to do with my own business too, right? Um, that’s when we build the best relationships and that’s when we have trusted relationships and we actually deeply know our donors, We haven’t forced it. That’s when you’re going to secure the best gifts for your organization’s because there’s a deep, deep relationship that’s been built. But too often tony we get in the way of that in our mindset and our, you know, all these, all these crazy things that come to play and in sales and fundraising often get get in the way. So there’s tons of mindset work.

[00:26:05.04] spk_1:
Alright, good. Thank you for that. I wanted I want to focus to understand what you’re thinking is there because there is there’s too much humility and uh huh um, confidence. So all right, let’s go. All right. So let’s go back to our, our root issues. So like we talked about, you know, being honest in investment level, growth planning, being invested. Being honest about what that looks like having these investment level conversations with your, your major donors. What’s another root issue to our failure to be able to fund our strategic

[00:27:03.84] spk_0:
plan, Good time. Right onto that. So then it’s that financing plan and I’ve alluded to this. But what I really mean by that is is everybody on the team aligning their hours with dollars. Right? And so I don’t, I don’t want to miss that because that is a huge part of what I do, helping organizations see what they need to stop doing So they can start doing more strategic fundraising. So in that, what do I mean by that? Well, um, in my, in my world, uh, I want your top 30 donors yielding between 50 and 75% of your overall revenue. And I want those gifts to be unrestricted, that’s where we’re pointing the compass compass. And so our time and our budget must be aligned with that on there, on the expense side, on the revenue side. Okay. And so therefore when,

[00:27:12.74] spk_1:
but I love even when you define what our goal is. Okay, so top 30 donors Funding 50-70% of annual revenue on an unrestricted basis,

[00:27:18.10] spk_0:
50-75%. And I,

[00:27:20.35] spk_1:
Oh yeah, you’re good, you’re good 70%. So now we’ve got something to focus on. So now you’re gonna help us align our time with that goal,

[00:27:52.94] spk_0:
right? And that number feels really scary for some people. You know, it’s like, wait, we don’t we don’t have those people, we don’t have major donors. But it’s equally, it’s equally a math equation as opposed to a random mindset I should say because then we say, well we need to be then spending our time on attracting those donors tony A lot of people come to me and say, how do I find major donors? How do I find people who would, who would give us larger

[00:27:59.73] spk_1:
gifts?

[00:30:26.14] spk_0:
I’m of the school of Are you doing the things that attract them? Are you having strategic level conversations with others who are among those donors? And saying this is what I’m looking for. We’re looking for people who are interested in this who have a passion for this and really are wanting to invest to changing X, Y and Z. Are you attracting donors? This shift from like finding to attract as it has been a game changer for a lot of my clients who, um, you know, there’s a lot of times that donors don’t understand you need the money. This is crazy because you’re like, well, we’re nonprofit. Who doesn’t understand we don’t need the money. But so often how we’re talking keeps donors from understanding we need the money. Right? And it might be, um, you know, it might be, oh gosh, I saw you. Uh, you know, wow, I’m on the Today Show or I saw that you got this giant, uh, you know, gift, I saw the press release or, or, um, it looks like you’re killing it over there, right? Because because maybe they’re seeing the results of maybe a government contract or, um, you know, all sorts of different things, but that’s why we have to be sitting and presenting the true need, um, and kind of making up that difference. But what I bring up the pyramid in the top 30 concept because so often when we, when we say, okay, Well this is our year strategic plans in place. We’re ready to grow. We default to a lot of the activities there in the bottom part of that pyramid, that bottom 25 percent. And again, I’ve been accused of saying like, you don’t like events and appeals and grant proposals. That’s not the truth. I love those things. But I don’t want them taking 100% of your team’s time? And I also don’t want them taking the board’s time. If your board member, if anyone is hearing this and has written a thing down, this is your thing to write down your, if your board member can give you one hour a month outside of the meetings on something, fashion it better be activities that are attracting the donors and the top part of the pyramid versus the bottom part. Right? Because we’ve got one hour of their time that’s extremely valuable information or it’s an asset to the organization. So we have to make sure we’re doing the things, um, that are leading our investment level donors to a deep understanding of our need. Then we got to ask him for the money. Sit and ask him for the money.

[00:31:13.84] spk_1:
I like this distinction finding versus attracting donors because finding sounds like you’re gonna walk up, you’re gonna stumble on them. Like I might find a beautiful shell on the, on the beach. I’ll find one. Uh, but, but what, what are you doing to attract these folks so that you don’t just stumble on them a couple of year, but you’re, you’re bringing them to the, to the organization. What more a little more about what the board can be doing in finding versus attracting or having these investment level conversations. Maybe some of the board members are the folks you’re having the conversations with aside from, aside from The board members who might be among your top 30 donors? What more can the board be doing to help with finding versus attracting and having these conversations with the right folks

[00:34:08.04] spk_0:
tony I kind of dialed up this conversation of, of roots and symptoms when I was preparing for a board training actually because who better on the team can have an influence on the organization’s comfort level with investing with spending with, with budgeting, uh, with fiduciary responsibility, who better than the board. Right? And so we have to, we have to make sure that they understand what the path is to the money and what the spend is to the money. And so so often I say, you know, I’ll ask the client or if we start working together, I’ll say, what’s the board’s involvement in budgeting as well. They, you kind of get it and approve it. And you know, I, I do reports every month, but that really means they’re looking at the expense and they actually don’t know how they will fully finance the organization, you know, hit a balanced budget or plus plus your reserve. You know, I always want to be cushioned with the reserve. They don’t know how we would fully finance organization and be, do not know what the team should be doing. And if they don’t know if the team should be doing, They don’t know what they should be doing. And so I want the board to deeply deeply understand that you just don’t need more money, but you need flexible money and then what are the things the board members should be doing that actually attracts those donors. And so often, I mean, you know, as you can imagine every, every board training I head into, it’s like don’t make me ask for money. So don’t make me, don’t make me sit and ask for money. I gotta tell you, I rarely have board members asked for money rarely for me. Board members. It’s introducing its networking. It’s educating, it’s connecting. It’s being open to saying, hey, I have been serving on the board of this amazing organization. They’re doing these, you know, before school literacy programs in our community. Are you ever interested in hearing about that? I mean, I’ve been astounded what that looks like. The bds. A rockstar. Could, could we set up a 15 minute coffee one of these mornings? You see, I stayed peer to peer right there. Do you see how it was? It’s not a script. Um, I would rather have all my board members doing that and then letting the equipped team lead that donor and serve that donor create a great donor experience for them. You know, of course the board member is going to be popping in maybe in thanking or popping in when, um, you know, there’s an opportunity to, to really cultivate, but, but we have to make sure that the board members are not spending all of our time on transactional fundraising events, appeals send me the name. Can you post this on facebook? I don’t want my board touching facebook like they can if they want, but I want them doing strategic activities that align their hours with dollars.

[00:37:07.93] spk_1:
It’s time for Tony’s take two holiday time off. Colin Powell died on October 18 and I saw on twitter someone I follow Glenn Kirshner, I was telling a story about what Colin Powell said to his employees at the state department when he was newly inaugurated because Glenn Kirshner used to repeat this to his team. So the story is that general Powell said If I come to your office at 6:30 PM and you are not at your desk I will consider you to be a wise person. Indeed. So thank you Glenn Kirshner, what’s Colin Powell saying he’s talking about work life balance. He doesn’t want folks in the office late all the more so holidays are coming up, take time, take time. I’m sure you’re gonna be with with folks right? But take time for yourself. Also take that holiday time to be with others and for yourself. Please don’t, don’t feel like I got to work that friday after. Thanksgiving how much is not going to get done if I don’t, if I don’t work that day, nobody’s gonna know two weeks later, it’s not going to matter. So please take take adequate time off. We’ve been under a lot of stress challenges For the past 18, 20 months, take time, please take time and, and nonprofit radio I’m going to do my part. No podcasts. You know, I don’t do shows between christmas and New Year’s. So plenty of time for holiday time off. Don’t even listen to podcasts. If they’re related to work at least you won’t have to listen to nonprofit radio I’m doing that much. I feel like I’m walking the walk however you do it. Please do it. Take sufficient time off around these holidays. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo, but loads more time for strategic plan done now pay for it. When you say this, this alignment, does that mean? So if if we want 50-75% of our revenue to come from those top 30 donors, does that mean we should be spending 50 to 75% of the ceo Time on cultivating and soliciting these top 30 donors. Is that, is that the alignment you’re talking

[00:38:22.42] spk_0:
about? Somebody has to Tony. And I find that because the grant application, the event, the holiday appeal, those all have deadlines. We got to get the newsletter at the first month. Those all have deadlines. So I find that those way more than not take precedence over. You know, I really should be making, you know, doing some moves, management management on my top 30, top 50, top 100 donors. So if you’re not staffed accordingly, that time always gets pushed down. Right? Well, I’ll get to that tomorrow. I’ll get to it. And so it’s, it’s a discipline. I, you know, I always say if I, if I sold t shirts that say fundraising is discipline, it’s who is waking up in the morning and saying, what, what donors am I touching today? How am I serving them? Not in a slimy way. How are we getting? How we, how we educating them? How are we connecting them to the heart of our mission? How am I answering their questions for your men and major level donors? That is not accomplished through newsletter blasts through appeals through an annual report. They get in the mail through events.

[00:38:26.02] spk_1:
Yeah, it’s the one on 1.

[00:38:27.22] spk_0:
It’s the one on one. Yeah. And we’re avoiding that.

[00:39:06.62] spk_1:
I see that. I see that short shrift so often in planned giving because all those things you mentioned have they either have deadlines. If, if it’s, if it’s anything related to grants, uh, not only in terms of applying, but then reporting back when grants are successfully received and then, but, but everything else has a shorter, a shorter time span. You know, we gotta get the annual gifts in the fourth quarter. All right. So that we got, we got to get these, the major giving has to be, we gotta get these major gift conversations done. Everything is a is a quicker, a quicker, more, more imminent, more urgent need or deadline than planned giving you always get short

[00:39:14.59] spk_0:
shrift here. That to

[00:39:46.32] spk_1:
analogous to what you’re saying about having these donors, the strategic donor conversations. It’s easy to put them off because they’re not deadline oriented. Oh, I got, I got, you know, if you, if you want to be, if you wanna be a little cynical about it, I’ve got the excuse of this grant, this, this grant report to do by thursday. Well, alright, today’s monday. There’s my next four days putting that report together and then next, next Tuesday I’ve got, uh, an event. So we got to do the last minute planning for that Tuesday event, you know, and it’s that constant, you call it the spin cycle. I’m using your own,

[00:39:48.82] spk_0:
you can use it, take it

[00:40:05.91] spk_1:
around that constant spin cycle. It was like, uh, deadline oriented activities and you’re not doing the strategic longer term. But that’s where you want 53 quarters of percent after three quarters of a percent of, uh, half to three quarters of your revenue to come from.

[00:42:31.20] spk_0:
Yeah. And that, that totally, and that’s the stuff that takes time. It takes way longer than I wanted to. I’m the first to admit that. But when we’re looking out and going, why don’t I ever have the money? Well, we did it, we did another three year strategic plan. We’ll see if we have the money for this one too, that you have to make that fundamental shift in your model and your, in your mindset and your approach to revenue generation. Um this, I will tell you when I was on your radio show, Gosh, time is so weird right now. I couldn’t even tell you when it was last time. Um, but uh, you know, he wasn’t a client at the time, but when my, my, you know, one of my favorite clients, Jonathan heard me on your show and contacted me and, and I remember him saying, you know, I really am concerned our donors are not giving their best gifts. Like I said that on your show and what it really came down to was, you know, he had a great team who was great at what we talked about. Like these transactional approach is that they were, you know, most of their giving was coming from events from appeals from corporate sponsorships, from event from grant proposals, but their individual giving was really stagnant and you know, we all know that’s where the unrestricted investment level gifts are going to come from. And so could he have, you know, ramped up the events and appeals I suppose he could have, but he didn’t, he fixed the underlying root cause he’s fixed the financing, he’s aligned his whole team to the money. They are their high performing revenue generators And they’ve grown by seven figures here in the last 18 months because they shifted, you know, I talked about that single source decision maker. They shifted individuals from the, we’re having an event to actually segmenting and figuring out who do we need to sit with? Who doesn’t understand how we’re funded, Who doesn’t understand our need family foundations. Um, corporate sponsors, Oh my gosh. Uh, you know, his corporate sponsors who used to come and be $50,000 gala sponsors. He shifted those into $100,000, unrestricted gifts because he started having investment level conversations with them. He took the transaction out of it. He had the financing plan. He could, he could very clearly articulate the organization’s plan to spend money to make more money. So he’s become, yeah,

[00:42:39.20] spk_1:
we’ll see what he’s become and then,

[00:42:52.80] spk_0:
yeah, he’s become a master at these investment level conversations and you know what donors say, wow, nobody else ever talks like this to me. Thank you. I never, I never understand this.

[00:43:59.80] spk_1:
You give a terrific example of converting something transactional, a $50,000 corporate sponsorship to, uh, to a gala or something into a gift twice that that becomes unrestricted. We don’t have to put it toward the audiovisual budget at the gala. Now it’s unrestricted and it’s, and it’s double because he’s having different kinds of, he’s not having a transactional conversation with the ceo of that company anymore. Having an investment level conversation. How do we overcome the fear of having these honest conversations. It’s a lot easier to say our annual gala is coming up? You did $50,000 last year because you know, even I’ll even make it a little more ambitious. Could you do $65,000 this year? That’s a lot easier conversation to have than here’s what our plan is. Here’s what our need is over the next three years. How do you see yourself fitting in or maybe even more strategic? You know, I see you fitting in here. How do you overcome the fear of having these more, more down to earth, more honest investment level conversations that the transactional that everybody is very comfortable with?

[00:46:02.18] spk_0:
I hear you, I think it’s kind of a simple answer though. You gotta know your numbers because we’re going to think you’re going to be fearful of that conversation if you don’t know what you’re selling. Okay, right? Like you’ve got to know, you know, this is why my hands are in spreadsheets all day long and looking at what that looks like. You got to be able to sit down and tell a donor what their investment is going to do over the next few years. You’ve got to move into knowing your numbers in a greater way what that impact makes. And again, I’m not saying don’t share stories and the crisis and the problem in your model. I’m not saying don’t show that, but too often I’m seeing people avoid that and yes, I agree with you, Tony. It’s a lot easier even if I was a board member, it’s like, oh, when’s the event coming back? Because like that’s way easier for me to fill a table. I’m gonna be a little friend care. You’re letting your board off the hook. Their job is a balanced budget and helping you co pilot that to a balanced budget. And so we have to just be starting at the top of the pyramid. Starting in the mindset of, it looks different to attract those donors. And so we must be giving different presentations I guess. I’ll say we must be having different conversations. And so whatever they value, it’s very different from your $25 a month. You know, with that donor values. So you need to be serving what they value. And so that means you need to be able to fundraiser ceo board member, Sit down with them and answer the tough questions. Answing Why your program%ages, 90%. And so why you’ve invested, you know, 20% and fundraising in the last three years. Why did you do it? And so why your revenue maybe went down for a year, answer the tough questions. Be honest, be transparent. They will value you and that they will be attracted to that because I’m telling you nobody else does it.

[00:46:28.68] spk_1:
You mentioned a couple of times the benefit of having a a strategic fund or an endowment. Um, let’s let’s just shut out. I mean I, you know, I, you know how I feel about it because I do plan to giving fundraising. But let’s let’s flush out the value of that long term sort of investment fund that lets you take some risks from time to time.

[00:46:51.48] spk_0:
Yeah. So I think we’re probably talking about two things, but I think we can we can weave them together. You know, when I say reserve off the cuff, I really mean, um, you know, unrestricted cash in the bank that you have full access to,

[00:46:55.68] spk_1:
you know, operating

[00:47:18.38] spk_0:
Reserve, totally. And so I can’t, you know, I have multiple $10 million dollar organizations come to me who struggled doing payroll because there’s not enough unrestricted cash and reserve. And so I want to make sure that we are, we know it, that needs to be too. And and if you have that much, if you have, you know, a year’s worth of money in the bank, sit and tell the donor why you do own it, don’t be afraid. You know, that sort of thing, you know,

[00:47:22.42] spk_1:
be ashamed

[00:47:23.29] spk_0:
of. That’s something right.

[00:47:25.09] spk_1:
Because when the next pandemic comes, or the next economic crisis comes, or the next bad year in fundraising comes or the next whatever comes. You know, we’re prepared. And and mr mr or MS donor, you probably do the exact same thing for your business

[00:47:38.98] spk_0:
totally. You

[00:47:39.18] spk_1:
don’t have trouble making payroll for your business each week. Do

[00:47:41.80] spk_0:
you have to have just have that conversation

[00:47:44.57] spk_1:
problem here either.

[00:49:48.57] spk_0:
Yeah, totally. So, so that’s that’s part of that. Half the businessperson to businessperson conversation, you know, and if you’re afraid, if you go into that meeting and you’re afraid they’re going to bring that up, well then you bring it up, put that elephant out on the table because because I’m always listening for what, what questions are in their mind is going to keep them from giving their best gift, you know. Now on the, on the plan giving sight tony you know, you’re my go to expert on this. But you know, I reach out when I have questions and everything. Um, but what a wonderful opportunity for you to present or to offer your longtime donors your, you know, talk to your donors to be able to be making a lifelong legacy in the community, in the state, in the, you know, what, wherever people are serving. And so you’ve taught me this, you’ve taught me that when people have given gifts by will or when they have committed to that, um, that their affinity to the organization is strengthened when they see themselves as a greater stakeholder and partner with you and actually their annual fund giving increases. And so what a wonderful opportunity to show somebody that their impact can have even greater results on the mission through your organization than a plan giving scenario. And so I totally agree with you. I told you recently, you know, I’ve never had more people ask me about planned giving, which is really interesting. That’s not my expertise. That’s yours. But I think people are thinking you no longer term. But I’m also seeing the desire to be in deeper relationship with our donors. And it’s not an uncomfortable conversation when we do know our donors so intimately. And we’re in that period of a relationship where it’s very easy to bring up that topic. And so I just see all the annual fund, You’re, you’re kind of your general ops reserve and your plan giving all of those working together in such strength. Um, but you’ve got to lead the donor to the understanding on all three of those

[00:49:57.57] spk_1:
and having those investment level conversations with, Right? Uh, including with your plan giving potential donors. Right? So I didn’t mean for you to repeat back stuff that you and I have talked about.

[00:50:09.59] spk_0:
You know, I love it. But

[00:50:16.36] spk_1:
what I want you to, uh, I want to make explicit that planned giving is a part of the types of investment level conversations you want folks to have

[00:50:44.66] spk_0:
absolutely their daughters. Absolutely. I would just say like if you’re wondering like, should I be sharing that with donors? I mean, I’m not saying open up the back back into the kitchen and sort of the grease pants, but usually the answer is yes, right? Like everything is on your 9 90. Like at a minimum, you should be able to articulate the route Elements of that in a donor facing away, not, not, not by just emailing the 990, but you know, at, at a minimum, that should be those. That should be the conversations that we’re having.

[00:51:24.96] spk_1:
Yeah. Okay. Okay. All right. You wanna, I hope you will share a story, share a story of uh, I guess a client story that, you know, maybe Jonathan’s or someone else’s. But you know, they, you saw the symptoms, they weren’t addressing root problems. They had a strategic plan with terrific excitement and ambition. They didn’t have the money to fund it. And then with, with some coaching, they were able to realize what, what they, what they really needed.

[00:51:47.06] spk_0:
Yeah. Yeah. So I have a client who um have been working with them actually for for quite a few years and they’re on a great revenue trajectory. Um, but you know, it was kind of one of those things where they did continue to struggle to always get ahead. Um, you know, and the other kind of whammy, Uh, what would that be called double we I mean, I should say um, was that they had actually lost a large funder. Um they had lost somebody who was contributing almost 20% of their budget. And I actually actually was no fault of their own. It was kind of a weird silly deal. And it was actually an international funder.

[00:52:26.15] spk_1:
Just just let me let me make a parenthetical. That’s another reason to have that strategic or that reserve fund because donors may depart, large donors may, you may do something to upset them, they may die. They may find other interests. They, you know, so that’s yet another reason that can happen institutionally. It can also happen to individual donors. Another have that reserve fund. We talked about a few minutes

[00:55:46.44] spk_0:
ago, reserve Fund and you know, back to my little pyramid. I’ve been talking about, you know, in that top 30 you know, I don’t want those top 10 donors to be more than, you know, 25 40% of your revenue. So in their case, yikes right. That that was so, you know, yes, you can imagine for a couple of years that that stung and, and and it really came, you know, and so they came to me and we’re really struggling to make that up right in small gifts or in mid level gifts, major gifts. Uh, and I remember the lead fundraiser saying to me, um, you know, this is not like I didn’t go to school for this. I kind of, I know enough to be dangerous, but I, I kind of don’t know what, I don’t know. And so he really did feel, which a lot of people come to me feeling that we have great relationships. We have an amazing mission. Um we know our mission is worthy of being supported, but like, I think I’m leaving money on the table because I simply don’t know how to lead that donor to their best gift. And so like we’ve talked about today, you know, instead of saying, well, you know, let’s let’s make our golf outing this or let’s make our, let’s add the appeals, let’s, you know, do all the things that are important, but they’re not going to get, you know, for example, this organization on that stronger trajectory. And um, and really to the point where they are doing what they had outlined in their strategic plan. So long story short, that’s what we did. We put a realistic budget in place that they can articulate the true financial need. And it wasn’t, well, we’d love to, you know, make that money back because we still want to serve those Children in this case. Um, you know, it was like, here’s our plan to do it. Here’s how you fit into this plan. Um, and then we put their, their financing plan in place. What do they need to stop doing? What do they need to start to me? How would we truly balance back to that, that number we were hitting and how would we grow beyond that. Um, and then how do we actually start leading donors who maybe we’re giving, you know, a monthly gift or a one off gift or a, you know, very generously at a golf outing, but we knew those weren’t their best gifts. How do we start leading them through these conversations. And so the specific client I’m speaking to tray. He’s an amazing relational guy. He’s a great relationship builder. And so, but donors literally responded so immediately of, oh my gosh, we, we didn’t know you needed this. We had no idea this was the need of the organization. Um, and sure does he have solicitation tools now and you know, some prompts that really lead him through that conversation. Yeah, that’s part of it. Um, but he’s got multi six figure gifts as a result, organization is out of the red back in the black because now he doesn’t have to guess anymore. He actually knows the exact steps to fund the organization annually and then to lead those donors to give their best gift annually. So it’s a, it’s a, it’s a dual combo. Um, but I see people make the shift all the time, But it starts with investing in change and being open to it.

[00:55:56.44] spk_1:
That’s awesome. Sherry. We’re gonna leave it right there investing in change. Having these investment level conversations planning be ambitious. You know, don’t be, uh, I don’t want to wrap up. I want you to wrap up, but don’t be humble because

[00:56:02.20] spk_0:
I like, I like the ambitious that, that’s my, my motto. Let’s let’s do this.

[00:56:49.03] spk_1:
That’s where we’ll leave it right there. Thank you very much want Taylor Ceo of KWAme. Taylor LLC at Kwame Taylor dot com again, Sherry. Thanks so much for sharing. To appreciate it. My pleasure Next week. Bitcoin and the future of fundraising with the co authors of that book and Connolly and Jason shim if you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff

[00:57:06.33] spk_2:
shows, social media is by Susan Chavez. Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott Stein. Thank you for that. Affirmation scotty. You’re with me next week for nonprofit radio Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95

[00:57:22.43] spk_1:
1%. Go out and be great. Mm hmm. Yeah.

Nonprofit Radio for October 18, 2021: Engaged Boards Will Fundraise

My Guests:

Michael Davidson & Brian Saber: Engaged Boards Will Fundraise

Michael Davidson, the board coach, and Brian Saber from Asking Matters, have teamed up to write the book that reveals how to get your board to fundraise: Engage them.

 

 

 

 

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

Every nonprofit struggles with these issues. Big nonprofits hire experts. The other 95% listen to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Trusted experts and leading thinkers join me each week to tackle the tough issues. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
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[00:00:10.94] spk_3:
Hello and

[00:00:12.12] spk_5:
welcome to tony-martignetti

[00:00:20.54] spk_2:
Non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast.

[00:00:27.74] spk_5:
Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d be forced to endure the pain of

[00:00:29.56] spk_2:
cellulitis if you inflamed and

[00:00:31.81] spk_5:
irritated me with the idea that you missed this week’s show

[00:00:35.74] spk_2:
engaged boards

[00:00:37.14] spk_5:
will fundraise

[00:00:39.24] spk_2:
Michael Davidson, the board coach and brian Saber from asking matters have teamed up to write the book

[00:00:49.54] spk_5:
that reveals how to get your board to fundraise engage them

[00:00:52.04] spk_2:
and tony state too

[00:00:55.94] spk_5:
podcast pleasantries. We’re sponsored by turning to communications

[00:00:58.19] spk_2:
pr and content for nonprofits.

[00:01:03.14] spk_5:
Your story is their mission turn hyphen two

[00:01:11.44] spk_2:
dot c o. It’s my pleasure to welcome back Michael Davidson and brian Saber, Michael is a consultant specializing in nonprofit board development management, support,

[00:01:22.34] spk_5:
leadership, transition and executive coaching for nonprofit managers. He has over 30 years experience in nonprofit board and managerial leadership.

[00:01:29.04] spk_2:
Michael’s at board coach

[00:01:31.11] spk_5:
dot com.

[00:01:32.94] spk_2:
Brian Saber is a co founder of asking matters

[00:01:43.34] spk_5:
and one of the fields preeminent experts on the art and science of asking for charitable gifts face to face. He’s been working with boards for more than

[00:01:45.38] spk_2:
35 years

[00:01:46.66] spk_5:
to help unlock their fundraising potential

[00:01:49.94] spk_2:
brian’s company is at asking

[00:01:51.78] spk_5:
matters dot com and he’s

[00:02:00.24] spk_2:
at brian Saber together. Michael and bryan co authored the book engaged boards will fundraise

[00:02:03.64] spk_5:
how good governance inspires them.

[00:02:06.44] spk_2:
Their book

[00:02:07.32] spk_5:
brings both of them and back to nonprofit radio

[00:02:12.24] spk_2:
Michael and brian welcome back to

[00:02:15.54] spk_0:
the show what a pleasure great to be back very.

[00:02:17.85] spk_1:
Happy to be here

[00:02:18.61] spk_0:
Glad to have you.

[00:02:21.84] spk_2:
Yes, congratulations on the book. Thank

[00:02:22.12] spk_0:
you,

[00:02:27.44] spk_2:
Michael, your book title is emphatic. There’s no hedging no qualifications.

[00:02:31.34] spk_0:
Absolutely. How can you be

[00:02:32.40] spk_5:
so sure engaged boards will

[00:03:44.94] spk_0:
fundraise? Well, it’s a it’s a great, great question, tony and it really is the answer to that is in the title if if you’ve got a board that really does care about what the mission and the vision is of the organization, that’s why they’re there. If they have that personal motivation to be involved in your organization and to care about the impact that you’re having in the, in the world and are engaged in the ownership of that impact, in managing it. They care enough to do this. What are our whole premises? We can teach board members how to fundraise, brian has been doing that forever. Our job is to figure out how do we make board members want to fundraise and making them want to fundraise is engaging them, engaging them with their fellow board members, connecting them with their fellow board members and deeply connecting them with the vision and the passion that brought them to your board in the first place. That’s the simple, really the simple answer for this. If they’re engaged, they’re gonna want to, they’re gonna want to make this organization happen, which includes raising the money for it

[00:04:00.24] spk_2:
and much of the book is getting that engagement doing it properly. We go from details like the board meeting, which we’re gonna talk about two to broader engagement. You want

[00:04:10.41] spk_0:
Yes. In fact, you say

[00:04:13.04] spk_3:
fundraising must be

[00:04:14.15] spk_5:
fully integrated

[00:04:15.98] spk_2:
with the active engagement

[00:04:17.71] spk_5:
of the board

[00:04:18.72] spk_2:
in its, uh, fiduciary and leadership roles.

[00:04:22.78] spk_0:
Right

[00:04:34.24] spk_2:
flush that out for us a little bit. Uh, you know, we got plenty of time together. You don’t have to, you don’t have to pack it all into one answer. But why are we starting to get into their fiduciary in leadership roles? And, and there that relationship with fundraising?

[00:05:18.84] spk_1:
Well, let’s look at the budget for example, and often a budget is presented to the board. The staff puts together a budget and if it seems like it adds up the board approves it often it’s maybe just slightly incremental from the last one. Not a lot of explanation, sometimes a lot of detail without higher level explanation. And so the board is basically just, I hate to say rubber stamping it and that, that’s just that’s very passive if the board is involved in developing the budget and has really given a sense of what can be accomplished with a larger budget

[00:05:29.04] spk_0:
and get to choose

[00:06:34.24] spk_1:
and say yes, we’d like to do more. And we understand our role in that, that we can’t just tell the staff to raise more here is where the money comes from, here is our role. This is how we develop larger donors. It does take the board unless where university with a big major gift staff were it for most organizations. The board is the major gift staff. We get that we want our organization to do more. We’re going to agree to this budget, knowing all of that, then they’re in it together. Everyone around the table is a knowing, a willing participant very different. And we don’t see a lot of that happening. And yes, it’s hard on, especially smaller organizations to get all of this done. But it’s critical. It’s critical not to shortchange the process. If we short change the process, we can’t expect the board too enthusiastically go out and fundraise. This reminds me

[00:06:34.96] spk_2:
of that

[00:06:36.04] spk_0:
old conventional

[00:06:56.04] spk_2:
wisdom, you know, ask for if you want money asked for an opinion, your, if you want to, if you want an opinion, ask for money, you’re, you’re, you’re saying you’re getting the board’s opinion, you’re calling an engagement. But it’s bringing in the board’s opinions about what the organization should be doing. What should be paring back where it should be heading. Is that, is that, is that essentially what you’re doing is getting bored getting bored opinions

[00:08:57.24] spk_0:
an ownership because it’s not just their opinion on the budget. They put their opinion into this budget, They work with staff on developing it. But at the end of the day they raise their hand and they say, I approve this budget with these particular fundraising goals included. It. I agree to this. They make that decision. You know, one of the things that’s interesting in connection with this, this puts a lot more work on staff. They got to spend more time on the budget. And very often stand said, oh my God, leave the board, we’ll do the budget. Don’t bother them, it’s going to take too much time to explain all of this to them. They may disagree with us on our priorities, they may think other things are important. I don’t want to get involved in that. Let’s just give them a budget a quick five minute vote and done right. So it requires staff executive director to say, you know, if you want a board that’s going to fundraise, you’ve got to spend the time listening to them explaining to them engaging with them and they may come out somewhat differently than you do. You’ve got to live with that. You got to live with that. It’s not your organization, it’s your joint organization. That’s, you know, that’s a lot of work. So, you know what we’re saying may sound simple, you know, has for advice. You get money. But the reality is, there’s a commitment involved, Both on the part of board members and on the part of staff to make this, you know, staff comes to us all the time, but Brian and I’m here this 10 times a day. My board won’t fundraise. Oh, well, what are you doing to get them to do that right, just another

[00:09:00.48] spk_1:
piece of it, which we’ll get to it, having them do the right fundraising. So that’s the other half of the equation, which cover because it is a double edged sword there. Okay.

[00:09:10.54] spk_0:
Uh,

[00:09:20.04] spk_2:
Michael, can we at points then push back when, when it comes time for, for board commitments around fundraising and say, you know, you all agreed to the, to this budget, You took ownership of the budget, You held your hands up and voted well, now it’s time to fund what you all agreed to. Can you, can you sort of give it back to them that way?

[00:09:39.24] spk_0:
Absolute. And it requires one on 1 work with each board member. And for me, that’s the role of the Resource Development Committee. So let’s talk about it. We’ll get to brian’s magic number of, you know, what are you going to do? Well, And uh, yeah,

[00:09:52.62] spk_2:
well, before we get to the fundraising part, I want to, I want to spend time on the engagement part.

[00:09:56.85] spk_0:
Sure.

[00:10:08.64] spk_2:
Let’s not go anarchy economy. I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna get this. You talk about a, a culture that creates full engagement. Uh, who’s best for uh, I don’t know who to call on a Socratic method from law school, I don’t know. Uh, but I don’t want to go like ping pong either brian Michael, brian, Michael, death too monotonous. So, you know, who’s, who’s best for talking about creating this culture of engagement at, on

[00:10:26.55] spk_1:
the board. We love

[00:12:29.04] spk_0:
Michael. okay for me, you know, this came out of it, I did a workshop with a number of consultants on helping them learn how to do what I do. And one of the consultants brilliant actually, we’ve got a quote from her and Catherine devoid. Catherine said, you know what you’re talking about, Michael is a board culture and peter Drucker, the management bureau says, you know, culture eats strategy for breakfast. What we want to do when I talk about a culture is a culture is a team for me aboard, culture is a team. We see ourselves as a team. We understand we know each other, we’ve spent time with each other and we jointly want to do something. We jointly believe in this in this mission. Okay. And we encourage and support one another. So the culture at base has a system where board members know each other and work together on various kinds of things. Then you have the motivation and then board members can encourage and hold one another accountable for what they’re doing. So the culture starts with making sure that board members know one another personally personally know who they are, who they are and from that you can begin to build a sense of a team, we’re in this together, we’re not separate. It’s a very, it’s a very different notion of what the board is. You know, you and I tony were lawyers, right? So we start okay, this is the fiduciary responsibility. This is the board. This is what they’re supposed to do brian and I are asking the question, yes, we know what they’re supposed to do. How do we make them want to do it? And part of it is the mission, but part of it is their sense of responsibility to each other. Think about a sports team, right? What makes a good sports team? Not a collection of stars, Right? It’s a collection of individuals who don’t want to let one another down. I want to do my best because I’m with you were doing this together. You get the matter

[00:12:45.94] spk_2:
used to the metaphor, Michael of the rowing because you’re a rower and you had the coach boat and rowers have to be working in unison,

[00:13:48.34] spk_0:
right in unison. And there’s a great quote which I use in the book from the boys in the boat, in which the coach tells this roller, right? You know, you’re a good rower. Let me tell you what you need to do to be a great rower to be a great rower, you need to trust every other guy in the boat when you trust everybody else. You will be great. That’s interesting notion, right? Because I know if I know Tony, I know you’re pulling as hard as you can, I’m gonna pull as hard as I can. If I’m not so sure about you, Why do I kill myself. Right? But I know you tony You’re gonna pull with everything you got. And so I’m gonna pull with everything I got. It’s a very simple kind of notion, but to us it’s very, very important. It’s creating the board as a group, not as a collection of separate individuals as a team and they hold one another accountable and they don’t want to let one another down. It’s the experience we’ve all had brian. How do we start

[00:13:49.60] spk_2:
building this trust among board members?

[00:13:59.14] spk_1:
Friend? Well, first we look at the time we, they spend together and how we’re using it. So I always say to people, it’s amazing the percentage of a board members time that is spent in board meetings and the percentage of the board meeting time that is not spent well.

[00:14:15.34] spk_0:
So

[00:16:10.84] spk_1:
if you’re going to have a two hour meeting every other month, that’s 12 hours and, and maybe they’re in a committee meeting once every two months or once every month or something. But almost all the time is spent together in these meetings. And the meetings have so much, uh, reporting, there’s so much happening there, that doesn’t have to happen. Uh, and, and, and so the meetings don’t allow for this team building where, where the board members are grappling with the big issues and wrestling with the future of the organization, uh, how the organization is presented where it fits in a big, important issues and they should be wrestling with those because they’re the board and they have the responsibility for moving this organization ahead, keeping it safe, making sure it’s doing the right thing. And uh, so many board meetings have very little discussion of program presentation of program reporting back from board members of what they’ve seen in the program. And lots of board members rarely even see the program in action. So the board meetings are very report central centric. No one wants to give up their their chairman’s report, their executive directors report this report, that report. And we try to move people towards these consent agendas where all the reports go out in advance are simply approved and you have to read them. You have to read them in advance because you can’t just come to the meeting and expect to have a conversation about them even. And even the action steps should be discussed. You

[00:16:18.84] spk_2:
even suggest in the book that questions about what’s in the consent agenda have to be submitted in advance of the meeting. You can’t come to the meeting with your questions about the previous the previous minutes or or everything or the reports that are in the consent agenda. You got to submit your questions in advance. So we know you’ve read them.

[00:16:30.54] spk_5:
It’s time for a

[00:16:37.44] spk_3:
break turn to communications. You want relationships with journalists than hire former journalists

[00:16:39.92] spk_0:
who know how

[00:17:10.14] spk_3:
to build those relationships, including one of them. One of the partners worked as an editor at the Chronicle of philanthropy. But both partners, our former journalists. So they know how to build those relationships. They know when it’s the right time to contact journalists. They know how deadlines work and they can coach you on talking to the journalists once they get you those relationships. So you want the relationships higher folks who used to

[00:17:11.64] spk_5:
do that work,

[00:17:44.54] spk_3:
turn to communications, they’ll get you set up. They have existing relationships that can help you build new relationships with journalists. And where are those existing ones? You’ve heard me regale you with the the litany of media outlets were turned to has relationships. So figure turned to communications, talk to them, turn hyphen two dot c o Your story is their mission

[00:17:48.64] spk_5:
now back to

[00:17:49.72] spk_3:
engaged boards

[00:17:51.11] spk_5:
will fundraise

[00:17:53.94] spk_2:
how many of us has been in board meetings where people, you can see, you see, you see people for the first time, they get there 10 minutes early and they’re poring over their board notebook and you’re just sure that that’s the first time they cracked it open 10 minutes before the meeting. And what’s really, they’re wasting

[00:18:10.46] spk_5:
their time at that point.

[00:18:38.54] spk_1:
And then you get one or two board members who hijack a meeting with questions and they shouldn’t be allowed to, no one gets to hijack a meeting. And if you have this, this structure in place, which is much more about discussion and moving the organization forward, building the team and such, Then there isn’t that time for the small questions. I mean I get driven crazy when budgets are presented and someone goes to one small line item and ask the question. It’s so bad. In many ways. We’re trying to move people away from

[00:19:58.44] spk_0:
that tony There’s another side to this and that’s the role of the executive director in this. Because what we’re urging is that there’ll be substantive questions, for example, on such and such a program. What is the impact of that program and how do we measure that impact? Right. That’s an important engaged, more discussion. Executive directors many say, wait, wait, wait, wait. I don’t want them getting into program. That’s my job. If they start talking about programs, it means they’re trying to manage how I do my my implementation work. Right? And we say we want we want boys to be faced with the real issues, as we say in the book, the good, the bad and the ugly well, executive directors don’t like to do that. They just want to give the board good news put out their report and go home and hope that they don’t bother them. So this partnership takes too right. You’ve got to have an executive director who is willing to engage with the board in these substantive discussions about the future of the organization about the problems that the organization is having about its challenges, not just a good news. So it takes it’s two sided. You can’t do this.

[00:19:59.87] spk_2:
What is the appropriate role for a board member? Board members

[00:22:15.14] spk_0:
around program Michael, for me it’s about impact, it’s not about how you do your program, it’s about what your program is designed to accomplish. And how do you measure what’s the vision, what are you trying to do? How do you measure that impact? I’ve got, you know, I’m on the selection committee for the Awards of Excellence and nonprofit management and one of the things that would look at his program impact. Let me give you one of my favorite examples and that’s the board involved in impact. Right? Um you know, I’m a rower. So this is it’s a rolling story. Okay, so wonderful organization, new york city koro new york no new york works with local high school kids, makes them into competitive rowers, which is really good for their college applications, works with them on college prep stuff and stuff. They were off the wall about the results of their program, 98% of their kids were getting into college. Fantastic. Right. Fantastic. Well. But they had also been collecting data on their kids and one of the things that they saw in their data is that their kids were not doing so great in college. And so the executive director and the board started to look at this data and said, you know, we’re focusing on the wrong end point. Our endpoint should not be college acceptance. Our endpoint, our impact point should be college graduation. So now what do we have to do programmatically to reach that? And we have to put resources, the different kinds of programs and the program to keep track of the kids once they’re in school, bring them back so on and so forth. But it was the board and the executive director looking at the data and looking at the question, what is our goal? What is the impact we’re trying to make? And by doing that, they jointly changed where they were directing resources, some of the staff that they were doing and stuff like that. So that’s an example for me of the board being involved in program, but at the right level at the level of impact and the level of data, not how do you teach? And that’s what executive directors tend to be afraid of. Once they start talking about program then they’re going to start talking about how do I teach you, How do I run my classroom and so on and so forth. And then to the board job

[00:22:26.84] spk_2:
brian, let’s talk a little more about nuts and bolts of

[00:22:29.27] spk_5:
meetings.

[00:22:57.44] spk_2:
If if this is the primary time that the board is spending together, whether it’s committee meetings or or full board meetings. Uh in fact, I’m imagining you two would advocate for social time for the board as well. But so we can, you know, we’ll get to the social part, let’s let’s talk more about some nuts and bolts meetings were trying to build a team, we’re trying to build trust. We want to focus on the right things. What, what more advice they have around meeting structure.

[00:24:32.74] spk_1:
Well, first of all, the agenda needs to be developed jointly by the executive director and board leadership. Sometimes that’s just the chair, sometimes that’s the entire executive committee and it needs to be developed in advance and everyone needs to know their role and be prepared, not just wing it. Uh, so that’s, that’s the first piece. I often hear boards talking about one hour meetings. Now this idea of making meetings very efficient and it reminds me of this issue with government and people want small government. It’s really better government that you want, right? You don’t want to waste the time. It’s not that you’ve got to make it smaller, but it needs to work. Right? And I think an hour is not enough time. I think an hour and a half to two hours gives you uh, the flexibility to dig into a topic. Uh, you have to have some sort of program presentation every time there’s, there’s no substitute for that. The more we connect board members program and give them an opportunity to ask questions about it to learn about it, the stronger their connection will be. So there needs to be programmed presentation, Michael and I prefer that board members are out there, uh, seeing program and are bringing back their own recollections and sharing those with the board. Uh so those those are important. Uh

[00:24:34.34] spk_0:
the

[00:24:55.54] spk_1:
uh we should not have a long executive directors report. We should be asking the executive director just as we ask all the committee chairs to submit their reports in advance. Uh The chair’s report should be very short at the very beginning, very high level, Michael, would you add to that?

[00:25:17.34] spk_0:
Yes, I didn’t do exactly. One is I love to time my agendas. I lay out, you know, we we lay out what’s gonna be and then I put five minutes, 15 minutes, whatever it is and that does a couple of things. No one, it focused the board, it makes us think about where we want big discussion and where we don’t want big discussion. And it also gives the chair of the power to cut things off. So if someone’s going off on a on a rabbit out, you know, at the minute, I know we’ve only got five minutes for this, we have to end discussion now because otherwise they’re not going to get to the I think so, timing the agenda is a big deal. You know, Michael, I’ve

[00:25:41.58] spk_2:
even seen where a board and I’ve seen this in other meetings as

[00:25:45.58] spk_5:
well outside the board

[00:25:46.67] spk_2:
setting, where

[00:25:47.80] spk_5:
there’s a timekeeper

[00:26:09.34] spk_2:
appointed so that the chair can keep the conversation flowing and relevant. And the timekeeper is the one who says, we only have three minutes left for this topic. you know, like mr mr and mrs board chair, there are only three minutes left on this topic, you know, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do, but I’m the timekeeper and I’m letting you know there’s only three minutes left, just another another

[00:27:34.74] spk_0:
enforcer. And it’s an interesting notion, I actually kind of like it he goes back to as you know, I spent a good part of my legal career as a prosecutor, you know, and the notion of good cop, bad cop, right? So so the board chairs the good cop or oh no, I’m not controlling this, right? Someone else is telling us we have to stop, I’d love to let you talk forever, right? Yeah, good. You know, so it’s a good thing. The other thing too is there’s a framework for board discussions which rob Acton is used in his uh in his writings and he’s you know, and he says there are three kinds of questions that boards need to be looking at generative strategic and fiduciary, Okay, generative is where are we going? Why are we doing this? What’s on purpose? Right. Strategic is how do we do it? And fiduciary other details. And you know, part of what happens is so much of board meetings tend to be taken up with fiduciary matters and not enough time on generative and strategic matters. So again, as the as the leadership team is thinking about the agenda, they should be asking, you know, are there questions of that nature, generative and strategic that we need to be thinking about, you know, so it’s the paradigm. Yeah, brian’s got his

[00:28:25.44] spk_1:
hand out and I want to add to that, that when we talk about developing these board meetings, a lot of boards meet, if not every month every other month. And I’ve always felt the more often you meet and it’s not something we talked talked about in the book, but it’s something Michael and I have talked about, the more often you meet, the the more likely it is you’re going to get into more details because less has happened in the two months you get out of the meeting. Everyone has one committee meeting perhaps than your back. And, and I don’t think boards have to meet as a board every two months. I think if they meet quarterly as a board, there’s it’s easier to see the big picture. It gives more time for committee work in between and and that alone could help lessen the focus on the new sha

[00:28:34.84] spk_0:
it’s an interesting question. Um I I go both ways, depending upon the organization and and the size of the board. But one of the things that’s interesting about another question about board meetings is how do we use board meetings to connect board members with one another?

[00:28:49.84] spk_2:
It was going to get to this. I wanted to get to the social side

[00:30:31.44] spk_0:
of this. Great. okay, okay. Yeah. So how do we, well, it’s very it’s really interesting because I think, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot as we emerge from covid, hopefully emerge from covid. Right? And, you know, very often would say, okay, you know, what we’ll do is we’ll have a cocktail party before the board meeting, have some wine and cheese, maybe after the board. Me, it’s interesting, but it’s surprise problematic because what’s likely to happen, what’s likely to happen is that board members will talk to people that they know people that they usually talk to write and they’re going to talk with them about the things that they usually talk about, right, your your your golf game, your your your your your other involvements, whatever things that they have in common they talk about. And what I’ve been trying to think about it, we mentioned in the book is how do we create, how do we structure the interpersonal connection so that it’s deeper. Um, I just did this yesterday. So whatever the most recent thing in my mind always helps. Right? So I retreated, I facilitated a board retreat yesterday, which actually was in person. Um, and but what we did was before the, before the meeting, and this can be done, we assigned pairs of board members. Everybody was in a pair of two and they had an assignment, what they had to do was to interview the other person, find out about them, what they like, what they do, what their passions are, what they care about, what they read, what kind of music they’re kids. They’re this they’re that find out about who they are as a person, and then each one had to then introduce the other at the board meeting. Okay, so this is something to take some time and you can’t do it all the time. But it’s a very interesting way. And I asked him, I said, what was this like you said, this was great. These are really interesting people. I want to work with these people.

[00:30:50.34] spk_2:
There’s no going back to your team. Team building.

[00:31:05.74] spk_0:
Team, yep. So if if we’re if we’re going to try to create opportunity social opportunities, we need to think about what’s the best way to do that to achieve our goals. I’m skeptical.

[00:31:06.89] spk_2:
I’m a little concerned about wine before the

[00:31:09.34] spk_0:
meeting. I get a little too uh a

[00:31:14.07] spk_2:
little too loose lipped maybe. But but I love the idea of introducing someone you don’t know, get you to talk to somebody that’s outside your comfort zone, but ought not be because their fellow board

[00:31:27.74] spk_0:
member. Yeah,

[00:31:53.14] spk_1:
I had a program at one organization where I was uh, where we, we had board members go out after the meeting together and we assigned the groups so that we had a good mix and people would, would meet each other and and they were, the goal was for them to do that twice a year. Uh It’s all about time. Right? But we thought that was important time to spend so that they’d at least go out to dinner with half the board. Some of it depends on the size of your board and what you can accomplish, right? But we didn’t want groups of more than six because we wanted people to be able to talk with each other. So what we might send two groups of six out in different directions.

[00:33:04.64] spk_0:
Yeah. You know, and it’s interesting. I’ve seen people do very simple things at the beginning of a board meeting uh consultant I worked with, she always starts out every board meeting with a question. So tell me about the kind of music you like. Right, two seconds. Tell me about the most interesting book you’ve read recently and why? It was interesting to you. Right? I mean, two seconds we can do that at a board meeting. It loosens everybody up. It enables people who are introverts to have to say something to get out there and talk. It puts a limit for the extroverts on how much they can talk, Right? But it’s a, you know, so you can do devices like this, recognize it because it’s important, it’s important to recognize the importance of the board culture that unless we have that sense of connection between people, none of this stuff is going to work.

[00:33:11.14] spk_2:
Okay. And now let’s bring it to the, to the book title,

[00:33:13.90] spk_0:
Okay, Will Will fundraise,

[00:33:16.58] spk_2:
shall shall engage board shall fundraise.

[00:33:19.58] spk_0:
How is No, no, no, no. We didn’t use the word shall know. I, I added shall because that’s probably that’s perspective. Okay. Prescriptive, prescriptive, I know,

[00:33:41.74] spk_2:
yes, contract, contract you shall versus well, um, no, the book title is engaged. Boards will fundraise. So how does having better board meetings and board members knowing each other better through these simple social devices? Social methods

[00:33:49.74] spk_5:
improve our fundraising?

[00:36:09.83] spk_1:
Right. Well, as Michael has talked about a fair amount, it creates a team and a sense of joint responsibility. You think that it exists just because they have all joined this same organization, but you can’t just accept that in fact you have to work on it. So, by building this team, this camaraderie by by helping people understand each other. Uh, there is a shared sense of of, of responsibility. Second, by really engaging the board in these discussions and having the board understand the organization at a more nuanced and important level. It is easier for them to talk about the organization to feel comfortable doing it to represent it properly and to do it passionately, which is key to fundraising right? Being an ambassador for the organization. So many board members, uh, say I I don’t know enough about the organization to go out and talk about it. I’m afraid I’m going to say the wrong thing. I don’t know the organization like the executive director does. And one of the steps here is to get board members more comfortable as ambassadors talking about it. Uh, and it’s funny because I always say to board members, you don’t need to know all the details. You don’t have to know every little thing and all the numbers and such. You just have to be passionate and authentic to tell a good story and get people excited about the organization. And it incense goes hand in hand with the board meetings, Right? And if we’re concentrating on Mnuchin the board meetings, then the board members think they need to know the menu. Sha if we stay out of the Mnuchin the board meetings, then the board members can feel okay, this bigger picture is what’s important. So, so we build a sense of responsibility and we build, uh, more of a comfort in talking about the organization. We also build an understanding of why the funds are needed and what they will do, right? It’s not just, we need money. Uh, will you give me money? I love this charity, but this is the impact we’re going to have. They can talk about that. So, okay, so that gives them a basis for going on fundraising

[00:36:48.23] spk_2:
and that’s sort of a perfect transition to getting now to the discussion of engaging the board in the right kind of funding in fundraising. So, you know, listen, you just get, you got to get the book to, to learn more about how to engage your board. Um, they talk about the different duties of care and loyalty and obedience that board members have an, uh, governance. There’s, there’s good talk about governance uh, that you know, belonging in in one place and management, belonging by the other management, by staff, governance by the word. You gotta, you gotta be the book to get more of that detail about engaging.

[00:36:50.13] spk_5:
It’s time for Tony Take two.

[00:37:02.03] spk_3:
Oh, can I tell you how much I love sending podcast pleasantries. Thank you. I’m just grateful that you are a

[00:37:02.21] spk_5:
supporter of the show

[00:37:03.67] spk_3:
listening, whether you sample or you

[00:37:08.63] spk_5:
subscribe however you do it. listen all at once to 12 shows or you are the first one

[00:38:03.82] spk_3:
after the shows get published each monday. The first one clicking Thank you pleasantries to you are over 13,000 podcast listeners in aggregate, but you, you’re the person I’m talking to, I’m talking to you right now. I’m thanking. I thank you and I’m thanking you. That’s passive, isn’t it? I’m thanking you. I thank you. I know that’s active. Thank you. Thank you for listening. I’m glad you’re with us. Glad you’re supporting the show. I’m glad the show brings you value. Otherwise you wouldn’t be hearing me hearing me right now. You want to shut me off years ago. So thanks, thanks for being with me. Thanks for being with nonprofit radio That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo, but loads more

[00:38:06.37] spk_5:
time for

[00:38:07.82] spk_3:
engaged boards will

[00:38:10.41] spk_5:
fundraise.

[00:38:15.32] spk_2:
So now let’s talk about engaging the boards, you know, specifically in fundraising. Um, you two

[00:38:18.11] spk_5:
have

[00:38:19.12] spk_2:
was, I think six different six things, you know, like make the case identify the resistance. Is that the best way to talk through the engaging the boarding fundraising? Or is there a better

[00:41:15.91] spk_0:
way for me? There’s another way to start it. And that is what brian has been talking about right now is giving the board members the basic tools, Right? Thank you. They know how to tell a story or they’ve got a story to tell them. But one of the things that we look at is the fact that there is discomfort resistance about fundraising. It is not something we do in our normal lives, right? We, we do our jobs, we’re professionals, we don’t go out trying to engage other people in the things that we’re engaged in. Right? So they need help doing that. It’s part of the team. Thing is they want to feel, I want them to feel responsible to one another. But in addition, there has to be some guidance from either from fellow board members are from staff into how to do this. So board member says, okay, I, I know I know these, I know these people, you know, I’m comfortable with and I’m willing to talk about it. I’m a little, I’m uncomfortable asking them for something. They were gonna tell me, no, it’s gonna harm the relationship and stuff like that. So time needs to be spent. Either one on one with board members and within a member of the resource development Committee or is there a member to go through? Okay. Let’s figure out how you do this one with respect to the resistance that you have about it. How do you overcome that resistance? You know, what do you do? So, for example, one of the techniques I told board members is you never want the first conversation you have with somebody about your organization to be a conversation we’re asking for money. That’s the kiss of death. So what you’ve got to get to do is OK, here’s what you got to do over the next few weeks. You are you gonna talk to any friends? Yes, I’m gonna talk to some women. Okay. Here’s what I want you to do in those conversations. Find something that they’re interested in. That allows you to bring up your experience with this organization. You’re not asking for money. You’re not ask them to do anything. You’re just bringing this organization into the conversation. That’s your job. Okay. Now, after you do this, let’s come back and talk about it and tell us what your experience is. Now you can do this with the entire board, right? We’re at a board meeting. Okay, Everybody next week or between now and the next board meeting has to have one of these conversations with a friend come back and report at the next board meeting. Let’s see what we learned? What was difficult? What worked did they ask you questions? What would be the next steps? So they’ve got to both feel responsible for one another. But it also at the same time gets support from one another for doing this incrementally, because this is new to all of us. It’s new because you have

[00:41:31.41] spk_2:
an exercise in the book seemed ideal for a board meeting where you uh, you ask for board members to list their objections to fundraising and then list there a personal experience of either having asked or being asked in the past. And the two don’t do don’t align like the reality cancels out the objections exactly whose idea is that. Is that yours, Michael?

[00:43:10.90] spk_0:
Or that’s that’s me. Yeah, it’s a very simple exercise. You know, I I like to draw upon personal personal experience. I believe that board members got the answers to all these things I’m concerned about. They just haven’t talked about it. My job is to get them to talk about it. So, yeah, they’re going to tell me about I don’t want to fundraise. That’s going to be, this is gonna be that they’re going to hate me, bah bah bah bah bah fine. Okay. Now, let’s talk about what actually happened in your life? Have you ever given money to anybody? Why? What was there about that circumstance that made you comfortable and want to do that? So we take their experience and bring it back work. I just, I’m gonna intercept here and you can cut this out if you want. One of my later readings is I’ve gone back to the Socratic dialogues, Plato’s writings about Socrates because what Socrates believed was that everybody had the answers to all these important questions in their head and his job was just the program and ask the questions to get it out. And I believe, I believe this about boards. Our job is to use their experience, not tell them what they’re doing wrong. Take what they’ve done and learn from it and help them learn from it simple.

[00:43:13.70] spk_2:
You’re right. That that’s worthless. I’m gonna cut that

[00:43:15.63] spk_0:
out. Yeah.

[00:43:19.08] spk_2:
Right.

[00:43:19.58] spk_0:
But yeah. So

[00:44:21.99] spk_1:
you adding to what Michael said, one of the, one of the kickers here is board members having to ask all their friends only to be asked to give gifts in return to the other organizations that you know with pro quo. And I’ve been talking about this for a decade ad nauseam because it is horrible short term transactional fundraising. All transactional. And it’s gotten really bad in our field to our detriment. And everyone gets sort of, uh, the organizations get stuck on this. It’s like, uh, like cocaine, right? And, and, and and can’t move away from it. Well, we need the $50,000. The board raises and like, Okay, well your board is going to hate doing this type of fundraising, they’re not going to be inspired when they leave, all those gifts are going to leave with them and so forth. So you’ve got a short term gain, you’re getting some money in the door. But everything else is wrong. We don’t, I always had people good point

[00:44:25.11] spk_2:
about just the last one you said, I want to just amplify when the board members leave. Those kids are going with them. When I just, I just wanted to amplify that.

[00:44:33.85] spk_1:
When I say that to boards, a light bulb goes off, I say,

[00:44:38.03] spk_0:
I’m not,

[00:45:35.39] spk_1:
if I’m on the board and I leave the board, I’m not going to keep asking just if I could give gifts to all my friends. And what what happens when you have me as a board member, uh, do this is I end up giving money away to organizations I don’t care about just to be nice. And whereas it would be better if I gave all that money into my organization that I love and tell people you give it where you love where you, where you’re excited because then I’ve made a bigger investment in my own organization, have a bigger stake, more of an investor. And if I think I first wrote about this 10 years ago that if I had one wish in the nonprofit world, it would be to stop the quid pro quo fundraising today because it’s a Sisyphean task. It’s just not getting anyone anywhere. It’s keeping them from anything strategic and it and it is burning out the board members. And when board members come to the board often they’re on their first board. They assume that this is the type of fundraising we’re going to ask them to do, which is why they have such resistance.

[00:45:46.89] spk_0:
What do you

[00:45:47.39] spk_2:
want to see in in its place?

[00:48:49.57] spk_1:
What I want to see is the board members to serve as ambassadors and what I call many major gift officers. So let’s look, people look at the big shots, they look at the hospitals in the universities and these massive organizations Because they raise so much money and they’re very visible and they all have what we call major gift staffs. They have a staff whose sole responsibility is to take 150 200 prospects donors and cultivate and solicit them and steward them along. Right. And and those staff For year after year have these people have this portfolio if we want to call it that. And that’s great. But most organizations have a budget under $1 million. Most organizations are lucky if they have one development officer who’s doing everything. Special events, direct mail, grant writing, crowdfunding You name it and maybe has 5% of their time to actually go out and talk to significant individual donors. So what I want rather than this transactional fundraising is for every board member To be a mini major gift officer with four prospects slash donors on their radar screen who they stick with and those may or may not be their own contacts. Many organizations have people who need more attention than they’re getting and they don’t get it because the executive director and our director of development don’t have the time. I’d sooner see the board members taking donors out to coffee calling them and thanking them for gifts, attending cultivation events with them and asking them what they think than being worried about soliciting the gift. I’m much less concerned about board members asking for a gift. They don’t have to ask for a gift as a matter of fact and I only was thinking of this this past week. Major gift officers don’t always ask for the gift. So I was a major gift officer from my alma mater. I was in charge of solicitations in the midwest big gifts. And you know, there were times I asked many and there were times when someone else asked the president, the senior vice president, a volunteer. This idea that just because you’re cultivating and Stewart and someone means you are the Askar, it actually doesn’t even add up with professionals. So I want the board concentrated on this other work, which most of them are willing to do. Oh, I’ll happily call for people and thank them for their gifts. So I’d be happy to take people out and thank them and get to know them better. Ask them if they’ll come with me or send them a personalized update. And this is incredibly important work. If we’re going to build relationships. And the other point I put out, the three of us know the numbers that most, Most of the money, most of the charitable gifts come from individuals, 85, everything. Yeah.

[00:48:56.82] spk_2:
When you had requests, it’s like 88 or so, but it had requested 77 or something like

[00:49:39.47] spk_1:
that. The largest gifts come from people, we know if you look at your own given right and where them and individuals are really loyal. I ask people all the time on boards. This is part of breaking down that resistance. What’s the longest number of consecutive years you’ve contributed to an organization Now for many, it’s our alma mater, right? So I graduated in 84. I’ve been giving to them for 37 years and I’ll give them till I die. And many people do. That could be your church. We give for decades. So we don’t, it’s not about the short term win. It’s about what I call an annuity of gifts over what could be decades. If you bring someone in them, they get excited most of our organizations or institutions that are going going to be doing our work forever. Some are meant to put themselves out of business and resolve some problems. But most nonprofits will be here for 100 200 years assuming the planet is and helping people with medical needs, helping seniors, helping kids get educated, whatever it is, building community and we want people to have a state for a long time. So let’s have board members helped build that state with these individuals

[00:50:38.96] spk_2:
and that that also relieves board members of the, the fear and anxiety of having to be the solicitor. You know, some board members will step up to that. Uh, some will with training but it’s not necessary. You’re saying board members can be building the relationships in all these different ways. May be hosting something in your home with four or 6 couples or something. All these different ways. You

[00:50:42.79] spk_5:
mentioned the thank you,

[00:50:43.66] spk_2:
notes the acting as the ambassador all these ways and then maybe you’re cultivating them for someone else to do

[00:50:50.59] spk_5:
the solicitation.

[00:50:54.56] spk_2:
Maybe maybe the board member is involved in it or maybe not. You know, it doesn’t have to be

[00:51:18.26] spk_1:
right. It goes back to the good cop bad cop, the board members, the good cop and then brings the executive Director of director development and to ask for the gift that’s perfectly legit perfectly legit. I played that role many times as an executive Director Director of Development. Where I asked uh, yeah, where the board member cued it up. But I was the Oscar

[00:51:48.36] spk_2:
right and you’re collaborating in the relationship, the board members reporting back, letting the Ceo no, you know, this is, this is how it went with her baba. You know the ceo is asking, you know, do you feel like it’s maybe it’s the right time for me to ask or for us to ask or is it still too early? Or look, she expressed interest in this particular program. And you know, the board was just talking about expanding that, putting putting more resources to that. This could be a very timely topic for me to bring up at a meeting with her or or the three of us know you’re collaborating around the relationship strategizing about when the best time is to actually do the

[00:52:34.05] spk_0:
solicitation, right? And going back to board meetings for a second. One of the things you want to do with the board meeting is acknowledged. The people that have done this. You know, wow, let me, let me tell you, the executive director says, let me tell you that. You know brian and I brian introduced me to so and so and we had a meeting and you know, we walked away with a check for $5000. Thank you brian, do you do right, celebrate it builds it celebrate the winds and it builds it into the culture. You don’t want to be the only one who never gets thank you. Right.

[00:52:38.45] spk_2:
Let’s talk about the expectations, establishing

[00:52:42.07] spk_5:
expectations around

[00:52:44.45] spk_2:
giving and fundraising for board

[00:52:47.21] spk_1:
minimums. Yes, who wants

[00:52:49.37] spk_2:
to kick that off. Let’s spend a little time with that. Yeah brian

[00:55:36.44] spk_1:
can I? Because I’m, I have, I’m rabbit about this one actually to, um, I cannot stand minimums and given gats I give or gets Excuse me. I believe that everyone should do their best on both. Besides everyone should give a personally significant gift as an investor in this organization and do their best at fundraising. And uh, without going into great detail, what I see time and again, there’s a minimum gift ends up being a ceiling out of floor. You think everyone’s going, ok, everyone’s gonna give at least this. But most people then give that, it feels like dues. You set the, the amount low so that most people can reach it, you still have some who can’t. And, and it’s been proven again and again, that, uh, that minimum gifts do not generate the largest gifts, minimum gift requirements don’t help. And people say, well, how do board members know what to do? And I said, well from the very beginning, and we talk about a job prospectus in the job description, You tell prospective board members, here’s the range of gifts we have board members giving anywhere from $500 to $5000 depending on their capacity. We ask people to do something very significant given the who they are and what they can do generally right. We want everyone to feel that they’ve made a gift they thought about that’s important to them. Some people ask for one of the top three gifts you give anywhere, which is a very concrete way to put it in and, and works. So on the gift front, you give people guidelines. And here’s, here’s an interesting thing you actually asked board members for a gift. I’m amazed. We’ve never best fundraising, best practice fundraising. We ask our major gift donors for an exact amount, Tony would you consider a gift of $10,000, etc? And yet we let our board members just give whatever they want to give. Why would we do that? I really push asking every board member for a specific amount that, that, that is personally significant to them. Makes them think about what’s significant And on the get side, I really believe it should be the best of your ability because if we say you’ve got to give or get 5000 a board member with a lot of capacity can just give the whole thing and not do any work or swap gifts with friends. And yet and the board member with less capacity is left, um, doing the hard work and that doesn’t make for a team. Everyone needs to do the hard work together.

[00:56:58.63] spk_0:
There’s a couple of, I mean I’ve learned this from brian’s and that’s my, become my mantra, working with working with boards about personally significant gifts and there’s a couple of, there’s another consideration now, especially with, with our desire to diversify our boards, polls, we may be reaching into populations that don’t have access to resource, but they’re important in terms of perspectives that they bring to our deliberations. And so having this as the standard personally significant gift for everybody. It’s equal. We’re all equal. We’re all giving the best we can. Another part of that. And I really like what brian says about, you know, asking our board members, it’s a negotiation, right? It’s not a no, I I need $1000 from you. And that’s what you gotta do because you’re a board member. It’s what I, you know, let me, let me tell you what I give. Okay, Okay. And now here’s what I think might be reasonable for you. Let’s talk about it. Okay. Is it is that a reasonable gift for you? It’s not demanding its opening a conversation as, as the possibilities. So, you know, I mean, I’ve done some capital fundraising and very often we ended up in a negotiation. You know, I asked, I went in asking for a certain amount, which I thought that person could give or we thought that that person could give when I put that number on the table and kept my mouth shut for a few minutes. You know, so they came back and they said, well, you know, that’s a little, okay. Let’s talk about it then.

[00:57:20.23] spk_2:
Support. Support training. It could be training could be staff, support for the, for the board that the, that the, uh, the employees, the staff are, are obligated to give either their own or through a consultant. What kind of, what kind of board, what kind of support do we need to give our board members around fundraising?

[00:57:41.83] spk_0:
Yeah, there are two,

[01:00:39.01] spk_1:
two pieces here. The first gets back to something, Michael said a long time ago about staff and the need for staff support in terms of the board meetings and the board members being involved, board members will only help with the fundraising. To the extent they have staff support. They’re always gonna need staff guidance materials, someone to bounce ideas off of and, and such staff need to be managing this, reminding board members of, uh, their next action step with a certain donor, um, providing materials and so forth. So, staff have to keep the tracker, as I call it this, even if it’s an Excel spreadsheet with a list of everyone and who does what and, and, and, and constantly move the process forward. But probably the most important thing is training because as Michael noted, board members come with very little experience and a lot of trepidation and the more training they can get, the more comfortable, they will be the more comfortable and effective. I always ask when I do a training, how many of you have ever been asked for a gift, The way we’re talking about it. How many times has someone said, Michael would you consider sitting down with me so I can ask you for a special gift, our organization. The truth of the matter is with all the asking out there with all the fundraising in every form. Very few people end up in these conversations. It’s the big, big, big, big donors. Right? And, and so many board members have never been on the other side of the equation and really have no idea what one of these meetings about. They assume you just go in and you ask for money. You just say, you know, will you give this? They, there’s no way for them to know because they haven’t experienced it themselves. So we need to teach them what it is. Uh, and that it’s all about the relationship, which definitely takes some of the pressure off. It’s always about the relationship and it is never about the gift to me. That is the number one rule in fundraising and I will leave money on the table time and again. I just, I just coach someone an hour before this conversation who’s the head fund raiser for a program within the school because a donor um, offered up an amount before being asked for an amount and it’s a significant amount and a big step forward. And the question becomes, do I go back, do I negotiate? And some of this is happening by email and I said in knowing the stoner, I said, you take the wind, it’s about the relationship. This is much, this is big for you. There’s always next year, the year after and so forth. So teaching board members, it’s about the relationship, not the gift, whatever happens this year, that’s okay. We’re building the relationship helps them feel more comfortable because they think they’ve got to go in and come out with whatever you all were hoping for. You know, it’s a, it’s a, it’s uh, and we’re guilty of building this mindset. We as a culture.

[01:03:05.00] spk_0:
The other side of it is that there are some very, for me very simple things that boards can learn how to do to build a relationship. For example, one of one of the things I very often do with a board retreat, simple exercise or on fundraising, I told people, look, you’re now going to somebody, you’re sitting in somebody else’s fundraising dinner and there’s somebody sitting next to you. Okay, So you want to have a conversation with the person sitting next to you, get to know them. So here’s your job. You’ve got to ask that person questions about what they’re interested in their lives and so on and so forth. And you’re looking for some place in them that connects with your organization. Then when you find that place, then you can introduce your organization, but that’s your job and we, you know, we pair up and people around, you know, around the room, sit down and try to have these conversations and realize that they can, because these the way in which we want to build relationships is a technique and it’s something we need to practice and become comfortable with. You know, people are not used to really interestingly asking questions. We all tell people things about ourselves, but we don’t ask them questions about themselves. So I mean that’s one of the pieces of support, right? Doing those kinds of things, telling stories quick, you all went to visit a program, tell me something that happened in that program that you saw that really was important to you that inspired you. That made you think about the value of this organization. Tell me the story. Well, people don’t know how to tell stories. They have to learn how to tell stories. It’s it’s but it’s a very simple, you know, these are not complicated techniques, but it’s all part of becoming comfortable in what brian is talking about in this ambassador role, relationship building a relationship relationship. I love the relationship,

[01:03:13.80] spk_2:
not the gift. Like that, brian. All right, we’re gonna leave it, we’re gonna leave it there with the, with the support

[01:03:14.55] spk_5:
idea. You

[01:03:28.60] spk_2:
got to support your board members, Michael Davidson, consultant and coach. He’s at board coach dot com. Ryan saber asking matters, asking matters dot com And he’s at brian Saber, Michael brian thanks very much. Terrific.

[01:03:32.80] spk_0:
Thank you. It was a pleasure tony great questions. Thank you. My

[01:03:36.34] spk_2:
pleasure. I’m just, I’m just trying to keep things going. Look book and

[01:03:40.96] spk_0:
the book, the book, I’m it’s

[01:03:42.61] spk_2:
Michael and bryan, who cares about Michael, Bryant’s the book you want? The book is,

[01:03:46.72] spk_0:
the

[01:03:49.80] spk_2:
book is the book is engaged, boards will fundraise how good governance inspires them. It comes out this week, this week of october

[01:03:58.74] spk_0:
18th. Yes,

[01:04:00.34] spk_2:
it’s not a long book, but it is long on value as you can tell from this outstanding conversation, lots of value in the book

[01:04:08.69] spk_5:
next week.

[01:04:09.65] spk_3:
Deborah Kaplan pa

[01:04:13.29] spk_5:
loves new book. The time for

[01:04:14.99] spk_3:
endowment building is

[01:04:17.45] spk_0:
now

[01:04:19.49] spk_5:
also very emphatic,

[01:04:20.77] spk_3:
just like uh just

[01:04:22.23] spk_5:
like engaged boards will fundraise

[01:04:39.79] spk_2:
if you missed any part of this week’s show. I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two

[01:04:40.92] spk_5:
dot c o

[01:04:42.89] spk_2:
Our creative producer

[01:05:13.09] spk_4:
is Claire Amirov shows social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott stein, thank you for that information scotty You with me next week for nonprofit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great. Mhm

Nonprofit Radio for September 13, 2021: Effective Fundraising

My Guest:

Warren McFarlan: Effective Fundraising

That’s Warren McFarlan’s new book. It’s written for potential board members, but it’s a valuable study for those on the ground, doing the work.

 

 

 

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

Every nonprofit struggles with these issues. Big nonprofits hire experts. The other 95% listen to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Trusted experts and leading thinkers join me each week to tackle the tough issues. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
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[00:00:02.84] spk_2:
Hello

[00:00:09.59] spk_1:
and welcome to

[00:00:10.46] spk_2:
tony-martignetti non profit

[00:01:46.64] spk_1:
Radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d be hit with like the Asus vulgaris if you drive me out with the idea that you missed this week’s show effective fundraising. That’s Warren Mcfarland’s new book. It’s written for potential board members, but it’s a valuable study for those on the ground doing the work. tony state too planned giving in the pandemic era were sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C. O. It’s my pleasure to welcome Warren McFarlane to the show. F Warren Mcfarland is the Albert H. Gordon? Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School. So F Warren McFarlane is the guy I’m talking to. Albert H. Gordon is the guy who endowed professorship He fr McFarland has spent the past 40 years serving on social enterprise boards, helping organizations find the right leaders advanced their missions and raise the necessary supporting funds. I don’t know anything more about Albert H. Gordon. F Warren Mcfarland is a retired esteemed professor. You don’t need a website. You don’t need twitter Warren, welcome to the occasionally crass

[00:01:48.87] spk_0:
non profit radio it’s directly with you this morning.

[00:01:54.74] spk_1:
What’s a pleasure? Thank you for joining us. Congratulations on the book.

[00:01:56.44] spk_0:
Thank you very much it’s been uh

[00:02:36.24] spk_1:
and you’ve written it for trustees are really potential trustees, but I think there are a lot of good lessons in here for for folks who are doing fundraising. So that’s why, you know, because our audience isn’t so much potential trustees, but it is fundraising on the ground in small and midsize nonprofits. So very apt subject. And I was glad to hear about your book. You Pretty much open with a chapter chapter #2 on governance governance. Why do you, why do you put governance ahead of getting into the fundraising topics in the

[00:02:57.74] spk_0:
book? I think because governance sets the context for fundraising. The governor’s committee on the board, I think is probably the most important of the committees and they are the people responsible for identifying the people that will serve on the board. That will be able to help, uh, fundraising in one way or another, either personally or helping to make connections, general context and, and, and so forth. So that I really put it up because the three major roles of a nonprofit board, our number one approving the mission and the strategy of their uh, number two, hiring retaining and supporting the Ceo and certainly basically helping to secure the funds. And that’s a hard, difficult kind of things. My friends who head up nonprofits repeatedly say it’s 50% of their time that is spent on that. And it’s just hard, difficult kind of work. And that’s why I really, you wrote the book to help focus new board members attention on how vital their role was in helping to set the context for an organization to succeed.

[00:04:00.94] spk_1:
Yeah, fundraising. So let’s give a shout out to your previous book, which dealt with those three topics, but this book fleshes out the fundraising that the third of Exactly yes. Your tell folks what your your first book was that had more focused on the first two of those

[00:04:06.74] spk_0:
the

[00:04:07.63] spk_1:
roles of the board.

[00:04:26.44] spk_0:
The first, my first book was really aimed on governance of nonprofits, what a board member needs to know. And it really looked in a very broad kind of way. You’re focusing on mission structure, uh budgeting, planning and so forth. And that fundraising was one of the pieces in the book, but it was such an important piece. And I’ve been spending so much time working on it that I really felt there was need for another book to kind of taken and blow apart. Was one chapter in the other book into the, into this book.

[00:04:50.04] spk_1:
Yeah, because we know fundraising is at least 50% of an effective ceos time spent. And you make that point in the book a couple of times, but give a shout out what’s the exact title of the previous book?

[00:04:56.56] spk_0:
Uh Corporate Information Systems Management, I’m sorry?

[00:05:00.07] spk_1:
No, no, that that can’t be a different book for a different,

[00:05:11.64] spk_0:
I have to have to go back and think of something, but it was basically joining a nonprofit board. What you need to know.

[00:05:26.84] spk_1:
Okay, so is that it joining? Okay, because we’re talking about effective fundraising, the trustees role and beyond. Uh, and, uh, okay. So the previous one. Okay, joining a nonprofit board. What you need to know? Exactly. Right. Well, I don’t know why I doubted the author of the book. Just you maybe a little nervous when you talk about corporate information systems. I don’t know. That’s a

[00:05:35.79] spk_0:
different, wasn’t really part of my

[00:05:52.64] spk_1:
life. It’s a different, it’s a different book. The man’s prolific. You know, he gets, he’s written so many books. He gets the book titles confused. That’s all right. All right. Um, I’m not sure that many of our listeners, again, small and mid sized shops have a governance committee specifically. What’s, what’s the role of that committee? They may be doing governance maybe in their executive committee. Perhaps it doesn’t get smaller, smaller and midsize or what’s the role of the governance

[00:06:52.24] spk_0:
committee? It’s basically, it’s a nominating committee. Its role is to attract, uh, the right kinds of trustees to the organization to help talk them into doing it, to help get them, uh, slotted into the right kind of role. Worry about getting the right people and then helping them as when they finished their term to be involved in other ways because one of the critical things. And so I view that, uh, for for profit boys are very different. I’ve served in a number of them. They’re very exciting. And when you’re over the job is over. You’re gone for a nonprofit board. This is meant to be a lifelong relationship and one of the organization work. That’s right now why we’ve Now developed a committee of some, uh, 35 former board members. We have them sitting on various committees and so forth. And with that, they have stayed involved with the organization. And with it comes a philanthropy. They’re building willingness to keep people you involved. So is this an entirely different kind of concept? And it means that you have to that a nonprofit board is often less efficient because you have to deal with people’s idiosyncrasies in a way that you don’t in the for profit world because I’m not actually going to take a major donor who’s a little bit careless and sort of, you’ll cut them off too sharply.

[00:07:39.64] spk_1:
Yeah. You make a good point about the trusteeship and the end of the trusteeship still being a, uh, warren, are you able to silence those? Um, that sounds like an email notification you’re getting. Are you able to,

[00:07:51.97] spk_0:
I’m sorry.

[00:08:25.04] spk_1:
Okay, no problem. Thank you. Um, the end of the trusteeship is just a continuation in the spectrum of the, the lifetime relationship with the nonprofit. I, I think a lot of non profit to make a mistake there and they figure, okay, the person served three years, six years, Hopefully not more than six. That’s another subject. But, you know, they’ve served their time. And, and now they just, you know, we hope they’ll continue to give. But that’s the end of sort of the, uh, it’s the end of the volunteer volunteering of the relationship. And I think that’s a mistake. Your, your former board members. You know, there may be an emeritus board or some kind of an advisory board or, you know, some other way to not lose that expertise that they gained while they were trustees.

[00:09:18.14] spk_0:
Yeah, that’s, uh, that’s exactly the key point that I recall her often, a board of advisors or a corporation or two things that people, you know, calling for. And that was it. One of the jobs economic committee is to help figure out what the new, as somebody comes near the end of their term, how they will be able to be involved and get them involved in in the right kind of way now. And that basically tremendously increases your footprint. You must have term on that because you need to continually bring new people in while you’re bringing them and then in why taking care of the older people is, is, uh, can be, it’s, you’ve got a lot of value ideas and also philanthropy wise.

[00:09:35.34] spk_1:
Yeah, yeah. Think through that, that post board member post trusteeship relationship,

[00:09:57.74] spk_0:
I’m involved in four board, I’m involved in for nonprofit boys. Now, the links to them go back over almost 40 years and it’s evolved from one setting to another. And the power, you know, grows. And so that there was an annual giving then there was, uh, capital campaign giving. And at my stage in life now, why planned giving? It turns out to be a particularly important thing.

[00:10:25.04] spk_1:
Sure. Yeah. You say the fundraiser is an educator of donors. That’s a, that’s a pretty, uh, basic lesson. But I want you to flush it out for folks because sometimes basic lessons are, you know, they’re foundational for a reason they’re worth revisiting and thinking about why, why do you say fundraisers are educators of donors?

[00:11:50.34] spk_0:
It’s really helping somebody to understand how they can go about, um, contributing in ways they haven’t thought, I mean, they, that I’m working with somebody right now and they’re that some tragedy in their family. And we’ve been able to sort of help them think through how this new facility they’re building, is going to help the organization and help their grief and fill their needs. So that, uh, it’s, uh, it’s very important that when I go out and ask people from, uh, you know, for money, I’m not asking them for money. I’m asking for them to be able to contribute contribute to society in a way bigger than they can on their own. And it’s, it’s really opening up an opportunity for the person opportunity they often haven’t thought about in their, in their own ways. And that you’re one of the things that died. And I talked about this for trustees is that the first thing that I do is in fact, the trustee is you’ve got to believe in the cause and have made your own contribution because when it comes right down to crunch time and I’m looking somebody in the eye and they say warrant, what have you done first? You know, this is my number one or two financing and this is and here’s why I’ve done it. That there’s a credibility that that comes out of it. And the reality is that many donors, their lives are busy and they haven’t thought through the array of alternatives they can contribute to and how they can go about extending their leverage.

[00:12:12.34] spk_1:
So the fundraisers job is to educate, educate them and educate about the work that’s being done also what those exactly those programs are doing. Um I I presume you’re a believer in 100% participation, fundraising participation on the board.

[00:12:33.74] spk_0:
Absolutely. I mean on the one hand and say, and people give in relation of capacity, I was the chairman of the board of the hospital. I’m sorry. You

[00:12:39.30] spk_1:
cut out a little bit there people

[00:12:40.35] spk_0:
give chairman. I was a chairman of a border.

[00:12:42.79] spk_1:
Wait 11 further step back. People giving what level, What did you say?

[00:13:07.34] spk_0:
I say people, Uh, it’s not the level that you give your question. It was your your question was do I believe in 100%. I do, but I want to say at the hospital board share. I valued the $25 I got from the homeless mother in East Cambridge As much as I did. The 200,000 from the main present because she was the eyes and ears of the community. She gave enormous value and her commitment was to the institution. So that’s why I believe in the 100%.

[00:13:30.14] spk_1:
Right? And, and of course for someone without a home, $25 as a stretch gift. So, yes. All right. And so you you would you go along the philosophy that there’s not a minimum giving level for for for every board member, every board member gives something that’s a stretch for their capacity, given their capacity. Is that is that how you would define it?

[00:13:44.54] spk_0:
Or? The answer is yes. But uh, yes. Yes. But

[00:13:50.98] spk_1:
that’s fair. Yes.

[00:13:51.89] spk_0:
Yes. It is on the real high end gifts. I might be willing to be the number of four philanthropy. I have two or three situations I’ve been in where, you know, somebody has given me a sort of a go away uh, token gift to them which has actually helped the enterprise meets goals. They didn’t even know they could have. So, I mean, it’s one of the things that we find in uh, in 2021 is that the shape of the giving pyramid has really become much steeper and taller. And so therefore the people at the top of the uh, the Jeff Bezos, his wife Mackenzie and so forth. I mean they uh, a small gift for her is a transforming gift, you know, for the receiving your organization. So that’s, that’s kind of the exception that I was referring to.

[00:15:04.24] spk_1:
And then after someone has given you, you talk about stewardship as you know, the engagement of past donors and trustees. And you say, stewardship is not an overhead item, but an offensive weapon. So let’s talk about stewardship. What, what, why? Why again, basic lessons. But, you know, I want people to get your perspective, ownership is a stewardship is so damn important,

[00:16:29.24] spk_0:
um, that you give a gift, um, for, uh, let’s say for an endowed chair that you maybe do that if you’re in your fifties or sixties, that when they come back and tell you how that chair is performing, it’s an opportunity for them to engage your thinking on the next level and the next level that, uh, one of them is going through a very different situation hospital where they didn’t report how the gifts were doing. You know, for people they gave, and they were wondering why people were dropping off the whole notion of it’s a lifelong engagement. And when you come in to tell somebody how their, uh, previous investment organizations doing, there’s a lot of interest on that part of the person hearing, how did their money do, But you’re also there in the opportunity to talk about other kinds of things and opportunities and move the discussion forward. And it may have been that an annual fund gift around the class reunion that may in due course lead no to a capital campaign. You’ll give, you know, somewhat further on down the road and it may be a plan gift even, you know, you know further down the road. And of course the art of the question is when you’re managing these lifelong relationships, you have to be careful not to move too much clothes quickly because if you in fact uh, get the short term gift, you may also be turning off the long term relationship, which can be more important. That’s that’s why this is such an art to this, this fundraising.

[00:17:19.84] spk_1:
Yeah. And and there’s a whole variety of stewardship methods, you’re focusing on reporting on the impact. But you know, if, if the first few gifts are, you know, in the 150 to $500 range, No, that’s, it’s hard to place impact, put impact upon that. But how, how would you steward those three and low four figure gifts? Uh

[00:18:15.94] spk_0:
It’s actually your point is that one of the first things when somebody graduates from college is we have all kinds of incentives to just get in the habit of giving $50 for $100 you know, for each of the 1st 10 years and you have a 10 year giving club that has given 10 years in a row, all 10 years enrolled for a, somebody who’d gone for 22 to 32 doesn’t add up to a lot. But the habit of delivering the habit of giving the engagement and so forth. That’s what’s really laying the seeds for much deeper support of some of them. You’re further down the road. And

[00:18:59.44] spk_1:
that makes me think of another stewardship method. You know, the recognition society, I think a lot of folks don’t think about having a recognition society based on longevity of giving. So you know, of course you’re using the, you know, 10 years, someone graduates from college if you can get them in a habit of giving for 10 years, there’s a very good chance unless you blow it That, you know, they’ll be giving for the next 40 and 50 years in increasing increments and in different ways and as as you’ve talked about. But that that method of recognizing giving for longevity, those folks who have been given to you for 25, 30 years and there’s longstanding organizations that have donors that do go back that far And maybe, you know, maybe maybe out of 30 years, the person missed two years as you give them a break or something, you know, but what you have, I mean, I longevity, not just the dollar amount each year

[00:20:08.64] spk_0:
as you’re talking about a fearful reports from right to my mind where the little asterisks, beside the people who’ve given for each of the last 10 years and double asterisks for the last one and you actually look at it and that of course is, you know, one of the things that’s important is that development people want to a point that putting out development reports and give them reports and so Fort is very expensive and you really should do this on the web and on screen. The fact of the matter is when I’m at my most philosophic, I’m flipping through report and I’m saying what my classmates or associates did on, it’s an organization my Children involved, I may flick back down to another part of saying and it just turned out to be false economies and a lot of the people that have undone the paper stuff and brought online have had to back off the other way because discussions and ruminations which were important were taking place.

[00:20:14.10] spk_1:
Yeah. You, you, you have some uh, anecdotes about that in, in the book which you know, we can, we can go, we can’t dive into all the stories. You just got to get the book. You just got to buy effective fundraising. So

[00:20:50.94] spk_0:
just start, uh, it starts from the very beginning, I think for example, uh, as I entered Harvard College as a freshman And my second day there, I’m sitting with 1100 people in the room and somebody is talking right and left and those are the people that aren’t there because you’re there and you’re feeling pretty good. And the next comment he made blew my mind, he said, and every last one of you was on financial aid. Uh, my father did not communicate me, talked a lot about the expense and he said, you’re here because of the philanthropy and generosity of the generations that came before. But at your 25th reunion, you will have an opportunity, will pay that generosity and the numbers went something like that. That thing just slow across the room. And 1100 mines. A lot of it’s stuck there. And, and the 20th reunion, there was a $200,000 gift. And at the 25th, there was an 8.5 million and the 35th. It was a 25. And that the habit, you lay the idea down very early

[00:22:40.24] spk_1:
On the very first day, they say 25th, he’s already got you giving to the 25th reunion. That’s right. Right. Right. All right now. seven. It doesn’t have to be a college. There’s there’s a very good lesson there. My synesthesia is kicking in. I’m getting goose bumps. Thank you. They listen talking about this. Uh, yeah, there’s a very good, you know, you get people in early and you and you and you cultivate those relationships. You cultivate that, that relationship long term from the, from the outset, You know, so, so for your organization’s, you know, take the lesson there. You may not, you may not be a school, you know, the first day of college, but you can be cultivating from the very early stages. Absolutely, a long term relationship. All right? Yeah, stewardship critical again, warren calls it an offensive weapon. Um, let’s talk about the head of the development Committee. This is something that I’m sure listeners do have. Even if, you know, even if it’s a small board, there’s at least a development committee of, you know, two, maybe three folks. But you spend time on the, on the, you know, in the, in the parties to the, to the board, talking about the head of the Development Committee and some skills that you like to see there. What what are you looking for in, in that position?

[00:26:09.54] spk_0:
If somebody who’s got to be able to mobilize other trustees to come and join in the giving operation, the ability to reach out, uh, into the rest of the board, make them understand this is part of their job. They had somebody who, whatever their going out and talking about the organization. The organization is in their mind maybe to me don’t, but uh, Is a, it’s a job that’s 24 hours per day, seven days a week, and even more so for the development person. But uh, I just remember a situation that, uh, I was heading up the capital campaign for a religious organization, came out in the Boston Common in early january, you know, the temperature was about two degrees, the wind was blowing. It was miserable. I had 300 yards to go and I ran into one of my former students, uh going on, he stopped and said, what are you doing? I said, I’m going off, you know, to to join this. Uh this just felt me, this religious organization said, oh, you know, I’m a member of that religion, this is somebody who has, his wealth was considerable. And I just kind of stopped and said, well, you’ll tell me more. The temperature suddenly went up to about 60 degrees, the wind dropped down and I said, I was a senior warden of my church down in New Jersey. Yes, I said, but you’re not there anymore, So which church do you belong somewhere? I’m now up with the one in Wellesley. And I said, that’s terrific. And we disappeared out. I got to the office and sat down and he said, listen, this is what it is all about. And that my former student was in his office, you know, three weeks later for lunch and over lunch, you know why? That the head of the terrorist organization uh expressed an interest to actually see this person perform in the classroom. And so I never want to see me teach. But he went and watched this summer student of mine no teach. And that led to another nice consistent pro bono consulting assignment. And uh and Result of the whole thing was system is about $500,000 gifts that took place in such a tasteful way, you never even know what happened, but that’s something you just do recognize the opportunity and you have to stop, you know, put the thing together. You got to be creative and the head of the Development Committee, I want them there. They need to breathe and live the organization. You know, 100% of the time, it means they’ve got to have a close working relationship with the Chief development on Mr. They have to have a close relationship with the Ceo to make sure that they’re always always in

[00:30:30.54] spk_1:
line. Great, great wisdom. Yeah. And uh, you say you want the person to be persistent and fearless and you know, that all that, that all is uh, epitomized by this story you just told that’s outstanding. Thank you. It’s time for a break. Turn to communications. They’ll help you find your voice and they’ll get that voice heard in the right outlets like The Wall Street Journal, the new york Times, the Chronicle of philanthropy, Fast Company Market watch many others where they have the relationships to get you heard. So what does this mean? Get your voice uh, find your voice and then get it out there. Well, defining the voice. They’ll help you craft your message. I mean, you’ve got your key points, but you want to make them cogently concise coherent. Look at that. Cogent, concise, coherent. Yeah, that’s what you want to do. So that when you’re talking to the journalists at these incredibly good outlets, You get quoted. That’s what you want. You want the quotes. I mean you know saying that you said something and then they paraphrase it. Yeah that’s pretty good to look. It’s your name, it’s your organization of course. But the quotes that’s the gold standard. Turn to will help you craft your message is you know what the message are. They’ll work with you to make it. What did I say? Cogent write, cogent, concise, coherent so that you get the quotes in these excellent outlets. So help you find your voice, they help you get that voice heard turn to communications. You know this your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C. O. It’s time for Tony’s take two. I’ve got a free timely webinar coming up for you planned giving in the pandemic era. It’s graciously hosted by J. M. T. Consulting. I’m grateful for that. Their gracious. I’m grateful. We’re doing this on september 30th. From 2 to 3 Eastern time. I’m going to talk about what planned giving is who your best prospects are. Where to start your program and how planned giving fits in our pandemic era and of course you got to have the all important Q. And A. That’s where the focus goes on what you’re thinking what what is on your mind. I can only channel so much of you. I need you to fill in the rest. So that’s the all important Q. And A of course plenty of time for that also. So you have to make a reservation, it’s free. But you got to reserve, you go to J. M. T like Juliet mike tango from the old Air force days. Military folks will appreciate that. Also private pilots, JMT consulting dot com then events and then expert speaker series. That’s the only category they have. I would have put me under something like middling speaker series or lackluster speaker series. But alas, they don’t have those categories there. Of course. The problem is not going to create a category just for me as well. Just stick with their default category of expert speaker series and squeeze me in there. So that’s um, that’s where, that’s where you go. JMT consulting dot com events, expert speaker series. It’s all on september 30th two to three Eastern. I hope you’ll be with me for planned giving in the pandemic era. That is Tony’s take two we’ve got boo koo but loads more time for effective fundraising with Professor Warren Macfarlane. Another another part of the part of the board is the board chair. The chair and the Ceo the chair Ceo relationship that that’s critical. I’ve I’ve seen very dysfunctional relationships where there was micromanagement and you know, too much in the details. But I’ve also seen very healthy relationships where it’s it’s it’s supportive and collegial between the board chair and the ceo talk about that relationship please.

[00:33:47.34] spk_0:
It’s the most sensitive one. You know, in the, in the organization that the ceo is that it’s first of all, it’s peculiar to nonprofits. This is not known in the for profit world. And for that, the notion of an unpaid non executive chair of the board uh working with a paid seal. Uh the first problem is people have, coming from the private sector, have trouble understanding how that system works, that it means that the two have to be in public very much. It’s a Pataca. I can remember that, you know, one board that I chair, that the uh CEO and I would fight furiously but always 10 miles or more away from corporate headquarters. But when you’re there with the board and with the stamp, the hands around each other’s shoulders of the, like the jokes were going back and forth and you made sure you couldn’t put a slim nail you in between the two of us. I mean, that relationship is just an absolutely critical kind of one. Now, what’s also interesting courses, in some cases, why the chair maybe a very much of a development uh project, that there was a wonderful book that was just written by one of my former students said, hey Jim, who is a uh investment maker in in new york, he is chairman of the University of Russia’s Sir board of trustees. And his book describes, you know, how when he was asked to do that job, he said, I just can’t do it because I’m amazing. I need Rochester’s short of money. We need somebody to really raise the money and the president just kept working on. And finally my friends, these types of books, just what is the largest gift that’s ever been given To Roger? So it was back in 1926. George Eastman gave $26 million dollars and uh, he spent some more time and money and his family said Rochester did so much for me. We’re going to do a little bit more than that. Now that’s the chairman who, I mean, he gives with his treasure, he gives his time and his block and he’s a, he’s a remarkable person. He was an orphan basically from orphanages from the time he was age seven to age 16, and one in ROTC scholarship out of the orphanage, you know, into uh, into Rochester. But the whole notion behind that in terms of how our chairman can support is really, it’s, the chairman must be philanthropically oriented, must understand the development mission, must be able to uh, work around the strengths and weaknesses, you know, of the Ceo

[00:33:55.34] spk_1:
uh, fill me in a little inside baseball on corporate boards. What what’s the role, what is the role of a board chair on a corporate board.

[00:34:22.84] spk_0:
Um, the, in the, in the ideal world, the board share is a sports chair and Ceo and you have a president and chief operating officer boy. So the board share it, Uh, it’s basically, it’s, it’s the Ceo job. Now from time to time with emergence, You may have somebody left over from emergency you need to send with, so you may make them sort of a non executive chair of the board and give them a nice office about 10 miles away from corporate headquarters and the three years work while you work your way through your retirement, earn out and so forth.

[00:35:16.74] spk_1:
Okay. So it often is the, it’s the chairman, Ceo chair chair and Ceo. Okay. All right. So going back to nonprofits, what’s your advice warrant on fixing the relationship? I mean, if I think CEOs would know if they have a dysfunctional relationship, whether it’s micromanagement or maybe the board chair is too hands off. Maybe he or she is not a strong leader of the board, not a consensus. What, what advice do you have for the C. E. O. S. Two improve the relationship with the

[00:36:15.53] spk_0:
board chair? Well, there, there’s several things, you know, the first one is that The length of tenure of the board share, uh, is often just 2-3 years And if you want people to rotate through that. But the critical person, this is again, is the head of the governance committee that the head of the government’s committee is one of your wisest, most senior atrocities and their job is to make sure that that relationship is working. And if it’s not working to find a way to sort of you move the thing along, it’s a it’s just it’s a terribly difficult and awkward thing and of course it’s complicated because you know, people have tremendous egos, it’s alm except that uh the people amass the well father to do these jobs, they don’t suffer from an underdeveloped of self concept. And so how you deal with their he goes uh is very tricky,

[00:36:29.43] spk_1:
right? But so what, you know, what what specifically I mean, do we have a heart to heart conversation with them and say look, you know, I think, you know, and I know, you know, this relationship is not ideal. Can we can we talk about it or you know, or is it just, I mean, I hate to leave folks just wait until the board chair’s term has ended and then, you know, we hope to do better in with their successor,

[00:38:16.52] spk_0:
their to their to their their two or three different ways. The first one is uh the question is whether it’s the board chair problem or the C. E. O. I mean, this is of course, you know, one of the problems because in fact the paid Ceo does report, you know, to the board and to the board chair. So the the power actually lies on the on the other uh side that the question there that they’re all they’re all kinds of consultants who can come and help, you know mediate these things. But when you get to that level, it’s already broken in a distaste away and the hardest problem is to try and avoided getting in it at the beginning and that has to do with how you pick the people, you know, in in, in the roles and that uh, sometimes we was in a very difficult situation from your skull were uh, the new board share uh, just almost immediately immediately started pushing things in that as he learned about the organization, uh, he came up with a strategy just wasn’t going to work for them and we had to reach in and in the most tender way, get him out. But then this is because uh, to get him out knowing he could also be a supporter of the organization. And so it was just about as complicated as you can say to get the dirty deed done, but we love you, we need to and can help you and the boys a lot of scrambling and a lot of stomach just turned around and came to a happy ending on on that part of it. But if the strategy that was would not have worked and would have actually driven the organization the bankruptcy,

[00:39:08.72] spk_1:
you have to be very, very careful about circumspect about who you put in the board leadership, you know, if even even vice chair because the presumption is that the vice chair is gonna become the chair, assuming he or she is, you know, competent. So you have to be careful there and and other board leadership positions to its it’s very important and you you you’re right, I mean you can end up with uh it’s something that really is is detrimental to the organization and you’re stuck, you know, for two or three years.

[00:39:30.42] spk_0:
Well. And you know, this is of course why it goes back to your very first question when you asked me, you know, why did I pick the governance committee to start? It’s because that’s the place where these issues get sorted out and need to be sought on the strategic way. Mhm.

[00:39:31.32] spk_1:
Yeah. Put put time into thinking about these things and planning, planning, succession planning, I presume you have a succession plan for for the ceo you know, there should be succession planning on the board as well. You know, we talked about as people leave the board, but succession,

[00:40:09.31] spk_0:
oh we know the slots that you’re needing to recruit for. I always need to have a couple of uh potential board chairs ahead of the Finance committee, one or two heads of the development committee and the job, it’s a delicate because when you who clued somebody onto the board, you often have a view as to what role they’re going to be best set. They may not, however, understand that and they may be so excited to be on the board that they want to sort of dive into some area or they have neither skill nor So it requires some discussion to sort of make it that make that work out.

[00:40:58.01] spk_1:
Yeah, I was invited to be a board member once and I I turned it down because I didn’t think the organization had really thought through what benefit I could bring to the border. You know, why I’d be a good board member. Um, it was a smaller organization and I was supporting the work. But I I didn’t I just didn’t feel that they had done their due diligence around me and you know, why they wanted me. It was just, well, you’re a supporter, you know, you’re you’re in the area. So, you know, would you like to be a board member? And

[00:41:00.97] spk_0:
I mean,

[00:41:02.86] spk_1:
time, time constraints went into it also, but I didn’t, I didn’t feel and I continued supporting the organization, but I didn’t feel they had they were really taking board membership as seriously as they should, even as a small organization.

[00:41:18.91] spk_0:
Yeah. You never know until it does man, you got mixed into all these things and it can turn so bad, so you’re just much better to not get started and getting into one that doesn’t fit

[00:41:47.81] spk_1:
right. And then, you know, the embarrassment of you have made me having to leave before your term is over and then there’s bad feelings there, and I just Yeah, so think through, you know, be careful about, be thoughtful, be circumspect about who you invite on your board,

[00:41:49.02] spk_0:
That’s

[00:41:49.65] spk_1:
two or three years can be a long time with the difficult board member or a couple of board members. Two or three years can be a long time.

[00:41:58.11] spk_0:
Yeah. And a lot of them maybe, uh, sits here so

[00:42:09.60] spk_1:
well. Yeah, that’s a, that’s a long, that’s an awful long term. Six years. I mean I’m all for, you know, maybe extending for a second term, two or three years and then, and then the second term. But

[00:43:13.60] spk_0:
I remember this battle that I lost some years ago when on sports share and that uh, this person had endowed a new athletic field for one of the universities in the area. And we needed a new athletic feeling a little bit around the edges. Often I said, uh, I need him on the board. The head of the company said one, this isn’t going to just fit this question, but I’ll make sure he sits beside me every meeting, I’ll keep him under control. Said one even got two more years left, he’ll be here afterwards and we didn’t do it. Somebody else got the gift. But I’m pretty sure it was the right one because that they, there is a culture that you have to deal with. And that’s that if you have overtly disrupted people that can, in fact, that’s just supposed to people who have good clear ideas, well reasoned that are different than yours. That’s a whole different topic. But uh, loosely cannons learning around can can cause all kinds of difficulty.

[00:43:41.60] spk_1:
I think it sounds like you were wise to uh, to take the advice of the person and not bring that member honest, but that’s a very good point. You know, warren, you’re only gonna be here for two more years, they’ve got years after that and you know, and really, how well are you going to be able to constrain them? You know, if, if these, if the person becomes obstreperous in, in a, in a board meeting, are you gonna be willing to, you know, put them back in their place publicly in front of the rest of the board and maybe there’s staff in the room at the same time and that could have been ugly. So you were wise, I

[00:43:52.60] spk_0:
didn’t feel wise this time, but the way you describe it, you’re absolutely correct.

[00:44:20.59] spk_1:
Yeah, okay, we’ve said enough about how bad it can be. Um, so hopefully you have a good board chair ceo relationship, it’s, it’s supportive, its collegial like you said, you know, you, you couldn’t drive a thin nail between the two of you in public but you have, you have things out in private and, and, and there should be a lot of communication and I think a board chair and see, you know, they should be in touch. I don’t know what’s a week or so.

[00:44:22.25] spk_0:
It takes a month, right? It takes a lot of time. Uh, the ones that I was working on recently, it just turned out that uh I was taking 40, 30 to 40 hours a week of the chair. And that means you got to make sure you have the time uh to put into that

[00:45:14.59] spk_1:
too. Yeah, and the person that you’re asking has the time. Yes. All right, so I’ve been I’ve been looking forward to talking to you about planned giving. Yeah, because you have a chapter on plant giving and foundations, and I’ve been making a living a plan giving for A good number of years, 2400 years. Uh and your plan giving donor, it sounds like uh so and you’re you’re playing giving chapter, you spend most of your time, and it’s just, you know, it’s one chapter and you make the point that playing giving could be a series of books. And indeed, I have

[00:45:21.00] spk_0:
a I

[00:46:13.88] spk_1:
Have a 400 page treatise on planned giving, you know, on my shelf that I hardly ever have to refer to, but when I do it’s comforting to know it’s there. Um so, you know, your your chapter is an overview of you talk about iras and trust, different types of trusts and uh charitable gift annuities. Um um My focusing planned giving is now, so I I I I am a startup plan giving consultant. I I initiate the kickoff launched programs. Um So my focus is mainly on Will’s because I think that’s the place to start a plan giving program. Um but again you’re doing an overview, You’re not talking about starting a plan giving program. Your your chapter gives an overview of playing giving, but I’ve still been anxious to talk to you about it, especially, you know, because you’re playing giving donor to what what do you what do you see as the role of planned giving, how critical to you is

[00:49:23.97] spk_0:
This to me? It’s uh that it’s as you pass by a certain point in your life and I don’t know whether it’s 60 or 65 uh that the actuarial tables begin to sort of uh well differently. And that uh somebody uh is looking at once to make a meaningful gift and they may be worried about, you know, the cash flow and something like a channel remainder trust or channel annuity is that the donor life, the fact they’re able to give a big number And they in fact, no, they’re going to live for another 40 years. And so it’s a big deal that you and the other side, you know, the end is much closer than the dome. So it’s a very happy kind of situation. Uh And what it really does is that people who are going to worry about end of life expenses are able to use this set vehicles and there are all kinds of tax incentives. I mean the one I personally caught my attention was the I. R. A. I’ve spent 30 years of my life you know building that up at every step along the way for retirement income. And that somebody had developed wants to sit down and said that you do understand you know what the tax implication is when you die of the I. R. A. And by the time you look at he said this is actually free money because you’re not taking very much away from your kids and you’re giving a lot more you know to the charity. And so those discussions can be just enormously beneficial and it’s uh but you bring it up with sort of the right point in a person’s Your life at Harvard. We never heard about a charitable annuity at a reunion before the 45th reunion. And by the time becoming the 60th that’s all you’re hearing about these vehicles. So that that that that there’s a time and a place for it. And it also of course comes back to our earlier discussion of the of the uh the annual fund giver. The trustee who becomes a trustee emeritus contributes to a capital campaign. And then plan giving comes right on. And as you get into the habit of giving through the other things you become more receptive, You know, nor philanthropic about these later on in your life kinds of up to us. And that what you need there is you need people who are really specialists like yourself because there are 1000 ways you can put the thing together. And I picked just about six or seven or what are the most common ones to, to make them the point. But those are the ones which, uh, your hospitals and museums and college so forth. You tend, you tend to use.

[00:50:28.46] spk_1:
Yeah. And I see it as essential to the stewardship of donors. You know, you want that lifetime relationship. It’s, it’s stewardship over a long period. But in the, in that period there are, there’s cultivation and solicitation, you know, for the next gift. So as your stewarding over a lifetime, you’re cultivating and soliciting for different, different phases, you know, the annual, the, the major, the capital, the, and, and, uh, ultimately the planned gift. Um, so it’s, uh, so I’m interested in, you know, you as a, as, because I worked with a lot of plans giving donors. Um, I’ve worked with thousands through the years. Uh, but you know, I don’t get to have the conversation with them that I’m, you know, on the same level having with use. I mean, so I, I have to sort of suss things out a little bit. Uh, it sounds like for you, the tax advantages of, of the Ira, we’re appealing

[00:50:29.99] spk_0:
Well, but

[00:50:31.61] spk_1:
that tax advantage was moving for

[00:50:33.94] spk_0:
you when I looked at, I said, this is, this is a very inefficient way to distribute the IRA and my kids, I can,

[00:50:42.21] spk_1:
they’ll be taxed on.

[00:51:25.56] spk_0:
Exactly. And so therefore this is money that I can get much more leverage. And by giving out to the outside so that I’ve been really hammering at people that for the last uh, five or six years. Then you come back to the notions of, uh, where you want to make a really significant, you know, impact. And this is where charitable remainder trust uh, can be really helpful so that you want to sort of make a half million dollars million dollar gift. But you have to worry about keeping the food on the table through your declining years. And there, Oh, that uh, that you put the money inside for that trust. And it takes care of the income to your life or your life and your spouse’s life. But there’s a big number that goes to the, uh, the museum of the university of what? Not at the end. And then of course it becomes particularly interesting is still Harvard uh, does it very nicely, is that you can designate up to 49% of it to some other organization. And

[00:51:57.59] spk_1:
right, well, Harvard, Harvard is an outlier there because they have the Harvard Management

[00:52:00.88] spk_0:
corporation. But what that does

[00:52:11.85] spk_1:
just, that was just for your trust, most, most nonprofits can’t do that. And, you know, the trusteeship ends up being with the, with a Fidelity or Schwab or, you know, some, some financial institution.

[00:52:16.41] spk_0:
But what it does is it, uh, in that case it allows organizations that don’t have very sophisticated plan dealing. And you really worry about the investment advisors, they’re using uh you can sort of put that underneath the same, I’m broad and the fidelity to do the same thing.

[00:53:01.85] spk_1:
Your larger point that one remainder trust can help multiple charities. And yeah, I know you make the point in the book that Harvard Management Corporation allows that. So as long as I guess, I guess as long as 51% goes to Harvard 9% can go to other charities. Uh, But if it’s an outside manager and some some financial institution manager acting as trustee, then uh oh there is unlimited ways you can divide the, but then the lots and lots of charities from one single trust

[00:53:25.85] spk_0:
as somebody who makes a living designing these things. Of course, your greatest single friend of this is the U. S. Congress because the laws change. And just as soon as you have finally tuned strategy in one place, you’ll go off change and then you have to come back and you re think about it. So it’s it’s a it’s a it’s a continual ideally, once you getting along you can’t just do it right. And it’s done.

[00:53:54.05] spk_1:
Yeah. But this the significant tax code changes only come like every 15, 20 years or so. Yeah. So you’re you’ll go through a couple in a career. Uh, But again and again, you know, my work is mostly at the at the formation of planned giving level. I mean I’ve I’ve done $25 million dollar lead trusts and I’ve done multiple remainder trusts and hundreds of gift annuities, maybe thousands. I don’t know hundreds at least. Um, but my work is mostly at the formation stage, getting folks getting nonprofits set up with

[00:54:10.24] spk_0:
just how to do

[00:54:35.44] spk_1:
it. Let’s start asking with because let’s start asking for bequests simple gifts by will. Let’s start there. That’s the foundation. Uh, I believe of of any planned giving program is, is just a simple gifts by will. Um, and then in years later, you know, you may graduate to the more sophisticated gifts depending on the size of your organization. You might not, you might just, you might just be content with doing requests indefinitely and you’ll capture most of the plane gifts anyway because that they’re always the

[00:55:03.44] spk_0:
the most common comment is powerful. The will is, is the first place. And then of course, uh, way way back when that I can that I remember somebody, uh, one of, one of my ancestors uh, basically uh, was going to give a gift of, Of a, of a certain percentage of first stage and the other as you know, I don’t want to do it that way. You want to make sure that uh actually gets a specific money. And so instead of the percentage putting what you thought was a huge number, which was actually 1/10 of what we had it gone the other way. So you have to have all sorts of funny kind of twisted thinking that you have to sort of unravel that process.

[00:55:59.74] spk_1:
You, you flush that story out in the book. You tell that one in a little more detail in the book. So folks got to get the book. Um, warren, let’s, let’s leave folks with just, You know, you’ve got these 40 years of experience, multiple, multiple board memberships, board chairmanships. You’re a donor in your own right through times, decades and decades. Leave folks with some, some fundraising wisdom, please.

[00:58:02.02] spk_0:
I think that uh, philanthropy is fundamentally a very satisfying activity that basically you’re helping to move social causes along along that I next, of course, is the whole power of the nonprofit sector is that I have there there’s almost a spiritual aspect uh, built to it. I, I enjoyed my corporate boards. We make changes things that nature new parts or what, but there’s something different. There’s something different in the nonprofit and when you’re trying to sort of move society along in some ways that you think are, are important and uh, that what you have to learn is that all you have to educate people on the opportunities. Uh, that the book was originally with basically the nutritious e right after a lot of them are asked to be trying to be, the first thing they say is do you have to ask people for money because I’m not good at it. And the answer is yes. You are going to have to ask for it and we can train you how to ask for it. And it starts by, you’re basically making a major commitment because that gives you the passion and so forth to move the cause forward. But it’s uh, it’s when the four organizations I’m involved with now, he’s one of them are ones that I actually believe in the, in the mission in a deep internalized, you know, real kind of of way. And if I didn’t, I’d have, I’d have gotten involved in other things. Just mean, you can’t pick up new choices, a lot of ways that some of the smaller things I do, uh, they’re very interesting, uh, the kinds of ones that, uh, core values, but it’s, it’s an, it’s an opportunity, you know, to, to move the world forward. And that’s that’s that’s that, that that’s what why people give their time in the, in the treasure.

[00:58:10.32] spk_1:
Thank you so much. Warren fre Mcfarland, he’s a Professor emeritus at Harvard Business School. The book is effective fundraising, the trustees role and beyond. Published by Wiley Warren, thank you very much for sharing.

[00:58:22.23] spk_0:
It’s great with just terrific. Thank you so

[00:58:42.82] spk_1:
much. My pleasure if you missed any part of this week’s show, I Beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com were sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. Creative producer is

[00:58:43.78] spk_2:
Clan Meyerhoff

[00:58:44.70] spk_1:
shows. Social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our Web guy

[00:58:52.92] spk_2:
and this music is by scott stein. Yeah, thank you for that information, scotty you with me next week for nonprofit radio Big non profit ideas for the other 95%

[00:59:12.72] spk_1:
Go out and be great. Mhm. Mhm.