Tag Archives: diversity equity inclusion

Nonprofit Radio for August 15, 2022: Board Members Are People Too

 

Judy Levine: Board Members Are People Too

One size fits all rules may not make sense for your board, especially if you’re embracing diversity and equity in board membership. Our guest, Judy Levine, is a longtime board coach, trainer and consultant, and she leads Cause Effective.

 

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[00:01:23.53] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast and oh I’m glad you’re with me, I’d be forced to endure the pain of pseudo calista toma if I had to hear that you missed this week’s show board members are people to one size fits all rules may not make sense for your board, especially if you’re embracing diversity and equity in board membership. Our guest judy Levine is a longtime board coach, trainer and consultant and she leads cause effective Antonis take two endowment excitement. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. And by fourth dimension technologies i Tion for in a box. The affordable tech solution for nonprofits. tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant D just like three D but they go one dimension deeper here is board members are people too.

[00:01:29.04] spk_1:
It’s a pleasure

[00:02:05.22] spk_0:
to welcome to non profit radio judy Levin She has been executive director of cause effective since 2006 and she has over 30 years experience as a nonprofit management advisor At cause effective since 1993. And as an independent consultant. She has trained and consulted with well over 1000 nonprofits on issues in fund diversification, donor engagement and board and organizational development. Cause effective is at cause effective and at cause effective dot org judy Welcome to nonprofit

[00:02:06.47] spk_1:
radio

[00:02:09.02] spk_0:
pleasure to have you, I’ve had your colleagues through the years Greg Cohen and Susan comfort who I know Susan is completely retired now and Greg is mostly retired now, but now we’re uh they’ve been sort of stepping stones to the top now. We have the executive director.

[00:02:27.11] spk_1:
Okay,

[00:02:28.12] spk_0:
Alright.

[00:02:30.21] spk_1:
I’m

[00:02:37.36] spk_0:
good. Okay. Um my my apologies. Susan comfort is someone else. Susan, Gabriel is who used to be

[00:02:43.00] spk_1:
at

[00:02:43.99] spk_0:
at cost

[00:02:45.01] spk_1:
effective

[00:03:06.63] spk_0:
Gabriel and and Greg Cohen. So um you’re concerned about equity on boards. Uh, but at the same time, you know, we’re trying to maintain standards but we want we want a diverse board standards don’t always apply to all the all the different cultures. We’re inviting in, help me set this up.

[00:04:46.22] spk_1:
Well there’s always a fear of the difference, the different and uh there’s also a fear of um acting inappropriately around the different and those two fears um sometimes stop a board from real honest, um an accurate reflection on what’s at the table and what’s the most appropriate way to support the organization’s mission. Um And especially, you know, ever since the racial reckoning of 2020 and the understanding on nonprofits parts that they needed to reckon with their own D. E. I. B. Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Um my sense is that that that happened that that reckoning has happened on a staff level at a different different pace than it’s happened on the board level and some of that has to do with fundraising and people’s fear that if they rock the boat, they will not have the fundraising return that they have now. Um, And I’m here to say two things. One is that there is plenty of, uh, salaried capacity in this country for people of color, although not as much, not as much wealth accumulation, certainly generational wealth accumulation. And that’s a very real factor. Um, so to think that you need to diversify your board that you need to reach into the client base, which may be true, but is not the only way to diversify your board from the, uh, the group. It has always been

[00:05:05.08] spk_0:
okay. That’s, that’s number

[00:05:39.72] spk_1:
one. The other is that, Yes, you may have to rethink the one size fits all package and that’s been a mantra in our boards is that everybody has to hold the same standard and we know that everybody is the stain standard and we don’t want double standards or triple standards. Um, I’m here to really help people rethink the idea of universal standards versus standards. That makes sense for where that person is coming from and what they can, what they can actually bring to the table if they do their best.

[00:06:17.02] spk_0:
Okay, let’s take the first of those because there’s, there’s an, there’s an assumption there that people of color are not gonna be able to meet our fundraising expectation. So we’re gonna have to, we’re gonna have to reduce our board giving to invite folks of color in. But that, that, that’s just unfair and unfair and racist you’re not, if you’re not finding these folks, then you’re not looking hard enough for people who do have the means, uh, to, to meet your, to meet your, your board expectation, your, your board fundraising expectations

[00:07:26.98] spk_1:
and, or you’re not looking, um, with the right messengers and, or you’re not understanding why your cause is going to be of deep personal interest just to a person of color. Um, all of those factors have to be there. Um, you can’t, you don’t ask anybody on the board, You don’t ask somebody on the board of an animal shelter. If they have no connection to animals, they don’t care about animals, you gotta look. Uh, so in the same way you have to understand, let’s put it this way. There are, there are legacy charities, um, the Urban League, um, you know, very, that, that there are huge fundraising machines that are people of color lead. Um, there’s a sense of the ownership that this is ours. Yeah, may not be in your board as currently constituted. That needs to be opened up.

[00:07:32.26] spk_0:
Yeah, that’s a, that’s a holding onto that’s holding onto power and structures and not allowing someone who looks different comes from a different background into our, our playground

[00:08:34.14] spk_1:
well, and it’s more than not allowing. It’s actually, um, it’s more than just a not doing, it’s something that you have to actually do do, um, is to understand, um, how who makes decisions. Is there an in group and out group? Is there a biding one’s time uh ethos um which doesn’t work well when you invite people of color on and then they have to buy their time and they’re the only ones that are biding their time. And yes, it might be historical that everybody else bathe their time years back, but people gonna lose, lose, you know, they lose patience. So it means that you have to do much more rapid um leadership development, onboarding and power sharing. Then your board may be used to.

[00:08:43.52] spk_0:
All right. I don’t want to derail what what what we were intending to talk about, but I just

[00:08:46.12] spk_1:
I think it’s,

[00:08:47.72] spk_0:
I mean, I think it’s important to point out the implicit bias that goes along with this, assuming that you’re gonna have to lower your standards basically. Just assuming you got to lower your standards if you have people of color in. I

[00:09:00.60] spk_1:
think it’s all of

[00:09:02.51] spk_0:
gross and erroneous.

[00:09:06.87] spk_1:
And board members, all board members need to be owners, not

[00:09:12.44] spk_0:
guests. Right. And yes, and not treated like guests. Alright. Alright. So one of the things you said is that um one size fits all

[00:09:21.36] spk_1:
is

[00:09:36.76] spk_0:
not, is not gonna be the right model necessarily. So what what’s what’s an alternative? So if we’ve got a, we’ve got a $15,000 annual give get bored requirement uh and and two thirds of it has to be from your personal, your your personal assets. So $10,000 from you and if you want to either give or get the other 5000, you have an option there, but you have to give at least $10,000 a

[00:11:27.90] spk_1:
year. One of the things that I talked about that took me, you know, frankly, you know, a while to understand is the role of generational wealth transfer in people’s capacity to have disposable income. So that um, you know, uh, often times white people come from there. They’re not coming from money money, but they’re coming from a position of um comfort. Um, and so they’re not necessarily carrying family members. They’re not, they’re not pulling their family out of poverty along with them. Oftentimes, certainly black people who are in a may make the same salary, but they are carrying people in their family. And so you can’t say, oh, this person makes X salary and that person makes X salary, therefore they have the same capacity. You only find this out by talking to and listening to someone and I universal give assumes universal capacity. And yes, we said, okay, this gives the floor and everybody should go over the floor. We all know that people rise to the floor. So the question is, is there a way to help this person get and to change that relationship and or is there what are we, what are what we are after on the board? Someone who is using their connections for the, to the extent for the organization’s behalf And what comes in is relative to those connections and that capacity,

[00:12:58.91] spk_0:
it’s time for a break. Turn to communications media relationships, you know, how important relationships are in all aspects of your work and, and personal side to the past couple weeks, I’ve been talking about fundraising, but relationships are everywhere that applies to the media as well. You want to get heard in the media, you want to be that thought leader that you know yet you are that that you know, that other folks ought to know you as it’s gonna happen through media relationships so that when you are calling the journalists are so much more responsive to picking up the phone that supplies to journalists, podcasters, bloggers, conference leaders, wherever you need to be known. Right turn to can help you build those relationships so that you get heard in the media outlets. When you need to be, they’ll help you with the relationships they know what to do. Turn to communications, your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o. Now, back to board members are people too. Alright. So we need to, we need to get to know our board members. Uh, and you know, I understand your point. You know, some folks may very well be supporting helping other family members, not necessarily out of poverty, but I mean could be, but not necessarily out of poverty, but they’re they’re they’re helping other family members that aren’t doing as well as they

[00:13:16.31] spk_1:
are. And

[00:13:39.08] spk_0:
a lot of that can a lot of that can very well come from the lack of inter generational wealth through the generations at that. Uh, folks of color got screwed out of, essentially. Um Alright, so, alright, and I still want to go back to the fact that, you know that I don’t want to operate under the assumption that you have to lower standards just to invite folks of color fundraising fundraising standards. I don’t want to I don’t want to operate on the assumption that you have to lower standards.

[00:14:00.20] spk_1:
I’m

[00:14:00.94] spk_0:
trying to defeat that assumption.

[00:14:02.80] spk_1:
Okay,

[00:14:26.69] spk_0:
Okay. Um All right. So what about the uh, what about the pushback? Well, before we get to the pushback that you might hear from your white board members about we’ve been doing this for so long and it’s been fine for us. So why can’t it be okay for them before we get to that? What might what might some of this look like? What what kinds of what kinds of uh activities can can folks do if they if they can’t make the not able to meet the requirements. Are you, are you suggesting rewriting? Do we rewrite the

[00:14:37.01] spk_1:
the

[00:14:37.21] spk_0:
expectations for all board members

[00:14:39.05] spk_1:
or suggesting using that as a starting point? Not an ending

[00:14:42.32] spk_0:
point.

[00:15:08.52] spk_1:
That’s a starting point with each board member, um, about their, how it relates to them, to their assets, to their relationships to their circumstances. Um, and where, which areas they can go above and beyond in and which areas they need to pull back from and everybody’s gonna have a different answer to that, those equations. The fact is that they are, you know, I’ve been on board with very mixed income levels and the people who had the higher incomes understood that in order to have a board with mixed demographics, they had to do more weight bullying in the fun

[00:15:23.13] spk_0:
gathering,

[00:15:29.39] spk_1:
that, that was part of the value system was that it was not, if they wanted everybody equal, they would have everybody just like them. If the value system was to have different voices at the table, then the value system had to be that some people did more direct fundraising and direct giving and some people did more outreach and some people did more political converse, you know, conversations, etcetera.

[00:15:48.53] spk_0:
Okay,

[00:15:50.64] spk_1:
I

[00:15:50.79] spk_0:
want to make sure we want to be having these conversations with uh, these individual conversations with potential board members right before we’re in the recruitment process, before we invite someone to be on a board or before we accept someone to be on the board, we want to be investigating these things

[00:16:10.94] spk_1:
so

[00:16:12.03] spk_0:
that they know what to expect, so that they know what the expectations are and we know what we can

[00:16:47.56] spk_1:
expect. I, I, you know, having done a lot of board recruitment with nonprofits through the years, I would say two things, I think you have a before as your recruiting, you say, here’s the kinds of things that board members are expected to do. Um, and um, you know, how do these rest with you? Um, and you’ll find out some of them are scary. Some of them are, you know, oh, I couldn’t do that. Some of them are like, oh, this, I could definitely do that. I don’t know that. I would pin someone down to an exact um, prescription. You’re trying to get their temperature,

[00:16:49.39] spk_0:
but you

[00:17:17.83] spk_1:
know, it’s a courtship process. And so people go above and beyond what they thought they could do when they’re really excited by the mission and they’re given the tools they didn’t know they needed. So uh, in the courtship process, I would put this menu out and say, you know, how does this look to you, How could you see yourself in this? Um, but I wouldn’t take that as the last word because board service should be, people should be going into places that are not comfortable for them.

[00:17:21.63] spk_0:
And

[00:17:43.27] spk_1:
that’s partly the role of the board chair is to, is to live that by example is not just to be good at what they do, but to live by example. I tried this and this was, you know, I thought I was gonna throw up, but actually I didn’t throw up. I did really well at it. And then I tried that and I did throw up. So I, you know, somebody else will do that one from now on. Um, and so I want to be honest with people, but I don’t want to pin them down to something that are not being ready ready to be pinned to.

[00:17:51.29] spk_0:
But you make a good point about board bird service being a challenge. You do want, you do want folks, you’re you’re you’re leveraging the fact that they love your mission, your work, your values. They stand beside you with that in those ways. Um, You want them to to be challenged. You want board service to be meaningful? Yes.

[00:18:19.09] spk_1:
And you you want them to learn something from it because that’s part of what they get out of. It is not just a happy club, but that they’re gaining a different kind of sense of themselves of what they’re capable of,

[00:18:24.49] spk_0:
interesting, different sense of themselves, what they’re capable of. Yes, challenge. That’s the challenge. That’s the challenge. Go beyond comfort zone. Try this and see whether you throw up or

[00:18:35.40] spk_1:
not. Right? Kind of. But I mean, you need to try it with a lot of support and with the tools,

[00:18:42.18] spk_0:
yeah,

[00:18:42.95] spk_1:
throw somebody into the lion’s den.

[00:18:46.17] spk_0:
All right. What about the uh the pushback from white board members that, you know, we’ve we’ve been. This has always worked well for us. We’ve always had this very rigid uh uniform, giving everybody’s given the same through these years? What why why do we have to now? What’s the advantage? Why, why should we change now?

[00:19:09.91] spk_1:
Okay, so I need to be polite here. Um, you

[00:19:13.62] spk_0:
can be firm, you can be firm and realistic, you have to be

[00:19:16.04] spk_1:
polite counseling of white folks and I think it’s part of our job as white folks to help other white folks to a different place.

[00:19:22.57] spk_0:
Alright, so don’t be, don’t be soft on nonprofit radio listeners. I’ll admonish you don’t do

[00:20:31.72] spk_1:
That. Um, it’s 2022. We know stuff now is white folks that we didn’t, that we were able to be blind to for hundreds of years. Yes, and we don’t anymore. So there’s a moral obligation to act differently. Our non profit is is here for the public good. And it it we believe that to do that, we need to reflect the full spectrum of voices that is that public and or should be concerned with our mission. That means that we need to have a table that is really welcoming to all those voices that they’re not just here, but they’re actually, we’re gonna share the ownership of this mission. And that does mean that we need to pull apart the stuff that we’re comfortable with and that’s unspoken because it’s gonna be a mystery to somebody who doesn’t come from our background and it was already part of this

[00:20:40.51] spk_0:
and what’s the advantage to the organization, Let’s make it explicit, uh, to doing this?

[00:21:26.65] spk_1:
We are living our values in our governance and if we’re not that’s pretty um compromised. Um so one is congruence without organizational values and what we’re here to try and carry out. Um the second is sort of more robust conversation and decision making because there are different points of view at the table because it’s not people with it’s not an entire crew with the same assumptions and frankly you’ll have more interesting conversations. That will be a more interesting club to be part of. That’s not why to do it. But it’s a side product.

[00:22:41.83] spk_0:
It’s time for a break, fourth dimension technologies. They’ve got the free offer going. It’s exclusively for non profit radio listeners. It’s complimentary. That’s why it’s free 24 7 monitoring of your I. T. Assets And they will do this for three months. They’ll look over your servers, your network and your cloud performance, they’ll monitor your backup performance all 24/7. If there are any issues they will let you know right away. Plus at the end you get a comprehensive report And they’re also going to include a few surprise offers as well. They’re gonna take good care of you. It’s all complimentary, it’s for three months. It’s for the 1st 10 listeners. It’s on the listener landing page Just like three D. But they go one dimension deeper grab the offer, let’s return to board members are people too. All right so that sort of answers uh dumbing down.

[00:22:44.15] spk_1:
You

[00:22:50.48] spk_0:
know, we’re not we’re not we’re broadening broadening and there are advantages. What would you say to folks that are the advantages to them personally learning, learning, learning about, learning from folks with different backgrounds.

[00:23:47.71] spk_1:
There is an incredible gift to be had to be able to listen. I’ll say this personally as a white person working in a diverse environment. Um, it is humbling and awe inspiring to be in a place where you can really hear from people who didn’t, who are just like you and have them change your mind and open your mind. That’s what you gain by being in a diverse environment. And not only will you make better decisions for your nonprofit, but you will learn more and be a kinder person who in and of itself understands the way you interact with the rest of the world in a different way

[00:24:35.83] spk_0:
folks. If you want to see a diverse team, then uh, pause the podcast and go to cause effective dot org. Go to their team, this team or staff page and look at the look at the pictures of the staff at cause effective dot org and then of course, come right back and press play again. Don’t don’t don’t don’t start browsing, you know, don’t go to amazon dot com to just look at cause effective dot org and you’ll see, uh, an enormously diverse team there? Um, All right. So, you know, that

[00:24:37.08] spk_1:
that’s

[00:24:38.22] spk_0:
anything more you want to say about why this is worth it for the organization or for the people.

[00:25:32.29] spk_1:
Um, we live in a diverse world. I mean, you know, no matter where you are, um, we, we live in a world in a country certainly and in a world with lots of different kinds of people from lots of different kinds of backgrounds and doing a lot of different things to the table and that are really interesting to interact with. Um what better way to interact with them than in the support of a cause you love. So there’s, you know, you’re all putting your, you know, shoulder to the wheel together. Um, it it gives you your life spice to be doing this in a way that’s not homogeneous and your organization itself will be stronger.

[00:25:47.52] spk_0:
Yeah. In the ways you just, you talked about a few minutes ago. Yeah. You have some ideas about how to do this. Uh, it’s sort of efficiently shave, shave some some time off.

[00:25:53.59] spk_1:
Well, one of the things that, you

[00:25:55.75] spk_0:
know, we

[00:26:58.51] spk_1:
all know that executive directors well run boards, executive directors are behind them at kind of every step of the way. Um, but in boards that really take off, there’s board to board conversation that the executive director kind of monitors, but it’s not board of every conversation. And so, and when that happens, it’s because there are, there’s not just a board cheerleader, but there are many leaders. So there are leaders of governance where there might be a leader of on boarding or there might be a leader of uh you know, there’s different ways to chunk it up so that there’s leadership which leadership leads to ownership. Um and so part of your job as the board liaison, whether is to understand what that web of relationships could is and could be and then to do in essence what we call, you know, HR staff development, but with board members, so you’re asking them to take on certain things and then your job is being a coach, not being a doer.

[00:27:04.42] spk_0:
We’re talking about the ceo executive director now.

[00:27:09.62] spk_1:
Yes, yeah and and development director also

[00:27:12.35] spk_0:
Development and and working closely with the board chair. I mean, it’s gonna help enormously to have a culturally sensitive board

[00:28:29.33] spk_1:
chair. Um I send board members, especially white board members to trainings and not just what is D. I. But to reel immersive, you know, one or two day trainings about the how this culture rests has rested on um racial injustice. Um I say if you’re gonna be part of this organization, you need to have this basic understanding. Um and we need you to do this two day training and here’s, you know, how to pay for it. Um because there’s a basic understanding of that that really shifts in those kinds of very immersive trainings. I’m not talking about a two hour what HR does at a large corporation. Um And you know, we just said these are our values and you have to really get it if you’re gonna be part of this team, I would certainly do that with board leadership, that this is a journey and this is part of the and we want the board to be part of this journey, and we need the board leadership to start it out. And if the board chair won’t do that, you do a succession plan, it’s not like you kick them out right away, but ultimately, your board’s not gonna progress until you have somebody at the head of it for whom this is the air they breathe.

[00:28:42.34] spk_0:
Mm.

[00:29:10.30] spk_1:
Now, you can have a chair and a president, you can have an honorary chair and an honor. You know, there are all kinds of ways to move people to the side that don’t, you know, kick them off this planet. But ultimately, you need to have someone who does, who breathes this stuff and who you don’t have to explain why this matters. And then it’s deeper than going to a training to understand what that implicit bias exists,

[00:29:19.69] spk_0:
Right? one of those two hour trainings, okay, say a little more about joyful board service, what we, what we can aspire to.

[00:29:41.65] spk_1:
I, you know, I get this so often were board members, the board that we’re working on, their their niggling, They’re going after, you know, do I have, you know, is it 2000 or 3000? What do I have to do? That’s the question as to what as, you know, it’s like I’d like to get away with as little as I can. Um and and it’s an imposition on me

[00:29:49.85] spk_0:
as

[00:30:47.66] spk_1:
opposed to I will do everything. I can, I may not be successful at everything, but I’m gonna give it a shot because this mission matters so much, and if I can help it, God willing, I’m going to and there’s when people are at the table with that attitude, there can be a joy at both delivering yourself and seeing other people deliver and celebrating that. Um and you can build that in, you can build in celebrations. You can build in, you know, balloons for somebody when they hit a certain mark. Um you have to build in, not just um the actual dollars, but you can build in, they made thank you calls and they never talked to anybody before. You know, there’s all kinds of ways to build in a sense that I can do be part of the fundraising process, which then builds more courage for the next step. But it doesn’t happen unless you think about it,

[00:30:53.61] spk_0:
celebrating small successes. That’s that’s a terrific idea.

[00:30:59.73] spk_1:
Yeah. And you want to build in this this sense for every board member so that they are looking for ways to celebrate each other.

[00:31:06.28] spk_0:
Mhm.

[00:31:10.79] spk_1:
So it doesn’t just come from you the the ceo it doesn’t just come from the board chair, but that they’re trying to help each other up that ladder.

[00:33:20.95] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two. I’ll be on a panel called endowment excitement, fundraising and management. I’m fundraising. Uh, two smart women are the management and that’s, that’s the key about about panels. You want to be the sole person on your topic that way you’re at no risk. You can’t ever be called out for something stupid that you say because, uh, other people, the other panelists don’t know. Right? So, I mean, I don’t know endowment management. I mean, I know a little bit about spending rates and uh, three year moving average, you know, etcetera. Prudent investor rule. But, but I know very little compared to them about endowment management. And they probably know even little less about planned giving than I know about endowment management. So, everybody stays in their lane. You don’t have to worry that if you’re ever invited to be on a panel, be the sole expert in your area. All right. So, um, uh, that was a bit of a digression. But so the panel is endowment excitement, fundraising and management. It’s on august 25th at noon Eastern time, graciously hosted by N X unite. So I’m grateful to them. Thank you to register, you go to n X unite dot com. It’s like november X ray unite dot com and click on webinars and panels, there’s your registration. That is tony stick to, we’ve got boo koo, but loads more time for board members are people too with judy Levine you like to see board members socializing outside? I mean I, I can presume your answer, but I want you to say socializing outside outside the form of the board meetings.

[00:33:48.16] spk_1:
I do, but I also am realistic. Um, I don’t think it’s necessary for them to be personal friends. In fact, I’ve been on board with people who are personal friends and it’s tough because then they kind of talk about things outside and they’re like becomes factions and you certainly don’t want relatives on the same board that I’ll tell you right now. Um, not just married, but brother and sister were playing the, you know, the childhoods, you

[00:33:55.48] spk_0:
know, I can see in your face and it sounds like you’ve been there.

[00:33:58.97] spk_1:
Yes. Um,

[00:34:00.97] spk_0:
I

[00:34:01.69] spk_1:
don’t know. I think that people have to like each other.

[00:34:04.74] spk_0:
Yeah.

[00:34:05.77] spk_1:
And I think you need to have some social places, you know, it’s been hard, don’t,

[00:34:09.85] spk_0:
they need to get to know each other outside the

[00:34:15.36] spk_1:
board. Um, but that’s different than, um, but

[00:34:16.70] spk_0:
outside their board service. I mean, maybe not, maybe not necessarily

[00:34:23.34] spk_1:
to me that’s part of their board service. Um, that part of the board service is understand, you know, it’s team building

[00:34:28.51] spk_0:
and the organization can facilitate that. Right? I mean can we have, can we host drinks or dinner after a meeting.

[00:35:52.47] spk_1:
Yeah. Um, it’s, that’s one of the things that’s been much harder in zoom. Um, my board, you know, cost effective itself as a nonprofit and they had a board dinner once a year, but they sat at my house and one year I had the flu and they had at my house anyway. I just went to bed and they stayed up till like midnight and cleaned up after themselves and left, um, that we this, so we have a game night now once, once a year on zoom because it’s once a year, everybody comes and they do all kinds of like 32 truths and a lie and all kinds of stuff, but it’s not quite the same. Um, we did have an outdoor picnic this summer and about half the board came. Um, it’s hard, you know, that’s the hard thing is now getting people out of their shell because we’re all used to now doing everything by zoom or going to work and coming home and you know, scurrying home. What zoom has that? I haven’t quite figured out is that time before meetings. That time in the middle of meetings. You know, those are the times of the after meetings, Those kinds of times when people would talk to each other about their kids, building that in. Um, what we’ve done, some of it is in the, you have to do it in the middle of the meeting because people run out at the end of the meeting and they won’t come early, no matter. They say two board members will come

[00:36:00.09] spk_0:
early.

[00:36:36.70] spk_1:
But if you break into smaller groups in the middle of the meeting, even if it’s only diets or triads and give them something to discuss. Um, you know, one of my provocative questions is how does your birth order affect um, the way you take on leadership, which gets into all kinds of personal background, it assumes strength and it gets people talking to each other. So having a section like that in the middle of each board meeting can help people to start to bond and then obviously changing, you know, changing the groups

[00:36:40.26] spk_0:
up,

[00:36:49.81] spk_1:
making that group a hint. Make those small groupings deliberate. Don’t just leave it to the zoom universe to deliver. You

[00:37:15.11] spk_0:
can either make them random or you can assign people to be with other with other people. And the assigning is is much better. Yeah, I’ve done that in some of my trainings. Um, alright, what else, what else you want to touch on around this, this equity and equity and boards and, and inviting folks in and joyful board

[00:39:14.65] spk_1:
service self interest, which I think it has to do with understanding the, the meaning of your cause to people who are not directly affected by it. So, you know, when we’re teaching fundraising will say, um, okay, you don’t fundraise just for the people who have direct interest to your cause because that’s your clients and if you could raise your money from them, that would be earned income and you wouldn’t be a nonprofit, but you can’t raise money from people who have no connection to your cause because it doesn’t make sense to them. Why are they gonna lie on it? And that’s the same thing with board members. You can’t ask board members to fundraise if you don’t feel connection to cause and or to audiences that don’t feel connection, but you have to find the enlightened self interest, which is myself as a member of the city, this neighborhood, this grouping that I care about Children having a head start. That’s why you’ll often find like a mom’s group in Westchester suburb of new york that’s fairly wealthy. Most of it um, will take on fundraising for a program in the inner city because they understand the meaning of this work for Children, even though it’s not their Children. And the reason I’m bringing this up is because that’s where the ownership comes in the sense that it’s on to, it’s up to me to make a difference for this. And that this matters to me, even though it’s not my personal experience. And I think that’s group conversations conversation in the courtship process and then it’s group conversations at the board level to keep that fresh. And it has to be deliberate because it’s the board service devolved into finance monitoring.

[00:39:20.93] spk_0:
Oh yeah, if it’s right. If it’s allowed to

[00:39:24.91] spk_1:
discussions about why the mission matters

[00:39:28.50] spk_0:
whom

[00:40:02.43] spk_1:
does the mission matter beyond just the direct recipients are very inspiring and they give your board members personal uh you know, nurturing and the tools to go out to their context with different kinds of language. And you will often find, you know, I’m looking for areas in which different people can be experts, not just the people who have a lot of board experience or who are, you know, longtime experienced fundraisers, but that people with different points of view can have the position of being an expert.

[00:40:10.97] spk_0:
Mhm.

[00:40:12.96] spk_1:
And this is where you will find points of view that your classic cabal has not thought of

[00:40:26.45] spk_0:
conversations. Yes, I love how you pause and and think through and then make your next point. I’ve just been talking to you for 40 minutes, whatever. 35 minutes I’ve learned. All right, give her a couple of, give her a couple beats because she’s got she may very well have more to say. I love your the way you reflect. IIi don’t have that gift. I tend to be more more impulsive and I spew everything out in one shot.

[00:40:53.64] spk_1:
Well, that’s why you’re on the radio and I’m

[00:40:55.08] spk_0:
not

[00:42:16.41] spk_1:
normally um you know, I wanna having served on the board, not that many because I take it really seriously. Yeah. Um And then being a an executive director myself and um being a consultant support gives me humility about about the possibility of board service. Um And I feel like uh people who are only on staff have expectations uh and anger when board members don’t meet their expectations, whereas I’m trying to say it’s human nature to triage the kind of people who will agree to be on the board are often fully committed, I don’t wanna say overcommitted because you commit to what you commit to and it makes sense for them to do what they have to do and not more, because there’s always something else calling on their time, let alone, you know, the idea that they might want to play golf or read a book if you do that. If you understand it, that that’s rational, human behavior, then you don’t get as angry at people, you manage them,

[00:42:17.96] spk_0:
that everyone’s gonna triage that they’re gonna they’re gonna assess their

[00:42:21.34] spk_1:
priorities and

[00:42:22.84] spk_0:
they’re gonna they’re gonna act accordingly

[00:42:33.84] spk_1:
and it’s up to you to have a dialogue about that. It’s not that you you know, there’s something wrong with letting people slide or something, but it’s um it’s understanding and helping them understand how to fit in with all the different priorities of their life,

[00:42:40.74] spk_0:
right? And where does this mission fit in? And you’re among your priorities?

[00:43:11.76] spk_1:
You know, it’s why i um when when I when groups do uh board member um contracts or whatever they call them. Um I suggest that there actually be calendars in there so that you, somebody can say to you, I can’t do that in june because my twins are graduating high school, in which case we’re saying, you know what, we’re gonna take you off of that and we’re gonna take you off of May so that you can have a very because they’re not gonna do it anyway.

[00:43:14.85] spk_0:
Yeah.

[00:43:15.70] spk_1:
And then they just

[00:43:18.05] spk_0:
or

[00:43:22.19] spk_1:
they don’t respond to emails, so having respect for all the different polls rationally on board members time and life and energy and then helping them understand how to fit this in in a way that makes sense.

[00:43:51.30] spk_0:
Alright, let’s give you, I want to give you a chance to talk about cause effective because it is a non profit. It’s a it’s a consultancy for nonprofits, their advisors, consultants. What what uh what’s the breath of the work and how how do you work with with your client nonprofits?

[00:43:57.71] spk_1:
Well, you know, I’d say we are 40 this year, we are about to celebrate our 40th anniversary.

[00:44:02.85] spk_0:
Congratulations. For decades.

[00:47:33.85] spk_1:
Um And I’d say that the common theme throughout has been changing how organizations are resourced, um changing the balance of money and therefore power in the sector. Um and it’s both increasing it and increasing it so that it’s not just that the most well resourced nonprofits get more resources, but that it’s non profits that are located in disenfranchised communities and the people who work there and um uh and volunteer there are able to raise the money, they need to further those causes. Um and to govern themselves because to me, governance is integral. E apart, it’s more than just raising money, but if you don’t have a governance structure that works, you’re not gonna have a fundraising structure that works on the voluntary level. Um, and that’s where you get to organizations where the staff fund raises. But the board doesn’t have volunteers don’t. Um, so we have, we work, we do a lot of cohort work where we’re looking at development Directors of Color and help, um, working with them over a six month period of time, um, in a particular program that we have to help them really address, um, the barriers to their being successful and not only to talk about it, but to actually address it. Um, we, so we do a lot of individual coping with, with, with executive directors, who may be having come up through fundraising and, but, you know, you need to do it if they did. It is not part of the fundraising structure. The organization is only gonna get so far, um, and board members, a lot of board consulting, especially now with boards that, no, they need to diversify and don’t really like, they know they need the composition, but they don’t, they don’t necessarily know that they need to act differently to have different people in different seats. Um, we do everything from, you know, eight hour retreats on zoom, maybe six hours, uh, two year long coaching engagements to what we call deep transformation, which is a lot of times people come to us and say, well, my board won’t fundraise and we get in there, we start talking to board members and we find out there’s all kinds of reasons, it’s not just that they don’t know how to ask for money, but it’s that there’s not financial transparency, there’s not a real partnership between staff and board. Um, there’s not a peer to peer accountability on the board. Um, there’s a inner group of three board members who do everything and everybody else slides. Um, you know, there’s all kinds of reasons that we will help, we will actually go in and help address. We say that that’s a symptom, my board won’t fundraise and there are, you know, many, many causes of that and we will, we, one of the things we’re known for is that we will go and address the cause. We’re not just gonna do the tactics. Um, we also do a lot of fundraising consulting for groups that have had a lot of government support or a lot of foundation support and know they need to diversify and they don’t necessarily have, you know, a Lincoln center board, um, but it is very possible that people around the country or the world will care about what they do and we’ll back it up and want to make it happen if they, you know, for one thing they say is that our fundraising, the one thing that’s, that’s some limited time. There’s only 24 hours and maybe one second or maybe now two seconds in the day. And so you need to make choices that are smart with how you spend your fundraising time. Money is not the limiting factor, but time is and so will help groups really understand what are the likely avenues and how to structure the resources they have to reach those

[00:47:43.87] spk_0:
Days get longer. What’s one or 2 seconds

[00:47:51.27] spk_1:
actually they did make a ruling and there’s like they added a second or something. Oh,

[00:47:51.54] spk_0:
I didn’t hear about that. I’ve been squandering my two seconds a day. How long have we had this? How long have we had these longer

[00:47:57.57] spk_1:
days. Six

[00:47:59.88] spk_0:
months.

[00:48:00.43] spk_1:
Yeah. I don’t know how many seconds that is. I can’t do the math that fast. No,

[00:48:20.41] spk_0:
But six months is 100 80 days. Times two seconds, 360 seconds. It’s a good six minutes I’ve, I’ve squandered. Alright. I’m gonna try to get it back right now by cutting you off. No. All right. Thank you for explaining. And thanks for a frank conversation. We don’t, you know, for our for nonprofit radio white listeners. We’re not, we’re not, we’re not going easy. You have to have you have to have honest conversations. So thank you.

[00:48:58.91] spk_1:
Yeah, I, I think this has been some of the, you know, I’ve been in this field for 30 years and this has been some of the most rewarding and deep work. Um it’s not surface, it really addresses, you know, I had to go back to everything I assumed from my childhood on and understand that there’s there are different realities and that um it’s not that I can go back and change it but I can change my behavior going forward so that I further a different kind of future.

[00:49:31.46] spk_0:
Mm She’s judy Levin, she’s the executive director of Cause effective. You should have already been at their website because you would have seen their diverse team when we uh when I suggested take a pause and then you came back but if you haven’t been there or if you don’t remember where it is, it’s at cause effective dot org. And they’re also at cause effective and judy Levin, thank you very much. Thanks for sharing.

[00:49:33.80] spk_1:
Thank you. It’s great to have this kind of conversation

[00:50:47.97] spk_0:
next week Back to our 22 NTC coverage, accounting for nonprofit leaders. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I Beseech you find it at Tony-Martignetti.com. We’re sponsored by turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o and by fourth dimension technologies i tion for in a box, the affordable tech solution for nonprofits but they also got the special offer going on the free offer grab it. It’s all at the listener landing page, tony-dot-M.A.-slash-Pursuant but they go on to mention deeper. Our creative producer is Clam Meyerhoff shows, social media is by Susan Chavez. Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott Stein. Thank you for that. Affirmation scotty, You’re with me next week for nonprofit radio Big non profit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.