Tag Archives: Nonprofit Technology Conference

Nonprofit Radio for April 24, 2023: Technology Governance

 

Maureen WallbeoffTechnology Governance

Maureen Wallbeoff

Sounds boring. In anyone else’s hands, it might be. But Maureen Wallbeoff brings her energy and lightness to help us understand the symptoms of unmanaged tech; the value of a technology governance group; and strategies for easing common technology pain points. Maureen is The Nonprofit Accidental Techie. (This continues our coverage of NTEN’s 2023 Nonprofit Technology Conference, #23NTC.)

 

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[00:01:28.31] spk_0:
And welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio. Big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d come down with Trigon Itis. If you inflamed me with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Technology governance sounds boring in anyone else’s hands. It might be, but Maureen will be off, brings her energy and lightness to help us understand the symptoms of unmanaged tech, the value of a technology governance group and strategies for easing common technology pain points. Maureen is the nonprofit Accidental Techie. This continues our coverage of N tens, 2023 nonprofit technology conference on tony Steak to a great non profit podcast. 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. Here is technology governance.

[00:02:18.51] spk_1:
Welcome back to tony-martignetti, non profit radio coverage of 23 N T C. You know what it is. You know, it’s the 2023 nonprofit technology conference hosted by N 10. You know that we’re in Denver, Colorado at the Colorado Convention Center what you don’t know is that now I’m with Maureen will be off. We are sponsored at 23 NTC by Heller consulting, technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits and very grateful for their sponsorship. Maureen will be off is nonprofit digital strategist and technology coach at the nonprofit Accidental Techie with Maureen will be off. So she’s also aptly named and

[00:02:20.58] spk_2:
I say hello right back to

[00:02:23.13] spk_1:
our last interview.

[00:02:24.52] spk_2:
Wonderful. You worked with her where she Firefly partners hired her a million years ago. I, I was, I was one of the owners and a partner for 10 years staying in my hotel room this week. So

[00:02:43.12] spk_1:
I’m going to the Firefly.

[00:02:44.59] spk_2:
So am I will see you?

[00:02:47.30] spk_1:
There were a founder, founder and

[00:03:10.66] spk_2:
another 2008, some silent business partners came together and gave us an opportunity to start an agency. They gave us a little money and we were fully remote from day one when all we had was a O L instant messenger to chat with each other. That will tell you how long ago that was 2000

[00:03:18.04] spk_1:
and

[00:03:36.88] spk_2:
2018. So stayed for 10 years. And then I felt like I was so far away from the organizations themselves to actually lend a hand because we had people like Corley who were working directly with our clients. So I sold my shares and left the organization and started my own solo consultancy. At that point. I’ve

[00:03:43.04] spk_1:
known Jen Frazier. For just a few years. But I didn’t know that I’ve known you since you were on non profit radio last year. I didn’t, I just didn’t know about the connection.

[00:03:52.40] spk_2:
You know, we’re all connected here.

[00:03:55.08] spk_1:
So we’ll see, I’ll see you at the pizza party tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow,

[00:03:58.82] spk_2:
tomorrow night.

[00:04:01.13] spk_1:
All right, Maureen. We’re talking about technology governance for accidental techies. Why did you feel that this was important enough that it merited a session at 23 NTC?

[00:04:52.55] spk_2:
Because most organizations, whether they’re large or small have simple technology or very sophisticated technology really struggle with managing it as a holistic ecos system. So the fundraising folks handle their tools, the communications folks handle their tools. But, but you know, when we bring these products, software CRM into our organizations, it’s really tricky to get it all, to talk to each other, to work well, to make decisions for the best interests of the organization as opposed to just the users of that system. So often when I work with nonprofit clients, it’s the first time, the right group of people, like a cross functional, collaborative group of people have sat down and made decisions about technology together with everybody’s interests and needs in mind and it makes your systems work better and it helps you get a return on investment.

[00:05:19.44] spk_1:
So we’re envisioning a nonprofit where there are disparate systems, like there’s an accounts payable there, maybe there’s a treasury system, maybe there’s another bookkeeping system or something. There’s, of course, a fundraising system, there’s an hr

[00:05:34.57] spk_2:
email marketing, peer to peer fundraising volunteers, etcetera.

[00:05:45.78] spk_1:
Now, what about the companies that endeavor to put all these under one, um, mass name? Like, like, I don’t know, the salesforce or Blackball. Do those actually help small and mid size? Our listeners are in small and midsize shops. There’s, there’s no, um, I don’t know, there’s no 1000 employees, uh non profit listening, most likely. So do those big, do those big names work for small and midsize?

[00:07:43.13] spk_2:
They can, they can if they’re governed, if someone is paying attention to them, if the right people are talking about what’s working, what’s not working. Usually what happens in the small to mid size shops is the stuff as a whole is not cutting it, you know, or you’ve got redundancy, you’ve got two platforms that do the same thing or more or even something as simple as multiple canvas accounts, you know, like let’s talk about what you have, bring it all together. Um Make sure that users are supported, make sure that you know what you’re spending on this stuff and that the data is moving around between the systems instead of um data silos because that’s really where the power of all these tools comes in is, yeah, you can pay your staff. Yeah, you can collect online donations. But if different people have different needs and they’re not sitting together collaboratively making decisions, it causes friction and frustration. Often folks feel like they need to be a technology expert in order to govern their technology. So they don’t do it or they feel like, hey, I’m paying for this thing. It should just do what it’s supposed to do. It’s like if you hired a new staff person and never on boarded them, they’re professional, they know what they’re doing. They’ll just come in here, we’ll give them a computer and they’ll go not going to perform as well as a person who is managed, overseen and kind of guided to be the best that they can be. Alright,

[00:08:07.30] spk_1:
let’s talk about some of these symptoms of unmanaged technology bundle stack stack like a pro totally pro tech stack. Yeah. What does this look like that? We know we’ve got an ungoverned stack surrounding us, engulfing us. Maybe it’s engulfing us like it’s an Amoeba were a little Amoeba also were something smaller than an Amoeba. Amoeba have to eat two and it’s being engulfed by this Amoeba tech stack.

[00:09:53.73] spk_2:
What some of the symptoms are, are things like I just mentioned, you’ve got multiple of the same function, three email tools. Why, you know, probably just one would be better that way you can get really good at that. In addition to only paying for one thing, staff are due doing a lot of manual work that could be automated. So I’ve worked with an organization, small organization where everything was people powered even though they were paying a lot of money for the technology that they had in house. So change management, user adoption, none of that stuff was actually being taken care of. Um Your technology budget can grow dramatically year over year and no one really knows what you’re paying for everything, waste of money, waste of time. Uh You can also have turnover on your team if they feel like they’re um their pain points or their ideas for improvement are not being heard, they will leave and then you’ll need to start all over again. So it usually hits, there’s a, there’s a plan problem. You don’t have a plan for how you’re going to use all this stuff together. There’s a people problem, your folks are not trained properly or don’t have the right skills to be successful using this stuff, platforms, maybe you’re not in the right system or there’s a big gap or a business process problem. So a governance group small and scrappy meet once a month and kind of do updates with each other. Hey, here’s what we’re working on in our area of the text. We’re

[00:10:04.66] spk_1:
gonna, we’re gonna get to the technology, to your T G technology, technology Governance group, but I just want to see any more, any more symptoms of malfunctioning

[00:10:50.44] spk_2:
large frustration and you might not, you might be confusing your supporters because if they have one platform that they’re using, that looks and feels very different from another platform like I’m a volunteer and donor and the rules are different. Um Depending on which system I’m using. Um You probably are not giving your supporters the seamless experience that all of this stuff that we say we have to have inside our organizations to engage our supporters effectively. Um You’re failing on that promise, you know, you’re paying a lot for something that feels clunky, frustrating lots of manual workarounds. So

[00:11:00.80] spk_1:
a solution is the technology governance can be who should be a part of our T G.

[00:11:32.53] spk_2:
The T G G is an interesting little animal because when you think about another meeting, like I have to be part of another group, I have to go to another meeting. It pre fatigues most of us, right? Like I’m not, not into that so much. But if you pick the main system owners or users, like the person who’s your database manager on the fundraising, somebody from marketing and communications, somebody from finance, you made the point

[00:11:36.59] spk_1:
earlier. This does not have to be a technology

[00:11:38.57] spk_2:
person. No, no, no, no.

[00:11:41.38] spk_1:
You may not even have a tech

[00:11:42.35] spk_2:
person. You probably don’t.

[00:11:44.44] spk_1:
Your, your I T support may be

[00:11:46.35] spk_2:
outsourced or your kid. You know, in some cases, depending on the organization. No, we’re not, we’re not, we’re not past

[00:11:57.47] spk_1:
the server in the dripping, dripping mop closet. Let’s hope.

[00:13:45.46] spk_2:
Let’s hope everybody’s in the cloud and they’re paying attention to security and password management and all that good stuff. But the technology Governance group meets once a month for four months, for an hour a month. And you’ve got to appoint somebody to come up with an agenda so that it’s a real meeting. It’s not just everybody sitting and complaint. I hate this. I’ve asked six times to get a new whatever, what, that’s not the point of this meeting point of this meeting is to talk about what you’re doing in your systems, maybe make some business process decisions. I’m working with an organization right now who is starting to make plans to text their supporters. They’ve got the platform in place, but they don’t have any business rules around it. So the data guy, the communications person and um a couple of other folks are part of this T G G and we just had our April meeting a couple days ago on Monday and the everybody shared updates for a few minutes, got the mic for about 10 minutes and then we spent the second half an hour hammering out what the communication policy was going to be for collecting text cell phone numbers and using them across the organization. So they were really able to say we want to provide the same experience to everybody, whether they’re filling out a survey or making a donation. And here’s how we’re going to set up our system so that they align with our business rules. They had never had a policy before. Never thought about texting organizations. So rather than having that happen in a silo just in communications, you need your data person who is going to make the change that says, you know, here’s my cell phone number and the check box that says, yep, I’m opting in you. Folks can text me that would have probably taken six months to pull off if we had not sat down and talked about it for 25 minutes. As a group,

[00:14:57.76] spk_0:
it’s time for a break. Stop the drop with donor box, the online donation platform. How many possible donors drop off before they finish making the donation on your website? That is tragic. You can stop the drop and break that cycle with donor boxes. Ultimate donation form added to your website in minutes. It’s freaking easy. So easy. When you stop to drop the possible donors become donors four times faster. Checkout easy payment processing, no setup fees, no monthly fees, no contract. You’ll be joining over 40,000 U S nonprofits donor box helping you help others donor box dot org. Now back to technology governance.

[00:15:02.65] spk_1:
Why did you say the group only needs for

[00:15:53.22] spk_2:
four months? Because when you’re first starting out, it feels like a big deal to say we’re going to be every month for the rest of our lives as long as we’re working here. So we’re taking a four month increments, four month increments. Um The other thing is these groups take a little while to gel. Right. You’ve never really talked about this stuff is a group before. Um, what, what gets raised in here, what needs to be, uh, turned into its own initiative with an owner like, hey, Kathy, you’re going to go work with whoever on this texting thing and then report back to the group next month. Um We’ve even had conversations like, um, what do we need from each other on these, um, codependent technology initiative improvements, problem solving stuff like that.

[00:15:56.26] spk_1:
All right, this is all fodder for the agenda, an agenda

[00:16:26.82] spk_2:
has to be an agenda. And you know, my, if I’m running the group for an organization, which I do often in these first couple of months to just like set it up and run it, facilitate these meetings, then I just hand it over to somebody at the organization and they keep running it. Um Do you know the four stages of group dynamics? Four stages of group formation? Okay. So you have forming storming, which is where the second meeting happens and people are like, you’re not letting me do what I wanted to. Then there’s nor ming where you start to settle in. That’s month three performing, you hit at month four where people know what to expect at these meetings. You often

[00:16:46.14] spk_1:
you’ve governed

[00:16:46.93] spk_2:
your technology, you are all done, then

[00:16:49.81] spk_1:
you have to start again with form.

[00:17:49.03] spk_2:
Every time somebody new hits the team, you go through these stages. But that’s another, another interview for something else. But the first four months you’re sort of figuring it out. Your jelling, you’re developing your group rules and the things that are important enough to talk about at these meetings and then send notes around. Somebody takes notes or you record the meeting and send the recordings around and everybody’s responsible for following up on their stuff. So at the end of every T G G meeting, you’ve got a little five minutes where you say, all right, here’s the action items coming out of this meeting. You’re going to do that, you volunteered to do this, you two are going to work together on that. And then the life of the meeting extends outside the meeting and between meetings and kind of gets people rowing the boat in the same direction instead of in a circle, which is what it feels like sometimes,

[00:17:52.03] spk_1:
right? So there’s work between the meetings collaborative like you expect of your committee’s on your, on your board should be right. You know, hopefully your board is not only working one quarter, two hours every quarter. That’s a, that’s a,

[00:18:07.17] spk_2:
that is a low performing board,

[00:18:10.24] spk_1:
right? Yes, that’s exactly responsibility, accountability, of course.

[00:18:16.58] spk_2:
And you’re working together in the in service of helping this technology meet your mission instead of individual teams, you know, kind of elbowing each other out of the way to

[00:18:32.69] spk_1:
anything else about our technology governance group. We

[00:18:35.64] spk_2:
should know it should go longer than four months. So I’ll just say most of the time you

[00:18:40.45] spk_1:
keep wrap it up,

[00:18:47.86] spk_2:
the other benefit to these meetings can be helping you with at budget time because tech is often spread, tech funding is often spread between different business units or cost centers at an organization. And so coming together and talking about what’s going to be in my budget, what’s going to be in your budget. So we need to work on something that benefits both of us whose budget should that go in? Um helps you earmark those funds for when it’s time to work on those projects.

[00:19:16.50] spk_1:
Let’s let’s move to um problem solving methods for for common pain points. So we identified the pain points that they’re more. Don’t hold out on non pop radio listeners like redundancy turnover,

[00:19:32.59] spk_2:
frustration out of control

[00:19:40.71] spk_1:
budget doing the same thing. What is there more? I think

[00:19:46.55] spk_2:
the other one that I think is poor business relationships with your technology vendors. Very

[00:19:53.70] spk_1:
good one. Alright. Frustration talking to

[00:19:57.99] spk_2:
them. Yeah. Not getting good service or not getting your solutions. Would

[00:20:22.51] spk_1:
we, we would probably default and say it’s the vendors problem. It could be, it could be our own, could be our own internal problems because we’re, we’re feeding the vendor six times a day with disparate number one priorities. No hr who told you fundraising was number one hr is number one and who told you that it was accounts payable that person is whacked. It’s hr, so you’re on the phone with me now.

[00:20:29.58] spk_2:
I’m number one now. Yeah. Um, the other way to think about that problem may not be the vendors problem and it might not even be a technology problem. Tony

[00:20:40.77] spk_1:
person. Right.

[00:21:17.03] spk_2:
Because we blame the technology 1st, 2nd and 3rd, the stupid XXX, whatever it is because we don’t have to interact with that thing. I don’t have to go to lunch with that CRM or whatever it happens to be its inanimate. So it’s easy to complain about the whatever but often you peel that back and that’s not the root cause. So if you fix what you think the technology problem is, you have the same problem later and it starts to become this unsolvable problem at your organization. You don’t have the app to take another run at it after the first couple and you just start living with it, which is never a good idea because it’s always going to get accommodation

[00:21:27.35] spk_1:
in your personal life in your technology boundaries, accommodation. These things are

[00:21:32.99] spk_2:
important, the right root cause. That’s right. Alright. So

[00:21:36.12] spk_1:
some, some you have some methods.

[00:21:44.30] spk_2:
Yeah. Yeah. So one of them is the five wise, have you heard

[00:21:46.86] spk_1:
the four stages of group dynamics? I know the seven colors of the rainbow, yellow, green, blue indigo

[00:21:55.21] spk_2:
violet.

[00:22:11.71] spk_1:
Those five crime families in New York? Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino Genovese crime families in New York. I do not know the wise. Okay.

[00:22:15.85] spk_2:
So the five wise are someone makes a statement like a problem.

[00:22:20.73] spk_1:
The three Wise Men Balthazar Melchior and the other

[00:22:25.68] spk_2:
one. Oh, gold Frankincense. And, but I don’t know who brought what

[00:22:34.06] spk_1:
Balthazar Melchior. See, I don’t even know the three Wise Men. Ebenezer. No, that’s, no, that’s the, that’s the Christmas story. Caspar Caspar Balthazar and Melchior. I think I’m pretty sure that

[00:22:46.85] spk_2:
I

[00:22:56.27] spk_1:
interrupted, rudely interrupt the guests. I know something else. I think of something else. I know so few things that I know. I have to shout them out whenever I get an opportunity. Alright, I’m sorry, the five wives,

[00:24:06.79] spk_2:
five wives of root problem identification. So somebody might say this email tool is terrible. I can’t segment my audiences like I can’t send to donors and non donors. It’s a pain in the neck to do that. Can’t do with stupid email tool. Why can’t you do? That is the first way and someone might answer that question. Well, um I can’t do it because we’re collect, we’re getting data from other places and putting it into the email tool. And so we’re not collecting that information over here. All right. So it’s not an email problem. It’s actually a data problem and it’s tagging, right? Like donor Tony’s donor, Maureen’s a non donor. There’s no easy way in your database to pull those audiences out and make sure that they get the right message. So that is probably a business process problem, not necessarily a technology problem. So that was a simple little example of one of those problem solving techniques

[00:24:09.43] spk_1:
that why was, why can’t you, why can’t we do this?

[00:24:12.69] spk_2:
Why can’t we do this? Well, I don’t get the data in the way that I need. Why don’t you get the data in the way that you need because we collected over here. Well, why do you collected over there? So yes, five wise people get annoyed. First two wives are easy as you go through wise 34 and five people get annoyed because they really have to dig deep and think about it.

[00:24:38.20] spk_1:
Okay. We can have the we could have the play on the five wise, the wise, wise, wise, wise, wise, wise, wise guys or the five wise

[00:24:53.50] spk_2:
problem solving. Another problem solving method

[00:24:57.75] spk_1:
method. You’re asking these questions internally, you’re asking these five questions. Okay.

[00:25:22.96] spk_2:
And literally sitting with it um in your technology governance, in your governance group or in a little spin off. Yeah, everybody’s got technology gripes and pain points and wishes that it was different or easier. They want the easy just today the Q R code to open my hotel room door did not work on my phone. So yes, I am right there with

[00:25:30.96] spk_1:
you. I still go for the, I still go for the cards. You so you go this

[00:25:35.82] spk_2:
time. But guess what? I had to go to the desk and get a card.

[00:25:40.32] spk_1:
I haven’t, I’ve never, I’ve never tried opening the, just give me a card, boarding

[00:25:46.67] spk_2:
passes, print the boarding pass and have it on my phone

[00:25:50.90] spk_1:
for the,

[00:25:52.50] spk_2:
everybody’s got their lines that they

[00:25:55.11] spk_1:
won’t do the hotel room because I don’t want to be tired

[00:25:57.83] spk_2:
and not able to get in and, you

[00:26:10.63] spk_1:
know, looking for my nap and then I gotta go downstairs again. Talk about first world problems. I have to go down to the lobby again. You’re more trusting on the hotel front.

[00:26:15.34] spk_2:
This time. I tried it. That would be the Hyatt Regency across.

[00:26:26.05] spk_1:
Can you stay on track?

[00:26:32.03] spk_2:
Apparently not. Apparently not. So that was one problem solving technique. What’s the problem and why are we having the problem so that you’re fixing the right thing,

[00:26:43.75] spk_1:
fixing the right past

[00:27:57.30] spk_2:
that one. So another um another common situation is uh people get frustrated because the technology doesn’t work. I don’t know how to do this or it’s too hard to do a thing. Um That’s usually a training issue, right? Like someone got hired, they gotta log in and thoughts and prayers. Here you go, you’re young, you can figure it out. You gotta people. If you take nothing away from this interview, please, please, please budget for training and support. Um Everybody needs it. Some of us are more naturally agile when it comes to technology. Others, not so much but the way you get a return on your investment of the state stuff that you’re buying and using is if your team is empowered to use it well, efficiently, effectively. And when we figure it out on our own, we usually don’t figure out the easy and effective way to do it. We sort of stab our way through it. I made it work that’s fine. So empowering your staff to be competent and confident in the systems that they’re using to do their jobs. Um, staff morale goes up. You’re spending way less time fighting the technology and more time using it. So, a common problem is this thing isn’t working for me or I can’t figure it out. So pay for some training. That would be. So,

[00:28:12.46] spk_1:
which is, which, why, why is this? Why can’t I do this?

[00:28:17.40] spk_2:
Why does, why is this so

[00:28:19.15] spk_1:
hard? Why doesn’t it work? Why doesn’t this work for me?

[00:30:06.95] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two non profit radio is listed on nonprofit news feeds. List of the great non profit podcasts. And if they numbered the list, we’d be number one, we’re top of their list. In fact, I believe their list is misnamed. It ought to be the great non profit podcast plus a couple others, but very great. Right. We’re at the top of the list. Very thankful, very grateful to non profit news feed. Thank you very much for the recognition and I would be remiss if I didn’t. Thank you, our listeners. You help us get the recognition. You keep the show. You know, it’s not always. Number one nonprofit radio has been on lots of lists where it’s like number 14 out of 12. Um, you know, we’ve been down, we’ve been down on some list but doesn’t matter, you know, the ranking doesn’t really matter. Although if I was gonna do one I would do it. Alphabetical. I think I’d do alphabetical with nonprofit radio at the top. Of course, because the alphabet is going to start with the end and then, and then it reverts back to a etcetera. The boring way. That would be, that would be my list. So thankful to non profit news feed and I’m thankful to you are dear listeners. Thank you very much for helping us get the recognition. It really is gratifying to be on any list of non profit podcasts. But, but I mean, if you could be at the top of the great one, you know, you may as well and that is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo, but loads more time for technology governance with the very un boring Maureen will be off

[00:31:37.87] spk_2:
another problem solving technique that is uh really easy is to map your ecosystem, like use power point or video or Miro or some white boarding tool. Zoom has a white board tool and literally make bubbles of all of the things that you have make a circle. My website is purple over here and my day databases over there and lay out what you have. Like most of the time, collectively, nobody really knows all the stuff that you have and the stuff that you’re using and what’s working and what isn’t. So figuring that piece out and having that map, that changes when we swap email tools or we change our volunteer system or a finance system, um, making that map be accurate will also help you pinpoint where the problems are really coming from. Uh blah, blah, blah. I hate our website but whatever, like it doesn’t work on a phone. Maybe that’s a problem who should be working together on fixing that problem? Is it really a problem or is it just a problem for somebody who’s using a Windows phone, you know, from 2015. So taking the time to have those collaborative conversations is also really, really helpful once you’ve got it all written out. Um And you can then, you know, we do have six email tools or three people have canvas accounts. We should probably consolidate that stuff. And

[00:31:56.98] spk_1:
what is this uh consolidated under what? Why, which, what, why are we

[00:32:06.51] spk_2:
talking? It’s uh it’s have as small a footprint as you can get away with. Just, just because you think you need something, people can sneak tools in without telling anybody, you know, like somebody inside a fundraising team goes a little rogue and says we’re going to add something new. Nobody else knows about it and you’re not getting the benefit of having that thing used to its fullest extent because tech is expensive and it’s kind of frustrating.

[00:32:31.66] spk_1:
Doesn’t have to start with. No,

[00:32:35.14] spk_2:
no. The five wise we was one of the problem solving techniques. The five wise is one of the problems solving

[00:32:39.88] spk_1:
techniques. So aren’t we on the five wise, we only did two of

[00:33:04.70] spk_2:
the five wise is a thing all unto itself. So the five wise helps you identify the root cause of your problems so you can fix the right thing. These are other symptoms with problem solving ideas for teams to use. If they’ve got people who say this is too hard for me to use. Why is this so hard? Not everything maps back to why you need to Google the five wise after this.

[00:33:15.49] spk_1:
In other words, you don’t

[00:33:16.50] spk_2:
know. I do know, but I think we’ve mixed them up a little bit. We’ve mixed our metaphor slightly.

[00:33:23.11] spk_1:
I guess you want to blame it on a lackluster host. No,

[00:33:25.66] spk_2:
never, never the

[00:33:27.58] spk_1:
most lust, lust, lust,

[00:33:32.81] spk_2:
lust.

[00:33:34.67] spk_1:
Alright. So, alright, so don’t look for everything to start with A Y like I was all right. We are on number four though now. So we finished mapping, we finished mapping looking where we have redundancies. People snuck shit in should not have your technology governance group advised you not to do that correct. We told you now your rogue rogue and do we boot you off or do we try to keep you in the group and remediate, you always

[00:34:04.63] spk_2:
get you to come along to the group dynamics. Please stick around and be one of us.

[00:34:14.92] spk_1:
Yeah, you’re better off on the inside.

[00:34:34.95] spk_2:
That’s right. That’s right. And then the last technique for the second to last is what I call a no filter, pain point activity. And what that means is you grab your team and if it’s virtual there, if you come to the session tomorrow, I do have in the collaborative document because it’s not possible. So if you want to make an Excel spreadsheet, it’s a no filter pain point worksheet

[00:34:55.07] spk_1:
and not on the website. It is.

[00:34:59.04] spk_2:
Yes, it’s under free resources.

[00:35:00.91] spk_1:
So, what’s your site?

[00:35:03.22] spk_2:
Meet Maureen dot com? Oh,

[00:35:05.17] spk_1:
that’s clever. I liked it from last year. I remember that Maureen dot com. Click free resources,

[00:35:10.61] spk_2:
resources in the top navigation. You will find this worksheet

[00:35:14.04] spk_1:
there. Okay. Now, let us know what the worksheet

[00:35:17.06] spk_2:
is.

[00:35:18.89] spk_1:
So much stuff, so

[00:35:35.09] spk_2:
much stuff. Um The no filter pain point worksheet is a place. It’s sort of a meeting and a worksheet all in one. So you grab your team and you dedicate 90 minutes and everybody is allowed and encouraged to list everything about your technology that bugs them

[00:35:44.20] spk_1:
even

[00:36:39.15] spk_2:
if, even if they’ve mentioned it 60 times and nobody did a damn thing about it. Even if um it’s from a new staff person who has fresh eyes and is looking at some wacky thing that you’re doing to work around some technology problem. And they’re like, is there a better way to do this? So everybody gets a chance to list out their stuff and then you organize it into those four P categories. Is this a plan problem? Is it a platform problem? A people problem or a business process problem? So that also helps you get to the root cause these meetings are super helpful. They’re cathartic number one, because people can unburden themselves of like I really hate this X Y or Z thing. You also start to talk about things like maybe tony hates this product, but Amy loves it. You might want to match up Amy and tony so that Amy can help tony figure out, you know, to get beyond the things that are frustrating or friction for you. So it’s a good way to kind of get allies there. If everybody’s like we hate this thing, then you can make plans to replace

[00:37:03.24] spk_1:
it from the bottom up. Yeah. Uh I’m thinking of a verb for change. We can advocate for change. Advocate. Advocate is the noun advocated. So from the bottom up to try to

[00:37:22.15] spk_2:
make change, that’s right because often the leaders that your organization to have allies. Yeah, often the leaders of your organization sort of, you know, that things are a problem but they don’t use these systems every day or even often at all. They’ve got an assistant who’s pulling reports or, you know, giving them the information,

[00:37:32.31] spk_1:
especially if it’s the God fly, the perennial tech whiner coming, you know, that that person needs, needs allies.

[00:38:20.97] spk_2:
They do and they need to feel heard and then you sort of prioritize stuff, you’re not going to get to all of it. Another way to break the pain point. Worksheet results down is what are issues, things that are problems and what our opportunities we want to grow. Our monthly giving program. Our current system makes us manually run our supporter credit cards every single month. I don’t want to grow my monthly giving program. If it means I’m going to have to hire somebody else to start to run these credit cards. So what are we going to do about our technology so that we can grow without it turning into a problem for our team? Yeah, issues and opportunities another way and you just pick, you keep that list as a parking lot. You can add new stuff as it bubbles up or appears and you just methodically work your way through those things. Instead of being an individual experience of a problem, you’ve kind of made it an organizational list of things that need to be addressed.

[00:38:44.22] spk_1:
I always bristled at the parking lot metaphor. It’s childish. It’s Q, it’s Q, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a wait list. You know, we’re gonna put your, your ideas. Plus I heard it said one

[00:38:58.84] spk_0:
since

[00:39:23.47] spk_1:
some training, I think I may have to go back to when I, when I was a miserable employee years ago, decades ago. And yeah, we were in some training and some, some facilitated. Well, that’s not quite on point. Let’s put your very good idea into the parking lot. And he was talking, he was talking to, what was a guy talking to a woman? Like he should have patted her on the head. It was so condescending, so condescending. He may as well have patted her on the head. I didn’t mean he should have, he may as well have just. The parking lot

[00:39:36.17] spk_2:
was supposed

[00:39:36.46] spk_1:
to be so proud. Look. I made the sticky, that’s over the window that nobody can see because the light’s coming

[00:39:43.46] spk_2:
through.

[00:39:44.00] spk_1:
Yeah. In the closet. I made the sticky on the back side of the closet door. My parking lot,

[00:39:49.78] spk_2:
a lower priority list.

[00:39:52.88] spk_1:
It’s just, it’s a, it’s a list of priorities.

[00:39:55.70] spk_2:
I’m gonna start using Q or waitlist. You’ve changed my mind.

[00:40:01.70] spk_1:
I don’t know. It seems like a very pedantic

[00:40:04.57] spk_2:
metaphor. It is. People get it. But I understand that the connotation that it can have. I told you,

[00:40:11.87] spk_1:
I don’t know. It seems like a child’s game.

[00:40:16.55] spk_2:
All right, you’re playing candy land and you kind of get stuck in the parking,

[00:40:25.53] spk_1:
remember? Candy land? Yeah. Right. Exactly. A parking lot. Or, or, or, yeah, or, or it’s like being in jail for monopoly

[00:40:28.84] spk_2:
or in the sand trap. If you

[00:40:30.42] spk_1:
golf golfer. Let’s not go too far with sports,

[00:40:34.20] spk_2:
not my

[00:40:35.19] spk_1:
metaphors sand trap is golf. Golf, golf, golf. I think we have one more. Y one more of the five wise which don’t all start with a

[00:40:46.46] spk_2:
complete misnomer. Yeah, I

[00:40:48.89] spk_1:
wouldn’t put it in the parking lot, but it’s just misnamed. We have one more,

[00:40:54.76] spk_2:
one more which is decided you’re going to focus on internal problems or external technology problems, things that affect your supporters, your subscribers, your volunteers, your donors or your internal process

[00:41:08.38] spk_1:
accounts, payable sources.

[00:41:23.99] spk_2:
Right. Right. So that’s the other way to kind of tackle these things. Usually, it’s a little of both. It’s a little of both. It’s very tempting to do either or it’s very tempting to be internally focused or completely externally focused at the expense of

[00:41:29.03] spk_1:
your ignore us. We need to help our supporters, our fundraisers, fundraisers are volunteers or donors

[00:41:37.77] spk_2:
on my back

[00:41:40.85] spk_1:
in the parking lot and

[00:42:22.45] spk_2:
we don’t want to lose value people. So a bit of a balance is good and, and take small bites. That would be my, my other guidance here is when you’ve laid it all out there and you can see it like in all its gross glory, all the things that you’re struggling with, you can either feel very pre fatigued like we’re never going to work our way through these things or we got to do them all. Like right now now that we know what they are just take small bites, be realistic. Figure out how much time your tech governance team, your T G G can spend on this stuff. Be realistic in your deadlines and expectations if people can go fast and it’s possible to go fast, let them but always be honest with yourselves about what you have capacity to do. Otherwise this will just be another governance group or another initiative that is too frustrating and

[00:42:37.86] spk_1:
nothing ever happens. Talk about another example, very big on preventing fatigue. I am not keeping track.

[00:43:50.14] spk_2:
Yeah, I think our nonprofits and generally people are at capacity, kind of tired running on fumes. A lot asked to do more with less um in our small to mid sized nonprofits, that’s really hard. You know, like they don’t have the budgetary shock absorbers that a larger organization might have to toss another consultant added or by another thing or throw money at a problem to fix it. Small to midsize guys got to be scrappy. They’re all spread really thin. Um And so I just want to make sure that people are not using magical thinking when they’re trying to fix their technology. It’s very tempting to do that. Um If you think you’ve got a technology problem and your first impulse is to switch it with something else, stop do those five wise, find out what’s really going on because you might move, spent all that time and money moving into something new and you still have the same problem and that’s, that’s not great. That’s not a good thing. I like people to be happy and optimistic at work. I feel like they’re set up for success to the best extent possible and that they are going to work together to solve problems. That’s kind of what nonprofits do and

[00:44:12.91] spk_1:
technology’s role is to support that,

[00:44:16.23] spk_2:
make it easier.

[00:44:17.24] spk_1:
Yet another support.

[00:44:19.63] spk_2:
Often it is something that is, does not provide good feelings. Yeah. Like my key card, like my Q R code this morning.

[00:44:47.86] spk_1:
Exactly. Right. I would love to get your, we only have a couple minutes left. I’m going to ask you to be brief on this. I can Artificial intelligence, chatbots, chat, GPT there. The, here they, I see. I’m not, I’m not stopping it, but I, I see more, I see more risks than then benefits. I don’t know, maybe it’s maybe at 61. This is the technology that I’m going to be the Luddite around. But what’s your, what’s your take? I don’t, I don’t want to prejudice your, your strong, strong willed person. You’re not gonna be prejudiced by my opinion.

[00:45:11.86] spk_2:
Um, I think that it’s not going away. So I think, uh, people like us who are, you know, hesitant, worried, um, concerned should get to know it and then decide for ourselves where it is beneficial and where it is not in our own work lives, our personal lives because it’s common is here now.

[00:45:27.94] spk_1:
Talking about boundaries, then get acquainted with it. Yeah,

[00:45:34.17] spk_2:
I know thy enemy, you know what I mean? Or know what I’m worried from the outside. Let me find out what I really should be worried about by playing with this thing or interacting with it. Um, I can tell you that I’ve got some organizations who are using it to write fundraising appeals in 30 seconds.

[00:45:50.44] spk_1:
Right. They use it as the first draft and then they modify, they put their own tone to

[00:45:56.35] spk_2:
it. So it can’t, you know, we’ve all been faced with that blank piece of paper. I know

[00:46:24.34] spk_1:
my concern is what my concern is. That that’s the most creative thing that a fundraiser that you take your example can do is be faced with a blank screen and create from that blankness versus seeding that most creative task to the artificial intelligence and then you reducing yourself to copy

[00:46:25.04] spk_2:
editor,

[00:46:53.10] spk_1:
copy editor. I’m not diminishing copy editors in the audience, the two or three of you and that may be listening, but it’s not as creative a task as working from, from nothing and creating something. So and then so that leads to my concern. Do we become less creative? Does that mean we become dumber on an individual level? On a community level? On a on a world level? Is it a dumbing down because it’s a seeding of the most creative work that I think we can produce?

[00:47:22.12] spk_2:
I hear you and I do agree with you to a certain extent. I also think if your Annual Giving manager is spending hours writing appeals when they could be stewarding a major donor prospect or doing some relationship building or mentoring a new staff person. If they don’t have time to do all that stuff, it might make sense to offload some things. Not that you’re going to use them just as is, but give yourself a bit of a starting point

[00:47:33.92] spk_1:
or use them sometimes

[00:47:36.01] spk_2:
but not rely on them all the time. Right?

[00:47:40.30] spk_1:
We’ve got to leave it there. Maureen. Brilliant.

[00:47:42.05] spk_2:
Always wonderful

[00:47:46.01] spk_1:
in Portland, Oregon

[00:47:50.01] spk_2:
24 24. Tony. Thank you.

[00:48:07.59] spk_1:
My pleasure, Maureen will be off non profit digital strategist and technology coach at the nonprofit Accidental Techie with Maureen will be off meet Maureen dot com. So smart. I love that meet Maureen dot com. Thank you for, thank, thank you,

[00:48:11.05] spk_2:
my

[00:48:11.57] spk_1:
pleasure to and thank you for being with our coverage of 23 N T C the nonprofit technology conference 2023 where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits

[00:49:17.65] spk_0:
next week. Best and worst of non profit newsletters and digital self care and healing. If you missed any part of this week’s show, you know what I beseech, you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. 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. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. The shows social media is by Susan Chavez Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio, big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for April 17, 2023: #23NTC & Building An Inclusive Board Culture

 

Amy Sample Ward#23NTC!

Amy Sample Ward, NTEN CEO

Amy Sample Ward kicks off our coverage of the 2023 Nonprofit Technology Conference, hosted by NTEN. They cover the Conference details, and delve into weighing the benefits and risks of the fast-moving technology, artificial intelligence. They are the CEO of NTEN and our technology and social media contributor.

 

 

Renee Rubin RossBuilding An Inclusive Board Culture

Let us explore the signs and symptoms of your board’s current culture, and strategies to be more inclusive and equitable, if that’s something your nonprofit needs to pursue. Let us also dive into how to manage toxic people on your board. Renee Rubin Ross is founder and CEO of The Ross Collective.

 

 

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[00:00:11.08] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to tony-martignetti

[00:00:13.08] spk_1:
non profit radio.

[00:02:02.99] spk_0:
Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. We’re beginning our 23 N TC coverage this week. And, oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d have to undergo counter immuno electrophoresis if you opposed me because you missed this week’s show. 23 N T C Amy Sample Ward kicks off our coverage of the 2023 nonprofit technology conference hosted by N 10. They cover the conference details and delve into weighing the benefits and risks of the fast moving technology, artificial intelligence. They are the C E O of N 10 and our technology and social media contributor also building an inclusive board culture. Let us explore the signs and symptoms of your board’s current culture and strategies to be more inclusive and equitable. If that’s something you’re non profit needs to pursue. Let us also dive into how to manage toxic people on your board. Renee Reuben Ross is founder and CEO of the Ross Collective on Tony’s take 2 23 N T C. Thanks. 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. And I’m sorry, my voice is a little horse because I did spend so much time capturing interviews at 23 N T C. Here is 23 T C with Amy Sample Ward.

[00:03:08.83] spk_1:
Welcome back to tony-martignetti, non profit radio coverage of 23 N T C. You know that it’s the nonprofit technology conference hosted by N 10. This is not our first interview today, but I’m sure that this is going to be the kickoff of nonprofit radio’s coverage of 23 N T C where we and you’ll find out why very shortly where we are sponsored by Heller consulting to technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. The reason that we’re going to do this interview first of the many 20 to be exact interviews from 23 NTC is because with me now is Amy Sample Ward. You know who they are, the CEO of N 10 and our technology and social media contributor, which makes them the grand imperial wizard and Grand Poobah of the 2023 nonprofit technology conference. Amy Sample Ward. It’s a real pleasure to see you in person. It

[00:03:25.91] spk_2:
is wild to get to see you in person after all this time. I know I, I am touching you and I think I need to update my, my business card. The uh I have a whole string of titles now, I guess

[00:03:28.75] spk_1:
well, to the extent you’re willing to put on your business card.

[00:03:33.04] spk_2:
This was all a

[00:03:43.27] spk_1:
joke. But nobody uses business cards anymore. So I’m not offended. Although there’s this little stack of cards, I’m trying to get rid of. Still some people take them. Yeah, there are some, maybe,

[00:03:45.35] spk_2:
maybe they’re really helpful. Maybe

[00:03:47.33] spk_1:
they’re all boomers. I don’t know. But somebody, somebody’s, there are people who would rather not just scan a code, would rather take a physical card. So I have

[00:03:57.10] spk_2:
actually don’t even have business cards. You don’t, I don’t have business cards no longer if I wanted to

[00:04:06.11] spk_1:
no longer. Okay. That’s fine. Well, then don’t add it to your business card. Um We’re at 23 NTC. Congratulations.

[00:04:11.57] spk_2:
Congratulations happening. We are looking around at a big old hall. There are booths, there are people, there are snacks.

[00:04:21.96] spk_1:
How many people, how many people are here with us in Denver? We

[00:04:30.14] spk_2:
have 1600 people here in Denver. 400. That’s a lot of people online. Four

[00:04:33.31] spk_1:
104 100 virtual 1600 in person. Yes, we’re feeding 1600 people toilet ng for 1600 people. Yes, we have, we

[00:04:43.17] spk_2:
have lounges, we have many parks. We have everything.

[00:04:47.19] spk_1:
Yes, there’s, there’s a quiet room, there’s birds of a feather rooms. There’s yoga. There’s,

[00:05:18.21] spk_2:
did you see the, the everybody yoga out downstairs earlier? It was beautiful. It was like 50 people and it was yoga. You don’t need to have ever done. Yoga before you don’t need experience for everybody. You know, there were folks who were in chairs versus sitting on the floor, you know, and everybody was just doing it all together out in that big foyer downstairs. Yeah. Yeah, it was, it was beautiful

[00:05:23.26] spk_1:
wall of windows.

[00:05:42.24] spk_2:
Yeah. I mean, we can be at a technology conference but I think, you know, we’ve talked about this lots of times whether it’s the NTC or, or just how we think about technology in general. It’s actually not about the technology, right? It’s about people and people being able to meet the needs they have and honoring that those needs are different for different people. You know, like there have to be a lot of different lounges because you maybe want a different lounge that I want, right? Like somebody wants to not be talking. Tony-martignetti wants to be talking, you know, like to

[00:06:08.22] spk_1:
talk. Yes, indeed. Right. So you, yeah, you take care of the whole person, you the NTC collective, the collective. Yes, the collective. Absolutely. Um Today’s keynote. Yeah, I don’t know which of the three I was interviewing

[00:06:13.50] spk_2:
this morning was no ball.

[00:06:15.34] spk_1:
Okay. What was, what was their message?

[00:07:16.99] spk_2:
She had so many different things to talk about. And one thing that I want to call out and that encourage people to maybe think about themselves and go follow, go find she’s written books. She has lots of ways that you can follow her content. But this morning, we talked a lot about technology as a social economic and political practice. It is it is happening, you know, it’s not static, it isn’t just there. These are, these are ways that certain economic issues, classes dynamics are, are, are actively being managed. These tech through technology power, social dynamics are being managed, right? Like those things have been baked in from the beginning. So when we think of and we’ve certainly talked about this before, like bias that gets built into a tool. It isn’t just I like orange and you like blue or something, right? It’s biased that some people will forever be able to better use that tool. It’s bias that some people maybe never access that tool. That um the, the idea that we are in surveillance systems all of the time and we are kind of being told these are utilities, we must all use these tools right there. Their convenience, they’re making our lives better

[00:07:45.95] spk_1:
safety and security are often uh just justifications. Yes.

[00:08:51.14] spk_2:
Yes. And even if, even if it does feel this is this is the point that made this morning, maybe it does feel kind of casually better that the ads you’re getting are things maybe that you actually would consider buying versus something that’s totally unrelated to you that is not worth you. Your data being sold, used, misused and deciding who you are, right? Some of some of our data being sold um and being used by other, other. Well, anyone that isn’t us is deciding, can you get alone? Right? Can you do? Are we even gonna, like, actually believe that you can graduate from college? Are we gonna let you in? Are we gonna hire you for this job? Right. Um, so it isn’t just this like, I think we kind of, um, anim eyes it or make it, make it so generic that it loses a little bit of its harsh reality when we think, oh, the data is out there but whatever, it’s like my purchase history and I like that they recommended a good product, right.

[00:09:05.44] spk_1:
Right.

[00:09:56.03] spk_2:
But, but that same data set is determining if you know, like Sophia said in the UK, banks are looking at social media to decide if they’re going to give you a loan. Does it look like all the people that you’re connected to our, like historically separated from any access to wealth? Well, we’re not going to give you a loan. Well, then that means we’re not using, we’re not predicting anything we are deciding with that technology, right? This isn’t predictive analytics, this is restrictive analytics, right? We’re using this to gate keep and to continue to oppress people. Um And I think a really big part of that conversation too was we everybody here at the NTC and folks that are listening to non profit radio are folks who are both the users impacted by that and organizations in a position to maybe not realize they’re playing a part in that, you know, like, maybe you’re sending all of your users into those tools because it was easier. Or you thought they were already on Facebook or even if it’s not social media, you’re using a certain product and you didn’t realize that

[00:10:23.67] spk_1:
because you didn’t do your due diligence around exactly their privacy rules. Jeez. You gave me chills. I’m getting my synesthesia kicked in and I’m sure it’s not the air conditioning, that’s it. We need to show about this remarkable

[00:10:34.23] spk_2:
this,

[00:10:34.53] spk_1:
right? We could be contributing ourselves, right? Uh innocuous, unknowingly

[00:12:18.15] spk_2:
unknowingly, right? Um And she works um and as a faculty and leading a department at U C L A and brought up an example from the academic world of years ago when there was the tool that was being sold marketed to professors and universities that you could upload all of your students papers into it. And then it would tell you if they had plagiarized from the internet, you know, oh, that’s something else that already exists. And she and her colleagues immediately said, oh, this is not good. This is actually not good. And a lot of other folks like, what do you mean this means like we’re catching the students who were trying to plagiarize. Of course, we all know that means that small successful company got bought by a bigger company who knew what they could do with a big old data set. Right. So what just think if you wrote a paper in college when you’re still trying to, like, figure out your ideas and you’re still learning, like, the paper is meant to be a learning practice. It’s, it’s not meant to be published for the world. And now 15 years later you’re applying for a job and that shows up, you know, as part of your data record. Right. And maybe it has ideas that you fundamentally don’t believe now or even ever, but didn’t really know what you were saying and now you can’t get a job because people see this and say, oh, you wrote this paper. So as organizations, when we think we’re saving time or we think that we’re doing something by, by letting the robots do it so that we ourselves are not subjectively making decisions, right? We might actually be making even harder subjective decisions down the line for those people, right? We might be setting them up into systems where their data and their issues are.

[00:14:14.62] spk_1:
This is so enormously timely with, with all the talk about artificial intelligence, chat, chat GPT. The other ones I can’t name off the top of my head and, and our use our use of them. Look, there was a guest on maybe an hour and a half ago. He said we’re not going to know it was Maureen will be off. I think we’re not, we can’t stop this. It’s like trying to stop the the, the innovation around automobiles, you know, or the phone or trying to stop airlines, airplane, airplane flight, it’s not possible but are smart use of it and, you know, are constrained use of it. So I shared with this another thing you and I, you and Gene and I need to talk about this, the three of us together, informed, informed and, and thoughtful and, you know, I’m concerned about the, the more the likely less the due diligence, but just the thought that goes into it. My concern is that I shared this with Maureen and um the advice, a lot of the advice that I see is use artificial intelligence as a first draft. And then so you’re not, you’re no longer facing the blank page, put a pin, I’ll come back to that in a second and then you put your own tone to it, your own language. That’s exactly my concern. You’re reducing yourself from creative thinker working from a blank blank screen to, to relegate it to copy editor. And I don’t mean to insult any copy editors

[00:14:21.63] spk_2:
very valuable

[00:14:22.73] spk_1:
but not nearly as creative process as looking at a blank screen working from

[00:15:28.53] spk_2:
nothing. I think the really big piece of that is we have seen plenty of evidence. We do not need more evidence to know that what these artificial intelligence tools are providing to us is misinformation. The tool is not only giving us quote unquote facts, right? So it isn’t even that you need to add a copy editing layer. If you were to do that, you would need to go back and actually say, is any of this real like Sophia Sophia said this morning, they had received um you know, that other people in academia are making this point of, you know, oh, this is leveling the playing field, right? Because now folks who maybe aren’t naturally confident or comfortable writing and they communicate better in other ways. Now they could use artificial intelligence to help them get a jump start on the paper and then they edited and you know, whatever, but they have reviewed papers written in this way. All of the footnotes are not real articles, they’re not real books, right? Because artificial intelligence made up a book to reference. So

[00:15:38.17] spk_1:
the footnotes are not

[00:16:02.10] spk_2:
real, right? Because artificial intelligence was told to make a footnote. So it notated words in the format that it learned online is what a footnote looks like, right? So the idea that it is there, I like I like you’re saying, you know, the idea that gets us started and then we go in and like we judge it up. No, I mean, unless you’re using it for the outline structure of, I want an intro paragraph and then I want, you know, but what, what then is left that is viable. We are not helping people get a jump start. We are actively creating more in misinformation in in content.

[00:17:14.98] spk_0:
It’s time for a break. Stop the drop with donor box there. The online donation platform. How many possible donors drop off before they finish making the donation on your website? You can stop that drop and break that cycle with donor boxes. Ultimate donation form you added to your website in minutes. There’s no coding required when you stop the drop, the possible donors become donors. It’s four times faster. Checkout easier payment processing, no setup fees, no monthly fees, no contract required. You’ll be joining over 40,000 us non profits that use donor box, donor box helping you help others at donor box dot org. Now back to 23 N T C.

[00:17:24.69] spk_1:
There’s another layer on top of that because you mentioned the footnote specifically uh linkedin Post someone I I follow a lot on linkedin. He follows me. Um I think I can George Weiner at the whole whale whole whale. Um

[00:17:33.94] spk_2:
Who’s maybe here

[00:17:35.73] spk_1:
is George here, George,

[00:17:37.74] spk_2:
I don’t want to be part of this information, but I think that George might be

[00:18:11.92] spk_1:
here. His concern was he did a search of something that whole whale is very well known for. I guess it was, I think it was S C O basic seo basically. And um he did a search in artificial intelligence. He was using an AI tool for search and it came up with a top result that was taken from Whole Whales resource page or something. And it credited Hole, it did credit Whole Whale. His concern was that the next step would be, it would take from Whole Whales resource page and not credit Whole Whale, right? There was no requirement for it. So in this case, it was a legitimate footnote, but his concern is that it’s gonna be stealing his intellectual property and not crediting him in whole

[00:19:24.95] spk_2:
Whale. Because if you think about what artificial intelligence is doing is like at scale able to read all of the internet, right? We’re not able to read all the internet. It’s reading, not technically all of it, but like, you know, so much more of it than we could read without the kind of human context that we’re able to put on something. I know that on the nonprofit radio website, there are pieces of content where you’ve said, Amy said, quote blah, de blah, de blah, right? I work at N 10. My name is Amy Sample Ward. The idea that artificial intelligence would know to read the next sentence to know that I said the thing when that thing is all that mattered because it was relevant to what it was trying to create. And even if it did create a footnote, it would likely be non profit radio, right? But the radio show doesn’t talk, right? It wouldn’t be crediting you. So it’s already set up to fail.

[00:19:35.14] spk_1:
But even the greater likelihood is that it’s not going to credit anyone. It’s just going to take the it’s going to take the intellectual property,

[00:20:08.19] spk_2:
right? Of course. And so, you know, I think we’re over estimating what it could do and putting human expectations onto artificial intelligence that it can’t and shouldn’t, it doesn’t need to be human, right? But we are we are blurring the lines of what is best for humans to do and what is best for a data crunching tool to do, right? We did talk about things I

[00:20:26.90] spk_1:
feel like I’m drowning, drowning in the ocean that I live across the street from. Look. Um Alright, so we know we need to talk about this again, but I mean, I guess you know what we’re talking about is thoughtful use, but I’m not, I’m not convinced that humans are thoughtful enough to to to to thoughtfully use this wave. That’s the tsunami that that’s gathering such speed that even Elon Musk said, signed something that said, let’s take a six month pause, which

[00:20:45.04] spk_2:
which, which is ridiculous. Well,

[00:20:48.70] spk_1:
but, but the idea that there be a pause and artificial pause in in technological growth is absurd.

[00:20:56.52] spk_2:
So this thing, what we know of is not actually accurate to what has currently been developed that just hasn’t been released.

[00:21:02.62] spk_1:
I don’t know it’s happening nefariously and, and the Washington Post will uncover it in, in six months or something when it’s already too late.

[00:21:13.26] spk_2:
And I think

[00:21:14.47] spk_1:
the point is it’s not stopping and no, we need to be thoughtful, but I’m not, I don’t have a lot of confidence that were thoughtful enough beings to not take advantage of this

[00:23:18.18] spk_2:
about necessarily that were not thoughtful and we need to be more thoughtful. I think what, what I see at least, and here in the community is that folks feel like there wasn’t a choice. This was the only tool that was available and we’re sitting in the middle of a giant exhibit hall, right? With like 100 and 20 people. And there are people in here that do the same things as each other. You know, there’s no other nonprofit radio in here. But, but there are people, you know who do the same thing and the the illusion that we don’t have a choice as individual nonprofit organizations or as individual users of technology is a myth that is being over and over and over told to us so that we don’t go looking right? That we don’t unsubscribe that we don’t opt out that we don’t say no, you cannot have my data, right? Because that’s the say it’s the same story of you need this, this is useful to you. This is improving your life is also and don’t look behind the curtain. There’s nowhere else to go. There’s no one else, you know, because that’s, that’s the power that is the that is that political, social, economic practice that’s happening by technology to keep us as we are, right? And so breaking out of that is not okay. Everybody here has to go make their own tools. That’s not what I’m saying either. Even just knowing that there are options, pushes you into thoughtfulness because now you’re saying, oh, well, how would I decide between these? Let me ask some questions, right? And when we think there’s no choice, we don’t bother asking the questions. We don’t know what they’re gonna do when we sign up for their product. Right? So even just thinking, well, let me like, shop around already sets us up to be so much more mindful of what we’re doing with technology, the decision, the investments we’re making, you know, what products were putting our communities data into, you know,

[00:23:22.21] spk_1:
your consciousness, right?

[00:23:40.59] spk_2:
So I don’t think it’s hard to like turn that to go over that hump. And it’s not like we’re asking everyone to become enlightened on a topic that they’ve never heard about were saying just ask questions. I know that there is more than one option, right? Um And that already gets you moving the power back on to your side, right? They are answering to you now versus you feeling like, well, I just signed up and now now we’re using this tool, you know, you have

[00:24:08.84] spk_1:
options, you have options. NTC is one place to find out what those options are. 10 is thoughtful use of technology and 10 the courses and you can do them for certification for God’s sake. If you need certification diploma, they have them. Uh 24. Yes,

[00:25:07.14] spk_2:
Portland, Oregon. We really thought when we had the NTC in Portland in 2019. Um and we thought, oh, everybody loved it. We just got so much great feedback from the community that the city was fun and accessible, that restaurants were good, you know. Um People had a great time and we’re like, okay, well, we can come back to Portland. Let’s really put this a long time from now and now it will be, you know, we just had Denver and then we’re back in Portland because we had three years of not being on offline. So, yes, back in Portland, everyone on the team is super excited just to be back in a place we’ve been before and it makes all the decisions easier. Um We already have ideas for making it better. So, and, you know, we’re in Denver here, but we’re also online and there are sessions that are only in Denver, their sessions that are only online and then there are sessions that are simultaneously in both places. And let me tell you, we are learning a lot.

[00:25:20.41] spk_1:
There’s a lot of that takes a lot of technology support, especially the, the ones that are here and virtual.

[00:25:31.86] spk_2:
Yes, I would say in person stuff, you know, fine under control, you know, regular snap,

[00:25:36.15] spk_1:
totally

[00:25:54.20] spk_2:
online stuff also totally fine, you know, every once in a while somebody logs in the wrong zoom or, you know, whatever, but that’s fine. It’s the hybrid sessions where we have really asked a lot of technology and technology seems to still be deciding how it feels about us. What does it

[00:25:59.14] spk_1:
look like in those rooms? Can camera, can we see the the audience members who are virtual screen with all of them?

[00:26:35.76] spk_2:
Both places can see, you know, back between and we have and 10 staff person or one of our trained volunteers is a host on both sides so that there’s somebody who’s not the speakers or the attendees themselves trying to say somebody has a question or the questions over here or you know, like those two hosts can talk 1 to 1 and like own their side, right? So we have those two house, we have the actual like zoom and then we have all of the technology that needs to be in the Denver room to make sure that the microphones are sinking in real time to the stream to the video, to everything else.

[00:26:55.46] spk_1:
Yeah.

[00:27:59.56] spk_2:
And honestly, so far, knock on wood, I think we had a snafu this morning where, you know, and it’s like the perfect worst thing to happen. You know, the bad thing that happened was volunteers wanted to make sure that their sessions were great and tried to log in early to set them up early. And so they booted the session that was already happening. So it wasn’t like nobody came or nothing ever happened. You know, the caption ear’s have all been there and it’s the normal caption team we work with who are just so great and consistent. All the volunteers have been early, if not on time, you know. So the pro and then we realized, oh, the problem is that, that volunteer logged in? Oh, that’s why we all got booted. Oh, they were able to figure it out. Send a message to everyone and say if your shift starts at 9 15, we mean 9 15, we do not mean 9 13. Yes. So it wasn’t easy to fix challenge,

[00:28:02.27] spk_1:
conscientious volunteers. Not

[00:28:20.38] spk_2:
so we’re learning a lot about like what prep do the folks on both sides really need to pull that off. Like maybe maybe, you know, Ash and Jeremy and Drew have a session with you in the summer and talk about doing hybrid virtual events and how to make them really successful. You know, people are still doing. I mean so many folks fundraising gala have kept the hybrid piece where they’re like, oh, we could have 100 people at home donating that we didn’t buy food for. Yes, please, you know. Um so I think I think we’re really gonna see hybrid stay around. People are gonna want to keep doing that. Um and you know us, we’re happy to share all of our mistakes so that you can learn from them. Yes.

[00:29:30.55] spk_1:
Alright. Alright. So 24. So I would expect 24 NTC is also going to be a hybrid. It sounds you wouldn’t abandon that. All the learnings. Yeah, all the, all the problems next year, it’ll be 800 virtual. Alright, thank you. All right, we’re looking forward to 20 well, we’re loving 23 NTC here in Denver. Looking forward to next year. You and Gene and I, I think we just picked, identified probably three different subjects that the three of us could spend an hour talking about. I’m glad, you know, I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s concerned, even George wegner kinda, you know, he was more leaning towards, well, the risks aren’t, you know, I don’t, I don’t think that, that, that had great. Yeah, but I, I need George to be more and more thoughtful before he comes down on one side or the other.

[00:29:42.55] spk_2:
And I think that from, from any position

[00:29:44.61] spk_1:
Georges, let me just not put it on George wegner. I need the Georges Georges to be more

[00:30:56.77] spk_2:
thoughtful. I think it’s important to also remember that when we’re thinking of what are those risks, we’re filtering that through. What do I think those risks are? And, and I, or you and who you as the listener, whoever the one asking that question cannot be the one assessing risk for everyone. You have not experienced the same harm that everyone has experienced from tech in Ology. You maybe don’t have the same view of what you need that technology to do so, the idea that any one of us could say, oh, the risks aren’t that bad or these are the definitive list of risks. We just can’t, you know, it’s too dynamic of a constantly changing situation to say that the risks, the risk list stops or that it is or is not too much to care about, right? Because for some folks, there are people who are not online because of these risks, right? They are choosing to not even have access to some of the utilities that we all can benefit from working remotely, having access to education remotely because these risks are too harmful, right? So I just want to caution any of us from saying this is it or this is the view, right? The view is changing every day when all the people in this room release a new version of their product, right? Or by each other and decide to do different things and it’s

[00:31:12.82] spk_1:
also very personal. Yes, it has to be personal, organizational

[00:31:37.77] spk_2:
and that’s the that’s the place from which I want everybody here to take their duty, right? Is that it is personal and you have a duty as an organization to honor that personal level of choice and risk for every community member that you are expecting to give you their data, right? That you’re expecting to trust you. And that that’s kind of an entry point to to that mindfulness around technology is like it’s not yours. It is theirs. And are you allowing them to have choice? Are you allowing folks to decide how much data to give you a knot or what you can do with their data? Like it just opens up a whole five more shows of what we talk about, right?

[00:32:02.44] spk_1:
Alright, good. This is not, this is not there, this is not their last appearance.

[00:32:06.97] spk_2:
Let’s talk about Jean about the legal piece of that too, right? Because there’s a social conscience of what you do with your community members, data and there’s actual legal.

[00:32:46.00] spk_1:
We will, we will. All right, Amy Sample Ward, the C E O of N 10 grand high exalted mystic ruler of 23 NTC. Um I was surprised to see them walking on the street today. I thought I’d see them in a chauffeured limousine. You bring 1600 people in the city of Denver. I thought you get the penthouse suite concierge Bellman. Okay. Thank you very much. So. Good to see you. Thank you and thank you for being with our 23 NTC coverage where we are sponsored by Heller consulting, sharing the booth with us doing technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Thank you.

[00:33:04.34] spk_0:
It’s time for Tony’s take two first. I need to thank Heller consulting. So thank you Heller consulting for your sponsorship of tony-martignetti non profit radio at the 2023 nonprofit technology conference.

[00:33:21.78] spk_1:
Very

[00:34:52.37] spk_0:
grateful that we shared a large booth together that I was able to make lots of interviews to Heller after each interview, bringing folks over to meet the Heller team that was Kaya and Paige and Jet. And I also met the CEO Keith Heller. Uh Thank you. Thank you. Hello, consulting for partnering with me, sponsoring nonprofit radio at the 23 N T C. Thanks so much. Thanks to the listeners who came by, but a bunch of folks come over say, oh, you’re the, you that radio got, you know, the nonprofit radio guy, one guy said in the bathroom. But in any case, I got a chance to meet lots of listeners. So that’s very gratifying. Thank you to those folks came over. I’m not gonna name who came over in the men’s room. We’ll just leave that uh to lay right there. But thanks listeners who, who joined us at 23 N T C and thank U N 10 N 10 supporting nonprofit radio. I’m grateful for our partnership. Thank you to the team at N 10. Congratulations to the staff for a successful fun valuable conference. My thanks, my congratulations out to end 10. That is Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo, but loads more time here is building an inclusive board culture.

[00:35:28.60] spk_1:
Welcome to tony-martignetti, non profit radio coverage of 23 N T C. The 2023 nonprofit technology conference were at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy. And implementation for nonprofits with me now is Renee Reuben Ross. She is founder and CEO of the Ross Collective. Renee Reuben Ross. Welcome to nonprofit radio.

[00:35:35.60] spk_3:
Thanks so much. Great to be here.

[00:35:39.78] spk_1:
Absolute pleasure to have you. Your topic is building an inclusive culture on nonprofit boards. Right. Right. I think I have some sense, but I’m gonna let you articulate because you’ll do it better. Why we need this session?

[00:36:51.10] spk_3:
Oh, wow. Well, so many things. But, um, I think that I do a lot of different things. I do strategic planning and board development facilitation. And I also teach board development at Cal State University, East Bay. And so I’ve had so many, I identify as a white person and consultant. I’ve had so many people come up to me who are on board saying, wow, we are really struggling to build a positive culture and what do we need to do? How can we make things different? And I mean, I would say people of all different racial backgrounds, people who are, you know, people who might just be joining the board, who don’t know what’s going on. And so in, in, in having these conversations, I’ve developed a way of thinking about all right, what are some practices that support boards to do better work? Because I think that many of us, you probably know someone who’s joy. You know, it seems like everybody else knows what’s going on here and I’m trying to catch up, but I just don’t feel like I’m part of this and that might be around information. It might be around the culture in terms of racial equity, it might be around relationships. So, really thinking about what are some great practices that boards can keep in mind gender equity as well

[00:37:18.08] spk_1:
as a board. And there are two women and one’s a woman of color and, and we, you know, we feel minimized. Yes, I’ve heard things like, you know, we feel patronized, minimized. All the power is in the middle aged white guys.

[00:37:45.07] spk_3:
I start with the assumption that we all that we each have something to contribute. And going back to this idea of equity that the people who are closest to the problem should be weighing in on the solutions so that we really need to do consciously design boards and organizations in a way where all voices are heard and affirmed. And that that’s a good thing. That’s not, that’s not anybody losing anything that’s actually all of us getting to do better work that supports everybody. Yeah,

[00:38:01.01] spk_1:
the zero sum game where, well, if, if she has a voice than I’m losing that much of mine. But it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s

[00:38:12.05] spk_3:
ludicrous. Right. Right.

[00:38:12.78] spk_1:
Power is, power is infinite. Power, infinite. So you’ve got some signs and symptoms, indicators of, of what your current culture

[00:39:55.78] spk_3:
is. Right. Well, I am going to have a story that I’m going to share stories. So I was on a board and I had a colleague who came and joined that board. And at the beginning, she was pretty quiet. But then over time, what happened, which I had not expected was she started to come to the board meetings and there was always something bothering her and she was really angry and she, she became sadly this, this angry person in our meetings. And I didn’t expect this. She was someone that I knew she had some good things to contribute. But I started to think about what can I do? And I know that many of my students, many of the clients that I work with have the same issue which we’re going to talk about tomorrow in my session, which is what do you do about somebody who, who has, what do you do about somebody who has become a toxic board member? And so I suggested this kind of, this is really what happens. This is not like, oh, we’ve never met this person before. Usually people who come on board, somebody knows them ahead of time. But what ended up happening was I did my, I did my checklist, which is our, the board procedures. Good. Yes. Are we generally building positive relationships? Yes. Are we honoring equity and listening to all voices? Yes. And then it was like, what I ended up doing was counseling Micah colleague off the board. And I just said to her, you know what I’ve noticed is, it doesn’t seem like it makes you happy to be on this

[00:40:03.54] spk_1:
board. She probably realized it herself.

[00:40:21.46] spk_3:
She realized it herself. I’m somebody who’s not afraid to have the tough conversations. I wasn’t, I wasn’t angry with her. I was stating the truth in a courageous way and it got her to reflect on her participation and to leave the board. What

[00:40:23.47] spk_1:
do you think? Was, was there anything having to do with the, with the organization? Was it was, it was, it was some

[00:40:47.30] spk_3:
other things that were going on. And so many of us have a lot of things that are happening in our homes and with our families that maybe we are bringing to board meetings, right? So it’s really a matter of how can board members act courageous and proactively so that the board so that everybody feels, everybody feels like, wow, when I come to this meeting, things are going in a positive direction because what I’ve heard about boards these days is people really need to feel like their time is worthwhile and if they don’t, they want to do something else, especially now in this post pandemic time, my time is really valuable.

[00:41:13.58] spk_1:
Take off your three little three questions that you ask.

[00:41:16.68] spk_3:
Right. So, so I, so I have this framework that I share with my students, with my clients and my blog. It’s all about, are you utilizing formal practices? So that the first one is formal practices, goals agendas, agreements, term limits. We could just have a

[00:41:34.43] spk_1:
whole bylaws,

[00:41:39.98] spk_3:
bylaws, right? And, and I have, I have encountered or that will say, oh, no, we don’t have term limits. We have people on our board have been here for 20 years. You need to tighten that up. That is not responsible.

[00:41:51.17] spk_1:
You’re saying, I notice you’re saying not just have procedures. Are you following the bylaws may have two consecutive three year terms as the max and you’ve got this 20 year board member. So great,

[00:43:25.55] spk_3:
you got to enforce this and have a way of being in conversation. So first of all, for good, good meeting agendas that are aligned with the goals of the organization. Second of all informal procedures and this is really the relationship building peace. And I think that in these days, if anything, people want more than ever to feel that they feel connected to other board members, they feel a sense of belonging on the board that there’s compassion understanding that, you know, that it isn’t just get the work done, but they’re really that there’s some sort of positive team feeling. And I will say that I share this on a podcast on a webinar and someone said, well, how much does it cost to build? It doesn’t we’re talking a Starbucks coffee. Yes, presence, right? So, so first, so formal practices, informal practice and informal practices given attention, given, given attention really accounting for the fact that people process information differently, learn differently. That’s another informal practice that can really support good, good culture and good

[00:43:33.49] spk_1:
meetings on this, on this one before we move to the third, can other social events for the board which don’t have to be expensive. The person who’s concerned about spending too much money, you can, you can bring everybody into witness, witness some of the work you’re doing if you have that type of work.

[00:45:15.15] spk_3:
But you know what you just is, there was a board that I was invited to join and they said we want to have, we want to have, we’re having all of our meetings at seven a.m. And I was like, I know that I’m a working parent that’s seven a.m. is a horrible time for me. And, and so it is also a matter of being aware of how are, how, how can these practices of, of the board be as inclusive as possible. Um So, so then, and then going on to equity and the reason that so, and I define equity as being committed to shifting systems and sharing power as we talked about before. And the reason that I mentioned equity is that sometimes and I do some work as part of a cross race team where I’m leading along with my colleague, Crystal Cherry. We lead conversations for, for mostly historically white boards around racial equity. Sometimes there is the one person who one person who may be black or who may have something really, really important to say. And that person, even if it’s one person, that person needs to be hurt. Uh And so there’s some, some stepping back that needs to happen on behalf of, you know, by white people sometimes and some real perspective taking to focus more on equity

[00:45:16.30] spk_1:
sharing, power sharing. Uh

[00:45:32.37] spk_3:
And, and this is, we’re all on a learning journey, but it’s like start the journey, the train is going and, and again, if you, when we leave these conversations, we talk a lot about how does this align with the mission of the organization? So we had an arts organization that had their location in a primarily white neighborhood. Um Alright, how do you, what are you going to do in terms of outreach? Given that 45% of your city are people of color. You are not serving the mission to serve the whole community

[00:45:53.92] spk_1:
perceived in the community as a white elitist organization. So you’re not, you’re not attracting new supporters of any type volunteers, donors, board members, whatever is really

[00:46:04.04] spk_3:
about how does this work of um shifting systems of listening to more perspectives, deepen and strengthen the work of the organization?

[00:46:16.29] spk_1:
Anything else on the on the culture? Before we talk about dealing with your toxic person personages?

[00:46:26.56] spk_3:
I think that what I would say is I when I do this work, I encourage, I’m sure you do the same kind of thing. The first step is really assessment. How are you doing right now? And so as people are listening, I would say, put your podcast on pause for a second.

[00:46:52.19] spk_1:
Okay, come back. So, so,

[00:47:17.83] spk_3:
so, and, and these are questions for, for not just for one person, for the whole board. Um I will say that, that we had, we did one conversation with a potential client and it was this man, white man. And we said to him, well, are you building belonging on your board? And, and he said, of course, I am so and we said, well, how do you know? He’s like, well, I’ve asked my three best friends and they all feel a sense of belonging, you know, it’s like, okay, you got to go beyond beyond who you hear from. And maybe that means you survey your whole board or do you have a consultant come in and do interviews, whatever the way that you’re, you’re gathering data, you need to be more comprehensive in, in your learning and perspective taking.

[00:47:44.26] spk_1:
Can we go to toxic, toxic folks had to deal with? I mean, you had a good sample of a good story about your friend, your friend did the board experience.

[00:48:50.06] spk_3:
She’s still my friend because I spoke in a caring way. I wasn’t angry with her. I can see I do that. This is how I approach any kind of service or work, you know, and the same thing that I um that I would suggest for clients, positive or negative. In her case, there was she was having more of a negative experience. So it wasn’t the right fit for her. Other times, sometimes the situation comes up where somebody is on the board, they had a really strong relationship with the previous executive director with the previous staff. And then those people have left, the organization is going in a new direction and this person’s really frustrated. That is a pretty common scenario, right? And so what do you do? It’s up to the new leadership to say yes, we affirm the direction that we’re taking. We’re, we’re sorry that you, that you are not with us, but we are going forward. That’s okay. Again, it’s sometimes leaders, some of the leaders that I meet need just more courage to take this kind of action.

[00:49:10.61] spk_1:
Yeah, other other advice about approaching someone who’s, who’s toxic on a board.

[00:49:17.22] spk_3:
I think that’s just

[00:49:27.99] spk_1:
straightforward factual, you know, conversation. What about, what about in the moment in the, in the, in the heat of a meeting? Someone is dominating the conversation or, or just belittling someone else’s idea? That’s a good, that’s a better example, belittling someone else’s ideas were in the board meeting right now. Thank you for

[00:49:56.99] spk_3:
that. So, some of the practices that I do. So, one of the things that I do when I lead a meeting, I always use meeting agreements and meeting agreements are how it takes a minute or two. How do we want to be together? I have a list of meeting agreements around listening to one another. Curiosity respect

[00:50:03.32] spk_1:
before you joined the board meeting, at

[00:50:06.02] spk_3:
the beginning of each meeting for a minute. And then, and then it’s a matter of depending on how the meeting that helps frame

[00:50:14.81] spk_1:
things. How do we,

[00:50:55.00] spk_3:
is there anything you need to add? Um But I do think that this is where this is where some of this goes back to the framework that I’m a before. Because if, if there is, you want to start with a good agenda and you want, and it is possible to say, all right, well, we’ve been talking about this for 30 minutes. We said we would talk about it for 15. We’re going to cut it off here because we have other things that we need to accomplish and we’re gonna need to talk about this in committee. But so two different things. So one is if somebody is sort of going off, you can use some of those kinds of moves. But then the next part of it is is if someone is belittling somebody, I think that goes back to how do we want to be together and

[00:51:03.86] spk_1:
remind them of what we all agree half an hour

[00:51:06.90] spk_3:
ago and, and have maybe it’s the board president, maybe it’s executive director again, going back to that person. It should be the

[00:51:13.84] spk_1:
board chair in the, in the heat. Of the men in the heat of the meeting. It should be the board chair. It’s their job to run the job to run the meeting.

[00:51:24.00] spk_3:
But it may be that, that person, you want to talk to that person offline, find out what’s

[00:51:27.98] spk_1:
going on. But I’m putting you right in the, in the battle right now. We got to defuse the situation right now because someone is feeling someone has been hurt and, and minimized and someone else’s trotting over them. I think I would like, what do we all agree at the beginning of the meeting? This is not appropriate

[00:51:53.00] spk_3:
and I would go and what I would do would be to go back to them. Like I went back to my colleague and just said, you seem really angry in these meetings were all trying. We’re all working to get more meals to seniors what’s going on. You know, this is really a little bit beyond hear what they have to say and then see what the next step for them is. But, but really, but really again, courage, directness and, and I want to say, protecting everybody in the meeting by, by keeping a safe and caring environment.

[00:52:23.02] spk_1:
It’s also gonna depend on how the person reacts. I think in that moment with apology, you know, I’m I’m sorry, I got carried away versus

[00:52:34.27] spk_3:
okay. Fine. Yeah, that’s true. You’re right, you’re right.

[00:52:36.24] spk_1:
But this possible responses in between those but you know, apology a public apology in the moment goes a long way.

[00:54:03.20] spk_3:
Right. I had, I had another person who reached out to me and said, you know, we have one person who’s hijacking our meetings and he just won’t stop. And so then that was where I went back to my framework. And all right, do you have term limits? Do you have a structured agenda? Do you know what the purpose of these meetings is? I’ll use your checklist to have that structure. Have you talked with other board members to get clarity on what you want and how, how you want to be together and once you can get that, oh and adding the equity piece, are you, can you confirm that this person doesn’t have a perspective that are you sure that this person doesn’t have a perspective that needs to be listened to because I don’t want to, I don’t want to take that off the table. It may be that, that they do. In this case, the person did not. And when, when I talked to this client, it gave her the permission to say, alright, we understand that you want to do blah, blah, blah, but the nine of us don’t. And so we’re going forward over here and it seems like maybe this board isn’t right for you anymore. That’s okay. And that actually kept, it’s that it’s that 2020% of the people or 5% of the people taking up, you know, so much of your time and, and then the board got back on track through that. Okay.

[00:54:05.24] spk_1:
Um What else? What else? We’ve only spent like 20 minutes together? What else are you going to share with folks tomorrow that we haven’t talked

[00:54:12.14] spk_3:
about yet? Yeah, I think that. So I just, this is my first NTC to see how it is. I would say that, that, that

[00:54:23.47] spk_1:
congratulations on being selected as a speaker community, the community voted and chose you.

[00:55:55.14] spk_3:
It’s exciting. Um What I’m trying to do now is create a lot of spaciousness in the meetings that I lead in these presentations. And by spaciousness, I mean, spaciousness, interactivity you’re really giving because people more than ever want to talk, want to have the opportunity to talk. So how I’m, how I lead this conversation, so how I recommend board members should lead these conversations really to say we want to hear from you, we want time for us to talk it through and sometimes there may not be enough time in um in the meetings themselves that may mean that you need to go off and you know, have committee meetings so that you can be more expansive in exploring a certain topic. But really understanding that with everything going on in the world, people are holding a lot and there is a need for more processing of all of this and that needs to go into the design and to just come into you don’t want to come into a room and say, let’s, we’re just getting down to work. It’s really the opposite of that. It’s really what’s here in the room right now. Um, I, I have, there’s a book called Permission To Feel by Marc Brackett. Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. And there’s an app to that and it’s really about how you’re feeling right now and it’s such a simple question, but just to say as a check in with your board members, how are you feeling right now? And again, it doesn’t cost very much, but it’s a way to say we’re all here together. But what do you need to leave behind? So you can be here in the room and that creates a lot better work.

[00:56:25.24] spk_1:
You’re promising the folks who attend tomorrow that you’ll, you’ll leave them with a take away the next the next step, next step for building a healthier board. How do you help them identify that next step?

[00:57:33.26] spk_3:
So my, my theory of learning is what you care about. What you embrace. What you notice is what you’re going to start working on. So the reason that I am handing them my hand out with the Venn diagram of these three areas and sorry, I’m being technical, formal practices, informal practices, equity is because I, I don’t, I want each person in the room to reflect on what is working and, and what they want to do next. And to commit to something, right? Something that they want to change in the organization. And it might just be, um, I’m gonna go back to my board and I’m gonna share this with them and we’re gonna have, uh, you know, group conversation about this understanding that we are doing really well in terms of informal practices because we all get along really well. But we actually, we don’t have term limits and that’s hurting us because we’re not getting new people involved with our organization. So a

[00:57:39.50] spk_1:
lot of his internalized what you believe should be a next step where you believe you should work first.

[00:58:17.40] spk_3:
I have a longtime background in education, doctorate in education and studied adult education. Truly believe that we are building our own knowledge and motivation from what we care about and boards are too. What are you giving your attention to? So give my goal for the session is that people give their attention to these three different areas and think. Okay, I’m going to share many practices, but which ones do you need to pay more attention to? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Can we leave it there? What do you think? Sure. Feel good.

[00:58:20.02] spk_1:
Yeah. Alright. You know, feeling like there’s something else we didn’t talk about. He didn’t ask me.

[00:58:46.44] spk_3:
Um I think we’re, I think we’re good. It’s really exciting to, you know, it’s really, I’m very curious about who’s going to come to this session and the challenges they’re bringing and I was, it’s very energizing to see okay room full of people, most of them I haven’t met before. And what will they, you know, what questions do they have about this and what, what’s working for them most? And where do they find, where do they feel like they need to do more fine tuning? What are you excited

[00:58:57.59] spk_1:
about that? What drew you to the nonprofit technology conference? This is your first one, but you’ve obviously been working with nonprofits a long time. What brought you to an NTC?

[00:59:07.30] spk_3:
I was, I was interested in, you know, in meeting all kinds of people and connecting and, you know, learning about some of the ideas that are out there and how this conference works. You

[00:59:17.40] spk_1:
just have never heard of it

[00:59:34.55] spk_3:
before. I have heard of it before. Yeah. And I mean, what I’ve noticed in my work is I have a lot of referral partners who are fundraising consultants who are sending me work and I’m sending them work and I’m guessing that I’ll connect with some new people, you know, who could be potential referral partners. So, yeah, you know, it’s funny because I did have a friend who said, wait, your, your facilitator, why are you going to the technology conference? But I was like, well, there’s a leadership track and so it’s not

[00:59:48.62] spk_1:
only for technical techies I T directors, we all know

[00:59:52.41] spk_3:
that. Right. Right. Right.

[01:00:02.14] spk_1:
Great, Renee Ruben. My pleasure. Thanks for Thanks for sharing a Reuben Ross founder and CEO at the Ross Collective. Thank you for being with tony-martignetti non profit radio coverage of 23 N T C where we are sponsored by Heller consulting technology strategy and implementation for nonprofits. Thanks for being my pleasure, Renee. Thank you. You’re welcome. And thank you

[01:01:16.37] spk_0:
next week. Technology Governance for Accidental Taxis as as accidental taxis, technology governance for accidental techies. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. I’m not sure you’d want to do that though. Actually, this week were 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. I’m sure my voice will sound better. Next week, our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. The shows social media is by Susan Chavez Marc Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for March 20, 2023: #23NTC & Is A Social Enterprise For You?

 

Amy Sample Ward: #23NTC

The 2023 Nonprofit Technology Conference is in April, hosted by NTEN. Come in-person or join virtually. Nonprofit Radio will be there. Amy Sample Ward, NTEN’s CEO and our technology contributor, tells us what’s in store.

 

 

Tamra Ryan: Is A Social Enterprise For You?

What are these and how do you decide whether to take one on—or even consider it—at your nonprofit? What kinds of businesses lend themselves to social enterprise and how do you structure the relationship? Tamra Ryan makes sense of it all. She’s CEO of Women’s Bean Project. (Originally aired December 13, 2021)

 

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[00:01:57.78] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your Aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with me. I’d be stricken with Orrico my Adonia if you paint me with the idea that you missed this week’s show 23 NTC. The 2023 nonprofit technology conference is in April hosted by N 10, come in person or join virtually non profit radio will be there, Amy Sample Ward N Ten’s CEO and our technology contributor tells us what’s in store And is a social enterprise for you. What are these? And how do you decide whether to take one on or even consider it at your nonprofit? What kinds of businesses lend themselves to social enterprise and how do you structure the relationship? Tamara Ryan makes sense of it all. She’s ceo of women’s being project. This originally aired 13 December 2021 on tony state to get in people’s faces again. Again, Here is 23 NTC. What a pleasure to welcome back, Amy Sample Ward as it always is, you know who she is. But she deserves a proper introduction. CEO of N 10 and our technology and social media contributor. Their most recent co authored book is the tech that comes next about equity and inclusiveness in technology development. They’re at Amy sample ward dot org and at Amy R S ward. So good to welcome you back. Good

[00:02:04.79] spk_1:
to have you. Thanks for having me. I’m excited that in a few short weeks, we will not be over Zoom.

[00:02:13.64] spk_0:
That’s indeed true. We will, we will, we will be hugging. So let’s talk about what’s coming up, this little thing. 23 NTC, the nonprofit technology conference in Denver.

[00:02:26.74] spk_1:
Yes. This little thing

[00:02:27.68] spk_0:
that you’ve been uh just occupying a couple, a couple hours a week, I suppose,

[00:03:14.81] spk_1:
Right? Couple of concurrent hours in my mind at all time. Yeah. Yeah, I’m excited. This is, this is the first nonprofit technology conference that’s happening back in person since 2019. However, it is also our first hybrid NTC. So people are going to be participating in Denver. People are going to be participating, you know, from their homes or offices virtually and a number of sessions where both of those people are in the same session at the same time. So we’re really trying to push, you know, push the limits of our own planning to push the A V team’s abilities, all of those pieces, see what Zoom can do all of that and make a conference that feels really great and dynamic and has different options for different people, regardless of how you’re joining or where you are or what comfort level or care needs you might have right now.

[00:03:37.84] spk_0:
So the in person people will be eligible for hybrid or for, for virtual presentations. And the virtual audience is is welcome to join in person presentations, work, working,

[00:04:45.58] spk_1:
not all of them but so at any given session block, there are sessions that are only happening in Denver. You have to physically be in the room presentation or the presenters are all in the room. Then there are sessions that are only happening online if you’re in Denver and you really want to see that session, you can also go online and, and watch it. Um And, and there will be spaces where you could do that as a group to um and there are hybrid sessions which mean there’s a room in Denver, there will likely be presenters in Denver, but there’s also maybe a co presenter online and an online audience. And so we have session hosts and facilitators in both places to make sure that the speakers are confident and comfortable managing all of that and they’re not trying to, you know, watch the chat or see what’s going on in the room. So, yeah, I think it’ll be an experience. I’m sure we will learn a lot. We are open to learning a lot but like, you know, true intent fashion, we will learn out loud with everyone else along with us, you know,

[00:05:07.68] spk_0:
you’re making all the permutations available across, across in person and hybrid. Alright. Wonderful, wonderful. Yeah, like how many sessions are we looking forward

[00:06:19.31] spk_1:
to? Oh, my gosh. 100 and 50 some, I forget the, The, the single digit number there, but over 150 and really incredible keynotes which of course, you know, will be in both places that will be a hybrid. Um and I’m not sure if you’ve never been to the NDC what your uh experience with conferences or sessions are, but we also have different types of sessions. So we have 30 minute sessions which we try to plan during the day for when folks are in the you know, you couldn’t take more than 25 minutes of talking before your brain shuts down. So there’s short kind of tactical sessions. That’s where we see a lot of great um content, like do these five things to your website tomorrow, right? Like really clear to the point and then we have longer 60 minute sessions and workshops um and lots of diverse options in the longer session. Um It’s not just, you know, some conferences are very panel heavy. We do have co presenters so that there’s multiple perspectives and opinions that are being shared, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a session with two or three presenters is going to be a panel in its presentation, right? It might just be three people facilitating it together.

[00:06:41.88] spk_0:
Uh, the dates, let’s make sure everybody knows when we’re talking

[00:07:06.77] spk_1:
About. Yeah, April 12 through 14th, which is a Wednesday through Friday. Um, we totally know and can just say up front, we know that it conflicts with passover and Ramadan and we welcome the millions in legal fees that we would have had to pay to get out of it. Yeah. Well, it was a product of the pandemic rescheduling where we did have a contract before it felt like people could really come back. And so it got pushed to 2023 and, and we didn’t really have a choice of what that was. So

[00:07:26.09] spk_0:
When was Denver supposed to have been, was it supposed to be 2020?

[00:08:51.96] spk_1:
It was supposed to be 20, early, 2022. Yeah. But we pulled the community and folks just weren’t ready for a big conference yet, you know, which is totally understandable. Lots of folks still aren’t, which is why we have the hybrid and the virtual options. But um at least moving it to 23 meant all communities could have access to vaccines. You know, we have people coming from lots of different countries to the conference traditionally. So I really wanted to make sure that it felt like folks were at a place where they could be ready if they wanted to be to come to the conference. Um, and we have various options in place for folks who may either be feeling like this is their first conference. Um And the pandemic is still happening and it feels really stressful or overwhelming there. You know, we’re asking folks to wear masks, we will have masks available. I have already ordered them to the advanced warehouse, you know, but we also have um more lounges than we’ve ever had so that people can go to a smaller space um and relax or we’ve talked to the Convention Center about having different ways that people can eat, even smaller areas, eat outside, take their food wherever they want to go. So we really are trying to think both of impacts for folks who maybe are trying to um you know, they have observances for whether Ramadan Passover etcetera and we can support how they engage through that or COVID concerns and how we can help them, you know, navigate a big conference with those as well.

[00:09:07.74] spk_0:
I intend never afraid of filling up their

[00:09:09.65] spk_1:
plate. I know technology

[00:09:12.71] spk_0:
wise, accommodation, wise, equity, etcetera. It’s all you take it all on. Yeah, I always admired, I admire it, not admired passively like somebody admires it, I admire it. I

[00:09:57.83] spk_1:
appreciate you saying that. I think, you know, it feels to us like we want to do the work to honor all the wholeness of the community so that everyone in the community feels like they are welcome. It also is the kind of thing where you don’t even realize like how much work it is to make thoughtful accommodations until you really open that door, step through it. You’re like, oh, this is a whole room. This is not like a closet, right? I wasn’t just grabbing a coat. I just went into a whole walk in clause opposite of, of options. So I really just shout out to the accessibility committee which is all community members and they work year round with staff to think about ways that we can make the conference even more accessible and support more community members.

[00:10:47.18] spk_0:
All these are the reasons why I always bring non profit radio to the two N T C. This, this is my eighth or ninth or something like that. Um And so we’ll be on the exhibit floor sharing a booth with our sponsors Heller Consulting. So come see us at 4 20 for 4 20 for a, I’m the A non profit But yeah, so come see team Heller. Very grateful, grateful for their sponsorship of us at NTC. And I’ll be capturing Oh a dozen or 15, roughly interviews that will be on non profit radio in the coming months after April 12-14 and Amy, of course, we’ll get you, we’ll get you in the schedule.

[00:11:00.46] spk_1:
I’ll stop by the booth. Well, yes, I gotta get, I

[00:11:06.95] spk_0:
gotta get you on the schedule because you’re the, you know, you’re all over. So I gotta get, you gotta get you nailed down for for an interview. Yes. Um Why don’t you share with folks? Awesome, awesome keynotes.

[00:11:17.81] spk_2:
Yeah.

[00:12:16.22] spk_1:
Yeah. So on the first day we have Sophia Noble who just launched a new race and gender and technology program, which is so awesome. She’s at U C L A and on day two, we have Messiah Burciaga Hamid who has been a staff and is now the board chair of native land, a tool that folks have hopefully and likely already used when you are looking up whose land you are on. Um And then on day three on Friday, we’ll have what I can only imagine is going to be the most high energy exciting keynote at nine in the morning from Evan Greer. Um She’s the director at Fight For the Future. Um an organization and 10 has partnered with on some of our um advocacy on save dot org, et cetera. So action packed keynotes, lots of great ideas. It’s going to be really good action

[00:12:43.56] spk_0:
packed centering diversity, admire it, admire it. I want to remind folks that N 10 is also known for wonderful food. They spend a lot of time thinking about what the menus are gonna be. The food is always excellent. So if you’re a foodie, you might say, you know, it’s a conference. All right, we’ll get some, we’ll get some rubber chicken, you know, but we’ll tolerate it. No, it’s not. It’s not gonna be the case. That’s not gonna be if there’s chicken. There will be chicken cordon bleu also be vegan options. There will be vegetarian options. There will be

[00:13:29.63] spk_1:
only have 11 day or at least one full lunch menu that is all plant based. Um, and then we have, you know, lots of options. Everything is labeled the full menu in every ingredient is in the conference app. So you can see whatever dietary needs you might have how those are or are not met. Um, and we actually just met yesterday with the catering rep. Um, and slowly watched his eyes kind of glaze over as we were saying, you know, not just, oh, could we have a sandwich instead of this salad? We were saying inside the menu, we see that you’re using this ingredient and we’re changing this specific ingredient and we would like, you know, we don’t need brisket at nine in the morning for our attendees. What’s a plant based option? And every time he said Tofu and 10 staff were like, we’re going to challenge the chef to come up with something better.

[00:13:53.71] spk_0:
Yes, you pay attention to the food. It’s

[00:14:40.73] spk_1:
exactly. And if you’re spending your time in a session, feeling kind of anarchy because you didn’t like what you ate or feeling hungry because there wasn’t food for you. It takes away from your opportunity to learn. So we want folks to really feel taken care of so that however whatever big needs they have and sometimes they’re not learning needs. We know, sometimes come to the conference just to like, find those two other people who have done the thing that they’ve done and feel like they could hear somebody say to them like, yeah, it’s really horrible, you know, but you can get through this project or you can find a new vendor or, you know, whatever it might be. Like, you also have the, the emotional capacity to go take on finding those conversations because again, you’re not spending all your time worrying about. Are you gonna have food or where is a bathroom in this giant convention center or whatever else? You know,

[00:14:54.99] spk_0:
you take care of the, you take care of the whole person, you do the whole people. There’s more than one person attending. Yes,

[00:15:22.68] spk_1:
There is more than one person, which is part of why it feels a little overwhelming because we’ve spent, you know, of course, in 2020, there was no conference and then in 21 and 22, it was a virtual conference, and and there were lots of people registered, which was great, but you never had to necessarily feel the Kind of um feel the size of that many people registered right? The way you do when you see everybody from the stage and you look out at a big room. But we’re, I mean, we’re on track to have close to 2000 registrants. Of course, some of those are virtual. But um that’s a really big number, you know, so we probably have 1500 in Denver um and 500 online.

[00:15:50.85] spk_0:
A lot of people. Yeah, but you’re, you’re, you’re curating us, you’re taking care of

[00:15:54.82] spk_1:
your, we’re gonna take care of.

[00:16:20.92] spk_0:
And finally, I want to remind listeners that this is called the nonprofit technology conference hashtag 23 T C. But it is not a conference that is exclusively for technology folks that, that are, you know, C T O s and technology majors and computer science. It is not, it’s for anyone who uses technology in their social change work. And isn’t that all of us? I mean, unless you’re still on index cards and legal pad and

[00:16:38.18] spk_1:
we welcome you. If you’re still on index cards, don’t be overwhelmed. Come to the NTC. Someone will sit down with you and they will get all those cards into a database for you probably for, for free with like the first month of the CRM for free. Like we just need to get you off those cards.

[00:16:43.23] spk_0:
Alright, hopefully not. But yeah, it’s, it’s not only for technologists for anybody who uses technology. That’s why I love to capture a ton of tons of interviews to share, to share with listeners. All right,

[00:16:56.01] spk_1:
thanks so much, tony I can’t wait to see you in Denver. It’s gonna be so fun.

[00:16:59.82] spk_0:
Absolutely. My pleasure. I’m looking forward to seeing you. Good luck with the conference planning and we’ll see you in about a month

[00:17:08.64] spk_1:
so soon. Thank you,

[00:22:19.99] spk_0:
Amy. Folks. You’re suffering a lackluster host. 15 minutes talking to the CEO of N 10 about the conference that they’re hosting. And I forgot to ask, where’s all the information? Where do folks go to register? You go to N 10 dot org, N 10 dot org gives you all the information. Of course, it’s very prominent on their site. Sheesh. Now it’s time for Tony’s take two last week. I was listening back and I talked about being in person with people again and, you know, I gave you a bunch of superficialities and generalizations. But why I think where’s the detail? Why, why is it joyful and pleasurable and so much better and authentic and real? You know. So I’m listening, I was like, Okay. Yeah, but why, but why I’m asking myself as I’m listening. It’s a good thing I have guests because otherwise the show would, would crash guests who provide substance and detail. Uh otherwise you’d have 45 minutes or an hour of superficiality. Okay. So why this is why a bunch of reasons as a, as a the guy, you know, um the presenter at a webinar, I don’t have to scroll. If it’s a big, big audience, you have to scroll and zoom to see everyone. Not so they’re all there. They’re all right there in front of you. It’s a beautiful watch, the generality that beautiful, watch the generalities trying to give detail and also when I’m sharing my screen, you know, Power point, everybody gets reduced into a little like a 1.5 by 1.5 box. And you can see even fewer people then when I’m not screen sharing. So no tiny boxes, everybody’s visible. I can, I can see the screen, my slide up on the screen, the nice big screen and I can see the people there you are. It’s wonderful. Watch the generalities, conversations, of course, conversations so much easier. Not once. Did anybody have to say? Okay. Well, you go first uh to parse out the delegate out the conversation we’re face to face. It’s just, it’s natural, the natural ness of it. Natural. Nous, the word, the hands, you see the hands immediately, you don’t have to scan the, scan the screen to see a little uh one dimensional hand going up real hands right there in your face. It’s fantastic. We’re generalities. Watch that, watch that the laughter, the groans. You can hear them. People aren’t muted feedback, live live and in person so much easier for the audience to cross talk. It’s, it’s doesn’t work in, in zoom, especially if it’s particularly large. People can’t talk at all. Everybody’s the questions are in chat. There’s another, there’s another reason you can the questions dynamic back and forth. Well, I don’t quite understand, you know, this chat, chat typing and, and audience members were talking to each other. This was I’m going back to uh conference. I did in a Long Island. Yeah, people could talk to each other and, and help each other. I, I don’t pretend to have all the answers. So those are all my reasons. That’s the detail. That’s what you, that’s what you listen to. Non profit radio for detail, not superficiality and generalizations. So if you can, if you get the opportunity and then of course, the lunches, I didn’t even mention just two face to face lunches and of course, natural conversation, not, not delayed. You know, it’s, it’s not no problem if you interrupt somebody’s talking. Well, you know, somebody jumps in, it’s not an issue, everybody can be heard natural, natural. So if you get the opportunity face to face, please take it. Don’t make virtual your default. Don’t go there. That’s Tony’s take two. We’ve got boo koo but loads more time for the uninterrupted is a social enterprise for you. Sit back and get comfy. It’s a pleasure to welcome Tamra Ryan to non profit radio She is CEO of women’s bean project, a social enterprise that provides transitional employment to women attempting to break the cycle of chronic unemployment and poverty while operating a food manufacturing business. She’s a former partner and board member for social venture partners, Denver and currently serves as part time interim CEO for the Social Enterprise Alliance. She’s at Tamara Ryan and the enterprise is at women’s bean project dot com. Tamara, welcome to non profit radio

[00:22:29.12] spk_2:
It’s great to be here.

[00:22:33.07] spk_0:
It’s a pleasure, pleasure to have you. Why don’t you first explain what women’s being project is all about? Because it’s an example of what you and I are going to talk about for a while.

[00:23:32.84] spk_2:
We are a food manufacturing business. We started with Bean Soup in 1989 and that’s where our name comes from. But today we have 50 different food products that we sell all across the country. What makes us Different is that we employ women who are chronically unemployed. So a typical woman we hire hasn’t had a job longer than a year in her lifetime. Though the average age is 38, they come and work for us as for a full time job for 6-9 months. And during the time they’re with us, we teach basic job readiness skills. And then we also, in 30% of her paid time, we teach her life skills, we teach problem solving and goal setting and budgeting and planning and organizing. And so this whole thing is her job for these 6-9 months. At the end, she graduates our program and moves on to mainstream employment in the community. So we’re kind of two businesses were running a food manufacturing business and a human services business,

[00:23:50.43] spk_0:
which is exactly what, what the type of model will, will, will be talking about what I admire about that I found very interesting is that you said it. Um, Well, you’re used to saying it but I want to call it out for 30% of their paid time. The women’s paid time is not spent working. It’s spent learning the soft skills of employment.

[00:24:02.42] spk_2:
Yeah, we call it the you job, the Y ou job. So, she has the bean job and she has the U job and she’s paid for all of it.

[00:24:13.14] spk_0:
Uh, yeah. So I see the value and you’ve had, uh, you’ve had a lot of success with folks, women having jobs longer than a year after they’ve, they’ve, I’m gonna say graduated. But

[00:25:04.10] spk_2:
the project, yes. So we track them at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months and we track them. What makes it easier to track them is that we pay them for those check ins. So we pay them $50 to check in at six and 12 months, $75 at 18 months and 100 bucks at two years to check in with us. And what we found that is that at a year, uh, 95 plus percent of the women are still employed. And I think what makes, what’s significant about that is that again, the women we hire haven’t had a job longer than a year in their lifetime before they come to us. So, what we really want to know is, are we setting them helping them on a path for long term employment? You know, being able to sustain that employment.

[00:25:20.79] spk_0:
So what kinds of nonprofits are? Our listeners are all in small and mid sized nonprofits. So I, I think there’s an ideal subject for listeners, what, what types of nonprofits could consider having a social enterprise as part of their part of their work?

[00:26:38.22] spk_2:
I think organizations that are serving people who are on use, you know, by necessity on public benefits and really who for a variety of reasons, whether it’s because of a felony background or it’s because of uh low education levels or because of the history of addiction, you know, a variety of things that get in the way of, of getting and keeping employment. And so if you’re serving those people anyway, one way to help them in addition to helping them with build their foundation of, of soft skills is to employ them in a social enterprise. So that’s just one way that a social enterprises run. But it’s, you know, it as adults, we learn by doing so it’s a really great way to work with the people that you’re working with anyway, to create a business where you’re helping those same people in the long run. Be able to be successful.

[00:26:41.55] spk_0:
You were a partner of social venture partners in Denver. What, what did you look for when you were investing in these types of organizations?

[00:27:20.17] spk_2:
Well, we specifically in S V P, Denver, we’re looking for small organizations that both needed some funding, but also needed some technical assistance. And the reality is that we don’t, if you’re, if you’re running a human services organization, you don’t necessarily have somebody on staff that has the skills to launch a business. For instance, you know, even to do that market research, to figure out what kind of business that might be um have the operational skills. You’re, you’re running a business, human services business, but you’re not necessarily running say in our case of food manufacturing business. And so S V P really looked for organizations that needed the skill set of our partners and also could benefit from the funding that we were providing that. And then svp’s model, the funding and the, and the technical assistance go hand in hand.

[00:28:14.48] spk_0:
So what, what about organizations that, that uh don’t have the expertise that they need? Uh Let’s, let’s assume most of our listeners are not in Denver. So they don’t have access to S V P. Denver. What, how can they, how can they fill that void? And even just start, like you’re saying, like initial market research, how do they know where to get, how to get started?

[00:30:19.38] spk_2:
Well, every nonprofit has a board and I would venture to say that most nonprofits have business people on their board. So there are a lot of resources either through board members or through people that board members know the one great thing that I’ve observed and I didn’t come from the nonprofit world for my entire career. I was in the private sector before. And what I love about being in the nonprofit world is that there are lots of people who want to help and, and just need to be need, they need help knowing what you need. And so I’ve been, I’ve seen lots of ways we’ve been able to engage uh professionals in, for us in, in food manufacturing, um who have expertise that we need to sit on, say a business development committee and help us look at uh new product ideas. And I think that same concept could easily be applied to any organization that’s trying to figure out what kind of business they might run because that’s the key, you could decide to start a business, but it still has to be a viable business. The just, just starting a business, you’re not gonna get the halo effect of, you know, you’re doing it as, as a non profit and therefore it’s going to succeed all the same market. Um factors come into play that do for any business. And so you, you really do have to still find a viable business that makes sense that is needed that you can price appropriately. Um One of the things about the research for social enterprises or whether or not consumers are going to buy from a social enterprise, whether it’s a product or service. One of the statistics is that all other things being equal. So in other words, quality price, etcetera people more and more have a tendency to purchase products and services from a mission based organization or mission based company. But the most important part of that statement is all other things, other things equal, all other things

[00:30:26.35] spk_0:
being equal. Right? Yes, you have to, you have to be able to compete with your private, enter strictly private enterprise, market driven, profit driven competitors.

[00:31:37.05] spk_2:
Yeah, you have to be able to compete and yet at the same time, you also need to figure out what your Um competitive advantages yourself. So for instance, in our case, we are able to um we’re right now in the holiday season, you know, September to December for women’s Bean project, 70% of our sales are, are made. So, you know, we really peaked during this time of year. One of our competitive advantages is we can bring in volunteers to help us say pack boxes or help us, you know, get shipments out the door or, you know, help with, with prep of product. And um that’s something that is a bit of a competitive advantage because if we were just, you know, in the, in the private sector running a regular food manufacturing operation, we really, I don’t think we could, you know, look somebody in the eye and get and get that kind of assistance. But for us, yes, it’s a way to engage donors to get people really invested, get new customers. You know, there are so many ways that, that bringing people from the community in to help us is advantageous, not just to get the work done, but to get additional support for our organization.

[00:32:13.43] spk_0:
So you’ve opened yourself up to a whole new set of metrics as, as having a social enterprise and we’re gonna get to what, what the relationship is between the company and, and a nonprofit or, you know how that could be set up by different, by different organizations. But, but you’ve, you’ve got to measure, you’ve got to measure the company’s profit and the company’s output and productivity, productivity per employee hour or, you know, whatever, you know, the, the, the key metrics for the business are as well as the social outcomes of, of your graduates and your employee members and your, your,

[00:33:00.64] spk_2:
it’s, you know, I joke sometimes it’s a horrible way to run a business, right? Because we intentionally everyday hire women. We don’t know if they’re gonna come to work every day. I mean, that’s part of their barriers to employment and we work with them and they help, we help them become great employees and as soon as they become great employees, we let them go off and become somebody else’s great employee and we start all over again. Uh and it’s so it’s super inefficient and we also over higher. So if we were a for profit company and we were trying to be as efficient as possible and, you know, squeeze every penny out of our margin. We absolutely would not hire as many women as we do, but that’s not the point. The point for us is to use our business to advance our mission. So we hire as many women as possible as we can justify based on what our sales are going to be.

[00:33:33.96] spk_0:
So, what are some of the things that nonprofits need to think about beyond? Alright. What’s, what’s a viable business? What other, what other factors are important?

[00:33:47.78] spk_2:
Well, maybe the biggest thing is it’s hard. I joke sometimes with our, our team, like if this were easy, everybody do it

[00:33:53.59] spk_0:
do. We really want to do. It is an important threshold.

[00:36:14.38] spk_2:
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s hard because you have to have the ability to entertain two opposing ideas at the same time, right? We need to run an efficient manufacturing business and we also need to deliver on our mission and those two things actually often don’t go together very well. And so being able to both entertain those ideas and acknowledge that perhaps today the business wins, maybe we um the women instead of um spending 30% of today’s time in a class, say financial literacy there on the production for, for the whole day because we have a lot of work to do. But tomorrow, maybe it’s the, it’s reversed and they’re spending the whole day in some sort of training and not making any product at all. And so our job is every day to, to balance that out. Uh And so that’s, I think one of the hardest things is uh is having that ability to understand that if not for the mission, your business doesn’t really exist, but yet your, your business has to be profitable in order for it to make sense and contribute to the mission and, and that, you know, balancing act, you know, is a constant. So that’s part of what makes it hard. I would say another thing is that you, you still have to find all the other. I mentioned this before, all the other market forces still prevail. So if you have a product that nobody wants to buy, you’re not going to have a successful business and there’s no amount of mission that’s gonna forgive that, at least not in the long term. And, you know, at this point, women’s bean project is 32 years old. And I think in a lot of ways, we’ve just been lucky. There was no initial market research that said, you know, being, I think that’s the key to success. No, nobody, nobody did any kind of research at the beginning. Our founder just noticed she was in her late 50s, she’d gone back to school to get her master’s degree in social work. And she noticed a lot of her friends who were around her age were eating bean soup for health reasons. And so she invested $500 of her own money. And bought beans and put two women to work making 10 bean soup. The crazy thing is that still 32 years later our best outing product. Alright.

[00:36:32.19] spk_0:
That’s a terrific story but it’s it’s it’s it’s more or less in what not to do in in determining what, what, what businesses gonna survive because you know you said it, I’m just gonna amplify it. No amount of mission is gonna forgive bad, bad marketing or a bad, bad entry choice or, or any of the, any of the market forces.

[00:36:39.48] spk_2:
Yeah. And I think you also have to have either a product or service that has a decent enough margin margin to sort of forgive the inefficiency. And I also wouldn’t choose food for that reason. Ships sailed for us, but, you know, that’s not the highest margin, um, you know, product category for sure. Right

[00:37:09.12] spk_0:
now food is notoriously low margin. Um, but, you know, you said you gave an example of hiring many more women than you need, then you would, well, maybe then you do need, then you would if you were strictly market driven.

[00:37:15.63] spk_2:
Exactly.

[00:37:23.01] spk_0:
Yeah. Yeah. All right. Um, before, before we move on any other advice about the, the opening questions to talk about with your board, with your leadership.

[00:38:57.18] spk_2:
Well, another aspect of balance I think is, um, it is balancing being opportunistic and, and, um, and not being um, so bullish on an idea that you ignore, um, other signs. So as an example, uh years ago, we were approached by somebody who had a whole bunch of equipment for canning and they were willing to give us all the equipment. Let us have access to the facility a whole bunch of things. But what we really had to analyze and I think this happens actually a fair amount to organizations that are thinking of starting businesses. Somebody thinks I’ve got a great idea. I’ll just give this to them. But the thing was we weren’t in the canning business. We are a dry food manufacturer and what it would have meant for us to start, you know, pivot and, and create another business, you know, really wasn’t worth that. What seemed like a super generous donation. Um It was forgive the pun, but it was a whole can of worms that we didn’t necessarily need, need to open. But that’s an example because when you start talking about this, all manner of people are gonna surface who are interested and willing to help. And one of the most important things you might need to do is say no thank you because, you know, sometimes gifts are not always gifts in the, you know, when it really comes down to it, it’s maybe not the best strategy and it’s sometimes hard not to get all, you know, um starry eyed about something that seems like a fantastic gift. And the next thing, you know, you’re in the canning business and you never intended to be in right now. You’re

[00:40:34.02] spk_0:
doing wetsuits instead of, instead of dry suit. That’s a, that’s a huge pivot. Um And yeah, I mean, that’s, and that’s in the nonprofit, the straight uh nonprofit sector as well. You know, there, there are gifts that come sometimes with strings. You know, if you’ll, if you’ll adopt this, create this program or women’s school, but if you start admitting boys, I’ll give you the seven figure gift. You know, that’s, those are the gift size can be transformational, but that doesn’t mean you, you sacrifice your mission and transform your mission to accept a, you know, a million dollar gift. Um So, all right, but you know, interesting, you know, you, you, you evaluated from the nonprofit perspective, but also from the market force perspective, you know, now we’re entering a whole new business. Now we’re going to be competing with uh Campbell’s, you know, Campbell’s and Hunts and Hormel, you know, whoever, wherever the big, whatever the soup manufacturers are. Um Alright, so value, right? Uh Important lessons sometimes the better answer is. No, no, thank a gracious. No. Alright. Alright. Um Advice on types of businesses that that could lend themselves to this.

[00:41:51.05] spk_2:
I’ll start with um service businesses because sometimes those can actually be really great support for um really great social enterprises and supports for human services organizations. Um The nice thing about service businesses is our very localized so you could serve one community and then an example of a service business might be a uh landscaping business or there are several social enterprises around the country that do uh go to business districts and clean up trash and snow removal and leaf removal and those kinds of things. Again, those are very localized. And what’s nice about that is that you could do it in this city and then maybe you pick it up and you do the same thing in another city. Those are really cool ways to be able to employ a lot of people and engage in, in multiple communities. Uh And there are, you know, other businesses um like uh has control is another one where, you know, that’s a pretty expandable business, um cleaning services, especially in offices and things like that. Um So those are some examples of businesses that actually could be really great businesses for people. And, you know, when you’re selling a service, that’s a really different dynamic than say, you know, consumer packaged goods where, you know, you’re competing with marketing dollars from companies, it’s just much more challenging um area to be in. You

[00:42:21.11] spk_0:
also, you also have the advantage of being able to, as you said, start local. So you can say initially the impact of our work is local. And so there’s a, there’s an appeal to an appeal to the mission with your caveat that uh lots of mission is not going to overcome bad, you know, uh not being competitive market, market wise. But you can say that you have that you have that local impact, at least as you’re, you know, as you’re getting started. And then as you’re suggesting, you know, you can expand.

[00:43:31.94] spk_2:
And I think, you know, if you’re making a product, one of the potential challenges is that if you make a product that in our case, our products consumable, so we can have repeat customers, you know, of course, it has to be a, you know, good quality and taste good and all of those things. But we have customers we’ve had for 30 years and who keep coming back over and over again. If you end up making a product that’s not consumable, the challenges that, you know, say you’re making um uh cutting board, there’s only so many cutting boards, somebody needs or only so many gifts you can give, you know, to other people. And so you always have to be finding new customers to be able to grow your business. And that said, there’s, you know, when you start out, your customer base is so small that the, the world really is, you know, is pretty large of possible customers. But there’s a point at which um without spending a lot of marketing dollars or advertising dollars to get noticed that you really sort of tap out the people you can access. And that’s, you know, so that’s an interesting challenge of making a, a product where you could teach some really amazing skills. But at the same time, you know, you might have a limited customer base.

[00:44:07.91] spk_0:
Can I get these, can I get these meals and just add water? Are they, are they that, that simple from women’s bean project

[00:45:06.25] spk_2:
pretty straight forward like that? So, a soup mix, you would add water, you put it in a safe crock pot and let it cook for the day. And at the end, you are 10 bean soup. You just add a can of tomatoes or you could add, you know, vegetables and a whole bunch of other things if that’s what you wanted. But just to finish off the recipe, it would just be adding a can of tomatoes. We also have baking mixes. And so in that case, it’s everything that you need. You, you would add an egg and some oil or butter and you’ve got brownies or cornbread or stones. Um, so it’s a, the nice thing about like a baking mix, for instance is you don’t have to buy a bag of flour and buy a bag of sugar and all of those things and then have them left over. You can use our mix and use the eggs that you have and the butter that you have. And next thing you know, you made these yummy brownies and you look like a total baker And No 1’s The Wiser, Right?

[00:45:08.39] spk_0:
You don’t have, you don’t have four and three quarter pounds of flour

[00:45:11.61] spk_2:
leftover. Yeah.

[00:45:13.14] spk_0:
Okay. A little digression. But I was interested in and how simple the meals are. Okay.

[00:45:26.97] spk_2:
And they do have an instant. We have, yeah, we have instant beans and rice cups also which literally are adding water. Um And then, and we also have some ready to eat snacks. So you know, just keep them in your desk and you know, nosh on them whenever you feel like it. Okay. So we have a pretty wide variety of different products.

[00:45:39.62] spk_0:
Okay. Well, I’m gonna check. Yeah, women’s bean project dot com. Um So yeah, so service businesses, you’re suggesting service businesses, what else, what else could folks consider?

[00:47:21.99] spk_2:
Well, there’s some great social enterprises. Again, these are pretty localized that do screen printing. So, you know, you think about your inner city and you have your screen printing business, you’re able to employ people and, and you’re able to serve all the companies locally for, you know, their employee T shirts or, you know, races or things like that again, very localized but also scalable as well. Um There’s a really awesome social enterprise out of Boston called More than Words and more than words serves youth 16 to 24 who are either aging out of the foster system or justice involved. And they sell books, they sell books have been donated from the community and the the youth learn the skill of, you know, scanning the I S B N number to make sure it’s marketable and they recycle the books that don’t have uh aftermarket value and then they sell the books that do and they sell both online. They have a couple of bookstores. The cool thing is all these youth, um, are, you know, they’re helping them find homes, they’re helping them with their academic goals, helping them sort of adult, you know, into the community. Yet, at the same time, they’re also learning these skills of running a book business. So they have measurable um uh um outcomes that they have to achieve. They have certain sales goals that they have to meet for their various channels. It’s a really amazing business that um that they’re operating and the youth stay with them for a couple of years. It’s called more than words

[00:47:40.07] spk_0:
back on the service side. I’ve seen copy, copy services, copy and print and print shops.

[00:48:45.73] spk_2:
Yeah, a bank of America actually has their own social enterprise that they operate in the house and they serve people with developmental disabilities or they employ people with developmental disabilities, but they do all the printing for their own needs. Um there’s also electronics recycling. Uh you know, the statistic is that people who are on the autism spectrum have an unemployment rate of about 85%. And, and yet they are uniquely talented to disassemble electronics. So there uh there are electronics recycling organizations that employ people on the autism spectrum to just disassemble and um and then they part of, so they’re providing the employment, they’re getting the donations of the electronics. Um, and in some instances they’re being paid by the companies to take the electronics and then they also, they sell the commodities of all the things that out of those electronics, metals, plastics. Yeah. So, you know, when you think about that as a, you know, we use the term triple bottom line, it’s helping society, it’s helping the environment and it’s um you know, it’s, it’s making money. That is a really awesome example of, of a business that hits at every level. Yeah,

[00:49:07.97] spk_0:
excellent, excellent. Another, these are good, another example or category,

[00:49:39.32] spk_2:
well, there are some social enterprises that instead of employing people provide employment services. So there is a social enterprise that here in Denver that specifically helps people who are bilingual, English, Spanish, get jobs in the community with employers who need people who are bilingual, but that could apply to kind of any language or not even be bilingual, you know. So they, and so companies come to them when they need people who, maybe it’s customer service, people who can speak another language other than English. Um And so again, a service business, but not where they are employing people.

[00:49:58.16] spk_0:
Right. Right. And, and so companies pay for the, for the referral for the screening. Yep, the placement, basically they’re paying a placement fee.

[00:50:51.24] spk_2:
Yep. Exactly. But there’s, you know, there’s just so many different kinds there are cafes that’s a fairly popular kind of social enterprise. Um Here in Denver, we have a cafe called um same cafe and same stands for. So all may eat and they, it is a pay what you want model. So you walk in and the menu is listed for the day and you decide how much you’re going to pay. Yes. And, and so you might be sitting down and having, you know, decide that you want to pay $10 for your lunch. But you also might be sitting next to somebody who is, um, experiencing homelessness and didn’t pay anything. And if you decide if you don’t have any money to pay for your lunch, then you work in the kitchen or you clean or, you know, do dishes and, and so again, it’s a really cool concept that serves people all, you know, it’s beneficial to the community at multiple levels.

[00:51:24.99] spk_0:
Um So, all right. So we talked about services, some, some product. I love the recycling example too. Any anything else before we, before we move on to organizing these, these entities?

[00:52:56.39] spk_2:
Um, well, the last one I’ll mention is one that’s been around for a long, long time, like women’s bean project. It’s called Grace and Bakery there out of Yonkers, New York. And they make the brownies for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. So a big, the bulk of their business is brownies for Ben and Jerry’s. They also have now gotten into doing some retail sales and corporate sales. So you might see your, your listeners might have seen them in some, for instance, Whole Foods at sort of a point of sale or point of purchase with a little brownie. And it says these brownies changed lives, but Grayson is a for profit company. So this is a nice segue into the next part of our conversation. They are actually a B Corp, a benefit corporation and they, they have an open hiring model. So instead of specifically going out and trying to recruit people experiencing chronic unemployment, like we do, they are always accepting applications and when they have an opening, they just hire the next person on the list. So they hire, they don’t, you know, interview or, you know, look at qualifications, they just hire the next person and, uh and you know, so they will have more turnover than a normal company would, but they’re also within that community in Yonkers. They’re, they’re really changing people’s lives give by giving them an opportunity for employment that they might not otherwise have had.

[00:53:42.47] spk_0:
Okay. That’s interesting. Now, first that’s Grayson Bakery. These brownies save lives. Okay. So listeners, we might, we might see those at, at checkout sounds like point of sale places. Okay. Um But then, you know, there’s the issue of, you know, giving a job versus teaching job skills in addition, like, like, like women’s being project is doing, it seems to me that the, the uh the training beyond the skills for the job is more empowering than then giving a job and, and just giving a job.

[00:54:13.22] spk_2:
Well, I think that’s consistent with our philosophy at women’s being project that there are because we acknowledge that there are lots of things that get in the way of somebody being able to um get and keep the, and keep, I think is the important part, right? Like, you know, we prior to the pandemic and I think we’re back to a um there’s a lot of jobs but um and so you could go from job to job to job in an environment where there are lots of jobs. But the important thing is, are you going to a job where you are a contributor where there’s opportunity for advancement and benefits and all the things that make it more of a career than just a job? That’s what we’re trying to do and how we’re trying to change the are the women we serve, that’s the trajectory we want them to be on when they finish.

[00:54:41.79] spk_0:
All right. So, you know, of course, different missions just like nonprofits that Grayson has uh has a different model but, but their, their generously hiring, they just hire the next person on the

[00:54:49.63] spk_2:
list.

[00:54:53.20] spk_0:
So, alright, so yeah, as you suggested, and I want to talk about the, how to organize and structure these, we know what’s the relationship listeners already are in non profits? Most of our listeners are, uh you know, how would, what would that relationship look like if they did start a social enterprise? Well,

[00:55:11.40] spk_2:
I know as, um as the interviewer here, you, you will hate to hear this answer but it depends.

[00:55:18.35] spk_0:
Listen. Now, don’t hold back on, don’t, don’t, don’t tell listeners of nonprofit radio What you think they want to hear? It’s an educated self selected group. So, yes. So it’s nuanced answers are, are very

[00:58:28.78] spk_2:
welcome. Well, it, it does depend and it depends on what you want to do and how you might want to structure it and, and honestly tolerance, risk, tolerance of your board and you know, of your team. So, um women’s Bean project is a 501 c three. A big reason for that is because we were founded in 1989. And if you wanted to do good, that was the choice, right? That’s all you had. Um Today, there are lots of different structures you could or opportunities, you could be a for profit company. Um and, and become a benefit corporation B Corp, you could be a subsidiary of a nonprofit. Um You could be an LLC, you know, there are just so many different ways. And so generally what I tell people is first figure out what you wanna do, then figure out what the corporate structure makes the most sense. What I will tell you is that I wouldn’t necessarily change our corporate structure because we’ve made it work for ourselves. Our, the way we have structured ourselves by having sort of everything under one roof. The huge job and the being job is that we’ve, what that’s done is that it has allowed us to have a mixed revenue, uh pie, so to speak. So, about 60% 60% of our operating budget comes from our product sales. What that does is it supports the business, it supports women’s time while they’re working in the business. And it’s, you know, gives us the ability by the beans and the flour and all those things and makes a small contribution to our program operations. And then we fundraise to SAPO program operations because again, when a woman is in a financial literacy class or working on a resume or even in job search looking for the next job we’re paying her still. So we fundraise to both support those classes but also to be able to pay her and, and because we’re 501 C three, we have the ability to do that. It also probably gives us a little bit of wiggle room in terms of our inefficiency. You know, I would, if we were, if, if all of our revenue had to come from our product sales, we would probably have to compromise the mission a little bit and hire fewer women because we have to run, you know, a business with much better margin than we currently do. Yeah, but I will also say that there are plenty of situations where the a board of a nonprofit, they might be interested in this idea of having revenue, that’s basically unrestricted revenue. But they don’t want to risk the larger organization or they do or they wanna just sort of run it on the side as sort of a separate entity and maybe not have it be a distraction within their main business, so to speak. There, there are risks in that as well though. I’ve seen lots of uh non profit big human services organizations that run social enterprises and they sort of treat them like the red headed step child and, and look at them like, what have you done for me lately? Little, you know, business. Why are you not contributing more when the reality is they’re kind of stifling the growth of that, that business? Um And, and perhaps, um you know, causing it to, you know, not prosper um

[00:58:55.69] spk_0:
like a mistaken, well, not only organization but just in, in culture, you think that the way board members and I guess the organization collectively thinks about its, its social enterprise as, you know, as, as uh the ugly step

[00:59:22.60] spk_2:
child. Yeah. And that’s the risk, right? If of creating a structure where you sort of set it off to the side, I mean, I understand that sometimes that’s done to avoid risk, but sometimes it creates more risk for the survival of the business one of the things I worry about having been in this field for a long time is that, you know, uh, we’ve now come to a point where social enterprise is kind of cool. It’s kind of come into its own. I joke that it’s like women’s bean project has been wearing a velour tracksuit for 30 years and now suddenly velour track suits are in. But, you know, so, yeah, exactly.

[00:59:49.52] spk_0:
Long enough they’ll come, they’ll come, my dozen bell bottom suit will come back.

[01:00:16.43] spk_2:
It turns out that’s happening for social enterprise. But what I worry is that organizations will start a business and do that and sort of cut it off at its knees and not even maybe recognize that and it won’t survive and then they’ll look back later and say, yeah, we tried that. It didn’t work. But I, I can tell you that if it’s not always because it’s a bad idea that it doesn’t, it could be because you just didn’t give it the opportunity to flourish. We in the nonprofit world are notoriously risk averse. That’s not a news flash to anybody. I know. And, and so the challenge is to be willing to take some risk and balance that risk. You know, it’s a risk reward ratio in the business and balance that risk a little bit. Um With um with what the benefit could be long term,

[01:00:44.61] spk_0:
You started to transition again. I love it the way you segue easily uh, lessons, you know, lessons learned things to look out, for things to be sure. You, you’ve considered, you’ve been doing this for 30, what, 32 years? 32

[01:03:17.35] spk_2:
years. Well, I, I often say we have 32 years worth of mistakes. We could totally help somebody else avoid and leave them free to make all their own mistakes. Um, you know, it’s, it’s, I would say the lessons learned are consistent with what I’ve been saying, which is you really do. Um If you want a social enterprise to survive, you really do have to embrace it as, as being a means through which you’re going to deliver on your mission and not set it on the side and say, well, you know, someday you’re gonna make me some money and I’ll be able to use that money to advance my mission. They have to be interwoven. Um So, you know, we don’t exist to make bean soup yet we can’t exist without it. And that idea that the two are inextricable um is the probably the most important thing. And the most important, honestly, lesson that I’ve seen, I, I watched a social enterprise um be formed out of an organism um that was providing initially providing the same service for free. And then they formed the social enterprise to monetize the service, but yet they kept offering the service. So they had this business and they kept offering the service for free. So yes, and um and then eventually decided that the social enterprise wasn’t working and the, the problem I thought, you know, it’s, it’s easy. Monday morning quarterback, admittedly, but um you know, was that they set it up to be, you know, be its own competition. So of course, it was, there was always going to be that tension and that conflict. You’ve got enough tension and conflict just trying to advance your mission and advance your business without setting yourself up for failure. So um you know, that’s another lesson which is be prepared for there to be tension between the business and the mission, but be okay with that because that’s part of what you’re doing is you’re, you’re trying to change the world by using market forces. Uh And you know, we are, we’re a country of consumers. So let’s take advantage of the fact that we are a country of consumers. Everybody needs to buy products and services. So what a great opportunity to um to to for lack of a better word, exploit that

[01:03:32.91] spk_0:
I love the way you say you’re working to change the world by using market forces. Um Alright. Any anything else you wanna, you wanna leave folks with anything that we didn’t talk about that you feel is is important. Anything I didn’t ask about,

[01:04:43.97] spk_2:
you know, I would say that the last thing would be that if you are thinking about um starting a social enterprise, start looking at other models and seeing what other groups are doing and especially if they’re localized, there’s, you know, there’s no reason to that, that you wouldn’t be able to learn from their mistakes. Um So, you know, we have, I’ve been asked often whether or not we would expand women’s bean project out of Denver across the country. What we have chosen instead is to be more open source where we look forward to sharing the things that we’ve learned. Because I think ultimately, if we want to lift up the whole field, not just, you know, a grand eyes, women’s bean project, that’s not our goal. Our goal really is to help other organizations create or prosper with their social enterprises, not just, you know, have us get bigger and bigger. There’s enough need to go around. What

[01:04:46.67] spk_0:
about social enterprise Alliance? Is that a resource for

[01:05:01.69] spk_2:
folks? It absolutely is. And that might be a great place to start to figure out what is out there. They have um Social enterprise Alliance has uh you know, members all over the country who are involved at various levels of social enterprise. So they might be running social enterprises that they might be consultants. So social enterprise, um if you need an attorney to talk with, for instance, about what your corporate structure might be, there are resources there. Um But the nice thing about that is if you’re in the initial stages of just doing research is a great place to start.

[01:05:31.38] spk_0:
Okay. Good value. You can have conversations with folks. You can, you can, it’s a good place to start your research and, and, and grow. If you decide to mean, you might start your research and decide it’s not really, you know, you can’t tolerate the risk or the tension. Uh It’s just something you don’t want to take on, but at least you do it, make that decision informed.

[01:06:43.52] spk_2:
Yeah, I always think that fear is not a reason not to do something, right? Like you can acknowledge the fear and sort of do the things that, that you need to do to um to try to overcome or, you know, address the fear. But um staying noticed something just because you’re afraid, it’s maybe not the best reason. Um And I think also, you know, we have a tendency to sit at the, at the starting line and try to anticipate all the problems we’re gonna have and, and I guarantee, first of all, we’ll be wrong about what problems we think we’re gonna have and, and whatever solution we decide is gonna not be appropriate for whatever problem you end up having. And so ultimately, you just gotta start and, and have faith that you have gathered the resources and the expertise enough that you can address the problems as they come up. But I think that that tends to be and in my experience just going to lots of, you know, speaking on lots of panels and talking with lots of organizations that are thinking about starting social enterprises is they, they often get stuck at that starting line and have a hard time pulling the trigger. Um The reality is it might not work. But think about, I, I think you learn more from failure than you do successful. A lot of times.

[01:08:06.92] spk_0:
Yeah. Too much ready aim, aim, aim and, and, and no firing. All right. Outstanding. Thank you, Tamara. Thank you very much. Thank you. My pleasure. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for sharing the women’s bean project story and and beyond. Uh Tomorrow Ryan Ceo women’s bean project. It’s at women’s bean project dot com. You want to look at their dried foods and other products, especially now around the holidays. And Tamara is at Tamara Ryan. Thanks so much Tamara. Next week, Rio Wang with Money Mindset. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff shows. 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 B with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

Nonprofit Radio for November 28, 2022: Thought Leadership & Content Strategy

 

Peter Panepento & Antionette KerrThought Leadership
Peter Panapento and Antionette Kerr co-authored the book, “Modern Media Relations for Nonprofits.” They share their insights on how to build relationships with journalists so you get heard as the thought leader you are. Plus, other media strategies, like crisis communications. This was part of our coverage of the 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference.

 

 

 

 

Valerie Johnson & Katie GreenContent Strategy
Now that you’re an established thought leader, you need to produce multichannel content that’s relevant. Also engaging, actionable, user friendly and SEO friendly. Also from 20NTC, Valerie Johnson from Pathways to Housing PA and Katie Green with The Trevor Project show you how.

 

 

 

 

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[00:02:38.49] spk_0:
Hello and welcome to Tony-Martignetti non profit radio big non profit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. I hope you enjoyed your thanksgiving. I hope you enjoyed the company of family friends, time for yourself as well. Lots of lots of good thanksgiving holiday wishes, I hope you enjoyed very much and I’m glad you’re with me. I’d be forced to endure the pain of epidermal Asus below psA if you gave me the blistering news that you missed this week’s show. Thought leadership, Peter Pan a pinto and Antoinette car co authored the book modern media relations for nonprofits. They share their insights on how to build relationships with journalists so you get heard as the thought leader you are plus other media strategies like crisis communications. This was part of our coverage of the 2020 non profit technology conference and content strategy. Now that you’re an established thought leader, you need to produce multi channel content that’s relevant, also engaging actionable user friendly and S. E. O friendly. Also from 20 N. T. C. Valerie johnson from pathways to housing P A. And Katie Green with the Trevor project. Show you how Antonis take two. I’m still wishing you well. We are sponsored by Turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C. O here is thought leadership with me now are Peter pan a pinto and Antoinette car. Peter is philanthropic practice leader at turn two communications, Antoinette is part of the leadership team of women advance and ceo of bold and bright media. They are the co authors of the book Modern media relations for nonprofits. Peter Antoinette welcome. Yes. I’m glad we could work this out among the three of us. Thank you. And uh, it’s good to know that you reach well and safe in your respective locations. Okay.

[00:02:39.44] spk_1:
Thank you. Yes.

[00:02:51.33] spk_0:
Okay. I, yes, I see. No one within six ft of you. That’s good. Even though you are home, we’re talking about thought leadership and media. Let’s, uh, let’s start with you Internet. We can, we can use our leverage thought leadership and use the media to, uh, to influence those who are engaged with us, our constituents and even influence policy.

[00:04:02.66] spk_2:
So the media needs experts and non profits are on the ground there doing the work and they are the perfect folks to be experts in this conversation um, in particular and emergency Peter non talks about earlier about crisis communications and in a lot of situations the media scrambling looking for experts. If you have established yourself as a thought leader, which is what you should aspire to do. I know that turn to does the work in helping people to kind of establish themselves with the thought leader in this conversation. But right now we need people with good information and who can provide great stories for example and nonprofits can do that and they can do that work. And that’s why the thought leadership conversations important. Most nonprofits don’t see themselves needing to do that. It’s not the first thing we think about, we think about fundraising, right? Um, but not necessarily media friend raising. And so now is the time that you want to have those relationships and be considered as a thought leader.

[00:04:18.59] spk_0:
Because when there’s news that relates to your mission, um, your call is more likely to be taken, your email is more likely be answered. If there’s that pre existing relationship you mentioned. But if if everybody in the sector is calling all the, all the media blindly, then it’s just sort of a crapshoot whether they answer you or not or

[00:05:38.32] spk_2:
if you think about the media needing like, you know, going to a crisis example, like the media needing a source or an expert And they don’t want to quote the same person that’s, you know, something that I’ve learned from my media background and training. I’ve been working as a journalist since 1995. And you know, one thing that my editors say, you know, don’t quote the same person, don’t quote the same organization. So in a crisis people will call big box non profit sometimes. Um, and they’ll just see them as being the experts for a conversation. And that’s why establishing yourself as a thought leader is so important. So someone can say, you know, I’m a unique voice about this. We have an example in our book modern media relations where um, someone who an organization that worked with Children and families involved in domestic violence became very important in the conversation when a professional athlete in in Georgia was convicted of family violence and all of a sudden that person was called upon to be on radio shows and talk shows and they became a thought leader. But they done the work to position themselves as an expert. And so I know Peter you, I know you have some examples as well, but we just kind of dived in there and and didn’t talk about the whole broad concept about leadership.

[00:06:04.05] spk_0:
Well, all right, well, um peter, I was gonna ask you, how do we start to build these relationships? Um you wanna do you want to back up what thought leadership is?

[00:08:02.93] spk_1:
Sure, I’ll start with thought leadership defined and that and that’s really um the process of establishing one’s expertise in a in a specific area and and and doing it in a way where they are recognized beyond their own organization, in their own kind of immediate networks, as a, as an expert as a thought leader. Somebody who is driving the conversation and really really helping people better understand a key issue or a topic. So for a nonprofit or a foundation, a thought leader might be your ceo um who or executive director, somebody who um is at the front lines uh and and kind of is in a in a position where they um not only have expertise but they have some authority and being able to talk with some gravitas about a topic, um but um in order to kind of establish your credentials there um and get recognized, you have to do some legwork beyond just having that expertise. You have to be um you have to be comfortable talking about that topic. You have to um you have to spend some time kind of building the relationships and the and the and the the larger credibility that you are, somebody who has something interesting to say and the expertise to back it up. Um and the more you do that, and you can do that not just through the media, but through your own channels and through speaking at conferences and and all kinds of other things. Um the more you do that, the more you kind of become uh somebody who is recognized and is called upon to weigh in on important topics or or when news events call for it or in a situation like what, where we are now with with the covid 19 response, Somebody who can kind of come in and bring a voice of reason and perspective to what’s going on around us.

[00:08:31.98] spk_0:
So you have to lay the groundwork there, there has to be some fundamentals and you have to have your gravitas and you you need to appear bona fide and be bona fide not just appear, you have to be bona fide on the topic that you’re that you’re an expert in the mission of, of your, your nonprofit. How do you then start to when you have that groundwork? How do you then start to build relationships when there isn’t really a need for you to be talking about the subject?

[00:09:39.59] spk_1:
Sure, there are a lot of ways to do that one is that you, um, you start to build some personal relationships with media who are covering these topics. And you can do that either through, you know, somebody on your communications team that helps you, or you can kind of do it yourself, but you can, you can start to show up in, in their coverage of stories by, um, by um, positioning yourself and, and building relationships with individual reporters. Maybe even when they don’t need you by having an informational coffee or call so that they can get to know you and know what you stand for. Um, you can do it by your through your own writing and, and public speaking and making those things available and accessible to the media. Um, and you can, you can do it through your own channels to a lot of nonprofits have blogs, they have, uh, they have their own podcasts. They have different ways where they’re positioning their internal experts externally so that they’re kind of talking about and establishing their credentials around around a subject. And

[00:09:41.01] spk_0:
that’s your, that’s your owned media, right. That’s your own media versus earned media?

[00:10:12.00] spk_1:
Yes. Yes. And, and the value of that, is that the more you’re, you’re kind of demonstrating through your own media channels, your expertise, you’re not only building um some greater relationships and and credibility with your donors and the folks who are already kind of in your network, but you start to show up when people are doing searches or when people are on social media and seeing stories and articles that are passed around, if they may see something you’ve written or talked about, shared in another network, and it it sparks a light for them that you’re somebody worth going back to when they need, um when they need some, you know, somebody like you to weigh in on something.

[00:10:52.96] spk_0:
Okay, peter, I know you and Antoinette are both former journalists. Uh, so I’m gonna jump over to Antoinette for what Antoinette, what what what do these outreach, I guess, calls and emails to journalists to try to build the relationship. Uh what what do they what do they look like? What would you suggest people are saying to, to try to get the attention um to build the relationship, not, not when I’m looking to be quoted because there’s a breaking news, but to build the relationship.

[00:12:33.00] spk_2:
So, full disclosure. I’m a current journalist. Um so, yes, so I I still work for publications right now. Um and so people contact me on twitter and social media, which is a new thing. We talk about press releases. I’m a big fan of press releases, um yes, just full disclosure about that. But I still like for people to pitch me on social media, direct messages through twitter. If I’m using my company profile, it’s safe for nonprofits to contact me and say, hey, I have a story. I noticed that you’re interested in this concept, it’s always great when people know what I’m interested in. Like when they’re like, I noticed that you publish a lot of stories like right now I’m working on a story, a series of stories about missing and murdered indigenous women. And so when people see, oh, I notice you’re publishing stories about this and they pitch me on a direct message or um through facebook messenger even and say, hey, would you consider this the story and here’s the angle. Um or have you thought about, you know, I’ve had other people reach out and say I noticed you’re publishing these types of stories about, you know, missing and murdered indigenous women. Have you considered other stories about violence against women and it’s always a really great connection for me. So I think just kind of knowing what the journalist is interested in is really important, kind of, understanding their angle. Sorry, y’all, um understanding their angle and just flowing from there and saying, you know, here’s how we fit into this conversation is always a wonderful

[00:12:46.00] spk_0:
um so outreach by any of the social channels is fine too, you talk about twitter and direct message facebook, those are all

[00:12:56.47] spk_2:
yes and people tagging me like I feel like if a journalist is using their profile in a way that is professional then you’re safe to contact them and them in that way.

[00:13:11.60] spk_0:
Okay. Yeah, yeah peter anything you want to add to? Yeah, I think

[00:14:13.09] spk_1:
that I think is dead on about making sure though that when you do that, you are, you are, you’re you’re not coming with something that’s off the reporters beat or off of um what’s what, what you know, is um what they cover uh or the type of story they cover within that beat. Um you could spend a lot of effort reaching out to every journalist you see on twitter about your specific cause, but if they don’t cover your cause um you know, it doesn’t relate to what they what they do, then they’re probably either going to ignore you or or start to block you because you’re, you’re, you’re kind of almost spamming them. So um it’s it’s important to be targeted with who you reach out to as well and and make sure that you understand that journalists and their work before you before you do your outreach and come at them with a pitch that they don’t necessarily want. So yes, I think it’s really important to to do a bit of that homework up front um and respect that journalist time and if you do that and if you come at them with something that is actually on, on their beat and is of interest to them. Um, then I think you have a much greater chance of getting their attention and getting them to want to follow up with you and and help further, um, the relationship beyond that initial pitch

[00:14:32.47] spk_0:
and

[00:15:31.85] spk_2:
Tony, can I share a pet peeve like to Pet peeves actually is, um, if I write about a non profit and they don’t share the story on their own social, it’s just, it’s heartbreaking for me. Um, a lot of times I have to fight for these stories to appear and I have to fight with an editor to say, this is why this is newsworthy. This needs to be here. And then the nonprofit really doesn’t share the story. And I think, well, you know, I don’t write for my own, you know, just for it not to be shared. Um, and then the other thing is I love when nonprofits support stories that aren’t related to their particular story. So I’ll start noticing like one thing, um, Kentucky non profit Network, for example, before they ever shared or were involved in anything that I was involved in, they started sharing things or liking things that I would publish as a reporter and I didn’t know anything about them, but I thought that was interesting. So that when they pitch something, then you’re more likely to notice it as a, as a reporter, you’re more likely to notice because you feel like they’re really genuinely interested in the conversation, even if it doesn’t apply to them, you’re still interested

[00:15:51.29] spk_0:
Internet. Where are you writing now?

[00:15:58.07] spk_2:
I am writing, working on a piece for Guardian. I am for the Guardian. I am writing for Women Advance, which we have our own network. And then I write for Halifax Media group publications. So I’m on the regional circuit, doing all the fun things.

[00:16:13.38] spk_0:
Halifax is nova Scotia.

[00:16:22.99] spk_2:
No, Halifax is a media group in the United States. They own a series of their own regional newspapers across the country. So

[00:16:28.59] spk_0:
let’s talk a little about crisis management. You wanna, can you get us started with how you might approach crisis communications Antoinette.

[00:16:38.11] spk_2:
I thought that was Peter’s question. I’m just kidding.

[00:16:40.29] spk_0:
No,

[00:16:41.31] spk_2:
I’m just kidding. Um, crisis communications, I think actually Peter is a really great person to talk about this. My crisis communications conversation really has shifted with what we’re going through. So I don’t want to make it so unique to our current situation. Um, so I’ll let Peter start and then Peter, I can back you up on it if that’s

[00:18:50.46] spk_1:
okay. Yeah. So, um, with crisis communications, it’s really important to not wait until the actual you’re actually in a crisis to put your plan together. It’s really important to, to have a protocol that you’ve set up when you’re not in the middle of a crisis of possible to really kind of put together uh some protocols for not only what you’re going to say, but who’s going to say it and how you’re going to communicate during that situation. So um what does that protocol look like one? Is that you um upfront, you designate who your spokesperson or spokespeople are going to be ahead of time um and you spend some time ahead of that coaching them up in terms of what some of the key messages for your organization are, regardless of what the crisis might be. Some things that you would broadly want to try to reinforce and kind of a mood and a tone that you’re gonna want to take with what you’re talking about. Um do that 1st 2nd, is that you would really want to have a system in place for how you activate that for how you activate your crisis plan and your crisis communications. So that essentially means that you want to um you want to make sure that you know, kind of who who needs to sign off on what you’re going to talk about, who you’re gonna be involving in your decisions on whether you need to put out a statement um who how you’re going to communicate in what different channels, the more you can make those decisions ahead of time and have your structure in place, the better equipped you are to actually respond during a crisis situation and be able to get a quick and accurate and positive message out um in in in a situation and often crises are not their crisis because they’re not expected, but you can be planning ahead so that you you are able to react quickly and authoritatively during that situation. Um

[00:19:07.87] spk_0:
you’re you’re compounding the crisis if you’re not prepared.

[00:19:12.53] spk_1:
Absolutely,

[00:19:13.33] spk_0:
You’re scrambling to figure out who’s in charge, who has to approve messages, where should messages go? All, all which are peripheral to the to the substance of the problem.

[00:20:12.02] spk_1:
Absolutely. And in today’s world, where crisis can really mushroom not only in the media, but on social media, the longer you’re allowing time to pass before you’re getting out there with with your statement and your response to it, the worst the worst the situation gets for you. So you really need to position yourselves uh to be able to respond quickly to respond clearly and to respond accurately. Um and and it’s important to note that, you know, that planning ahead of time is really critical, but what you say in the situation is also critical to um you do want to make sure that you communicate truthfully. That doesn’t necessarily mean that um uh you uh u um reveal

[00:20:14.17] spk_0:
everything,

[00:20:14.72] spk_1:
reveal everything

[00:20:15.67] spk_0:
exactly

[00:20:18.45] spk_1:
do uh that you do reveal is accurate. It’s not gonna come back to bite you later. It’s not going to mislead people

[00:20:31.86] spk_0:
talking about complicating the complicating the crisis if you’re lying or misleading, it comes back. I mean, people investigate things get found out.

[00:20:36.17] spk_1:
Absolutely. And I, and I, and I was

[00:20:38.82] spk_0:
technically expanded your problem.

[00:21:42.71] spk_1:
Absolutely. And and you’d be surprised how, how many times when I was a journalist that people, if they had just come clean and and kind of got the truth out there right away, they may have taken a short term hit, but their lives would have got on fine after that. But the more you try to obfuscate or or lie about the situation, or or try to to spin it in a way where you’re, you’re kind of hiding the truth that the worse your situation is going to get. So be be in a position to be as transparent and clear and accurate as possible. Um, with that first statement, uh, knowing that in some cases you might have to say, you know, we don’t know. Um, but we’ll follow up when we do know, because sometimes a crisis situation is one in which speaking of, of when we’re in now, we don’t know all of the, all of the different twists and turns the covid 19 situation is going to take. Um, so, but but rather than trying to speculate, um or or or in some cases, as we’ve seen, some, some public figures do try to spin this one way or another, rather than just saying, here’s the situation here are concerns, Here’s what we know, here’s what we don’t know. Um, it compounds the situation and in some cases it can be dangerous to

[00:22:01.82] spk_0:
people internet, You wanna, you wanna back up a little bit? I

[00:22:38.74] spk_2:
Did. So the, I think the statement, um, I love how people are putting forward these COVID-19 statements and I think we need to have more statements like that. I mean these statements are demanding and people feel like that. But I’m like we could do more of that. We could have statements as nonprofits on issues on public issues, public concerns, things that are um, emerging and urgent for people. I think about in the eastern part of north Carolina because tony I know you’re in, in my home state. I am

[00:22:40.58] spk_0:
in eastern north Carolina.

[00:23:26.54] spk_2:
Happy to have you here. And when we have um, hurricanes, when we have issues like that, if non profits would put out statements like they have with Covid 19 if they felt like they needed to say here’s where we are, here’s what we do here. Here’s, here’s what we have to offer before during after and just update them. You know, I feel like this crisis has brought forward a level of communication and and help people to see the necessary level of communication that we need to have. But we don’t have that all the time is non profits and people are looking for that. So I feel like in the eastern part of north Carolina where we had, um, you know, 100 year, hurricanes within three months of each other that we didn’t think would happen. You know what if people, what if people make covid statements like that? I mean, what if people and so I’m just gonna start calling the covid statements peter that I don’t have a better term for. But what if we felt like we needed to make these types of statements when there’s an emergency,

[00:23:51.92] spk_0:
um, Antoinette, I’m gonna ask you to wrap up with something that you said, which is contrary to a lot of what I hear. Uh, you said that you’re a big fan of press releases.

[00:24:02.00] spk_2:
Could

[00:24:03.26] spk_0:
you take us out with your rationale for why? You’re a big fan of them. I’ve heard that they’re pretty much obsolete

[00:24:10.20] spk_2:
from a journalist. I

[00:24:12.51] spk_0:
don’t know from a commentator. I

[00:24:14.37] spk_2:
don’t want to write that.

[00:24:17.47] spk_0:
I

[00:24:27.93] spk_2:
believe that. I believe that. Um, so yes, because I’ve been reading press releases for a long time and I feel like the who, what, when, where and how gets me past that part of it, then I can ask you all the interesting questions. So if you can give me that in a way that I can cut and paste and I will not butcher someone’s name, like tony

[00:24:43.54] spk_0:
It

[00:24:55.22] spk_2:
might be, it might be a challenge. So I can, we can get all of that out of the way. But a good press release gets me excited as a journalist. It brings me into the conversation and if you aren’t excited about your press release. I can probably tell on the other end. So I had a good press release. All

[00:25:15.51] spk_0:
right, thank you. We’re gonna leave it there. That’s contrary advice. Which which I love hearing. All right. That’s uh that’s Antoinette car part of the leadership team of women advance and ceo of bold and bright media and also Peter Pan a pinto, philanthropic practice leader at turn two communications and they are co authors of the book modern media relations for nonprofits, Antoinette Peter, thank you very much for sharing. Thanks so much. Thanks for

[00:25:28.62] spk_1:
having us. tony

[00:27:19.59] spk_0:
pleasure. Stay safe. And thank you for being with tony-martignetti non profit radio coverage of 20 N. T. C. It’s time for a break. Turn to communications. Well, as you heard lots of ideas about the relationships, the relationships that will help you be the thought leader that you want to be. That you ought to be relationships leading to thought leadership. Turn to communications. They’ll help you do it. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot C. O. It’s time for Tony’s take two. I am still thinking about you and wishing you well. I hope you had recovery time over Thanksgiving. If you’re in giving Tuesday, I hope you’ll be happy with your results or you are happy depending when you listened. If you are, if you did congratulations, celebrate what you achieved. Take that victory lap you deserve it. If you’re not so happy, keep your head up, you know that you did the best that you could, don’t let it drag you down. You have other successes that are gonna be coming and you’ll be celebrating those. So don’t let a disappointment drag you down going forward. You have all my good wishes for your year end fundraising this week and continuing That is Tony’s take two here is content strategy, which by the way, we have boo koo, but loads of time left for Welcome to tony-martignetti non profit radio coverage of 20 N T C. That’s the 2020 nonprofit technology conference. My guests now are Katie Green and Valerie johnson, Katie is Digital Giving Manager for the Trevor Project. And Valerie johnson is director of institutional advancement at pathways to housing P A Katie and Valerie welcome.

[00:27:44.11] spk_3:
It’s

[00:28:07.84] spk_0:
a pleasure. Good to good to talk to both of you and glad to know that you’re each safe and and well in in Brooklyn and uh, suburban philadelphia. Glad you’re with us. Your NtC workshop was content strategy for donor engagement From tactics to testing, let’s start with you, Katie, what what do you feel was the need for the session. What are nonprofits not getting doing so well, they could be doing a lot better.

[00:28:57.87] spk_3:
Yeah. So we have this session this morning at the same time as we originally had planned, which is great. We were able to give it virtually. And I think what a lot of donor content strategy is missing is simply structure. I think a lot of people don’t know where to start and they’re intimidated by it and we Valerie and I provide it’s some real life examples on how you can achieve a donor content strategy that does get you closer to your revenue goals. However, the tone of the presentation changed a little bit given how the world has come to be our new reality. So we did talk a little bit about the crisis and what it means for fundraising and what it means for content strategy under a tight timeline, knowing that things are changing at a really rapid pace. So really just structure and storytelling are the things that we talked about in this morning’s presentation, which will be available for viewing later, we’re gonna have a recording available for those who weren’t able to make it. But yeah, that’s what we focus on.

[00:29:27.47] spk_0:
Let’s start with part of the a good strategy is using personas, user personas. Can you kick us off with that Valerie? How do you, how do you start to identify what persona looks like and what’s their value?

[00:29:54.36] spk_4:
Absolutely. So, a persona is really like a profile or a character sketch of someone that you need to connect with um and understanding their motivations and goals. So it’s a way of segmenting your audience. And rather than sending all of your messaging out into the ether, trying to tailor that messaging to a specific demographic or a specific group of people. So for pathways to housing P. A. We’re actually still developing what our personas look like. We have an idea of what it looks like, but we want to dig some more into the research and analytic side of things to see who exactly is supporting us right now and what um ties they have in common to help us build those profiles. I think Katie might be a little bit further ahead of us in developing this persona. So I’m gonna toss it over to her.

[00:31:18.60] spk_3:
Yeah. So uh user personas are something I’ve been doing throughout my career. I worked in an agency before I came to the Trevor project. So I was able to get a lot of industry knowledge on how we create user personas and user journeys. But what we did, when we started looking at our end of year campaign for last year at the Trevor project, we made sure we carved out some time to conduct a little bit of an audit of what our donors were looking like, Where were they coming from? What could we track? What could we track? We found out we had a lot more questions than we did answers. So in order to get user personas, something that’s really important is tracking and understanding where people are coming from and where their first and last last clicks are. So because of our ability to use google analytics and source code tracking protocol. We did get a lot of tracking during end of year that will improve what our users like going into future campaigns. But now we’re gonna be able to better tell what is actually inspiring people to give. What is the moment where they’re actually clicking that donate button. What is the first thing they’re seeing that starting their relationship with the trouble project? So that’s what we’ve been doing.

[00:31:45.74] spk_0:
What are the pieces of a persona? How granular do you get? What is it where they live to what they read or what what you give us some like depth of this thing.

[00:33:34.60] spk_3:
Absolutely. So the main important piece of a persona is to know what their needs are. So you can have a persona that’s as general as this is a donor. They need to know how to give that’s a persona. But what you’d like to do is get a little bit deeper in being able to tell what the values of that persona are. What’s what’s the name? What’s the age? What’s the key characteristics? What are the opportunities really? You know, I like to create fake names and really go into it. You stock imagery so that you can try to connect with who this person might be? You’re really giving a face to a name and a value to a person and you want to look at what donors are looking like. So for example, for the Trevor project, we have a lot of one time, first time donors and we have a lot of people who come in, they give their first gift and I’m trying to find where they’re dropping off. Right. What is causing that? So I maybe create a persona that is a one time user that’s not really convinced they want to give again a one time donor. Um, they may be young. They may be, um, like within our demographic, which is under 25 of the youth that we serve with our crisis services and suicide prevention services. Um, so you can get as granular as making and they, and an age and the demographic and the location and what devices they’re using. I think that’s a big one. Is this person usually on their mobile? Are they usually on desktop? What channels do they typically like to look at twitter? You can get as granular email. Are they just looking at your website? So you know, it should get as detailed as you can, but I would encourage people to get really creative with it. If the more details you’re able to get is just a, just a more clear picture of a donor that you’re looking to target. Just make sure it’s someone you actually want to target and not someone you’re gonna be, uh, that wouldn’t actually be coming to you? Like maybe Bill Gates isn’t going to be coming to, uh, a nonprofit website to donate. Um, but you can look at what those specific donors might look like that are more realistic for your campaign.

[00:33:56.12] spk_0:
Okay. Right. You’re, you’re basically on what’s realistic, not what your aspiration is.

[00:34:22.36] spk_3:
Yeah. To a degree, I mean, I think you can be aspirational aspirational in some facets of what you’re doing. I think it has to be somewhat grounded in in, you know, a realistic approach. We do get asked. I get aspirational myself when I’m creating donor personas. When you know, I am looking for major gifts, I am looking for people who are willing to process of 15,000 dollar credit card charge. And there are people out there that that do that. So when I do my donor personas, they may not be the number one target of my campaign, but I do want to consider what those people are interested in as well so that I can personalize content for them to the best of my ability.

[00:34:53.03] spk_4:
Yeah. The other thing to keep in mind is diversifying your donor base. So in looking at who’s giving two pathways to housing right now, they’re mostly middle aged, college educated white women who prefer facebook and giving on a desktop, um, which is fine. And that’s definitely one category of people that you would want to be supporting you. But philadelphia is an incredibly diverse city. So if those are the only people that were getting to with our messaging, then we really need to think about diversifying our strategies to build new donor profiles for people who don’t all look the

[00:35:36.72] spk_0:
same? Okay. And then once you have a bunch of personas and profile? I mean, it sounds like you could have 10 or 12 really different ones, different, um yeah, different characteristics of people, different types of people that come to you. And, and like you said, Katie, even people who leave, you know, you want to capture them back. So, so once you have these Valerie, then you’re trying to communicate to them. But how do you how do you turn your communications into targets to to these personas?

[00:35:46.68] spk_4:
So you really want to think about building content specifically for that persona? So you might be doing a campaign um that you want to hit a couple of different

[00:35:56.37] spk_3:
personas

[00:36:07.97] spk_4:
with, but you’re gonna tailor that campaign specifically to each persona and deliver the message to a specific segment of that campaign. So if you’re gonna do a mail campaign, um, you want to think about how you’re putting together that letter and what you’re writing into the letter and how you’re addressing the donors for each of the different segments for each of the different personas that you’ve put together to really help craft a message and to inspire them specifically to donate.

[00:36:32.48] spk_0:
Okay, right, like Katie, like you were saying, you know, yeah, you know what’s important to them. Um, but that stuff is, this is very uh amorphous to try to, you know, it’s not just what do they give and how much do they give? And what time of year do they give, You know, what’s important to them? What do they value? This? Is this is difficult stuff to suss out.

[00:37:10.42] spk_4:
Yeah. One thing our co presenter said this morning, Marcus was that donors are smart and they’re savvy and with the advent of the internet and all of the various channels that you can communicate with people now, they know what they want and they know what they want to hear from you. And if they’re not hearing from you what they want, they’re gonna go find someone else who’s going to provide that information and communicate to them the way they want to be communicated with. So fundraising and marketing for nonprofits right now looks very different than it did maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago, um, and, and donors know what they want now.

[00:37:24.54] spk_0:
Okay, so it’s worth, you’re trying to suss out all this amorphous information as as best you can. Okay. Um, Katie, is there anything more you want to say about personas before we move on to being multi channel?

[00:37:36.13] spk_3:
Let’s go on to multi channel.

[00:37:40.11] spk_0:
Alright, Alright. Anything I don’t want to leave anything important.

[00:37:44.66] spk_3:
Okay. I think we’ve covered the main point.

[00:37:47.19] spk_0:
Okay. What’s, what’s, what’s important about? Well, I think we all know why to be multi channel, but how to coordinate those messages? What what’s your, what’s your thinking there?

[00:39:21.81] spk_3:
Yeah, I can jump in here. So I think what people often don’t do is they don’t coordinate messages cross channel at the right time. That’s what I’ve been seeing a lot with just by industry research. I mean, I’m always looking at what everybody is doing in the space because I want to be part of the best. Uh but they say being what I’ve heard at multiple conferences is that there’s a rule of seven. Right. So as a non donor, let’s say, I’m scrolling through facebook, I need to see an ask seven times before I’m actually likely to give. So if you’re seeing that ask seven times on facebook, that means it’s seven posts. That’s kind of a lot. And that’s gonna have to be spaced out through a certain amount of days, weeks, months even. So if you’re just increasing all the channels that you’re presenting that message on. So let’s say I’m seeing it on facebook, I’m seeing it in my email. I’m seeing it on my instagram. I’m getting a paid ad for it because I liked it on facebook. That’s gonna shorten the window of which I see seven points of that call to action. So I’m gonna be more likely to give if I’m seeing it in a wider spectrum on the digital space than I am in just one channel. So making sure that you’re saying similar things, but that are custom to what the channel is providing, Like social media has like paid ads have a certain amount of characters you can use. So, um, making sure it’s optimized for what channel you’re using, but still with the common thread is really important for increasing your conversion rate.

[00:40:05.59] spk_0:
Okay, now it’s a little clear to me why I see so many ads for the uh, pickpocket proof slacks. I see them across all kinds of different channels. I’m not, I’m hardly on facebook anymore. But um, I, I see them when I go to websites and I’m reading articles and because one time, I don’t know, I, I swear it was like three years ago I was browsing through these like CIA approved slacks with 14 pockets and it’s all supposed to be pickpocket proof for something and you know, they $200 slacks or whatever, they’re, you know, but

[00:40:08.62] spk_3:
I’ve

[00:40:09.74] spk_0:
seen ever since. Yeah. And I don’t know. I’m not even sure that if I bought them, the ads would stop, maybe

[00:40:16.43] spk_4:
it’s

[00:40:17.57] spk_0:
sophisticated enough. No, it’s not right. That would be right. Because now your brother needs to pay or whatever. All right,

[00:40:23.00] spk_3:
Valerie,

[00:40:24.15] spk_0:
anything you wanna, you wanna explain about multi channel and how, how important it is to reinforce and be consistent.

[00:41:16.62] spk_4:
I think the biggest thing for me is if you’re starting from scratch and you’re really trying to develop content and put it in the right places. Um, you really want to be thinking about who your audience is on those channels. So for, linkedin, the messaging that you’re putting out is gonna look a lot different than what you’re putting out on facebook. Most people use facebook recreationally and they use linkedin for professional relationships. So the type of information that someone is seeking on linkedin or more likely to respond to on linkedin is a lot different than what they’re more likely to look for or respond to on facebook. Um so for us, we make sure all of our job listings go up on linkedin and all of our industry specific information that goes up on linkedin, um just to kind of show our expertise in the area. But when we’re posting to facebook, we’re talking more directly to people that we know are supporters of us and want to do tangible things to support us. So the messaging is different, even though the information is really the same.

[00:41:31.44] spk_0:
Okay, okay, again, you’re consistent but consistent, but but different. Maybe different format even. Um Okay.

[00:41:39.99] spk_4:
Yeah.

[00:41:52.00] spk_0:
Um I mean, there’s there’s other format, you know, content papers, white papers. Um Again, depending for the right, you know, for the right channel research, um, do either of you use um, media, uh, working in working through thought leadership in developing thought leadership in media media relationships either of

[00:42:30.91] spk_4:
you. Yeah, so there’s a local media outlet here in philadelphia called generosity and they are focused on nonprofits and social enterprises and people who are making positive impact in philadelphia. So they’re super open to having folks guest post um, or write op EDS for them. So we’ve utilized that outlet a couple of times. Um, actually just last week, um, our ceo over wrote an article about the opportunity for kindness in the era of coronavirus. So it’s something that she actually wrote to communicate to our staff members and let them know what our stance on, you know, moving forward was going to be. And we thought it was something that would be beneficial, not just to our staff but to be at large. So we passed it along to them. They posted it as an op ed and that gave us um, a little bit more bang for our buck for things that we had already

[00:42:58.94] spk_0:
written. Um, Katie, are you doing much with earned media?

[00:43:03.08] spk_3:
I am not the Trevor project is, but Katie Green is not doing that. Okay, handled that.

[00:43:10.85] spk_0:
Okay. Um, let’s talk about some, some analytics. I mean, how do we know whether we’re being successful? Uh, and where we need to, where we need to tweak or pivot Katie, can you, can you get us started?

[00:44:29.28] spk_3:
Absolutely. So analytics is very hard for a lot of nonprofits because it’s such a scientific based skill set. And you know, that’s something that when I first came onto the Trevor project, is that the first thing I implemented was our source coding protocol. It’s so important to know where people are coming from that you can actually optimize, but we a B tested and continue to A B test absolutely everything. We do it through our website, we do it through email, we do it through our paid social and to see how things work. I think really we just test absolutely everything things you think you know you don’t and that’s what I keep learning through testing is what you think works today, won’t work tomorrow and we retest everything. A time of day test for example isn’t gonna for ascend for email, isn’t gonna be the same after daylight savings. It’s not gonna be the same as the seasons change and particularly not the same now that everybody is stuck at home. So you know they’re testing and optimizing really what you know is working. It just requires retesting re optimizing and testing literally.

[00:44:35.20] spk_0:
Could you, could you give some more examples besides time of day, what are examples of things you test?

[00:45:24.47] spk_3:
Oh absolutely. So on our website we tested, we have a little um call out box with questions on our donate form. We tested the placement of that. Is it better to have it right up next to the form underneath directly on top. So the first thing people see um we test there, we test what photos we use a lot does a photo of somebody looking sad versus somebody looking more celebratory and happy. Um we test a lot of pride imagery because we serve LGBTQ youth. We wanna see if Pride imagery actually helps get our word out there. Um We test our colors a lot because our our brand color is orange which is can be very cautionary but we see you thing oh it’s your brand color. Of course everybody’s gonna always respond to it. But that’s not really the case. Like sometimes things like our blues and purples and greens when it comes to see ta buttons. Um Gosh, I mean I can tell you every test we’ve ever run. Thunder tests um using graphics versus photos on the website. Uh you know the size, the width, the height of our light boxes, the width of our donation forms the amount of buttons we have. It just the list goes on and

[00:45:51.24] spk_0:
on.

[00:45:53.35] spk_3:
I

[00:46:13.51] spk_0:
heard one that just made me think of just one small example of what riffing off what you just said was testing the text inside a button instead of just donate or like uh review or something. You know, be more be more explicit about what the what the action is you’re asking for instead of just a single word. A little little more descriptive. Yeah

[00:46:32.93] spk_3:
testing C. T. A. Is is something that we do a lot just to give people some ideas. I think one that can be really helpful when it comes to fundraising is seeing how your donors react to the word give and the word support and the word donate. So so it’s all the same thing. We’re asking you to support our mission to give to us and to donate. But those three words have very different feelings when you’re reading them on your screen. So that’s one of the biggest tests we ran. Um, but yeah, I wouldn’t recommend always testing the C. T. A. When you have a new one especially,

[00:47:09.95] spk_0:
was it, was it act blue that or or change dot org? I think maybe it’s change dot org started calling it chip in. Could you chip in? Okay. Okay. Um, um, so Valerie, can you talk us through some metrics? You’re the director of institutional advancement? What what numbers do you look for to decide how you’re doing?

[00:48:23.15] spk_4:
Uh, we look at a lot of things. So we’re looking at the click through rates on our emails and on our post actually reading to the bottom and clicking the links that we’re providing. Um, we’re looking at how many people are interacting with things that were posting on social media and whether they are enjoying it or not based on how many people are interacting with it. Um, we do a lot of surveys to do, so, talking to our donors directly and asking them what kinds of things they want to see what kinds of things they don’t want to see. Um, I know Katie is doing a lot more with metrics than we are. So, um, this is my friendly reminder to smaller nonprofits where there’s just one person trying to do all of this. you don’t have to recreate the wheel. Um, so you can look at an organization like the Trevor project that does have the staff who can look at all of these things and do all of these testing and all of the metrics and see what’s working best and they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So you can look at what they’re doing and then borrow it. Um, so for an organization like me that has a smaller staff, um, we’re doing a little bit on our own, but we’re also looking a lot at what other nonprofits are doing and assuming that they’re taking the time to test things and we’re kind of, you know, copying what they’re doing because it’s obviously successful for them.

[00:48:36.00] spk_0:
How do you learn from them? Do you just create a build a relationship and then ask what, what kind of metrics do you look at

[00:48:54.20] spk_4:
sometimes? And sometimes it’s as simple as going to the Trevor project, websites donate page and seeing where they place things and what they name their buttons and what giving levels they’re putting up there. Um, because you know, you’re never gonna be exactly the same as another organization. So you definitely want to take a look at who you’re using as an example and use someone who’s doing similar work or in a similar location to you. But at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can learn through testing and after that you’re just gonna have to dive in and do something. So if you don’t have time for the testing, you can do a quick search of what everybody in your industry is doing and kind of take it from there instead,

[00:49:20.34] spk_0:
Katie, uh, since everybody’s stealing from the Trevor project, what, uh, what I assume you knew Valerie was doing this.

[00:49:28.27] spk_3:
I didn’t, but it’s, it’s such a compliment.

[00:49:31.09] spk_0:
It’s

[00:49:32.63] spk_4:
because you do a great job. That’s why we’re looking at

[00:49:35.06] spk_3:
you. Oh gosh,

[00:49:36.48] spk_0:
what do you want to add about metrics?

[00:49:59.95] spk_3:
Um, I think I just wanna reiterate Valerie’s point that there are so many nonprofits where one person is doing this. Um I’m the only person on the digital giving team. I’m the first person they’ve ever hired to do Digital giving. Um I’m still a team member of one, but you know, I do have the support of a very large marketing team that helps me with creating all of the tests that we do and anyone can tweet me email me whatever if like any nonprofit ever wants to connect. I’m always an open resource. But uh, metrics are increasingly uh important, just critical to donors, content strategy. So

[00:50:21.55] spk_0:
since you’re offering yourself as a resource, do you want to share your email and or your twitter, you don’t have to give your email if you don’t want to.

[00:50:28.72] spk_3:
Yeah, maybe twitter is probably the best way to reach me because I’m trying, I’m trying to learn how to tweet more as a digital person. I feel like I need to, that it’s at Katie Sue Green like one word, so it’s K A T I E S U E G R E N K T. Still green green, just like the color. Okay,

[00:50:51.53] spk_0:
Okay, thank you. Um it’s a Valerie, you wanna uh wanna wrap us up some some parting thoughts about uh content strategy.

[00:51:18.42] spk_4:
Sure. Um since I am kind of representing the smaller organization here, I just want to remind everybody that you’re doing everything that you can and it’s everything that you’re doing is important. So don’t try to do everything at once, really pick one thing to focus on and get to a point where you’re doing that well and comfortably before you try to add more um listening to a podcast like this or going to a presentation, like the one that we did this morning is overwhelming in the number of things that you could be doing and it makes you feel like you’re not doing enough, but you are. And just tackling those small hills one at a time is much much easier than trying to climb the mountain.

[00:52:42.29] spk_0:
That’s very gracious, very gracious advice. Thank you. Thanks very much. Um that was Valerie johnson, that is Valerie johnson director of institutional advancement at pathways to housing P A. And with her is Katie Green Digital Giving Manager for Trevor Project. Thank you very much for sharing each of you. Thanks so much And thank you for being with Tony-Martignetti non profit radio coverage of 20 NTCC in two weeks. Trafton Heckman with his book, Take Heart Take Action next week, I’m working on it. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I Beseech you find it at tony-martignetti dot com were sponsored by Turn to communications pr and content for nonprofits. Your story is their mission turn hyphen two dot c o Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff shows, social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by scott Stein, Thank you for that. Affirmation Scotty B with me next week for nonprofit radio big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.