Tag Archives: Social Impact Solutions

Nonprofit Radio for August 14, 2023: Impact Metrics


John Mark VanderpoolImpact Metrics

First, we resolve any confusion over impact versus outcomes and outputs. Then, John Mark Vanderpool continues by sharing how to measure your impact, and how to market your impact. He’s co-founder of Social Impact Solutions. They have a free quiz to see if you’re leaving money on the table. It’s at FundraisingQuiz.org.


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[00:00:20.08] spk_0:
And welcome to tony-martignetti Nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. You disrupt my mono theia if you made me hot with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with what’s coming?

[00:00:37.84] spk_1:
Thank you very much, tony. This week we have impact metrics. First, we resolve any confusion over impact versus outcome and outputs. Then John Mark Vanderpool continues by sharing how to measure your impact and how to market your impact. He is co-founder of Social Impact Solutions on Tony’s take too.

[00:01:01.99] spk_0:
August is National Make a Will Month.

[00:01:19.92] spk_1:
We’re sponsored by Donor Boxx with intuitive fundraising software from donor Boxx. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others donor Boxx dot org. Here is Impact Metrics.

[00:01:51.20] spk_0:
What a pleasure to welcome John Mark Van Der Pool to nonprofit radio. He is co-founder and Chief of Business Solutions at Social Impact Solutions. He develops strategies that organizations can deploy to achieve success in their marketing funding and impact efforts. The company is at social impact solutions dot com and John Mark is on linkedin, John M Vanderpool. Welcome to Nonprofit radio.

[00:01:54.67] spk_2:
Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to be here.

[00:01:59.62] spk_0:
I’m glad to have you. Thank you, impact metrics. Uh This is, this is what you’re all about social impact solutions is the company we need to start with the definition of what you mean by impact

[00:02:27.85] spk_2:
metrics. Absolutely. So there’s actually quite a bit of confusion around what does impact mean oftentimes you see it associated specifically with fundraising. But when we’re talking about true social impact, we are talking about what are the short term and long term outcomes of our programs, of our nonprofit programs. So if you have and think of any nonprofit program, you ask yourself, what are the actual social results like the societal changes and benefits that occur as a result of that program?

[00:02:58.42] spk_0:
So we want to distinguish it from uh what I think most people think of as outcomes, which is just like numbers of people helped or number of backpacks stuffed, like you’re saying, let’s go a step further. What, what was, what was the, what was the impact of those provided backpacks to those 500 elementary

[00:03:15.06] spk_2:
school Children? That is exactly right. And we would actually, if we want to nitpick a little bit, we would call what you said an output and then you could say an outcome would be the short term midterm, long term outcomes or impact. So they can be used a little bit interchangeably. But most organizations, if they focus on anything, they o they focus on those outputs, just like you said, 500 backpacks delivered with XYZ goods inside 15,000 wheelchairs delivered 10,000 houses built. That would just be the, the actual output. The next level is where all the magic happens and where I’m excited to talk about um on this podcast.

[00:03:42.44] spk_0:
Ok. Ok. So you would call those outputs. All right, we’ll stick with that. Um And so I think a lot of people think that those that is not measurable. How are we gonna track those 500 Children? How are we gonna pack uh track the people who are sitting in those 10,000 wheelchairs?

[00:05:12.96] spk_2:
Right. Right. It is challenging if there’s not a process built around it. And so this is what’s we really love to see because we know that organizations feel like they’re pulled in a million directions. But if you look at the one unifying theme across all stakeholders, but absolutely, with donors employees, the people that you serve to your constituents as well as volunteers. The reason why they give their money or their time or their careers to you is because of the social impact that you create. It really boils down to that. And there was a wonderful study back in 2019 that came out and the number one reason why donors that includes millennial Gen Z but especially focuses on major donors. The number one reason why they give is the societal impact that your, your organization creates. Now, the second reason why they give and everyone knows the second reason why is because stories of transformation and so they want to see really, we combine those together, what are the data driven stories of transformation that your organization is creating? And then finally, if you want to take it to the next level, how are you then communicating that impact to your donors in a way that they can see themselves as a part of your ecosystem? And so what’s the data, what data are you collecting? How are you collecting it? How are you measuring it? Which we’ll absolutely zoom in on, in a moment. What kind of stories of transformation are you capturing and then reporting to your donors, employees, stakeholders, everybody. And then how are you positioning each one of those stakeholders accordingly in a way that they can see themselves as an agent of change or a change maker? Because everyone here, I mean, millennials, baby boomer generation, all generations see themselves as changemakers. And so it’s a matter of how do we encourage that line of thinking rather than compete with that line of thinking by talking about ourselves in our own, you know, ourselves being nonprofits in our own way.

[00:05:36.96] spk_0:
So, all right. So we, we’re talking about the measurement and the marketing of, of the social impact

[00:05:44.16] spk_2:
100% 100 or the outcomes. And that is exactly what we focus on measuring market your impact. And so let’s talk about what you were saying earlier. How do you do it? Right. It’s a lot of work. So, how do you do it? And do we want to use, uh, just an example that you have? Is there sort of a type of nonprofit that you’d love to start with?

[00:06:17.94] spk_0:
Uh, well, can we, can we keep going with the 500 backpacks elementary school students, uh, like school school supplies for an underresourced community where the kids need help with pencils and stapler and uh, other school supplies that I don’t have Children. So, uh, you know, I don’t think you’d put an ipad in there, but, right, I, I don’t know whatever this current school supply

[00:07:20.99] spk_2:
needs are. Right. And if you want to look internationally that we know that a lot of, a lot of schools where you aren’t allowed in unless you can afford a uniform, right? And so the barrier of a uniform say, hey, this is your, this is your ticket, this is your tuition. And if you don’t have the money for, for a uniform, you can’t come to school. So here we have this massive problem. Right. So let’s talk about what you’re saying, underresourced school, underresourced students trying to get into school. Excuse me, we would want to begin with the end in mind. Right. And that’s the whole idea behind this concept called a theory of change. It’s a logic model framework that we can apply to the nonprofit sector that is extremely, extremely clarifying it is just a clarifying heuristic. And so the theory of change begins with, what kind of impact are we trying to create? What are the outcomes that we’re aiming for? Right. We don’t know that we’re hitting them yet, but we want to know the target that we’re aiming for. And so that might mean we want to ensure that 90 plus percent of students in this target area have enough school supplies to make it through the year. Right. They want, that’s sort of the ultimate goal, but they want to start seeing improvements of education. We want to be able to follow up. Can we see if their grades are improving? What are we? And I’m pulling all of these out of my ear because we don’t

[00:07:48.25] spk_0:
know grades, right. Great. Uh, grade improvement. I even, I was even thinking longer term, maybe high school graduation rates. We’re talking about elementary, elementary school now. So let’s say it’s 7th and 8th graders. Uh, but we want to see high school graduation rates. Are we one

[00:07:55.41] spk_2:
100%? Right? We’re

[00:07:56.20] spk_0:
impacting those if we even college, maybe college admission,

[00:08:43.10] spk_2:
if you can do this kind of like longitudinal approach, it’s where everything changes for your organization. I know I’ll allude to why this is what major funders are looking for. Major funders are looking for long term thinking nonprofits that they can come aside and fund for the long, they want to see these longitudinal, not truly longitudinal studies from an academic standpoint, but they want to see the long term change that they can partner with great organizations doing excellent work. And that’s, that’s a great way to look at it at minimum. You want to be thinking 3 to 5 years out. That’s what we’re talking about from a true midterm and long term outcome. Let’s talk about 3 to 5 years. But again, that requires follow up and follow through which is not easy, right? It’s not easy to do these things, but it’s just all it is is a system that we need to build into your operations team. I think people are confused. Yeah. Go ahead.

[00:09:01.42] spk_0:
Can we, can we report on short term too? Like just uh you know, improved grades. Yes, in, in this current school year and then maybe, I guess more, you know, more midterm, mid to long term would be high school graduation or maybe performance in high school and then high school graduation and then college admission would be the long term. That would be like a 55 year for a, for 1/7 or eighth grader.

[00:12:26.52] spk_2:
So just imagine that this organization that we’re describing right now, just imagine they’re starting with kindergartners, fifth graders in that, in that time frame and they are wanting to turn somebody into a lifelong learner, like that’s what we’re going for. We want to take someone from an underprivileged underserved neighborhood and turn them into lifelong learners. So that’s a very aspirational statement. And it turns into how are we going to know if we’ve done that? Like, how are we going to know? And you just listed out several things, you know, we wanna have college acceptance rates, we wanna have job, you know, job acceptance, we wanna see media and household income in this region go up like we can go really, really wide with this data or we can start really simply which is where we recommend people starting. But let’s start simply if you don’t have the capacity to pull all of this off yet. But let’s do begin with the end in mind so that we can start, you know, getting our creative juices flowing the right way, thinking about what change, ultimate change do we want to see in this community? Right. So let’s just think that way and then it turns into how are we gonna know if we’re doing that just with the metrics that we laid out and then how are we going to measure that? And it just turns into a pattern of follow up and follow through. You might do things through surveying focus groups. You might have an outside research firm come in and evaluate and analyze individuals that have gone through your program before. If you’re more government funded, there’s just other kinds of tools that can be used to measure change from a government standpoint. Like you, they test grades, you know, testing and evaluation, aligning that up with the kids that have gone through your program versus those that have not. So control groups versus non control groups. Other ways to do this are pre and post assessments are really, really important with human services. You see this a lot in in the human services space specifically, the government funded human services space by nonprofits that can evaluate pre and post. It’s a very effective way to show short term outcomes. So using a a different kind of example, imagine some kind of um clinic, maybe it’s overseas and you take a needs assessment. It’s a very common tool that most nonprofits are aware of that they need to be using what are the needs in our organization. And then we design a program, we already have a program implemented to address those needs. Let’s take baseline data, where are the individuals in this area? And then after the course of a program, say it’s a a three month, six month, nine month program, we can now evaluate where these individuals are now. So using a different example, let’s say it’s a nutrition program and they’re serving, they’re serving a community that is wildly malnourished, but they have a nutrition program attached to the schools. They evaluate where the students are today and then nine months later, but let’s say they do it quarterly. They check in, the kids have gained X amount of pounds, you know, they’re seeing reduced rates and XYZ, we don’t need to get into the medicine side of this. But it’s how you really measure the change, measure that delta of change with the program that you’re, that you’ve designed to make this kind of difference. And that is how you get that immediate short term outcome. Not necessarily, we serve 500 kids. It’s like no, we served 500 kids and we reduced, you know, child malnutrition by 75%. That’s a very different conversation. And you take that number to your grantors, take that to your donors, take that to your volunteers to your employees and this is what your employees want. They want to be a part of that kind of change. So make it really easy for them to understand the great work that you’re doing.

[00:13:00.68] spk_0:
Uh There’s a significant commitment which is gonna have to come is gonna have to come from leadership clearly because there’s gonna be resources allocated to these, to these pre and trans and post measurements. And uh so, all right. So we’re gonna need leadership commitment to this

[00:13:01.75] spk_2:

[00:13:03.13] spk_0:
It’s not like just our marketing team is gonna be writing stories of transformation.

[00:14:35.95] spk_2:
Correct. Correct. And now can you give a couple of just like cheat coats if you want to talk about how to do this the right way? I think one of the biggest call them cheap cheat codes. Just sort of a, just like cheat codes. Like, here’s how you can sort of sneak it like. Oh, cool. I’m gonna get to the next level real quickly. I just, ok. Yeah, impact comes from your operations department and that, that’s just what it boils down to where does impact come from. It comes from your operations. Now, the beauty is when you have a process and this is what’s happened in the last 15 years with technology that makes life so much easier, it’s that you can build impact data collection into your existing programs and you do that with technology, right? There’s just so many more ways to leverage technology from an operational standpoint. I mean, we work in very very remote parts of the world, our partners like the clients that we work with. No wifi, no nothing, right? Very very remote parts of the world. And so we have to help them create systems that capture impact data as frequently as their program allows for it. But when we can capture the data and it’s just a part of literally just a part of our day to day existence, it works exceptionally well. It works really, really well. So I think let’s go back to a school example, you know, you do education evaluations annually a couple times a year, whatever the frequency is on that. And if you’re able to collect that categorize it and report on it, that’s how you can very quickly see what’s going on. It’s the same mindset, just imagine. And if, if I was wanting to lose £15 over the course of three months. Ok. Well, I need to be losing, you know, £5 a month. I need to be checking in, you know, with that weight scale every single day to be able to say, am I actually losing the weight? Am I plateauing? Am I gaining what’s going on? But we need to bake this into the existing process?

[00:14:57.32] spk_0:
Ok. Uh Why don’t you uh share a story of some, some nonprofit that uh did not have these kinds of measurements in place, you know, did not have that as part of their operational plan uh and built it in and, you know, saw success and maybe even, you know, saw fundraising, saw a fundraising impact whether in whether individual or institutional, but, you know, for saw an impact from their own impact reporting.

[00:19:00.38] spk_2:
Absolutely, I’d love to use a very, very relevant example in this because I, I want to get a little bit of behind the scenes of what this looks like. So this is an organization very well known, very large, you know, they have a, a very large footprint across the United States and actually around the world as well. Um But there wasn’t really much of an attitude towards collecting data and data sort of sounds invasive. I’m not talking about invasive data whatsoever. It’s just, they didn’t really have an understanding of who their direct constituents were, the people that they served. It was very detached from headquarters so very close from a grassroots standpoint. The headquarters had a significant detachment from, you know, from their grassroots organization. So there just wasn’t really an attitude around um process improvement, you know, from the business space if we were going to have that kind of mentality, process improvement. So we came up with them, we partnered with them. This has been, this is a three year old story at this point. And so let’s start out with the needs assessment. Let’s survey the needs of the people that you serve. Let’s see what it is that they say that they want from you. And so literally online service. So we were just focusing on the US based um constituents at that point, online survey, we were able to collect thousands and thousands of, you know, new new people to headquarters. The, you know, regional offices were very aware of who these individuals were. But headquarters for the first time, they were able to see from the perspective of the people that they serve. This is what they need the most and what they needed the most was additional care and we can get into all those details later. So what did they do? They tweaked, they didn’t have to start 500 new programs. They didn’t have to, you know, redo everything they tweaked a couple of their existing programs to accommodate some of these needs. They reported on that to their funders. They started getting more data. Just survey results from the people that they served. The people that they serve were ecstatic with the new services they were getting and funders were even more excited. They had one funder in particular who found out like, OK, you are actually talking to the people that you serve and they are giving you feedback and you are making decisions based on that feedback. I think this is one of the things that most nonprofit leaders are afraid of. They feel like they have to have all the answers and take that to their funders. When typically their funders, you know, they run businesses themselves, they understand exactly how challenging growing an organization is. Like they have a lot of commonality and when they hear while you’re innovating in this type of format, they want to double down. That’s exactly what this one funder did. He, he told them, hey, I’m gonna write you guys a very significant check and it was, you know, multiple commas in that, in that check. And then he came, the check finally came in and it was double the investment that he told them that he was gonna make in person simply because this was an organization that was listening to the needs of their people, changing some of their operations and better serving their constituents along the way. So you build that into an impact report. You start sending that impact report to family foundations, granting organizations high net worth donors. Millennials. Gen Z, you curate it for all of those different audience types and they can see not only are you serving this many people? Not only have you served X 1000 outputs, but you are listening to the needs of the people that you serve and then you’re tweaking your operations to better serve them. And now you have data that shows that you’re seeing a higher quality of life, you know, through multiple surveys and things like that of the people that you’re serving. And it makes a tremendous difference for the, the end user, the constituent and the donors are even more engaged and inspired than ever before. I said

[00:19:23.21] spk_0:
earlier, you need a leadership commitment. You, you also, you and that part of that leadership com commitment needs to be uh a time commitment. We need to be, we need to be invested in this for, I know we had talked about short midterm long term but you know, I would think you need at least a year or 18 months. Maybe it depends on what your work. Maybe it depends on what your work is it right? But you need, yeah, you need to be committed to this for, for AAA reasonable amount of time to, to, to coalesce the data that you need to show the, the, the social impact.

[00:20:32.60] spk_2:
Absolutely. And what’s, and what’s exciting though is that when you start the right way and you do not have to rip the whole organization apart and put it back together. That is not the advice that we have for existing organizations. It really is a matter of let’s start simply let’s because this organization that I’m referencing had very, very little data. Um And by data, they didn’t know the people that they were serving the needs of the people that they were serving. They weren’t even tracking outputs and they absolutely weren’t tracking outcomes. So we need to start very simply. And we start with that theory of change that does not require herculean effort. It just requires getting people in a room and saying we want to measure our desired outcomes like we want to actually measure for this. So we start small and we slowly start trickling in catching capturing data that are showing, hey, is this working? Is it not working? What do we need to improve? So again, we’re starting very simply but just like anything else with compounding it’s over time, you really start to build this, you know, repertoire of information that really helps you make better decisions as an organization. And it’s exactly what your funders are looking for. Like it, it is not, it is working in concert with what everyone else is looking for. They want to see impact data from an employee volunteer constituent, but mostly a funder standpoint. So it works very well. That way

[00:21:32.14] spk_1:
it’s time for a break. Donor box. Are you thinking about adding membership levels? How about sustainer giving or maybe you offer them? But your platform is slow, tedious and potential members and donors are dropping off. Enter donor box, they have the platform that’s four times faster and stops the drop. So you stop losing members and donors. Donor Boxx helping you help others. Donor Boxx dot org. It’s time for Tony’s take two.

[00:23:47.47] spk_0:
Thank you, Kate August is National Make A Will Month. The purpose of National Make A Will Month is to remind people all of us to create a will if we don’t have one or check our will to make sure that it reflects what we still w what we want to have, happen with our assets with our estates. Uh At our death, I put a spin on that and I like to use the month of August to remind nonprofits how important critical it is that when you launch your planned giving fundraising program, you launch it with gifts by will the most simple planned gift, the most popular planned gift, gifts and wills A K A charitable bequests. Same thing. Wills are the place to start for lots of reasons. And I’m enumerating those reasons on linkedin this month. So if you uh wanna take a look, I’ve got 18 reasons. I’ll have 18 by the end of the month we’re doing uh six a week in two different posts. So sending them out in uh in little packets of three. And by the end of the month, we’ll have the 18 reasons why wills are the place to launch your planned giving fundraising. And I’ll just give you a teas or one of the reasons is because they are the most common planned gift. And why are they the most common planned gift? Because they’re so simple because everybody knows what a will is. Everybody knows how wills work and everybody knows they need a will. So that actually is two of the reasons. So you got 1/9 out of the 18 by the end of the month, we’ll have all 18 on linkedin. The point is wills are the place to start your planned giving program and all those reasons are why that’s true. And that is Tony’s take too,

[00:23:51.37] spk_1:
Kate. Ok, tony, we’ve got boat loads more time now back to impact metrics with John Mark Vanderpool.

[00:24:01.88] spk_0:
Anything else that you wanna, you wanna say about the uh the metrics, the measurements before we move to the, to the marketing part, sharing, sharing these stories. Anything else?

[00:26:17.92] spk_2:
Yeah, I’d love to zoom in a little bit more on theory of change. Just so there’s, there’s no confusion there if that’s ok with you and please pick it apart as much as you want to because it really is a process of reverse engineering, what your goals are. It’s not a mission. Statement. It’s not really a vision statement, but it works with your vision statement. It is, these are the target outcomes that we’re trying to, we’re trying to go after we are trying to go after. So let’s use your example of a world where everyone in this county and whatever state, all these Children have access to education and you know, all the tools they need for education that and then you have to ask yourself the question of how are we going to know that we’ve accomplished that goal? It’s not, how are we going to do that? It’s how are we going to know that we’ve done it? Yeah. And that’s where those measures come from. And again, I think there’s a little bit of confusion and this is where you can marry sort of the best of academia with the best of best practices from an, from a tactical standpoint where if you can use what are called validated research tools, I know you were in the academic space for a long time, like they are just survey tools. There are different resources that you can rely on with a high degree of credibility. Yes. If people are passing this quality of life survey, not passing. But if they are showing improvement according to this quality of life survey, we are much more confident that we’re creating a significant societal change within this target population. And so using different types of survey tools, other kinds of qualitative and quantitative tools that are out there is tremendous. And so we begin with the end in mind, our target outcomes, our target impact outcomes and impact again being synonymous terms. And then we back it up with how are we measuring it? And then we back that up even more. And we say great, what do we need to be producing? So on an output standpoint, what do we need to be doing on a monthly, a weekly, monthly, annually basis that would lead to these target outcomes? And then you reverse that even more in what’s called the activity stage in theory of change. Like what do we need to do every single day that is leading to these target outcomes? And then if you want to get fancy and talk about the input feature, that really is what are all of the resources? So the money people time that we’re going to need in order to pull this off to do

[00:26:27.84] spk_0:
these activities on a daily, weekly

[00:27:28.48] spk_2:
basis. Exactly. Exactly. And, but you do break it down by department and II, I think that’s really important because it can be confusing. You’re like, well, I’m in marketing, what do I have to do with operations? It’s like, well, let’s let’s separate these, separate these out and this is why we do marry the whole marketing conversation into it because it supercharges, you know, marketing and fund and development, but it’s every single day of the week I need to be doing XY or Z from an operation standpoint, I need to be attracting new constituents into our program. I need to be serving them the way that we have it outlined in our program. And then we need to be following up with them in certain increments. Great. I get that from an operation standpoint. From a development standpoint, we need to be attracting in converting more donors. So we need to acquire more donors and we need to keep the donors that we have longer and we need to have them give more money over time. Fabulous. What are those daily activities? We can talk about that later and the same thing for marketing, same thing for finance, things like that. But theory of change really is a helpful model. Um And we can provide resources, blogs and things like that to the audience if they would be interested in that.

[00:27:37.30] spk_0:
OK. On theory of change, on theory of change. All right. All right. Um Well, are those at uh social impact solutions dot com?

[00:27:45.64] spk_2:
They are, but we’ve also included it into a fundraising quiz. So we have fundraising quiz dot org where you can take, take it. It’s like a two minute assessment where you can establish where you are in the theory of change model as well as some other fundraising questions as well. But we can talk about

[00:28:07.65] spk_0:
that more later too. I was gonna mention that later, but you got it fundraising quiz dot org, correct? Ok. Ok. Um All right. So let’s move then to, to marketing. Now we’re gonna, we’re gonna tell these stories of transformation. Absolutely. Based, based on, based on our data.

[00:28:18.82] spk_2:
Absolutely. And this is where things get really excited. Right. This is a lot of fun. Do you have any questions before I dive in? I’m happy to do whatever you want. No, there,

[00:28:24.75] spk_0:
my questions are general. Like, where do you get started?

[00:32:34.04] spk_2:
Where do you get started? So if there’s something that is more common than anything else I’ve seen in the nonprofit space is that marketing needs more information out of operations. It’s just, hey, I need stories. What do you got for me? I mean that if there is a bottleneck that exists, it is a a bunch of wonderful marketers talking to a bunch of wonderful operations experts saying I need more stories from the field. I need more data. What can you give me? Like II I just don’t have enough content, don’t have enough anything for our, for our donors, for volunteers, for everybody. And so that really is why this process is so important because we want to build a system that generates stories of transformation on a consistent basis. We want to build a system that generates impact data on a consistent basis. So your marketing team is not hounding your operations team saying, hey, I’ve got a presentation next week and if I don’t have the these five things it’s gonna flop, right? You want to give your, your development and marketing folks the data, they need to do their job exceptionally well. But impact comes from your operations department. That’s where all, all of the impact is created because they are serving the people that your your target, your target population. And so what does it look like? It looks like every week knowing exactly those outputs how many people were served? And if you can do this, this is why we love pre posts, um, pre posts assessments. Where were they when they began, began their journey with your organization? So if you can establish a baseline again, let’s just use the same example from before a, a wonderful nonprofit that gives Children school supplies. Well, were they at zero? Did they not have any access to school supplies? Were they completely, you know, separate from that? This child came to our program? He literally didn’t have backpack, didn’t have, you know, sneakers didn’t have anything in order to go to school. We gave him everything he needed so that he could start school, you know, August, whatever on the of this year. So we take a baseline and we find out while 25% of our target population doesn’t even have access to shoes, doesn’t have access to adequate clothing, doesn’t have access to pencils, textbooks, whatever it is. So we understand the problem even better because of the process that we’ve built. Well now marketing is able to take that, take that information. I keep saying data, but just take that story. Hey, 25% of the kids in our community don’t have, don’t have what they need to go to school. This is crazy. So they’re able to tell Hammer on the problem. 25% of students in our area do not have adequate school supplies. That’s not ok. We know that you as a donor, you as a committed member of our, our community isn’t ok with that. I, you’re not ok with that. We need to raise however many thousands of dollars in order to satisfy this need. We know that you care about this as much as we do. We know that you want to get back to this community. We’ve made this easy give now, I mean, there, there’s your outgoing email on the problem, right? Because we have to, we have to anchor the problem appropriately, but we have to do it. We absolutely have to make sure as marketers that we’re communicating the problem that our constituents are going through. Ok. Now we’ve raised the money. We’ve delivered the school, all those school supplies. Now, let’s check back in with those families. Let’s check back in with those students. How are they doing now? What does it look like from a sustainability standpoint? Are they now able to go acquire these supplies on their own? Are they getting better grades? What kinds of changes are they able to see? I mean, even just the ability to attend school versus not attend school is a significant change. So I don’t want to forget that, but you have this information now that gives you unlimited content opportunities from a marketing and development standpoint, you convert that into a fundraising script, you convert that into a video series, you convert that into months worth of social media. I mean, if 25% of our kids don’t have adequate school supplies, we have a huge issue. We need to gather together as a community and solve this problem. Which is that galvanic, that galvanizing statement that all marketers are looking for, to really inspire their donor base. All right. Uh

[00:32:59.69] spk_0:
You make it sound, uh you, you make it sound simple. Uh But there is a commitment, you know, there’s a commitment of uh money, there’s a commitment of time. Um I don’t know, you know, I mean, you, you’re, you’re doing this day to day, you’re studying it. Uh iiii I can’t even uh see holes to uh to challenge you on uh what, I don’t know what, you know, what else, what else is there to talk about?

[00:33:05.07] spk_2:
You know, I think what’s fun. And I’m

[00:33:07.67] spk_0:
at a, I’m at a rare loss for uh the uh the degree of lackluster of the host is uh, is pervasive in today’s show, you know, II I don’t really know more, more to ask you,

[00:34:19.07] spk_2:
I think one, something that can make things even simpler. And we have spent a lot of time with this problem. We have, we have spent a significant amount of time and we’ve been very fortunate to work with wonderful organizations, doing great work, but in very challenging technological environments, geographic environments and it just boils down to a system. It’s a system in a process. And every social entrepreneur is a nonprofit leader, social entrepreneur, business, social um good business. They understand that if we can just improve, if we can start and then improve some process and just add a little bit of resource to it. We don’t have to, you know, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on consulting firms to come in and fix everything, right. That’s not the answer. We need to start somewhere and then we need to just get a little bit better every single month, every single week, every single day. And it really is just a systemic opportunity where it’s like we don’t have any data. OK, great. Let’s do something to turn on the data switch to flip the switch for. Now, we do have data. Um You said

[00:34:27.97] spk_0:
earlier, let’s start small, start with, start with

[00:36:32.92] spk_2:
something. Let’s just start so simple. And like, that’s what’s great is that the reason why people associate impact with fundraising is because it’s really easy to measure. It’s really easy to measure. Like, hey, we switched to Xyzcrm or now we have um you know, some new fundraising platform that we’re using and our donors have a one click, check out before we had this problem. Now we don’t and we made 15% more money. Look at the impact of that. And so it’s easy to measure. Number. Finance is always easy to measure just because it’s numeric, but it’s the same conversation around the social change there. If you want to go even deeper into this, there’s a, there’s this whole notion of social return on investment and the US is lagging a little bit behind Western Europe, the UK because this is a very standard common practice in, in western Europe where you have to measure what is the social return on investment. It’s an actual calculation. It really is a dollar per outcome. And there are different grading agencies in the United States. Um Charity Navigator being one of them that is now starting to measure nonprofits according to their social impact. They just rolled this out within the last six or 10 months maybe. What’s their social impact beacon I believe is what they call it. And they’re really just looking for one thing. What is the dollar per outcome? It really is the dollar per outcome. So just think of that, think of that equation. Yeah. And I would say this is a guess, but I would guess that 90% of nonprofits, I might be a little, let’s just say 75% to be a little bit more safe are just now starting to track outputs where they can say for these students that we’ve been giving, you know, school supplies to, we gave 500 school supplies out this year and it cost us $5000. So we can now do the math on dollar per output. But what everyone wants to know and by everyone, I mean, the major funders of the world, they want to know if this is more effective than some other solution. We want other solution or,

[00:36:35.93] spk_0:
or, right, some other solution or doing nothing or doing nothing. Yeah, I mean, right. Anybody sophisticated is gonna wanna know, you know? All right, 500 backpacks. So, what, what, what difference did that make other than giving people a backpack full of supplies?

[00:36:50.85] spk_2:
Right. You’re

[00:36:51.73] spk_0:
absolutely right. That’s what we’re, that, well, that’s what you and I are all talking about.

[00:38:04.31] spk_2:
Right. You are 100%. Right. And it, it’s just amazing of when you can measure that and I, I’m not trying to be, um, too eccentric with this. I’m not trying to just amp this up too much, but this is exactly what your employees are looking forward to. Employees are dying for meaning and they are dying for their employers to give them meaning. Show me what my hours are leading to just tell me, tell me why I left this, you know, high-end accounting firm, not me. I’m just like, so why we, someone left this high-end accounting job to be a, to get my pay cut, cut in half. And now I’m a CFO for this organization. Tell me why this matters so much. Or I’m gonna go, I’m leaving a sales position and I’m getting into development because I want my life to mean something. The impact data is what communicates that to them. The stories of transformation is what communicates that to him. But the way you communicate where they matter. And I love this so much because it’s such a good leadership communication tool. If you can put that person or that employee or that donor or that volunteer as the hero of their own story, because they already are in their mind, they are already the hero of their own story. If you can say that you are a game changer, you are a world changer, you are changing the lives of these people around the world and here’s the data to back it up like this is what your work is going to great job, like you’re making a huge difference, right? That’s why people stay at jobs. That’s and also if they don’t have, that’s why they leave.

[00:38:54.07] spk_0:
You’re getting to employee retention, right? Uh Especially among younger folks who are looking for meaning, I’m generalizing. But what I read is, you know, they’re looking for meaning and purpose in their work beyond paycheck and benefits and, and time off 100%. All right. Yeah. No, that’s uh that’s a, that’s, I think it’s a valuable point that a lot of people are, you know, probably thinking of this from a fundraising perspective, whether it’s individual or institutional, but employee retention, the meaning of your work, the meaning

[00:39:32.02] spk_2:
of your work. And we can have fun because this is where the math gets really exciting from a fundraising standpoint. And if you’re looking at, ok, great with this new impact data, we were able to acquire new donors at this part. So we can look at our donor acquisition costs. It’s like, wow, we have this valuable data which is leading to, you know, lower donor acquisition costs. But now we can look at donor retention, right? Because we’re looking at donor lifetime value, we kept somebody for five extra years, 10 extra years, however many extra years and we increased their giving because we were giving them exactly what they wanted, impact data stories of transformation and we were positioning them as the hero. It’s the same thing with employees. We want to be able to recruit better employees and keep them longer. It’s such an expensive ordeal, losing an employee as someone as an employer. I know how painful that is. I know how, you know, brutal that can be. But if we can inspire and retain our employees, it makes a huge difference. And with volunteers, it’s, it’s, it’s even better because what they’re lowering our cost of goods sold by so much as a nonprofit, you can run so many different equations on this and makes a huge difference for the bottom line of the organization,

[00:40:15.16] spk_0:
let’s say a little more about positioning as a hero. I mean, isn’t, isn’t that as simple as your time for a volunteer? It’s like a volunteer instead of a donor, your time means uh a increased, increased likelihood of uh college admission for, right? This percentage of our, this percent of our community, I mean, is it, this is just as simple as your, your, your, your message, your, your, the words, you choose

[00:40:28.30] spk_2:
absolutely 100%. It is as simple as the words you choose. Thank you for putting it that way, tony, like that is 100% true.

[00:40:35.17] spk_0:
OK. Right. I mean, I like, I like to see a copy that says, you know, you did this versus we did it or you helped us do it. Uh You know, and then some, sometimes I get pushed back. Well, they didn’t literally do it. Well, you know. All right. So let’s take a little bit of license but, you know, without their money, we, we wouldn’t have been able to do it. So you wanna, you wanna argue that, that we couldn’t have done it without them, which means they did do it because if it hadn’t been for them, it wouldn’t have gotten done.

[00:41:01.61] spk_2:
Absolutely. They enabled it, they enabled the activity, right? They were the ones that enabled the ability to do that. And so they did do it and I did

[00:41:10.49] spk_0:
agree with you. They did it, not that you helped us do it or you, you know, you did it, you did this, you did this in our community. Here’s, here’s what you’ve done

[00:42:12.39] spk_2:
and you and I are completely aligned on that. I love the phrase because of you. This happened because of your generosity because of your time because of insert whatever they did, this outcome was achieved. You’re incredible. Let’s keep partnering together. Do more good work. Just tell people they’re great. And this like, let’s just look at this from an email marketing standpoint that I think we can riff on this forever. But just think about it. People are so concerned, nonprofit marketers like, oh, but we’re, if we email too often people are going to unsubscribe and I always tell them it’s like, listen, no one unsubscribes from somebody tell them how great they are every single week in the good work that they are doing by partnering with you. They don’t have to subscribe for that. No one likes to be told. No one’s going to leave an email marketing message that says, you’re incredible. Thank you for all the great work that you’re doing. We are thrilled to have you as a dedicated donor. I can’t wait to see what we do together next year. They might not open every single email, but they are sure as heck going to be inspired because you are telling them that they’re doing a great job because they are doing a great job. They’re giving you money, they are doing great stuff.

[00:43:00.90] spk_0:
All right. Uh At the risk of we’re not gonna end on a, on a negative note. But we uh something did occur to me now where it didn’t occur to me 15 minutes ago. Uh The potential downside of uh collecting all this data. So is we’re not making an impact. This is a great question. I mean, there’s also a possibility that we’re having a negative impact. Like the the Children with the backpacks are, I don’t know, ostracized or, you know, because the backpacks look weird or whatever, you know, but let’s not go negative, but we’re just not seeing a statistically significant impact uh from the work

[00:43:01.86] spk_2:
we’re doing, you are asking the right question.

[00:43:03.84] spk_0:
That’s, that’s certainly a possible outcome. What now we, now we need to, now we need to revise our theory of change.

[00:46:24.23] spk_2:
Absolutely. And that’s what happens is you learn something and that’s what’s so important is when we have data, we actually have something that we can learn. And this is a huge, huge, huge concern for organizations. But I love this story. Are you familiar with um Vision Spring nonprofit that you’re familiar with beautiful, beautiful organization, um predominantly sub-saharan Africa, India? But they had a, I’m not gonna say a failed attempt because I don’t think they failed but they were unable to scale their operations in, I think it was Guatemala. But let’s just say Central America and it, they just couldn’t get the model that they had perfected in India to work in Central America. Different context, different culture. I know everyone understands that but it didn’t work and it was just, it was a lot of money. I think it was like $10 million that and I want to be clear, this is not a client. This is a published, you can find this story that I’m telling you on the internet. I’m not. There is no inside baseball here. This is something that they’ve been extremely transparent about. And I think it’s served them exceptionally well, but they published the fact that hey, we thought this was gonna work in Central America. It didn’t like the model that we have really been championing inside of. I wanna say Southern India specifically is not applying over here. We just burned through $10 million but here’s what we learned and then they just bullet it out here are all the things that we learned. I think this was published through Duke’s um MB A program. It’s a fantastic case study if anybody wants to read about and they went back to their donors, the same donors that gave them $10 million and they said total flop didn’t work. But here’s what we learned and here’s what we’d like to do. And it’s gonna cost another 10, 15, whatever it was. Million dollars. The donors, like I said earlier, they were thrilled. They’re like you’re able to generate this, this much insight. You were able to learn this much. You were working that hard and this is what you came back with. Fabulous. We want to help you innovate. We want to create an impact. We can’t do that as donors, we need you to help us do that. And so transparency goes a really long way and there is a, a very real fear and I respect it, but there’s a very real fear of failure. We’re thinking that hey, our donors are going to be disappointed in us. And the the truth of the matter is and this, this happens too often is the real failure is not learning because in every other space imaginable, you have to innovate in the business world, you have to innovate in the marketing world. You have to innovate operations have to innovate too. So let’s just use the backpack example. Hey, it’s not working. Ok. Well, what are we dedicated to solving? We go back to our theory of change like, ok, we want to increase attendance rates or whatever the the desired theory of change, job opportunities, college education, all of that, we thought this backpack thing was the right way to do it. But it’s not turns out it’s something else. Well, make it happen with something else like make that happen and I, I can, I can say this, I promise you, you will be surprised with how supportive your funders will be because they want to know that their money is going to meaningful things. They just need you to tell them the truth of what’s actually going on, but keep them updated. It’s, it’s so rare. I, I don’t know if I can think of a single time where a donor has come back and said, I can’t believe this didn’t work. I’m never funding you again. I, I can’t think of a single time where an organization had negative impacts and donors left.

[00:46:40.32] spk_0:
You know, the donors are still committed to the community that they just, that what you were doing wasn’t the way to improve the community.

[00:46:49.14] spk_2:
Exactly. But

[00:46:53.79] spk_0:
you learned and now you’re gonna pivot to assistant for tutoring, class, class tutors, uh, after school or whatever, whatever, whatever it is. Right. All right. All right. So it’s not, uh, it’s, there’s a potential downside but, uh it turns out it’s not a negative because, uh you’ve been working on this a long

[00:47:44.40] spk_2:
time. We have, but it really is an opportunity to learn and just think about it with anything else. You know, I think easy examples are, you know, working out running, learning, whatever it is like, oh, man, I’ve been doing this one thing for so long and it’s not working like what’s going on and then you find out something new something better and you start using it and it works well. That doesn’t make you a failure. It may just forced you to learn something and then you learned and you applied it and it’s made all the difference in the world. I mean, I can think of lots of mistakes I’ve made in the past just because I had the wrong, you know, mindset or wrong frame of mind around a problem. Then when I learned a better way to approach something skyrocket, I mean, just completely takes off. So it really is that same idea, but just organization wide.

[00:48:08.95] spk_0:
All right, we’re gonna leave it there. Impact metrics. Social impact Solutions is the company. This guy is John Mark Vanderpool, co-founder and Chief of Business Solutions. The company is at social impact solutions dot com. He’s on linkedin, John Mark. Thank you. Thanks for sharing these

[00:48:10.75] spk_2:
insights, tony. Thank you so much. It’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for your time.

[00:48:21.06] spk_1:
Next week. The five A’s of awesome fundraising. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I

[00:48:24.15] spk_0:
be. See, you find it at tony-martignetti dot com.

[00:48:41.03] spk_1:
We’re sponsored by Donor box with intuitive fundraising software from donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor Boxx dot org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate martignetti. The shows social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silberman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein.

[00:48:58.29] spk_0:
Thank you for that affirmation. Scottie be with us next week for nonprofit radio, big nonprofit ideas for that other 95% go out and be great.