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Nonprofit Radio for December 13, 2021: Is A Social Enterprise For You?

My Guest:

Tamra Ryan: Is A Social Enterprise For You?

What are these and how do you decide whether to take one on—or even consider it—at your nonprofit? What kinds of businesses lend themselves to social enterprise and how do you structure the relationship? Tamra Ryan makes sense of it all. She’s CEO of Women’s Bean Project.

 

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[00:01:55.34] spk_1:
Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d suffer with Spagnolo arthropod earthy If you disjointed me with the idea that you missed this week’s show is a social enterprise for you. What are these And how do you decide whether to take one on or even consider it at your non profit what kinds of businesses lend themselves to social enterprise and how do you structure the relationship? Tamara Ryan makes sense of it all. She’s ceo of women’s Bean project. tony state too. Congratulations core africa. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o here is, is a social enterprise for you. It’s a pleasure to welcome Tamara Ryan to nonprofit radio She is Ceo of women’s Bean project, a social enterprise that provides transitional employment to women attempting to break the cycle of chronic unemployment and poverty while operating a food manufacturing business. She’s a former partner and board member for social venture partners. Denver and currently serves as part time interim ceo for the social enterprise alliance. She’s at Tamara Ryan and the enterprise is at women’s bean project dot com. Tamara, welcome to nonprofit radio

[00:01:57.34] spk_0:
it’s great to be here.

[00:02:01.24] spk_1:
It’s a pleasure. Pleasure to have you. Yeah. Why don’t you first explain what women’s bean project is all about because it’s an example of what you and I are going to talk about for a while

[00:03:01.04] spk_0:
Okay We are a food manufacturing business. We started with Bean Soup in 1989 and that’s where our name comes from. But today we have 50 different food products that we sell all across the country. What makes us different is that we employ women who are chronically unemployed. So a typical woman we hire hasn’t had a job longer than a year in her lifetime. Though the average age is 38. They come and work for us as for a full time job for 6 to 9 months. And during the time they’re with us, we teach basic job readiness skills and then we also in 30% of her paid time. We teach her life skills, we teach problem solving and goal setting and budgeting and planning and organizing. And so this whole thing is her job for these 6 to 9 months at the end she graduates our program and moves on to mainstream employment in the community. So we’re kind of two businesses were running a food manufacturing business and a human services business,

[00:03:18.54] spk_1:
which is exactly what the type of model we’ll be talking about. What I admire about that I found very interesting is that you said it. Um Well you’re used to saying it, but I want to call it out for 30% of their paid time. The women’s paid time is not spent working. It’s spent learning the soft skills of employment.

[00:03:39.04] spk_0:
Yeah, we call it the huge job. The y ou job. So she has the being job and she has the huge job and she’s paid for all of it. Mhm.

[00:03:45.74] spk_1:
Uh Well, so I see the value and you’ve had uh you had a lot of success with folks. Women having jobs longer than a year after they’ve they’ve I’m going to say graduated, but

[00:03:56.70] spk_0:
we use that term also the

[00:03:59.88] spk_1:
project.

[00:04:32.34] spk_0:
Yes. So we track them at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. We track them. What makes it easier to track them is that we pay them for those check ins. So we pay them $50 to check in at six and 12 months, $75 at 18 months and 100 bucks. Said two years to check in with us. And what we found that is that at a year uh 95 plus percent of the women are still employed. And I think what makes what’s significant about that is that again, the women we hire haven’t had a job longer than a year in their lifetime before they come to us. So what we really want to know is are we setting them helping them on a path for long term employment? You know, being able to sustain that employment.

[00:04:58.54] spk_1:
So what kinds of nonprofits are our listeners are all in small and mid sized nonprofits. So I think this is an ideal subject for listeners. What what types of nonprofits could consider having a social enterprise as part of their part of their work.

[00:06:06.44] spk_0:
I think organizations that are serving people who are using, you know, by necessity on public benefits and really who for a variety of reasons, whether it’s because of a felony background or it’s because of uh, low education levels or because of the history of addiction, you know, a variety of things that get in the way of, of getting and keeping employment. And so if you’re serving those people anyway, one way to help them, in addition to helping them build their foundation of, of soft skills is to employ them in a social enterprise. So that’s just one way that a social enterprises run. But it’s, you know, it as adults, we learn by doing so. It’s a really great way to work with the people that you’re working with anyway. Two create a business where you’re helping those same people in the long run be able to be successful,

[00:06:19.34] spk_1:
you’re a partner of social venture partners in Denver. What, what did you look for when you were investing in these types of organizations?

[00:07:07.94] spk_0:
Well, we specifically in Spp Denver, we’re looking for small organizations that both needed some funding, but also needed some technical assistance. And the reality is that we don’t, if you’re, if you’re running a human services organization, you don’t necessarily have somebody on staff that has the skills to launch a business, for instance, you know, even to do the market research to figure out what kind of business that might be um have the operational skills, you’re you’re running a human services business but you’re not necessarily running, say in our case of food manufacturing business. And so Spp really looked for organizations that needed the skill set of our partners and also could benefit from the funding that we were providing that. And then SVP’s model the funding and the technical assistance go hand in hand.

[00:07:42.74] spk_1:
So what what about organizations that uh don’t have the expertise that they need? Uh Let’s let’s let’s assume most of our listeners are not in Denver, so they don’t have access to S. V. P. Denver. What how can they how can they fill that void? And even just start like you’re saying like initial market research, how do they know where to get, how to get started?

[00:09:46.04] spk_0:
Well, every nonprofit has a board and I would venture to say that most nonprofits have business people on their board. So there are a lot of resources either through board members or through people that board members know. The one great thing that I’ve observed and I didn’t come from the nonprofit um world for my entire career. I was in the private sector before. And what I love about being in the nonprofit world is that there are lots of people who want to help and and just need to be need, they need help knowing what you need. And so I’ve been I’ve seen lots of ways we’ve been able to engage, uh, professionals in it for us, in, in food manufacturing, um, who have expertise that we need to sit on fair business development committee and help us look at uh, new product ideas. And I think that same concept could easily be applied to any organization that’s trying to figure out what kind of business they might run because that’s the key. You could decide to start a business, but it still has to be a viable business. The just just starting a business, you’re not going to get the halo effect of, you know, you’re doing it as, as a non profit and therefore it’s going to succeed. All the same market factors come into play that do for any business. And so you, you really do have to still find a viable business. That makes sense. That is needed. That you can price appropriately. Um, one of the things about the research for social enterprises or whether or not consumers are going to buy from a social enterprise, whether it’s a product or service. One of the statistics is that all other things being equal? So in other words, quality, price, etcetera. People more and more have a tendency to purchase products and services from a mission based organization or a mission based company. But the most important part of that statement is all other things, other things equal. All

[00:09:54.18] spk_1:
things being equal.

[00:09:55.24] spk_0:
Yes,

[00:09:58.54] spk_1:
you have to, you have to be able to compete with your private enter, strictly private enterprise, market driven, profit driven competitors.

[00:11:20.24] spk_0:
Yeah. You have to be able to compete. And yet at the same time, you also need to figure out what your competitive advantages yourself. So for instance, in our case we are able to, uh, we’re right now in the holiday season, you know, september to december for women’s bean project, 70% of our sales are made. So, you know, we really peaked during this time of year. One of our competitive advantages is we can bring in volunteers to help us say pack boxes or help us, you know, get shipments out the door or help with with prep of product. And that’s something that is a bit of a competitive advantage because if we were just, you know, in the, in the private sector running a regular food manufacturing operation, we really, I don’t think we could, you know, look somebody in the eye and get and get that kind of assistance. But for us it’s a way to engage donors to get people really invested, get new customers. You know, there are so many ways that, that bringing people from the community in to help us is advantageous not just to get the work done, but to get additional support for our organization.

[00:11:49.34] spk_1:
So you’ve opened yourself up to a whole new set of metrics as, as having a social enterprise and we’re gonna get to what, what the relationship is between the company and and a nonprofit or, you know, how that could be set up by different, by different organizations. But you’ve, you’ve got to measure, you’ve got to measure the company’s profit and the company’s output and productivity, productivity per employee hour or you know, whatever, you know, the, the key metrics for the business are as well as the social outcomes of of your graduates and your employee members and your and your graduates.

[00:12:34.94] spk_0:
It’s a, you know, I joke sometimes it’s a horrible way to run a business, right? Because we intentionally everyday hire women, we don’t know if they’re going to come to work every day. I mean that’s part of their barriers to employment and we work with them and they help, we help them become great employees and as soon as they become great employees, we let them go off and become somebody else’s great employee and we start all over again. Uh, and it’s so it’s super inefficient and we also over higher. So if we were a for profit company and we were trying to be as efficient as possible and, you know, squeeze every penny out of our margin. We absolutely would not hire as many women as we do. But that’s not the point. The point for us is to use our business to advance our mission. So we hire as many women as possible as we can justify based on what our sales are going to be.

[00:13:09.24] spk_1:
So what are some of the things that nonprofits need to think about, uh, beyond all right. What’s a, what’s a viable business? What other, what other factors are important?

[00:13:16.04] spk_0:
Well, maybe the biggest thing is it’s hard. And I joke sometimes with our team, like if this were easy, everybody do it. Do

[00:13:20.79] spk_1:
we really want to do it? Do we really want to do it as an important threshold?

[00:15:30.84] spk_0:
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s hard because you have to have the ability to entertain two opposing ideas at the same time, right? We need to run an efficient manufacturing business and we also need to deliver on our mission. And those two things actually often don’t go together very well. And so being able to both entertain those ideas and acknowledge that perhaps today the business wins. Maybe we, um, the women instead of, um, Spending 30% of today’s time in a class say financial literacy, they’re on the production floor for the whole day because we have a lot of work to do, But tomorrow maybe it’s the, it’s reversed and they’re spending the whole day in some sort of training and not making any product at all. And so our job is every day to, to balance that out. And so that’s, I think one of the hardest things is, uh, is having that ability to understand that if not for the mission, your business doesn’t really exist, but yet your, your business has to be profitable in order for to make sense and contribute to the mission and, and that, you know, balancing act, you know, is a constant. So that’s part of what makes it hard. I would say another thing is that you, you still have to find all the other, I mentioned this before, All the other market forces still prevail. So if you have a product that nobody wants to buy, you’re not going to have a successful business and there’s no amount of mission that’s going to forgive that at least not in the long term. And you know, at this point, women’s bean project is 32 years old and I think in a lot of ways we’ve just been lucky. There was no initial market research that said, you know, being super. I think that’s the key to success. Nobody, nobody did any kind of research at the beginning. Our founder just noticed she was in her late fifties, she’s gone back to school to get her master’s degree in social work and she noticed a lot of her friends who were around her age were eating bean soup for health reasons. And so she invested $500 of her own money and bought beans and put two women to work making 10 bean soup. The crazy thing is that’s still 32 years later, our best selling product,

[00:16:45.14] spk_1:
it’s time for a break. Turn to communications. Do you have all the time. You need to do all the writing. You need to do social posts, blog posts, newsletters, the annual report, website updates, board reports, fundraising appeals. Acknowledgment messages, staff, communications, process documentation, training documents. Do you need help with writing in 2022? Turn to communications, your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C. O. Now back to is a social enterprise for you. All right. That’s a terrific story. But it’s, it’s, it’s more or less than or what not to do in in determining what, what, what businesses gonna survive. Because, you know, you said it, I’m just gonna amplify it. No amount of mission is gonna forgive, uh, bad, bad marketing or a bad bad entry choice or, or any of the, any of the market forces.

[00:17:02.44] spk_0:
Yeah. And I think you also have to have either a product or service that has a decent enough margin margin to sort of forgive the inefficiency. And I also wouldn’t choose food for that reason the ship sailed for us. But you know, that’s not the highest margin. Um, you know, product category. For sure.

[00:17:22.24] spk_1:
Right now, food is notoriously low margin. Um, but you know, you said you gave an example of hiring many more women than you need, then you would. Well, maybe then you do need, then you would, if you were strictly market driven.

[00:17:28.84] spk_0:
Exactly.

[00:17:36.24] spk_1:
Yeah. All right. Um, before, before we move on. Any other advice about the, the opening questions to talk about with your board, with your leadership?

[00:19:18.34] spk_0:
Well, another aspect of balance I think is uh, is balancing being opportunistic and, and um, and not being so bullish on an idea that you ignore, um, other signs. So as an example, uh, years ago we were approached by somebody who had a whole bunch of equipment for canning and they were willing to give us all the equipment, let us have access to the facility, a whole bunch of things. But what we really had to analyze and I think this happens actually a fair amount to organizations that are thinking of starting businesses. Somebody thinks I’ve got a great idea, I’ll just give this to them. But the thing was, we weren’t in the canning business, we are a dry food manufacturer and what it would have meant for us just, you know, pivot and create another business. You know, really wasn’t worth that. What seemed like a super generous donation. Um, it was forgive the pun, but it was a whole can of worms that we didn’t necessarily mean I need to open. But that’s an example because when you start talking about this, all manner of people are gonna surface who are interested and willing to help. And one of the most important things you might, I need to do is say no thank you because you know, sometimes gifts are not always gifts in the, you know, when it really comes down to it, it’s maybe not the best strategy and it’s sometimes hard not to get all, you know? Um Starry eyed about something that seems like a fantastic gift and the next thing, you know, you’re in the canning business and you never intended to be in.

[00:19:42.74] spk_1:
Now you’re doing wetsuits instead of instead of dried soup. That’s a that’s a huge pivot. Um And yeah, I mean, that’s and that’s in the nonprofit, the straight uh non profit sector as well. You know, there are gifts that come sometimes with strings. You know, if you’ll if you’ll adopt this, create this program or

[00:19:46.62] spk_0:
women’s

[00:20:33.44] spk_1:
school, but if you started admitting boys, I’ll give you the seven figure gift. You know, that’s those are the gift size can be transformational, but that doesn’t mean you you sacrifice your mission and transform your mission to accept $1 million dollar gift. Um So All right. But, you know, Mhm interesting. You know, you you you evaluated from the nonprofit perspective, but also from the market forced perspective. You know, now we’re entering, it’s a whole new business. Now we’re gonna be competing with uh um Campbell’s, you know, Campbell’s and Hunts and Hormel, you know, whoever, whatever that be, whatever the soup manufacturers are. Um All right, So value right, important lesson to sometimes the better answer is No, no, thank you, gracious. No.

[00:20:38.85] spk_0:
Yes. All right.

[00:20:47.24] spk_1:
All right. Um advice on types of businesses that that could lend themselves to this.

[00:22:15.84] spk_0:
I’ll start with um service businesses because sometimes those can actually be really great supports for a really great social enterprises and supports for human services organizations. The nice thing about service businesses are very localized. So you could serve one community and then an example of a service business might be a uh, landscaping business or there are several social enterprises around the country that do uh go to business districts and clean up trash and snow removal and leaf removal and those kinds of things. Again, those are very localized. And what’s nice about that is that you could do it in this city and then maybe you pick it up and you do the same thing in another city. Those are really cool ways to be able to employ a lot of people and engage in multiple communities. Uh and there are, you know, other businesses um, like uh, has control is another one where, you know, that’s a pretty expandable business, um, cleaning services, especially in offices and things like that. Um, so those are some examples of businesses that actually could be really great businesses for people. And when you’re selling a service, that’s a really different dynamic than, say, you know, consumer packaged goods where, you know, you’re competing with marketing dollars from companies, it’s just much more challenging um, area to be in. You

[00:22:51.64] spk_1:
also, you also have the advantage of being able to, as you said, start local. So you can say initially the impact of our work is local. And so there’s a there’s an appeal to an appeal to the mission with your caveat that uh lots of mission is not going to overcome bad, you know, uh not being competitive market market wise, but you can say that you have that you have that local impact at least as you’re, as you’re getting started and then as you’re suggesting, you know, you can expand.

[00:24:09.44] spk_0:
And I think, you know, if you’re making a product, one of the potential challenges is that if you make a product that in our case our products consumable, so we can have repeat customers, you know, of course it has to be a good quality and taste good and all of those things. But we have customers we’ve had for 30 years and who keep coming back over and over again. If you end up making a product that’s not consumable. The challenges that, you know, say you’re making uh cutting board, there’s only so many cutting boards, somebody needs or only so many gifts you can give, you know to other people. And so you always have to be finding new customers to be able to grow your business. And that said, there’s, you know, when you start out, your customer base is so small that the world really is, you know, is pretty large of possible customers. But there’s a point at which without spending a lot of marketing dollars or advertising dollars to get noticed that you really sort of tap out the people you can access and that’s, you know, so that’s an interesting challenge of making a product where you can teach some really amazing skills, but at the same time, you know, you might have a limited customer base.

[00:24:21.14] spk_1:
Can I get these uh can I get these meals and just add water? Are they, are they that are there that simple from women’s bean project?

[00:25:19.44] spk_0:
Pretty straightforward like that. So a soup mix, you would at water, you put it in a safe crock pot and let it cook for the day. And at the end you are 10 being soup, you just add a can of tomatoes or you could add vegetables and hope into other things if that’s what you wanted. But just to finish off the recipe, it would just be adding a can of tomatoes. We also have baking mixes. And so in that case it’s everything that you need. You would add an egg and some oil or butter and you’ve got brownies or corn bread or stones. So it’s a nice thing about like a baking mix for instance is you don’t have to buy a bag of flour and buy a bag of sugar and all of those things and then have them left over. You can use our mix and use the eggs that you have and the butter that you have. And next thing you know, you made these yummy brownies and you look like a total baker. No one’s the wiser,

[00:25:20.98] spk_1:
right? You don’t have, you don’t have four and three quarters pounds of flour

[00:25:25.05] spk_0:
over.

[00:25:30.94] spk_1:
Okay. A little digression. But I was interested in and how simple the meals are. Okay,

[00:25:31.49] spk_0:
we do have an instant,

[00:25:33.37] spk_1:
we have,

[00:25:47.84] spk_0:
yeah, we have instant beans and rice cups also, which literally are adding water. Um and then and we also have some ready to eat snacks. So you know, just keep them in your desk and you know, nosh on them whenever you feel like it. So we have a pretty wide variety of different products.

[00:25:58.84] spk_1:
Ok, I’m going to check women’s bean project dot com. Um So, okay, so service businesses were, you’re suggesting service businesses, what what else, what else could folks consider?

[00:27:43.74] spk_0:
Well, there’s some great social enterprises. Again, these are pretty localized that to screen printing. So you think about your inner city and you have your screen printing business, you’re able to employ people and you’re able to serve all the companies locally for, you know, their employee t shirts or you know, races or things like that. Again, very localized but also scalable As well. Um there’s a really awesome social enterprise out of Boston called more than words and more than words serves youth 16-24 who are either aging out of the foster system or justice involved and they sell books, they sell books have been donated from the community and the the youth learned the skill of scanning the I. S. P. N. Number to make sure it’s marketable. And they recycle the books that don’t have uh aftermarket value. And then they sell the books that do and they sell both online. They have a couple of bookstores. The cool thing is all these youth are you know they’re helping them find homes, they’re helping them with their academic goals helping them sort of adult you know into the community. Yet at the same time they’re also learning these skills of running a book business. So they have measurable uh um outcomes that they have to achieve. They have certain sales goals they have to meet for their various channels. It’s a really amazing business that that they’re operating in the youth. Stay with them for a couple of years.

[00:27:47.64] spk_1:
What’s the name of that 1?

[00:27:51.14] spk_0:
It’s called more than words? Okay.

[00:27:53.24] spk_1:
Yeah back on the service side I’ve seen uh copy copy services copy and print and print shops.

[00:28:33.54] spk_0:
Yeah A bank of America actually has their own social enterprise that they operate in the house. And they serve people with developmental disabilities are they employ people with developmental disabilities but they do all the printing for their own needs. Um There’s also electronics recycling. Uh you know the statistic is that people who are on the autism spectrum have an unemployment rate of about 85%. And and yet they are uniquely talented to disassemble electronics. So there there are electronics recycling organizations that employ people on the autism spectrum to just disassemble and um and then they part of so they’re providing the employment, they’re getting the donations of the electronics um and in some instances they’re being paid by the companies to take the electronics and then they also they sell the commodities of all the things that come out of those electronics,

[00:29:00.49] spk_1:
metals, plastics.

[00:29:01.67] spk_0:
Yeah, so you know when you think about that as a we use the term triple bottom line, it’s helping society, it’s helping the environment and it’s you know, it’s it’s making money. That is a really awesome example of of a business that hits at every level.

[00:29:24.54] spk_1:
Yeah, excellent, excellent. Another these are good another example or category.

[00:29:52.54] spk_0:
Well there are some social enterprises that instead of employing people provide employment services. So there is a social enterprise that here in Denver that specifically helps people who are bilingual, english spanish get jobs in the community with employers who need people who are bilingual, but that could apply to kind of any language or not even be bilingual, you know, so they and so companies come to them when they need people who maybe it’s customer service people who can speak another language other than english. Um and so again a service business but not where they are employing people.

[00:30:11.34] spk_1:
Right, right. And and so companies pay for the for the referral for the screening.

[00:30:16.04] spk_0:
Yeah,

[00:30:16.58] spk_1:
the placement basically they’re paying a placement fee,

[00:30:20.94] spk_0:
yep, exactly,

[00:32:45.74] spk_1:
it’s time for Tony stick to Core Africa, the Core Africa Ceo and longtime non profit radio Fan Liz Fanning announced last week a three year $17 million collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation. Outstanding, congratulations Liz, congratulations! Core Africa. This is going to allow Core Africa to expand from four countries, 2, 8 countries in Africa. and initially Mastercard Foundation was funding 56 young volunteers That’s going to scale up to 500. Almost 10 fold. This is, you know, talk about scaling, it’s just terrific news. Um and I think the real lesson here is in what the Mastercard Foundation Ceo cited in his quote, he says quote, Core Africa has proven its impact in rural communities and demonstrated the value of deploying a network of service minded young Africans to solve pressing issues across the continent. Their vision aligns with our young Africa works strategy end quote and he goes on. So he’s talking about the proven impact and vision alignment with what Mastercard Foundation is looking for. It’s just terrific news to scale like that, a $17 million, three year collaboration with a marquee name. Foundation for Core Africa, it’s terrific. You know, it’s a, it’s a testament to the work that they’ve done the impact that they have proven. So again, congratulations to Core Africa on this monumental funding for your important work That is Tony’s take two, we’ve got boo koo but loads more time for is a social enterprise for you.

[00:33:12.54] spk_0:
But there’s, you know, there’s just so many different kinds, there are cafes that’s a fairly popular kind of social enterprise. Um here in Denver we have a cafe called same cafe and same stands for, so all may eat and they, it is a pay what you want model. So you walk in and the menu is listed for the day and you decide how much you’re going to pay. You

[00:33:18.46] spk_1:
have heard of them.

[00:33:37.74] spk_0:
Yes. And, and so you might be sitting down and having, you know, decide that you want to pay $10 for your lunch, but you also might be sitting next to somebody who is um experiencing homelessness and didn’t pay anything and if you decide if you don’t have any money to pay for your lunch, then you work in the kitchen or you clean or you know do dishes and um and so again, it’s a really cool concept that serves people all, you know, it’s beneficial to the community at multiple levels.

[00:34:06.14] spk_1:
Excellent. These are cool examples. Yeah. Um so, all right, so we talked about services, uh some some product, I love the recycling example too. Uh any anything else before we, before we move on to organizing these these entities.

[00:35:37.54] spk_0:
Um well, the last one I’ll mention is one that’s been around for a long, long time, like women’s bean project is called Grace and bakery. They’re out of Yonkers new york and they make the brownies for Ben and jerry’s ice cream. So a big, the bulk of their business is brownies for Ben and jerry’s and they also have now gotten into doing some retail sales and corporate sales. So you might see your listeners might have seen them in some for instance whole foods at sort of a point of sale or point of purchase with a little brownie and it says these brownies changed lives, but Grayson is a for profit company. So this is a nice segue into the next part of our conversation. They are actually a B corp a benefit corporation and they they have an open hiring model. So instead of specifically going out and trying to recruit people experiencing chronic unemployment, like we do, they are always accepting applications and when they have an opening they just hire the next person on the list. So they hire, they don’t, you know, interview or you know, look at qualifications, they just hire the next person and uh you know, so they will have more turnover than a normal company would, but they’re also within that community in Yonkers, they’re they’re really changing people’s lives give by giving them an opportunity for employment that they might not otherwise have had.

[00:35:42.64] spk_1:
Okay, that’s interesting. First, that’s Grayson, G. Like

[00:35:46.56] spk_0:
G. R E Y S. T O N.

[00:36:23.63] spk_1:
Kristen bakery. Yeah, these brownies save lives. Okay, so listeners, we might, we might see those at at checkout sounds like point of sale places. Okay. Um, but then, you know, there’s the issue of, you know, giving a job versus teaching job skills in addition like, like, like women’s bean project is doing, it seems to me that the, the training beyond the skills for the job is more empowering than then giving a job and just giving a job.

[00:36:49.83] spk_0:
Well, I think that’s consistent with our philosophy at women’s bean project that there are because we acknowledge that there are lots of things that get in the way of somebody being able to get and keep the and keep I think is the important part, right? Like in a weave prior to the pandemic and I think we’re back to a, there’s a lot of jobs, but um, and so you could go from job to job to job in an environment where there are lots of jobs. But the important thing is, are you going to a job where you are a contributor where there is opportunity for advancement and benefits and all the things that make it more of a career than just a job. That’s what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to change the, are the women we serve. That’s the trajectory we want them to be on when they finished.

[00:37:27.13] spk_1:
All right. So, you know, of course, different missions. I mean just like nonprofits that Grayson has uh, has a different model, but but there there generously hiring, they just hire the next person on the list.

[00:37:33.13] spk_0:
Yeah, Yeah. Sorry?

[00:37:34.33] spk_1:
All right. So, yeah, as you suggested, and I wanted to talk about the how to organize and structure these, you know, like what’s the relationship listeners already are in non profits? Most of our listeners are uh, you know, how what would that relationship look like if they did start a social enterprise?

[00:37:52.13] spk_0:
Well, I know as as the interviewer here, you you will hate to hear this answer, but it depends. Okay, listen

[00:38:00.16] spk_1:
now, don’t hold back on. Don’t

[00:38:02.29] spk_0:
don’t tell

[00:38:04.31] spk_1:
listeners of nonprofit radio what you think they want to hear?

[00:38:06.87] spk_0:
It’s

[00:38:07.71] spk_1:
an educated self selected group.

[00:38:09.80] spk_0:
So yes, so nuanced

[00:38:12.28] spk_1:
answers are very welcome.

[00:40:13.71] spk_0:
Well, it it does depend and it depends on what you want to do and how you might want to structure it and and honestly tolerance, risk tolerance of your board and you know, of your team. So, um Women’s Bean Project is a five oh one C three. A big reason for that is because we were founded in 1989 and if you wanted to do good, that was the choice, right? That’s all you had. Um, today there are lots of different structures. You could, or opportunities. You could be a for profit company, um, and become a benefit corporation, B Corp you could be a subsidiary of a nonprofit. Um, you could be an LLC, you know, there are just so many different ways. And so generally what I tell people is first figure out what you want to do, then figure out what the corporate structure makes the most sense. What I will tell you is that I wouldn’t necessarily change our corporate structure because we’ve made it work for ourselves. Our the way we have structured ourselves by having everything under one roof. The huge job in the beam job is that we what that’s done is that it has allowed us to have a mixed revenue uh pie, so to speak. So about 60% 60% of our operating budget comes from our product sales. What that does is it supports the business that supports women’s time while they’re working in the business. And it gives us the ability by the beans and the flour and all those things and makes a small contribution to our program operations. And then we fundraise to support program operations because again when a woman is in a financial literacy class or working on a resume or even in job search, looking for the next job, we’re paying her still. So we fundraise to both support those classes but also to be able to pay her. And because we’re five and one C three we have the ability to do that. It also probably gives us a little bit of wiggle room in terms of our inefficiency. Um you know I would if we were if if all of our revenue had to come from our product sales. We would probably have to compromise the mission a little bit and hire fewer women because we have to run a business with much better margin than we currently do

[00:40:27.55] spk_1:
more efficient.

[00:41:28.61] spk_0:
Yeah. But I will also say that there are plenty of situations where the, a board of a nonprofit, they might be interested in this idea of having revenue that’s basically unrestricted revenue, but they don’t want to risk the larger organization or they do or they want to just sort of run it on the side as sort of a separate entity and maybe not have it be a distraction within their main business, so to speak. There there are risks in that as well though. I’ve seen lots of uh, non profit big human services organizations that run social enterprises and they sort of treat them like the red headed step child. And, and look at him like what have you done for me lately? Little, you know, business, Why are you not contributing more when the reality is they’re kind of stifling the growth of that, that business. Um, and, and perhaps, um, you know, causing it to, you know, not prosper. Yeah, that’s

[00:41:48.11] spk_1:
a mistaken, well not only organization, but just in, in culture, in you think that the way board members and I guess the organization collectively thinks about its social enterprise as, you know, as uh, the ugly step child.

[00:41:50.51] spk_0:
Yeah. And that’s the risk, right? If of creating a structure where you sort of set it off to the side. I mean I understand that sometimes that’s done to avoid risk, but sometimes it creates more risk for the survival of the business. One of the things I worry about having been in this field for a long time is that, you know, uh we’ve now come to a point where social enterprise is kind of cool. It’s kind of come into its own, I joke that it’s like women’s bean project has been wearing a velour tracksuit for 30 years and now suddenly velour track suits are in uh but you know, so

[00:42:24.27] spk_1:
stay behind me with bell bottom suit.

[00:42:27.61] spk_0:
Yeah, exactly. Behind long enough, if I hold on to these

[00:42:30.51] spk_1:
things long enough they’ll come, they’ll come my dozen bellbottoms suits will come back.

[00:43:14.10] spk_0:
It turns out that’s happening for social enterprise. But what I worry is that organizations will start a business and do that and sort of cut it off at its knees and not even maybe recognize that and it won’t survive and then they’ll look back later and say, yeah, we tried that. It didn’t work. But I can tell you that if it it’s not always because it’s a bad idea that it doesn’t work. It could be because you just didn’t give it the opportunity for us, we in the nonprofit world are notoriously risk averse. That’s not a news flash to anybody I know. And so the challenge is to be willing to take some risk and balance at risk. You know, it’s a risk reward ratio in a business and balance that risk a little bit um With with what the benefit could be a long term.

[00:43:36.70] spk_1:
Yeah you started the transition again. I love it the way you segue easily uh lessons you know, lessons learnt things to look out for things to be sure you you’ve considered You’ve been doing this for 30 what 32 years?

[00:43:39.70] spk_0:
30

[00:43:40.60] spk_1:
two years.

[00:44:59.49] spk_0:
Yeah, Well I often say we have 32 years worth of mistakes. We could totally help somebody else avoid and leave them free to make all their own mistakes. Um you know it’s I would say the lessons learned are are consistent with what I’ve been saying, which is you really do um If you want a social enterprise to survive, you really do have to embrace it as as being a means through which you’re going to deliver on your mission and not set it on the side and say well you know someday you’re gonna make me some money and I’ll be able to use that money to advance my mission. They have to be interwoven. Um so you know, we don’t exist to make bean soup yet we can’t exist without it. And that idea that the two are inextricable um is probably the most important thing and the most important, honestly lesson that I’ve seen. I watched a social enterprise um be formed out of an organization that was providing initially providing the same service for free. And then they formed the social enterprise too monetize the service, but yet they kept offering the service. So they had this business and they kept offering the service for free. So

[00:45:01.07] spk_1:
yes.

[00:45:46.09] spk_0:
And um, and then eventually decided that the social enterprise wasn’t working. And the, the problem I thought, you know, it’s, it’s easy monday morning quarterback, admittedly, but you know, was that they set it up to be a complete, you know, be its own competition. So of course it was, there was always going to be that tension and that conflict. You’ve got enough tension and conflict, just trying to advance your mission and advance your business without setting yourself up for failure. So, you know, that’s another lesson which is be prepared for there to be tension between the business and the mission. But be okay with that because that’s part of what you’re doing is you’re trying to change the world by using market forces. Uh, and you know, we are, we’re a country of consumers. So let’s take advantage of the fact that we are a country of consumers. Everybody needs to buy products and services. So what a great opportunity to, um, to, to, for lack of a better word, exploit that.

[00:46:16.38] spk_1:
I love the way you say, you’re working to change the world by using market forces. Um, all right. Any anything else? You wanna, you wanna leave folks with anything that we didn’t talk about that you feel is is important. Anything I didn’t ask about,

[00:47:21.58] spk_0:
you know, I would say, uh, the last thing would be that if you are thinking about, um, starting a social enterprise, start looking at other models and seeing what other groups are doing. And especially if they’re localized, there’s, you know, there’s no reason to that. You wouldn’t be able to learn from their mistakes. Um, so you we have been asked often whether or not we would expand women’s Bean project out of Denver across the country. What we have chosen instead is to be more open source where we look forward to sharing the things that we’ve learned because I think ultimately, if we want to lift up the whole field, not just, you know, aggrandized women’s Bean project, that’s not our goal. Our goal really is to help other organizations create or prosper with their social enterprises, not just have us get bigger and bigger. There’s enough need to go around.

[00:47:27.88] spk_1:
Mm hmm. What about social enterprise Alliance? Is that a resource for folks?

[00:47:41.68] spk_0:
It absolutely is. And that might be a great place to start to figure out what is out there. They have social enterprise alliance has, uh, you know, members all over the country who are involved at various levels of social enterprise. So they might be running social enterprises or they might be consultants to social enterprise. Um, if you need an attorney to talk with, for instance about what your corporate structure might be their resources there. Um, but the nice thing about that is if you’re in the initial stages of just doing research is a great place to start.

[00:48:12.47] spk_1:
Okay, good value. You can have conversations with folks, you can, you can, it’s a good place to start your research and, and, and grow if you decide to

[00:48:14.13] spk_0:
mean, you

[00:48:23.87] spk_1:
might start your research and decide. It’s not really, you know, you can’t tolerate the risk or the tension. Uh, it was just something you don’t want to take on, but at least you do it, make that decision informed.

[00:49:44.67] spk_0:
Yeah. I always think that fear is not a reason not to do something right. Like you can acknowledge the fear and sort of do the things that, that you need to do to, um, to try to overcome or, you know, address the fear, but staying noticed something just because you’re afraid. It’s maybe not the best reason. Uh, and I think also, you know, we have a tendency to sit at the, at the starting line and try to anticipate all the problems we’re going to have. And, and I guarantee, first of all, we’ll be wrong about what problems we think we’re going to have and whatever solution we decide it’s gonna not be appropriate for whatever problem you end up having. And so ultimately you just got to start and and have faith that you have gather the resources and the expertise enough that you can address the problems as they come up. But I think that that tends to be and in my experience, just going to lots of, you know, speaking on lots of panels and talking with lots of organizations that are thinking about starting social enterprises is they, they often get stuck at that starting line and have a hard time pulling the trigger. Um, the reality is, it might not work, but think about it. I, I think you learn more from failure than you do successful a lot of times.

[00:49:57.67] spk_1:
Yeah, too much ready, aim, aim, aim and, and, and no firing. All right, outstanding. Thank you Tamara, thank you very much.

[00:50:00.34] spk_0:
Thank you

[00:51:23.16] spk_1:
my pleasure. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for sharing the women’s Bean project story and and beyond. Uh, tomorrow Ryan Ceo women’s being project. It’s at women’s Bean project dot com. You want to look at their dried foods and other products, especially now around the holidays and Tamara is at tomorrow Ryan. Thanks so much Tamara next week. How about our annual replay of zombie loyalists? I think. So, 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 shows social media is by Susan Chavez Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott Stein. Mhm. Thank you for that information, scotty You with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for September 15, 2017: Run Like A Biz & Program Your Board

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Hello and welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. I’m your aptly named host. Oh, i’m glad you’re with me. I need a pancreas. Ole affected me for last week’s pancreas volodya, sis, if you hard into me with the idea that you missed today’s show, run like a biz hillary shaefer brought her twelve years on wall street to the jefferson awards foundation, where she is executive director. She shares her ideas from building core infrastructure to employee policies that originally aired september eighteenth, twenty fifteen and programmed your board. Your board probably recognizes its fiduciary responsibilities, but does it know it’s rolling overseeing programs? Jean takagi is our legal contributor and principal of the non-profit and exempt organizations law group neo that also aired september eighteenth twenty fifteen tony’s take two five minute planned e-giving marketing responsive by pursuant full service fund-raising data driven and technology enabled pursuant dot com and by wagner cps guiding you beyond the numbers wagner, cps dot com you’re not a business you’re non-profit apple of accounting software designed for non-profits they’re at non-profit wizard dot com and we’d be spelling supercool spelling bee fundraisers. We b e spelling dot com here’s hillary schaefer run like a biz. I’m glad to welcome to the studio hillary schaefer. Prior to joining the jefferson awards foundation as executive director, she worked as the head of us institutional equity sales in new york. For citigroup, she was one of the highest ranking women in the equity business in the late nineties, she was the executive director of economic security two thousand fighting to save and remodel social security. The foundation is at jefferson awards dot org’s and she’s at beard hillary on twitter welcome hillary schaeffer. Thank you very much. Glad you’re in the studio. Thanks to be here. Eight and a half months pregnant. Eight and a half months pregnant. We got you at the right time. What what’s behind this twitter id beard? Hillary it’s. My maiden name is beard. Okay, until re beard was taken, i presume and hillary beard is probably taking swiped by some. I had that done on youtube. Some joker i hope he was named tony martignetti stole the channel name tony martignetti and i have you riel tony martignetti but he doesn’t use it. So it’s ah, people don’t have trouble finding me? Not that anyone’s looking, but if they were looking, they wouldn’t have trouble finding me on youtube. Um, tell me about wall street what’s it what’s it like making a living equity say institutional equity sales what’s it like, what does that mean, that’s that place, like, actually, frankly, loved it. I did it for twelve years. I went into wall street thinking i would do it for two. Yeah, we’re really, really fell in love for long enough to stay for twelve instruction equity sales is basically where you manage the relationships for the largest institutional investors who invest in stocks. Okay, so on behalf of citigroup, so on you’re like, on account, uh, liaison to big companies buying stocks. Sort of. Yes, i minimize their eyes like so egregiously. Okay, clearly egregiously. So, what do you how do you how do you keep big institutional buyers happy? What you have to do, too, with more of their blackness is making money, right? So investing in stocks that go up and shorting stocks that go down. And so ah, lot of the business of the equity business of citigroup is to provide really good insights and ideas and research into the companies that they care about and delivering that content into your clients in a way which is consumable. Smart fits with their investment style. It helps them make money is really the core of what you do. Okay, but then there are all of these other services that citigroup offers and help clients run their money from financing stocks. Teo, all of the things that go around the core of running that business, okay, banking and credit relationships, things like that, things like that. Okay? And so core of that business is sort of managing that entire relationship to make sure they get the resource is that they need in orderto successfully run the business and a transition to non-profit work. What? What occasioned that, frankly, hurricane sandy, i had left wall street. I have two little kids already at home. And i decided that i wanted teo figure out what i wanted to do next. I had no idea what that was. Actually, frankly thought it would be in the finance world. Yeah, and hurricane sandy hit new york. And i was sitting in my living room working on a business plan for a finance business okay, and i just got really passionate about the idea that there were children who had gone to bed safe and sound the night before that woke up with no signs of food or shelter or warmth, their security. And so i went to work from my living room to create programs that generated millions of more meals, hundreds of thousands of blankets and warm winter coats for families all over the tri state area and my husband on dh, the executive director of robin hood both basically sat me down and said, please don’t go back to finance the passion that you feel around helping people is so significant. Do something else. Stay in the non-profit so you gave away your entrepreneurial dream, the plan you’re working on, you’re going to start your own business. I did put that aside, although running a non-profit is inherently credibly entrepreneur. Okay, if it’s done right, i think that’s done right. All right, all right, tell us a little about the jefferson awards and the and the foundation. Sure. So we we basically power public service. We’ve been around since nineteen seventy two started by jackie kennedy. Senator robert taft. Junior and my father, sam beard and the original idea was create a nobel prize for public service in america. Celebrate the very best of the country. You celebration to not only say thank you to people do amazing things, but also as a force multiplier to inspire others to do something good. We then translated into programs that accelerate and amplify service for people of every age. So, starting about ten years ago, we became one of the largest creators of public service in the country through training mechanisms and programs that engage individuals again of all ages to do service ranging from the donation of a single book from a child to a child all the way up. Tio young people in adult toe like who are impacting millions of lives and it’s ah, jefferson awards so what’s the awards side of this. So when the awards is the celebration peace. So we are effectively the gold seal of service in america. We give out a we give out jefferson awards the national level, you would know basically every name. Okay. Who’s, one of jefferson word over the last forty three years. And then we have a media. Partner program, where we partner with ah, local affiliates, newspapers, etcetera but primary news outlets in communities all over the country. But today, reaching to seventy eight million households on dh, they are empowered to take the jefferson award and celebrate local grassroots unsung heroes. All right, a nobel prize for ah, for outstanding program work and and saving lives for impact impact. How about the foundation itself? Just number employees, just a quaint little bit number of employees annual budget. So it’s about twenty seven, employees, we have a, uh, about a ten and a half million dollar annual budget, of which much of that is in-kind it’s about a three and a half million dollar operating revenue budget. Okay, and we’re going to go out for a break in roughly a minute or so. So just, uh, give us a little overviewing of what? What some of the lessons are that you brought from equity sales on dh wall street. Teo, your charitable work. And i think the biggest thing is just that any organization, whether it’s for-profit or non-profit, needs to be world class in order to be successful and that starts with everything from how you manage and set your employees up for success to your back end systems that govern how you pay your rent, you know, pay your expenses and collect your revenues to don’t hurt management. Teo everything that you do needs to look and feel like you set for-profit world, but it’s really for impact. So i’m guessing you believe non-profit is your tax status? Not your mindset? Correct? Yeah, cool. Okay, of course. Hillary stays with us. We go after this break. I hope you do too. You’re tuned to non-profit radio tony martignetti also hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy fund-raising fundamentals is a quick ten minute burst of fund-raising insights published once a month. Tony’s guests are expert in crowdfunding, mobile giving event fund-raising direct mail and donor cultivation. Really all the fund-raising issues that make you wonder am i doing this right? Is there a better way there is? Find the fund-raising fundamentals archive it. Tony martignetti dot com that’s marketmesuite n e t t i remember there’s a g before the end, thousands of listeners have subscribed on itunes. You can also learn maura the chronicle website philanthropy dot com fund-raising fundamentals the better way dahna welcome back to big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. Hillary schaefer let’s ah, let’s, dive into some of these lessons that you’ve brought with you this world class let’s start in the back end investment in infrastructure like c r, m databases, data management so that’s a that’s a terrific place to start because really every non-profit is powered by who they reach and how they reached them and how they communicate with, um and management of relationships, whether that’s a whether that’s, a donor, whether that’s, somebody, who’s won an award from our perspective, whether that somebody who has just invested in you are in your programs and how you understand that relationship, how you manage that relationship is all driven by the back end. Traditionally, people would use spreadsheets or just use, you know, sort of word and lists in their own brains, and fundamentally, it doesn’t get you as far as you need to get, and technology today is so sophisticated and there’s so many great great data pay systems that can integrate seamlessly with your website and with donor management tools and with, um, all mechanisms that you need to communicate effectively and really segment that communication into something that makes sense for that individual. It’s. Almost a shame not to you not to use it. Yeah, segmentation, and we’ll get to the benefit of that. I’ve had other guests. My voice just cracked like i’m a fourteen year old. I’ve had have a congratulations e. Everything else operates at, uh, the requisite age at fifty three. But my voice occasionally. Yeah, so we’ll get to the value of segmentation because people want to talk to personally, not not and mass and like everybody else, but so but this can be hard to invest in me, we’re talking about this is not serving program directly. This is not helping people directly. How do we overcome that mindset that we can get by with, you know, the lackadaisical, the the database that we’ve got her the internal processes we figured out our work arounds, you know we’re okay. It’s it’s finding you say that, right? Because they actually when you invest in a really good database management system and and client relationship manager, which is what c r m stands for, um, what you get out of it, that multiplier effect that you can get from having true, powerful relationships and understanding of all of your constituents, all consolidated is worth every dollar you know, and frankly there’s so many great systems which are out there, and they’re not that expensive. The most expensive part is the time of your staff, an external consultants, which you often need teo, take what is all of the stuff that you’ve cobbled together and to make it work for your organization. So an organization as an example we had brought in sales force. We use sales force. Um, we frankly had the wrong system installed with sales force. It took us a long time to figure out how to get the right system installed in all of those things. But it’s also taking us the better part of eighteen months to clean our data. Teo optimize our data to segment it appropriately so that we can communicate effectively with everybody in the way they want to be communicated with and a fair amount of staff time. And it’s that investment of taking somebody away from something that looks like perhaps it’s more important to their day to day life and put them into what’s really tedious work in order to be a better organization. But for us, if i think about it, if we have a database that reaches sixty thousand people, our ability to grow from an organization that reaches sixty this sixty thousand two, two, six hundred thousand to six million all contingent on us having optimized rc era this is key. So if you want to scale, you have to have the infrastructure to support that every organization wants to be at the next level i get so many questions about, you know, how do i get to next level? Can you refer me to somebody help us get to the next level? But i think often they don’t they’re not set up to get to the next level. They don’t they don’t have the support that they need, even if they were able to teo, multiply by ten there, you know the size of their their outreach. Without data, you have no chance. I’ll give you a great example in the nonprofit world statistic terrifies me, but something like sixty percent of donors don’t repeat on average across the non-profit space every year. Yeah, don’t come back, right? Well, don’t patrician right that’s because we’re not loving the people who are there. Everybody is focused on the next level. No, you’re focused on the next person you forget about the person who’s already said to you with their dollars. I care about what you d’oh at the heart of that is your database management system. I had a guest, peter shankman, um social media expert and marketing guy and his book is called zombie loyalists and basically had a last december. I think i had eternal you’re all your clients and customers into zombie loyalists that love you so much that they’re zombies for your work, and they’ll do your marketing, your pr, your communications for you, but ah, some of what he says boils down to the way to get the client you want is to be awesome to the client. You have that’s exactly right? I mean, i think about it from a from a fund-raising perspective. What the great fundraisers tell you is you should have four contacts with a donor for every time you ask them for something. No in orderto have those four contacts but matter to them, you need to know what they care about that needs to be in your database. You need to understand them that meets not only being your head. It needs to be institutionalized in your database. Ah, and then you need to have systems which set up, which push you to reach out to that person to make sure that you’re not forgetting to touch them four times before you go back to them and say, here’s, your invoice your sales force is a really cool example that you mentioned because for small shops it’s ideal, they’re the first ten licenses from sales force are free to non-profits and then they have a very deeply reduced ah fee for going beyond ten licenses. But i think for a lot of listeners ten licenses is enough for more than enough. So, you know, on i’ve had guests on from the non-profit technology conference and t c talking about the benefits of salesforce, you know, i think that’s right and sales force khun b a terrific tool it’s also it could be not that expensive or if you have the budget, the amount of tools that they have that you khun scale in two really optimizing take you to the next level are huge, so we don’t have we personally don’t have the budget we would love to have to spend with sales force, but we have a big, long wish list of things we would like to spend on specifically with sales force, with the tools that they have something bothering me to my head. Now, i didn’t mean to say lackadaisical databases, i meant to say lackluster, lackluster debate. Lackadaisical database doesn’t make any sense, it’s lazy, lazy self, you know, so that people could be lackadaisical. But the databases lackluster let’s talk a little about the segmentation of the benefit of communicating with people and showing that you know what their interests are when their birthdays are what they, how they like to be communicated with let’s, explore this know people are people, and everybody wants to feel touched individually. Nobody wants to feel like they’re part of a marketing campaign or that they’re part of a sort of a blast. People want to be touched individually. It’s why things like instagram work because they feel touched by a photograph ah, it’s the same thing with with donor or constituent segmentation everybody wants to feel like especially in the nonprofit world where you’re talking about emotion, you are effectively touching people where where they want to improve the world, but you’ve gotta understand which part of it inspires them. Yes, ah, and and also people like being cared for around the things that matter in their daily lives that have nothing to do with you. Ah, their children, their children’s ages what they d’oh? Ah, what their hobbies. Are where they like to travel all of those things. It just matters it’s all about having one on one of relationships. And the better your relationship is, the more likely you are to be able to maximize. And everything you’ve mentioned is data worth preserving its all data. You have to have people love it when you send them a note that says, happy birthday, no, super simple. It is very simple now. So what kinds of reminders do you get? Based on what kinds of things aside from birthday? What? Yeah. What others? Ah, it tends to relate to things that people have told you. Okay? And so for us, it would relate specifically to our program. So we have five different programs that have very, very different calendars. So that could relate. Teo, i i just need to get us a of the date because i know you desperately want to come to our national ceremony in new york city in march. Ah, but it could also be i know you really want to be. Ah, judge at our students in action conference in minneapolis. Ana and so getting that date to you in plenty of advance. Notice it really gets down to that level. All right? So the the value of segmentation and investment in infrastructure what about investment in consultants? You mentioned consulting? Nobody knows everything they need to know, but this could be tough to bring, bring other people in and have a fresh set of eyes evaluating you. It’s interesting on the consulting sight because i i personally have two two minds about consultants. Often i feel like you get charged too much for a percentage of somebody’s brain no on dh that’s the greatest risk with consulting. Ah, but also often they’re just expertise. You don’t want to bring in house. You can’t afford to bring in house, but you need somebody who has fresh eyes who knows something really specific that you don’t know ah, and with without which you can’t can’t go to the next level, you can’t execute effectively. So sales forces a terrific example. Um, there are so many tools inside sales force that enable you to do things like optimize your data and get rid of redundancy and all of those things, um and to, uh, to make it spoke for your organization for think the ways. In which you want to connect with people, i couldn’t do that myself, and i don’t have anybody in house who could do that for me. Could you just send your data data manager, database administrator to a sales force conference or course, yes, we do that too, okay, but it’s not enough, and for the cost of bringing you know you’ve got you’ve got away out the cost. So the question is, can you find somebody who is affordable to you in your organization that helps bring in those that kind of expertise in? I’m their things like building out an effective communication strategy where if you don’t have a big, robust communications team who can think about everything from database management, teo email to social media to all the things that go into digital infrastructure ah, and communications calendars and all of those things. At some point, it becomes really smart to bring in somebody from the outside to say, i’m building you a structure i’m helping you think about inside your organization, for you what a structure would look like, that you can afford let’s turn to our people i think my voice is my voice was crack again, it’s. A big bag, maybe. Yeah, you know. Uh, so you’re important asset, probably your most valuable asset. Most important, most expensive it’s expensive. I would guess inside most non-profits that that people are seventy eight percent of cost big, big, big percentage, um, and making impact in the world all relates to the people who you were in power to make that impact on your behalf as as either a full time employee or an independent contractor and losing employees is as expensive as losing the donors we were talking about, if not more so, you know woobox the amount of time you then need to spend teo find the person, bring them in house, and on average, it takes six to eighteen months to really optimize an employee. That’s a long time to invest in somebody new if you have somebody who’s good who’s sitting there right in front of you. The most important thing with people always is that they feel like they’re being set up to succeed. And they’re being given the tools that they need. Ah, to succeed. All right, how do we do this? Ah, well, that everything from the really basic and can feel very cumbersome to a management manager piece. But ah, gold setting and reviews, letting people know where they stand, being really straightforward with them about what they’re doing that’s terrific, and where they need to develop development goals is a big, big, big piece, and i don’t mean development is in fund-raising i mean, personal development, professional development around how can you be a much more effective employees? For the most part? Certainly in my experience, whether it’s on wall street or in the nonprofit world, when you sit in a review with somebody, they barely hear the good stuff ninety nine percent of what you tell them could be good. Everybody waits for the butt, the but needs to be real, meaning it needs to be i understand you here’s, where i see helping to take you as a human being and as a professional to the next level, and being able to deliver that in a way which is non threatening but having systems and structures around delivering reviews around goal, setting around, holding people accountable to those goals and around understanding them and wanting to be on their side are all the the most important things you can do, and it doesn’t matter what. Kind of an organization you’re out to do that my guest last week, we’re from the university of pittsburgh, and they were talking about incentive pay something that pitt has set up. They’ve defined what an exemplary fundraiser is. It’s basically achieving two hundred percent of your goal. But that’s a big organization, university of pittsburgh, might there be other ways of implementing incentive pay around? Aside from strictly money, money comp, you know, incentives are interesting in non-profits because, um, a, for the most part, non-profits don’t use sort of base bonus type structures, but there are tons of other ways that you can make somebody feel really good about what they do and whether that’s simply celebrating their accomplishments to the other employees into your board. People really thrive on that, but it can also be other things, like giving them an extra days vacation. Um, you know, sending them home on purpose when their kid’s sick and you tell them that family comes first, you know, all those things that’s really more around culture, but there are there are smart things you can do where you say, you know what? I don’t have the dollar to give. You. But i do have a day to give you or two or whatever it is. Whatever it is, that you’ve earned benefits structures are very important. Um, covering people and their families, and how you do that and how you communicate it. Incredibly important and totally under sort of undervalued in the mindset in the nonprofit world about what that means to an individual. And you say, i care about you and your health, and i care about your family in there. We have just about a minute left or so we have a couple more than more than a couple minutes. How much time do we have left? Sam? Okay, dahna then let’s. Ah, my mistake. Let’s. Keep talking about some some policies around employment. Maybe around training. You’ve got a new employee. You’ve spent the requisite amount of time recruiting you believe you’ve got the best person, the orientation, the training process, the onboarding process oven employees that one of the single most important things that you d’oh. So with us, justus a simple example. First, everybody gets a very long, very detailed employee manual that they have to read where they really understand what the operating premises are of the organ you’re holding your hands, like four inches apart for inches. It’s not four inches thick. Okay, okay. They’re recording, so that would be way too much street. All right, but i use my hands a lot. I think i’m going to italy and one hundred in italian, so i didn’t think you were using them enough. That must be the eight and half months. Pregnant part. Yes, i understand. Ok, the but having that set of expectations in somebody’s mind where they read it? They have to affirm it. They have to tell you that they’ve read it. That tells them everything from how many vacation days they do have, how they can accrue more vacation, what the benefits are to them, how they can get in trouble, how they can stay out of trouble. What a whistle blower policy might look like. All of those things very, very important, but then bringing people into the culture of the organization into your programs where they really feel armed. Tio ah, to be an effective employees. Ah, it’s. So fundamental. So we we set up a schedule time with all of our program managers. We have our end of its staff. When they come in they go. They shadow individuals who do either their job or even other jobs inside the organization. Because you’ve got to understand the entire organization. I think in order to be effective in your silo. Um ah, and then we do profession. We were very open to paying from people doing professional development and encourage it. Ah, and then we do regular staff retreats where everybody comes together and we work on pieces that feel like they might be holes in the skill set to the entire organization again. Investment where its infrastructure or people? You just you can’t shortchange these things and expect to scale on grow the organization. I mean, for the amount it costs me, tio run a staff retreat every year, eyes about one percent of what it costs me to pay my staff. Yeah, that is a very worthwhile investment to make that staff be a leverage oppcoll army. We’re gonna leave it there. Hillary shafer she’s uh, executive director of jefferson awards foundation there at jefferson awards dot or ge and again on twitter. She’s at beard, hillary. Thank you so much, hillary. Thank you. Real pleasure and gun muzzle tough. Congratulations on your pregnancy. Thank you very much. Jean takagi and program your board coming up first. Pursuant acquisition campaigns. They had a free webinar to help you acquire new donors. That was back on august thirty first. But it’s not too late. This is not a date news. No, no one current news. You can watch the archive. Go to tony dot m a slash pursuant capital p please. And the info was there to watch. The archive video tony dahna em a slash pursuant for the archive on acquisition campaigns. Rechner, cps. They do go way beyond the numbers. They have lots of policy statements for you. Ah, more than from last week. Ethical conduct for board members, disaster recovery, investment policy, independent contractor versus employee checklist i know non-profit struggle with that. We’ve covered it and there’s a lot more resources at wagner cpas dot com quick resource is then guides that’s where you get all this good info stop wasting your time using business accounting software for your books you aren’t a business you’re non-profit appaloosa counting is designed for non-profits built from the ground up to make your non-profit financial management simple and affordable. Please check this out. Our new sponsor, apple, owes its fund accounting, advanced reporting, donation tracking and there’s mohr included in annapolis. Accounting it’s all in one, easy to use. Go to non-profit wizard dot com now for tony’s take two. I still got this five minute marketing for planned e-giving i condensed down to the to the, uh most essential information twenty five minutes. Hard to believe that i could talk for twenty five minutes and it not all be critical. I had difficulty with that, but the whole concept of distilling it down. But i did. And i got it down to about three minutes. Roughly and that’s the best of the five minute marketing tips that i’ve got for you for planned giving. I want you to get started with your plan giving marketing. Watch the tips. Check out the video. Three minutes worth it’s at tony martignetti dot com. And that is tony’s. Take two. And here is jean takagi with program you’re bored jean takagi he’s, a principal of neo the non-profit and exempt organizations law group in san francisco. Gene has been gene has been a regular contributor to show it’s got to be going on three years. Gina i if it’s not three it’s very close. He had it’s, the non popular of the non popular beautiful he had it’s the popular non-profit law blawg dot com non-profit law blogged dot com it’s very popular. And on twitter he’s at jack g t k happy new year jean takagi. Welcome back. Happy new year. Tony it’s. Great to be on. Thank you. I love having you. How long have you been? A contributor every month, i think it’s been a little over three years. A zit? Is it over three? Love it. It could be i think we met three years ago at a bar in san francisco, if i remember, right? Oh, for sure. It’s not like we pick. I picked you up there where i knew you before. I’m not that easy with contributors. I mean, yes, we we knew each other. And then we certainly did meet that’s, right? With along with emily chan? Yes. That’s. Right. Um, let’s see, our board has our board has some responsibilities and around program you’re concerned that they’re not they’re not fulfilling those responsibilities. Yeah, i just feel like there’s there’s, maybe some lack of attention paid on the boards roll on program oversight? I think so often went especially when you talk with lawyers or accountants were talking about financial oversight and we’re saying we’ll make sure you’re solvent. Make sure you have enough money to pay off your debts. They become do we don’t really talk very much about programs, but certainly the management folks and the thunder’s air talking about programs and whether they’re effective and efficient that furthering the mission. So, you know, i thought we should explore a little bit about what the board duties are in in that event as well. Can you just remind us first, we’ve talked about this a while ago. There are three duties that board members have. I was faith, hope and chastity, or on the greatest of those is but yeah, the three duties are the duty of care and that’s act with reasonable care in providing direction and oversight over the organization, the duty of loyalty, and a lot of that has to do with avoiding conflicts of interests that are not in the best interest of the organizations, but are more for the best interest of an insider and the duty of obedience which lawyers air very interested in, and that’s a bang with both the outside laws of you know, that apply to the organization and the internal laws like the by-laws and other policies that the documents may have those air the three to be to be concerned with. Okay and and around program program is essential. Man. That’s what charity’s exist for his programs? Oh, my voice just cracked like i’m a fourteen year old exist that’s. Exciting stuff. Now that it is, it is that’s. Right? Well, you make it interesting. That’s. Why? I love having you back. You make the what could very well be a dry topic. I think you make it interesting. And listeners do too. Yeah. That’s. What? Charity’s air here is for a program. Yeah, exactly. I mean, who cares? The indie at the end of the day, if we’ve got great financials, it’s none of our programs are effective, and we don’t do a service to the community. Precisely. So what? What do we need to be doing? What to boards need to be doing around around program. Well, i think in meeting those three duties, the critical aspect for boards to make sure they’re reasonably informed. Ah, and just get a program report every month or every two months. You know, a ten minute program report from the executive director or program director is fine and good. But does that mean the board really understands the programs and whether the advance the mission on do they understand how the program’s advance emission? And did they ever ask you more difficult questions about are the programs effective? At advancing the mission. Or do we have alternatives? Or should we think of alternatives that might be able to advance that mission mohr effectively or more efficiently, given the limited resources that we all have? First up in this is and we have talked about this, your mission needs to be very clear. Yeah, and one of the things you have to do is make sure you go back. And this is the lawyer speaking, make sure you go back to your articles of incorporation and by-laws and make sure that the mission statement that years, thinking that you’re furthering is consistent with what the law says your mission is, and that’s that’s how it’s displayed on the governing documents and figuring out whether we are effective at meeting our mission. Now we’ve gotto identify cem numbers, right? I mean, it’s, not just gonna be a ten minute report from the program director, we’ve got to be looking at some numbers to figure out whether our we’re having the outcomes that we want, right and it’s such a such a difficult question and that’s, why it’s it’s all about keeping informed? Because you know the whole area of program. Evaluation and that cantor and and a lot of institutions like the stanford center on philanthropy in civil society and mckinsey and, you know, the non-profit cordially foundations under the all have been raiding all sorts of things on program evaluation and how we need more metrics and, you know, but all of that is great, but this is really hard stuff for a lot of non-profits to do so, yes, trying to figure out what what measurements are are important for us to figure out. Are we advancing our mission effectively? And then are we advancing it efficiently is really hard stuff, i think tip typically non-profits will, you know, measure how much money we’ve raised, how many visitors we’ve had or people with served, how many members we have? What is our overhead ratio on? We’ve had discussions on that topic as well, and, you know, those are interesting figures in all important, and i don’t want to downplay that, but what about, you know, then, you know, the number of clients served, for example, does that really tell us what impact that’s done? No before the clients and you know, the program staff may know that, but how does the board know that if we have? If we served two thousand clients last month, did we did we serve them by giving them one meal? Did that change their lives? Did we do more than that? Did we provide services? What? What and impact are we trying to aim for? And what results are we getting those air really difficult things to try to figure out. But i think the board needs to push the organization in that direction. Of trying to figure out are the programs that write programs? Are we effectively implementing it? And if you want to, you know, evaluate your executive and evaluate your programs. You’ve gotta have a good understanding of that. I feel your passion around this, jean. I really do. It comes it’s it’s palpable. Now, in managing these programs, it’s not the board’s roll. Teo to be day to day there’s clearly there’s a delegation that has to be happening. Yeah, absolutely. And and the board certainly has the ability to and should be delegating if they have staff in an executive director. Particularly, um, delegating those duties on those people. And especially, you know, holding the executive accountable. And tasking executive and making sure the executive has resources to be able to do this, to try to figure out what measurements should we take? Teo, evaluate our programs. What what’s important? What do we have the capacity to do now? And what? What do we aspire to do? What are outside stakeholders wanting? What are the foundations saying we must have? And what are the donor’s expecting from us and how to our competitors provide that type of information back? I think we just need to push our executives. We’re lucky enough to have them to figure some of those things out. And none of this has done overnight. Of course, tony. But you know, you you’ve gotto work at this, and sometimes you’re going to move forward, and sometimes you gotta move backwards. But you’ve got to keep pushing, pushing ahead. You just asked five or six really difficult but critical questions. Um, it’s a good thing. This is a podcast cause now people can listen. Go, go back to the past one minute and listen to those five or six questions. Jean just just named, you know, difficulty, but but but critical. And and yet the board’s oversight responsibility remains, and that can’t be delegated. That’s, right? So you know, the board, khun delegate management, but the board can’t delegate its ultimate oversight of the organization and it’s, you know, it’s responsibility to plan the direction of the organization. So status quo, if you know if that’s all you’re satisfied with and you don’t aim to do anything else with that, you know, that may not that may indicate that you don’t have the best board in place, and i was a little shocked. Teo learned, i think two days ago guidestar held a web cast, and there was a survey done of executive directors, and seventy five percent said they were unhappy with their boards and there’s a big disconnect there seventy five percent approved. Okay, what else? What else, uh, is part of the boards oversight of program? Gene? Well, you know, one thing i kind of want to emphasize as well is that i don’t want to put all of this on the board of directors, and i realized that the vast majority of board members are volunteers and have busy lives otherwise and are doing an amazing job. Trying to contribute to their organizations, the disconnect with the exec director is usually because of communications and a lack of understanding of their respective roles. So i just want to put a little bit of a burden on the executive director as well, to make sure that they are emphasizing board development and helping the board understand its responsibilities and sometimes bringing in experts, even though they may cost a little at the outset. Khun b really valuable to an organisation to try to figure out what these roles are, and again put in a little investment up front, and you can get payoff down the road even if you have some failures along the way. But it’s just that continuing to push forward to trying to understand what you’re doing who’s responsible for what? On figuring that stuff out the metrics themselves again. Our khun b, you know, exceedingly difficult if if i asked you give us metrics on changing laws when we were fighting for civil rights, well, that might take years or decades to get any measurable results per se that might make a thunder happy. And you know what would have happened in the early sixties you know, civil rights organizations just had their program shut down because boards didn’t get the right metrics. That would have been ridiculous, right? So we have to understand the limitation of these measurements as well, but continue to try to figure out what important steps or benchmarks we’re shooting for and what’s important to do, even if we don’t get the metrics. Ah, and make sure our funders and donors and stakeholders understand those limitations. Well, just a minute or so before before breaking what? What kind of expert would help us with this? What would we search for? Well, there there are some consultants out there who specialize in program evaluation, and there there are definitely resource is out there. I have named a few organizations already, but let me give you a few more the foundation centre and they’re grantspace website has got some excellent resource is on program evaluation, the national council of non-profits also has some excellent resources. They’re they’re definitely resource is out there. And if you look for non-profit consultants who got program evaluation exper thirties, i think that can be a starting place. This is also a ripe area for collaboration. Amongst organizations that are serving similar populations, or half similar missions, to try to meet together and talked about how they’re measuring, you know, their program, results and what would work for maybe, you know, across the sub sector that that they’re serving, all of those things are really important. I think again, executive leadership is really important to get the board in motion, but the board also has to hold the executive responsible for making sure that happens as well. Let’s, take a break. Gene and i, of course, will keep talking about the board’s responsibility around program and the executive director’s, too. Lynette singleton and at lays, right. Thank you for thank you very much. For those very, very kind thoughts on twitter. Hang in there. Like what you’re hearing a non-profit radio tony’s got more on youtube, you’ll find clips from stand up comedy tv spots and exclusive interviews catch guests like seth gordon. Craig newmark, the founder of craigslist market of eco enterprises charles best from donors choose dot org’s aria finger do something that worked neo-sage levine from new york universities heimans center on philantech tony tweets to he finds the best content from the most knowledgeable, interesting people in and around non-profits to share on his stream. If you have valuable info, he wants to re tweet you during the show. You can join the conversation on twitter using hashtag non-profit radio twitter is an easy way to reach tony he’s at tony martignetti narasimhan t i g e n e t t i remember there’s a g before the end he hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy fund-raising fundamentals is a short monthly show devoted to getting over your fund-raising hartals just like non-profit radio, toni talks to leading thinkers, experts and cool people with great ideas. As one fan said, tony picks their brains and i don’t have to leave my office fund-raising fundamentals was recently dubbed the most helpful non-profit podcast you have ever heard. You can also join the conversation on facebook, where you can ask questions before or after the show. The guests were there, too. Get insider show alerts by email, tony tells you who’s on each week and always includes link so that you can contact guess directly. To sign up, visit the facebook page for tony martignetti dot com. Hi, i’m kate piela, executive director of dance, new amsterdam. And you’re listening to tony martignetti non-profit radio. Big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. More live listener love junction china ni hao, the netherlands gary indiana the home of christmas story, right? I’m pretty sure a christmas story that movie took place in gary, indiana live listen, i’d love to gary, indiana, and we’ve got a couple checking in from japan, hiroshima and kobe konnichi wa, farmington, michigan live listener love out to you. We have a question from twitter jean very loyal listener lynette singleton asks, do we know why there’s this lack of love between executive directors with and their boards, any ideas what’s contributing to that? I think i’m sorry, tony, that i think there are a number of factors that make be contributing to that, but i think the first is lack of understanding of the rules at each place and then it’s it’s a matter of communication between the two parties there are greater vacations that that board’s place on executives and reliance on the executives tio tio make do with limited resources to produce amazing results, and that can sometimes be a very heavy burden on the executive without a lot of support from the board and exactly what the board’s role is in supporting the executive director’s. Also, i think they’re many areas where there’s a lack of agreement or understanding between those roles and, you know, fund-raising is actually one of the areas of ax. Actually, some controversy, i think, you know, is the board involved. Is the board’s role no to raise funds for the organisation. From a legal perspective, i might answer no to some extent, from a more operational perspective, i would say, of course it is, so they’re they’re different considerations, and that was a charity navigator study, right? I’m not sure. I thought you said i’d start with, i’m sorry, the organization that did the webinar. Okay, okay, god start. Pardon me. Ok wave talking, talking about program meeting the mission, but there’s also legal requirements around program as well. Sure, and then the board should make sure that the executive is ensuring that the program is in compliance with whatever applicable laws might be there, whether it have to do with the facility of the organization or the employees and volunteers working for it, their basic risk management steps that they may want to take a swell, including ensuring that there’s proper insurance that, for whatever activities are are involved. Obviously, if you’re doing a summer day camp involving rope climbing and like that that’s going to be a little bit more significant in terms of risk management than if you’re just doing administrative work, but lots of legal compliance things, licensing, permitting and in all of those think, well, can board members be personally liable if laws are being broken and that’s why we have directors and officers insurance, isn’t it? Yeah, part partly why we have that it’s usually, you know, if there’s some sort of negligence involved when the board members acting not as a boardmember but is a volunteer for a program, then you’re probably looking at commercial general liability insurance to protect against, you know, somebody slip and fall and blaming the volunteer who was right supposed to set it up on the board members, directors and officers. Insurance will really protect against decisions that the board made that ultimately, you know, in hindsight, we’re negligent or grossly negligent, and, you know, if they decided to hold a program in involved involving bungee jumping with six year olds and without adequate supervision that, you know, that would be the type of negligence that could get boardmember personally liable for something like that. But volunteermatch boardmember czar really, really, really rarely held personally liable absent some sort of malfeasance or self dealing really benefit themselves. Okay, i’ve seen some six year olds on the subway that i wouldn’t mind having participate in that that bungee jumping off a cliff i could i could give them a little shove to get them started, but not not kids. I know nobody related to me only only what’s people i’ve seen in some pipe it that it go well, now they’re real. I’ve seen him in the subway, i just don’t know who they are. I can’t name them, but i could point them out easily. Probably on my way home. I’ll encounter a few. Um, what else should we be thinking about? You know, your get before i asked before we do that, you’re an anarchist. Also, you’re making us. I got two troublemakers on the show today. You are making us ask questions that are very difficult, but but critical? Yeah. You know, i think of lawyers and consultants more broadly, that’s what what we do, we can implement the changes that we talked about, what we want to raise the questions because we want boards and executives to really be thinking about these things and discussing them. And that’ll help break down the barriers and the misunderstandings and hopefully make more executive directors feel that their boards air great, make more executive, make more boards feel that their executive directors are doing a great job as well. As i said, i feel your passion around this. We have just about two minutes. What? You have another thought around this? Yeah. You know, just tio, make sure that again and i’ve talked a little bit about this is that there are limitations to what metrics can provide to an organization and some things just take a really long time to figure out research i mentioned lobbying on civil rights issues is one example, but research as well, you know, for going to engage in research of a new program and how it’s going to work or developing a new medical device or drug that’s going to be beneficial to developing nations and that the people there who might not have the resources to be able to afford these things, we’ve got to be a little bit experimental. And i know you know, there’s been preaching to the choir about embracing failure and sharing it so we can learn in advance, but that really is something that all echo as well, that, you know, we’re going to get metrics and sometimes the metrics they’re going to show we failed, but if we never fail, that means we’ve never really pushed the envelope of making a more substantial change, and we’re just sort of, you know, relying on making little incremental changes, and we have to think about our organizations and say, are we detective organization that just wants to stay status quo? Do we want to make little tiny? Incremental changes year by year or do we actually want to look at solving or advancing our mission in a really big way and actually take some risk and find some programs out there that might be more risky and that might fail and help educate our funders and our donors and our supporters that this is what we’re doing and not everything is going to work, but this is the way to advance, you know, our cause lawyer with a heart, jean jean takagi, really so grateful that you’re contributing to the show? Jean, thank you so much. Thank you, johnny. And thanks for basing this serious subject today. That’s all right, uh, we have a little fun with it. You’re an anarchist is no question cubine you’ll find jean at non-profit law blogged dot com that’s the block that he edits and he’s at g tack on twitter. Thank you again, jean, thanks so much. Next week it’ll be a good one. You have my word. I don’t know anything about fermentation. 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