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Nonprofit Radio for July 1, 2024: Use Your Tech To Enable Generosity


Jamie Mueller, Peter Genuardi & Natania LeClerc: Use Your Tech To Enable Generosity

Our panel encourages you to expand your definition of generosity and how you measure it, to better acknowledge diverse forms of giving. They help you facilitate generosity through your data, tech and business processes. They’re Jamie Mueller with PTKO; Peter Genuardi at See the Stars; and, Natania LeClerc from Feeding America. (This was recorded at the 2024 Nonprofit Technology Conference.)

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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. I apologize for the distortion you’re gonna hear in this recording from 24 NTC. It’s especially in the, the last segment, but kind of throughout uh it was much worse and I, I had to edit out some parts because you just couldn’t understand what was being said. I, I kept in what you could hear over the distortion. So, uh just I, I forgive me for the distractions that you’re gonna hear in a few places in today’s show. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be stricken with dysphagia if I had to swallow the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with what’s coming? Hey, Tony, continuing our 2024 nonprofit technology conference coverage. We’ve got use your tech to enable generosity. Our panel encourages you to expand your definition of generosity and how you measure it to better acknowledge diverse forms of giving. They help you facilitate generosity through your data tech and business processes. They’re Jamie Mueller with Tko Peter Genuardi at see the Stars and Natania Lalai from Feeding America on Tonys take two Jim attire 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 You need to create more responsive donor experiences and grow, giving, virtuous.org and by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. Donor box fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor box.org here is use your tech to enable generosity. Welcome back to Tony Martignetti nonprofit radio coverage of 24 NTC. You know that that’s the 2024 nonprofit technology conference. This conversation kicks off our day two coverage. We are in Portland, Oregon at the Oregon Convention Center and we are here sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Kicking off our day two with me are Jamie Mueller, Peter Genuardi and Natania Le Claire. Jamie is Chief Growth Officer at Ptko. That’s papa tango kilo Oscar for those who like the phonetic spelling. Ptko Peter Genuardi is founder of see the Stars. And Natania La Claire is Director of Strategic and Integrated Planning at Feeding America, Jamie Peter natanya. Welcome. You did your session yesterday and your session title is use your tech to enable generosity. Uh Let’s start right here. Uh Sitting, sitting next to me, Jamie, why don’t you explain why, why the session was needed? Why, why uh what, what we could be doing better in the, in the community about uh, about the session topic. Yeah. Well, Tony, as you, well know, we’re seeing a decline in individual donors, right. Um, and we have some very uh generous people that are kind of making up that difference in the 1% and that is not a sustainable model for the industry. And so we’re really trying to figure out what is it that is decreasing fundraising or dollars coming into organizations. And, you know, the Generosity Commission has done a great job at uh looking at what makes people be more generous, what um encourages people to be generous. And so we wanted to have a topic that really explored all the realms of generosity and how they interconnect together and create a AAA pipeline for dollars to come in uh by way of volunteerism, advocacy and um just giving up time and influence and how our tech can better enable us to identify those indicators of generosity so that we can be more prepared to ask more of um the individuals that want to support our missions. Ok. You mentioned the Generosity Commission. I don’t, I’m not familiar with that. Yeah. So the, so the Generosity Commission is a group, a coalition of individuals that come from Stanford and a number of other uh uh um think tanks in the area. Um The Giving Institute is involved in that as well and give usa coalition. And so there’s been a number of studies that have been done over the that have looked at and explored through different colleges and universities and think tanks. This role that generosity has to play in our society, is there a report issued a report recently, a number of reports 2022 was the latest report, but there’s actually been a longitudinal amount of research that’s been done. And over, I mean, as you probably can imagine, volunteerism is a key indicator of uh of donations in the future. And um also advocacy and just overall relevance to somebody’s life and the way that they are being generous in their everyday life um can be an indicator of future generosity. And so how are we actually identifying those behaviors that people are naturally displaying in their everyday lives as being generous opportunities and then funneling that into the dollars that organizations really need to in order to, you know, further their mission and their capacity. OK, I see. And uh Peter, part of what you talked about in your session is expanding the definition of generosity, which Jamie was just alluding to how, how, how should we be redefining generosity? Yeah, that’s a great question, Tony. Um I think there are two ways that we should really look at it to help organizations just be more productive and engaging and getting more from their audience. The first is what Jamie alluded to, which is really taking a look at, say, Tony and saying, OK, today we really see him as a donor, but we know that he, you know, um volunteers that he is actually seeking services from us, that he is doing so many other things with us, but we’ve hyper focused on just his value to us as donors. And so we need to expand that. The other piece I think um that’s really important is expanding who we think of as people who can be generous to our organization. Um I’ve done a lot of work uh for and with direct service organizations and the vast majority of them really see those as two separate audiences, the people they serve and the people they raise money from. And so the more that we can think about a holistic uh relationship with people uh with the people who come to our organization to seek services, but also to support us in the future, to volunteer creates just a, it, it lets us expand the tent and draw more people into those who could support the organization in a, in a bigger and more holistic way. OK. So I, I’m, I’m, I’m stereotyping and generalizing with both of which are dangerous. But I think the stereotypes, I don’t know, I think they’re, I think they’re not valid. I think they’re ubiquitous that those of us, those who come to us for service are, are whether it’s feeding and of course, we’re gonna get to Italia Feeding America um or, or sheltering or, um, you know, I’m, I’m something of the, the, the the personal type of services that those folks aren’t just don’t have the, the capacity, capacity, the means to, to be donors. And I don’t think we think of the future, but we think of now they just don’t have the means. We’re, we’re wrong headed. I would say yes, I think with direct service organizations for sure. And I’ll let Natania um, tell us a little bit more about that. I think one of the, one of the organizations that actually does this really well is the American Heart Association. Um Several years ago, my dad had a heart attack and we need to get some help from the Heart Association. They gave us great advice and guidance. Um You know, after uh my dad got sick, he passed away, we made a contribution to the organization as donors and now as somebody who’s 47 and, and needs some support myself, I’ve gone back to the organization for information and that sort of thing. And so the way that they have thought about engaging me across this whole cycle of things where I’m a service uh beneficiary as well as a donor as well as somebody who will probably leave the money when I pass. You know, it’s that kind of long term thinking and holistic relationship that I think is really a productive model for many, many organizations. 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 response of 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 use your tech to enable generosity. Natania. You’ve been doing a lot of nodding as uh as Jamie and Peter were talking uh whether you want to share your experience at Feeding America or you wanna, you wanna think broader about this expanded definition of generosity who’s capable? Yeah, I think I just wanna touch on the fact that it is a stereotype that the people that we serve and that are in service uh would not be contributors, financial contributors. We find time and time again that our best supporters are our neighbors and the people that have received the services from our food pantries, our food banks and, and the network at large. And we even tell stories of our neighbors who are now volunteers at these pantries. Um So they see the direct benefit of the service they received and the value that they get from that and want to immediately give back and, and turn that into more that, that ripple effect of continuing to give to others who now need. Um which is, you know, it’s a beautiful thing and we’ve started to give them a platform as well, not only through our storytelling and um you know, not being the mouthpiece for the, for the movement, but really allowing our neighbors to be the voice of the movement and, and telling us what they need in order to thrive. Um So that’s one way in which we’ve been generous. But I think, you know, in terms of expanding the meaning of generosity, um you know, I think the big um the sound bite that I wanted to bring from yesterday was I think, you know, not that you need to throw out technology in the whole process, but that you can start from a place of ignoring the drop down menus that you have in your technology and, and not trying to categorize generosity based off of the constraints of what’s in front of you in, in whatever platform you’re dealing in, but go out and talk to people about what is meaningful to them, about giving to you um in the ways in which they want to give and then try to build systems that can track that in a, in a way that is, that helps you understand how invested they are in you are, are there other constituencies Natania that, that we should be thinking about? Besides those of us who are uh service beneficiaries, are there other constituencies? We should be expanding the definition of generosity to I think. So, I think uh you know, there’s advocacy for sure. And I think there’s also folks who um who want to create their own fundraisers or they want to give in ways that are not currently in our structures. And really what this is about is giving people the opportunity to, to support you in the ways that are meaningful to them. That could be a number of ways and a number of platforms. And one of the things that we kind of ran into some friction in, in the conversation yesterday was, well, you know, how do smaller organizations that don’t have the resources and um the means to adopt all these platforms and run all these programs and just, you know, try anything under the sun, you know, what are we supposed to do? And um you know, really, what, what we, our other um compatriot who’s not here today was, was able to contribute was, you know, pitch it to your leadership as a test start. Say it’s a test of trying out a new platform, a new way of um you know, tracking the, the ways in which people support you and then see over time if it gets you um exponential results, Peter can we talk a little about using technology because your, your, your session topic is use your tech to enable generosity. Now, Natania just referred to the inadequacy of the current drop down menu uh menus. I’ll just, I’ll just pluralize menu and this way, I don’t have to think of another noun. So the inadequacy of the, the drop down menu, how should our tech be integrated into this expanded definition of who can be generous and how folks can be generous. Yeah, I mean, you, you’ve kind of opened up this Pandora’s Box and I got, I’m afraid I’m afraid that my friends who work at software companies here are listening to this podcast and I hope they are. But um I’m gonna be critical of us as an industry for a second. I think Jamie um by coordinating this session really got this topic out on the table for us and it’s being had at, you know, all levels of organizations um in all the departments. But here at the, the technology conference, you know, we have to be a little critical of ourselves. Um I’ve worked for a couple of software companies that have made online cr MS that help with email and fundraising and advocacy and volunteer registration. And I have to tell you, you know, the place where those platforms are the most mature is when it comes to uh seeking money. So whether it’s getting people to convert more often on donation forms or to hit them at the right time with an email that gets them to open their wallet. That’s all well and good. And that’s important. But I think, um, don’t stop there. That’s right. We’re not, we’re not expanding beyond, beyond the, the simplest. That’s right. And so, you know, as a senior ranking Marxist at this table, I don’t really know if I’m the senior ranking Marxist. But I would tell you that my goal is to take all of this technology that we use to get people to open their wallets. Um All of these tools of late capitalism and flip them on their heads. So how do we use the tools that help us advertise to find people to draw them into the fold to provide those social services? Can you imagine if we lived in a world where direct service organizations brought the same kind of discipline and technology to serving their population as they do to raising money? Um I think that’s where we’re going to see a lot of research and expansion in the next couple of years. Be a little more specific about the software shortcomings. What’s the ideal for you? You know, I’ll give you a good example. Yeah. So here it is one of the organizations that I work with, we help them find about three quarters of a million people to put into and lead to their job training programs every year. Um Part of that challenge is that we’re trying to reach them with advertising tools that find people who are over 50 people of color, primarily women, lower education, lower banking rates. And those tools for advertising are optimized to find rich people who have money to spend on discretionary stuff, whether it’s buying a TV or donating to, uh, a worthy organization. And so we’ve had to come up with really innovative ways to identify people who meet those criteria, um, because they’re not optimized to find people with lower income, lower discretionary dollars and that sort of thing. And so, um yeah, I’m not sure, I’m not sure how we do it. I think we have to do our best to take those tools that exist that have been built by very smart people and get them to really deliver a human service and make the world more compassionate, diverse forms of generosity is essentially what we’re talking about. So, Jamie, you were, you were the impetus behind this, this session. Don’t be ashamed. It was, it was, it was my fault. No, what else? Um Let’s see, uh facilitating generosity. I’m just reading from your session description, facilitating generosity through your data tech and business processes. I mean, we’ve alluded to all that stuff but why we, you know, you had a full hour session. What else? What else can we dive deeper in? Well, we had two other individuals that were here and I think that they made two very strong points that I’d like to just bring up real quick. Yeah, I will cheer. So Mike Fisher Trusts Republic land, he was uh he was really bringing home the point that one thing that nonprofits could easily do well and that there is technology to support is to encourage those individuals that are your five star fans, your, your, your individuals that are advocating, they’re opening your emails, they’re clicking through, they’re donating, maybe they’re volunteering, maybe, but they’re just consistently available to you and your mission. They are the ones that you should be asking to get more involved by bringing more people into your organization. They are your super fans. They are the ones that can tell their friends about you easily and well, because they’re obviously passionate about your cause and mission. Um The other thing is to be looking at who your social influencers are, uh who is on um who’s retweeting you who or re xing you. I don’t threating you. I don’t know. I know, but you know what I mean? I think now they just call them posts which is totally generic. So let’s do that. Well, I like, I like I do too that we’re expanding the definition, we’re expanding definitions. So yeah, so the ones that are posting about you on social networks that matter to you or that you’re finding um engagement on those are the people that you should be asking to support you in those regards that the idea of spreading generosity and connecting people to resources into each other is, is something that I think we undervalue yet is extremely important. And so Mike Fisher was really great at driving home that point that we are well under utilizing those individuals that can help us invite more people into our cause. And then also, and how we measure what they do. We don’t even have metrics really for like social influencing. Oh no. Does that exist in CRM systems? It does in some? Yeah, but it, it’s underutilized primarily and then it’s, it’s the other thing is, is that it’s a acknowledged and Peter really brought this home to us yesterday is the fact that when you get an email talking about the way that you’ve made impact at an organization, commonly, they’re reminding you of the last donation you made and how you can expand that donation or up a $10 and become a sustainer. But rarely do they say, and we really appreciate also the 25 hours that you, you gave to us this year through volunteerism or the peer to peer fundraiser that you helped us make a success and our match with others on Facebook last year. And so we’re really not tracking these different ways that people are showing their generosity and it’s really a shame. And um, so I’ll just make two other points real quick. One is um, storytelling which I think Natania has led, um, has done a great job at talking about and Michelle Payne who is jobs for America’s graduate on our panel as well. Um She, you know, they work with youth and high schools that um need are, are looking for a pathway to success in underprivileged neighborhoods or, and in areas um where opportunity is limited and the stories that those J A alumni are providing jobs for America’s graduates fundraising team in order to go out and raise more funds is critical to the success of jobs for America’s graduates. And um that, that needs to be acknowledged that these people are spending their time, their energy and being vulnerable by telling their stories to others in order to help raise critical funds for organizations and commonly, that goes unnoticed. Last thing I’ll just challenge everyone to say is we talk about donors like we’re not donors and like we’re not generous people, we and to take a step back and say, why aren’t donors giving more or why are, you know, or what should we do to make our donors more engaged with us? Look, look at yourself what is missing from the process of donations and from the way that organizations are engaging with you, how are we going to get folks to be more engaged with us, engage with them? I mean, you’re saying, acknowledge, acknowledge the breath of their generosity. Right. Exactly. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way that a mission or organization has been responsive to you? How would you like to see that improved? Um If you’re feeling dissatisfied by the process, then I guarantee you every stakeholder in your organization, every stakeholder that’s giving to your organization is probably feeling the exact same way. Um So do unto others as you want to do unto you, I think was Peter’s line yesterday. Several years ago, there was someone on who I followed on then Twitter. So I’m gonna keep using Twitter. Uh She was, uh she was the Whiny donor. Uh She was a board member and I had her on the show. She didn’t want her name revealed. Uh but she was a board member of a couple of nonprofits in upstate New York, Buffalo area. Um So I had the Whiny Donor on several years ago and I used to follow her on Twitter and we would engage and she was, you know, she was, um often disappointed, not always. I mean, she would point out successes too, but, you know, you sent me, uh you sent me a thank you letter, but the donation amount is wrong. I mean, that’s a, that’s like a killer, you know, I mean, that’s so basic. That’s that, I mean, that is cr MS are capable of somebody put the wrong number in, you know, someone who was careless or, you know, they didn’t proofread the letter to compare it with the data in the, in the CRM and it’s time for a break. Imagine a fundraising partner that not only helps you raise more money but also supports you in retaining your donors. A partner that helps you raise funds both online and on location so you can grow your impact faster. That’s Donor box, a comprehensive suite of tools, services and resources that gives fundraisers. Just like you a custom solution to tackle your unique challenges, helping you achieve the growth and sustainability your organization needs, helping you help others visit donor box.org to learn more. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you, Kate in the gym. I’m, I’m coming back to these gym stories. Uh Yeah, no spending a lot of time there. I’m, I’m noticing things. I see a big difference between the way women dress in the gym and men dress in the gym. I, I think it’s easier to describe men the way they dress. They don’t give a shit put on anything old. I mean, and I know for myself like I’ll go in a pair of uh I, I typically wear, I wear a bathing suit as a workout workout shorts. Uh because they’re nice and short, you know, like they’re running, I use them as running shorts and also workout shorts like, uh you know, orange, uh orange bathing suit shorts and a green shirt. It makes no difference to me and my socks. All my socks are white. I don’t, I don’t call to coordinate any socks or anything that’s men, don’t give a shit. Women the color co ordination. The time that goes into the, the, I can imagine the hours that go into the shopping, not just the dressing but the shopping to match like the, the ankle band on the socks matches a color on the shoes or the ankle band on the socks matches the shorts. I’ve seen both of those or the shorts and the top color coordinate. Not identical. Man, you, you don’t have to go identical, but they’re coordinating a color, not saying matchy. Matchy. I’m saying coordinate much more sophisticated than Matchy. Matchy color coordinate or the shoes and the shorts. That’s another one. I’ve seen a lot. I the, the time that goes into matching these colors, it’s, it’s amazing uh or coordinating these colors. So women have a much better game in uh in gym attire. Uh You gotta say much better and um I just saw something in the New York Times this afternoon, uh about sock length in millennials versus Gen Z. And we get some of both on, on a, uh I’d say most of the people probably more than half the people who come to this gym, this town community gym are over 55 sixtyish uh but some, you know, but some are, are younger. Uh Now I have not noticed this myself. This is one that I I got from the Times today. Your, your Gen Z will, will not show their ankles with socks. It’s gotta be above the ankle and maybe even up to like mid calf gen Z but millennials always show the ankle what heads, I don’t know if P socks is an outdated. I didn’t, they didn’t, I don’t think they mentioned pets in the, in the article. Maybe that’s an outdated term, but that’s how I know them head socks. So you’re supposed to be able to tell Gen Z for millennials by the height of their socks. I don’t know what that’s all worth. Uh Congratulations women for having so much more pride in your gym appearance. And now I hope, I hope the energy that goes into your workout is equivalent to the energy that went into your shopping and then wearing the coordinating colors. I mean, I hope you’re working out just as hard as your shopping, but women got it over men. That is Tony’s take two Kate. What do you think? It’s, it’s like that old. Um If you feel better, like you’ll be better kind of thing. I think when you look better, you’ll feel better and you’ll do better. Um Also shopping for active wear is like so much fun nowadays because they have so many colors and you don’t want to show up in like boing black leggings or like white tank top. Like I want to show up in coral, you know, color coordinating, head to toe. It’s more fun that way. Ok. Ok. That’s the, that there’s the sentiment behind what I’m, I’m, I’m observing. And then you said pets for the socks. That’s how I know low, so low socks that are, are below or right at the ankle. Those are pets. We call them no shows because you can’t see them above your shoe. Yeah, I, I, I gathered that meaning, I, I was able to figure that out why they might be called No show. Thank you. All right. So, I’m using an outdated, outdated, antiquated, uh, uh, anachronistic term for old. Simple, old. All right. Well, I like, uh, I like, uh, I like, uh, synonyms as well. Ok. No more pet socks. No shows. We’ve got just about a butt load. More time. Here’s the rest of use your tech to enable generosity. Uh, Natania. I’m gonna put you on the spot. Do you wanna, do you wanna tell AAA um, a fee? No, no, a feeding America story. This antiquated, uh, mindset that nonprofits have that donors, you can only communicate to donors about giving money. And if you have advocates or volunteers don’t, don’t ask them for any money, you better not, you know, don’t, uh, don’t intimidate them or vice versa, you know, don’t encourage your donors to do other things besides donate. Um, we don’t want to distract them. We want to keep them on this path on the, the donor journey and the ladder of engagement to get them to be major donors. But none of this other stuff is gonna matter in that Um And I think that’s, that’s broken thinking and we have started to see how we’ve turned that around at Feeding America is, we’ve started to message all our in full file about advocacy actions and legislation that’s at risk. Here’s the spectrum of possibilities of how you can engage with us. That’s how you’re going to really build those brand champions for yourself. Um And, and get them to be the voice of your organization too as Peter um alluded to um II, I presume you haven’t had a lot of pushback from these donors as you’ve broadened their, there’s been no, no risk to it. I give, why, why do you ask me to sign the petition? Why do you ask me to write the email to the representative? You know, I’m already donating. People don’t still think that way they see everything as something coming from feeding America and a message from us to them. And, you know, I think that lifting that up and, and starting from that point, you can create a more holistic message that is more meaningful and stronger and gets you the results that you wanted. This is right within your purview as strategic and integrated planning director, right? And that’s a pretty big portfolio, strategic and not just strategic, strategic and integrated big portfolio. What I have to ask you the uh the significance of the you’re wearing a hat that says bagels, are you a, are you a bagel? Um connoisseur because I live here. They live in OK. Now I’m from New York where we’re boiled bagels? Are they boil them? OK. That’s the boiling. That’s the boiling. That’s the pre boiling before the baking. Which is, that’s, you get the golden crust on your bagel. It’s not supposed to be a pound cake. The definition of relevance. I’m learning a lot. I find this to be very generous. Henry Higgins. Henry Higgins. Henry Higgins. Spoiled bagels. Tony. If I could be so cheeky. I’m going to ask you a question. Um, Zars or David Bagels. What’s your, what’s your bagel place in New York? Well, it used to be H and H God, they close, they close, they always warm bagels. It’s gotta be, if you were willing to wait like five minutes, it’s the next round of warm whole wheat bagels, which is my, my, my, my go to would be coming out. But so, but h and h isn’t there anymore. So I’d probably have to say Zars. There are, I’m hearing an echo from our production assistant. Soon to be demoted. I said that earlier though to be nice to Amy free. I think that’s a good idea. No, after the conference, after the conference, but before the bonus. Yeah, exactly. After the work is done before the bonus is paid. Um, ok. Uh, so, ok. No, probably Zars. Yeah, we’re in Portland. Natan is Portland. Not a food city. It’s a big food city. This is an appropriate digression plus, you know, the middle aged white guy has got the master board and I I’m dictating the agenda. So, no, but I do, I do, I wanna work food in because Portland is an enormously rich and rightfully proud, rightfully proud food city from the trucks to the restaurants, et cetera. So, uh ok, let’s go back to genero expanding the definition of generosity though. Um What else? What more can we Peter? You’ve, you’ve been uh well, the, the, the one who hasn’t spoken. Well, you did contribute the bagel to the bagel conversation. But aside from that, uh what else, what else came out? Well, maybe some questions if uh if you feel we’ve covered topics, maybe some questions that came out of the session yesterday that were provocative, informative, interesting things you all hadn’t thought of. No, the questions were dull. You know, honestly natanya mentioned a couple of the really good ones and it was, you know, hey, look, we’re really small. How do we, we’re just trying to find our um our butt with both hands. How do we, how do we do the things that big organizations are doing? And I usually don’t say it so kindly, but with both hand that’s acceptable here. Oh, we had somebody say, fuck yesterday talking to my 14 year old daughter. So, you know, I try, I try to keep her. This is, this is not a G rated show. I mean, it’s a PG show but yeah, I still think it’s appropriate. I get it, I get it. Um I might, um, I might let you talk a little bit about it, Natania. Um, but I, I thought like, you know, look, you just have to, you just have to do it. Um delivering value to people and delivering a valuable experience is really critically important. Um And that’s one of the ways that smaller organizations can dive in and really try to grow. Everybody started their email list or their, their, you know, Instagram or Facebook profile or tiktok. Uh What do they call it an account, I guess over there um with one follower, right? Them, plus their mom. So um it’s really one of those things that I think we get asked a lot is how do small organizations get in? And so, you know, you just have to do it and, and from my perspective, I think delivering value is the way to, to really um start to do it. Just just give people something that they want, whether it’s that experience, whether it’s those compelling stories, whether it’s, you know, imagery that reflects people who look like them and the people they care about. Um that becomes probably the first step on that ladder towards, you know, programmatic maturity and getting people to really um engage an audience and get them to support their cause. Um Natania, I trounce all over what you were saying yesterday. Can I just insert something? There’s, there’s a basic principle in promotion and marketing that the way to get more clients or in this case, donors or volunteers is to be great to the clients or donors or volunteers that you’ve already got. And Natania, that goes right to what you, you’re saying about expanding their engagement. Uh and not, not, you know, putting people in silos as strictly a donor, never talk to them about, you know, other, other opportunities. Uh You know, and I think it’s just treat people the way you’d like to be treated. You know, you don’t even have to go to Prenn of promotion and marketing. Just uh the golden rule. Yeah, totally. Yeah. And no, you did not trounce all over. I was gonna say, um I do think, um, you know, yeah, offering those opportunities and, um, you know, I think there’s, there’s this perception that, um, you know, if you can’t do things at the, at the Cadillac or the gold standard that then you shouldn’t do it at all. And I just don’t think that’s true and, you know, we might be at, or I might be at a large organization now. That doesn’t mean we have everything figured out either. You know, we, we all are in the same industry that is founded on some broken principles, you know, the nonprofit industry isn’t perfect just like any other business out there. Um, and we all have to deal with the same fundamental um cultural issues that we, that we are dealing with um as an industry and uh at the end of the day, if you can ask three people, five questions or five people, three questions. However, you want to go about it, which are, you know, something like what are the ways in which you want to be involved? Do you prefer to support in person virtually or behind the scenes in an operational capacity? Do you wanna get email from us? Do you wanna get paper mail? Do you wanna not get anything? Um You know, asking people how they want to be involved is the first step and that can get you more data than any kind of, you know, the only caveat there is you then have to honor their honor their request. I mean, if you can’t, if you don’t feel that you can segment that way, then don’t ask the question. But I do think you can ask people, you know, what are the ways in which you do want to be involved? That doesn’t mean you’re gonna promise them that, but it does mean that you want to get to know them better. And then this is for in the future for us to be able to understand what do we need to deliver to you in the future. And it’s all about how you deliver that message to them. And I think you can keep yourself honest and accountable. Without over promising too much. All right, I’m gonna defer it to Jamie as, uh, as our origin originator, uh, to, uh, to wrap us up with some warm motivation. Ok. Well, so there were actually two other things that came out. They weren’t questions. We had a lot of people that offered a lot of great ideas in the audience as well. So we actually did, yeah, we did an exercise where we turned to each other and talked about as donors. How would we want to, how do we like to be treated? Um What seems to be missing from our, our um generosity experience beyond donations. And there were two things that came up as one is uh a Human centered design approach and starting from places of generosity, different origins of generosity, right? Volunteerism or advocacy or influence or engagement of referrals, storytelling and then mapping a journey uh throughout your organization for how you believe that individual is going to want to engage with your organization and, and delve deeper into your mission. Um And then using CRM automation or Eecrm automation, um offline analog, whatever, whatever you need or have available to you to make that journey as realistic as possible. People that are showing generosity in a certain way together to uh to help design together. How are you going to further that form of generosity within the mission? So if you have a number of volunteers that are volunteering at a food bank, uh bringing them together into a roundtable or fireside chat to talk about what’s missing from the experience. What could we be doing better? What are you finding fulfilling about that experience is a great way to get people involved and people find that form of generosity and, and being invited into a community of common, like individuals and common behaviors to be very fulfilling and a way of saying thank you to those people because you’re acknowledging the fact that they are contributing in a certain way. And that’s why leadership circles exist and giving circles. I just want to insert that I had someone a guest yesterday, call that a town hall. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Whatever you want, whatever you want to call it, people feel warm invited to that. Absolutely. People want to share their ideas. I will say I’m very, I am excited about this book, Tony and I do not know the gentleman’s name and I apologize. So I hope you can find it for me. But the head of Ted just came out with a book called Infectious Generosity. And it’s all about how the greatest form of generosity is spreading ideas. And he gives some great examples, some great stories throughout. And I think that there are some really critical lessons for us in the nonprofit industry on how we are helping individuals uh and facilitating individuals, the spreading of ideas and resources to each other. Um because that’s really what connects us all together. That’s Jamie Mueller, Chief Growth Officer at Ptko papa Tango, Kilo Oscar, also Peter Genuardi, founder of see the Stars and Natania Le Claire, Director of Strategic and integrated Planning. What a portfolio at Feeding America. Thank you very much, Jamie Peter Natania. Thanks very much for sharing. Thank you, Tony. Thank you outstanding. Thank you 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 next week using A I in your communications. If you missed any part of this weeks 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. 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. 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 February 26, 2024: Your Partnerships With FGWs


Esther Choy: Your Partnerships With FGWs

First Generation Wealth creators have different values and mindsets than those who inherited their wealth. And FGWs far outnumber the inheritors. Esther Choy’s research helps you understand these folks and how to build valuable relationships with them. She’s president of Leadership Story Lab. (This originally aired May 17, 2021.)


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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 thrown into lateral epicondylitis if you gave me the elbow and told me that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with the highlights. Hey, Tony, this week, it’s your partnerships with F GWS first generation wealth creators have different values and mindsets than those who inherited their wealth. And FGWS far outnumber the inheritors. Ester Choi’s research helps you understand these folks and how to build valuable relationships with them. She’s president of leadership story Lab. This originally aired May 17th 2021 on Tony’s. Take two. Please review we’re sponsored by donor box. Outdated donation forms blocking your supporter generosity. Donor box. Fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor box.org and 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. Welcome again, virtuous. So grateful for your sponsorship. Here is your partnerships with FGWS. It’s a pleasure to welcome to nonprofit radio, Esther Choi. She is president and chief story facilitator at leadership story lab, teaching storytelling to institutional and individual clients who are searching for more meaningful ways to connect with their audiences. She’s a contributor for Forbes Leadership Strategy Group and you may have seen her quoted in leading media outlets like the New York Times and entrepreneur.com. Her practice is at leader story lab and leadership story lab.com E Choi. Welcome to nonprofit radio. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a real pleasure. Welcome. Um You, you have uh you have some new research out that we need to, we need to talk about transforming partnerships with major donors. What are uh let’s, let’s just jump right in and why don’t you explain what FGW folks are and uh tell us a little about your, the research that you did with these FGW folks. FGW folks. Well, I recently published this research report um and lucky enough to have a really, really good exposure such as the one you mentioned in the New York Times. And there are a lot of surprises about the folks that we generally in the broader society, just, just overly sort of broad and call them the rich people or the wealthy folks or the high net worth individual or the ultra high net worth individuals as if they all belonged in this monolithic group that they all think a belief in the same way. And So I got curious about them after I’ve taught uh in this major Gift strategy program at Kellogg for a while wondering why are these people so hard to get? What uh because so many nonprofits are doing amazing and moving and important and urgent work that no one else is doing. So why is it so hard to reach them? So I dug further in and did a lot of homework and I interviewed 20 very um they were ultra high or folks and I just ask some questions about how did they get to their wealth? What is it like? Um Are there any downsides to wealth, having wealth and so on and so forth and focusing on philanthropy? Um So this report, I can talk about any one number of ways. So you tell me, what do you, what do you want to most learn about these first generation wealth creators? Well, let’s uh let’s start with how big a proportion they are of the, of the wealthy. Wow. I am glad you start. That’s the starting point. Um That’s one of the biggest surprises that I’ve learned because they are at least 68% of the, the, the this massive group that we call wealthy ultra high net worth. They are at least 68% of them earn their wealth instead of inherited. Now, that’s a big, big difference between inherited wealth versus earned wealth. And that means they’ve traveled a entire social economic class that they did not grow up with. And so some of them, um, very few of them really make the majority of their wealth in their thirties or even forties. Most of them are in their fifties and sixties. So we’re talking about full on grown adults with Children and maybe even grandchildren by the time they become, um, this wealthy. So it’s a very interesting transformation of your life, your community, your social circles, the things that you worry about or not worry about all happen around starting from the point of fifties and sixties, right? So, so there are at least two thirds, maybe even a little more than two thirds of all the, all the wealthy folks. The way we would describe, as you’re saying, high net worth, ultra high net worth. These are, these are two thirds of those folks, at least you said 68 68%. I picked the most conservative number, but I’ve read elsewhere to and put that to um somewhere 80 80%. OK? And everybody you interviewed is first generation wealth. That’s, that’s where your research was correct on those folks. OK. So let’s get to know them a little bit. Um Your research has uh AAA nice chart. Um I like, I like pictures. The first thing I look for in books and pictures. Uh Simple, simple mind. You, you’re burdened with the host with a simple mind. Um But you do have these, these pillars of wealth generation that. So let’s describe these folks. Not, not, not all three, I mean, people are just gonna have to get the research, you know, I don’t, I’m not gonna quiz you. I’m not quizzing you on block number four in line three on the No, we’re not doing that. I don’t want to go like word by word because people got to get the research which, which is at Leadership story lab.com, right? That’s the way that you can download. Yeah, there’s an executive summary and you can download the full report as well, right? So Leadership story lab.com for the full thing for the full, for the full study. Um But let’s get to know these folks a little bit, these, these first generation wealth creators. Um you, you start by saying they’re, they’re understated. They’re, they’re maybe even humble. Are they, are they, are they to the point of being humble and modest, humble and modest? And they have a hard time, they have a hard time with the, with the word wealthy, they understand the size of their assets. Um They understand what they are capable of affording, which is basically anything but they have a hard time with the label wealthy. And um they oftentimes think of and regard and never really left their middle class roots and that’s majority of them come from very middle class. You know, they don’t want to be flashy nor do they enjoy flashy things that attract attention So, um, you know, make no mistake. They are a part of things that are very, um, you know, shiny and, and sophisticated and, and, and high quality, but it’s not who they are inside. So that’s one thing to keep in mind is that they are very understated themselves and they often appreciate other people as well as other things that are understated. You, you make the point a couple of times of saying that they don’t, they don’t identify themselves as wealthy even though they know that they fit into that category, correct? Ok. Um So you sat down and you, you met these folks, you, well, maybe not face to face but you, you spoke with these people or couples or how did, how did that all work? Yeah. So I did all the interviews uh with in partnership with the research firm and it’s all done virtually because it was done in 2020. Um There was one noted exception um where I was invited to her home. Uh and uh I met all her kids and her husband and, you know, it’s just like the whole family in the background and it’s kind of funny to talk about her family while her family was around, but for the most part, it was done through Zoom. Uh one through calls and, and um there are four people, so two couples, um I interview them at the same time together and the lengths just got doubled. Um you know, it’s usually 50 50 minutes to an hour and with a couple, um we talked for over an hour and a half. How do you, I’m interested in some of the details. How do you reach out to these folks? How do you, how do you get their attention? It’s really hard. So, the first thing we mentioned in one of the four pillars is they’re understated, right? They don’t identify with the word wealthy. They certainly don’t make big advertisement to the world that they are wealthy. And so to find them and to get them to agree, to speak on record, although it’s anonymous um and to get them to open up and talk about money and wealth, it’s really hard. So I have to rely on a couple of key relationships. Um One is through one of my alma mater, um Texas A and M University and my friend and colleague, uh the CEO of Texas A and M Foundation helped me recruit a few, quite a few of these interviewees. Um my business partner who also happens to be a um uh trustee at the University of Cincinnati Cincinnati Foundations and um through a couple of my own uh resources as well as my research firms. So 20 for qualitative studies is, you know, sufficient. It’s definitely not a lot, 20 people doesn’t sound like a lot but 20 of these type of people and get them to talk about very sensitive topic. Um, was, it took quite a bit just to get them to agree to talk to me. Well, thank you. Um, absolutely. Um, and what was the median income for these 20 folks families? So, um, at this point I don’t think their income is very meaningful any anymore. So, we’re, I, I’m, um, by median, I would refer to their, um, uh, their, their net worth. So the net worth the median range is 50 to 80 million. Um, although, um, the low, I would put it in the low teens, the highs, I would put them in 100 and 50. So just give you, give, you, give our listeners a sense as well of what we’re talking about. Like by, well, you know, millions is like a lot of zeros, you know, at some point it’s just like my mind can’t keep them all in one place. Um, according to the fed in 2020 the top 1% of the US, um, folks have 11 million. So these are all, um, uh, you know, sort of the top one percenter and, um, for the 1% even mid teens to 50 or so was the, was roughly the median net worth. Exactly. Exactly. But then if you think about the 1% of 300 million people in the US, that’s 3 million, 3 million people. And that is about the size. If you put them all in one city, all in one location, they’re just below New York City, just below New York, uh just below Los Angeles, but just above the city of Chicago. So 3 million people, that’s a lot of people. Ok. And, and you estimate conservatively that of those 3 million 68%. Uh our first generation, they earn their wealth versus inherited. 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 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 in 2024. Visit donor box.org to learn more. Now, back to your partnerships with FGWS. Let’s go back to get to know these folks a little bit. Um um They’re entrepreneurial. No surprise but tell us what, what does that mean for the way they think about themselves and the way they might think about uh their philanthropy. Yeah. So in the most literal sense, they are were entrepreneurs. That’s how they created most of them, created their wealth and with a few um less than 20% of them uh had a very lucrative corporate careers and entrepreneurial also means that is the mindset. It’s the lenses in which they apply all things through. Um, so it could be the way that they would like their Children or grandchildren to approach. Um, you know, if I wanted to study abroad even, um, and, you know, I need additional funding. Well, how much you think about it as what untapped opportunities might there be out there for you in this country that you want to study? But it is not currently fully leveraged. Um But entrepreneurial could also means to, as they think about nonprofit, as they really think about how they want to leave their social impact and how they want to fully make sure that their philanthropic dollar is put to good use that also applied and um compatible with their middle class values. So, uh it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s up and downside, right? Um Sometimes something just can’t be measured. Sometimes nonprofits are run by people who are philanthropically minded and socially minded and they don’t necessarily have the same sort of business acumen as, as well as um fear competitiveness um that these donors tend to have and embody. And so the, the downside of having that entrepreneurial mindset is that sometimes it creates um clashes and if you know, at the very least disagreements on is this really the best use of the, the, the, the precious dollars that your organizations have? Um Sometimes there’s no straight black and white answer. Yes and no. Um So um, that’s what I mean by entrepreneurial and, and, and what else, what, what comes next in those four pillars? So, the third is free and I truly, it seems like a very simple, no nonsense. And, and, and we’re like, oh, we live in a free society. Uh, but I think the truth of the matter is that a lot of people aren’t not free, they’re not free to pursue whatever they want. They are under certain professional career obligations or financial pressures and they are a lot of options. Yeah, exactly. And that’s why a lot of career counselors asked mid to even late career folks, you know, what would you do if money is not an issue? Right. Uh, I’ve heard that question asked a lot in care counseling because a lot of people are under that, uh, pressure. But these FGWS they are not and for them it’s oftentimes for the first time is, wow, now it’s not a theoretical questions anymore. I really don’t have to worry about money. Ok. So now what, what do we do? And so, um, a lot of them pursue experiences. A lot of them want the same thing for the Children and grandchildren. Um, they, uh, pursued 3rd, 4th, 5th careers that they’ve always are interested, intrigued by, know that they are not very good at and know that they probably may not, may or may not be able to make a ton of money with. Um, but they do it anyway. So it’s that sense of freedom. Um that I think a lot of people, as long as they have to still worry about saving for retirement saving, for making sure you can pay your mortgage and things like that. It’s, it’s really hard to wrap your mind about. And then these folks are just sort of fully embracing, they want their Children to understand that having a, a wealth of options doesn’t just come, it comes from hard work and, and devotion, which is what they devoted their decades to. So they, they, they want their Children to understand that that doesn’t just happen for everyone. Yeah. I’m glad you bring up Children, um, across all 20 of them, even though the ages ranges from late forties to a few eighties. Um, they all worry about their kids even though their kids have all grown up or they have worried about their kids or have regrets about the way that they raised the ways that they passed on their assets, uh, to their kids. And the, the funny thing is that they did not tell me. Oh, I have so. And so, um, I really can confide in or I know these, uh, uh, professional resources, uh, that I can go to and, um, all of them are just kind of like, I hope I’m doing the right thing. In fact, I know I haven’t done the right thing but then talking to peers surprisingly was not an option across any of them. And so although they’re free, but this taboo topic of money and wealth have prevented them from really searching for the right answers at the time when decisions had to be made. So Children, it’s a constant universal worries, especially for people with wealth. Um We’ve seen from studies after studies that for example, substance abuse tend to affect um Children from families with means disproportionately higher than those who are not from uh family with means. I wonder if there’s some tension for them because they’re not comfortable talking to those who inherited their wealth or, or even just other wealthy people because they don’t, they don’t identify that way, but then they’re not comfortable talking to those folks that they knew when they were struggling in their careers. And before their, their great success, their great financial success would qualify that because success can take lots of d have lots of different levels to it. But before their great financial success, because they, they, they like, they don’t wanna, they don’t want to appear uh overbearing to their non wealthy friends who they know from high school and college and, you know, maybe professional school or, you know, whatever. Uh So they’re, they like caught in the middle, like, they don’t have valuable personal relationships to, to leverage and count on in, in, in times like when they’re questioning what, what to do with Children and, you know, sort of existential questions like that. Yeah. So this is another downside of being entrepreneurial. Um Another way to call someone very entrepreneurial is what you know, he’s, he has a can do spirit, she has a can do spirit. So if you can do, you can do it yourself. You don’t need to count on other people, people to help you, you can pull yourself up by the bootstrap. So uh that’s one and two is again the, the subject of wealth, it tends to be taboo. Um In fact, the Brooking Institute economist Isabel saw Hill made this really apt observation and she said that people rather talked about sex than money and money than class. So first generation wealth creators have travel across classes. And so that makes it really hard for them to say, you know, I don’t know what’s the right way if we do if we travel, is it wrong for us to buy business class or first class? And what are your middle class friends going to say? Oh, poor Tony, poor Esther, you’re struggling with questions like should you trust travel in business versus first class? And it’s not something that a lot of people, first of all empathize with and second of all have the right context to give sound counsels. And what about professional coaches and counselors and whatnot? I didn’t actually cover in a report. I chose to exclude it and just in the in favor of focusing on nonprofit and fundraising. But their experience with uh wealth management advisors are very mixed because it’s an industry that has a lot of conflict of interest. There are some really, really good let us in on something that uh that didn’t make the report. This is great, not proper radio. You gotta let us in on the, on the, on the back story. What uh say a little more about these, the trouble they’ve had the mixed results, mixed results. I’m sure some have been, some results were fine and some relationships are fine but say you a little more about uh what didn’t make the final report there. Um I cut a whole section off just because I think it, it might be detrimental to getting people to read it when it’s beyond a certain length. So this whole section that I cut off was on um how they view advisors, um counselors and, and things like that. And indeed, you know, uh two words to describe the entire section is that it’s very mixed. Um some um have great experience, some on the other end of the extreme is, um they thought the people they interacted with is just uh the advice weren’t very good or too obvious or that again, they can do it themselves. Why do I need to pay you so much money to tell me something I know already. And um, and by the way, that is somewhat parallel to their experience with uh fundraisers. So I don’t want to just put the hammer on um wild advisors and, and, and um tax advisors and whatnot. Um Because this idea that, oh, we know you’re wealthy, we know what you can do with your money, either for the benefit of yourself as well as for me or my organizations that really changed the dynamic of the conversations as well as the services, how services rendered and this to their relative to their expectations. Um So that’s why it’s not very helpful. I think just to come off and um list a bunch of things that they’re not happy with without being able to say what would be helpful. So I just removed the whole section and also in favor of keeping it at readable length. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you, Kate. I’d be grateful if you would rate and review the show on whatever podcast app you’re using. Uh, we’re a little, a little low on reviews, recent, recent reviews, uh and ratings. So I hope you would give it a five stars. Uh Certainly nothing below four, I would think, but five is best five is best. And if you could do a little review, I know it takes a little time, you know, it takes a few minutes. I understand that I’d be grateful if you could rate and review the show wherever fine podcasts are heard, wherever you’re listening, please do. Thank you very much. And that’s Tony’s take two. Don’t forget to rate and review. Now, look at the little jingle, Tony’s take two rate and review Kate. That was a very beautiful jingle. But yeah, don’t be afraid to rate and review and let us know what you’re thinking of the show. Not only, don’t be afraid, please go ahead and do it. Absolutely. Take the next step, go do it, do it. We’ve got book who but loads more time. So let’s return to your partnerships with FGWS, with Esther Choi. All right. Finally, these folks are lone Rangers. What does that mean? Um We touch upon it a little bit where we, um, you know, they are part of this new class of wealth. They’re like immigrants in some way, by the way, I really wanted to recommend a few books. Um Not just mine. Um, that really helped me round out my understanding. So this whole idea of, um, think of first generation wealth creators as immigrants. Um They have migrated from a different class altogether and enter into this world where the beliefs, um the values and oftentimes even language um are foreign to them. And although it’s great, this is paradise, um, they often find that there are uh tricky conditions, some even would say, um because their native born Children and grandchildren, um, don’t understand the privileged privileges that they were born and then they’ve gotten accustomed to. Um, and the, the cliche or the adage or however you want to want to call it, shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves, rice paddies to rice paddies, wealth does not last past three generations and they know that. And so when you think about this special land of paradise again, um by the way, this is a uh I learned it through the book called um uh Strangers In Paradise by James Grutman. Um their native born Children and grandchildren, statistically speaking will be deported back to harsher land where the first generation have migrated from. And um and here’s the kick Tony, I just, I just found it fascinating and this is why I can talk about this, you know, forever and ever mismanagement of their wealth, taxes and inflations and bad investments. All of those are more of and just the natural delusions from, you know, the couple to Children to grandchildren, right? All of those reasons are reasons for wealth not being able to last past three generations, but you will probably, I’ve never found any one cases or example or family where the story basically is. Well, grandpa and grandma gave it all the way to charity and left nothing to us. That’s why we’re poor again. You know, that just doesn’t happen. And so what my II I think what I really want to focus on, I think the opportunities for nonprofit is that what might there be an um different way to think about the conversations that you have with these donors where you help them solve a problem or maybe many problems and then you also help yourself um solve a problem. By the way, I’m getting like, way, way, way. This is a problem when we have no script. I’m getting like way away from the Lone Ranger questions. I bring you back. But that’s all right. But I think I’m getting to the whole thing. No, radio. No, no, you’re not. What you’re saying is still valuable. Don’t, don’t second guess yourself. What I, what I’m getting at is that it’s lonely to be first. It can be lonely to be first generation immigrant. Except that most immigrants have somehow found other immigrants. And they talk, they share notes, they commiserate, they help each other out. But um first generation wealth creators are particular type of immigrants where for all the reasons that we’ve talked about, they don’t actively look for help nor was real quality help. Um Readily available. Interesting, really fascinating analogy analogizing to, to immigrants. Um Did you, did you put any of them together? Uh uh uh since you met 20 of them and got to know them. So these folks that are uh feeling, lone, feeling, lone, I don’t know, lonely. I’m, I’m just using a word. I’m not saying they’re lonely in their lives. Maybe they are, but they’re lone rangers. Did you, did you uh put any of these folks together and say, look, you know, I met, I met so and so like 22 or three weeks ago and she was saying the same thing that you’re saying, you know, why don’t the two of you talk or would you be interested? You know, did you put any folks together to help them, uh, commiserate, at least help, maybe at best, help each other. I, I, I think I would, I would if I were asked but with these 20 because of the promise of confidentiality, um I don’t share their names or contacts with anyone. But um I have done uh webinars since then where I was asked. So how do you find these people? And then if, if they ask me, then I will help? OK. OK. Well, I’m like a connector. So I was thinking, you know, if I could get her permission, would you like to talk to her? Because the two of you are saying things that are really identical and maybe together you could help each other as well as having very similar questions. And this is where I was getting at the opportunity part. Um because they have asked questions like how much and when should I pass my asset to my kids and grandkids? It’s dealt with by um with wealth advisors on a very case, by case basis. And I think that should be, that’s the way it should be done. But what’s really sorely missing is, well, how do other families handle this right to your questions of? Well, there are other people like me, what do they do because they’re in my boat. Um So as well as questions like, how do I get in sync with my spouse? Um And then they also have questions on like, how do you truly vet um a non, a non for profit, you know, and how do you help? Not my, you know, the nonprofits that you support, uh become more efficient and they are aware that not coming off as because I’m a donor, I give money and um you should do what I tell you to do um Things like that, you know, that productive relationship with nonprofits. So there are endless questions like this that they can talk about, not just commiserate, although commiserating is, is great too. All right. I don’t know. I think you could be a connector, a major connector. Um And I notice uh I’ll leave that there. That’s, but, you know, the title of your research is transforming partnerships with major donors. So, so let’s, let’s let’s transition to some of those opportunities you talked about problem solving that could be mutually beneficial. How, how do, how would a fundraiser ceo uh uh approach someone with that with, with that kind of opportunity? Yeah. Yeah. So I want to break it down to um three steps. Um I want 123, a three step process. OK. Yeah. Well, yeah. OK. You can call it a three step process, but I didn’t invent it. You made it up. I think the first thing is you have to really think about the questions you asked them. And uh oftentimes how curious, how respectful for how informed you are, are all sussed out by the kind of questions you asked? Are your questions mostly really at the end of the day self serving? Um Or are you only focusing on a very narrow aspects of the donors? Um or are you really broadly interested in problem solving? Now, here’s another thing that entrepreneurs like to do, they like to solve problems. And oftentimes they take the same mindset towards nonprofit, am I really giving to an organization that are going to solve real major problems in the system uh system for way? Um So that’s the first thing is the questions that you ask and then two is reading once you really find out about uh uh you know, what you could learn from the donors is that really being able to pair what your nonprofits have to offer and that structure in a way as well as well as frame it in a way that um fits the mindset of. Um Well, oftentimes the folks are very busy, they know they need to do something but they’re very busy. So, um how is it, uh how do you make it easy for them, in other words? And then um the last thing I would say is um it would um how do you acknowledge them? Right. Um It sounds really obvious, right? You know, their stewardship program, there are people were involved in, uh, thanking donors. But what I’ve found is that people, uh, people thought there’s not enough. Thank you, or there’s too much. Thank you. And they’re not thank through the right medium. And so, uh, we’re not talking about, you know, $10.20 dollars where there are maybe hundreds and thousands of them and you can’t manage them one by one and customized it. But with major donors, it’s absolutely worth it to make sure that it’s customized to their preference and needs. So questions the way that you frame as well as the acknowledgment part. 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 each 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 your partnerships with FGWS and the, the acknowledgment of the stewardship is interesting um you say somewhere that uh the the they these folks have a hard time understanding uh the name on a building, you know, why that, why people find that appealing, why some donors find that appealing? So, so a brick and mortar in fundraising, you know, was a brick and mortar recognition would not necessarily be appealing to them, but, but finding out what is appealing comes from, you know, maybe this, this three steps is sort of iterative, right? And if you’re starting to get near uh near something promising, you wanna, you wanna be finding out too about what they would like in terms of acknowledgment. Yeah. Yeah. How would you like to be recognized? What’s important to you? So, I have a friend of mine who advised nonprofits with operations like this and um she helped one of them, she said, you know, what, why don’t you just, why don’t you just ask? So he did, he created a survey through Survey Monkey and, you know, they, they have more than a handful so they can’t just call them up and ask them individually. So he created AAA survey and he got over 70% response rate, which is really, really good, right? If you work for, for survey and um so the the survey basically center around 33 things. Um How would you like to be thanked? How often would you like to be thanked? And through which medium do you most prefer to be thanked. And it’s not only do they have really good feedback, but it’s such a positive gesture from the nonprofit to the donors saying, hey, we actually admit we don’t know, but we care and we should, we know what we don’t know and we care. And now we really would like to learn more from our donors. And that truly is a practical helpful informative donor centric step to take. And by the way, her name is Lisa Greer. She also has a incredibly helpful book called Philanthropy Um Revolutions. So it’s a mix of um it’s a mix of memoir. It’s a mix of uh research because she told her story, but she also has interviewed over 100 principal gift level donors and um and uh and the last mix of how tos so super helpful. How does Lisa spell her last name? GRE er Lisa Greer? What else? What else can you tell us Esther uh that uh in terms of approaching these folks? Um Ho how might you get? Uh I have a question for, I have a little more specific question. How about you get their attention? Oh, yeah, I know um getting the first meeting, it’s like 50 or 60 or I don’t know, 70% of the work just being able to get in the call. Um I, I think everything matters in the smallest amount of space, which is if you have no other ways to reach them. What do. Most people do emails and so make sure that your subject line is the most attention grabbing as well as intriguing possible. Um way to, to get people’s attention, by the way I have um I don’t know if I can memorize uh the, the, the four persona um off the top of my head. Oh, actually I do. I have it right in front of me. Um, my uh colleague, Scott Mord. Um, he is the longest serving CEO of YPO Global young president’s organizations. So these are a lot of the highly concentrated um first generation wealth um around the world, 30,000 of them around the world. Um He actually put the, their philanthropic tendencies in four ways. Um The idealist is the first one. Those are the ones that who want to make a true impact, uh long lasting impact, solve societal problem. Another one is called the legacy leader. Those are the one who really loves to leave, make sure their name last generations and generations that they are getting credit for the big impact that they made. The third one is called the model citizens. And those are the ones that look around and understand what is the highest and highest of highest level of service and they want to be there. And the philanthropic effort reflects that. And then the fourth one is called the Busy Big Week. That’s the ones who are busy, extremely busy and yet they know they should do something but they don’t know what and how and so back to your questions of how do you get their attention? I think you should first by starting with having a point of view of, of these four possibilities, which one is this person most likely going to be? And then once you have a persona in mind, then is a lot easier for you to craft a message with a subject line that is most intriguing and attention grabbing for you. I, I get, despite what my clients and friends and colleagues know about me, I still get these extremely bland and generic um email messages that are, you know, if you just replace the logo of the nonprofits that would fit anybody at all. And so, uh that would be the first thing I think about is have a persona in mind, even if you’re wrong, it’s ok, even if you’re wrong, at least you have a point of view about that person. But the upside is that even if you’re not 100% right? Just having the personal, that persona is going to help you speak to that person as if you know a lot about them already. Are you really only gonna get to them through an introduction or like if somebody has to give you their email or, I mean, there’s not a directory of first generation wealth creators. Is there now, I know yours was yours was anonymous but is there I don’t know. Is there a directory or something? And that’s a really interesting question is what I major in a really, really interesting question. I love the way you think about things Tony. Um, not only is, isn’t there one? Um, they really know how to, how to hide their wealth. You know, they believe in stealth wealth, not only because of the way they live their lives, but they know how to put things in all things and trust. And so everything comes through a different name and um data can help um the right kind of data and data enriching as well as data matching. Um It, I I don’t know a ton about it, but I know enough because there’s another company that I co-founded that like that’s all we do because in the old ways, how do you get names of donors? Right? You ask, you’re bored, that’s how you start a small organization starts. But um but then now, I mean, now we have social media and you can have a campaign and see who gives to that. And then you, then you do some research on those folks to see who, who might be uh have the capacity to do more and then you expand your relationship even with the others who may not have capacity but a willingness. But see, I I think there’s a lot in your current database that is not being fully utilized. That may be for some folks. Yeah, and, uh, well, because we’re talking about stealth wealth. I mean, yeah, that’s, that’s certainly possible. I mean, these, these folks live modest, live, modest means. I mean, uh, uh, at least outward. Um, I mean, what, 20 years ago there was the book The Millionaire next door. I mean, that’s essentially what we’re talking about. This is, there are more zeros now and there are more of them and we’re, we’re in a more financially mobile society now than we were 20 years ago. But the, the, the concept is the same that there are these hidden families of wealth that, uh, that are may very well be in your database. You know, then it was the, the millionaire next door. Now the millionaire in your, it’s the ultra high net worth in your database. Yeah. Yeah. And, and when you, you know, go back to the questions, the way that you ask questions of when you have an opportunity to talk to a donor directly, as well as the way that you ask questions about your databases that can really help you look for hidden millionaires billionaires right in front of you, right in front of your eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised that there are already, uh, but you aren’t, you, you’re not even aware that you’re pretty close when Lisa and I, um because of our share passion about this topic and she’s really doing it full time. I’m doing this. This is because this is my baby. Uh you know, the first time she wanted to make a principal gift um to um her local hospital. Um she budgeted for $2 million for um her hospital and it took the hospital seven months to pay attention to her and $2 million isn’t a small amount for that hospital. It is definitely a major amount, latent unconscious sexism. I’ve, I’ve heard this from women. I do plan to giving fundraising, but I’ve heard this many times from women just ignored when they, they made explicit overtures, not just subtle hints but explicit overtures. You know, I want to do this. I wanna remember the organization in my estate plan and, you know, ignored, repeatedly ignored. So, unfortunately, what you’re describing your friend Lisa’s uh I, I don’t think it’s so uncommon. I think it’s, I think there’s some, I think there’s just unconscious latent sexual uh um not sexuality. Uh sexism in uh yeah, in uh in, in, in, in fundraising. It’s, and money is left on the table as a result. I mean, aside from the morality of the uh of the, of that, that misunderstanding. Yeah. Yeah. So, so it’s, I haven’t seen quantitative research on just how frequently that happened, but that’s leases from her research from her personal experience from your experience. So I think there are actually plenty of money within reach of nonprofits that they probably have missed, but they didn’t know they have, we’re gonna leave it there. It’s perfect. Now you have opportunities and uh I know that our conversation has uh stimulated thinking about how to find these folks and how to transform your partnership with them. Esther Choi the, the research is transforming partnerships with major donors. I’ll give you the full title. Aligning the key values of first generation wealth creators and fundraisers in the age of winner takes all you get the research at leadership story lab.com. That’s where Esther’s company is. Leadership story lab and also at Leader Story lab, Ether Troy. I want to thank you very much. Thank you. This is such an invading conversation. Thank you for the opportunity and thanks for saying you were glad that I asked a question. You were one of the generous, generous guests. I’m glad you asked that. Oh, I got, I got chills. Thank you, Esther. Next week, publish your book, Thought Leader and you can blame me here. I thought that was gonna be this week’s show. I blundered just had it wrong. You, you, you’d think more attention would go into these things, but uh made a mistake. Definitely, it will be next week’s show uh short of uh natural disaster or illness or death. Uh It’ll be next week’s show if you missed any part of this week’s show, I do 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. Love that alliteration. Love it. Pass flexible, friendly fundraising forms. All right. Sorry, I just had to get that in and 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 Martinetti. The show Social Media is by Susan Chavez and Park 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 February 5, 2024: Zombie Loyalists


Peter ShankmanZombie Loyalists

Peter Shankman is a 5x best selling author, entrepreneur and corporate keynote speaker. His book “Zombie Loyalists” focuses on customer service; creating rabid fans who do your social media, marketing and PR for you. Peter’s book isn’t new, but his strategies and tactics are timeless. This originally aired 12/19/14.


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And 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 suffer the effects of brom hydros if I had to walk through the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate to introduce this week’s show. Hey, Tony now I’m on it. It’s zombie loyalists. Peter Shankman is a five time best selling author, entrepreneur and corporate keynote speaker. His book, Zombie Loyalists focuses on customer service creating rabid fans who dear social media marketing and pr for you. Peter’s book isn’t new, but his strategies and tactics are timeless. This originally aired December 19th 2014 on Tony’s Take Two. How’s your endowment 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 here is zombie loyalists. Peter Shankman is a well known and often quoted social media marketing and public relations strategist. His latest book is zombie loyalists. He wants you to create rabid fans who do your social media marketing and pr for you. He’s got super ideas and very valuable stories. I’m very glad Peter Shankman is with me in the studio. He’s the founder of Harrow, help a reporter out connecting journalists with sources in under two years from starting it in his apartment, Harrow was sending out 1500 media queries a week to more than 200,000 sources worldwide. It was acquired by Vocus in 2010. He’s the founder and CEO of the geek factory, a boutique social media marketing and pr strategy firm in New York City. Peter is on nasa’s civilian advisory council. You’ll find him at shankman.com and he’s at Peter Shankman on Twitter. His latest book is Zombie Loyalists using great service to create rabid fans. I’m very glad his book brings him to nonprofit radio and the studio. Welcome Peter. Good to be here, honey. Thanks. Pleasure you um live on the uh on the west side of Manhattan. I do. And you, there’s a, there’s a pretty well known five star steakhouse. Uh I’ll get Wolfgang’s not far from you, but you pass it to go to a different steakhouse. Morton’s correct. Why is that? I am a zombie loyalist to Morton’s. What does that mean? I uh love the service, the attention to detail, the quality, the, the sort of where everyone knows my name mentality. When I walk into that Mortons or any Mortons around the world, they have a tremendous uh custom relationship management system uh when I call one number uh in New York or anywhere in the world, it, it, they know who I am by my cell phone and uh I’m treated with uh just, you know, phenomenal uh uh happiness to, to hear from me and, and my wishes are granted as it were. I, we have a happy hour uh holiday party coming up at Morton’s next couple of days. And uh you know, as always, I forgot to call and make a reservation and, you know, I called yesterday and said, hey, I need a, uh, any chance I get a reservation for seven people, um, you know, Thursday night at, uh, 7 p.m. which is, you know, the, the week of the holiday party. And, uh, they looked and they said, oh, well, and then I guess their computer system kicked in, of course, Mr Shankman. Not a problem at all. We’ll get that for you right away. You know, we’ll have, we’ll have a great booth for you. Um, you know, and we’ll, we’ll, uh, tell us the names of the people attending, you know, you know, you know, they’re gonna have specialized menus for them and with their names on them. So they really, they have a really high level of service that, uh, that they provide. Not just to me that’s the beauty of it. I mean, you know, it’s one thing, yeah, it’s one thing if they just provide it to me, but they they do that for everyone. And, um, that is huge because, you know, being able to call when a normal person makes a reservation and, and not that I’m special, I’m actually rather abnormal. But, um, when a normal person makes a reservation and says, uh, you know, Morton says, ok, great. Are you celebrating anything? Oh, yeah, it’s my wife’s birthday. They always ask anyone who calls. I said, oh, you know what, it’s my wife’s birthday. Great. What’s her name? Her name is Megan or whatever. And you go in and they um and you sit down on the, on the, on the uh menu, it says Happy Birthday, Megan and then Megan, whoever she happens to be will spend the next 45 minutes, you know, taking 50 selfies with her menu and, and, and that’ll go online and then when her friends, you know, want that same experience, they’re gonna go Morton’s. You say uh in, in the book you get the customers you want by being beyond awesome to the customers you have. And that’s why I want to start with that Morton story which is in the middle of the book, but they do it for everybody and then they have the VIP S as well. And there’s the terrific story of you tweeting. Go tell that story. That’s a good story. It’s a good story. I love stories. I, I was flying home from a day trip to Florida and was exhausted and starving and, um, day trip mean you’re flying down, I flew down at 6 a.m. at a lunch meeting, flew back the same day. You know, one of those, one of those days. And, uh, I jokingly said the tweet, hey Mortons, why don’t you meet me at Newark Airport when I land with a poer house in two hours? Ha ha ha, ha, ha. Um, you know, I said it the same way you’d say, hey, winter, please stop snowing things like that. And I landed, uh, find my driver and sit next to my driver is a, uh, is a, a waiter in a tuxedo with a Morton’s bag. Uh, they saw my Tweet, they, they put it together, they managed to bring me a, uh, a, uh, steak and, and, you know, as great of a story as it is. That’s, that’s, it’s a great stunt and it’s a great story and it wasn’t a stage and it was completely amazing. But, you know, that’s not what they’re about. They’re not about delivering steaks to airports. They’re about making a great meal for you and treating you like royalty when you come in. And, you know, I, I, if they just did that, if they just delivered the steak at the airport, but their quality and service sucked. You know, it wouldn’t be a story. He said, oh, you know, look what they did for Peter, but I, you know, my steaks cold, you know, so what it really comes down to is the fact they do treat everyone like kings and that’s, that’s really, really important because what winds up happening is you have a great experience at Morton’s and then you tell the world, you know. Oh, yeah, great dinner last night. That was amazing. I would totally eat there again. And as we move to this new world where, you know, review sites are going away and I don’t, I don’t need to go to Yelp to read reviews from people. I don’t know, you know, if they’re shills or whatever the case may be, I don’t know, or tripadvisor, same thing. I want people in my network who I trust and, and people in their network who they trust and then by default I trust. So that’s gonna be, that’s already happening automatically. You know, when I, when I land in L A and I type in steakhouse, uh, you know, not me. I know, I know where the steakhouse are in L A but if someone types into Google Maps or Facebook steakhouse in Los Angeles, you know, they’ll see all the steakhouses on a Google map. But if any of their friends have been to any of them, they’ll see those first. And if they had a good experience, only if the sentiment was positive, will they see those first? And that’s pretty amazing because if you think about that, the simple act of tweeting out a photo. Oh, my God. Thanks so much, Mortons love this. That’s positive sentiment. The network knows that. And so if you’re looking for a steakhouse, you know, and your friend six months ago had that experience. Oh my God, amazing steak. This is a great place there. The sentiment is gonna be there and, and, and the network will know that the network will show you that steakhouse because you trust your friend. And this is where we start to cultivate zombie loyalists through this, through this awesome customer service of the customers. You, you have, uh say more about zombies. I mean, you have so many companies out there who are trying to get the next greatest customer. You know, you see all the ads, um, you know, the, the, the, the, the Facebook post, you know, we’re at 990 followers, our 10, our 1/1000 follower gets a free gift. Well, that’s kind of saying screw you to the original 990 followers who you had, who were there since the beginning? We don’t care about you. We want that 1000. You know, that’s not cool. Um, the, the, the companies who see their numbers rise and who see their fans increase and their, their, um, um, revenues go up are the ones who are nice to the customers. They have, hey, you know, customer 852 it was really nice of you to join us a couple of months ago. How, you know how are you, we, we noticed that you posted on something about a, uh, you know, your car broke down. Well, you know, we’re not in the car business but, you know, you’re, you’re two blocks from our, our closest, uh, outlet or whatever and, you know, once you, if you, if you need to come in, have a free cup of coffee, we’ll use the phone, whatever. You know, those little things that you can do that, that, that really focus on the customers you have and make the customers, you have the ones who are the zombies who tell other customers how great you are. And this all applies to nonprofits certainly as well. I mean, the, the, but even more so, I mean, if you, you know, nonprofits are constantly worried about how to, how to make the most value out of their dollar and how to keep the dollar stretching further and further. And, uh, you know, you have this massive audience who, who has come to you, who’s a nonprofit and who said to you, you know, we wanna help here, we are volunteering our help and just simply treating them with the thanks that they deserve. Not just a simple, hey, thanks for joining car, but actually reaching out asking what they want, asking how they like to get their information, things like that will greatly increase, um, your donations as well as, um, making them go out and tell everyone how awesome you are. And letting them do your pr for you. And that’s what a zombie loyalist does. And, and this is for, this could be, donors could be volunteers to the organization who aren’t able to give a lot. But giving time is enormous. And if, you know, if they have such a great time doing it, they’ll bring friends as, as zombies. Do you know, zombies have one purpose in life. Real zombies have one purpose in life that’s to feed. It doesn’t matter how the Mets are doing. It doesn’t matter, you know, because a chance that they lost anyway. But it doesn’t matter how, uh how anyone’s doing, you know, or what’s going on in the world economy. It doesn’t matter what matters with a zombie. Where are they gonna get their next meal? Because they feed and they have to infect more people otherwise they will die. Zombie loyalists are the same thing. All they have to do is make sure that their custom, they, they tell the world and we all have that friend who does it. You know, that one friend who eats, eats nothing but the Olive Garden because, oh my God, it’s greatest breadsticks everywhere. You know, and they will drag your ass to the Olive Garden every single time they get that chance. That’s a zombie loyalist. And you want them to do that for your nonprofit. And there’s, there’s a big advantage to being a smaller, a smaller organization. You could be so much more high touch and we’re gonna talk about all that. We got the full hour with Peter Shankman. We gotta go away for a couple of minutes. Stay with us. 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. 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 costs. Try donor box live kiosk and revolutionize the way you collect donations in 2024 visit donor box.org to learn more. Now back to zombie loyalists, Peter, it doesn’t take much to uh stand out in the customer service world does it, it really doesn’t, you know, and the reason for that is because we expect to be treated like crap. You know, if you think that III I love this example. Whenever I give speeches, I ask, I ask everyone in the audience, I’m like, who here has had a great flight recently? At least one person will raise their hand. I’m like, ok, what made it great? And without fail, their answer said, well, we took off on time and, and I had the seat I was assigned and we landed on time and like, so you paid for a service, they delivered that service and you’re over the freaking moon about it. Like, that’s the state that we’ve become. You know, that’s how bad customer service has been that you are just beyond thrilled that they did exactly what they said they were gonna do with nothing more, less than 20 minutes in the post office line. And I’m ecstatic. Exactly. You know, it’s, it’s so, we really are at a point where we only have to be one level above crap. I, I’m not even asking my clients to be good. Just one level of crap. You know, if everyone else is crap and you’re one level above that, you’re gonna win. It’s my favorite, one of my favorite jokes. Um, the, uh, the two guys are out in the woods, hunting out in the woods and the, or just jogging out in the woods. The first one sees a, a bear and they see this bear and the bear is raised up and he’s about to strike. And the first one, you know, reaches down and tightens up his, his laces on his running shoes. And the second one says, dude, don’t be, don’t be, don’t be an idiot. You can’t run a bear. And he says, I don’t need to, I just need to outrun you. You know, I love that joke because it’s, it’s so true. That’s the concept. You know, all you have to do is be just a little bit better than everyone else and, and you’ll win the whole ball game. Now, we have to set some things up internally in order to have the, the structure in place to create these, the zombie loyalists. Yeah. I mean, you have a, you have a company where the majority of people in your company are afraid to do anything outside the norm. You know, I mean, look at, look at a cell phone company, you know, they, you call them because you have a problem right AT&T or T Mobile, you call them, you have a problem. They are actually the customer service people that handle your call are actually judged and rewarded based on how quickly they can get you off the phone. You know, not on whether or not they fix your problem, but how fast they can get you off the phone, which means how many more calls they get. I remember I worked, uh, when I worked in America online, we all had to do a day of customer service every month just to see what it was like, which I thought was a brilliant idea. But, you know, again, it’s this, it’s, it was a system called V I where you’d sign on and as soon as you signed on, if you weren’t in a call, you know, that was tacked against you. And if you were in a call and, and it went over a certain amount of time, that was tacked against you. So the decks were stacked not in the favor of the customer. There are some companies out there who allow their customer service employees to simply be smarter about what they do and do whatever it is they need to do to fix the problem. Um You know, my favorite story about this is Verizon Wireless. I, I went overseas, I was in Dubai and I landed in Dubai and I turned on my phone, I had gotten global roaming on my phone which, you know, 20 bucks for every 100 megabytes. Ok. So I land and I turn on my phone and it says, um, uh, like before I’m even off the plane, I get a text that you’ve used $200 in roaming charges. I’m like, what the hell, you know, $300 by the time I get off the plane, I’m like, something’s up here. So I call Verizon and a nice guy answered the phone and, oh, yes, I mean, you know, the first thing is it was, yes. So you do have global roaming but it, it doesn’t work in Dubai. So I’m like, ok, well, that’s not really global, that’s more hemispherical roaming I think is, is the issue. And um, so he, uh I said, well, look, I’m gonna be here for a week. I said, you know what? You have my credit card on file bill me like, I don’t know. Can you bill me like 1000 bucks and just let me have the phone for like the week and you know, that, you know, or 500 bucks, I won’t go over two gigs. Well, just do something for me. Sorry, sir. I’m not authorized to do that. Um, you can, I’m like, so what do I have? He’s like, well, you can pay, uh, $20.48 a megabyte. I’m like, I’m sorry, seriously, which equates essentially to, I would be charged $20.48 seconds, $20.48 for every, I think at the time for every four seconds of the video, Gangnam style if I decided to watch it on my phone, like this is pretty ridiculous. So I simply hung up, hung up on Verizon. I went down the street to the Dubai, the mall of the Emirates, which is the largest mall in the world. Has a freaking ski slope in it. And I’m not joking. It has a ski slope in this mall and uh went to one of like the 86 different electronic stores in this mall. Uh bought an international unlocked version of the same exact cellphone. I have went next door to the local uh SIM card store, bought a SIM card that gave me 20 gigabytes of data and 1000 minutes of talk for $40. I then put that in my phone because it’s an Android phone. I simply typed in my user name. And password for Google and everything imported. And Verizon did not get a penny on that trip. Um, how easy would have been for Verizon to say, ok, you know what, we’ll cut your break. Uh, they’d still make a lot of money off me and I would tell the world how great Verizon was to work with and how wonderful they, how helpful they were. Instead, they guaranteed that I will never, that they will never make a penny for me on any international trip. And I take what, 15 of them a year because now my cell phone, um my international cell phone that I bought, all I do is pop out the SIM card and I land wherever I am put in a new SIM card. So, and you’re speaking and writing and telling bad stories and every time I tell the story about Verizon, I make it a little worse. Apparently, Verizon uh tests out the durability of their phone by throwing them at kittens. I read this on the internet. It must be true, but, you know, not necessarily, but you know, the concept that, that all they had to do, all they had to do was empower Mark customer service and it wasn’t Mark’s fault. Mark was a really nice guy, but he was not allowed to do that. He would have gotten fired if he tried to do a deal like that for me. And so it’s this concept, you know, and the funny thing is, is it comes down to, if you really wanna go, go down the road in terms of a public company like Verizon of, of, of where the issue is, you could even trace it to fiduciary responsibility because the fiduciary responsibility of any company CEO all the way down to the employee is to make money for the shareholders. Ok. That’s what fiti responsibility means by not allowing me by not allowing mark the customer service agent to, to help me and, and take a different tack. He’s actually losing money too many CEO S think about the next quarter. Oh, we have to make our numbers next quarter. I’m fired. Companies in other countries tend to think about the next quarter century and they make a much bigger difference because they think, ok, what can we do now that will have impact in the next 5, 1015 years, you know, and really implement the revenue that we have and, and augment and companies in America. Don’t, don’t tend to think about that and that’s a big problem. Um, I, I buy a product line, uh, that has a lot of natural and recycled materials in the seventh generation. And their, um, their tagline is that in, in, in our every decision, we must consider the impact on the next seven generations. It comes from an American Indian. It’s a great, it’s a great line. I mean, just think about how much money Verizon would have made for me in the past three years. Just, just in my overseas, you’d be telling a story about like them, about Morton’s like the one about MS, you know, look, a lot of people listen to me and they went for a time when you googled roaming charges. When you Google Verizon roaming charges. My story about how I saved all this money came up first because I did the math. And if I had not called Mark and bought my own cell phone and done this, I would have come home to a $31,000 cell phone bill and you know, damn well, Verizon wouldn’t know anything about that. They’d be like, oh, too bad, sorry about the fine print. And plus the, the employee who sold you the international plan. I’m sure you told her where you going, I’m going to Canada and I’m going to Dubai. I’m assuming she didn’t know where Dubai was. She probably thought it was near Canada. But uh long story short, I couldn’t use it. All right. So employees have to be empowered. There has to be, we have to be but changing AAA thinking too. I mean, the customer has to come first. The donor of the volunteer donor, the teer you get at the end of the day. Where’s your money coming from? I don’t care if you’re a nonprofit or fortune 100. Where’s your money coming from? You know, and if you, we see it happening over and over again. We see it. Right. You’re seeing it right now. Play out every single day with the company, Uber. Um, and Uber, it’s so funny because Uber makes, uh, you know, they’re valued at $40 billion right now. But that doesn’t mean anything, that doesn’t mean anything if people are running away in droves which people are, there’s a whole delete your Uber app movement. Oh God. Yeah, people are leaving. Uh Well, it’s several. Number one that Uber is run by a bunch of guys who honor the bro code. The company was actually started by a guy who on business in business insider said he started the company to get laid. Um His goal was to always have a black car when he was leaving a restaurant uh to impress the girl he was with. That’s he came out and said that and you see that culture run rampant throughout Uber um from their God mode where they can see they actually created. There was a uh uh I don’t know where I read this. It might have been Business Insider as well. There was a, they created a hookup page that showed or, or, or, or a walk of shame page that showed where uh women were leaving certain apartments like on weekends and going or leaving certain place on weekends, going back to their home. Um It was obvious that they, you know, met some guy and they did that and then, of course, just their, their whole surge pricing mentality, which is, you know, two days ago there was a, uh, a couple of days ago there was a, uh, the terrorist, uh, I think it was a terrorist attack in Sydney, uh, at that, at that bakery and Sydney, uh, Uber in Sydney instituted surge pricing for people trying to get out of harm’s way. You know? And, and they, they later refunded it. Oh, it was a computer glitch. I’m like, you know, I’m sorry, you, you have a stop button and you can, when you see something happening like that, there has to be someone in the office who can say, you know what? Not cool. We’re gonna take care of that and then hit the stop button and it was, yeah, bad, tons and tons and tons of bad publicity. And, you know, I was having an argument with someone on my Facebook page at facebook.com/peter Shankman because they said, oh, you know, um, so what they don’t, they don’t turn on surge pricing. They don’t have enough cabs there and, you know, people can’t get home. I said I’m pretty sure that the only company I’m sure that no one had cab companies there. I’m sure that there wasn’t anyone who had enough cars there, private cabs, Ubers, whatever yet. The only stories I read about companies screwing up during that event were Uber, not Joe’s Sydney cab company. You know, I didn’t see him screwing it up because he didn’t turn on surge pricing. You gotta, you gotta respect your customer. You have to, as we’re uh training for that, then not only uh trying to change that mindset, well, in, in trying to change that mindset rewards for, for customer, for employees that, that do take go do go the extra mile. Well, first of all, if you give the employees the ability to do it to go the extra mile and understand they won’t get fired. You’re not gonna get in trouble. I I always tell, tell every one of my employees, you’re never gonna get in trouble for spending a little extra money to try and keep a customer happy. You’ll get fired for not doing it. You know, you get fired for not for seeing an opportunity to fix someone and not taking it, not doing everything that you know, Ritz Carlton is famous for that. Ritz Carlton hires people not because whether they could fold the bed sheet but for how well they understand people because in Ritz Carlton’s mind, it’s much more important to be a people person and be able to be empathetic and that is such a key word. Empathy is just so so sorely lacking. You know how many you’ve called customer service? Yeah. You know, I have to, I have to change my flight. My, my, my aunt just died. I really need to get home. Ok, great. That’s $300. I just wanna go an hour earlier, you know, you show up at the airport, your bag is overweight by half a pound. That’s $75. I just, I can, you can, you just cut me some slack. Nope, you know, so empathy and giving the cust, giving the employee the ability to understand that the customer that sometimes you can make exceptions and it is ok to make changes and, and this is where a smaller organization has huge advantage and it’s easier to change. That’s what kills me. You know, I go to these, I, I try to frequent small businesses when I can, I go to some of these small businesses and they won’t, they, they act like large businesses, you know, in the respect that, that they don’t have a, like, they wanna be respected almost. They don’t have like a six, a 6000 page code that they have to adhere to. They can simply, uh, do something on the fly and yet for whatever reason they won’t do it. And, and it’s the most frustrating thing is like, guys, you, you’re acting like a big, you’re acting like mega Laar here, you know, and you’re not Mega Lamar and you’re just Joe’s House of stationery, whatever it is and, you know, not being able to help me, you’re pretty much killing yourself because you don’t have 85 billion customers that have come through the door after me, you know. But I have a pretty big network and for a small business to get killed socially as social becomes more and more what, how we communicate. You know, it’s just craziness. It’s, you know, we’re, we’re pretty much in a world, I think where something almost hasn’t happened to you. Unless, unless you share it. I joked that, uh, you know, if I can’t take a selfie was I really there. Um, but it’s true, you know, we, we do live in a world where, you know, I, I remember God 10 years ago, maybe not even, not even 10 years ago. I was one of the first people to have a phone in my camera, you know, and it was like a new phone. That’s what I said, yeah, camera in my phone, right? And it was like a uh I think it was like a 0.8 megapixel. You know, it looked like I was taking a picture with a potato but it was, um it was this, I remember it was 2002 and I was in Chase Bank and there was a woman arguing with the teller and I pulled out my video, you know, it was, I mean, it was the crappiest video you’ve ever seen. But I pulled it out and I said, you know, II I started recording and the, the woman behind the woman behind the counter was going, the woman behind the counter was talking to the customer saying you do not speak to me that way. You get out of this bank right now. And the customer was saying I just wanted my balance and you and the manager comes over and I get this whole thing on my little crappy three G uh Motorola phone phone. And I, I remember I posted online and gawker picks it up and II I gave him, I, I emailed it, you know, I, my, the headline I put on my blog was, you know, Chase where the right relationship is at. Go after yourself, you know, and it was, and it just got tons of play and then gawker picked it up. It went everywhere, totally viral. So it’s one of those things you’re just like, you know, this is in 2002. It’s 12 years later. How the hell can you assume that nothing is being that you’re not being recorded? You know, I, I, I remember blowing, I, I sneezed a couple of weeks ago and, and, uh, uh not to get too graphic here, but it was, I, I needed a tissue big time after I was done sneezing. And I remember going through my pockets looking for desperately looking for tissue and like looking around making sure I wasn’t on camera somewhere that someone didn’t grab that and it was give me the next viral sensation, you know, I mean, I wait, God, I went to high school with eight blocks from here, right? If the amount of cameras that are in Lincoln Center today. Were there in 1989 1990. I’d be having this conversation entirely. I’d be having this conversation behind bulletproof for myself. And you’d be, yeah. So, you know, you’d be, you’d be talking to me, you’d have to get special clearance to visit me. Probably be at the, the Super Max in Colorado or something. So, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s one of those things that you’re just like my kid who’s, who’s almost two years old now is gonna grow up with absolutely no expectation of privacy the same way that we grew up with an expectation of privacy. And I’m thankful for that because she will make a lot less stupid moves. You know, I mean, God, the things that I thought, you know, in, in, in, in high school, I thought the stupidest thing in the world. Thank God. There wasn’t a way for me to broadcast that to the world in real time. Jeez. Thank God creating these uh zombie loyalists. And you know, we’ve got to change some, we’ve got to change culture and thinking and reward systems. Let’s go back to the, the cost of all this. Why is this a better investment than trying to just focus on new donors? I, I love, I love this analogy and I’ll give you a fun analogy. Let’s, I’m in a bar and there’s a very cute girl across the, across the bar and she catches my eye catch her, I go up to her and I go, you know, you don’t know me. I am amazing in bed. You should finish your drink right now. Come home. Let’s get it on. I’m, I’m gonna impress I’m that good chances are she’s gonna throw a drink in my face. Go back talking to her friends. I’ve done a lot of research on this. That’s probably something I was gonna do now. Let’s assume, let’s assume an alternate world. I’m sitting there on my phone, I’m just playing like, you know, some, you know, words with friends or something like that. And, uh, she’s over there talking to her friends and one of her friends look up said, holy crap. That’s Peter. I think that’s Peter Shankman. I’ve heard him speak. I, he’s in this fantasy world. I’m single too today. He, I think he’s single and he’s having this amazing guy. I, I know he has a cat. You have a cat. You should totally go talk to him at the very least. I’m getting this girl’s number. That’s pr ok. And what do we trust more? Me with my, you know, fancy suit collar going over there in my seventies, leisure suit. Hi. I’m amazing. Or the girl saying, hey, we’ve been friends since third grade. I’m recommending that guy. You should trust me on this. You know, obviously that, that’s where, uh, good customer service comes into play and that’s where corporate culture comes into play because if I have a great experience with you and at your company, I’m gonna tell my friend when they’re looking and I will stake my personal reputation on it and there’s nothing stronger than that. And these are the people who want to breed as Zz Willis that’s stronger than advertising, stronger than marketing. And they’re gonna share, people wanna share that. Think about the, the internet runs on two things. It runs on drama, drama, and bragging or bragging and drama. And if you, if you need uh any proof of that, you know, go and look at all the hashtags with crap that’s happened, you know, bad customer service, bad whatever. But then look at all the good hashtags you know it when our flights delayed for three hours and we lose our seat. Oh my God, I hate this airline, you know, worst airline ever but when we get upgraded, right? Hashtag first class bitches or whatever it is, you know, something stupid like that and the whole because we love to share. It’s, it’s only a great experience if we could tell the world and it’s only a bad experience if we can make everyone else miserable about it as well. Its time for Tonys take two. Thank you, Kate. How’s your endowment endowment? That savings account that your nonprofit has that you only spend the interest of each year and maybe sometimes you don’t even spend that much from year to year planned giving. Can help you either launch your endowment if you don’t have one or grow your endowment if it needs to be bigger. And I don’t know many nonprofits that think uh we have enough, our endowment is big enough. We don’t need any more and giving accelerator. I will help you in the accelerator to launch planned giving so that you can start your endowment or grow your endowment throughout the three months of the course, We go March to May done by Memorial Day. So there’s no impinging on your summer plans. We’ll spend an hour a week together on Zoom over those 12 weeks and I will guide you step by step. Had a launch Planned Giving at your nonprofit. I set those weekly meetings up as meetings in Zoom. So there’s lots of cross talk between the members. People are helping each other. There’s a lot of peer support. Uh Aside from the teaching that I’m doing uh each week, if thats of interest to you, please check out Planned Giving accelerator.com promoting the course in uh the rest of this month. And then it starts in early March. That is Tony’s take two Kate. It sounds like a very valuable course. We hope people join. Yes, we do. You’re right about that. We’ve got Buku but loads more time. Let’s go back to zombie loyalists with Peter Shankman. Peter. You have a uh golden rule of social media that a good number of customers like to share and people are gonna keep doing it. People will always share. Um, again, it goes back to the concept that if you create great stuff, people wanna share it because people like to be associated with good things. If you create bad stuff and by stuff, I can mean, I mean, anything from like a bad experience to bad content, people not only won’t share that, but we go out of their way to tell people how terrible you are. Um, you know, how many times have you seen companies fail horribly, uh, you know, after major disasters when companies are tweeting, um, you know, completely unrelated things. Uh, uh, after, after a random school shooting. Uh, no, it was after the, uh, the, the shooting at the, the theater in Aurora, Colorado at the Dark Knight. Um, the Nr A tweets, hey, shooters, what’s your plans for this weekend? You know, and I’m just sitting there going really, you know, but, and of course, the thing was, the thing was retweeted millions of times, you know, with a sort of shame on the NR A. So we, we’re a society like I said earlier that loves to share when, when great things happen to us, but loves to tell the world when we’re miserable because we’re only truly miserable when we make everyone else miserable around us. Um, it’s funny you mentioned, uh, um, the Generosity series, uh, the, one of my favorite stories which goes to sort of a uh a bigger picture of culture and um somehow when you’re just doing your job because that’s what you’re, you’re supposed to do your job. But you don’t realize there are ways to get around that. I, I listen to your podcast among others uh when I’m running through Central Park. Um and more like if you know, my body type, more like lumbering through Central Park. But I, I get there, I’m an iron man. I have, I have that and um so I go through Central Park and it’s super early in the morning because I usually have meetings and I don’t run fast. Um I run like, I really don’t run fast but, but as I’m running, but let’s give you the credit. You have done a bunch of iron man. I do, I do it. You know, my mother tells me that I just have very poor judgment in terms of what sports I should do. But um on the flip side, I’m also a skydiver, which is with my weight is awesome. I fall better than anyone. Um But uh so I’m running through Central Park last year. It was February, uh February 13 and 14. It was of this year. And um it was probably around 445 in the morning because I had a uh I had an 8 a.m. meeting and I had to do 10 miles. So 445 in the morning, I’m running at around 90 79th 80th street on the east side in the park. And a cop pulls me over and he says, what are you doing? And I look at him, you know, I’m wearing black spandex. I have a hat. It’s five degrees and I’m like, what, what playing checkers? You know what, you know, I’m like, I’m running and he, he’s like, ok, can you stop running? I’m like, ok, he’s like the park’s closed. I’m like, no, it’s not like I’m in it. Look around, there are other people. No park doesn’t open until 6 a.m. I’m like, he’s like, uh, do you have any idea on you? I’m like, no, I’m running. He goes, what’s your name? I’m like, seriously. He said, I’m writing you a summons. I’m like, you’re writing me a summons for exercising for I for ex, I just wanna clarify this. You’re writing music and sure enough, the guy wrote me a summons for exercising in Central Park before it opened. The, the charge was breaking the violating curfew. You know, I’m like, I get the concept of the curfew. It’s to keep people out after 2 a.m. It’s not to prevent them from going in early to exercise, to be healthy. I’m like, I’m not carrying, you know, a six pack. I’m not drinking a big gulp. I’m not smoking. I’m, I’m, you know, I’m, I’m doing something healthy and you’re writing me a summons for it. Um, and I said, you know, I’m gonna have a field day with this. I said iii I kinda have some followers. This is gonna be a lot of fun. I’m not, you know, I know you’re just doing your job, sir, even though you have the discretion not to. But ok, so I go back home, I take a picture of my ticket. I email it to a friend of mine of the New York Post, you know, front page, New York Post next day. No, running from this ticket, you know, front page, of course, that’s great. New York Times covered it. Uh Runners world covered it. I mean, I went everywhere, gawker covered it, you know, and, and my whole thing was, it’s just like, dude, you have discretion. Look at me, you know, I’m not, I’m not even going super fast for God’s sake. I’m just, I’m just trying to exercise here, you know, and of course I went to court and I, I beat it. But how much money did it cost the city for me to go to court? Fight this thing. You know, every employee you have to give your employees the power of discretion, the power of empathy to make their own decisions. If you go by the book, bad things will happen. And again, small shops so much easier to do flat line flat organizations. I, I work with a nonprofit um animal rescue, no profit. Um A friend of mine was a skydiver and uh shout him out. What’s the, I can’t, there’s a reason I can. But, but there’s a friend of mine was a skydiver and she was killed in a base jump several years ago. And her husband asked to donate in her memory to this nonprofit. So I sent him a check. And about three months later I get a coffee table book in the mail. And I was living by myself at the time I didn’t own a coffee table. It was, you know, more money to spend on my flat screen. And um I uh I remember I call, I, I look at this coffee table, I throw, I throw it in the corner, I look at it over the next couple of days. It pisses me off about how much, how much of my donation did it cost to print mail and produce this book to me. And so I, I called them up. Well, sir, we believe most of our donors are older and probably prefer to get a print version as opposed to like digital, you know, where they’d throw it away and like, you don’t throw digital away, but ok. Um I’m like, so, so you’ve asked your, you’ve done surveys and you’ve asked all, no, we just assume that most of them are older. I’m like, ok, so I opened my mouth wound up joining their board and I spent the next year interviewing uh customers interviewing every current and past donor about how they like to get their information and shock of shock, 94% said online. And so over the following year, we launched Facebook page, Twitter page, uh um uh Flickr account, uh youtube everything PS The following year for that donations went up 37% in one year. In that economy. It was right around 0809 donations went up 37% in one year and they saved over $500,000 in printing, mailing and reproduction. Imagine going to your boss, hey, boss, revenue is up 37% and we saved a half million dollars. Your boss is gonna buy you a really good beer. You know, all they had to do was listen to their audience be relevant to the audience you have and they will tell you what they want. We have tons of tools for segmentation. You gotta listen to what segment you wanna, people wanna be in. You know, someone, someone asked me the other day. So what, what’s the best? I, I knew nothing about their company. What’s the best uh social media I left for me to be on, should I be on Twitter or should I be on Facebook? I said, I’ll answer that question if you can answer this, this question, I’m gonna ask you is my favorite type of cheese Gouda or the number six. And they say, I don’t understand. That’s not a real question. I’m like, neither is yours. Like I can’t tell you where the best place to be your audience? Can I said, go ask your audience, believe me, they will tell you there’s a gas station in the Midwest. Come and go. Um, I, I just love the name Kum and go, come and go and you can read more about the, their tagline is always something extra. I mean, come on the jokes, just write them for god’s sake. But, um, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. I love that and knowing the name of the company gas station. And, um, you know, I, I like, I remember they were in Iowa and I went up to visit a friend in Iowa and I was like, you gotta get a photo of me in front of the come and go sign, you know, and, um, the beauty of this is that some of their employees actually look at their customers when they’re on their phones in the stores and go, oh, you know, what do you use Twitter more? Or Facebook? And they say, oh, I use that and they record that information and they know it. God customers will give you so much info if you just ask them because then they feel invested, they feel invested in your company. They feel like they, that you took the time to listen to their nonprofit request or their, their, their questions and they feel like they’re, I did it for Harrow every month. We’d have a one question. Harrow survey, you know, Harrow one question survey. And it was, we get like 1000 people respond and I’d spend the entire weekend emailing everyone who responded and thanking them personally, took my entire weekend. But it was great because what would wind up happening is that, you know, if we took their advice and launched it on Monday with the new thing? They go, oh my God. How did this for me? They took my advice. Well, yeah, it was your advice to 800 other people’s advice. But we took it and they’d be like, oh my God, it’s a good thing. And, and it just, it just made them so much more loyal and they’d tell hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people we’d get, I mean, there were days my God, there were days I remember I was in temple one morning, the garment center synagogue and my phone, I feel my phone getting really hot in my pocket, which is not normal and I was starting to hurt and I look at it, I, it’s, it’s almost on fire. It had frozen because we were mentioned in Seth Godin’s morning blog. And at that time I was getting uh emails every time we get a new subscriber and the phone is actually frozen and was locked and, and was like overheating. I take out the battery and like reset the entire phone because we just got so many new, like 14,000 subscribers in like three hours. It’s obscene, it’s obscene. You say, excuse me, you say uh that customer service is the new advertising. Marketing. N pr It really is. Well, again, you know, if we’re moving into that world where, so imagine a lava lamp. And I love that. I can use this analogy. Imagine a lava lamp. A lava lamp has water, oil and a heat source, right? The heat source heats the oil, the oil flows through the water. It makes pretty colors. I’ve heard it looks really good when you’re high. Now, I’ve heard. Now, imagine if, oh, crystals. Imagine if you’re, uh, everyone you meet in your network. Ok. Is a drop of oil? The water is your network and the water is your world. Everyone you meet in your network. Uh, from, from the guy you’re sitting doing the radio interview with, to the guy who serves you ice cream with local deli to the guy who does your dry cleaning to your girlfriend, to your wife. To not at the same time to your kid’s second grade teacher, to your second grade teacher years ago. Everyone you meet is in your network. You know, right now when Facebook first started, I would see the same weight from a kid. I went to junior high school with, he, his post would have the same weight as like my current girlfriend. Which is ridiculous. I don’t need to know about everything. My friend from junior high school is doing. I haven’t talked to the kid in 15 years. Facebook’s gotten a lot smarter as has Google. Now, I see the people I communicate with the most. Ok. And if I, if I reach out and communicate with new people, they start rising in my feet in my stream. If I don’t they fall, it’s just like a lava lamp. Every person you connect with is a drop of oil. That heat source at the bottom that’s rising, raising or lowering. Those drops of oil is relevance. So if you imagine the heat source is relevance and the more I interact with someone, the more the higher they go in my network and the more I see of them, the more trust level there is when I’m at a bar and I meet someone or at a restaurant or conference, I meet someone. I don’t need to um connect them. I don’t need to go on Facebook and friend request them. You know how awkward friend requesting is when you stop and think that last time my friend requested someone in the real world was second grade. Will you be my friend? My daughter’s doing that now she goes, you know, she goes, it’s like the cat. Will you be my friend? I’m like, honey, the cat doesn’t wanna be your friend. But you know, it’s this awkward thing who the hell friend requests someone anymore. If I’m, if I’m hanging out with you at a bar and we connect again and we talk and we go out to dinner and we’re having a good time. We’re friends. I don’t need to first request that you, you know, so that’s going away. Friending following liking and fanning is all going away. What will interact is the actual connection. So, if I meet with you and I have a good time with you and we talk again if I use your business. If I go to your nonprofit, if I donate, if I volunteer, whatever the network knows that the more I do that, the more I interact with you, the more you have the right to market to me and the more you will be at the top of my stream and the more I will see information about you, the less I will have to uh uh search for you. But if you do something stupid or we’re no longer friends see you, you’re gonna fade. I don’t have to unfriend you. You just disappear. Unfriending is also awkward. I dated a woman. We broke up, but it was nine months after we broke up, either of us wanted to unfriend the other one because it was just awkward. So I, I woke up in front of me anyway. But you know, the concept of not having to, to do that of just, you know, OK, I haven’t talked to you in a while. I don’t see your posts anymore. It’s the real world. That’s how it should be, and if you’re not feeding zombie loyalists, they can start to defect. So I, I want to spend a little time on if you’re not talking to them, giving them what they want, talking about their information, helping them out, they will gladly go somewhere else to someone who is, you know, if I have a great experience with the restaurant, uh, every week for three years and then all of a sudden over time, I’m noticing less and less that restaurant’s doing less and less to uh take care of me, you know, and maybe management’s changed and I don’t feel that uh you know, I’m ripe for being infected by another company. I’m ripe for someone else to come and say, you know, Peter. Uh cause if I tweet something like, wow, I can’t believe I have to wait 40 minutes for a table. It didn’t used to be like that. If I, if someone else is a smart restaurant, they’re following me and they’re gonna be great. You know what, Peter? There’s no way, no way over here. Why don’t you come two blocks north and we’ll give you a free drink, you know. Oh, you know, and that right there, that’s the first sign of infection and I might become infected by, by another company, become a zombie loyalist for them. And so let’s, let’s take, you have a lot of good examples. Let’s take a one on one situation. How can we start to cure that. The simple act of realizing following your customer’s understanding when they’re not happy and fixing the situation before it escalates. Um you know, you can contain a small outbreak, a small outbreak, small viral outbreak. You can contain that by getting the right people finding out what the problem is, getting them into one room, fixing their problem, healing them. You have a good uh united story right back when it was Continental, I was uh a frequent flyer and booked a trip to Paris and uh I was very angry because they charged me like $400 in, in booking fees or something like that. I don’t remember what it was. And, uh, I called the CEO, I just, just for the hell of it. I’m like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I wrote, I wrote an email, this was before social and I wrote an email to the CEO and I’m like, this is ridiculous. I’m a frequent da da da da and like 30 minutes later my phone rings like, hello Peter Jman, please hold for Larry Kellner CEO of cotton lines. I’m like, oh crap. You know, and the guy gets on the phone, he’s like Peter, how you doing, Mr Jman? How are you doing? Sorry, listen, these fees, they’re new. Um, we sent them a note, I’m guessing you didn’t see it. We’re gonna waive them for you. But, uh, if you have any more problems, you know, feel free to call me and I hang up the phone for the next 40 minutes just sort of staring at it like, holy crap. Larry Kellner, the CEO of United Airlines just called me and, uh, talk to me and I mean, it was like, it was like God coming down and say you now have the power to levitate your cat. It was just ridiculous. And, um, so, you know, I have been faithful to Continental and now United ever since and, and they continue to treat me with respect and, and do great things and they’re, they’re improving. They, they were getting a lot of crap over the past several years and they really are starting to improve. It’s nice to see and not only, of course, your own loyalty but you’re a loyal guy. You’re a zombie loyalist for them. And how many times how, how much it’s unquantifiable. It’s un, I, I dragged so many friends to United. I’ve, I’ve made so many friends. Uh, I mean, my father, you know, uh, he only flies United now, which means he only drag, he drags my mom only on United. I only dragged my wife on United. There’s a lot of, a lot of work that way. Yeah, we gotta go away for a couple of minutes when we come back. Of course, Peter and I are gonna keep talking about his book comes out in January, zombie loyalists. You have some examples of zombie loyalist leaving en masse like Dominoes, Netflix. They’re both, they’re both in the book. So, so one leaving, if you don’t, if you’re not starting to cure one leaving and then that’s the thing, you know, the beat will be the internet with the hashtags and everything like that, you know, it doesn’t take a long time um for those things to sort of blow up in your face. And, uh, you know, at the end of the day, everyone say, oh, you know, Twitter’s responsible for, for us losing money. No, they’re not. You’re responsible for you losing money. You know, and, and if your product isn’t great and you, your actions don’t speak well of who you are, then there’s no reason your customers should stay with you, you know, and it was, oh, social media is really hurting us because no, you’re hurting yourself. The only difference is that social media makes it easier for the world to know about. They’re just telling the story. Dominos and Netflix are, are good examples because they, they bounced back. They took responsibility and they both owned the Dominoes came out and said, you know what? You’re right. Our pizza, we do have a problem. We’re gonna fix this and they spent millions fixing it. And sure enough, they’re back with a vengeance. Now, I’m, I may or may not even have ordered them every once in a while. And I live in New York City. That’s, that’s a, that’s a sacrilege. But, um, you know, I have the app on my phone for when I’m over, you know, traveling somewhere. I’ll be in shea, whatever. And, and you know, what are you gonna get at 1130 at night when your flight’s delayed and you land? It’s Domino. Um, which reminds me I should probably go exercise on the flip side, you know, something like Netflix. They, uh, they also were screwing up, you know, they were losing, they tried to switch between the two. They came up with a new name and it was like gross in public. And so, and again, you’re watching the same thing happen with Uber right now. So it’ll be really interesting to see if they were able to repair themselves. Listening is important. Both, both those, both, those two examples, they listen to their customers. I think there’s a problem with listening because everyone’s been saying, listen, listen, listen for months and years and years and years now. But, you know, no one ever says that you have to do more than just listen. You have to listen, actually follow up. It’s one thing to listen. You know, I, I use the example of my wife, I could sit there and listen to her for hours, you know, but if I don’t actually say anything back, she’s gonna smack me, you know, and go to the other room. And so you really have to, it’s a two way street, you know, listening is great, but you gotta respond and uh look, I’ll take it a step further. I was like, oh, Twitter’s so great because someone was complaining on Twitter and we went online and we, we saw the complaint and then we fix their problem and yeah, how about if the problem didn’t exist in the first place? You know, because the great thing about Twitter is that, yeah, people complain on Twitter. The bad thing about it is they’re complaining about on you’re on Twitter. So it’s like, what if the problem didn’t exist in the first place? What if, what if you empowered your front desk clerk to fix the problem so that I didn’t have to tweet. Uh Hertz is my favorite story of all this. Uh I used to rent from Hertz religiously. Um And then I went to uh Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport this past April and I gave it, I was giving a speech and I, I go and I, my name is supposed to be on the board, you know, so I can go right to my car and it wasn’t, it was ok. That happens. I got upstairs, I wait 40 minutes on the VIP line. Um After 40 minutes they finally say, you know, there’s a uh only one guy here, a lot of people might have a better chance if we go up to the regular line. Like, ok, you probably could have told us that a little earlier, go up to the regular line. Spend 45 minutes waiting in the regular line. It’s now been. Are you tweeting while this is happening? Well, I had, I was actually not only tweeting, I had enough time to create a meme that should give you some idea of how long I was online with my cell phone. I was enough time to have a meme. I get it to the counter. Hi, can I help you? Yeah. Um I, I was downstairs at the VIP desk and they told me that oh your VIP reservation you have to go downstairs like yeah. Ok, let’s let’s put a pin in that. Um they just sent me up here like uh right. They have to help you. Well, it’s not really, they, you guys are the same company. I mean I could see the reservation on the screen. You, you, you, you can help me. Sorry sir, I can’t help. You have to go to the VIP next. I’m like you just next to me. Ok. So if you know anything about Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, um all of the rental car company, they’re all in the same place. So I walked 50 feet. It’s a bus takes you to the big to the big pavilion where they’re all next to each. I walked 50 ft from the cesspool of filth and depravity that was hurt to the, the wonderful Zen Garden of tranquility. That was Avis. And in four minutes I had a nicer cheaper, more or a nicer less expensive car given to me, a woman named Phyllis who was 66 and moved to Phoenix from Detroit with her husband for his asthma. I knew this because she told me, um, she smiled at me. She brought her manager out and said, ah, it’s another refugee from, uh, Hertz. And I said, so this happens a lot. They’re like, yeah, I’m like, wow, you’d think they’d have done something about that. And so on the way out in Avis. Um I, I thank them, I walk past hers. I shoot them this, you know, sort of look at the look of the beast. I get my Avis car and I drive to my hotel. Once I get to my hotel, I write a wonderful blog post about my experience called Peter and Hertz and the terrible, horrible, no good, really bad customer experience. Once you have a kid, you find up rewriting titles about your blog posts that have to do with kids books. Um I do not like Hertz Sam. I am and things like that. And um I included in this blog post, the five things I’d rather do than ever. Uh ran from Herz again, I think number three was um was uh ride a razor blade bus through a lemon juice waterfall um with just, you know, and, and so, but, but of course, the next day Hertz reaches out to me. Oh Mr Jman, this is the head of North American customer service. That’s all you’re about. I’m like, they’re like, you know, we’d love to let Nick know like you, you’re not gonna fix the problem. Number one because I’m gonna Nas Car. I’m never going back to Hertz. Number two. There were five people yesterday, five people I interacted with all of whom had the chance to save me and keep me as a customer for life. A, a customer who had been so happy and I would have loved you. Five people blew it. So don’t waste your time trying to convert me back. You’re not going to what you wanna do is spend some of that energy, retraining your staff to have empathy and to give them the ability and the empowerment to fix my problem when it happens because five people it it takes every single employee to keep your company running, it takes one to kill it. Yeah. PS Avis reached out um to thank me personally and uh I am now just this ridiculously huge loyal fan of Avis and always will be you have a pretty touching story about uh when you worked in a yogurt shop, you were really young. Um We have a couple of minutes tell that, tell that good story. That was on the east side, which again is another reason why I live on the west side. Nothing good ever happens in Manhattan’s East side. So I was uh I was working and I can’t believe it’s yogurt, uh, which was a store that I think back in the eighties IC by. No, no. TCBY was the country’s best yoga. IC biy was a poor, I can’t believe it’s yo, I can’t believe it’s not yoga. I can’t believe it. Yogurt. It was a poor attempt to capitalize on. That was TCB. And I’m working at this store and, um, I go in every day and make the yogurt to clean the floors. I do. You know, it’s a typical high school job and, uh, it was during the summer and thousands of people walking by, I think it was like Second Avenue or something. And there were these brass poles that hung from, you know, it was the, the, the, there was an awning, right? That’s a, that there and there were the brass poles that held the awning up and they were dirty as hell. Right. I’m sure they’d never been polished ever. And I found some, I found some brass polish in the back like, oh, they buried in the back. And one afternoon I went outside and IP started polishing the poles. My logic was if the poles were shiny and people saw them, maybe they come into the store, maybe they’d wanna, you know, buy more nice clean place. And the manager came out. What the hell are you doing? I said, I told him what I thought, I don’t pay you to think, get inside. You know, I’m like, there’s no customers in there. I’m like, ok, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll make sure the yogurt’s still pumping it full blast. And I quit, I just quit that job. Like, I mean, I, I couldn’t even begin to understand why someone would invest, I mean, to own a franchise for 50 grand, to at least to buy that franchise. Why wouldn’t he invest in the two seconds? It took little elbow grease to make the poll clean That might bring in more customers. What the hell? You know, but you’re not paid to think. You’re not paid to think. My favorite line. Yeah. Um, I, I just, I, I encourage if any kids are listening to this teenagers. If you, if your boss says that to you quit, quit, I will hire, you just quit. It’s, it’s, it’s probably the worst thing in the world that you could possibly do because you have customers who you have customers who every day can be helped by people who are paid to think. And that’s the ones you wanna hire. We gotta wrap up. Tell me what you love about the work you do. I get paid to talk. I mean, my God, this is the same stuff. I used to get in trouble for in high school, but on a bigger picture, what I really love about it is being able to open someone’s eyes and have them come back to me. Um, I run a series of masterminds called Shank Minds Business. Masterminds. It’s shank minds.com. They’re day long seminars all around the country. And, uh I had someone come to me and say, you know, I took your advice about XYZ and I, I started listening a little more and I just got, uh, the largest, um, retainer client I’ve ever had in my life by a factor of four. And she goes, and I just can’t even thank you and I send me like a gorgeous bottle of tequila. She’s like, I can’t even thank you enough. Oh my God. Being able to help people, you know, at the end of the day, we’re, we’re, I, I have yet to find another planet suitable for life. I’m looking so we’re all in this together. And if that’s the case, you know, why wouldn’t we want to help people just a little bit more? You know, there really isn’t a need to be as douche as we are as a society. We could probably all be a little nicer to each other and you’d be surprised how that will help. The book is Zombie Loyalists. It’s published by Palgrave macmillan comes out in January. You’ll find Peter at shankman.com and on Twitter at Peter Shankman, Peter. Thank you so much. Pleasure is Amanda. Oh, thank you. Next week. That’s an open question. 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 the supporter 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 Martti. 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 November 13, 2023: Fundraising 401


Laurence PagnoniFundraising 401

That’s Laurence Pagnoni’s latest book. When this first aired, it was his new book, but Laurence’s strategies and tactics are timeless. It’s a series of masterclasses for all levels and a collection of revelations he gained over 35 years in nonprofit management and fundraising. (This originally aired May 29, 2020.)


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

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

Nonprofit Radio for June 19, 2023: Feasibility Studies: What, Why & How


Brian AbernathyFeasibility Studies: What, Why & How

If a capital, endowment or other campaign may be in your nonprofit’s future, you’ll want to consider a feasibility study beforehand. Brian Abernathy, from Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, explains what they’re all about.



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Every nonprofit struggles with these issues. Big nonprofits hire experts. The other 95% listen to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Trusted experts and leading thinkers join me each week to tackle the tough issues. If you have big dreams but a small budget, you have a home at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.
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[00:00:53.31] spk_0:
Welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio. Big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite he Abdominal podcast. I’m still traveling without my studio mic. So my sound won’t be up to par. It’ll be back to normal next week. And I’m introducing my niece Carmella as our sponsor announcer this week. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d be thrown into trypanosomiasis. If you infected me with the idea that you missed this week’s show feasibility studies, what, why and how if a capital endowment or other campaign, maybe in your nonprofits future, you’ll want to consider a feasibility study beforehand. Brian Abernathy from Convergent non profit Solutions explains what they’re all about on Tony’s take too classy digs non profit radio.

[00:01:14.17] spk_1:
We’re sponsored by Donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor box dot org.

[00:01:57.82] spk_0:
Here is feasibility studies. What? Why and how? It’s a pleasure to welcome Brian Abernathy to nonprofit radio. He is General Manager at Convergent non profit Solutions where he has supervised and managed capital campaigns that have raised more than 100 and $25 million. The company is at convergent non profit dot com and Brian is on linkedin. Brian Abernathy. Welcome to nonprofit radio.

[00:02:00.54] spk_2:
Thanks tony. Great to have the opportunity to join you today.

[00:02:13.07] spk_0:
I’m glad you can. Thank you. Let’s talk about feasibility studies. Let’s before we get into the how and the why, which actually will do the why and the how, but before we even do the why and the how, let’s talk about the what, what, what are we talking about? Feasibility studies?

[00:02:39.09] spk_2:
Yeah. So a feasibility study, tony, you could boil it down very simply to a strategic due diligence. Before a major funding initiative in capital campaign. That’s the context of feasibility study. The convergent manages and works with our clients on it’s not a will this new building attract the right market of folks? That’s a different type of study, researching utility. What we’re talking about here is, can this program of work raise the necessary amount of money? And are we confident that we’ve got the right dynamics to go out and execute a successful capital campaign to secure that

[00:03:09.00] spk_0:
funding? Do we need to know what our goal is going into the feasibility study or have a working goal or I mean, surely the study is going to refine that? But do we need to have a ballpark of what we’re, what we’re looking for?

[00:04:22.18] spk_2:
Yeah, within reason, we always say it’s good to think big in a feasibility study. When we go into this process, the the proposed program of work that we’re gonna take out and use in confidential interviews. We refer to that as a draft prospectus. So it is a working document uh primarily because we want everyone we meet with to know that their feedback can still shape that plan. But it also gives us the opportunity to test different aspects of the goal amount and the utility of that funding. So we know we might need to do a building campaign for instance. But do we want to also test the prospect of some endowment to underwrite the long term maintenance of that building? Now, that’s obviously gonna bring the funding goal up. We can test all of those things in the study. We will come back and recommend a specific goal range for a camp pain, but it’s always easier to bring that number in a little bit after a study than to realize, oh, we should have, we should have tested the endowment for the building, but we didn’t think about it in advance. So we want to think with a, what could we possibly need to execute this plan? Uh and, and reference that number as our proposed goal during the feasibility

[00:04:51.34] spk_0:
process? Okay. So, so a part of it is getting feedback on the proposed

[00:05:12.77] spk_2:
goal. That’s right. That’s right. Did people get sticker shock? If, if most of the folks that we talked to see a number in their eyes get really wide and they start to sweat in the interview that tells us it may be a little bit ambitious and sometimes they’re really easy ways to resolve that. Maybe there’s a piece of the program like an Indie that we can just quietly approach in the appropriate individual conversations. But sometimes it is a recommendation of you might want to look at phasing how you go about this so that you can get the necessary funding and just look at a longer horizon of time and potentially a couple of campaigns or more to bring that funding.

[00:05:37.96] spk_0:
Okay. Okay. All valuable info. All right. Um And, and how many folks are we, are we talking to typically? How does that work?

[00:06:07.38] spk_2:
So, excuse me, on average, we’re going to interview between 55 65 participants in a feasibility study process. We typically are going to do three weeks of in person interviews. That number obviously varies a little bit depending on the specific client, the geographic scope. If you’ve got a statewide campaign, it’s hard to get to all the right folks, maybe in a three week period. But we want to talk to the highest capacity, most influential stakeholders for whatever the nonprofit is that we’re working with, uh and get their bearings on where this proposed program of work and potential capital campaign might be headed.

[00:06:31.57] spk_0:
Does it have to be a capital campaign? Can it, can it be a programmatic campaign that we’re doing a feasibility study for or strictly an endowment campaign.

[00:07:22.80] spk_2:
Yeah, that’s a great question. And a lot of folks hear the words capital campaign and think, oh, we don’t need a new building so we don’t need a capital campaign. When we talk about a capital campaign, we speak more about the funding strategy and infrastructure. So it’s a focused initiative to fund a multi year program of work. It may be 100% programmatic. It may be 100% building capital. We’ve got a couple in process right now that are 100% endowment focused. We worked with the boys and girls club in Kentucky last year. That was all of the above. It was retrofitting a building that have been provided to them, funding the operation and utility of that building and its staff for a five year period of time and also putting into place an endowment to fund the maintenance and upkeep of that building. So a little bit of both, but when we say capital campaign, we certainly are not exclusively talking building capital.

[00:07:45.75] spk_0:
Okay, cool. Alright. So let’s move to the y what, what, what’s the value of doing a feasibility study? What are you gonna get out of it?

[00:09:26.25] spk_2:
Yeah. So the old adage of, of counting the cost before you start to build a tower plays in perfectly here, we’re going to approach the study and there’s a few key factors that we’re looking to validate. We need to know that there is a sense of urgency for whatever the need is that this program will work is going to address. We need to know that it’s being conveyed in a compelling way that those who hear about the need and then hear about the solution to that need are gonna be compelled to step in and be involved. We want to know that the right leadership is ready to step up for that campaign and this comes in two factors, tony, um One is just the right influence. Fundraising is a game of relationship strategy goes a long way. But if you don’t know anyone in a community and have all the best strategy, you’re probably not going to get the right doors open. So we want to vet out who would the best possible leaders be from a volunteer influence standpoint in the campaign. And the second piece of leadership is funding leadership, are we able to identify viable prospects ready to step in and play significant roles in terms of their investment in whatever this campaign will be implementing, knowing that we’re able to set the right perspective for the top of that uh donor pyramid or what we call an investment range tape. We’re specifically looking for a way to identify the top level potential supporters for a campaign knowing that that’s gonna set the peak where everybody’s gonna look too. So uh let

[00:09:46.06] spk_0:
me just flush out some of these So, so you can identify uh top potential campaign leadership and also top potential donors through a feasibility study.

[00:10:55.94] spk_2:
That’s right. So every single interview that we’re in, we’re gonna ask a number of questions focused on these two factors. And we’re gonna come out with a recommended list of key campaign cabinet and volunteer leaders for each campaign that we conduct a fees ability study. On, in most cases, we’re actually gonna have a drafted organization chart of different prospect divisions and leaders that we believe are gonna have influence with those different pools of individuals, organizations, foundations, whoever it may be, uh what that tells us is, we’re gonna have somebody with the right set of keys to open the doors that we need to get to and then getting a little bit further down the road into a campaign. We’re able to make the strategic highest and best use of each volunteer’s time because we know volunteers and fundraising efforts generally have day jobs and a lot of other things drawing on their time. So that’s critical intel, it’s for any nonprofit going into a funding initiative, especially a major funding initiative like a capital campaign because you just don’t want to churn and wear out your volunteers on a campaign that runs, you know, 18 months, two years, three years, folks just really start to get exhausted. So we, we map all of that out to inform a leadership strategy for the campaign.

[00:11:37.63] spk_0:
Okay. Uh So So, so far, we’ve talked about a need and a compelling purpose that’s gonna move people. Um you know, the, the value you get out of this, the leadership, the volunteer leadership for the campaign structure, the donor leadership. What else, what, why, why else do these do a study?

[00:12:14.42] spk_2:
Yeah. So in that donor leadership reference point, we do reverse analytics on every campaign that we complete. So when we look at non profit sectors or whatever the case may be, we’ve got a general idea of, we need to find a top pledge of X percent of the overall campaign goal. And our top five need to be the next percentage in the top 10 and so on and so forth. So we’re strategically modeling out a highly, highly reliable perspective on this is the funding mix that needs to be in place so that a campaign can be successful. So

[00:12:42.66] spk_0:
in these interviews, you’re, are you coming right out and asking folks, what, what, what, what do you see your participation as in this campaign that, that we’re talking about or do you, are you proposing, you’re proposing dollar amounts for each interviewee or we’ve got a, are you getting at this, this, this potential campaign contribution? Yeah,

[00:14:16.75] spk_2:
we’ll take the test goal and break it down into a funding chart just to show a visual of, we use around numbers. If we’ve got a $10 million campaign goal, we need a 15% lead pledge that would be a million and a half dollars. And so we do a couple of things. We ask every interviewee, who do you think could be up here potentially at the top ranges of this, of this pyramid? So who might be that million and a half dollar lead or a couple of folks at half a million below that? And, and in these candid confidential conversations, folks will say, oh, so and so would be great or this foundation or that family, you should try to talk to them. Uh The other thing that we do after that is we ask each interviewee if the right leaders were engaged in this campaign and if you had the right confidence in the case for investment, but where do you think from a low to high range your organization or family or whoever it is might land in terms of a potential investment? So it’s all very hypothetical based on the very the conversation, we’re very clear, it’s not a commitment to funding, but the majority of the time because we’re the third party outside person who is not putting a pledge card in front of them, asking them to sign it in this conversation, they’ll give us that range and sometimes it’s pretty broad within appropriate reason based on questions the interview you may still have. But it helps us to know both for those individuals and also for some industry and community subsets of peers where we might expect to be able to find the, for the campaign

[00:14:39.40] spk_0:
when you ask who might be at this, this top level, the 15% of the goal, do people ever say? Oh, I could do that

[00:14:41.93] spk_2:
in some cases? Yes. Does that happen a great way to identify a potential?

[00:14:48.03] spk_0:
Yeah. I mean, if they self identify, yeah. Say there’s no better way but that, that happens. People say, oh, I could do that. Yeah.

[00:15:48.57] spk_2:
Yeah. And especially when you’re talking buildings and you’re talking about naming opportunities, which we would of course address in a feasibility study. If there is a building in play, you get to have a whole another set of conversation to follow down of what might be more most appealing in terms of naming this facility to honor the memory of your mother or whoever the case may be. Now those are confidential conversations. So we’re using that to inform strategy moving on down the line in the campaign. Uh But we do not share that information. So we assure them that they’re never gonna see a report that says Bob and Susie really want to be the lead pledge and name the whole facility. We, we still work through the process, honor the reality that they may have other things they need to vet out and validate before they’re ready to finalize that commitment. But we’ve got a pretty good idea from that conversation, how we would want to approach them when in the campaign timeline, we might want to approach them and even what leaders would be most influential to garnering their pledge because we also asked them who they think would be the best leaders.

[00:16:37.22] spk_1:
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[00:17:19.90] spk_0:
Now back to feasibility studies. What why and how? Okay. Very interesting. So if you’re, if you’re a client, the non profit asks, well, who is it that stepped up? What makes you so confident uh that we can get this? We have a very good prospect for this 15% leadership gift. And who are they? You, you, you can’t say it’s Bob and Susie. Uh

[00:18:34.56] spk_2:
We don’t know, we probably could, we choose not to. Um because it, it is one of those factors that helps ensure that we’re getting the most candid and direct feedback out of those interviews. Uh What we do provide is a perspective of we’re highly confident that these folks should be considered in this range of potential investment or we believe based on prior conversations, this family could be a great naming target. Most of the time, tony with a nonprofit that’s highly connected and engaged with their constituents. They’ve already got a pretty good idea of who those folks are. So it’s not common that we get a complete surprise out of that and more often than not, we’re going into those interviews, uh sort of ferreting out. We think this person could have interest in naming a facility or, or stepping up and taking a key leadership role. So prior to even getting into interviews, we’ve gone back and forth several rounds with the list of interviewees getting all the background information on all the perspective from our client. What’s their past giving history look like and so forth? So we’ve got a pretty good starting point that we’re, we’re strategically approaching those conversations and when we find that potential lead pledge that we weren’t expecting, we’re thrilled. But, but most of the time we’ve got a pretty good idea where those need to come from before we even start the interviews.

[00:19:23.12] spk_0:
This sounds very much like an art. I mean, these, these face to face interviews or whatever zoom or, you know, however they’re done. But these interviews, it sounds like you get one shot, have a serious conversation with a donor or an individual donor or foundation or maybe it’s a couple, you know, it’s got to be it just sounds like an art. I mean, you got to be organized, you have to have the story complete. I think, I don’t know, it looks bad. I think if you come back and, well, you might say we have some follow up questions, I guess I could see that. But it seems to me you get one shot to do it really well.

[00:20:28.03] spk_2:
Yeah. And you’re exactly right. Tony. Most of these folks don’t have hours and hours of time that they want to give over a number of weeks or months to have following. So we’re very strategic. We developed a questionnaire that we use for each client and some of those questions are our standards. Some of those are obviously very unique to the client situation. But we’ve also got a team of consultants, most of whom are former uh sea level nonprofit executives. And so there’s a lot of intuition that comes into play here of if somebody says something about one initiative and a program of work that makes some interest, we may chase that thought a little bit more, uh We may push a little bit harder for what we would call the financial indication in some interviews and other places we may back off. So there’s a lot of nuance in how those conversations

[00:20:31.03] spk_0:
play out. All right. So let’s, let’s keep pulling on this thread about what you’re gonna get out of it, the, the value, why, why do it

[00:21:46.55] spk_2:
so the, if you want to think about value in terms of a simple deliverable, uh We’re gonna prepare what we call an opportunity, analysis report and recommendations and that’s gonna give um the objective responses that we collect did some quantitative, some qualitative, we’re gonna analyze those. We’re gonna give you perspective on the trends in the feedback that we got. And then it’s gonna give specific recommendations on next steps. Very, very rarely. Tony. Is that next step? A cold and hard? No, go on a campaign. Sometimes it is a bad time for an organization to step into a campaign. Most of the time there is specific work to be done to prepare for a campaign or we’re going into a campaign pretty swiftly. Some of that is the shelf life on these reports. We think of it about a 92 120 day times fans. Um The, uh we know from the pack last few years, a lot can change in three months. So sitting and waiting and considering, should we go forward? Should we not on the side of a non profit can be risky in some

[00:21:57.51] spk_0:
cases. Let me ask you what, what might some of that work be that has to be done first? If it’s not a, it’s not a hard, let’s go. We’re 100% or where you can never be. 100% were 95% confident. But if you’re not at that point, what might some of that work be that needs to be done first.

[00:23:57.83] spk_2:
So generally, it’s gonna fall into one of three specific subsets that we focus on. And we’ve got a principle we talked about it convergent called Asking Rights and Asking rights is the intersection of your nonprofits credibility. Uh The clarity of the outcomes that it delivers through the work that it does not the outputs or the activity, but the true bottom line impact and then fundraising skill. So we’re gonna look at those three dynamics through the interviews and we may come out of a feasibility study process and say your credibility is not quite where it needs to be. And so we need to take some focused time to cultivate messaging, to engage your constituency, get the right leaders committed, maybe do some board work to get them ready to step in and be active. Sometimes this can take place in the foundational phase of a capital campaign. Sometimes it takes a little bit more time on the outcome side. Generally, we’re gonna address this through something we call program refinement early in a campaign engagement where we’re taking that draft plan from the study were sharpening it up. We’re answering the questions that we heard, adding some specificity and really, really working on developing what we call an organizational value proposition, which is how we would convey the the true outcomes and economic value that whatever the nonprofit is we’re working with is delivering in their community. Uh And then the last piece is the fundraising skills. So in some cases, we’ve got a great plan, we’ve got the right outcomes. But the fun fundraising infrastructure to go out and execute on the campaign is just not there. And so one of the common engagements that we work with clients on in that space is a multi month resource development strategy engagement where we’re addressing and building out some of those fundraising infrastructure points so that when the time does get there to turn on a capital campaign, the organization is ready to move forward

[00:24:28.21] spk_0:
smoothly. Meanwhile, though the clock is ticking on the value of the the study, you said what you said 9200 and 20 days is that I don’t mean to put words in your mouth. Is that right?

[00:24:34.82] spk_2:
That so

[00:24:51.09] spk_0:
three, so 3 to 4 months, you see uh after that, the landscape could have changed from the conversations that you had time is ticking while you’re trying to do this sort of fundraising infrastructure work. That’s

[00:25:27.40] spk_2:
right. So if we end up with a longer term engagement, uh that, that were involved in what we’re gonna do is maintain the reference points to know what factors we need to see, shift to be prepared for moving into a campaign. If we get beyond that horizon, we’ve got the perspective from the critical interviews that we conducted in the study and we would just roll what we call some re interviews into the early stages of the capital campaign to get some re validation and affirmation. One of those findings adjusted and that’s usually somewhere in the neighborhood of, you know, 6 to 10, maybe 12 key conversations. And once we validate yet, we still got the right leaders, we still have the affirmed support of some of those lead prospective donors or investors. Then we’re confident to move forward with the rest of the recommendations as we had previously

[00:25:48.10] spk_0:
identified. Okay. Okay. Anything else on the value proposition part, what we’re going to get out of this study? Why we’re doing it?

[00:26:13.92] spk_2:
Yeah, the, the last big pieces that campaign strategy and timeline. So we’re gonna give specific recommendations on the scope of campaign. What we believe a high to low feasible goal range is gonna be the number of months that we believe it’s going to take you to manage a campaign. Uh And then if that client is interested in working with us, we’re also recommending the level of campaign management or council from our side that we believe would be most conducive to their success, given their community size, size of their organization and staff and so forth.

[00:27:03.95] spk_0:
So now we have this, we have this report, I guess it’s, it’s also typically a presentation to the board and the C Suite leadership imagine, but also written report. Um Now then folks can take that report and go off and I don’t know, try they can try to try the campaign on their own. I’m sure they’re free to engage convergent, which, which you would love, you’d love to do that work. Uh, or they can do, they could hire some other firm, I guess.

[00:27:06.81] spk_2:
Right. Yeah, that’s right. So, every now and then we will do a campaign where another firm did a study. It’s not all that common and vice versa. It’s not all that common that we would do a study and another firm would come in and manage a campaign just because you can imagine there’s such a depth of institutional knowledge and connectivity that comes

[00:27:38.66] spk_0:
connection. You had somebody else did the interviews and now you’re executing, you’re going back and getting serious about soliciting volunteers, leadership soliciting gifts, but you don’t have the, you don’t have the connection. That’s right.

[00:28:27.79] spk_2:
Right. All right, you do get engaged periodically with an organization that’s got a strong development staff. We’ve got a few repeat clients in this vote. They are prepared to and understand what is involved in going out and raising the money. But they always want third party objective feedback out of the feasibility study. So they’re getting perspective on how do we do over the past X number of years in communicating with our constituents. How is our leadership seen in the community? Who would be the right leaders is the goal feasible? Now again, we’re not divulging the specific feedback from interviewees in these engagements, but we still say, hey, yes, we, we believe this goal range is a pro for you to pursue uh and so on and so forth. But they’re doing that based on aggregate data. Whereas if were retained to manage a campaign, we have the benefit of all of that very specific and nuanced feedback from interviews that our team members would draw on throughout the campaign to, to guide strategy and next steps with, with the different prospects that we may have interviewed.

[00:29:18.23] spk_0:
Okay. Okay. Um So let’s, let’s stick with, you know, I want to the nuts and bolts of this, of this uh feasibility study. Um How do we, who schedules the, who schedules the meetings? Is that, is that the nonprofits responsibility? Now, we’ve got this list of, you said, typically, I think 50 to 65 interviews. Um you know, who’s who, what’s the mechanics of moving forward? Yeah.

[00:30:33.89] spk_2:
So we will have on average between 55 65 interviews that’s gonna come from a list of normally around 120 or so interviewees. We know we’re not gonna schedule everybody we want to meet with, but we want to get critical mass of feedback. So we start with a list expecting some folks won’t be available. What we have found a over time and time continues to affirm a schedule er, from the nonprofit organization is far more successful in securing these interviews, especially with your higher influence, higher capacity interviewees. Just because it’s a name and a and a number or an email address that they recognize the, the email from convergent non profit solution is not incredibly likely to get a response when asking for a meeting. If any, if anyone’s like me, they get a number of those emails every day from somebody uh selling wares or offering something. And so we want to build from a place of strength in the scheduling. So we start with a representative of the organization. Usually we give about a two week lead time for scheduling and then our average feasibility study is going conduct interviews over a three week period. That person may have a little bit of scheduling work to do over the first couple of weeks, just filling in the gaps. But typically that, that schedule, er, is 2.5, 3 weeks ish of their time making some phone calls and following up on emails.

[00:31:02.20] spk_0:
And what are they asking folks to participate in? Uh, you were, the insiders are calling it a feasibility study or you even have a different phrase that you call it uh

[00:31:03.56] spk_2:

[00:31:04.81] spk_0:
opportunity analysis. But what are we using for? Our, our interviewees are potential interviewees? What are we calling it? What are we, what are we saying? We’re asking them to agree

[00:32:12.93] spk_2:
to, we send a letter over the signatures of a few key leaders that are affiliated with the organization explaining why we are there that we absolutely not asking for funding. We’re seeking candid confidential feedback on the proposed plan that is attached to that letter. So we’re giving them an opportunity to see what we want to talk about before the meeting. Uh Partly so they know, but also so they’ve had an opportunity to digest it and come up with questions before we walk into the room and we tell them it’s a feasibility study. It’s a vetting of a potential campaign that it would be unwise for the organization to go forward apart from the feedback of these key valued stakeholders and constituents. And so that information goes out to everyone on the interview list. We have some cases where for, for sensitive information in the program of work. Uh the client that we would work with might not send out the full plan until someone actually schedules an interview. We have online cloud based scheduling system that we use. So all of that is automated and simple. So not a lot of extra work there. But we want uh we want the interviewees to have perspective well, before we walk in the room because it’s gonna help us get the strongest feedback.

[00:33:45.25] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take to thank you, Classy. Their blog post is 17 podcasts for nonprofits you need on your radar, non profit radio. That’s this show is there number five, it would be my pleasure to name the others, but there are 16 of them. You wouldn’t remember them all. And that wouldn’t be fair to the ones that you don’t retain. Imagine that I’m not gonna let that happen to my fellow podcasters. Well, I’m not going to allow it. So there’s really only one show you need to know this one. Tony-martignetti non profit radio. The post with the full list is on the blog at classy dot org. Classy. Thank you very, very much. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got Boo koo, but loads more time for feasibility studies. What why and how with Brian Abernathy, they’re, they’re being asked to meet with someone outside the organization, right? That you, they’re, they’re being asked to meet with someone from convergent.

[00:34:08.09] spk_2:
That’s correct. And we identify that person even in that letter, uh you will be getting a call from so and so at the nonprofit organization to schedule a time for you to meet with Brian from Convergent for 45 minutes to an hour at a time of your convenience. So pretty, pretty clear all the way through. So they don’t think uh the executive director of the nonprofit is coming to meet with them and then it’s this outside consultant and they’re caught off guard or what have you,

[00:34:23.64] spk_0:
you prefer to do these in person or is zoom a suitable substitute?

[00:34:29.58] spk_2:
Zoom. Zoom has become a suitable substitute for a lot of things. I

[00:34:33.59] spk_0:
don’t know a necessity, right?

[00:35:20.41] spk_2:
But we still do the vast majority of our interviews in person and most of that is the opportunity to cultivate relationship when we meet with someone in their home or in their office or wherever it may be, you know, just the, the fundraising experience of walking in and seeing things in their office to be able to draw some personal connections. If that’s someone uh that we’re interviewing is 34 months later being sat down with by the same consultant to solicit a pledge. We walk in with that much more relational credibility and equity that we can leverage on behalf of our clients. So we love to do in person. That’s always our recommendation. But we, we absolutely are still doing some zoom interviews and in some cases, that’s just the most functional. We’ve, we’ve worked with some higher ed clients that have donors all over the country. And so in person is just not realistic and zoom allows us to do that. Uh And what we sacrifice in terms of not getting that uh in person sit down sort of warm fuzzy feel is certainly not detrimental to the results that we get in the final.

[00:36:28.17] spk_0:
But you prefer the in person. I always, I always prefer in person meetings with, you know, for me, I’m talking to planned giving prospects are playing, giving donors doing stewardship. But you know, there’s just nothing like seeing pictures of grandchildren, a picture of a sailboat awards from their business, whatever brother photographs there might be. I mean, there’s just a wealth of questions and you know, you can ask folks about to try to build a foundation with people and some of it, you know, may end up, you know, see pictures of yachts in the Caribbean or a yacht in the Caribbean. You know, that, that may be indicative of some, some potential potential giving that you maybe didn’t know about. Uh there’s just so much in someone’s home or office, but even just drawing, just like I said, just drawing a foundation for a relationship asking about the pictures, those Children, grandchildren, you know, etcetera. So yeah,

[00:37:13.30] spk_2:
and these days, the in person meetings are the ones that stand out in our memories, right? Where you’re like me all the time. But the so and so came by sat in my office or my living room, we spent time together. Those are now very much inflection points in terms of our interpersonal reactions are interpersonal interactions. And so that helps uh sort of entrance that conversation in the mind of the interviewee as well, which is a benefit when we get to a campaign because we want to come back and build on that prior conversation. Yeah,

[00:37:30.27] spk_0:
just have a warmer foundation to the relationship if it’s, if it’s not virtual, if it’s in person. What about meals? You like? Uh I like to, I like to, but I may have a different purpose. I’m not doing feasibility studies, but I happen to like to meet prospects and donors over meals is that, is that maybe not so suitable for a feasibility study?

[00:37:52.05] spk_2:
Yeah. We specifically tried to avoid meals and places for these conversations and some of it is we want to hear really candid feedback and we want to hear it about the organization we’re working with. We want to hear it about, as I mentioned a few moments ago. Who do you think could be that

[00:38:03.33] spk_0:
other people? Right. Right. The other person might be sitting two tables away. Yeah. Right.

[00:38:35.84] spk_2:
That’s right. That’s right. So it makes it a little bit easier to get the type of feedback we want. When we’re in a quiet private setting, we had clients who have said, hey, we’ve got a conference room right here in the office. We can do all the interviews in the office. And certainly that’s, that’s not the worst scenario. What we don’t want is somebody weird. Well, gosh, the executive director’s office is on the other side of this wall. I don’t want them to hear some of my true thoughts. So I just won’t share those things. So we, we try to always go to the interviewee so that we’re sitting down in, in their turf. So to say

[00:39:02.67] spk_0:
okay. And then, uh you have a conversation, right? You’re, you’re building that foundational relationship because hopefully you’ll, you’ll be embarking on a campaign with this non profit. Any bad story, like any war story, you ever get thrown out of someone’s home or office. Um I hope not. But if you did, I want to know if you did, I want to hear about it if you got thrown out.

[00:41:02.02] spk_2:
So you always get folks that have some sort of other unique local agenda or organization that they’ve got a stronger affinity for. And you hear a, well, this is, this is good but this other organization is, it’s really getting great work done. So, those are pretty commonplace. Um I had one that is sort of my favorite feasibility study. Worst story that, that really undergirds the importance of that fundraising skill that I talked about earlier. I walked into a feasibility interview. Uh The gentleman that I was gonna interview was ready. He was right there as I walked in, he had the draft program of work in front of him. So I’m thinking great. He read it, he’s ready to go and he pulls out another piece of paper and he says, I’m really glad that you’re here because uh five years ago, I supported this organization in a prior campaign. And this is the invoice for my last payment, which I’ll be sending off later this week. And then he held up that program of work. And he said this is the only other information I’ve received in five years is this proposed program of work. So I’ll be sitting this one out, but I appreciate your coming by to hear my thoughts and I didn’t get my questionnaire out. I thank you, I’ll be sure to convey your thoughts appropriately. Uh And, and that was the end of the interview. It was pretty quick, but that just goes to undergird tony, that all that we’re doing in nonprofits is setting the stage for the next opportunity. So you may not have a capital campaign in the next two years. But the things that an organization is doing today are laying the foundational building blocks so that they can be successful whenever that capital campaign or major funding initiative for an annual campaign you’re in, you can swap out the, the avenue. But that, that communication and relationship cultivation is absolutely critical. And

[00:41:30.92] spk_0:
the stewardship that follows. That’s right. He sounds like he made a five year, a five year pledge. He was just about to send his fifth pledge payment, happy to do it. But the stewardship was awful and all he got was the next funding plan. But he, he set

[00:41:49.98] spk_2:
you up very valid reasons for that organization and its leadership. But, but that, that individual didn’t care if there was a valid reason. His perception was the reality that he was working from. Um, and, and learning those things is good. Sometimes it’s painful to learn those things. But again, I would say that’s a value of a feasibility study as you get some of that inside perspective you otherwise might not

[00:42:30.47] spk_0:
have. Oh, absolutely. You know, you can’t count on that guy. He’s not he’s not gonna be your volunteer. He’s not gonna be your honorary chair. That’s right. It’s not gonna be any kind of volunteer and he’s not gonna give. So that is valuable to know because they probably thought exactly the opposite because he made a five year pledge to the previous campaign. So they probably thought he was a very, very good prospect for this campaign, but they did not do a good job at stewardship. So he’s sitting it out. I do note though that he set you up. He wanted to tell you this face to face. He didn’t want to do it by email. He didn’t say have Mr Abernathy call me an anti before he arranges the, before we meet Mr Abernathy called me. Didn’t, didn’t offer that. He, he wanted to tell it to your face to face.

[00:43:04.01] spk_2:
That’s right. He was going to schedule the meeting right after and you know, I can’t even, it’s probably not fair to presume intent or motive, but there’s a little bit of uh giving you the level of interaction that I didn’t get. Right. Nobody came by to talk to me, but you’re here now. And so I’m gonna tell you face in my perspective, it conveyed the seriousness of his thoughts. It’s really easy to ignore an email. It’s really easy to just say no, thanks. Don’t have time to meet with you. But it appropriately conveyed how, how significant it was to him that he had not been communicated with

[00:43:25.22] spk_0:
stewardship, stewardship. There’s no chance of trying to resurrect that relationship. And then maybe in the midst of the campaign, I mean, the, the CEO would have to be very humble and humble and apologetic, but maybe it’s worth exploring.

[00:44:55.96] spk_2:
Yeah, that’s one of those spots where you look at. Okay. Presuming you have the information available who connected with this individual last time. What was the process by which they were cultivated and solicited? What’s their prior other engagement with the organization? And sometimes tony, I’ve had feasibility interviewees tell me we might give a very nominal amount to this and I would have no interest in a leadership role because I’ve got my business to run and I’ve got these other things going on, but then you go back to them with the right person and they’re your campaign chair, right? I’ve literally seen that in that specific instance, play out in a campaign. And so it goes to show that just because someone says yes or no in one of these conversations does not mean that’s their final answer. And, and again, some of that is in the feasibility study, the value of an outside consultant is nobody’s afraid to tell them the truth. They don’t know them, they don’t have any local affiliate e affiliation. And so they’re just talking objectively about a program of work and collecting information when you get into a campaign, what you want is the exact opposite. You want relationship, you want influence and you pair the strategy and the perspective of a consultant with someone with local relationship and influence and you go back, you can change the response that you get very readily in many cases.

[00:45:16.28] spk_0:
So I’m not so naive. I mean, it’s, it’s possible to resurrect even the guy who says,

[00:45:24.89] spk_2:
but he

[00:46:56.46] spk_0:
held firm. But I would try if I was the CEO I would try and then if he’s not gonna meet me or, you know, he’s dismissive of the, you know, then of course, you can’t go any further. I’m not suggesting go any further, but it’s worth a try. I think, you know, I’m of the mind that if he didn’t care, I know we’re pulling on this one thread, but you picked a very valuable, that’s a really valuable outlier in your experience. He did care enough to tell you why he didn’t. He didn’t just do the things that you suggested would have been much easier, ignored the phone call, ignore the email just, you know, and then, and just blow the whole thing off. He did take the time to tell the organization that they messed up the relationship with him in so many, in so many words. So my belief is if people are willing to tell you that you’ve messed up, they, they still love you just not as much as they did when they made the five year pledge from the previous campaign. They don’t love you as much, but they do still have an affinity. They want you to know that you screwed it up. So, I, I see some, I see some potential but, and you’re saying I’m not 100% naive and at least trying to explore it. I’m optimistic. I have a glass is half full. What else can you tell us about the mechanics of, you’ve got these 55 to 65 interviews? You said you don’t do them over like three weeks. Obviously, you need some time to prepare your report. Do all you have multiple, I guess you have multiple interviewers, then how do you, how do you sort of coalesced the opinions of multiple interviewers?

[00:49:13.19] spk_2:
Yeah. So we’ve got some data collection and analysis tools that we use internally, uh that we come out from a couple of angles. So typically we would have one dedicated consultant who is running through the entire feasibility study process. And in a lot of cases, another of our senior team members is going to come on site for 23 days to, to join some interviews. What we want is a couple of different set of eyes on things. Um And then we come back out of those are our team member who’s been face to face with. Folks is telling us sort of the, the nuance of I heard these trends in conversation and these things don’t bear out in the numbers which are readily evolving day by day as we complete interviews. So we’re watching those trends as things move forward. But we’re able to say this, this number ticks here, but there’s, there’s a fact over here that’s meaningful, that’s not going to show up in the numbers. And so are are on the ground. Consultant is looking at that then a member of our client services leadership team is just blinders on looking at the data, right? Did we see a high enough level of interest in filling a leadership role? If we didn’t, we know there’s a hurdle, we’re gonna have to address do the completely objective numbers of a number of potential high level investors. We say investors, not donors. Now does the number of potential high level prospects match with what we would want to see to know that we could go out there and you know the 300 Hall of Fame batting average and still have a suitable pool of lead investments. Uh Do the numbers of financial indications match up to what history has shown us, we need to see to validate the campaign goal. And then we come together as a team internally and compare all of those things and triangulate in on the positive factors, the challenging factors, we identify what we call X factors that are outside variables that no one could control. But we heard enough about this that if X Y and Z bro this direction, it could have an adverse impact on the campaign. And again, we can’t do anything about it, but we need to always be aware of it so that we’re not surprised if something happens to shift, whether that’s local economy. I mean, who knows what those things could be? But they pretty often will reveal themselves through our interviews

[00:49:38.54] spk_0:
and then it’s a delivery to the, to the board. I don’t know, do the board leaders get an advanced copy of the report and then it’s a delivery to the full board or everybody gets it released to them at the same time, how does, what’s the best way there?

[00:51:14.32] spk_2:
So generally, within about a week of completing our interviews, we’re going to jump on a call with the executive and maybe executive team for our client by depending on their preference and share our preliminary find. So this is yes, we believe a campaign is feasible or not. Here’s the goal amount that we believe is uh is feasible low to high range and here or any other unique variables that we want to get planted in your mind so that you can think through how would be best to present those to your board and other key leaders. That meeting is typically about three weeks or so after we complete the interviews, because it does take us a couple of 2, 2.5 weeks to get that report together and polished up and presentable. And then we would send it to our client executive and give them discretion as to how they would want to distribute it in some cases. They just want to share an executive summary. And so we’ve got that ready in others. They want us to present and then they want to share the report. So we’re pretty flexible on that. And that’s really because every organization is different. And so we don’t, that’s one of those spots that we don’t try to prescribe. You’ve got to send the whole report to the whole board before some boards would read it and then check out of the conversation in person. And you know, there’s all kinds of variables out there that we don’t try to over prescribe a method for, for how we would present. But we would step in and show them the details of the findings. Give them some of the candid feedback at a again aggregate level and share whatever our recommendations would be for next steps.

[00:51:34.26] spk_0:
That’s, that’s a feasibility study. And then they’ve got their 9200 and 20 days to make a decision.

[00:51:52.56] spk_2:
Yeah. And most of the time it’s uh it’s, there’s a campaign or follow on work, I should say most of the time, it’s a much quicker transition. We had a client recently that um it’s sort of still in this process. So, but they had a very specific piece of X factor outside variable that needed to have a clear decision before they would be well positioned to move into a campaign that happened to involve some public sector decisions that has played out over the course of about nine months. And it looks like now they’re gonna be ready to move towards that campaign.

[00:52:14.87] spk_0:
Okay. But now they’re now they’re nine months past the feasibility study. So there might need to be some follow up interviews.

[00:52:17.27] spk_2:
That’s right. We’ll schedule over the first month or so of the campaign. A handful of those re interviews, just rechecking bearings knowing that there’s no new surprises that may have crept up or identifying any new surprises and course correcting for how we would want to navigate those moving

[00:52:53.73] spk_0:
forward. You had mentioned foundations as interviewees, foundation staff are willing to, to take these kinds of meetings and make a broad, I mean, they can’t commit, they can’t commit because every decision is a decision of the board. But foundation staff or I guess it’s a program staff are willing to take this

[00:53:47.41] spk_2:
in varying cases. And so you hit a very specific point that we always monitor when there are foundations on our interview list is 99% of the time that foundation staff person is gonna say a grant is a decision of the board. Our grant guidelines are on the internet or invitation only or whatever the variables. But we typically can be pretty strategic in using an interview if we get it as a cultivation approach. So less of a tell us what the foundation would do and more of a, how would we best position this for success? Given your focus areas as a foundation and would your foundation rather lead the way and help us get out of the starting block strong or put us over the goal line at the other end of the campaign? And as you probably know very well, there are foundations that have very specific spots that they want to play in that process. And we need to know that in a campaign so that we’re not starting out thanking on a meaningful grant from a foundation when that foundation’s board would rather be making that grant. You know, when we’re 80 90% of the way to the goal already.

[00:54:31.92] spk_0:
And, and it could be a funder that’s funded the nonprofit in the past, they’re still not gonna commit to something they’re still going to defer to their board. But uh they, you can deepen the relationship in, in that case. Okay. All right, Brian, why don’t you just leave us with a little uh a little motivation about feasibility studies.

[00:56:15.09] spk_2:
The important thing with a feasibility study is I would say is getting it right. It’s not one of those things that you want to rush through, I would say to a non profit, it’s not something you really want to do on your own because you’re gonna miss some of that objective third party perspective. And that is such a valuable due diligence, a campaign, a capital campaign of a large scale and we’re typically testing multimillion dollar projects. It’s not one of those things that you want to risk swinging and missing. Uh knowing exactly what is out there in terms of the fund, ability of a plan, the amount of funding that’s there. You can save a lot of relational equity and as we talked about before credibility for an organization. So like I said, we will do feasibility studies where there is no interest in our doing a campaign uh and, and offer that perspective in that guidance. But it also we’re an organization recognizes, they don’t have the capacity for a campaign in terms of their internal staff is a just invaluable first step of counting the cost before you don’t go out and start to build that tower. So we’re no surprise big proponents of feasibility studies. We’ve talked a lot internally. Is there uh is there a way to get the same information out of a different process? This is one of those things we’ve tried every thought of innovation and how, how could we move faster? But the reality is from our experience, there is just not a better way to get the level of intelligence that a feasibility study provides and then be able to go into a capital campaign from a position of

[00:56:51.64] spk_0:
success. And plus there’s that relational foundation. Yeah, that, that, that’s so much that’s so much value to it as Well, building that building that relationship. All right. Thank you, Brian. Brian Abernathy, General Manager at Convergent non profit Solutions. The company is at Convergent non profit dot com and you’ll find Brian on linkedin. Brian. Thank you very much. Thanks so much, tony. My pleasure. Thanks for sharing next week, data driven storytelling with Julia Campbell. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com.

[00:57:17.04] spk_1:
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[00:57:37.14] spk_0:
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