Kiersten Hill: Team Engagement Tips
The company Firespring uses unusual and fun strategies to engage their 185 employees, so everyone lives and celebrates the Firespring values—each day. We’re talking Firestarter meetings; Culture Club; Power of Three; and more. Kiersten Hill shares her employee experience to spark your thinking about team engagement.
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Hello and welcome to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I am your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be hit with Hunt virus pulmonary syndrome if you had to be ratted out because you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with what’s up this week? Hey, Tony, this week we have team engagement tips. The company Fire Spring uses unusual and fun strategies to engage their 185 employees. So everyone lives and celebrates the fire spring values each day. We’re talking firestarter meetings, culture, club, power of three and more. Kirsten Hill shares her employee experience to spark your thinking about team engagement. On Tony’s take two nonprofit radio. 1500 were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity, donor box, vast flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor box.org here is team engagement tips. It’s a genuine pleasure to welcome for her first appearance, Kirsten Hill to nonprofit radio. She is the Director of nonprofit Solutions at Fire Spring. She had nearly 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and fundraising. Before joining fire Spring, she made the move to Fire Spring with the goal to assist educate and equip nonprofits at a larger scale. Kirsten is on linkedin and the company is at Fires spring.com. Welcome, Kirsten. Hello. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. You always bring such, I don’t know, ebullience. Oh, that’s awesome. Thank you. And, uh, I witnessed that this morning which we’re gonna get to talk about. I joined a meeting this morning, but I know just every time we talk, you, you seem joyful. Thank you. I um it’s one of my gallop strengths is positivity. Uh And I think that’s just sort of my natural state most of the time. What is that Gallup strength? So, Gallup is uh the, the Gallup corporation who does, uh you know, polls and those sorts of things. They are also um a business and strengths success coaching organization. Um And you can go through and do an assessment and they tell you what your strengths are. And then the theory and philosophy is that if you lean into those strengths, you uh have better performance and achievement. So, uh one of my top five gallop strengths is positivity. So that’s probably, that’s probably it. I think you’re succeeding. Yes. Thank you. I can, I can validate the Gallup results. Bona fide poll, a poll of one. Yes, a clean one. All right. So we want to talk about the engagement tips for, for teams and you do some special things at Fire Spring. Uh, you acquainted me with them and I wanted to flush them out for our, for our listeners because I think they’re unusual. Uh, I think they show a certain commitment to the team and, and, uh, I want to shout them out. So, first of all, you got value, you got three very clear values. Yes. Um, you know, talk about the values, of course, what they are. But then you know, how do you, how do they help the team, you know, sort of unite? Yeah. Well, I think one of the reasons that I, so I had been a Fire Spring client for a number of years before I came to work here. Uh I had used all of the services that Fire Spring offers websites, the marketing and strategic things that we do. And so I was familiar with the company. Um But one of the things that has really become very clear to me as I have worked here as an employee is that we are very much a company that leads from its values. Uh and we live those values out and we have three primary values. The first is bring it every day, the next is have each other’s back. And the third value is give a shit. And uh we talk on a daily basis about how we are all living those values and we take time during every single meeting. Um that we have that we, we recognize those values and we call out and, and recognize and honor people who are living those values. And I think that’s a really unique approach um to, to, you know, not just having the values and putting them on the wall somewhere, but really, um you know, getting in there and, and diving in and living um through those values. Yeah. And I have firsthand experience for uh an example of this. You, you have these meetings, I don’t want to give it all away. I want you to share it but you have these daily meetings. And I just want to say that I think people listening until they hear more are thinking, oh my, they meet every day, every day, the company, the whole company meets every day. All right. So I was in today’s meeting, but I’m gonna hold off on my follow up questions and you know, my, my impressions of it, us with these, with these daily meetings that are not laborious and feared. Yes. So uh these meetings started in about 2010 is when they started holding them as a company. And uh they had, they wanted a way to kind of try and bring everybody together, get everybody on the same track and again, reinforce those company wide values. And so they did some research and they found that the 11 o’clock time period is the least productive time period during an employee’s day. Yeah. Yeah. And so somebody then said they liked the alliteration of having a meeting at 1111. And they said, well, if we’re having a meeting at 1111, let’s make it 11 minutes long. And that’s how the meeting that we call the fire starter was born. And so every day at 1111, the entire company comes together for an 11 minute stand up meeting and, uh, if you’re in the facility, if you’re in any of our buildings. So we have a headquarters office in Lincoln. We have an office in Lincoln. Yes. Yeah. Sorry. We’re in, we’re in Nebraska. You’re talking throughout the country now that, you know, Lincoln could be Lincoln, Kansas, I don’t know. Lincoln, New York. True, true. Yes. So we are based out of Nebraska. We have an office in uh our headquarters offices in Lincoln. We have an office in Omaha, Nebraska and then we have a small walk up print shop in Council Bluffs, Iowa. And so every single person in those in those buildings who has the ability now, we do recognize this is a daily meeting, not everybody is going to be able to, you know, be there every single day. Um But for the most part, we, we encourage anybody but, you know, with that’s in the building to, to attend those meetings. If you work from home, you can hop on a Zoom link uh and, and, you know, sign in that way and everyone, uh, company wide takes part in the meetings. How many, how many employees we have about 100 and 70 uh, or actually, no, I take that back. It’s 100 and 85. I just verified that yesterday. So we have 100 and 85 employees. Yes. Sure. So when we come into Firestarter, there’s a handful of things that we do every single day, there’s always one employee who leads it. There’s a group of about six or seven of us who rotate the duty. Uh I typically, uh, we call them the fire chief because they’re leading the meeting of the fire starter and the chief, um kind of just runs through the agenda. Keeps everybody on track. So normally I chief on Tuesdays, but today I chief on a Thursday because I couldn’t, we, you know, swap things back and forth. So are we so ingrained in the culture that the down has become the verse? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, we, yes, I, yes, I used the chief. I do. I will in the future. Yes, exactly. Who can chief for me today? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So, uh today I had the pleasure of being the, the fire starter leader, the chief and we always go through the same agenda. So we start by welcoming everyone, then we move into um recognizing any guests or visitors. So we introduced you today as a, as a guest in our meeting and that the, whoever’s there just sort of normally waves and then, you know, smiles and we recognize that we have visitors with us and then we move into recognizing any birthdays or anniversaries. So if anyone in the company is celebrating a birthday or a work anniversary, uh we’ve got a lot of very long term employees. And so, uh as soon as you hit one year, then every year on your, the anniversary of your higher date, they recognize that you, how long you have been with the company. So we uh we recognize those and then after that, we move into our values, living portion of the meeting. And so uh you can uh as, as an employee of the company, you can recognize anyone else anywhere in the company for um the great work that, that they do and the work that really align with those core values, you know, it might be somebody who um helped you out and took a project uh from you or somebody who filled in for you at a meeting or uh somebody who really has gone above and beyond for a client. Uh And, and we recognize those kinds of efforts on a regular basis today. The it team got a couple of shout outs. They did. Yeah, we had a server, we had a server go down and Zoom and uh Jump Cloud were having problems yesterday. The it team was really hopping. And so lots of people recognizing the I TT the it team for what they were doing and the, it team recognizing one another for how collaborative the response was and how they all just really chipped in and got the work done. Uh So that’s a really good example uh of, of, you know, how we will really recognize one another. Uh Then uh we also do a few special things. So on Fridays, we give the F uh F as in Frank. Uh So on Fridays, we give the F and that is calling out somebody who really steps it up and, and somebody who just is consistently always living those fire spring values. Uh and the F passes from team to team uh within the company. So I can’t give the F if I, if I win the, uh or I, um I’m honored with the F, I can’t give it to anyone else on my team. I have to go outside my team. So we’re really encouraging um the groups to, to mingle together and to get to know one another. Uh And you can only get it once a year. Uh And, and then, you know, again, we just sort of pass that pass that around uh quarterly. There is, it’s bright gold, it’s, and it has a chain on it. If you’re, if you’re in one of the offices, you can actually wear the F and you can hang it at your desk or, or your cubicle. Uh And then if you get the F, you get a little gold F that you can put on a sticker that you can put on your laptop. So, as you’re walking through the building, you’ll see lots of people um who have their laptops open with F stickers on it. Uh So it’s, it’s, you know, a nice visual way to, to represent the F um And that’s kind of fun. On Wednesdays, we go through Gallup Strengths. So we’re a gallop, strengths based organization. Every employee knows what their top five strengths are. And on Wednesdays, we call out one of those strengths and we talk about how you work with people who have these strengths and what, how you might, you know, recognize how they like to work and how you can bring out the best in one another. What are, what are your other four besides positivity? So um strategic is one wu is another which stands for when others over. Uh I’m, I’m, I like to be out there. I get energy from being around other people and uh and engaging with folks over. Yes. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Then uh positivity and um individualization. So I like to get to know each person individually. I like to know what makes each person tick and then deliver content and information and things that are specific to that person. Um And then the last one I think is communication I think is, is um is supposed to be able to recite. I should be able to, I should be able to, I get, I get, I get, I also have um I also have uh activator in, in like my top five or six and I can never remember which goes where. Um but activator means that I’m not real good at just sitting and letting things happen. I’m kind of always pushing and moving things forward. So um uh activator is in, is in there too. So, um and like I said, on Wednesdays, we, we go through those and talk about those and then on Tuesdays, we go through and review the, the goals for the previous week and uh address, you know how successful we were. Um because that’s the other thing then that we talk about and during every Tuesday meeting, we go through the values living and then we break up our goals by um division of, of the organization. So we have client solutions, um client fulfillment. Uh And, and we go through each of each of those and we say, you know, who has achieved what uh and in, in terms of meeting their goals for the week. And then on Tuesdays, we review how successful everybody was. So, yeah, and then at that, we, when we finish that, we talk about any risks or challenges that we have and then uh if there aren’t any of those or if there are, we talk about those and then if uh after that, we do what we call the cheer. So uh whoever it is that it has the cheer for the day and that also rotates through the company. Uh They come up with some sort of a clever story or anecdote or sometimes it’s this day in history. Um And then, and at the end, it’s usually a very short phrase that everyone says all together. Uh And that’s how you really signify that the meeting is over. Once you finish with the cheer, the meeting is over and everybody just goes their separate ways. It’s not like you’re having this long drawn out. Like nobody quite knows. Is it, is it over? Are we still going? Um After we finish the cheer, everybody goes their, their separate ways and, and all of that is done in 11 minutes. It took you about 12 minutes to explain it. I know. I know. Right. I probably should have cut you off. I should have cut you off a minute ago. You’re over time. You get, no, no, the meeting is really, it’s really impressive. Uh So you invited me to today’s like you said, uh I didn’t say a word. I just waved because I knew you were on a tight schedule. Um So the uh the people that are living the values who get shattered out, you enter them on a spreadsheet. There’s someone, there’s a recorder, it seems to be a, there’s a recorder, someone’s recording on a spreadsheet. Describe OK, who’s keeping track of the people and the teams that get shouted out and, and, and if you get shouted out twice, you get a star, you get shouted out three times, you get two stars so we can. Yeah, exactly. Will. And sometimes, uh, I mean, like the ultimate achieve at fire sp is to be a five star general. Um, so if you have five stars in the, in the week, then you’re a five star general. And that’s pretty unusual. Yeah, that’s just, it’s adorable. It’s fun. It’s easy to understand. All right. So five star General. So what, what happens with those names? You just keep them for the week. Yep. They keep, we keep them for the week. Um, and at the end of the day on Friday, they wipe that board, uh, they wipe the values part of the board clean. Um, and we start over on Monday with a, a clear board and we add those names as we go throughout the week. Uh, the, the goals actually turn over on Tuesdays, uh, because we, our, our goals start on Tuesday and end on Monday and that gives us a little bit of extra time, uh to, to try and get things accomplished if people wanna, you know, not very many people work on the weekends, but if they want to work out on it over the weekend or if they need a little extra time, it just seems to flow better to run uh, goals Tuesday through um Monday. Plus we, we have um some all teams, some other, all kinds of all team meetings that we do usually on Mondays. And so that’s when people set their goals for the week. It’s time for a break. 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 boss 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 in 2024. Visit donor box.org to learn more. Now back to team engagement tips. Yeah. So moving to the uh the the gold side, you go through it very rapidly. Uh This is also set up on a on a board or I don’t know, spreadsheet, it’s the same spreadsheet, same sheet. Um It, it, it says the name of the team. And then there are the 33 categories that they’re being a accountable to. Basically it’s public accountability and they have goals for the week listed like some had, some teams had three, some teams had four goals and you go through how are you doing on your goals? Most of the people said all on something all on track, all on track on track. There was one team, I, I didn’t write them down so I’m not gonna, you know, embarrass them. One team said goal number three at risk and that one got a, that one got a negative next to it. It gets a red mark on it. Number three at risk. All right. Yep. So if you finish a goal, you would say like first goal complete. There were a couple of those, so there were one or two complete. Um, if you’re, if it’s just moving along then it’s on track and if it’s behind then it, it’s at risk. And, you know, there’s a variety of reasons that a goal could be at risk. It could be that maybe you had a meeting scheduled with this client and the client moved the meeting. Um, and so, you know, there, it’s, it’s not, we know that it’s very seldom. I, I mean, I don’t, maybe once or twice in the two plus years I’ve been there if we ever had 100% on our goals, you know, it’s, it’s, do you just, you also want to set goals that are, you know, a, a strive that you’re really working to achieve? Um, and so we don’t always hit 100% but we, it at least keeps all of us on track and it keeps all of us accountable to one another and it helps me to know. Gosh, I can’t bother the, you know, customer fulfillment team this week because I know they have a ton of stuff on their goal list. They’ve got a lot going on. So maybe I’ll hold this thing that I need, um, and give them some time to do that and, and, you know, rearrange what I need from them and, and when I need it. So it, it does help us to know what each other is working on and what the timing looks like. Yeah. Absolutely. And those are weekly goal. Yes, those are weekly goals that we review on a daily basis. Tuesday to Monday. You, you start them every, every Tuesday, every Tuesday review weekly progress on Mondays. Ok. Yeah, I, I love the accountability and it’s quick and nobody says, well, why is that one at risk? There’s no, there’s no chatter about why we’re doing great or why we’re not or why one is at risk or how, how good we were that we accomplished one goal. You just, you just report on track at risk or, or done. Exactly. And then they move on to the next team and boom, boom, boom. It’s very efficient. I mean, you gotta be because 11 minutes tell me does the tech cut you off? Doesn’t zoom, cut you off? Yeah. Zoom completely cuts you off. So, uh when I first started being the chief, I didn’t know that and we were running long one day and then all of a sudden just died and they were like, oh, yeah, we forgot to tell you, it’ll cut you off if you go too long. So now, especially when we’ve got a day where people are really excited about, you know, recognizing other people and putting lots of people on the board. Then I know I have to go faster through the goals because you don’t want to get cut off. That’s, that’s bad. Ok. Ok. And, and today’s meeting, I think it was nine minutes, I believe. Yeah. The other thing that I love about it that I think we don’t often recognize enough is when I went down before the meeting started, I saw one of my coworkers and I said, oh, gosh, I need to grab you for just like two minutes as soon as the meeting is over to ask you a question. She was like, yeah, no problem. And that happens every day. So not only are you getting people together, you’re mixing different groups, you’re mixing, you know, people who work in different departments and divisions and have different tasks and goals. But it’s a, it’s a common place where you can meet up with one another. Uh, and then most people now will eat lunch about 1130 because by the time the 1111 is over, they go, you know, into the kitchen and warm up their lunch and then sit, sit down and have lunch and, um, it’s a really nice natural break and progression in the day that I think is just fantastic about building, um, camaraderie and, uh, and teamwork and connecting us to one another. Those are the Firestarter meetings the way to do daily meetings that people don’t dread. Yes. Absolutely. Uh, it’s super, it’s super fun. It’s one of my favorite. It’s one of my favorite things. I mean, I would have never thought that I would love a daily meeting, but it’s one of my favorite parts about working there. It shows your positivity comes out about the fire star 1111 for 11 minutes. All right. What’s Culture Club? Yeah. So we also have uh a group. It’s a, it’s actually an elected committee within the organization that is focused on uh I it’s focused on employee engagement and that is their major goal is, is, you know, making sure that um that the employees are connected to one another. They also represent the employees to the leadership team. Um And they are the ones who plan all of our company, events and activities and festivities, parties, those sorts of things. Um And, you know, they really just help to keep morale up and keep employees engaged with one another. Um They are elected to that committee based on um which part of the company, which division of the company they serve in so that we have uh a representation from every team. Uh and they meet on I think a monthly basis and then they, you know, do little subcommittees and planning and those sorts of things. Um, and, and they’re all about maintaining and encouraging and engaging the company culture. Do they have a budget to work with? They do? Yeah, they do whatever it might be. Yes, they do. They have, they have a budget and, uh, you know, it’s things like, uh, in the summer they always do, they’ll do like a barbecue and sometimes they’ll have the snow cone machine come, uh, we, every year we invite anyone who’s ever worked at fire spring gets invited back for an alumni event. Um, and they organize the alumni event, they organize our holiday party, they organize trivia nights, they do or trivia days. Most, all of the events that they plan outside of like the holiday party. And, you know, some of those things, um, all, all of them are, most of them are during the day or, or at some point in time during the work hour, usually around like three o’clock or four o’clock in the afternoon. Um, and then, uh, sometimes, you know, the bigger parties and those sorts of things they’ll do, uh, on the, on the weekends or evenings and do people campaign to be the, uh, the culture club representative of their team. They do. So in the last competitive elections in the last election year, we just had the Iowa caucuses. So, elections are on my mind. Yes. Yes. Is there campaigning? So, yes. There is campaigning in the last few years, there has not been a lot of uh of competition over, but they’ve kind of been able to maneuver things. So there’s a few at large seats and those sorts of things. So anybody who uh has expressed an interest in the last few years has been able to participate. So, uh but uh this year, we did still have some campaign posters that went up around the building. And um you know, people were, were, you know, in the spirit of things in terms of campaigning, it was pretty fun. You have a lot of virtual employees. We do, we have in the stuff that, that culture club is planning. Yeah. So I, I wanted to, I actually went to, to our, our recruitment hr department and said, hey, tell me what the philosophy is on this because I wasn’t exactly sure. So they used to do a lot of hybrid events where they would, you know, they, they would have the trivia say at the headquarters office and then people could zoom in. And I thought it was really interesting because she said that what they found is that they actually had less engagement and less participation with hybrid. Then they did if it was just a completely virtual. So we have some activities that are in person and we have some activities that are virtual and they very seldom do hybrids if a team wants to make it hybrid and it’s an in-person event, you know, they might carry a coworker around on a laptop so that they’re kind of feel like they’re there in the, in the spirit of things. But otherwise it’s typically either a virtual event or an in person event. Um And, and that has been the main way that they try and really engage people is, is by hosting and being very intentional about having events that are virtual and then everybody is virtual. Everybody is on their computers to participate. So then nobody feels second class. I mean, that’s, that’s the problem. You know, how many virtual meetings I’ve been in. It’s just, it’s not the same. Uh You have to, you have to remind folks that you’re on the screen. You know, they’re all in 3d together and, and we’re all one D to lump together. You know, they don’t look at us. Uh you know, you have to make sure you speak up because it’s, there’s just not a lot of skill around engaging your one dimensional screen participants. So I just, I think it’s very simple and smart, just make everybody the same. We’re all one D and now we’re all equal. Exactly. Exactly. And they’ve had, I think, um, some, some very good results doing that. Uh The other thing is, I think once a year they, they invite a lot of the employees who do work remotely to come back. It’s usually around our, uh our all team meetings uh that we have or uh around the holiday party, something like that. They, they make sure that those folks get back um around that time of year. If they want to have that real, you know, quality in person experience, it’s time for Tony’s take two. Thanks a lot, Kate Nonprofit Radio 1500. 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And at Plan Giving accelerator.com, you can use the Code Nonprofit Radio 1500 nonprofit radio 1500 until January 31st and you will get the $1500 off the tuition. That is Tony take two. Ok. We hope that people take advantage of the discount we’ve got bookoo but loads more time. So let’s go back to team engagement tips with Kirsten Hill. Have you ever been a culture club representative? I have not. Uh you have to be there at least a year uh in order to, in order to be on culture club and after I hit, you get beat in an election, you got drugged. I did it. I’ve never, I’ve never um throwing my hat in the ring, so to speak, to be in culture club. I tend to travel a lot um during certain times of the year when I’m speaking at nonprofit conferences and so it doesn’t really lend itself um to, to, you know, filling that role as it needs to be. So I haven’t ever done it, but I love the people who do so. And you’re, you’re in the headquarters in Lincoln, right. Yeah, I, that’s, I go into the office about two or three times a week. Uh I work from home the rest of the time I’m home today because uh it started snowing again. 8.5 inches and, and more coming. So, congratulations. That’s the most I’ve heard. I’ve been on a bunch of meetings and webinars today. 8.5 is the most I’ve heard. Yeah. And it, that was over, you know, from like the first or the 25th, basically from Christmas, uh, until now and then it just started snowing again about an hour and a half ago. So just keeps coming. Lincoln, Nebraska. I’m in North Carolina. We don’t get a lot of snow. I’m jealous if we get, uh, if, if we have a forecast, the, the night before forecast of a half an inch schools are closed. Everything closes, close the school the next day because we don’t own any equipment. All the, I think all the snow equipment that the, well, all the stone equipment that the state of North Carolina owns both pieces. They’re, all, those two are, you know, they’re all stationed on I 95 which is nowhere near me. I’m two hours east of I 95 on the beach. So the towns don’t, we don’t have anything. The people don’t know how to drive. Oh, you know, I’m from New Jersey up near New York City, northern New Jersey. You know, there’s a skill to it and, and part of the skill is just being experienced doing it but there are people here. It’s risky. So, half an inch forecast the next day. Shut the schools. Oh, man, we, uh, it takes eight inches to close the schools here. It’s just been, yeah, it’s been crazy and then it’s like a minus 22 wind chill. Um, so it’s been, it’s been a brutal start to the year so far. But, uh hopefully, uh it’ll warm up soon and some of this will melt. But, yeah, tell us about fire Spring University. Yeah. So, fire Spring University is where we, it’s, it’s sort of the hub that connects us to a lot of things. Uh Fire Spring University houses are uh employee documentation. So, employee manuals if there are training manuals. So, for instance, if you need to fill out an expense report and you’ve never had to fill out an expense report before. Uh You can go to fire Spring University and there’s a module that you can take on expense reports. And it’s a training that walks you through all of the details. Um In addition to that, there’s a lot of um things in there, like an organizational chart, there is a map in there of where everyone’s offices and cubicles are in the building. So if you’re not, if you can’t remember, you know, where Tom Sits, you can go to the map and look at it and go, oh, that’s where he is and you know, exactly where to find him. Uh And then we uh we do some career pathing. Uh And there are um different uh they, they describe it, not like a ladder. So it’s not a, the, the career pathway is not necessarily a ladder that you go up and down. It’s more like a lattice or a web um where you can move within the company to try different things and different opportunities that fit within your skill set. Um And there is a lot of information in there about what other kinds of opportunities might be available in the company. Because once we go to the work to get great people um who want to keep them happy uh at their jobs and want to make sure they have the training and education that they need to do it and do it well. And if they’re not happy, then we would love to try them somewhere else in the company um to, to try and make it work uh as opposed to, you know, having them go somewhere else. Uh So there’s lots of, of opportunities to really explore what you’re interested in and find opportunities to still be a part of a great company without having to move on. This is all shared resources, shared tools, you know, I think this contributes to engagement, shared culture, right? I mean, the culture of the, as soon as you join and join the company, you’re, you’re introduced to fire Spring University. So you get a sense of what’s important, how they treat the employees and, and it’s, and everybody has the same experience. Yeah. And everybody has the same access as well. So it’s, it’s out there, you log in at any point in time and, and you know, if you ever have a question about something thing, uh our hr team is awesome but if you can’t catch them for one reason or another, you could probably log in to, to fire Spring University and find what you need. It’s also the storefront, uh, where you access the storefront for all of our, uh, company apparel and those sorts of things. So, um, we, we do, uh, and this is, it’s actually unusual. I don’t have a fire Spring t-shirt on today. Usually I have a fire spring t-shirt on. Um, but they, they do apparel orders. I think at least three times a year with the change of seasons. And, uh, you can go on and buy, you know, sweatshirts and t-shirts and ball caps and blankets and, you know, lunch boxes and all kinds of things that are branded for Fire Spring. They give us, uh, an employee discount on all of those and you can go on at any point in time and purchase those things and they, you know, just take the payment out of your next check and deliver the item that you want to your desk. It’s kind of cool. I joined you on a webinar that you did last week on annual reports. Annual reports. Basically. Yay or nay because you had a lot of reasons that you might not want to do an annual report because you had your fire Spring branded, uh, top on and, and then, and then I, I told you your nails matched the company logo color. It was, it was amazing. And they did. And that was completely unintentional. I didn’t even know it until you said it. Pierson. Really, really upping my game for 24. Wasn’t one of your five strengths. Um strate strategy, strategy, doing it unconsciously doing it. I don’t even know it gallop, validate those polls that they’re on to something. Now, you have something that you’re very public about uh personal. You’re an only child and then take it to the next level. Yeah, I’m an only child. I am married to an only child and we have an only child. So, if we get together for the holidays with my parents and my husband’s parents, there are seven of us big family gathering. Yeah. Exactly. You know, and, and it just, sometimes it seems so strange. I grew up with a lot of cousins and, and those sorts of things and, um, it, so it does seem a little weird that our family is just, it’s so small. But, yeah, it works for us. I always joke that I don’t, I don’t know what to do when you have more than one child. I’m certain it is much more complicated. But, uh, this, it works for us. We, we, uh, yeah, we all get each other. So I think adding a child more than doubles the complexity. Oh, and, and I, I’m, I’m the person who doesn’t have any Children but I, I hear from friends. I think it’s like exponential. It’s not just a doubling. Yeah. Absolutely. Well, and then you, you know, if you have a spouse and you have two Children then you are in a man to man defense. If you get three kids and two parents, it’s, it’s zone, there’s like sports analogies and all kinds of things you have to figure out. II, I don’t know. I, I think if you just have one then they get whatever they want and you don’t have fights and nobody to argue with. It’s much easier. I wouldn’t know anything about the zones, you know, in baseball or anything. I’m not acquitted. I don’t know very much about sports at all. So, I don’t know the zone defense. Yeah. Yeah, it’s, uh, it’s, uh, ways that you try and manage it and it’s certainly, it has to be more complicated. Like I say, we just have one, he gets to kind of do what he wants and activities wise, we don’t have to make, you know, big choices. And, um, yeah, nobody to fight with. That’s, that’s perfect. Did that draw you to your husband that you were both only Children? Was that an early, an early feature? You know, it really, it kind of was, it’s definitely something that we both have in common. Uh, and I think, you know, we kind of approached the world with that same viewpoint because we’ve always, you know, we negotiate things, I think differently than you do if you have, you know, big families and those sorts of things. And so, um, yeah, it was certainly something we had in common and, um, yeah, it makes our lives easier. Um, we always say, you know, our parents are, our parents are still young but as they, as they get older, um, there’s nobody to fight with, there’s nobody to argue with. They just have to, you know, we all have to work together to figure this out because there’s nobody else to do it. So, um yeah, it’s been uh it’s been kind of a fun um uh a fun thing that, that, you know, draws us all together and even our parents, you know, um get together and, and those sorts of things, you know, for holidays and that kind of stuff. So that’s, that’s been nice too. Last the engagement uh feature uh strategy that seems very smart at Fire Spring is uh the volunteering employee volunteering hours. Explain all that. Yeah. So uh Fire Spring is a certified B corporation which means that we are certified for public benefit. Uh When our leadership as an organization is making business decisions, they can take into account the impact of their decisions on the things that they care about that go beyond the bottom line. So if, um you know, if they could make a decision that would uh maybe save a little bit of money on ink, but it’s bad for the environment, then they can, they can choose the more environmentally conscious decision. Um And, and as part of that commitment to community, we have what we call the power of three. So we donate a minimum of 1% of our profits. The top line revenue gets donated to nonprofit organizations, 2% of our products get donated through in kind product and service donations. And the volunteering piece is 3% of our people. So full time employees at fires spring receive eight hours every single month. And I would say we’re, and we’re also expected to use those eight hours every single month to volunteer for the nonprofit and charitable organizations of our choice. So it equates to about 3% of our workforce and it really has just, it, it’s a culture thing. It’s just become a part of who we are. And so you might see someone post a message that says, you know, I’ll be out from 11 to, to 130 volunteering. Uh We’ve got a number of people that deliver meals on wheels because that’s a, that’s a really specific time period. And they, so once a week on, you know, whatever day of the week they go deliver their meals. Uh And so, you know, when you see that somebody is out volunteering, it’s not like you’re, you know, frustrated or mad or gosh, why aren’t they working? Because it’s part of who we are, we give back and there you can give back to any organization that you want So I have personally have a number of organizations that I work with. I, I volunteer a little bit at my church and I am on the Friends Council for make a wish and I’m on the um house court board for my uh college sorority and I am helping the legion baseball team. And anytime I’m doing those efforts, I can take time during my week and I can put in those, those hours and, and do the work that needs to be done and fire spring, uh, encourages it and appreciates when we are active parts of our community. And I think that is a huge piece of really developing the ethos of who we are as a company. That’s what these strategies are all about. Uh I love these. And you were the first B Corp in Nebraska. We were, yeah. Yeah, we were the first B Corp in Nebraska and there’s a points system that all B Corps receive, um, to, to say if you qualify as a B Corp or not. And our point system over the years, we’re in the top 10% of, um, the most impactful B Corp businesses across the country, across the whole country, across the whole country, not just in the state. Yeah. Top 10%. Yeah, exactly. Top 10%. Yeah. All right. Uh, so how does all this, you know, all this make you feel is it’s not, it doesn’t, it doesn’t certainly sound overwhelming. You sound uh, effusive about it. But how do you think it helps individual employees? How does it help you as an employee? Well, I think for me, you know, I, I, most of my career was spent in nonprofit management and so I’ve, I’ve run nonprofits. I’ve been a fundraising director. I’ve, I’ve been in that public, um, benefit sort of arena for years and I have tried at times leaving that and going to for profit and that never went well for me. Uh I, it just, it just didn’t match who I was and the things that I wanted and needed um in, in my work life. And so for me, this is really the perfect marriage um of, of for profit and still having that community impact and being a part of the community. And I see that reflected in the people that I work with. Um, you know, I think, I think we attract and develop a very like-minded community based, um you know, ethos and culture. And so for me that I think that is why I appreciate the values and the fire starter and the culture club and all of that is because uh it, it feels most like that, you know, public benefit uh nonprofit kind of, of environment. Um And they’ve been very intentional about doing that. And so for me, it’s just, it’s been a great, uh it’s, it’s just been a great place to land. Uh And if I’m, you know, not necessarily going to be working in a nonprofit. I’m still getting the opportunity to interact with so many different nonprofits. Um And then also to, you know, have that, that the company that I work for embraces and encourages uh that community participation. Thank you for sharing all this Kirsten. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for asking. It’s been fun because I don’t, you know, people ask us all the time about what we do for services and, and that kind of stuff, which is I love talking about, but it’s also kind of fun to talk about who we are. Kirsten Hill, she is, she is Kirsten Hill, the, the positivity, the strategic. You’ll find her on linkedin. She’s very active there and the company is at Fires spring.com. Thank you again, Kirsten. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Tony. Great being with you today. I appreciate it next week. Decolonizing wealth with Edgar Villanueva from the archive. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at Tony martignetti.com were sponsored by donor box. Outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity, donor box, fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor box.org. I still have that alliteration. I can’t help it. Fast, flexible, friendly fundraising forms or go ahead. Sorry. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Marinetti. The show’s social media is by Susan Chavez, Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty be with us next week for nonprofit radio, big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.