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

 

Justin BirdsongSociocracy

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

 

Shannon Bowen & Emily DiFrisco: Attract More Donors

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

 

 

 

 

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marketing tools you need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving, virtuous.org and by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity.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

Nonprofit Radio for May 13, 2024: Experiential Fundraising

 

Brittan StockertExperiential Fundraising

Let’s take lessons from the experience economy to create meaningful, memorable experiences for your donors. Brittan Stockert, from Donorbox, walks us through her thinking on events, membership programs, challenges, sponsorships, and more.

 

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Welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit Radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite Hebdomadal podcast. This is show number 690. That means we are 10 weeks to our 7/100 show and 14th anniversary as a podcast. Cool. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be hit with whipple disease if you fed me the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with what’s coming? Hey, Tony, this week we have experiential fundraising. Let’s take lessons from the experienced economy to create meaningful memorable experiences for your donors. Britain Stockert from donor box, walks us through her thinking on events, membership programs, challenges, sponsorships and more on Tonys. Take two sad neediness were sponsored by virtuous, virtuous, gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising volunteer and the marketing tools. You need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving, virtuous.org and by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity, donor box, fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor. Box.org. Gosh, I love that alliteration. Here is experiential fundraising. I’m with Britain Stockert. Britain is the fundraiser strategist at Donor box. She has over 15 years experience in organizational development, fundraising and program development spanning nonprofits, social enterprises and NGO S. You’ll find Britain on linkedin and the company is at donor box.org Britain. Welcome to nonprofit radio. Hey, thanks so much, Tony. Very great to be here. Oh, my pleasure to have you. Experiential fundraising. Let’s jump in. What, what is this experiential fundraising thing? Yes, let’s do it. Right. Um I’m gonna throw out the bad news first. The doom and gloom. That’s how I roll. We’re, we’re no strangers to fundraisers, right? Um We know the data out there charitable giving, right? It’s hit a four decade low giving. Tuesday saw 10% drop. Donor trust is kind of on the decline. And, you know, in February, the chronicle of philanthropy talked about this crisis, right? A lot of nonprofit executives are jumping shift from the sector when demand is extremely high and they’re trying to find better work life balance, um, and consulting roles. So we have all of these kind of macro level crises, right? And in the midst of everything. Um, we also know, you know, we were hoping during the pandemic that we would take some of those tidbits of slowing down and baking bread and being more intentional and everything we’re doing. But we’re not seeing that at all. Right. And we’re seeing this in terms of fundraising, donors are being pulled from every which way from different nonprofits. And that’s kind of where we’re at. We’re, we’re witnessing a shift Tony um in terms of how we fundraise. And I know you’ve been in plan giving, Tony, we’ve relied so hard on all of these very usual fundraising tactics, right? You’re in giving campaign, all of these in person events. And we need to step back, we need to really be asking like, are these kind of one time fragmented tactics we’re using, are they really engaging our donors? Are we capturing their attention? And so that’s kind of where experiential fundraising comes into play. Many fundraisers know it as relation, relational fundraising, completely, not a new concept, right? We’ve been doing relationship building for decades, but in kind of this hustle of this fast paced paced moving society, we’ve completely lost sight of slowing down and really building forging those deeper connections with our donors. And so it’s all about kind of just re embracing this mindset of relationship building, engaging the five senses of our donors and setting aside aside these usual fundraising tactics that we do to be more intentional and, and how we build those relationships. So you’re looking for, you know, meaningful memorable experiences and not necessarily around events. Right. Right. It’s, it’s all of the things that, you know, we get so caught up in the scramble of sending out those mass email blasts, right? Or those generic appeals or the annual galas and live auctions. It’s really kind of shifting to those multiple touch points that happen all of the in between and these are in between things about um in getting past barriers and that, that might be, that might look very different to different nonprofits. It might be a community uh focused group, it might be a neighborhood block party. Um But it’s all of these multiple touch points that really kind of engage those five senses of our, of our supporters and really get them to buy into what we do. OK. So how do we create these uh memorable, you know, remarkable meaningful experiences? I know the uh on, on your blog, there are seven different categories or events, competitions, et cetera. Do you wanna talk through those? Well, let’s for the sake of time. Tony, let’s keep, let’s reduce it to three things, right? And again, these aren’t rocket science or whatever, but they’re built on three principles. One of those is a shared journey, right? So again, I’m talking about being intentional and thoughtful traditional fundraising. We send out a generic appeal letter. It’s not personalized. We’re just thankful, we got it out, right? We got it out on time. We did it, what a shared journey looks like is, you know, instead of an in person event or a gala, it might be an event um where we segment it, we, we look at our data and we look at our supporters within our specific neighborhood and we create a segment where they’re all providing feedback in terms of the programs that we do. Um It’s, it’s inclusive, it’s very community centric. So it really shifts from sending out mass emails that are not personalized to individual donors and moving to these creative really informal events that happen regularly where we’re creating space where our supporters are, our supporters, not just include donors, right? It’s very inclusive. It’s including our bene bene beneficiaries, it’s including our volunteers, but it’s creating a space where they’re able to provide some sort of buy in, in terms of just feedback, in terms of all the programs of what we’re doing, shared journey. That’s one principle. The second part of it is really getting creative with the types of events that we host, right? Um A lot of our annual fundraiser events, think about the barriers that we create from the get go, right? Um Our venues may not be accessible to all the the pricing, the the different tiers of registration to sign up to these galas and auctions are probably out of touch for a lot of people. I live in the Pacific Northwest. People don’t really like to, you know, we’re not really big on the black t uh black tie attire. So really shifting from those um types of events that create barrier barriers upfront to a digital event and that what that might look like. I can give you one example, one of our customers um called Cornwall Man down in the UK. Instead of devoting so much money and overhead into a gla an auction, they, they really tapped into donor boxes, peer to peer feature. And they created kind of a competition where they let go of the guard rails of their marketing of their brand. And they let people set up these fundraising pages and kind of fundraise in meaningful ways that really connected with them. So they created, they created a competition exactly, basically just a virtual competition. Um They include the challenges um prizes and, you know, a very small pool of about 216 fundraisers raised over 100 and 50,000 all through this kind of Gamification feature um per se. Now, this is going to vary, you know, by organizational culture too. I mean, I, I’m the first person who to say that events are often overly relied on, right. On the other hand, there are organizations where the, the the people expect the annual, you know, whatever golf outing gala, you know. Uh and I, I under I again, I, I, you know, I appreciate that events are burdensome in terms of time. And I think a lot of AAA lot of that money could or all of it could be captured in through individual fundraising if we were having, you know, like meaningful conversations with donors and, and elevating their giving sort of an investment level conversations. Um But, you know, but by, but by the same token, you know, we can’t just eliminate all the, eliminate all the events because there are people who count on those events in no way. Right? And I, I hear you, Tony and no way am I saying to do away with these in person events? We really do rely on them, right? We, we all know, so there’s nothing like that in person, the face to face um touch, I think in terms of the the format of these events, what I’m saying is let’s get creative and how we engage the senses of our, of our donors. Um Again, thinking about breaking free of those barriers and that might, that might have to do with rethinking the type of venue, rethinking the type of attire um the pricing that’s offered you, you probably know this as well as I incorporating technologies. We saw this with charity Water, right? Not every nonprofit is going to have a massive Hollywood budget. But yeah, yeah, they’re, they’re an outlier. They, they’re enormous, right? But we do have a customer um refugee hope partners in terms of kind of reimagining an in person event. They, they kind of did away with the Gallant live auction. They hosted a three hour community neighborhood event. Um it was family friendly um right after work hours and how they kind of really brought to life, the mission of, of who they serve, which are refugee and immigrant families. They tapped into local chefs who kind of they, each, all of these chefs represented different communities that the nonprofit served and through the ingredients in the, in the in the meals that were served, they kind of used those ingredients to kind of tell the story of the mission. And so I guess that’s what I’m just trying to say is yes, we still need to do these in person events, right? Um But oftentimes we know this with galas and auctions automatically from the get go. There are those barriers before you register and then even thinking about it, Tony, when you show up to these galas, you know, you have one or two people on stage right behind the podium, the proximity, thinking about the proximity. And so just thinking about ways that we can really create these immersive experiences and tapping in a technology to kind of get created creative in how we connect with our supporters. So sort of more experiential maybe and less passive for the for the folks who come, who come to an event, precisely less, less passive observer spectator, more thinking about ways where the supporter is not just hearing about your mission, right? They’re really living and feel it and feeling it and these could be large or small events too. I mean, you, you we might be able to do something with just 25 or 30 people, you know, and not again, not to replace AAA larger event but makes it easier to experience. Maybe you know what’s going on in your office, if you have something that you can show something that people can touch, uh, in a, in a smaller, in a smaller group. Well, and it’s, it’s also thinking beyond the annual fundraiser. Right. I mean, let’s be real with the, with the annual fundraiser, with even a year end direct mail campaign. Think about it. Um, they’re very surface level, right? Do they? What’s the follow up that happens after often times from my personal opinion, it’s, it’s very limited. And so thinking through these other experiences that are baked into your fundraising strategy, again, that might be a um community led focus group where you’re inviting your donors and the people you serve to kind of, they may be, they may be compensated. They’re giving really great feedback on the design of your programs. It might be behind the scenes tours of, let’s say you have a food bank. Um But it’s all those things that need to happen in the in between from the year end appeal that you send out to that annual fundraiser. And that’s what I’m trying to say is we really need to be, we need to slow down. And if you think about it with your, with our loved ones, right, with our family and our friends, it’s not a one and done type of thing. Obviously, it needs to happen regularly and it needs to be really organic and oftentimes really informal, it’s time for a break. 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Yeah, membership programs are, you know, we have a customer in San Francisco and they have a museum um focused on media censorship and they have a beautiful high quality print publication. And so they basically set up just a membership program with different uh membership tier levels. Basically, if donors wanna sign up, uh depending on a certain price point, it can be $50 donation to 200 per month, depending on that membership tier. They, they get to feel like they, they’re exclusive members. They, they have access to very exclusive types of perks and benefits. Um That is a great way to generate sustainable income. Um I would say it’s very similar to monthly giving only, only that it is a membership program is really set up for nonprofits that, that have the capacity to deliver very specific and exclusive benefits to this group of people. Like you really need whatever you’re promising, right? You need to make sure you have the capacity to deliver. But I would say it is a very popular tool with a lot of our customers um as a way to create that sustainable income membership, membership. So it, it’s sort of, you know, it sounds like um you know, a lot of personalization, uh connection, connection to the mission, connection to your values, maybe even uh you know, thinking through something that’s again, memorable, experiential, you know, personalized. Um Let’s take a little digression. You know, you, you uh you have some thinking about what, what we’re all experiencing outside nonprofits. Now, the the experience economy, which is where your, your thinking kind of comes from. Let’s take a little digression before we talk about more, more strategies for doing this in our nonprofit. What, what uh we, we’re all experiencing it, the experience economy help us recognize what we’re, what we’re living through. Yeah, I mean, I can speak to you as a full time mother. I, I was hoping from the pandemic that we would slow down a little bit slow down in terms of in all of our interactions that we have, whether it’s at work or personal. We’re very thoughtful. We’re, we’re just intentional on whatever we do. We’re not seeing that it personally. And I hear this from a lot of nonprofits that I coach, they’re being pulled every which way and, and you know, I mentioned those kind of macro level challenges that our sector faces. But thinking about it from a donor perspective, we know demand for social services is at its highest, right? We also know that nonprofit executives that are needed in our sector are jumping ship to more consulting work. Donors at the same time are their attention, right? We have, we have shorter attention spans. Donors are being pulled every which way by I wouldn’t call them competing but many nonprofits that are really in need of their attention. And so in my, in how I’m feeling the world is not slowing down, it’s it’s a very fast paced world and we really need to be strategic and how we capture donors attention, how we’re more discerning as nonprofits in our interactions and thinking about how we’re engaging all of their senses because like I said, our attention, I think I heard it one time, Tony, we have the attention of a of a goldfish which is like 30 seconds. So. Right. Yeah, but uh but I’m trying to go bigger picture the the experience economy. What is that? What is the experience economy that we’re all experiencing. We, you know, personally the experience economy, we’re, we’re feeling fatigued, we’re numb. We also live in a world of filters and a lot of noise. And so I, I think about it watching a Netflix movie if I don’t have my glasses and I’m, and I’m watching the movie. It’s very monochromatic, it’s very flat. I need to be fully engaged. I need to have surround sound. I need to have all of these other elements that are tapping into my five senses to wake up and to pay attention. And so I think when we’re talking about experience, economy, we need to be smarter in how we’re engaging with people because people are fatigued, we’re tired, we’re very distracted and we have more external forces really vying for our attention. OK, cool. Thank you. Um Sponsorships, you have some thinking around sponsorships, how these can be engaging, share, share some of your, your thoughts there, corporate sponsorships, you know, I live in Seattle. We are home to big tech and engineering and you know, if you are a start up or emerging nonprofit, really taking a look at uh where you’re located. Most local businesses, most larger companies have great corporate social responsibility programs, um particularly new companies that have just launched a CS R program. They’re looking for nonprofits to partner with um to really support and to really kind of position themselves from other companies in their communities. You know, here in Seattle Microsoft has a month in October of giving and many nonprofits host on site volunteer events. And we partner with a lot of Microsoft teams. And for every hour Microsoft um donates not just $25 per their employee, but for every hour that their employee volunteers. And so a great way to build those event sponsorships is starting looking at your local community and looking at the companies that are there, getting out there, speaking to their teams and doing some sort of on site project to kind of loop them into your pipeline. Ok. Well, we, most of us don’t have the value of the benefit of a Microsoft, you know, in our, in our, in our neighborhood. So, you know, smaller, smaller local companies, uh businesses, right? Might be a dry cleaner. Yeah, it, it doesn’t have to be a Microsoft or Boeing or Expedia. I mean, look at local realtor offices or, you know, it’s a small to medium size businesses that they’re right situated right in the community. They’re feeling the need, they’re seeing a lot of the same social issues that your nonprofit is tackling. They wanna give back and that would be a great place where to start. They’re also uh a lot of companies are interested in engaging their employees in sponsorship that not just that it’s, you know, a $500 donation of services for a silent auction or, or a cash donation or something, but, but engaging the employees because e especially younger folks, uh millennials, gen uh maybe, you know, Gen X. Yeah, you know, they’re looking for experiences uh beyond there, we’re talking about experiential fundraising. So there may be value in engaging employees of the business in uh in, in your work. Yeah, Tony, I mean, you call it out, especially with Gen X and millennials. We’re looking for workspaces that really align with our values. Um And I’ve read quite a bit of research on this more so than competitive pay and benefits. And so yes, this is a great recruitment retention tool if you’re a company, no matter your size to offer a few days of volunteering. And uh you know, your employees really wanna be a part of, of that as well. But from the nonprofit perspective, you know, pitching that to a to a local company that, you know, that we have experiences or, you know, or, or would that or questioning whether that would be valuable for your company, that’s something your employees would be interested in. And if they have younger employees, millennial, Gen X um that, that may very well be giving back to the local, to the lo to one of the local nonprofits. I mean, and it goes hand in hand, you know, we’re living, many of our communities are facing issues with affordable housing and inflation and the cost of living and small to medium size businesses. They would love to provide even more competitive pay, but they may not be able to. So, again, this is a great kind of add on to the company brand, the values in terms of, hey, we, we, we, we not just have a corporate social responsibility program, but we allow you as an employee to take some time off whether that’s one day, five days a year, that’s, that’s a really great selling point to recruit top talent to your team and then also retain them because it, again, it’s really about we’re talking about experience, but a lot of this has to do with that humanistic component that a lot of gen X millennials are looking for uh in their workplace. And it’s important when nonprofits are approaching companies of any size. And, you know, I’m, I’m thinking more of local small businesses um that they recognize that they have value to offer the company, the business, you know, you’re not going hat in hand humble, you know, would you would you give but that you have value to add to the, to their employment relationship. Like, you know, you and I are talking about the potential of volunteering. Um You know, I don’t, I don’t, I mean, that could take different forms, you know, like you said, it could be a day a month or it could be several hours a month. But you want to recognize that you bring value to the sponsorship relationship. You’re not just humbly asking. Yeah. And I mean, to to your point, I can give an example. I was a start right in the heart of downtown Seattle, we have the third largest homeless population. And you know, here I am needing tech services. I needed a tech team to implement AC RM and to customize it. And there’s a tech company called Slalom. They’re big, they’re huge. And you know, I, where I found value and confidence in approaching them was Slalom is located in the heart of downtown Seattle. The need that we’re addressing, right? And so I think when it comes to, if you are a small nonprofit, find where the alignment lies. It doesn’t matter if it’s a large company. If that company has any type of close proximity to the issue that you’re addressing, then more times than not, they will be bought into what you do. And you know, that was just an example, a big tech company, small tiny nonprofit start up. But because we had this shared visibility of family homelessness, right? And where we were located, it was an automatic alignment. And slalom was like, heck yeah, we’ll provide you with those consulting services for six years. So have confidence if you are AAA smaller nonprofit find where that alignment exists. It’s time for a break. Donor box open up new cashless in-person donation opportunities with donor box live kiosk. The smart way to accept cashless donations anywhere, anytime picture this a cash free on site giving solution that effortlessly collects donations from credit cards, debit cards and digital wallets. No team member required. Thus, your donation data is automatically synced with your donor box account. No manual data entry or errors. Make giving a brief and focus on what matters your cause. Try donor box live kiosk and revolutionize the way you collect donations. Visit donor box.org to learn more. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you, Kate. I had something happen in the gym just today. Uh The, the guy I know um his name is Tim and that, that helps me. It helps me remember his name to say Tim in the gym. Tim Tim from the gym. Um And I don’t talk to him that much. I’m not a chatty gym goer, you know, I don’t need 57 minute breaks between each different um different machine that I’m doing or different exercise, you know, with the floor or whatever, you know. So we just, it’s brief, you know, hey, how are you? You know, that’s it. Uh But today I was already exercising when, when he came in and I heard him talk to someone uh who he apparently didn’t know and he said, hey, you know, how are you? And uh the person didn’t hear because there was no response. So he says again, hey, how are you today? And then this woman replies, oh, I’m doing great, you know, hi, how are you? And then he says, Tim says, oh, I’m, I’m great too. Especially because it’s my 67th birthday and I’m, I’m on the elliptical. I’m thinking, oh, my eyes are rolling. I’m thinking, oh, Tim, you know, you had to, you had to get the woman’s attention twice just so that you could share that. It’s your 67th birthday. I’m, you know, thinking why so needy, why? You know that? And it’s not that big a gym, it’s a town fitness center. So, you know, we all know now that it’s Tim’s birthday today. Uh, and I’m thinking, you know, Tim, you know, I, I, it was sad. Um, I would wish for him that he would have friends and family that would know it’s his birthday so they could call him and text him. You know, and, and that he doesn’t have to go to strangers. This was a woman. It was clear. He, he, he had never met her, he didn’t know her. He has to go to strangers twice. And so, so he can make the point that it’s his birthday. So, um, makes me think of, you know, our social networks too. You know, if you haven’t, if you haven’t shared something, uh, you haven’t done it right? You didn’t, if it’s not on Facebook that you, you made this great dinner, then it never happened. Like if he doesn’t tell everybody it’s his birthday, then maybe he feels it’s not a stranger, you know, strangers. So, you know, have friends have, have friends who know you well enough that they’ll call you on your birthday. Right. And, and you can share your joys with them without having to do it, you know, publicly feel bad for Tim. I, I, she was not so needy. She had more friends and that is Tony’s take two Kate. Happy birthday. Tim. So sad. I hope he got a birthday cake. Like, I hope he went out and treated himself and got a little cake or something after the gym. Well, even better. I hope somebody got him a cake. Exactly. But II, I don’t, there doesn’t seem to be enough of that in his life. Well, we’ve got just about, about load more time. Let’s get back to experiential fundraising, holidays and Awareness Day, fundraising. There’s, I don’t know, there are probably 1000 awareness days a year that there might be more, there’s, there’s more than 1000 because that would only be like three a day. Some, you know, some days it’s, uh, you know, you, you look at, you look at lists, um, there could be AAA A score of them 20 in a, in a, in a single day. So there’s thousands, there are many thousands of awareness, so many and they, and they keep cropping up. Right. So, pick a niche, you know, National Pickle Day. If, if you’re, if, I don’t know, you know, if you’re, I don’t know, maybe I was thinking of if you’re fighting alcohol addiction, that’s that’s a bad choice or that, that’s probably an off color example. Don’t use that one. But, um, there are lots of, there are lots of awareness days. Um, and you also have advice about lesser celebrated holidays. What are the, what do you, what do you find the lesser celebrated holidays? I mean, again, it boils down to your nonprofit. What’s the scope of services that you provide? I oversaw a diaper bank. A lot of people have not heard of a diaper need. Well, sure enough, there was a diaper need holiday. So, you know, pick, pick your, your choice. There are so many out there. Um, personally, I’m very biased about giving Tuesday. It’s a saturated day. Every nonprofit is vying for a donor’s attention. So find, find a holiday or a day that better aligns with what your non profit specifically does. It doesn’t have to be popular day that everyone joins in on Valentine’s Day. And Halloween tend to be lesser celebrated by uh by nonprofits. So maybe, you know, those, I mean, you know, especially, well, not, especially either one, Valentine’s Day and Halloween tend to be less lesser thought of. Yeah, and you know, in terms of engaging with your donors and, and I’m, I’m redefining how, what, how we name a donor. You know, that could be someone that you serve. It could be a community leader, a city council member. These are all people that give you time talent, treasure and in terms of how you engage with them again, like we talked about Tony. Yes, those annual fundraisers need to happen. Yes, you and direct mail online year end appeals need to happen. But think about those regular touch points of how you’re engaging with your supporters, donor appreciation events behind the scenes, tours, workshops on whatever topic that you’re addressing, hosting some sort of community led workshop, people love to provide feedback and get and be compensated for that. Uh They can be compensated focus groups. So just kind of really opening our minds to how we build relationships with people. Here, I am with you, right? A late afternoon, we’re connecting. It doesn’t have to be this big formal thing. Like in many ways, we’re having a very intimate conversation. So local partnerships too, I mean, we, we talked about it in the sponsorship, something else that’s uh the another area that’s uh on your blog. Um You know, so we talked about it in terms of sponsorships but, but more like, you know, partnerships partnerships with um maybe recurring events like a farmer’s market, something like that, you know, something that’s iconic in your community. Yeah, I I think of partnerships in terms of advocacy. Um wherever you’re located, chances are there are government leaders, right, that have quite a bit of influence and power and starting to build relationships with your local city council members because they’re gonna also help you advocate to the higher ups at the state level and, and be able to help you pass legislation that really kind of complements the work that you’re providing. So partnerships tapping into partnering with city council members getting to know them closely. Um Obviously other nonprofit leaders thought leaders right there in your communities, small businesses, restaurants love to host fundraisers, restaurants love to, to do partnership types of events. Um There’s so many options like, you know, some, uh the 1st $5 of every dinner or the 1st $25 of every meal on a certain night, you know, goes to, goes back to the nonprofit. And so you’re giving them a surge because you’re gonna be inviting all your, all your volunteers and your donors and maybe your staff has a table, you know, so you’re giving them a surge for a night and uh some of the, some of the, the revenue comes, comes back to you, right? And, and partnering with other nonprofits in the same area of focus, right? Oftentimes because of funding, we’re pitted, we’re, we’re kind of pit against each other vying for the same funding. You know, that might be a donation drive if you’re taking in kind donations, physical items, instead of just your nonprofit, hosting a quarterly donation drive at your local grocery store or wherever, partnering with those other nonprofits providing similar services to kind of make it a bigger event. I know here in Seattle there’s a recycle and repurpose company called RWE. And we had a day our Diaper Bank where we partnered with three other major diaper banks. Like for a major campaign, we, we, we generated press. We were on the news and basically RWE. RWE has thousands of customers on a very specific day. RWE customers. I think about 4000 customers donated unused diapers. And basically, we got pallets. I can’t even uh 20 pallets of diapers where we were able to kind of split the inventory between four diaper banks. And the impact was huge, we were able to really expand our impact. So again, partnering with those nonprofits that you might see as competitors in terms of funding, but tapping into those, those relationships to figure out ways that you can better support each other. How did so many people have so many unused diapers around or they went out and bought them? Was it a campaign to, to, I mean, who, who I think? I mean, I’m the guy with no Children, but I would think you use up all the diapers you have and then you don’t need them anymore because your child has outgrown diapers. It’s a fair question, Tony and I, you know, I’m a mom and I would ask the same thing, apparently, Children from ages 0 to 3 outgrow diapers fast. And so they always kind of are on to the next size and families are left with boxes of diapers and boxes of diapers are expensive. So it was a day partnering with RWE where RWE customers could, instead of the diapers going straight to the landfill. You know, let’s give back, let’s, let’s re, let’s use them. I see how it works. Ok. So people, people hold on to the, the, the 0 to 6 months when, while their child is now like one or something. Oh, yeah. Ok. I didn’t know, I didn’t know people do that. I thought you were just, I don’t know, give to a friend or I never, well, actually I never thought about it so I, I can’t say what I thought because I never gave it a thought. Well, apparently there, there was not a venue, a place to donate that type of item. Right. Yeah. No, I mean, it was enormously successful for you. 20 pallets. I’m not, not minimizing at all. I just, uh, you know, I just never thought of, uh, unused diapers. I thought you would use them to capacity, like, squeeze your one year old into a nine month. But I guess parents don’t do. It’s a good thing. I’m not a parent because I would have, I would have had my, I would have had my one year old in a three month old diaper. I mean, if I got, if I got an extra box of three month old diapers around, you know, I’m going to squeeze you in. Yes. And they’re expensive. So, but, you know, that was, that was also in terms of partnerships. We were also by partnering with these other diaper banks. We were also able to form a coalition where on one day we went to Olympia, which is the capital in Washington, met with legislators as a team and we were able to pass what was called N diaper need where families get an extra 100 and $50 a month as part of as part of their TF so low income families got kind of a subsidy to help them pay for diapers. So again, tap into those partners, you know, other nonprofits doing similar work. There’s so much potential to really expand that impact, especially because we know the issues that we’re up against are massive and huge. And oftentimes are one nonprofit, no matter how well funded, how well staffed we are, we’re just kind of unable to address it alone. So, yeah, look for synergies. I was also thinking of community events like, you know, if there’s a Memorial Day celebration or 1/4 of July celebration, you know, can your nonprofit be a part of that somehow, you know, showcase, showcase your work, somehow expose the public at the, at the community fair around uh Labor Day or something like that. Yes. Yeah. Most cities again, going back to the city level, they, they do host those types of July 4th Memorial Day events. Um There’s gosh, we were talking about all of the holidays, Tony. There are a lot of those and at those events, they’re looking for not just businesses, but they want to see local communities show up and have a presence and get the word out about what they do because frankly governments can’t, they can’t fund these issues, they can’t tackle them alone. They really need those local nonprofits. So, yes, that’s a great idea. Tony. Look at all the events that your city is ho hosting, oftentimes to host a table is a nominal fee for the type of visi visibility that it brings. And it’s also getting to know it’s really connecting with your local neighbors. Oftentimes, I I know this as a former ed when I was leading a start up my initial round of donors, guess what? They were my neighbors, right on, right on Finn Hill. Um That’s kind of where I started really hyper local and then kind of expanded out. What else can we talk about around experiential fundraising that I haven’t asked you about yet? Well, what about the challenges? I, I’m thinking I’m thinking you might get a couple of questions that might say, ok, we would love to do this relational, slow type of relationship building, but the reality is is we’re caught up in the hustle of the day to day. We have a board that’s extremely resistant to change, you know, and so let’s just, those are some of the challenges, right? So I’m, I’m talking about this concept about needing to slow down needing to build upon the number of touch points that we have with our supporters, but we also know the challenges. And so, you know, I guess let’s talk about some maybe actionable ways that nonprofit professionals can do this. Um You named a great one. Let’s focus on uh for the moment, the board that’s resistant to change. How are we gonna uh defeat slay the naysayers? Oh, ah, you know, I’m still trying to figure this out. I, I would say when you’re recruiting board members, it helps to have board members that obviously have some sort of nonprofit experience, whether it’s a volunteer or, or they’re taking professional development training on how nonprofits operate. That that is a challenge. Oftentimes sometimes we get board members, well, meaning while loving very passionate people, they come from the private sector and with that they bring some very harmful perceptions about how do we operate, what things we should fund and so kind of tackling this re this challenge of a resistance, a resistant board is bringing on folks that have been there that have been in your shoes that get it. Um, people that are doing the work and just very open, very open to saying, ok, let’s, yes, let’s do an annual fundraiser. Yes, we still need to do in a gala in a live auction. Yes, we need to do year and giving. But yes, also let’s let’s come up with these really informal organic, not just donor centric, more community centric experiences. And so, yeah, it just comes down to just finding people that have been in, in the shoes of nonprofit professionals. I think that really helps with letting go of that resistance would also be a valuable exercise for your, for your board in fundraising. You know, if we’re like, you know, we’re talking about local partnerships, um challenges, you know, community, community engagement, that could be something that uh the board could help with, you know, what connections do they have? Uh maybe to other nonprofits to, to local businesses. You had mentioned, you know, political leaders, you know, how can the board help us expand our influence in, in any of those areas? You know, that could be something that, I mean, that this all falls under the rubric of fundraising, you know, for boards that don’t want to fundraise or board members that don’t want to fundraise their, their contacts can be valuable and so help in these ways around in the, in the community. Yeah, I think, and I think you alluded to something Tony is getting their buy in early, um really involving them in this process. And I think a good place where to start is would be in your strategic planning. Um Board members are well connected in many, in, in, in many ways, more than one, they might have some great ideas in terms of reimagining the types of experiences that we’re giving with our donors. And so in order to kind of change, change that resistant mindset involving them early on in your strate strategic planning, right? Um You might outsource that to a third party to facilitate that process, but getting their buy in allowing them to voice their opinions about what kind of experiences does the nonprofit wanna offer. And I think that will also help with the budgeting budgeting piece as well because once board members feel acknowledged, they feel heard they feel part of the process they’re bought into it early on, they’re not surprised. It really helps making budgeting for these relational experiential experiences easier, right? To really build a, build a budget for? All right, Britain want to uh just leave us with some final thoughts and motivation around uh experiential fundraising. II, I would just say we get so caught up in the scramble of sending out one digital appeal or in person appeal to the next. And I think just as a former ed, former development director is slow down, pause and breathe, it’s going to be ok and give yourself grace oftentimes it’s really those one on one intimate um experiences you have with your donors that are equally as important as that annual gala and live auction. You’re building extreme, you’re forging, you’re getting to the depth, you’re building really deeper connections with those really intimate experiences you have. So keep doing the great work, be gracious and give yourself a lot of credit because our sector really needs you right now. Britain Stocker, she’s on linkedin. The company is at donor box.org Britain. Thank you very much for sharing all your thoughts. Hey, thanks. Thanks Tony. I I loved your pickle comment earlier that that made my day. I might have to think if there is a holiday for around that. But thank you so much for having me, Tony. It’s been a pleasure. My pleasure. Thank you very much for sharing Britain. Thank you. Next week, we’ll return to 24 NTC with sociocracy and attract more donors. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at Tony martignetti.com were sponsored by Virtuous. Virtuous, gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising volunteer and marketing tools. You need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving virtuous.org and by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. Don Box fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor box.org. I like the way you say that. Don a box. Like it’s obvious why do we even have to say it? It’s so obvious, daughter. A box. All right. All right. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Pernetti. The show, social media is by Susan Chavez, Mark Silverman is our web guide and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for May 6, 2024: Prompt Engineering For Beginners & Get The Most From Your Current Tech

 

Nyle Malik & Alfredo Ramirez: Prompt Engineering For Beginners

Our 2024 Nonprofit Technology Conference coverage continues. This panel explains how to get the most out of the generative Artificial Intelligence tools when you write your cues, or prompts, to them. You want ChatGPT and their ilk to serve you best, so here’s wisdom from Nyle Malik and Alfredo Ramirez, the co-founders of Prosal.

 

 

 

 

Dana Larkin & Patrick McDermott: Get The Most From Your Current Tech

Dana Larkin and Patrick McDermott encourage you to explore the lesser-known features in the software you’re probably already using from Microsoft and Google. There’s a tech stack sitting in your office, underutilized. Let’s put it to work! They’re both from Heller Consulting and this is also part of our 24NTC coverage.

 

 

 

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Welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I am your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite Hebdomadal podcast. We’re welcoming donor box back to the nonprofit radio family. They took a break and saw their mistake. Now they’re back with us for goodness sake. II, I think I have to say that uh Bruce Springsteen is probably the, the greatest influence on my poetry. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d come down with Keto Asura if you rained down on me with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with what’s up this week? Hey, Tony, this week it’s prompt engineering for beginners. Our 2024 nonprofit technology conference coverage continues. This panel explains how to get the most out of the generative artificial intelligence tools. When you write your cues or prompts to them, you want Chad GP T and their ilk to serve you best. So, here’s wisdom from Niall Malik and Alfredo Ramirez, the co founders of Prosal. Then get the most from your current tech, Dana Larkin and Patrick mcdermott, encourage you to explore the lesser known features in the software you’re probably already using from Microsoft and Google. There’s a tech stack sitting in your office under utilized. Let’s put it to work. They’re both from Heller consulting and this is also part of our 24 NTC coverage on Tony’s Take two, the vacation finger wag. We’re sponsored by Virtuous. Virtuous, gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising volunteer and marketing tools. You need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving, virtuous.org and buy donor box outdated donation forms blocking your support, generosity. Donor box. Fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor. Box.org. I love that. The alliteration is back, fast, flexible, friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit. Love this, love the alliteration. And you didn’t even say anything about my insightful poetry. It was, it was cute. Didn’t you see the, couldn’t you hear the Bruce Springsteen influence in it? They took a break and saw their mistake. Now they’re back with us for goodness sake. I mean, if that doesn’t scream Springsteen, I, I don’t know you, you’re not appreciating uh his music uh deeply. Yeah, not a Bruce Springsteen fan. Well, you don’t have to be a great fan to recognize the, the depth of my work and, and how it’s influenced by him. Let’s just move on here is prompt engineering for beginners. Welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of 24 NTC. It’s the 2024 nonprofit technology conference in Portland, Oregon at the Oregon Convention Center where we are graciously sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits with me. Now are Niall Malik. He is co founder and chief technology officer at Prosol and Alfredo Ramirez, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Prosol. Niall Alfredo. Welcome. Thank you for having us. We’re excited to be here. Absolutely pleasure. All right. Uh Alfredo seems a little more excited than Niall. Maybe we can pump you up a little Niall. Do you have enough coffee? I’ve got my first cup in. I’m ready. It’s gonna hit in probably 10 minutes. You’ll get me. I just sense a little, a little more enthusiasm from uh out of Alfredo. I’ll put some coffee in your cup now, I got you. Thank you. Yeah. OK. We are talking about prompt engineering for beginners. Your session is uh prompt engineering for beginners. Use artificial intelligence for better, faster communications. I was excited to do this. Uh This intrigued me a lot because we’re hearing about prompt engineering. This new field, there are gonna be degrees, I don’t know and certificates at least maybe even some degrees in prompt engineering. Um Let’s uh let’s turn to you Alfredo. What, what, what is, what? Let’s make sure everybody understands what prompt engineering is. Let’s start with the basics, please. Yes. So prompt engineering at the very base level is how you communicate with an A I tool like chat GP T. Um A prompt is just the way that you speak to uh chat G BT or to another tool. Um It is the input that you give it that it then takes to generate an output. Uh All of these tools that we’re talking about, they are generative uh artificial intelligence, they generate text, they generate images. Uh And so you are telling it what to generate with your prompt and we’re gonna get into the details of it, but the more defined and the more specific uh your prompt is the more tailored the output will be to what exactly you are looking for and Niall this is very iterative, right? We’re not, you don’t do one prompt and, and you’re done. Absolutely. This is actually I consider it almost to be a little bit more of an art form because as these tools evolve and we’re getting better models, um the strategies to approach them are changing. And then also as you start to start using some of these models like Chat GP D specifically, um iterating on kind of their outputs and getting more granular about what you want it to display is is essential to getting the right output for you. What more should we know about these tools before we get into the details of, of, of good prompt engineering? Uh Absolutely like um this is a new field for sure. I I’m sure everyone’s heard about Chat G BT at this point. But um the fairly the release to the public was really just over a little over a year ago where that started blowing up. Um And since then, a lot of research and a lot of iterations of on to these tools. And we’ve heard of GP T 3.54 being released. And now we have the next iterations coming out. There’s plenty of competitors in this space. People um start using Google’s tools to do this. Um So while this is all happening and we, we’re giving kind of the best way to do stuff right now. This is an evolving field and we will constantly be trying to get humans to use these tools as best we can to get the outputs that we need. And so it’s just kind of the learning process, always be open minded. Uh use these tools to basically help you in your job. Um And to stay on top of kind of the latest news of those things? OK. OK. Um Are we ready to get into some of the, the details of what, how, what makes good prompts, how to work with what you get back? Who, who wants to, who wants to start with like our our first prompt? What do we, what do we need to plan? We need to, I guess we have to have something in mind before we start, we start before we start typing our prom. So I brought this chi sheet. I was, I have a chi sheet in my hands that folks probably can’t see but they can’t, they just promise you, you can envision me just holding a piece of paper. It’s much, it’s a little bit for me as much as for the people that we’re talking about. Prompt engineering at NTC uh tomorrow. Uh But there are really five components when it comes to a good prompt. Uh the role that you are setting for the tool, the intent, what do you want it to do? What is the outcome that you want, that intent to accomplish? You can think of that almost like your goal or your objective, the format that you want it in um and format can be anything from the typeface to uh the style to the writing tone and then the a, the context, any background or information that might be more specific to your use case and to your need. And within each of those five elements, there are guides, instructions, best practices so that you can generate the absolute best output for your needs. OK? The role uh you are, let’s stick with you, Alfredo. Uh The role you are a, you are a something. You are a, you are a writer, you are an expert uh podcast host. You are an expert writer. You are an experienced uh fundraiser. Uh You are a professional grant writer. Damn. And so what kind of differences are you gonna see if, if you keep all the other, the four variables, the same and you just change the role, you’re gonna see different massive differences. This is, this is like bringing somebody like, like it’s almost like giving someone a college education with, with a sentence. Um You’re gonna bring in vastly different bases of knowledge because ultimately all these tools are, are trained on what is available on the internet up to a certain period of time. Um And so by telling it, you know, these things, this is what you are best at. You are telling it to focus on those specific things and draw knowledge from what it believes with a world class marketer, a world class uh podcast host will know and will rely on to generate their, their knowledge or to rely their knowledge on. This is incredible. And, and these are uh Niall this all just comes from the large learning, the large language language learning. LLM to me, it was master of laws when I was in law school, but I have an LLM degree, but I don’t have that but some people do. But uh large help me with LLM, please. Large language model exactly that. Um And as Alfredo is mentioning, you know, these are trained on massive massive corpuses of human output attacks, robot generated text, just tons of English language. For example, if your, if your outputs in English. And so there’s so much in that corpus of information. And if you just throw a general prompt at it and you don’t really specify a role or an intent. You’re going to get a general generic output because it’s just trying to synthesize all this information and give you the expected output that it thinks you want. Um But the more specific, the more granular you can get, the more it can kind of fine tune or, or get on the specific training data that it’s, it’s seen and it can actually get you an output that’s much more tailored to what you’re wanting. Should our, our, the first words of our prompt be ur A Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. So, I mean, that’s simple. It’s, it’s, that’s the first step for sure. At least UR A is simple. Now, what, what, what you want, what you want to fill that in as well. You’re a nonprofit executive director. I don’t know, you’re a nonprofit fundraiser. You’re, you’re a nonprofit donor, right? Um So that, that’s up to you, but you should start with you something. Yeah. And a lot of um strategies that people use to, to really get really good outputs is they mirrored themselves. So they use some mirroring and saying, hey, I’m the CTO of a start up and I am trying to do this and this is kind of what I’m looking for and in doing that, it can almost act as your brain in this sort of way. Um Alfredo has a really good saying of uh use these tools like their interns. So always verify their outputs and all that stuff. Um But in taking your own or the problem that you’re facing or what you want to generate, I use it a lot for generating emails, for example. Um I say, hey, you are the CTO of a start up company that does this um I need you to make an email for this and in, in that kind of way it can mimic the tone or the language that I should use and it gets much, much better in the output. This one through five is ideal. By the way, we’re breaking this down. So anything more we should say about role before we move to uh before we move to intent, this is going to apply to anything that we say there’s not one fixed way to say this and what Niall or to write this out, you can say you are, you can say act as you can say your role is. Um So there, there are a myriad of different ways where you can kind of execute this prompt. Um And to Niall’s point earlier, this is all changing, you know, these, the way that we’re gonna write this right now. This is the best practice in six months. This might not be the case. So in six months, we might be back here and we might be saying you gotta talk about role in a different way or you gotta specify role in some other way, we better air this quickly. Then we’re doing 25 of these interviews. That’s 25 shows. That’s about uh well, we’re gonna double up some so we’ve got a couple of months worth. Alright, we better air this one promptly. So it’s promptly look at the World Class. I appreciated the World class uh uh World Class podcast host. Whoever was that you, I think it was Alfredo. Thank you. Um I’ll just, I mean, you were using that as an example, but I take it personally. Thank you. Thank you. Uh Intent, intent. Who wants to talk of uh start us off with understanding, intent? Yeah, I can totally take intent. Intent is kind of exactly what is described as it’s really what is the goal you’re trying to accomplish with this prompt output. Um And going back to the email example, if I just said write me an email to send to my friend to schedule dinner, um That’s partly an intent there. II I have a dinner planned. That’s kind of what I’m trying to allude to, but what we really try to do is get more and more specific. Um So the more information that you can give these models, the better they can use that information in the output. Um So that’s really the intent is really what, what are you trying to accomplish with this prompt? OK. Like it’s a fundraising, we’re trying to raise money or encourage volunteers or we’re trying to write to a funder. We’re trying to encourage folks to work for us. We have job openings. It’s very different to say, write me an offer letter as opposed to write me an offer letter for a project manager that starts on Monday, April 1st. Ok. Ok. All right. So intent, that’s different than your, your objective is more the next one like the outcome. So, so I see as a fine difference between your intent and your outcome. So yeah, so the intent is like now to now’s point, he’s writing an email, he might be saying draft me this email. Um But the outcome, what do you want that email to do? Who’s receiving that email? What is the effect that you wanted to elicit? You can say write me an amazing fundraising email and it probably will give you a really good fundraising email, but you can say write me a fundraising email to uh audiences who respond to environmental conservation and who care about the Arctic and the bees and want to, and we want them to donate $5 when they read this email, it’s going to be very different language and wording. That’s a, that is a perfectly good prompt, that’s in a perfect prompt that you can put in and you can and it will give you back exactly what you were looking for. Um Any, any more so that intent outcome, anything more on outcome. I love this. I, I mean, I didn’t imagine that this degree of specificity though, I mean, the bees and the Arctic, I mean, you can, you can get real specific, I mean, and this is this all feeds, this is why the last one is context and we’ll get to context. But this all ultimately feeds into what is the information that it needs to know. This is where you should really consider. This is this is why I always say treat it like an intern, an intern. If you tell it, go create an Excel table, you know, we’ll probably create an Excel table. But does that accomplish what you need? You know, is that, is that the, the outcome or the objective is not being fulfilled? Whereas if you tell an intern, I need this Excel table in this exact space in this exact formatting with these letters and I needed to do this and have these formulas, then they have a guide to follow. It doesn’t mean that they’re gonna do it perfectly. And that’s again, Toni’s point, verify the output, make sure that the information is correct and it’s what you’re needing, but it’s at least gonna get you a lot closer than if you had just given it very vague instructions. I was just a joke that I needed an intern on this podcast. So I have somebody to blame. Now you can just hire Chad GP. T there you go. We have an associate producer. I blame her occasionally. I’m getting, I’m getting more, more comfortable blaming her. She’s only been with us since July but I’m I’m I’m it’s just uh it’s out of necessity, leave it at that. Um ok, the format. Alright, so Alfredo, you started, you know you mentioned like Excel spreadsheet. Uh we’re not even getting into art. We’re talking about text output, but you certainly could work with a Ali and you could be talking about a piece of art. Yeah. And I mean, this is actually beyond my level of expertise, but go to the example of Dali and formatting, you can talk about the level of contrast um the aspect ratios, the um the temperature of the colors that you’re using, you can, you can get very specific. And so for what I want something that looks like a Chagall. Yes, exactly like I want, I want the Streets of New York painted in Mark Rothko style and our prep drive style like, but when it gets to form, when you get to text, I mean, and, and all of this also applies to Dolly and Mijo and other tools, uh we actually specify this is not just for text, you can use this um especially if it’s, if you don’t have like a graphic designer on staff, you can use a tool like mid journey or Dali to at least maybe create that inspiration that you can then share with a designer and say this is kind of what I’m looking for a draft exactly. Um But in the same, in the same vein, you can draft content to say, you know, give me an outline with, uh heading with H two tags and with bullet points, um, and give it to me, you know, properly format it and then you can tell it, tell it, give it to me in html. So I can just copy, paste this and drag it and put it into my, uh, my email builder or into my website. So there’s a lot of different ways. I’m not by any means a coder, but for any coders listening, I’m sure Niall’s got really good tips for when it comes to the actual coding. No, but Alfredo is exactly right. And even if you go back to that email example or you’re doing an offer letter, like the standard elements of an offer letter will be part of that output if you specify that this format is going to be in an offer letter. Um And you can get even quirkier with it, especially with text. We’ve seen um I saw some pretty fun examples of them people testing the tool and they, they’re out putting in uh Shakespearean format like I am big pentameter is coming out in the text. And I was like, wow, this is pretty incredible and it gets even more important with some of these other generative A I tools like you’re mentioning dolly mid journey. Even um open A I is just demoing a new model called Sora, which actually can do video and with video, they can specify this was filmed on 35 millimeter film or something like that or even give it a specific camera that this should uh mimic in the output. And it’s really incredible stuff. It’s time for a break. Virtuous is a software company committed to helping nonprofits grow generosity. Virtuous believes that generosity has the power to create profound change in the world and in the heart of the giver, it’s their mission to move the needle on global generosity by helping nonprofits better connect with and inspire their givers. Responsive. Fundraising is the donor at the center of fundraising and grows giving through personalized donor journeys that respond to the needs of each individual. Virtuous is the only responsive nonprofit CRM designed to help you build deeper relationships with every donor at scale. Virtuous. Gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising, volunteer marketing and automation tools. You need to create responsive experiences that build trust and grow impact virtuous.org. Now back to prompt engineering for beginners with Niall Malik and Alfredo Ramirez. How could you not be a Bruce Springsteen fan? You’re from New Jersey. Well, I I that’s impossible. I don’t know. You don’t know. There is no, there’s no good excuse. Alright, let’s continue. Anything more about format. Should we say anything more uh writing styles? Um I think that’s one that you can probably get into it. There’s some pretty funny ones in the early days of chat G BT where you can look up like stories of certain characters that are written in humorous ways we’ll say. Um but humorous is a tone persuasive is a tone argumentative um uh formal professional, informal. These are all writing tones and styles that you can apply also to your writing. So don’t feel limited in just that in formatting is the actual format of the output. But what is the style that you want writing in? Now, I mentioned I am a pentameter. You can ask it to write you an email in Haiku format. Haiku is very good, but even just something as simple as, hey, I’ve written all this stuff and I want to be a little more concise about it. Um It can go there and chop it up and make it much, much better and it kind of gives you, it helps give you a voice that maybe you’re not used to writing in. Um I know for me, I can tend to blabber a lot when I’m writing an email. So when I start using this and I I tell the output format to be more concise. It helps greatly. Alright, last one context, let’s stick with you now. So context is kind of an overarching term to just basically give it more information about more specificity will always lead to a better output. And so when I’m saying um draft an offer letter or send an email to schedule dinner with my friend. Um The more information I can give it, the better it can get and the better it can tailor that email or that offer letter to the, to the audience. And so it goes much beyond that. Even um we use it a lot, we deal with a lot of documents all the time, massive, massive PDF that we have to kind of go through and figure out different things about. And so you can actually take big corpuses of text. You can take um other additional supporting information and give that to chat G BT or to any other LLM tool. And it will actually go through that and find out what’s most relevant to you and what’s important and use that in the output. Um You gotta remember these tools are kind of, they, they’re trained on a lot of different knowledge, but your goal is to use the knowledge that’s most per pertinent to you. So taking it and giving it any kind of context that you have or anything that you think will be useful in the output and just providing it to the model will just help it, give it something to reference and something to use in the output. Can you, can you reference your own, your own, writing your own website uh and on like a, a blog post that you did, of course, yeah, that you wrote yourself and you wanted to imitate. So you give it the URL, you can give it the URL. There’s a different, I’m not sure about 3.5 but I know chat G BT four does uh parse link so it can go directly to a link. If it’s not even trained on that Corpus, it will train itself in the moment. Uh You can also just copy, paste the text and I’ll mention there’s a ton of plugins that do this. Now you can link to a PDF in your Google Drive or somewhere online that’s easily accessible. Um One example that I’ve used it for uh there’s tools that already do this. But if you record a meeting and you have the entire transcript and you need to summarize the meeting for somebody, you can just take that transcript and upload it and say, when did uh when did Tony mention a role in our conversation? And what was the question that he was asking? So I can go back and make sure that I’m answering them and pull out those questions specifically rather than having to go look at my notes or look at the video. Um And you can use that information to say, OK, we had this conversation. Now write me a blog about this, this entire topic, write me a summary, um make it seo optimized too and, and you can give it additional context and additional background information. It doesn’t have to be on the first one. Now is probably going to bring up chain prompting at some point. Um but you can build on all of these prompts. This is a one and done. No, this is an ongoing conversation. So it’s remembering, it’s gonna remember that from when you’re in prompt. Number seven, it’s gonna remember. It remembers the first six exactly. And you can tell it to reference, hey, that last prompt was missing this specific piece of information, update paragraph two to reference this information that is now new to you, but it is important to this topic of conversation. Alright, so you can train it, you can train it on your own. You’re talking about links, your own, your own text, your own document that you want to summarize. You can give it. Yeah, and absolutely. And for example, I’m, I consider myself to be a terrible writer. I’m not writing blog posts. That’s why we have Alfredo over here and Alfredo outputs great blog posts in his style and he’s, he’s really good at writing um the text that goes on our blog. So if I’m ever writing a blog post, I just take all of Alfredo’s old blog posts. And I say this is a blog post. I want to write, I want you to act as a blog writer and give it all the role, the intent, the outcome, the format and then as context, I’ll give it all of Alfredo’s blog posts and say this is the kind of style I want to mimic or this is some of the information I want to retouch on and you can actually use that in the output to one mimic Alfredo’s writing style or his voice. And then also reference some of the older blog posts that Alfredo has written so that we can keep everything kind of in a tree structure. Now, when I was growing up, we called that plagiarism. Well, I think, I think uh plagiarism is uh yeah, there’s a fine line there because you’re giving it, use these as examples. You’re not saying copy, you just copy it yourself. But plagiarism came to mind as you were, as you were explaining. And I think you now bring up the, you start to go into the pros and cons of some of these elements where, you know, you could, I don’t, I don’t see plagiarism actually is an accusation but if you are posting, say a blog post or you’re sending an email um or anything like that, some of the writing, especially if you’re not specific with your prompt, it can be easily detectable. You know, I, I think I’ve gotten, I think to the point and now too where we can see if something was written with a poor prompt and you can, there’s a general writing style that Cha GP T has where you can see. OK. Well, this was clearly written by Cha GP T uh and Google is doing the same thing. Search engines are doing the same thing and they’re deprioritizing content that it can tell. OK. Well, this was obviously written by an A I tool. So it’s not written by a human. We’re not going to give this priority when sharing it with the rest of the world and other. And it’s not just Google, Google I think is the one that’s probably most known for this right now and building it into its search algorithms. But I think other platforms, social media search engines are following closely behind to de prioritize uh A I generated content as opposed to human generated content. Now, let’s go to you because uh Alfredo referenced something. So now we’ve got our first output from our first newly engineered prompt. Uh And it’s not, it’s not, it’s not what we want. What, what, what do we do? Well, the beautiful part about um these LL MS and the interfaces that they’ve built um is that you can conversationally talk to them so you can actually tell them exactly what you liked about the previous output or you can actually ask it what you didn’t like or tell it what you didn’t like and it can go and refine that and further refine the output. Um and you can just take it along a completely different direction just based on you giving it feedback. Um Something that’s also pretty cool that I’ll touch on a little bit is um you can even give it an output that you like, like one of Alfredo’s blog posts and you can actually have it reverse engineer the prompt for you. And so that you’ll start on a better baseline. So I can give an Alfredo blog post. And I can say, hey, if I’m I’m trying to create a prompt to use with Chad GP T for, with, with an output very similar to this style. What is a good prompt I should use? And it will actually give you a prompt that you can reverse feedback into it. Reverse engineer, a prompt. Exactly. And from a, from a document from text engineer and a lot of the time um the output is never going to be perfect on the first try. And that’s just to be expected. Uh We all have our different biases in the way that we want to see the output. Um So the key here is that you can talk with it and you can refine and you can further further refine and you should um because that will help your voice come across better, that will help you get something that you desire better than just some generic chat GP T content off the first try. And then, you know, people start to recognize that or Alfredo was saying it gets de prioritized, it just becomes obvious you can spot it. So certainly Google and other search engines can spot it and de prioritize it. And once you get to the point where I think it’s important to give that feedback to arrive at some at that output that you want, especially when it comes to prompts that you might be reusing if you’re a marketing professional or if you’re a blog writer and you’re constantly churning out content and you need a little bit of help with inspiration on that first draft. You want to have the best prompt possible. I would recommend saving that prompt in chat G BT in maybe a Google doc or some other kind of text editor. And you can ask Chat G BT, I’ve actually done this where I’ll give it something and it will give me the output and I will say you missed this or you didn’t include this information or this format was wrong and I will ask it, what, how would you update the original prompt so that you get this right on the first try and it will give me that prompt and I’ll test it again three or four times and it will give me exactly what I wanted. OK. Uh What else? Uh So we, OK. So the iterative, so it’s not uncommon, we shouldn’t be frustrated if we’re getting, we’ve got to do this four or five times. Remember? Yeah, you gotta give it the intern feedback, you gotta give a guidance and feedback and over time, hopefully it’ll get a little better. Don’t be frustrated with the first three or four or five. OK. OK. Um What else? Uh maintaining, you mentioned uh in your description of the of the session, maintaining an authentic and personal touch. We have we touched on that already. I mean, we, we talked about using Alfredo’s blog posts. We got a sample but alright, well, go ahead. So I say more, I mean, so authenticity especially now with these tools and they’re kind of, they’re helping a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Um Maintaining authenticity is, is kind of key here. We want to make sure that although something else is generating maybe the bulk of the content, you’re ensuring that you’re looking over it and you’re giving it your personal touch because um I think as we see a lot of, and we’re seeing this pop up everywhere, especially in the blogs that um different companies are uploading. We’re starting to recognize when we’re seeing A I generated content. And I think that is taking away a little bit from just the personal experience of, of seeing someone having written a blog post and seeing their original thoughts and ideas. It’s not that you can’t contain your original thoughts and ideas in A I generated content. That’s not all what I’m saying. It’s just that you, there needs to be an element of a human element there of maybe a proofread or a fact check. Um And the way I always think about it is that chat GP T and LL MS, they’re really great for the blank page problem. That’s something that I encounter all the time when I’m just looking at the blank page. And I’m like, hey, I need to write about this or I need to draft an email for this and I just don’t know how to even start. Um, the way I found to keep my voice coming through and keep my authenticity in, in writing is to use chat GP T to just put something down on the paper. And once I actually see it there and I see some kind of uh general output that’s a little more tailored to what I’m doing. I can actually go in and start editing and start chopping it up and doing that proofreading process. And that editing process is really where I can come in and reform the message or reform the intent to better suit me as a person. I’m gonna share with you something that is, is my concern. My biggest concern about the, the use of uh the generative A I which is, and it is directly related to what you’re saying now that we’re seeing to the technology, our most creative role, like you’re saying, you know, looking at the blank screen, I think, I think that’s the most creative thing that we can do is to start filling that page with, with what flows from our mind. And I’ve, I’ve, and we’ve all been there with the frustration. Like I, I’m not sure how to start or you know, should I start with the conclusion or? You know, but, but we, but we worked through it and we did it and we’ve emerged and we, here we are, I’m concerned that we will sacrifice some of our own, the most creative stuff that we can do to the technology. And then it, it, it reduces us to the role of, you know, copy editor, proofreader. What’s your, what’s your reaction to my concern? I think, I think it’s valid and I totally think it, it just depends on you personally and where you think your creative process comes in, uh you and I might be different in that. Um I really struggled with that blank page problem and that’s actually not where my creativity shines. It’s more when I have something that’s 70% there, I can really chop it up and I, my creative process happens by cutting out a bunch of texts and rewriting parts of text and really getting it better to, to my voice. But if that initial process of the blank page is very important to inform your creative process, then you should totally keep that. That’s, that’s your voice and what you should go do instead or maybe where you could start using chat to your tool. Like this is maybe a part of that process where you struggle where maybe at the output, you want to get it in a specific format or, you know, you tend to just write in a stream of consciousness or bullet points and then you want to reform this back into full sentences. That’s probably where a tool like this could come and help you out without sacrificing any of your creativity. Awesome. That’s the best response I’ve heard. And I’ve, I’ve mentioned this a few times to guests. OK. Alfredo. Do you want to leave us with? Uh Well, well, let me ask first before you leave anything. We haven’t, we haven’t talked about that. You wanna, you think is important? I, I think I would say um again, this is still a developing field. It’s early. Uh There is so much application that is possible, especially in the nonprofit industry and, and for those supporting nonprofits where demand is high capacity is low and we’re all trying to just get the next thing done. I think it’s an additional pair of hands and eyes that is invaluable and will only continue to improve our productivity and being conscious of those elements that you’re bringing up. Don’t sacrifice your creativity. Be careful about the information you’re sharing because this all in all this information will, it’s not necessary public, but it will be used to further train the, the A I tool um and stay up to date on what is a best practice and what you should and should not be doing for these because the use cases will evolve and the applications are there for nonprofit professionals, whether it’s grant writing email, writing, fundraising, event planning, uh Anything that requires text thought images, it’s, it’s gonna be helpful. Um So don’t be scared, you know, follow along. It’s, it’s just the start of the journey and I think it’s going to be pretty exciting um for anyone that gets involved in prompt engineering today, that’s Alfredo Ramirez, he’s co-founder and Chief marketing Officer at Prosal. And with him is Niall Malik, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Prosal and uh Niall, I appreciate, I really appreciate your thoughtful response to my, my, my concern. I mean, I, I don’t feel 100% allayed but you gave it no, really. It was very uh it was a reasoned and uh and thoughtful, thoughtful response to it. So, thank you. Well, I’m glad I’m glad and um there’s definitely room for you to use some of these tools um to, you know, improve your process and everything. But I think you’re absolutely right. We gotta keep our voice, we gotta keep our creativity, we gotta keep our authenticity. I think that’s absolutely key as this whole world evolves around us. Niall. Thank you, Alfredo. Thank you very much. Thanks for having us. Thanks Tony and thank you for being with Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of the 2024 nonprofit technology conference where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. It’s time for a break, donor box, open up new cashless and person donation opportunities with donor box live kiosk. The smart way to accept cashless donations. Anywhere, anytime picture this a cash free on site giving solution that effortlessly collects donations from credit cards, debit cards and digital wallets. No team member required. Thus, your donation data is automatically synced with your donor box account. No manual data entry or errors make giving a breeze and focus on what matters your cause. Try donor box live kiosk and revolutionize the way you collect donations. Visit donor box.org to learn more. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you, Kate. Although I don’t know how you could be from New Jersey and not be a Bruce Springsteen fan. But um thank you nonetheless, it’s time to be thinking about yourself. You gotta be a little bit selfish at summertime so that you set time aside to refresh yourself, to relax in whatever way you do that maybe with lots of family around or friends, it might be hiking in solitude, sitting on a beach. Uh I’m, I’m a big endorser of uh beach usage. Of course, I will be taking full advantage this summer but whatever it is more, cooking, more, more needlework, more working out at the gym. Whatever it takes, please, I’m, I’m giving you like the, the annual finger wag. Think about yourself this summer, set time aside to rejuvenate, relax, take time for yourself because you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. So please be good to yourself this summer. The finger wag. That is Tony’s. Take two J, take care of yourself this summer and make sure you listen to Bruce Springsteen. Ok. And I hope you’re gonna take your own advice. Yeah. Yeah, I know this summer I will. All right, I’m gonna make sure of it though. Believe me, we’ve got VU but loads more time here is get the most from your current tech. We are sponsored by Heller consulting, technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits and where our guests right now are both from Heller consulting. Dana Larkin is principal project manager at Heller and Patrick mcdermott is strategy consultant at Heller. Dana Patrick. Welcome. Thank you. Thank you for Heller’s sponsorship of nonprofit radio at the conference. Absolutely fun to be booth mates in our, in our oversized booth sharing space together. Thank you very much. We’re talking about your session, which is uh do we really need new tools getting the most from your current tech? Technically, it’s Patrick’s session, but Dana knows an enormous amount about this too and it just made sense to collaborate together. So, Patrick, why don’t you start us off? What, what, what are we missing? Why are we sometimes going beyond what we have to uh to accomplish what we could with what, what we, what we already got part of the impetus for even wanting to do this session in the first place was and I was even victim of this too when I was in nonprofits is you get entranced to a certain extent by all of the bells and whistles and the marketing of all of these very discreet vendors that try to solve very specific problems like appointment scheduling and those types of things. And so that really kind of compelled me to look at. Well, are there features that maybe aren’t necessarily as well known by the platforms that you’re already using as a nonprofit? Google and Microsoft probably being the two top ones from a kind of productivity platform standpoint that can do a lot of these things that these discrete tools are trying to sell you on doing for a price that nonprofits just honestly can’t really afford to spend a lot of resources on. Um Could they really get away with doing a lot of what it is that they’re looking to do based off of what they already have available within their technical stacks? So some of the examples that I cite in uh the session that I’m doing tomorrow is specifically around say like appointment scheduling for instance. So Microsoft Outlook has a scheduling poll feature. I don’t know if necessarily a lot of people know that. Uh In fact, actually, there are even some colleagues of mine at Heller that didn’t even know that that was a feature and there’s always this constant like back and forth in email exchanges with clients about. All right, let’s find like a mutual time to meet. But if you use scheduling pull feature, you might be able to get to that result a lot faster. And some of the ways in which you see nonprofit clients work is they look at solutions like a calendly, for instance or something like that, not to take anything away from calendly. I’ve used the service before. It’s a very well known, very good service to use. But with a nonprofit that is resource strapped if they already are a Microsoft shop or a Google Shop, because Google calendar has these appointment slot features that you can now use as well that do something very similar to that. Can we just use that instead to achieve the same end and the same function without necessarily having to pay an extra subscription cost, especially because as a nonprofit, you get Google often times for free or discounted price and the same with Microsoft. So Dana, how about you? Uh T us off? What, what uh what can you add to our, our intro? Yeah. So, um the other thing to think about when you are trying to make these, these technology changes is that uh you know, there’s an element to this that is change management and there’s pieces to this that you need to make sure you get the right buy in and it’s much easier to get that buy in and you’re like, ok, but we already have the technology. We just need to do a little bit of change management to get it. You’re going to have a lot more success and buy in. So it’s just going to be an easier change all around. What if the tool is free though? The tool is like Patrick mentioned calendly. Yeah. So to that, I would say, well, the learning curve, it, what’s the learning curve on it? There can be free tools out there. But what is the, the one the tech, uh, you’re gonna expand your tech stack either way and you know, if you can keep it smaller, it’s gonna make your tech stack a lot less complex, easier to hand over, transfer whatever it is. And, um, if they already know a tool like outlook, it’s just gonna make it that much easier to give them one more little thing that they can do in outlook versus you’re now gonna need a new log in. You’re gonna need a new, you’re gonna have to learn this new tool and how to use it with the, you already have outlook. So there’s a learning curve piece to it. You’re gonna need to learn the integration between Calendly and mis and outlook because you want it on your calendar, don’t you? Exactly. Right. So, like the two of you together make a lot of sense. Like why bother? We already got it. We’ve already got something that does it. Why you use the shiny new tool because everybody else is ok. I think Calendly is a very easy and simple example. So um so Daniel, let’s stick with you. What, what are some other devices? What are some other tools that we’ve already got that? We like Patrick was saying, you know, even folks at Heller didn’t know exist. What else, what else do we might we have in our tech stack that we’re not exploiting Microsoft is the great example of like a ton of tools because they, they pretty much do anything you could think of. Really uh you think about process mapping, for example, they have visio for that. Um And that comes free. So, process improvement and process mapping when you take a step by step and visualize that. Um And so you say, OK, uh step one, get up in the morning, step two go to the bathroom, you know, something like that, that you can make a process map that just lays all that out. And a lot of nonprofits use that as a tool to uh figure out where in their processes they can improve. Um So like how an acknowledgement letter gets out, that’s a popular one, maybe event management or management is a big one too. Um So Microsoft has a tool to do that. It’s called viso. Yeah. And that comes free with your Microsoft 365 subscription. And you, there is a downloadable desktop one that is more, you have to pay a little bit for that, but you can do the same things that you can do on the desktop app in their free cloud version. And it comes with your subscription a lot of times and it’s underutilized. You can even use it to make org charts. For example, uh It’s a very easy tool to make org charts. Again, used for process mapping, used for uh any visualization that you want to make, you can probably do that in Visio. And again, it’s a free tool where do you find it in the search? There’s like an app that like at the top of the I forget they’re called the nine dots in the top the grid pattern. Yeah, the grid pattern button. Um where you would find outlook where you would find a word all of the, it’s in the same spot, you just scroll a little bit further and vis another way you can also find it too. If you go to office.com, it’s a Microsoft domain. And if you log into your Microsoft account, there’s usually a home page, but it also offers you a kind of a directory listing of all of the apps that are a part of your subscription as well. So another example, I’ll also point out that’s part of the Microsoft stack is Microsoft stream. So this is the system and the uh the app that they use to be able to do their teams recording. So if you’re using teams to be able to record sessions stream is the one that is basically like a video hosting or recording hosting platform. But one of the other things it offers as a feature is uh you to be able to record screen clips of yourself and screen recordings. So if you are a kind of virtual, a quick, thank you. Thank you so much to a donor for, for a gift or a volunteer for reaching their 100th hour. I can do it. I can just record myself and, and, and send it or if you’re on like the IT team and you need to show people like how to do something in particular, you can do a quick recording of that and then you can post that either on your sharepoint site in teams in whatever platform that you want because it’s essentially a link, but you’re just embedding it into wherever is that you want. Can I do screen share with that? If you’re, if I’m, if I want, if I need to show someone where something is, look at it, screen share is included and this can be in substitution of like a platform like loom for instance, which I know is very popular and very slick looking and I’ve used it before, nothing against it. But it’s another added thing that you have to use with stream. However, it’s already a part of your Microsoft subscription. Now, these are brilliant. I mean, it’s sitting in it. It’s like a gold sitting in the subscription. You’re already paying. Alright, Dana, it’s your turn but name some more. Wait a minute. Why don’t we stick with Microsoft for the time being and then we’ll move to Google, you know, after a few minutes. But what else we got in the Microsoft stock in the Microsoft? Oh, well, so kind of ripping off of that stream piece. Um A lot of people are starting to get into the A I note taking apps and those pop up. Yeah, Microsoft actually has their own and it can auto generate not only the transcript from your meeting, but it will auto generate. Not like a summary of the notes. Now, sometimes it is a little bit more expensive to get that with Copilot. But again, it’s built into your system, right? So you’re not having to get another subscription necessarily, you might have to pay a little bit more with your current subscription, but it will do all the things that you’re probably gonna have to pay for from a third party vendor anyway. And it’s like a toggle of a button, right? Co-pilot does that for you. It’s called Copilot. Copilot is where you access it from or co-pilot is the A I like the A I that Microsoft uses and that’s the subscription that you would get. It’s for Copilot. But that is a feature of co-pilot to do this note taking Copilot’s essentially the branding that Microsoft has given all of its A I products and features. And it’s weaving it into the fabric of every one of the apps within their stack. So you’ll have co-pilot for Word Excel powerpoint teams, all of these different kinds of things. Um in terms of Microsoft, another one that I’ll also point out too, which is one I’m gonna cover in my session tomorrow is Microsoft Lists. So this is another app that’s part of your subscription, that is essentially a database product. So you’re able to put together like really quick, easy, fairly straightforward databases. Uh Some of the use case examples I can think of for nonprofits are if you just need like a basic it asset inventory or something like that or a quick kind of digital asset manager or something along those lines, you can use this as a part of your subscription instead of paying for a tool like air table or coda or notion or any of those other like really popular database applications that are now available out there that are trying to sell themselves to nonprofits again, nothing against those products. But this is already a part of your Microsoft subscription. And you can do ostensibly a lot of the things that those platforms can do in a very kind of foundational way, but you don’t necessarily have to pay extra for it. You don’t. Is there any more Microsoft ecosystem is so large? So very treasure, all you have to do is just we’re providing you two are providing the map now, you know how to get to it. It’s waiting there, the tools are waiting there for you. Anything else? I think it’s just if you think of something and you’re thinking about a third party, just check, first check to see if Microsoft can do it because there’s probably a chance it’s there. Um It might not be as like clean looking as maybe the third parties are making it seem, but it’s gonna be better for your users. Most likely the user experience, it’s gonna be uh most likely a lesser cost and just a much shorter learning curve and to be fair, you know, some of these third party applications try and sell themselves with certain like differentiating features that are more like at a premium work level. And so there might be some benefits to going in that route. It all depends on specifically what your needs are as a nonprofit. But if you’re just kind of looking for a base solution for an asset inventory management system or you know, a quick screen recording or something like that and you’re not really all that interested in the extra bells and whistles, you just need something to get the job done. You probably already have something in your tech stack right now. You already have it. Alright, just gotta find it. Alright, so where I’ve been using Apple since like 1983. Ok. So uh I I use Microsoft because clients give me uh an HP laptop, but I, I’m a reluctant user of Microsoft. So this may be a totally basic question. But um where, where can you see like an inventory or a description of what you’ve already got in your 360? I mean, Patrick, you mentioned a place where you could go. You were when you were talking about stream where you could find stream, where can you see something comprehensive that describes what you’ve got and what, what it does. So I think one of the advantages to more and more technology moving to web-based is that it’s now uh operating system agnostic in a lot of ways. So this is true of Microsoft of Google and a number of others, a lot of the functionality that you’re looking for can be found just by going to the website of the particular vendor and you can find all of the different products that are listed in uh the license or the uh plan that you’re subscribing for be be it on the Microsoft or on the the Google side, you could also do it when you’re logged into your accounts. Usually through a web browser. Google is the same similar fashion to Microsoft. They usually have a uh a little grid icon in the corners um that when you tap on it, it lists all of the different apps that are a part of your subscription that you have access to. So Dana was talking about Microsoft, you have that grid app uh that shows everything there. You also have the same thing on Google. So when you click on it, you can see all the things like your Gmail, your Google calendar, your doc sheets and slides, uh your app sheet, which is uh kind of the database and app builder uh component that’s similar to Microsoft lists. So there’s a lot of parody there in terms of building tables and databases and those types of things. Um But you can see all of those that are available to you and if you just click on it, it opens it up in a new tab or whatever kind of format they take with it. Uh And then you can more or less just kind of like start creating like right off the bat. There’s no paywall that’s listed, that’s listed there. So just browsing exactly know what you have. That’s what I’m just trying to get at like, where’s the inventory? Ok. So that, that nine the grid, the grid is a good place for both. Alright, so then uh it sounds like we’ve exhausted the hidden the buried treasure in Microsoft. Let’s go to Google Patrick. You start to tease a couple. Go ahead. So similar to what I was mentioning before about the scheduling poll and outlook for Dana too. Yeah. Yeah, I’ll, I’ll just do one at a time and we’ll, we’ll piggy back and forth. Um So uh similar to the scheduling po and outlook uh, Google calendar now has these, uh, appointment slots or appointment schedule, uh, options that it recently introduced. And so these are, uh, very similar options where you can, uh, block out specific time slots on your calendar, uh, to be able to then go and, um, send that out to particular folks that you’re looking to have a meeting with. It says these are the slots that I’m available for and go ahead and book it and you can take out a lot of that back and forth, emailing uh to be able to do that kind of thing. It’s also very similar to, again, like a calendar or a doodle, uh which I know a lot of nonprofits use as well to just try and find mutual meeting times that work for everyone. Uh This is a way to be able to garner that interest within the same ecosystem and tool that you’re using. So, you know, today at this point before, you’re not necessarily having to toggle between different tools and do a lot of context switching, which is just frustrating and takes out time in people’s days to be able to get to the end result that you’re really looking for. It was just a meeting at the end of the day. You just wanna be able to have something on your calendar and then move on to the next thing. Nonprofits and nonprofit employees especially have way too much on their plates already. And the last thing they want to do is have to spend an exorbitant amount of time just to try and find a meeting time for folks. So, and what is this tool called? It’s within Google calendar. So if you go to your Google calendar and you click on the new button, it is one the options that now pops up. So instead of like just a new meeting, you now have an option to be able to uh book appointment slot. Yeah. Well, they don’t call it a poll, they call it an appointment slot or something like that, but it’s essentially the same functionality. But basically, yeah. Um so they aren’t new tools, but it’s improvements on the tools that are already part of Google. So, you know, you got the, the slides which is equivalent to Microsoft powerpoint. The comparison point is always going to be Microsoft. So Google Docs is equivalent to Microsoft Word. Uh Google Sheets is Excel powerpoint is slides in Google, all of the functionality um was being slowly built up. And I think that’s the big thing to think about um with your tech stack is you need both still because Google has come a long way in making their powerpoint or slides better, making their doc, you know, very close to what you can do in uh word doc. I was an early adopter of Google drive and Google, all of that Google Suite. And I was frustrated at first because I couldn’t get it to do all the things that you remember that specifically on sheets. Right. But now they have, they heard the feedback and they pushed to get it closer. Right. And so all of that functionality, I would double check it. If you haven’t checked it in a while, I would double check if you can do the things that you were missing before because there’s a great chance you can. Now, one other thing I’ll also add to that as well is Google has actually made a lot of recent investments on you being able to edit a word Doc, an Excel doc or a powerpoint file uh in the native file format within doc sheets or slides. So what that means is you don’t have to convert it to a doc a sheet or a slide first to edit it. You can do it within its native format and still have some of that powerful functionality that Google has within the web browser. Uh and it preserves it. So if you’re working with someone, like, especially if you’re like a Google user for instance, but you’re working with people that are adamant about using the Microsoft suite, you can do it in your own preferred Google method, but it’s not gonna necessarily affect what other people need to use it for in opening up in Word Excel and powerpoint because it’s gonna keep them file resolution, the file format. Does that work by default? It does no, it does by now because it will detect the file that you upload as either a native Doc Excel or powerpoint file. And it will actually give you a little indicator next to the file name. Uh of this is a Doc X file or an Excel X file or a powerpoint X file and it’ll just indicate it for, I’ve seen that designation but I didn’t know what. So it means that it’s editing in the native format format after I’ve uploaded an Excel spreadsheet. Ok. I saw that right after the file name and I just thought, oh, well, yeah, I did upload a an Excel sheet. So it’s just telling me that, but so I can bring it back down and, and not have to go through the conversion process. Download it back down. That’s a winner. Ok? Ok. Um Another one on the, oh, I’m sorry, sorry. No, it’s ok. Go ahead, Patrick. I gotta think of another one. Another one I was gonna mention too, uh which I alluded to a little bit before is uh app sheet. So uh Google recently had a kind of beta product that it was teasing um called Tables, which was kind of their answer to Microsoft Lists and Air Table and those types of things. They’ve now incorporated that kind of stand alone beta product into apps sheet. And so essentially what apps sheet is, it allows for you uh to build custom applications, especially for like mobile phones based off of data that you are uh storing within uh Google products, whether it be docs sheets, those types of things. Um and tables is one of those components now where you’re basically just creating much like you would in Microsoft lists a quick database, say for instance, like an inventory system uh where you put all of that information, you uh customize the columns and those types of things, store that information. And then you can build uh an application where let’s just take the example of an IT inventory. For instance, if you are on the it team of a nonprofit and you’re in your office and you just need to do maybe like a month’s end inventory of how many computers you have or something along those lines, you can have this mobile app that’s connected to a table that you, you can go and you can log OK. This is the serial number of the asset tech for this and you can do XYZ with this and these are the specs for that machine. Like the use cases are almost endless, but it’s based off of a free tool that’s already available to you with your Google subscription that you can build, that allows for that kind of functionality. I will preface it. I will say that in terms of apps sheet, Google recently offered um the app sheet uh in a certain kind of context where it’s part partly free uh as a part of your existing subscription up until like a certain tier, you could probably still do quite a lot in a really kind of fundamental like rudimentary way with what they’re already offering to you right out of the box. Now, we’re talking about app development. It sounds intimidating. Is that something? But is that something the average user could do? I would say again, rudimentary, I mean, it’s not gonna, it’s not gonna look like uh my Delta Fly app. But can an average user, I would say it has a little bit of a learning curve. I will say that but you don’t have to code at all. There’s no coding involved in this whatsoever. In fact, I wouldn’t even say it’s low code, which is more of a a nuance that I think us tech professionals understand a little bit more. But it’s basically just all these clicks that you’re making that Google walks you through in terms of a wizard. It also gives you templates that you can start. Like if you’re looking to build like this it asset inventory system, it can, it gives you an option of this template that allows you to basically start not from scratch, but instead with uh a sample app layout and different buttons you wanna click on and those types of things. And it’s asking you then what Google Sheet, for instance, do you want to link the app to as far as databases goes? And so if you spend all of your time on just building the Google Sheet and then go to App Sheet and then, uh, tell them that you wanna start like an ID inventory app and then connect it to the Google Sheet you were working on. You’ve already done probably 7580 percent of the work. And it was mostly in the sheet that you worked in. Not necessarily configuring an app for someone to be able to use. I mean, I’ve created kind of a dashboard that we can, that’s more user friendly than the sheet. So it’s worth looking at Dana. Did you think of one? Yeah. So um there’s a product called Google White Board. And so this is on the opposite end of, you know, Patrick’s going into apps. If you just want to draw something, you know, you, you’re a nonprofit professional, that’s a visual person just wants to draw something. Google Whiteboard is a great tool. The equivalent of Microsoft would be mural. Um The third party apps are gonna be Miro or Lucid charts. You know, there are products that are now inherent for Google and Microsoft that you can just draw and you know, brainstorm, you know, work it out. Um And you can do it, you can do it collaboratively. You can also use these white boards on Google Meet calls. So it’s like it’s not just a stand alone board that you share with somebody. You can also bring that board to a call and you know work on it together on the call, which I think is really cool. Yeah, that’s outstanding. Alright. Anything else Google? So buried treasure, I would say also Google and Microsoft both have uh data visualization tools. So Microsoft is very well known for its Power BI I platform. So you can use Power BI I to do lots of different types of data visualization. Basically a data visualization tool or platform is one where you take the data that you have ostensibly mostly in like Excel workbooks and that kind of thing. And it allows for you to more visually represent what that data is saying and telling you so your bar charts and graphs and those types of things and you can kind of suss out different insights from those different types of platforms. So Power Bi I is one that uh allows for you to do that kind of visualization to a certain extent you can do that um as a part of your existing subscription already based off of certain Excel workbooks that you have and those types of things. And then Google has a similar product. It used to be called Google Data Studio. I think it’s called Looker Studio now, but it’s still a Google product and allows you to do ostensibly the same thing. So you connect it to a Google sheet, that’s your data. And then it allows for you to do these different types of visualizations and dashboards that you can then share freely with internal colleagues publicly, whoever it is that you want, all these are fantastic. Anything else don’t hold back on nonprofit radio listeners, you all are sponsoring the show. I’m thinking like, really you can start using Microsoft for, you know, your CRM now and I don’t know how widely that’s really known in the nonprofit world. You know, there’s always these big names of Cr MS Microsoft has become a really big player. So look into that as well. If you’re looking to transfer from your Excel sheets to something more user friendly, maybe something that’s a little more robust and can do data um in a different way and give you statistics. Is there a tool, AC RM Microsoft tool? It’s called Microsoft. It’s like um fundraising and engagement is one of the ones that we recommend to nonprofits and it is an actual CRM. It’s an extra cost, of course. But you know, it’s, it’s not something that maybe is top of mind for listeners or, or for nonprofit professionals, right? It’s, they are newer to the space, relatively newer. They’ve still been around for a while, but they’ve really made an investment into nonprofits and what they need. So they’ve made modules that work for fundraisers, they’ve made it work so that you can do all your email, your mass emailing through this Microsoft CRM. So it’s just another, you know, it’s a big one actually, but maybe your listeners might not know as much about it. Would you say it’s as robust as sales force? Yes, it’s a competitor. It’s a very um good competitor actually. And, you know, cost comparison is really a lot of what our clients come down to is when they’re looking at the two and Microsoft has a good price point. And if again, if their users are already using Microsoft products, that learning curve again, it just, there’s a big benefit. Um So I don’t think anybody knows about you all, but I don’t think the vast majority of people know that Microsoft has AC RM product. Yeah. And, and we help implement that product. So we are seeing the, the really the big benefits for our clients getting to use that and finding out, oh, this exists. Oh I already know Microsoft, this looks exactly like I’ve like, I’ve been using for years, you know, um and when you get to a product like sales force, it’s just a little bit bigger, it’s way different. And so the learning curve again is just so high that some people they, they just don’t have the time or the investment that they can put into a product like Salesforce, Microsoft can do almost everything you keep coming back to the learning curve, which is, which is important. It’s just, it’s just the way it looks, you know, it just looks comfortable to me because I know Microsoft, you know, to me me personally, Tony Martignetti. Apple looks comforting to me. The fonts, the organization, I think more like Apple because I’ve been using it since 1984 than I do than I do. Microsoft Microsoft is still a little illusive to me for, for some things. But, uh, but yeah, it just to come, I mean, I’m just, I’m, I’m just emphasizing your point, the comfort level and even just to the appearance, it just, it just feels like a friend. It’s somebody I already know it’s something I already know, let’s not get carried away somebody. It’s something I already know. I recognize it. Ok? And I’ve, I’ve I’ve worked with it for years. Alright, so, alright Microsoft Crm. So tell me how again would you access? You have to, you have to this is something you would have to you’d have to purchase it. You would want to go through Microsoft to purchase it. Um but then it is just in your again that nine dot uh I have been in that you just click that nine dot And you go to the CRM section and you can see your full database. Ok. That’s they’re all brilliant but that’s that particularly because I don’t think most people are thinking about that at all because there are so many CRM providers um and they all look shiny and new and but you don’t have to, you don’t have to go that way. Consider like you said, consider Microsoft as A as AC RM vendor, I mean, Microsoft has a lot of help and assistance that is providing nonprofits and it’s very um focused on trying to discount its products as much as possible for nonprofits that could really benefit from them as well. Um and offer add-ons as well. Like one of the things that I’m also gonna be mentioning in my session tomorrow is, you know, if you are in the sales force or the Microsoft ecosystem and you need like a volunteer management solution. There are discrete ones that you could pay for that are third party apps, but sales force has a volunteers for Sales Force app that you can install for free. And then there’s also volunteer management and engagement on the Microsoft side that you can also install for free. It might require a little bit of configuration for you to be able to get the best uh the best um kind of usage out of it depending upon what your needs are. But there are free add-ons that you can install that are gonna work within your existing ecosystem and, and structure uh that you can start using right now. OK, Patrick, we uh we opened with you. So we’re gonna close with Dana. Give us uh just give us a little more motivation and, and comfort about what we may very well, we do already have and why it could very well be sufficient. Yeah, I think uh you gotta take the take the time to research. That’s like our main message. Maybe you do end up with a third party app but do the research to really understand what it is that you’re paying for. Because everybody knows a nonprofit, those dollars really matter, they’re going to the communities, they’re going to the places that are getting impacted the most. And so when you spend even a couple more dollars on a product that you don’t need, that’s money you’re taking away from whatever cause it is that you are trying to uh you know, bring light to, right? So if it just takes you 10 minutes more to just check if Microsoft does that check if Google does that, you know, that’s that much more impact that you can give to the community and it’s going to make your staff a lot happier. You know, we’re hearing about burnout a lot. If they don’t have to learn a new product. Like I’ve been saying, if they don’t have to learn something brand new, you’re gonna have happier staff, you’re gonna make more impact you. There are many benefits to this. So just take the 10 minutes. That’s Dana Larkin, principal project manager at Heller Consulting and with her is Patrick mcdermott strategy consultant at Heller Consulting. I thank you both again for the Heller sponsorship. We’re Heller consulting, technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Thanks Dana. Thank you, Patrick. Thank you and thank you for being with Tony Martignetti Nonprofit. Radio coverage of 24 NTC next week will depart from 24 NTC with experiential fundraising. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at Tony martignetti.com were sponsored by virtuous. Virtuous. Gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising, volunteer and marketing tools. You need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving, virtuous.org and buy donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity, donor box fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor. Box.org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Martinetti. This show, social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for April 29, 2024: Acquiring Email Leads On Social & Matching Gifts 101, 201, 301

 

Melanie Schaffel: Acquiring Email Leads On Social

This 2024 Nonprofit Technology Conference conversation helps you ensure your email acquisition efforts are targeting those interested in your work. You can incentivize your social audiences so they’ll willingly share their emails and you can measure the success of your acquisition campaigns. Melanie Schaffel from Parkinson’s Foundation helps you get started.

 

Julie Ziff Sint, Alison Hermance & Mark Doty: Matching Gifts 101, 201, 301

Julie Ziff Sint, Alison Hermance and Mark Doty, also from 24NTC, explain the different types and styles of matching gifts and challenge grants. How do you ethically message and how do you establish your own matching gifts asks? What if you don’t have a matching gift to take advantage of? And more. Julie is with Sanky Communications. Alison is from WildCare. And Mark is at San Francisco SPCA.

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Welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I am your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d get slapped with a diagnosis of primary sclerosing cholangitis. If you inflamed and scarred me with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with the highlights. Hey, Tony, this week we have acquiring email leads on social. This 2024 nonprofit technology conference conversation helps you ensure your email acquisition efforts are targeting those interested in your work. You can incentivize your social audiences so they’ll willingly share their emails and you can measure the success of your acquisition campaigns. Melanie Saffle from Parkinson’s Foundation helps you get started then matching gifts. 101, 201 and 301. Julie Zant Alison, Hermance and Mark doty. Also from 24 N DC. Explain the different types and styles of matching gifts and challenge grants. How do you ethically message and how do you establish your own matching gifts? Asks what if you don’t have a matching gift to take advantage of and more Julie is with SI Communications. Alison is from Wild Care and Mark is at San Francisco S PC A on Tony’s take two travel convos were sponsored by Virtuous. Virtuous. Gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising volunteer and marketing tools you need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving. Virtuous.org here is acquiring email leads on social. Welcome back to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of the 2024 nonprofit technology conference in Portland, Oregon where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Before we start the conversation, I wanna let you know that you may hear sounds of a uh a AAA tear down around us. There’s uh 24 NTC. The, the archive is uh being taken down booth by booth around us. But nonprofit radio perseveres, this is irrelevant to us. Uh We have our own power. I have a generator outside uh uh and 50 gallons of diesel fuel. So we’re, we’re prepared to continue regardless of what happens around the nonprofit radio uh booth. And for our, this is our final conversation of 2024 and it is with Melanie Saffle. She is senior manager of digital advertising at the Parkinson’s Foundation. Welcome to nonprofit Radio Melanie. Thank you, Tony. Thanks so much for having me. It’s my pleasure. Thank you for rounding out our, our many conversations. I won’t say save the best for last. That’s a lot of pressure, but it’s a little no No, no, don’t do that to yourself. It is breaking down, but it’s irrelevant. And uh I’ve been looking forward to this because I think, I think these conversions are important. So we’re talking about acquiring email leads on social. We’re trying to uh convert our folks, right? Take a next step. You’re active with us on social. You might like us on social. Have a finger, grab a hand, we’d like a little more come over. We’ve got more things to offer on email for sure. So um a lot of the discussion we had was about all the social email website, all of our digital channels working in tandem. Um So we know that there’s a lot of people on social that have proven interest in us already. So if they don’t know already that we have an email series that they can join, we want to let them know how to easily get into it. Uh Let’s let’s start with identifying who the best prospects are for uh for this upgraded engagement opportunity. Let’s call it the uh the uh the upgraded, yeah, the Eoge og we always know that upgraded opportunity. Um who who should we be focusing on uh in our in our social channels? So an efficient way that we found to focus on the people that are proving interest is to use that first party data that for us meta provides these ads will be right through meta, right on the platform and we can upload our lists, we can create lists from different engagements that people are taking on Facebook, whether they’re watching our video or D ming us sliding into our D MS, right, ending up in our inbox and using that first party data. Just because in this more and more cookie less world that the whole wide internet is joining in on that. The first party data is key here. So we want to focus in on that and a lot of the session also focused on creating look alikes of those. So people that act similarly to the people that have proven interest to help broaden the reach a little bit wider, creating look alikes. That sounds like something phony. What does this scamming and fishing and ransomware? What is this? It is my favorite way to sound really impressive to my colleagues when I tell them that this is an option at all. So meta can create a whole new list based off the way that people act online, they act at least similarly online. And so whether the places they’re visiting, uh the actions they’re taking online based off their emails, based off the list of emails that we provide uh meta can generate a lookalike list. So just people that are acting similarly to the ones we already know like us and hopefully they like us too. OK. So these are folks that you don’t know and meta is finding them bringing them well, they’re not bringing them to you, but they’re identifying them for you. They’re not currently engaged with Parkinson’s, but they act like a lot of people who are, is that the algorithm is working in our favor that way? I see. Well, I’m glad it has some value for somebody somewhere that’s mildly reassuring. Infinitely reassuring. But I’m glad it’s helping you. Um All right. So then what might you do? How do you then reach out to those folks? So we’re targeting. That’s right. So the whole discussion did focus on the lead generation ads that we create right in meta. The idea behind it is that people are scrolling in their news feed when we want them to do an action. A lot of times we don’t, they don’t want to be taken away from their scroll. They don’t want another app to pop up or a browser to pop up. So by keeping them right in the platform, there’s a form that pops up from the ad that they can fill out real quick um in exchange for a resource that uh we hook them in with already and just give us a quick piece of information. A lot of it. Also, if the user has already approved autofill and whatnot on, on Facebook, then it kind of just pops in and generates there already. So it’s a really fast track to the finish line for the user and they just give us their name, email, we get out of there. They get their resource. Everyone, everyone wins. What’s your resource hook? So we’ve tested, this was like uh over six months, we ran about six ads only for about a week each and we tested different resources each time. A lot of times we focus on things that we know our audience wants and likes uh based off of seo social learning. Um You know, whether it’s a highly trafficked page or a resource that’s already, that usually performs well and highly engaged with organically on social things that we know people want. We can um kind of hang that like a little carrot on the stick, right? I don’t know if that’s the same carrot for the user, right? Carrot on a stick, carrot on a stick, but the carrot on a stick works too. Ok? Ok. Um So in our case, um maybe exercise content performs super well. Um I’m at the Parkinson’s Foundation and exercise is really important for people with Parkinson’s disease. So they’re always looking for what kind of exercise should I be doing or how often? And so if we have a PDF fact sheet, something like that, we let them know like if you just give us this little piece of information, we’ve got a PDF on the other side for you. OK. And you’re asking very low threshold, like first name and email, first, last name and email, hand, first, last email. So very low boundaries. I always object and I never fill in the phone. You know. What, what state are you in? I even object to state. I mean, I’ve been asked state. I don’t know if I’ve seen zip code, but I would find that equally annoying. Look, you’ve just given me a little PDF or a link to a video or something or a white paper for God’s sake. You know, I’m not, it’s not a marriage proposal. That’s right. I think we’ve done lead generation ads and where we have asked for state, if it’s like a volunteer opportunity, we just want to be able to sort them through to the right person. But for this, we just want you on the email list and I think there’s an opportunity here for people. Uh we, we can get them in a different welcoming series, right? All the people that joined us through the lead generation ads, maybe we start setting them up in a welcoming series where we get to know them and can ask more intimate questions. Like, do you want to join our local chapter or, you know, when were you diagnosed or different things that might help us get them into the right um journey, right? Uh Depending on how specific we might have those options. But, but yeah, there’s opportunity later to get to know them a lot better and we’re just starting off just by collecting their email and we can work with that from there. Don’t ask for everything at the outset. It, it’s a journey. There’s a chance of getting the band in from there and we just want to maximize the, you know, the, the efficiency here. Something to the finish line. You said, sprint to the finish line and then we’ll take our time. We can get to know you. There’s plenty of time. Um What did you call it? That, that meta will give you the, the, the people who act like the people you identify a look alike just called lookalikes ads. Yeah, when you upload a list or you create a list that’ll ask you, do you want to create a look like? And this is something that even if so one of the ways too that we try to what we’re after are new emails. We want new people into the database. We’ve also found that people that we’ve already had in the database that found these ads, they’re finding like new value from this. So it’s also OK if new people are seeing this ad, but the focus here is trying to grow the email list, grow our email size. So the focus is with that. But in order to kind of exclude the people that we already have, we upload our email list and we exclude that. But when we upload it, Facebook says, do you want to generate a look alike list of this? So while we’re excluding the ones we already had, we can include the look alike. So it’s a nice and you trust Facebook when you upload these email addresses and that it’s not a perfect science. Let’s put it that way because hey, maybe you logged in with your Facebook with an email from 2010 and maybe you don’t use that one anymore. So maybe you’re on a different one and that’s why it’s not a perfect science with this strategy. About 50% are new um in total to our database. So like I said, it’s not what we’re after is, you know, repeating customers, but we are re-establish value in a different way. So it kind of works out well. There’s that, there’s that too, but I was asking about trusting Facebook with the emails, but you’re giving them, you trust them with that. You don’t have a choice, I’m sure. Well, do they say something like, you know, well, this is a subject to our privacy policy which you can go read at 79 pages. And ultimately, you know, ads in general digital ads in this world we live in is like they get a super bad rep a lot of times and rightfully so, right, wrongfully using different pieces of information. But as a nonprofit, we’re just trying to accelerate our missions good. So we’re, you know, targeting certain people, but they need our resources and so we want more people to have them. It’s time for a break. Virtuous is a software company committed to helping nonprofits grow generosity. Virtuous, believes that generosity has the power to create profound change in the world and in the heart of the giver, it’s their mission to move the needle on global generosity by helping nonprofits better connect with and inspire their givers. Responsive fundraising puts the donor at the center of fundraising and grows giving through personalized donor journeys that responds to the needs of each individual. Virtuous is the only responsive nonprofit CRM designed to help you build deeper relationships with every donor at scale. Virtues gives you the nonprofit CRM, fundraising, volunteer marketing and automation tools. You need to create responsive experiences that build trust and grow impact virtuous.org. Now back to acquiring email leads on social with Melanie Schaffel. Is there another way to do this? Get these conversions from social besides targeted ads? This is the easiest way to do the in platform form solution, right? You can do an organic post that sends them to your website where it might be parkinson.org/subscribe or something, right? Where they can put their email in on our website. We have different forms like that here. You can hear the booths coming down around us literally uh as the carts go out, I hope there aren’t bodies in these carts. I can’t tell they, they have opaque of law and order. Those don’t look like that. Oh, you’re an expert, you’re an expert. Those are, those are clean. I was talking to a law enforcement expert. Forensics. She’s also a digital forensics expert. Uh, she can, she can find your, uh, your date of birth. Not through this. A no, but she’s seen a lot of law and order. So expert. Ok. Those cars are clean. Um, there may be forklifts coming around too so soon. So we may hear backup buzzers. You know, this is a, it’s a menagerie here, but nonprofit radio perseveres. Ok. Um, so I was asking about other methods besides digital ads. Yeah, of course, there’s the organic way to get people. It’s really efficient just to get them right in the platform. I think, you know, there’s other social platforms that have similar opportunities to do these foreign lead generation ads, but a majority of our audience is on Facebook. So we’re just grabbing them where they are and what, what um what age cohort is the largest proportion for you. We find a lot of our audience are Children of the people with Parkinson’s. So the Parkinson’s patients, there are, there is a large audience of people with Parkinson’s too, but let’s call it like, you know, 5060 year old, older adult Children of people that are living with the disease later in life. Yeah, we have a lot of caregiver care partner resources as well for sure. Uh Just so folks know, you know, what age group we’re talking about, you’re talking mostly people, 50 plus we have opportunities for, you know, a lot of people are on Instagram too. And we’re also trying to engage grandparents of people, grandchildren of those living with Parkinson’s. There’s a lot of really fun fundraising opportunities that we provide for them as well, but the information going right to the source. A lot of time. Yeah, right in that Facebook opportunity. Um So just drawing from your, your your description, um we’ve talked about how to, how to do this, how about measuring ro I metrics? What do we look for? So, one of my favorite parts of the lead generation ad is that it hits on all these different points on the marketing funnel, right? We’ve got awareness. So at the very least these ads are going to reach people that may have never heard about our brand and the ads that we’re creating the creative part of it. We’ve got our blue, we’ve got our logo. So at the very least we’re going to have a brand awareness moment. Then one step down, we’re informing, we’re informing that we have this resource and we’re also informing that we’re in the business of sharing resources. So we might get some new followers along the way on top of the reach and the brand and the impressions. And um so one and two checked off, then we’re also like converting people to move away from just being interested to uh loyal um advocates for us as well by joining our email list. So they’re, they’re working their way down the funnel, maybe the first time it doesn’t hit them and they convert, but it’s a series and maybe the second resource we’re offering is more appealing to them. So we might get them on the next try. So it’s an interesting ad because we’re also, we’re doing impressions, brand awareness, reach kind of arbitrary, but it still counts for something. We’ve got website traffic. We’re going to get people when they click on the resource to um get this, they’re clicking through to the website itself. And then we’re also opening up our email leads at the same time. So it’s hidden a lot of pieces at once. What was interesting for this presentation? It went back into each constituent profile and kind of looked at what their journey was since they were served the ad and we saw enough donations come through after they were served this ad to justify the whole spend of our series. So positive row as on top of it all, we love it. What a turn on ads not return on a ro I thank you. Otherwise you’d be putting drug in jail return on ads. Yeah, we have, well, it’s related to your, your law enforcement background. I hope not. Nobody listens to the show. It doesn’t matter. No, that’s not true. That’s not true. Um OK. Roa, we turn on ads be, thank you. But we do have Jargon Jail on nonprofit radio, but you skirted it very quickly by defining your jargon. Um What else can we talk about? We still have a few minutes left. What else did you share with your audience that you should share with nonprofit radio listeners? I also shared how, you know, maybe you don’t have the budget right now to invest in an ad strategy. Maybe you and your boss haven’t had that conversation yet. One, the examples in the strategy that we talked about, maybe this is a good opportunity to ask the powers that be the purse that maybe this is a good opportunity for you to uh trial, maybe get a little small investment. You never know what the results can turn into. Maybe they’ll be super impressed and they give you more of a budget and it kind of opens up your ad advertising program from there. But even if you’re not there just yet, there’s a lot of steps you can take for when you are there, like growing your audience now um and doing a lot of social listening and seeing what is working in your other channels, like your email, what are people clicking through? What do people want? You can create more of that content on your website so that when you are ready to launch these ads, you have like the perfect piece of content that will push people over the ads. You can have something ready for them to offer up anything else we can do in preparation to getting the budget for the ads, I think going back real quick to growing the audience and just kind of doing a lot of organic work. It’s just going to help you with that first party data when we’re doing all the targeting and everything. So putting in that work up front is only going to benefit you more down the line. Are you ok? If we leave it there? I’m great with that. We haven’t, we haven’t given short shrift to nonprofit listeners. It felt good. I don’t know. I, I want them to get the full, this is a 30 minute, this is a 30 minute session or it was a short 30 minute session. Just a little me up there. And uh yeah, a lot of positive feedback. It’s been a good week. It will continue as folks hear you here. She’s Melanie Saffle, senior manager of digital advertising at Parkinson’s Foundation, Melanie. Thank you very much. Thank you so much as, as 24 NTC comes down around us. I thank you for being, she’s giving a queen’s wave to the forklift truck that’s uh going by. I thank you for being with our coverage of 20 the 2024 nonprofit technology conference where we have been sponsored by Heller consulting, technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Thanks so much. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you Kate while I was away for the two weeks, uh doing lots of donor meetings uh that I talked about last week I had the chance to talk to two guys, uh, one in the airport and one on a plane. Vaughn and Jorge and they’re both very different. Uh, Vaughn is uh mid seventies, maybe even, uh, maybe even 80 but still working. Uh, he’s from Kentucky and he owns 13 Papa John’s franchises and very interesting talking to this guy. Uh, you know, deep in the baby boomer ages, uh about how work has changed. Uh He, he cites that labor is his biggest problem. You’re keeping 13, Papa John’s franchises staffed uh people who with, you know, in the face of people who just don’t show up for work. They, they don’t just, they don’t even, you know, people don’t call and say they don’t want to work there anymore. They just don’t show up often often and I’ve heard that from lots of other folks too. Uh But so just, you know, very interesting talking to Vaughn about how work and, and attitudes toward work have changed uh that he’s experienced, you know, as a 7580 year old. Uh and hiring lots of folks in their twenties or even teens, so teens, twenties. Um and, and, and thirties is, is mo mostly where his workforce comes from, but it’s actually mostly teens and uh and twenties and then Jorge uh talk to him on a plane. So he is about, I’d say he’s about 32 or so. Uh And he has an interesting career he, you know, he works in finance for one of the big tech companies full time. Uh It has a finance MB A but then he also develops real estate projects. Uh And he, he’s on his second one, which is a 32 unit residential building with two or three commercial units on the ground floor. So, you know, talk about the way career has changed. I mean, here’s a guy who wants to be doing something different and he’s gonna make you making that transition on his own happen by reengineering himself as a real estate developer and, and all the financing that goes into that, getting loans, getting investors, you know, permits and hiring the, the contractor. Um So, you know, uh Jorge was kind of exemplifying what bond was telling me about, you know, the way he has seen work and career change. Uh So very interesting conversation. So I would, uh you know, I guess I’m always curious about people. I mean, if they don’t want to talk, you know, I’m not the annoying guy who keeps talking to them, you know, even after they put their air pods in, you know, I’m still talking to them. I, I don’t do that. I asked them to take their airpods out. No, I just, I just leave them alone, leave them alone. But uh you know, but I’m naturally curious about people. So if they’re willing to talk, um I, I uh these two guys were quite interesting. Vaughan and Jorge and how work has changed, career has changed. And that is Tony’s take too date. I think the coolest part of public transportation is meeting a bunch of different strangers. And like, that’s what I miss about taking the Amtrak train just back and forth from home to, to the city. You used to talk to a lot of folks on Amtrak. I remember one girl, this was my first time on the train alone. I couldn’t find a spot and she was getting off the next spot and she told me to come sit down with her and then we started talking about college and all this stuff and she was actually designing um public playgrounds for different schools. Um And like, we just got to know each other in that like 15 minutes that we had together and like I really connected with her, it was so it was a good experience. That’s it. Yeah, connections. You’re right. You’re right. Well, we’ve got Buku but loads more time here is matching gifts. 101201 and 301. Welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of 24 NTC. It’s the 2024 nonprofit technology conference. We are all at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Julie Alison Mark. Welcome. Thank you so much for having us. It’s my pleasure. Julie Zin is Vice President account and strategic Services at Sankey Communications. Alison Herman is at, is Director of Communications and Marketing at Wild Care. And Mark doty is Director of Annual Giving at San Francisco S PC A. And we are talking about matching gifts. Your, your session is matching gifts. 101201 and 301. So we’re gonna run the spectrum, not the phd level, I guess that’s, that’ll be next year. We’re still undergrad here. This is undergrad and you took your senior year off. Indeed. We’re not doing the 401. Ok. Um Combined it all into one hour. Ok. Well, we’re gonna, we’re gonna condense it down even a little more, a little more. Um Mark, I’m gonna start down there with you. Ok. Um What? Well, just generally just like sort of tee us up. What, what could we be doing a little smarter better? Uh generally with matching gifts with matching gifts? Uh two things, there’s a lot of different kinds of matching gifts. So there’s a perception out there that if you’re doing a matching gift, you need large amounts of money, you need to double triple, quadruple it. There’s actually a number of different kinds of matching gifts you can do and they have different uses. So you don’t necessarily need a lot of money. You can do what we call a contingent match. For example, where if we’re gonna get into the details. Ok. So in general, I would say, um, consider doing a match, even if you don’t have large amounts of money. Um Make sure you plan it out and make sure you work with your organization, like your major gift officers and maybe communications department to make sure it’s well publicized and that you can actually get the dollars for a match. Ok, thank you. Um Alison, I I’m taking from your session uh description uh and Mark started to allude to these different types and styles of matching gifts. Can you? Uh Now, since he mentioned, contingency, is this, is this an OK place to talk about. Contingency. Am I the person to talk about that? I mean, I’ll be the person to talk about that specifically. But no, it is, it’s, it’s uh the thing about matching gifts that I think people really, we want people to take from our session is that they are incredibly effective and they are incredibly, it something that people get very excited about both your donors and your team members. So introducing the concept of a matching gift to your donors is something that’s going to inspire their giving and also inspire your team to reach new heights and do better things with your fundraising for your organization. OK. OK. So let’s start to get into some detail then Julie, but uh I’ll try you. That Mark mentioned contingency. Are we, why don’t you acquaint us with different types? Yeah, no problem. So most people think about the standard of all gifts up to $100,000 will be doubled, right? And that, that’s kind of your standard double match or you could say tripled and that’s your standard triple match. When you get into some of the other, other types of matches, you can say things like if we get 50 new sustainers, 50 new month donors will get an additional $10,000. That’s a contingency match where we have to reach this threshold and then we’re going to get this lump sum of money. It can be a much easier ask, especially when you’re asking for a certain number of donors. You don’t have to give dollars. You just have to be one person. Um You can also get into different types of matches where if you have the money already in hand, you can say this major donor is ma has made this donation, will you step up and match their gift? Um You can even have a campaign where you ask your donors to create a matching gift fund to then inspire their peers. So there’s a variety of different types of tactics and ways that you can use, talk about and create matching gift campaigns. Are we considering corporate matching gifts here too or is that something? Is that something different? We are. It’s in our 101201301. So corporate matches are a little bit different. We’re not really going to be talking about corporate matches as much. Although corporate matching gifts are certainly very valuable it’s more of a individual um individual technique that, that is often valuable on the back end. So someone makes the gifting and you say, do you work for a, for a corporation for an entity that’s matching your gift? So we’re talking here about individual donors doing different types of matches or collectively. OK. Go ahead. I was gonna say at my organization Wild, what do you do at my organization in Wild Care? There is some confusion between the two ideas of matching and so you have corporate matching, which is I work for a company and I make a donation and then I request for my corporation, my company to match that gift. So that’s what we consider corporate matching. You can also have a corporation that gives your organization a gift to be matched. So we’re talking about that idea of money that’s being donated, that will be an incentive for individual donors to match. And so sort of two different things with sort of the same name. So a source of confusion for us as well. Thank you. I mean, you all have been thinking about this for a long time. I’m a neophyte. Um Mark, how about you at uh at San Francisco S PC A? What, what do you, what are you doing there around uh matching gifts around matching gifts? We plan those into our annual planning process. So we will actually sit down and say, oh, we’re gonna do a big campaign around the holidays. We’re going to be do a big campaign around the end of our fiscal year. We’re going to need a match for those s so we will actually um go out to our major gift officers plan out our timing, say we’re going to need, we’re going to need you to secure some matches for us by this date. And then we actually integrate that into actually producing campaigns which we then promote with the hope that the match is going to inspire more people to give and when they give to give more and indeed it does. Ok, they do work. I mean, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. This is a, this is an upbeat, don’t do matching gifts. There’s no question here and we were actually just talking about how you never test this because you would never want to give half of your audience something that didn’t include the matching gift. They are that successful that you don’t eat. We test that we know how well they work, our consultants on the team on the panel. You agree with that. Absolutely. We have done a lot of testing around things like match length, for example. So there are a lot of giving. Exactly. So for example, giving Tuesday a lot of organizations have a match. If you don’t have a match on giving Tuesday, you’re going to need to think about something really exciting to cut through the match clutter and the match language that other organizations are putting out. But there are now a lot of organizations that have started promoting their giving Tuesday matches before Thanksgiving, we have tested things like that. And when you’re, when you’re looking at, at elements like that, that giving Tuesday preview match before Thanksgiving, it doesn’t actually work. You’re not going to get a substantial lift on it. So there are definitely times and ways that you want to use your match and promote it to have the most efficacy. But overall, all of the data, both data around the industry and data from our clients where we’ve done a matching gift campaign versus not a matching gift campaign or have multiple clients where we can see who has matches and who doesn’t. Um, every, every data point shows that having a matching gift of some sort is always going to be, be beneficial for your campaign. Ok. Ok. Um Alison, what type of different asks do you have? Can you acquaint us with? You started to allude, you know, you made the difference between corporate and individual on the individual side. What are some of the sample asks? Well, we’re very lucky at wild care. We take care of injured and orphaned wild animals. So I have uh absolutely adorable animals like baby opossums or baby raccoons or baby squirrels or an animal that’s going to be really compelling. But one of the matches that we frequently do is our summer match and the summer match is to help raise funds for our wildlife babies to help them to grow up healthy and be released back to the wild. And so that gift is that matching campaign is really, really effective because you can show the benefit of the match for the actual individual animals that are, that are being raised and being uh being treated at our wildlife hospital. So, uh that is a really, that is a really fun one. Another one that we do is uh Julie talked about not making a preview for your giving Tuesday match, but we do have started doing every year a matching gift fund which is asking individual donors to contribute to the match before the giving Tuesday. Actual matching gift goes into effect. So it’s building that matching gift fund and same thing uh you know, doing it for the animals giving the, the care that the animals need and raising that money to be an inspiration for other donors on giving Tuesday. It’s alright. Now Julie, let me go back to you. How is that different than what you said? Doesn’t do well pre pre giving Tuesday, we’re only 10 minutes in. It took a while, but finally a decent question. We’re only seven minutes in. So I give myself a break. These are all excellent questions. Thank you. Oh, no. So how, what’s the distinction here? So that is not, you’re not previewing a match. You’re actually asking people to make a gift to build a match fund. Um which it sounds, it sounds a little bit nuanced. But when you say in early November, we have a donor who’s giving $20,000 to create a giving Tuesday match. But we know we’re going to raise a lot more than that. On giving Tuesday, we need your help to match more money. Will you help us increase the matching gift? And then, and then what care does? And it’s, it’s an incredibly successful campaign is their broader donor base will actually contribute to the matching gift fund. We have several clients that do a similar type of campaign with their mid-level donors where donors who are giving $1000 plus at $1000 plus level will contribute to that matching gift fund. That particular audience type is typically not always less focused on making a gift for a matching gift campaign, but they can be really, um but but they can really help contribute to building a match campaign. So then let’s say at wild care, they would say, ok, now we have a matching gift fund of $42,700. Then on giving Tuesday, they go back out and they say we have a matching gift of $42,700. Will you make your gift for this matching gift campaign? Ok. And then what, what do people have to do to, to qualify for their gift to for you to get the 42,700. I’m missing something. Well, it’s kind of, you don’t necessarily have to have it be a challenge or a contingency. It can simply be that we have this money. We want you to help us match it. It’s not that you help us match what we’ve already help us match what we’ve already earned. And it’s, those are sort of two different types of matches. You can have challenge match, which is essentially if you don’t do this, we have to offer to give the money back. And that’s one type. And you hear that a lot on the N pr fundraising. Exactly. But it is, it seems to be exactly as effective to say we have this. Will you match it? Will you bring us this funding? Yeah. And I think that’s a common misconception about matching gifts. You ok, go ahead, Julie often times what we often times what happens is when you have a matching gift campaign or a matching gift effort, you’re not really relying on the gifts to bring in the match. You actually want to have a matching gift such that you will absolutely hit it and your matching gift donor has already committed to it. So if your matching gift donor says I’m going to make $100,000 gift, you say I’m going to create a matching gift campaign with the specifications and the timing and the length and the channels where I think I’m going to raise 100 and $30,000. So I’m absolutely overreaching that 100,000 and I’m absolutely going to have that money in hand so that you’re raising money on the match doesn’t actually, um, is, is not actually necessary for the gift for the matching gift to come in. And I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions is for the general public is, it really is a fundraising tactic. It’s, it’s a strategy that, that we all do and that we all know in the industry. But when you look at folks who are outside of the industry, they don’t necessarily realize that this is a tactic that isn’t actually meaningful that when if you give your $100 gift to an organization that says your gift will be tripled. It doesn’t actually mean that they’re going to be getting an additional $200 because of your $100 gift. It means that they have this money in hand um or pledged or committed and that, that you’re, they’re using that to inspire that giving mark. Can you share with us? Uh Some specific asks that you do around matching gifts at San Francisco S PC A. Yeah, actually, most recently, we basically did what’s called Gamification of a match gam game playing radiation, radiating the animals or Gamification, Gamification. And this is where we try to turn, uh we introduce a lot of many goals and ask donors to help us achieve those goals like you might find in a lot of apps or uh or anything else. But um what we did was for giving Tuesday sat down and said, ok, we need to raise this much money that actually corresponds to uh the amount we spend for in a full year on our mobile vaccine clinics where monthly we go out and vaccinate about 4 to 500 animals in the space of a few hours. So uh we actually sat down and messaged to donors, hey, we need to fund 12 months worth of this mobile vaccine clinics. Will you help us do it? We’ve got matching funds and every dollar you you donate will be matched as well and then kept them updated over the course of giving Tuesday to say, hey, we’ve matched, we’ve achieved four months. Can you help us get to five? We’re at six months by the 11 o’clock, we’re saying we’re at 11 months. Can you help us get over to that? 12 months? And just introduced a lot of little goals to ask donors to help us match, um match their gifts and get to that goal. I love the, I love the time. You know, the the time challenge we’re at 11 months, help us get to 12 for God’s sake. Don’t leave us hanging with 11/12. You often do find that that deadline is what’s so critical. You can, you can message as much as you want, but three weeks out from a deadline. You’re never going to have quite the same sense of urgency as saying our deadline for this match is tonight at midnight. And I honestly, I have no idea why people are sitting at home on December 31st at 11 p.m. making their donations. But there are so many people who decide that that is their moment, don’t we all wait for the last minute for things? I mean, pretty routinely. I mean, I know I do, you know, I have a two week, I have two weeks and then I’m doing it the night before. I don’t know. I just, I think that’s our nature. I wanna, I wanna get to something that comes directly from what you just said, Julie is what if gifts come late? What kind of policies do we have? Do we, do we bend the rule or what, what’s best? It’s a terrific question. Um We actually, recently you have a lot of these, you’re with this, Tony, we had this conversation recently with one of our clients. They are based, um, they’re based in New York. Um They have an international presence and an international donor base, both across the US and internationally and they had a matching gift deadline at and we had countdown clocks. We had all sorts of things saying get your gift in before midnight on the matching gift deadline. And one of the staff members said, is it midnight Eastern? Is it midnight pacific? What about our donors who were in Dubai. Um And so fun question. Um So a lot of the tactics that we can implement technologically actually allow us to let that, that, that deadline, that exact 11:59 p.m. uh be catered towards the recipient’s home schedule. And so countdown clocks on emails, search engine, marketing ads on light boxes. We can, we can actually direct all of those to the recipients um time zone At the same time, most organizations are going to have some fluidity around it. And so if a donor calls you up at 3 a.m. God forbid, you’re answering the phones at 3 a.m. But if you get that message at 3 a.m. from the donor that says I just got in my gift, will it be, will it count? You just say yes, just say yes. You don’t want to say no to the donor. Exactly. We are flexible and you also can set those policies based on your own needs within your organization and be fluid about them within your own parameters. So it’s, there’s not some hard and fast like overall arching rule about matching gifts. It’s a, it’s within your own organization that you can determine that. One of the things you can do is actually plan a strategy around people not making it in, in time. One of the reasons we know matches work is if you look at hour to hour donations, the minute that match ends, you see donations drop off like a cliff. So people really are giving up to the last minute. But one thing you can do is um follow up and say, hey, we’re gonna do a small mini match for those people that missed it and that can be a very effective tactic. So in giving Tuesday, we’ve actually sent out a smaller match the next day and said we have a little extra money. If you missed it, please give again very effective for our large end of calendar year uh uh a month long match. Uh We’ll actually plan in January to send out direct mail and email that says in case you missed it by the end of the year, here’s a small smaller follow up match just for those guys that didn’t give. So people don’t feel bombarded again. Very effective tactic works very well. So it’s very humane and gracious too if you missed it, you know, if you still have more opportunities to give us money, right? You do. Yeah, even if you’re worse than procrastinating like you the deadline, you didn’t just wait till the end of the deadline, you blew it. There’s still a chance for you. There are still puppies and kittens and babies, squirrels and baby opossums that need help, that need you one of your uh session uh objectives, how to apply matching gift tactics across each channel. We haven’t talked about specific channels. Mark, let’s let’s keep with you. What do you do across channels. This is an important part of keeping your organization looped in on what you’re doing with the match. And we will actually sit down and have people from marketing communications. We’ll have people from development. Um We’ll have the major gift officers and we’ll all talk about, we’re gonna be having this match. What can everyone do in their channels to support this match and support this effort? And we’ll have a group conversation about what we’ll be talking about what the messaging will be and get everyone on the same page and then everyone is sort of in charge of uh going off and executing in whatever it is they’re due. Whether that’s the website, we will get it on the website. Uh If we’re on social, we will get it in social. Um We will put it in our DM and email appeals as well. If we have newsletters going out, it will go in the newsletters. Our MGO will again be talking to people about what the match is about and will they support it? So we just get everyone on the same page and that way everyone in the organization that’s in charge of some kind of communication um can, can communicate that out and whatever, whatever they’re working on. We uh we have Jargon Jail on uh Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Now you didn’t, no, you didn’t really transgress. I mean, you, you mentioned MG OS and D MS but, but I think people understand major gift officers are, those are, those are basic. I’m just alerting everyone that we do have jargon jail here. And I’d hate to see anybody, uh, imprisoned not wrongfully, it would be rightfully imprisoned. But, but you don’t get a jury. It’s just me. But no, you are fine because DM, everybody knows direct mail. Um, I, I do one thing. That’s, that’s interesting about a multichannel. Yeah, that’s interesting about the campaigns is you do have different timing for the different channels. And so you obviously have your direct mail pieces that go, you know, significantly in advance and there’s a much longer tail, a much longer time for those to have been effective. And then you would have the model that goes up on your website, which usually corresponds with the time that your direct mail is hitting mailboxes in case people open the letter and then go to your website and then, oh, sorry. Yes, I’m doing jargon. That’s the pop up thing that shows up on your website when you open up a website and something pops up in front of you. That, that’s what’s called a model and there’s a link on that that would go to a donation page. So we don’t call them pop ups anymore or light, what do we call them? Moss I learn that pop up a pop up. Technically speaking, a pop up is different technology. A light box and a model are interchangeable Um And the, the technical term, this I consider one of my key roles in my company being translating between our developers and everybody who doesn’t speak, developers speak, which I don’t. But a modal is the technical way that a lightbox is coded. And so a motel and a Lightbox are the same thing. You can say. Either one pop up is a little bit of a different story and that gets blocked by pop up blockers and all of that sort of thing. So you’re fine. I’m fine too. None of us are in jail. My language is not ancient anyway, but I love this because I just learned something new as well. So Lightbox modal being the two things that pop up. Exactly. So you would have that correspond with the time that your direct mail piece hits people’s mailboxes. And then you would also have a, an email campaign and a social campaign that usually start and run on a faster schedule. You would want that to be closer to the deadline and be able to send those messages out. So you’re getting, you know, people often participate with your organization’s communications on many levels and having that same messaging the same images, the same compelling ask that goes with the match coming both in your mailbox also on the website, also on your social feeds and also on your email is a very, very compelling and effective way to raise donations and having that match with the timeline, just makes people jump in with both feet and donate and donate more. It’s wonderful. You had asked about what happens when people make their gift after a deadline as well. Direct mail has an extremely long tail. And so it’s very common that people will, I mean, people will hold on to direct mail and then send a check. Two years later, I don’t understand that. I’ve seen that I do plan on giving fundraising. I’ve seen two years. I’ll send me information on including you in my will. It’s wild. But so what we do when we’re promoting a matching gift is direct mail. We actually won’t promote the deadline. So you just don’t lift the deadline. You can put in very fine print at the bottom. Nobody’s going to read it anyway. It’s fine. Um Whereas when you’re looking at the digital channels, you’re gonna have your countdown clocks and you’re really pushing the deadline and increasing your frequency as you approach that deadline and people don’t get tired of this. Shocking. No, no, especially as you’re increasing the frequency as Julie said, when you get closer to the deadline. No, it seems to just inspire them and you will have people that give again when they see the countdown clock when they actually the same challenge. Yeah. Yeah, we see that as well. Ok. All outstanding. We, we’re busting potential uh misconceptions. Um Well, we still have some time left. What else? Uh do you plan to talk about in your session that we haven’t or a little more detail that you want? I think one of the things that I think is really interesting is what happens when you don’t have a match and that is something that it’s valuable to have to have matching gifts. You don’t want to have a matching gift for every single campaign, but most organizations in an ideal world, you have a few matching gift campaigns over the course of a year. But on these key days, like giving Tuesday or 1231 most organizations, most of your competitors who are, who are hitting people’s inboxes have a matching gift campaign and there are always a few organizations that don’t. And so I think that that is an important thing to think about is what happens when you don’t. Um So for some of those campaigns, we often will fundraise around tangibles. We work with an organization habitat for horses. Um, out in Texas that um this past year on giving Tuesday, we were raising money for a new rescue trailer last year. On giving Tuesday, we raised money for a batwing mower. I didn’t even know what a batwing mower was, but it is really valuable. So don’t leave us all hanging a bowing mower. It’s a mower that has those off board things so it can mow a very wide path path. It’s a wide mower. But when you’re a horse rescue, when you’re a horse rescue, you need a lot of mowing capacity. Um And so, so we could run this campaign that really gave people a tangible and a goal even though we didn’t have a matching gift or um we work with Glaad, which works on LGBT Q issues. And this past giving Tuesday, they didn’t have a matching gift campaign and we had a really terrific campaign. Our creative team did a bang up job on it. But the whole I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say it, the whole theme of the campaign was it’s time to give an f and we’ve had people say fuck, OK, great. So the campaign was, it’s time to give a fuck. And we replaced the you and fuck with the heart from the Giving Tuesday logo. And it worked really well. And so if you have an organization where you can, where you don’t have a matching gift campaign, but you don’t have a matching gift available, but you have a tangible or a goal or um leadership allows you to curse across all of your, your direct marketing channel. There are different ways that you can break through, break through the clutter. This is swearing for a good cause I wanted to say actually, on that note, the opposite problem is I know a lot of organizations swearing enough, not swearing enough. 100%. No one of the opposite problem would be something that my organization certainly deals with, in that I wouldn’t want to necessarily fundraise every time for the bat wing mower, which I’ve never needed in my life. But because once you put a specific thing into your fundraising, that means that fundraising becomes restricted unless you’re very careful with the language. But one of the things that I love and my organization loves so much about matching gifts is the match gives you that specificity. It gives you that goal without having to restrict the gifts that are coming in in any way. It, it has that same psychology of oh yeah, I wanna give $20 for the batwing mower. That sounds amazing. But instead of having to say it’s for the X ray machine or it’s for specifically opossum formula or whatever you are saying, it’s for this monetary goal and this time goal and it has that same psychological benefit of. This is something I want to contribute to. This is something I want to be part of. And this is a goal I want this organization to reach. And that’s, I think the one of the main reasons that match is so matching gifts are so powerful. And I think uh so we know that there is hope in case you don’t have a matching gift, there is, there is the tangibles as Julie described. And I think um one take away from this and it’s important to keep in mind is to just stay creative with your matches. I have seen so many conversations where it’s like, well, we’d like to do a match but we don’t have sufficient funds to double or triple or quadruple what people are giving. There’s a whole lot of different ways, uh, to work with matches. Uh, we had a small match come in and it was just $10,000 and it was like, well, what can we do with that? Uh So we did a challenge grant and actually brought in 100 new sustainers uh just by sort of shifting it and saying, let’s just do a number of instead of dollars, we can absolutely use that money and we did and it was very successful. So stay creative, think of creative ways to to to get the message out and what you can do matches around and for a lot of listeners, $10,000 may not be such a small match at all that may be impressive for them. Um Alright, I I kind of wanna let Mark uh kind of bookend it us. We opened with Mark, we closed with Mark. Is there anything else anything else anybody? Ok. We’re gonna wrap it up then. Terrific. Good luck on your session. It’s gonna be a fun session. It will. And this is a little preparation for you. They are Julie Zin at Sanki Communications, Alison Herman at Wild Care and Mark doty at San Francisco S PC A. Thank you for being with Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Coverage of 24 NTC where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. They are booth mates and thanks so much for being with us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you next week. Prompt Engineering and getting the most from your current tech. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech, you find it at Tony martignetti.com were sponsored by Virtuous. Virtuous, gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising, volunteer and marketing tools you need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving, virtuous.org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Pinetti. The show, social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for April 22, 2024: A Step Back On Artificial Intelligence & Get Your Team To The Next Level

 

Beth Kanter & Philip DengA Step Back On Artificial Intelligence

Beth Kanter and Philip Deng urge you to consider the ethical challenges your nonprofit should grapple with before fully adopting generative AI in your work. They’ve got advice for an ethical use policy and guidelines for training. Beth is an author, master trainer and facilitator. Philip is CEO of Grantable. Our conversation was recorded at 24NTC.

 

 

 

 

Kim TruongGet Your Team To The Next Level

“We do our best work when we’re at our best,” says Kim Truong, as she explains how to evaluate your team’s roles and responsibilities, meetings, reporting, and communications. She also reveals what belongs in your Team Ways of Working Guide. Kim is an independent consultant. This is also part of our 24NTC coverage.

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Welcome to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d bear the pain of aico mycosis if you touched me with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate back from sick leave with what’s going on this week, Kate, how are you feeling? Hey, Tony, I am feeling so much better. I’m at like 90% better. But yeah, thanks for checking in. We missed you terribly for the past two weeks this weekend. A step back on artificial intelligence be cantor and Philip Dang. Urge you to consider the ethical challenges your nonprofit should grapple with before fully adopting generative A I in your work, they’ve got advice for an ethical use policy and guidelines for training. Beth is an author, master trainer and facilitator. Philip is CEO of Grant. Our conversation was recorded at 24 NTC and get your team to the next level. We do our best work when we’re at our best says Kim Tong, as she explains how to evaluate your team’s roles and responsibilities, meetings, reporting, and communications. She also reveals what belongs in your team ways of working. Guide, Kim is an independent consultant. This is also part of our 24 NTC coverage on Tony’s take. Two loving donor meetings were sponsored by virtuous, virtuous. Gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising, volunteer and marketing tools. You need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving virtuous.org. Here is a step back on artificial intelligence. You know, it is kind of nice having a second voice. Uh We’ll see, we’ll see about the future. Welcome back to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of the 2024 nonprofit technology conference. We’re all together here in Portland, Oregon at the Oregon Convention Center and nonprofit radio’s coverage of the conference is sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. This conversation is with Beth Cantor and Philip Deng. Beth is an author trainer and facilitator. Philip is CEO at Grant Beth Phillip. Welcome. Thanks, Tony. Nice to have you, Beth. Welcome back. Great to be here. I lost count. How many times I’ve been on your show? Yeah, many, many Nt CS and Philip. You’ll be welcome to come back. Thank you very much. It’s great to be here. Thank you, my pleasure. Your session topic which you uh unburdened yourself of uh yesterday, right. Taking care of you did. Your session is embedded, ethical and responsible use, generative A I and nonprofit work. Um Philip, why don’t you get us started as a, as our first time guest. Um Why did you see the need to be concerned about ethics and, and responsibility around generative A? I? Well, I think, um Beth and I have been talking about the topic for a few months now, maybe over a year. Um And I think that generative A I, I, I’ll start kind of in reverse is a transformative technology that is shaping the world every single minute now. And all of these nonprofits, their missions, their clients, this, this all is being done in a generative A I world now. And I think nonprofits in particular have a, a sort of native inclination to consider things from a perspective of responsibility and ethics. And so I think there’s this really important work to be done uh led by folks like Beth now for quite some time. But to help them figure out how to take these really powerful technologies, these really important tools and then apply them in ways that are aligned with their missions and most importantly with their values. I’m glad we’re having this conversation because it’s important to take a step back and, and evaluate, you know, our, I guess our values, uh you know what our, our core, what we stand for, what we, you know, the walk that we, that we wanna walk um and not be talking about uh the use cases and, you know, use it as a draft and then then it’ll be iterative and you’ll have a conversation with your, with your, uh, with chat, chat GP T, et cetera. Uh, uh, so that’s why I wanted to take a step back because Beth, you and I had that conversation in a, in a panel with, um, uh, last, it was last June, I believe with, uh, AUA Bruce and George Weiner and, um, Alison Alison, the four of you, the four of you. Yes. So we, and uh so, I mean, there’s value in that we, we do need to know what, what are the best use cases and how best to interact with this Philip, as you said, absolutely transformative tool. But let’s, let’s take a step back. Beth, why don’t you help us off as well? Um Sure. And I think as we talked and we’ve been talking um and the reason I wrote the book about it with Alison published two years ago now because we saw this coming is that most, for most that we leave with our human centered values and that we do no harm because there’s a lot of potential to do harm. Um Given um that this technology is working on ingesting a large amount of data from the internet and it’s ingested all its biases and in the ways that we can interact, we can inadvertently, you know, harm people through divulging private information or maybe using it to block people out people of color, out of service. And a whole host of other things. Right. Um, and I could give you that whole list, but that’s like a college ethics course. But the important thing is that, um, nonprofits need to be aware of it and have a way to navigate through it. And luckily intens released of uh ethical framework tag fundraising dot A I and organizations I think are um overwhelmed, their concern. They should be, um, but they need to be prepared and to move thoughtfully. And so the session that Philip and I did was more, you know, how do we operationalize our values in the context of this technology? As uh Philip mentioned before, it’s something that we’re used to doing in this sector leading with our values. But now we need to apply it to the use of this tech to this transformative moment. That is, is, is only going to become, I don’t know more. It’s, it’s, it’s only going to accelerate I I think. Um All right. So Beth, let’s stay with you. You know, what, what should we be? What should we be thinking about talking about? Not just thinking, what should we be talking about consciously? Um at, at, at the CEO level, I don’t know, maybe at the board level help us help us understand what the, what the issues are that we should be grappling with. Um There’s a few things and I’ve been having a lot of those conversations. Um first is educating, understanding what the technology is and actually getting hands on it in a safe way, low risk cases. So you understand, like the limitations of it without just being concerned, it’s a double edged sword here or I don’t know the right metaphor, but it’s there are tremendous benefits, but we want to be careful, right? We don’t want to be so scared of it that we don’t use it. We need to, we do need to use it but carefully. So we need to think about this in terms of, you know, humans always in charge, humans always in the loop, humans making decisions. And I think the most important skill that leaders need to understand is when, where does that human intelligence come in? And where do we let the machine do some of the work? Right? It’s called Cobo. We talked about that before higher up what what’s going to happen is more nonprofits adopt. Um It’s going to free up time, it’s not going to disrupt jobs necessarily, it’s changing and automating job skills which redistributes time and leaders need to reinvest that time into more mission driven, important tasks which are really about relationship building, right? With our donors um within, with um the people we’re serving and, and within that as staff begins to use this and, and they have acceptable use policies and we’re taught how to use it well and carefully. Um and time shifts, they’re going to need to be reskill right there gonna be reskilling and there’s going to be an emphasis on soft skills, they’ll become way more important, like creativity, empathy, communication, interpersonal communication, those things are going to become all the more important. Um There’s been some and um uh linkedin data recently, I don’t know if you’ve seen their, their economic graph but they actually crunch some numbers related to nonprofit jobs and the use and adoption of A I. And they’re saying that um 12% of nonprofit job skills will change and 39% will be redistributed. So leaders need to be thinking about this in terms of their talent retention plans, talent retention plans, Philip, what can you add, please? What, what should we be grappling with? Well, so I think one of the things that I’ve sort of appreciated about working together with Beth is that, you know, there’s been, there’s such a body of work there to consider and then sometimes what I find myself doing partly just, you know, to, to make sure that I’m, I’m not getting overwhelmed with all of the information is to step back and try to come up with maybe sort of memorable or, or um uh tactics to, to see the forest again uh when you’ve lost them for the trees. So where Alison and Beth coined the term the dividend of time. So basically what you get back from using one of these smart tools, I think one of the uh a rough formula that I’m kind of playing around with is that the idea here is to use generative A I to create a dividend of time. And one of the things that I think we have to practice is to use as much of that time as we can as we can manage to build trust. So, uh Beth was just talking about how a lot of soft skills and, and relational work is going to become really important. I think, you know, thinking back to before so much of our work happened within the, the digital world. We were out there doing the work and running into one another and a lot of that relational work was done just as a matter of fact, that’s no longer the case when we’re sending a lot of emails or having A I, right? A lot of our communications from now from now on. Um So I think what we have to do is be intentional about saying, hey, some of this time that we’ve gotten back, we actually have to allocate it thoughtfully back to going out into the world and forming these relationships because the thing that uh the A I lacks most of all relative to, to people is the context of our work. There’s an incredible amount of data in these models. They are really amazing at certain tasks. They don’t really have any idea of what, what the world is that our work exists in. So that context I think is absolutely crucial. And it’s actually the understanding of our work paired with as Beth and Alison say Cobo, that’s where the magic really happens is when you pair your human intelligence, your understanding of the situation, the nuance of your work and then know how to leverage a really powerful technology like generative A I to do that work more efficiently. And of course, in a, in a human centered and, and values align kind of way you mentioned building trust, say more about that. Do you mean trust of the tools? No, I mean trust between us as humans. Yeah, I definitely mean between us as humans and between organizations as stakeholders within a community or within a movement. Um I think if you use A I in a way just to say, give yourself some time and maybe just throw that time back into more productivity. Um Beth and I talked a lot about um a a few cases where folks kind of rushed A I chat bots out into the world into front line situations, really sensitive ones where people in crisis were reaching out at one point and getting a human being. And then all of a sudden they were talking to an A I model and the A I was giving out really, really problematic advice. Um And that is an instance where the tech was used to save time or money, uh you know, in terms of human resources and it harmed the, the very people that the organization was trying to serve. So in that case, it wasn’t used to, to build trust, the, the time was saved, but it wasn’t reinvested in strengthening the relationship between the organization, the community, the stakeholders, the donors. So when I talk about trust, I mean, good old school person to person, uh stakeholder trust. Uh Beth, can you share one of those uh one of those anecdotes, of course, um I think the one that a lot of people know about because it was got quite a lot of media attention is the National Association of Eating Disorders Nita. And uh they put what was happening because of the pandemic, there was an increase in eating um disorder because if you’re by yourself, you’re more pro you know, you’re more prone to that, right? Um So, and they, for many years had a hotline, you know, actually humans answering the phone and um, and what happened was they were completely overwhelmed. They went to senior management said we need more help. Um um the staff responded, we’re going to organize a union if you don’t get us more help. Um And what happened is they put a, they rushed a chatbot out to answer questions of people reaching out for help and pink slipped a lot of staff. Ok. So first of all, they, they, they saw it as a cheap replacement for staff, which we, which is doing harm and we don’t not human centered and then it wasn’t thoroughly tested, there weren’t enough guard rails on it and it was dispensing harmful information. So they’re, they were in the middle of a media crisis, um, reputational damage. And I saw a, um, article even a couple of months later, they had a bill into one of the state legislators, um, to get more funding for, uh, to support people with eating disorders. And it was turned down because of the, the lack of trust based on what happened. So their community was harmed on a couple of different levels from, from the, from the firing of some employees from the poor advice from a, from a chat bot and the legislative funding was, was refused and the reputation as well. Ok, disaster. Um So what do we take away from that? Uh ok. So, uh well, don’t do those things, but are, are there larger lessons Philip that we can, you can see from that? Yeah. Um Another thing that I was thinking of when you were speaking with Beth earlier was one of the ways that I advise leaders that are contemplating bringing A I into their to their toolkit is to come at it from a sense of playfulness, a stance of playfulness. You know, a lot of people do pretty dangerous things for fun. You know, if you’re mountain biking or rock climbing or skydiving, we, we do a lot of stuff that, you know, is, is fast paced and there are real risks involved. But because we’re in this mindset where we, our senses are heightened, um We’re very aware of danger and failure, but also motivated um in a, in a way that is honestly kind of enjoyable. Um I think it’s a really great place to start just, just as a mental framing for taking on this task of learning about generative A I, some of these technologies are really fun to play with. I mean, if you, if you interacted with the language models or the image generators, if you do it in a safe way, in kind of a sandboxed way, like Beth was saying where you aren’t starting off with anything sensitive or mission critical, you’re doing it in a way to honestly play around and explore the limitations of the tool doing so with sort of a playful mindset, almost the child’s mind, as some people say, I think it’s a really great way to make yourself attuned to uh the, the risks, the rewards uh in sort of a game like format, but also to reframe failure. If you don’t get it at first, if you, if you don’t get the right results in a game, what you do is you try again, it’s the next round, it’s the next shot. Um And kids just get back up and try again. And I think that’s a really, really good way to become uh very aware of generative A I to know what it is to, to feel it and become fluent. So I often tell people think about that or, or watch a kid playing, uh, think back to memories of, of learning a sport or an instrument or, or some, some kind of art that, that you have. I don’t think it’s terribly different from that. So, uh it feels different and we oftentimes speak about this really powerful tech in terms that are overwhelming or sort of uh difficult to relate to. But at the end of the day, I think the the people that I see excelling a lot of them, I think a disproportionate number are having fun. And I think the reason that they then get so good is because there’s a nice feedback loop there. Um So that’s what I tend to tell people. It’s time for a break. Virtuous is a software company committed to helping nonprofits grow generosity. Virtuous believes that generosity has the power to create profound change in the world. And in the heart of the giver, it’s their mission to move the needle on global generosity by helping nonprofits better connect with and inspire their givers responsive fundraising puts the donor at the center of fundraising and grows giving through personalized donor journeys that respond to the needs of each individual. Virtuous is the only responsive nonprofit CRM designed to help you build deeper relationships with every donor at scale. Virtuous. Gives you the nonprofit CRM, fundraising, volunteer marketing and automation tools. You need to create responsive experiences that build trust and grow impact virtuous.org. Now back to a step back on artificial intelligence with Beth Cantor and Philip Deng. I love the, I love the idea of having fun with it, treating it like a sport safely. Yeah. Yeah. Um You all have advice around um an ethical use policy and, and guidelines for training practical tips and examples and processes who who wants to start with some, some of the practical tips, strategies, tactics for for ethical use policy. Um Sure. So let’s just break down quickly what’s in an ethical use policy, right? So there’s four sections, there’s our values and that should be the easy part, right? Um Most of nonprofits I know have a value or vision statement and it’s kind of relating that to the use of the tech. Uh the next step are norms, how are we going to use it? Um What and where are we not going to use it? Right? And those are things like thinking about the use cases and not just the use cases and the tools, but about there is a conti of risk with different types of uh use cases at the lower into the spectrum. We have individual use to do a task like a writing task or create an image or analyze some data, right? So it’s under what are the potential risks? And I think one big one is if we’re interacting with public um uh uh generative A I writing tools and models, chat, GP T Copilot. Um You know, what’s our point of view about putting data into those? Right? Are we gonna put, we gotta be careful, we’re not going to put any personally identifiable information into the prompt that then goes into a public model. Um like someone’s email address or God forbid their social security number. Um There’s another principle about like what is confidential information, right? Like do you want to be uploading someone’s performance evaluation as an example of our, our organizational tone written in this tone and here’s their performance about you just bring up a very good sort of tactical thing that, that your prompts are part of its learning universally. It’s not only is this, it’s not a private conversation, you and chat GP T well, with public models, right? The free public models that where we start. But if you have an enterprise model and you’re using your own data, then that’s safer. OK. That’s a different story. So it’s understanding that difference and also um you know, you can redact, right? Think of it. Um This comes from Rachel Kimber, great person to follow on linkedin. Um Like maybe you do have some information, you redact the organization’s name and you redact the person’s name so that there’s no association of it, but you could get an a summary. So that’s lower risk individual task, move to the middle, we have it for internal purposes like internal communication, hr operations financing. There are medium sized risks there. One example, um, let’s say someone in hr uses a generative A I tool to write the employee handbook, right? And they fall asleep at the wheel, they proof the first paragraph or two and say this is fine and they, it’s there, you know, a couple of years down the road, there’s a sexual harassment issue and they go to the employee handbook and oh, this doesn’t protect anybody. So you, you really need to audit the output from it. You can’t trust it. It makes, makes stuff up, mix facts up. It’s hard to believe and that’s the medium risk. You’re still in the middle of the spec it does that with at the low risk too, we get to the high risk and we do what we described before. We’re having it on the front line interacting with our stakeholders. And I think that’s where we need to have at the board level. We need to have a data privacy governance, you know, discussion, we need to have, we need to operationalize that. And if we’re testing something that is running on AAA large front tier model like open A is Chat G BT or whatever, we need to have the appropriate guardrails in place, right, to prevent it from going off the grid and you know, preventing and providing information that’s potentially harmful or excluding people from our services. Philip, anything you want to add? Is there more about the ethical use guidelines? I think in general there are a number of really great frameworks coming out. Uh N 10 has one that just came out yesterday. Um I’m part of a group fundraising dot A I, that’s the website. Um That’s also coming up with ethical and responsible use frameworks for this sector in particular. I think what I would just say is the important part is to have the continuing conversation. And when you have a reputable framework, that framework is a tool to guide that conversation to make sure that you’re being systematic and thorough. Um I think what it’s going to come down to though is a posture of the organization that you understand that this is a tool that can help but that the seriousness of the work, which was there long before A I demands that you approach it with care. And so everybody in the organization needs to be looking for the risks, the benefits kind of just being aware and then when something seems beneficial, get together and have that conversation using the framework to say, OK, this is what we want out of it. But let’s go through this framework, let’s assess it step by step and see if there are risks that we can spot as a team and then to make the approach course correction. So the frameworks are a tool for the continuing conversation, which is going to have to continue. Because every time one of these new step up models gets released, there’s an incredible new amount of landscape that we have to analyze because these models are gaining capability so quickly. So it really is changing what it means. I mean, the terminology itself is almost a placeholder and we, we really have to go out there and have our eyes open and understand what is generative A I in 2024 it’s gonna mean something different in 2025. I think I’m so glad we’re having this conversation to step back. And I realize as you were speaking, Philip, I, I’m sorry, I fucked up. Uh You were, you were, you were only in two out of four. You said there were four. I, I moved on, we were only on number two of your 44. I at least I realize but, and then I said, you know, and then I deferred to Philip and no, sorry, I apologize for that. We’re only on number two of your four elements of the, the, the policy for use. You were very gracious and not saying Tony, you’re fucking up. So you told me not to swear anymore. No, I, no, I, no, you said you said fuck shark. And I said you could say that and I almost said shit, but I didn’t say it. I said chat G BT makes up shit. I said sh stuff in New York City once you were talking about. So now we can say fuck sharks and that I admitting that I fucked up. And so let continue with the four elements that belong. People listening are probably thinking like, why did the guy move on after she’s only on number two? Why did he move to Philip? When Beth is only halfway finished values? We talked about values, right? We talked about nor nor do and don’t and that’s where we talk about use cases and that’s where we were and then we were on the spectrum. We’re on the cases. We completed the spectrum. We’re at the most risky, the forward facing the outward face. That’s the most risk requires the most testing, the most guidelines around the boundaries around the use, right? And that’s what’s called guard rails, right? Rules like don’t fall asleep at the reel at the wheel, read the output and check the first two paragraphs of the, don’t fall asleep at the wheel and don’t disclose personally identifiable information or whatever comes up through your organization’s conversation. And then the other piece kind of relates to what Phil was talking about earlier is the playbook, right? Um How do you share information within staff about prompts or what you’re learning? So that’s an important piece. And there was something actually, wait, say a little more about that, wait, say that one more time because I’m only hearing this the first time. Say that last sentence again. OK. So I call it the playbook section, right? So there’s a lot, you know, sharing, not knowledge and skills on staff so that there’s a shared playbook and it could be a Google Doc, right? Where people share. I tried this prompt. It produced a really great fundraising appeal. Uh I had to work with it but here it is, if, if somebody else wants to try it. So that kind of ongoing learning is really important. Um There was something else while Phil was talking but I forgot it with the fuck sharks thing. I derailed you. Alright. Well, we had fun. It’s, it was, it was worth it, it was worth it. And it may very welcome back to you. Um What’s the board’s role? Uh Beth, you mentioned the board but you just kind of been passing what’s the board’s role here and that the CEO should be bringing the board in for, for conversations about, about what two things. All right, I think, you know, while we in this sector understand responsible and ethical use, we don’t necessarily have that expertise on all boards of nonprofits. Hospitals do cause possible uh hospitals have to navigate ethical situations, right? So they might have ethicists on their board. So it’s also important to think about maybe we want to recruit some board members with that type of expertise with a grounding in ethics. And we probably also want to bring some members in who have an understanding of the technology and we also want to be having um some governance level policy discussions leading to our policy around that. Um, as well. It’s not just something that happens on the staff level and for senior leaders, it’s not something that gets punted down the hall to the IT department, it should, you know, leaders need to be thinking about it as well. Yeah. Yeah, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s systemic, right? It doesn’t, it doesn’t belong in the IT department. Um The idea of uh recruiting ethicists or I guess if not that bringing a consultant to help, to guide the discussion by, facilitate the discussion, raise the issues that we’re all talking about here. Um Because board members are not, you know, they may be all in or they, they may not even be paying attention, you know, depending on their work status, they may not be paying attention to artificial intelligence. So the issue, the issues need to be raised. I don’t know, I’m finding at least with the, the boards that I’ve been brought in to speak with and maybe Phil, you’ve also seen this um that it’s either they’re really concerned about it and never put their hands on it and have all these perceptions or misperceptions about it and that might be holding them back or they want to move full in this is transformative. We need to change with the world or we’re going to be left behind what else? Uh We have a couple of minutes left. What else did you talk about in your session that we haven’t covered in as much detail? I don’t know, maybe other cases or we talked about the dance floor and the balcony. Ok. Go ahead. Ok. So um this comes from the, the leadership lab at Harvard, um that leaders have to have the balcony view, which is seeing ahead, the big picture. But you also need to get on the dance floor and get in, you know, get into those steps. So for uh from a leadership perspective, you need to think about the ethics responsible use, move slowly know the use cases, all the things we’ve been saying. But you also need to put your hands on it as well and really understand do it playfully make the time for experimentation. And I think that’s a mind sh shift in our sector, you know, to make you happy, the time to actually experiment and learn. And that’s the kind of shift that our cultures are going to go through. If we free up time that we’re going to be, we’re going to make space for innovative thinking and make time for experimentation because hopefully we will release some of the busy in our busy cultures and make space for that. And that is the typically the promise of new technologies that there’s gonna be uh extra time, there’s gonna be greater productivity. But, but, well, well, your point was let’s not, let’s not apply it directly to productivity. Let’s, let’s apply it in relationship methods, uh, relationship building things that humans do uniquely that I, I, I don’t know, maybe I’m being risky here but I’m presuming that robots will never be able to do bots. Uh, artificial intelligence will never be able to have the depth of relationships that we have human to human. And is that you think that’s a risky statement? Any, anybody, you think you think we’ll get there. So not that I, not that I aspire to it. But I mean, I like to think that there’s, there’s some things that separate us from artificial intelligence. Are there, are there reliably like 10 years from now? Well, that’s the thing, that’s why I don’t like to read all the being risky. Yeah, I don’t know, 10 years from now for the time being, we are uniquely positioned. Uh We can say that right in, in 2024 and probably 2025 I think we’re uniquely positioned to have relationships. So that’s where the, the time ought to go in. The things that we’re uniquely qualified to do. Versus more office productivity is the point that both of you made. I would maybe uh come at it from another angle as well that we have never maybe appreciated how important human choice is. And I think one of the things that differentiates this technology from the software that we’ve been using for decades now is that increasingly it’s making decisions. I mean, that really is one of the, the Hallmark, uh you know, distinguishing features of these intelligence systems, more and more they are making choices for us. If they write something for us, they’re literally choosing every single word and then, you know, we added it, but a lot of decisions, tiny, tiny little decisions are being made by these smart systems. And I think what we have to really come to appreciate and not take for granted anymore is that the human choice, the, the decision making, power and responsibility that we have in the world, in our teams, in our organization, in our communities. That’s really what I think we need to, to focus back on and say, how do we choose to use this technology in the right way because once we do, the technology is going to start making choices for us. So human choice, uh I think is maybe one of the things that, that I’ll be meditating on a lot for the next uh the foreseeable future here. I’d like to leave it right there. That’s a great step back. Thank you. Thank you, Cheers. That’s Philip Deng Ceo of Grant. And with Philip is Beth cantor, author, trainer and facilitator, Philip. Beth. Thank you. Thank you so much. Appreciate, I appreciate. Did you just say fuck shark? I might have, I hope you don’t hear from the shark folks. Thank you for sitting through this uh this raucous uh provocative session uh where we are sponsored by Heller consulting, technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Really? Thank you very much. It’s time for Tony’s take you. Thank you, Kate. I’ve been enjoying uh a week and a half and I have another several days of meetings with um uh my client uh visiting nurse service of New York uh in New York City. And just, you know, as I think about all these meetings or as I’m, as I’m having them, I’m just reminded how much this is the real joy of, uh, for me, planned giving. But I think for any type of individual fundraising, it’s, it’s just the getting to know people. It’s being curious about people. Of course, we’re talking about the, the, the work that VNS health does, but I, I always make sure we go deeper than that and it’s me getting to know the person, all these meetings are, um, with folks in their seventies, eighties and nineties. Uh, most of them nearly all are, are women and it’s just getting to hear their stories, you know, what, what they did in their careers, what their husbands did because most of them are widows, their, what their Children are doing where they used to live, what was school, like, what was growing up like, uh, you know, these, these are the, the, this kind of, you know, deepening of, of understanding of people that is, um, is, is really a joy in individual fundraising. So, uh, I hope that you have relationships at, at that level. Uh, it doesn’t have to be about planned giving. That’s, you know, that’s the work I do. So, those are the conversations I’m having. I just find it really, uh, sort of uplifting, having all these meetings over breakfasts, coffees, lunches, uh, a couple of dinners, but a lot of folks, those ages, uh, this time of year don’t want to go out at night. So it’s uh not too many dinners, but I hope you’re enjoying relationships like that because they are the real heart of individual fundraising, getting to know people and working with people on the, on that level. And that is Tonys take two Kate. I think we really take for granted the face to face connection that we make with people, you know, by storytelling or just getting the wisdom from anyone really. Not just the older generations. Yeah, I think you’re right and we, you know, we obviously lost it during the pandemic. Uh I see more people getting back to face to face in person, events, meetings. Uh And I, and I hope folks are, are open to that and not just open to it, but, you know, looking for it, seeking it out because, uh I think, you know, that just, it’s human connection and virtual connection can only go so far. It’s, it’s just, it’s not the same thing, not even, not even close for sure. No, I completely agree with you. But anyway, we’ve got buu but loads more time here is get your team to the next level. Welcome back to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of the 2024 nonprofit technology conference. We’re coming to you from the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. We sponsored at 24 NTC by Heller consulting, technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits with me. For this conversation is Kim Chang. She is independent strategic communications campaigns and an operations consultant. Welcome to nonprofit radio. Kim. Hi, nice to meet you, Tony. You got a big portfolio there. It is a mouthful strategic communications campaigns, not stopping there. That’s only two out of three and operations consultant. It’s true. I’ve played around the title many times. It’s like, how do I explain to people what I actually do? Is there a company name that you can compact all that into or have you? No, presently just Kim TRONG consulting. Yeah, letting the name speak for itself. But it’s simple, but it says it all your session topic. Have you done your session? I did do my session yesterday. All right. Congratulations. That’s over. So we can recap a little bit. It is work smarter, not harder, easy tips, easy. That’s, that’s an important qualification, easy tips. She promises to get your team to the next level. All right. Um What was the genesis for the session? What brought this topic to you? Oh, this is funny. Honestly. I kind of ended up at NTC on a whim. I quit my job last July 2023. I met up with an old boss and she mentioned to me, I was telling her about some of the things that I’ve been doing around project management, strategic operations, just helping um you know, folks at my old company get to the next level, managing their team ironing out some of the issues. And she said you need to do this with nonprofits, you need to go to NTC and you need to present on this. And I don’t know if I have much expertise to share, but sure, I applied to be a speaker and here I am, it’s my first NTC and it really does already feel like I’m coming home to the topics and the people I care about. So that’s really the genesis of this. It’s very touching your first NTC. You feel so comfortable. Yes, I do. It’s a great community. It really is. It’s a welcoming, supportive community. You know, folks living their values. I mean, we certainly see that in, in, in 10, living their values of equity centered. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Smart use of technology, but also um the conscious use. Absolutely for good. Right. Maybe not necessarily for growth. Indeed. Yeah. All right. So um should we just start talking about some of the easy tips? Let’s dive in? Ok. OK. What do you, where do you like to start Um Well, I always like to say that, you know, the basis of a really well functioning team is um how you staff the work and whether or not you are using your individual staffers and teams capabilities, their strengths to the best of your team’s abilities. So, one of the practical ways in which you could operationalize this and that I recommend it to folks is simply to put together a roles and responsibilities, matrix, right? And when you put together roles and responsibilities, matrix, you’re identifying, not just the role, I think a lot of times people start with just the role that folks are supposed to take on a team. And then they don’t actually quantify the responsibilities that are in the act, the weekly, daily activities that are associated with those roles. So making sure that those two are aligned. So that’s the first thing I flagged. The second thing is once you notice that those two things are aligned, you don’t want to match them up with your staffs. Um you know, existing personality traits, work personality traits as well as the hard skills that are required in that role to be successful. And once you do that audit, you have a clearer picture of the gaps that remain. And whether or not you need to train folks, you need to hire people in and how folks can work with each other. So you’re seeing the gaps between the skills that are needed and the skills that exist? Is that yes, am I oversimplifying? No, that’s great. And then also how those skills or the activities you take on because you have those skills complement each in a team, right? Because you don’t want folks stepping on toes, right? Let’s say you’ve got two people who write social copy, right? Or two people have been asked to write social copy. Maybe you want to split the two and have someone write a press release and someone write social copy instead. So folks aren’t stepping on toes, but all of this can be illuminated in a roles and responsibilities matrix and help you make better decisions about how to manage your team. What else we got? Well, that’s just the first one. And then the second thing is I love the word matrix. I use it a lot and I probably need to stop. But the second thing is just making sure that you use the time that you have with your team effectively. So that’s coming up with a recurring meeting cadence that you codify in a, in a meeting matrix. That’s the second one. Um And then making sure that each of those meetings comes with an agenda that everyone like a standing agenda that doesn’t change every week, but covers the general main topics that everyone needs to be read in on or be aware of or action on. And then once you have these agenda templates available and folks see them every week and it’s just a standing agenda template. You’re actually creating accountability and ownership over some of the pieces that, you know, someone who’s maybe more entry level in a team might be uncomfortable sharing, right? So it’s when you create a standing agenda, it creates predictability, it creates regularity, it makes people feel confident. It uh also reduces a lot of the anxiety that folks have when they’re like, oh, I don’t know when we’re going to meet or I don’t know when we’re going to talk about that, right? Just put it right into the standing agenda. Um And it also helps to reduce a lot of these slack and email noise sometimes, right? Sometimes we’re trying to do a lot of work, especially if you’re managing a team, you’ve got lots of things that you need them to do, but you’re pulling them into these meetings all day, right? Let’s simplify a lot of that and maybe meet just twice a week. And folks know that during those times you get a chance to ask your lead all the questions that you need to ask. So it’s just creating this predictability and the way that you use your meeting time and how often you meet goes a very long way in keeping your team running well and keeping your team feeling at ease and empowered in doing their job. What are some of the things that belong on that standing agenda? Well, it depends i on when you meet and what the purpose is of each meeting. But I’d say, for example, if it’s the start of the week meeting, and you just want to make sure that everyone’s on the same page at the beginning of the week, then I would say a couple of things. The first is you want to make sure that any updates you hear from leadership or at the C suite level that are relevant to your team are shared in that team meeting. So anything that people need to know so that they can do their work for the rest of the week should be shared. So any important updates, action items, sorry, not action items, but tasks, right? If there’s something that you need to get done that week, you want to start there, you want to have a conversation in that meeting and you also want to share how you say, ok, I want you to write the first draft of this communications plan, right? Um You want to actually use that meeting to explain. OK, well, this is what I want out of it. These are the goals, these are the audiences, these are the tactics. And then the last thing is actually discussing and recapping those action items at the end of that meeting. So people walk out and they know this is my remit for the week, right? So that’s one type of meeting I would say is really valuable and that’s how I’d run that meeting every week. Um, another meeting that’s really valuable is a risks. Meeting. People don’t like the term risks. I think to them it signals looming problems. But I think what’s really great about having a risks meeting and the fact that it is a looming problem is that it’s looming, it’s not actually a problem yet. It’s not actually an issue yet. And when folks get into the habit of regularly identifying and logging risks super early, a lot of the times they’ll resolve it within two or three weeks before those risks actually become issues that derail your team dynamic, your team progress your delivery against a certain timeline or deliverable. All right. So deal with it while it’s a risk before it becomes a crisis. Well, have you seen examples of that where folks have teams have successfully dealt with risk, like you’re saying, maybe over a couple of weeks or maybe even a few months and, and then they, and then they, they just feel better. I mean, there, there may be other, there certainly are other risks. There’s always something out there but it, they put their minds at ease over something that was kind of had been looming, but they never had dealt with. Have you seen of that? I mean, I see that, you know, every day in our work once you start identifying and codifying a lot of those risks, but I think a really good example probably is, um, during the 2020 census when I was working at my old organization, a company called Fenton’s, the US, one of the US oldest social impact communications firm had an amazing experience there. One of our clients was the California Community Foundation and they were working on 100 organization. Get out the census campaign in Los Angeles County. It is one of the hardest, it is the hardest to count region in the United States. Just super diverse. Um Lots of languages, um lots of barriers to actually getting an accurate count. And a lot of those, when you’re trying to reach a lot of those communities, you’ve got to go right into the community, you’ve got to reach, talk to, talk to them, you’ve got to knock on doors, right. Um What do you do when the world goes virtual and shuts down? Right? When, during the 2020 COVID crisis? Right. So, it was amazing because we started to see one of my vice presidents. Now, he’s a senior vice president at Fenton. He could see the writing on the wall. Right. And you can see we’re going to have to pivot to virtual strategies soon. Right? Because it’s opening doors, no one’s going to grocery stores, no one’s going to grocery stores. No. Exactly. Exactly. No one’s out in the community. And so what we ended up doing was we had to completely pivot and we pivoted early, which allowed us to actually take resources like the funding that we might have allocated to door to door canvassing or allocated to, you know, ads at bus shelters or ads in grocery stores. Right. We pivoted a lot of that into virtual tactics where you can actually just reach folks right on their phones or as they’re scrolling through at home where they were in front of the TV. So we completely pivoted. Oh, we also did a lot of peer to peer texting. So you couldn’t speak to a here in person about getting out of the count, but you could text them about it, right. So we were able to identify that the crisis was coming and it was going to come early. And as a result, we were able to reallocate funding and resources and our activities accordingly. And I think if we had waited a little bit too late, we would have wasted a lot of money and resources. When you were talking about the meeting matrix, you talked, you mentioned the uh the meeting cadence, you know, something is that um I mean, it’s, it’s, I’m I’m sure you can’t say, you know, how often should a team meet that depends on the size of the team, the responsibilities of the team, the experience of the team, the, the comfort of the team, you know, but uh what about, what about um engaging virtual team members in meetings where some folks are not virtual, you know, some are, it’s a hybrid meeting, somebody some half a dozen are in the office and three or four are, are virtual. You have strategies for engaging those, those virtual folks so that they don’t feel left out. I mean, they, they’re one dimension on a screen in the meeting room. And meanwhile the other, the dozen people or so are chatting pleasantly among themselves and essentially ignoring the one dimensions. See, it’s interesting because I’ve had a couple of conversations about hybrid situations and at 10 and at NTC right now, and I think the there isn’t really a consensus on it, but there’s an, um, there’s a reality in which to be completely honest that the conversation, to be honest with nonprofit radio listeners. Ok, perfect. There is a reality in which the conversations that you are having virtually, if other people are in the room, um, you know, in person, the conversations you’re going to be having with them are just simply not going to be as rich. That’s just what I’ve noticed so far. And, you know, in talking to a lot of folks at NTC, you know, folks are saying, you know, I think that sometimes it just makes better sense all the conferences that they’ve been to over the years, especially after COVID, they’ve been most successful when they are all virtual or all. Um, we’re all in person, the hybrid ones are challenging to facilitate. Um So I guess I don’t have a great answer for that. But, um, it is, I think just caveat that with the reality, right? The conversations you have are probably just not going to be as rich and consciousness raising. You know, you bring in those folks whenever you can. It’s just, and I’ve been on the virtual side, um, it feel, it feels a little excluded. You know, it’s nothing intentional. It’s just that there, it’s not the same experience, you know, it’s just, you know, you’re not there, you’re not there, you’re there virtually, but that’s not there when people are, people are in the room, not when it’s all virtual. I mean, that’s a different dynamic. And how do you get your hand up and, you know, you get your voice heard, make sure everybody speaks and that’s a different dynamic. Uh Yeah, I’m talking about the hybrid meeting. It doesn’t feel so good on the virtual end. OK. Well, at least you’re, you’re honest. I mean, there isn’t really a great answer. It’s just not the same. So that’s, you have to be intentional to bring the team together, you know, whatever, semiannually quarterly. So that, so that the virtual folks do feel included just maybe not in the interim meetings, but they don’t feel excluded 100% of the time. Yeah, I think I would feel irresponsible saying, you know, you can make the experience amazing because, you know, there are just nuggets of conversations you have by the water cooler or when you go to Happy hour after something that just enriches the conversation you simply can’t have when you’re virtual again. But that’s why you need to be intentional about bringing the team together in person. I guess, to me, if I was a CEO at least annually, but even that doesn’t sound like I feel like enough, but semi annual, I mean, obviously there are budget constraints around that too, but it’s a challenge. I mean, everybody’s struggling with it. I think still, I think, I mean, things are emerging, you know, we have emerged and models have emerged. I’m just not sure that they’re uh they’re as successful as they could be. In some cases. I think some of some of the choice we’ve made, you were kind of getting at it. Um But I think you wanted to ask you or you kind of assume, you know, there probably isn’t like a strict, hard and fast rule for how often, you know, team should be meeting. And I would agree, I think it really comes down to the needs of the organization. But what I will say is paramount is creating that predictability, creating that regularity, you might not meet as an all staff, um except for once a year, but maybe you have a quarterly virtual three hour meeting strategy meeting every quarter, right? And that’s something that people look forward to, they’re aware it’s happening. That’s when you’re going to get to strategize, that’s when you get to the bigger picture Exactly. And it’s on the calendar. People are aware. Yeah. So I’d say creating confidence in how you use your meeting time is really more valuable than, you know, all the bells and whistles of an in person meeting or all the bells and whistles of a virtual meeting. Just get the basics right first. You know, more tips. Oh, my goodness. What, let’s see. I talked through the ways of the roles and responsibilities, Matrix, I talked through the meetings, the risks. You know, I think a really great tool that folks can use is any kind of infrastructure tool, documentation that your team feels like is the master hub. And when I say master hub, it just means it’s this one key resource that you redirect folks to over and over and over again. It’s probably got to be a little bit more robust than your slack channel. Um For certain teams, you know, Google Docs with your running notes, with your roles and responsibilities, your project plans could be sufficient, especially if you’re in a smaller team. Um And then if you’re on a bigger team, a cross functional team, um you might want to invest in a dedicated project management tool like a Sauna or Trello or click up. But I wouldn’t necessarily jump to a tool to solve some team management problems right away. I think just really, especially if folks are, for example, if folks in your team have low project management tool literacy right. It just makes more sense to get them comfortable. The most basic Google sheets or basic trackers in Google Docs to start, right? So you really got to evaluate your needs. But the key tenant here that I emphasize is just redirecting folks to this one place, keeping it updated every week, right? So that everyone knows this is where you go to get your information shared. I mean, that becomes part of a shared culture, even exactly expectations, you know, everything that that document covers, everybody knows that they can rely on that. It’s a, it’s a common resource culture. Yeah, but uh important to talk about. Alright. Alright. Um You had something in your session description about codifying best practice, best practices in a simple team ways of working guide that sounds related to what we just talked about is that is that essentially is that it? Yeah. So the team ways of working guide and when I did my presentation, I essentially split up the tools that I was recommending in two different categories. There are foundational operational tactics, tools, resources that you want to use that simply maintain the function of your team week by week. So that’s the foundational operations and there are project specific tools that you want to use, right? And so for the project specific tools, that’s when we get into work plans, that’s when we get into um you know, who is the manager, the owner? It’s called the Moca matrix manager, owner, consultant, helper approver on a specific project on a specific deliverable, but you need the basic foundation. Yeah, I know, I it’s actually from the Management Center, I can’t take credit for that, but you need the basic foundation in place before you you can activate for these different big projects, right? And so the ways of working guide is such an example and that to me is the baseline, you codify, this is who’s on my team. This is what they are responsible, this is how we work together, this is how often we meet. So all the resources that I mentioned are in that way, working guide. All the resources that I mentioned that are foundational operational resources, not necessarily project specific resources are in that way as a working guide because it sets both the expectation, but it also sets a culture as well for how you’re going to work together and that’s not project specific that is about managing your team. Yeah. Hi, Kim. So why don’t you leave us with some final motivation and uplifting thoughts about, you know, these, these easy tools for getting your team to the next level? Yeah, I would, you know, I think I started my presentation saying this um the 2023 report from the Center for effective philanthropy, I think they say 63 or 68% of nonprofit leaders, you know, they’re really concerned with burnout. Um And I think that has only been exacerbated by the economic downturn. COV ID 19 folks really need the services that folks in our nonprofit sector are providing. Um And I think when we do mission driven work, um we feel this need to just spend all the time that we can and work the long hours that we need to because our work is so mission critical, it’s so important. And I think the biggest thing I’ll say is social impact does not have to come at the expense of our well being. We do our best work when we are our best. And when you are a manager, a team lead, a department leader, you have the, you have the opportunity, but honestly, also the responsibility to set that team culture around well being around operational excellence, right? And so that’s what I would really encourage every nonprofit middle manager, department leader to walk away doing. You got four or five tips, four or five tools you can use to really set your team up for success and um you know, improve their well being. That’s it, Kim, independent, strategic communications campaigns and operations consultant. I make sure that folks understand that it’s the three, the three, the three legs of your tripod, the three legs of your stool, the uh the three sails of the three masts on your uh on your schooner of your schooner, the three TYS on your fork. I don’t know. Everybody knows you got a big portfolio. Alright. Thank you very much for sharing. Thanks so much for having me, Tony and thank you for being with our coverage of the 2024 nonprofit technology conference hosted by N 10 where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Thanks for being with us next week. Matching gifts. 101201 and 301. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at Tony martignetti.com. We’re sponsored by Virtuous. Virtuous, gives you the nonprofit CRM fundraising, volunteer and marketing tools. You need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving. Virtuous.org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Martignetti. This show, social media is by Susan Chavez, Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.