Big Nonprofit Ideas for the Other 95%
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Greg Cohen: Volunteer Giving
When is it OK to ask volunteers to donate? How do you get started? What about objections? Greg Cohen is senior associate at Cause Effective and he knows the ropes.
Gene Takagi: Wounded Warrior and Overhead
There is such a thing as bad press and Wounded Warrior is the latest example. They’re under withering criticism for excessive and lavish spending. Gene Takagi returns to explain good overhead versus bad overhead and how to avoid trouble. He’s our legal contributor and principal of NEO, the Nonprofit & Exempt Organizations Law Group.
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Hello and welcome to tony martignetti non-profit radio big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. I’m your aptly named host. We have a listener of the week, chris john’s from burton, michigan he called maria semple are doi n of dirt cheap and free prospect research ideas. You know her well to tell her that her suggestion to use your local library has been helping him because she says that she has that advice often has been helping him a lot to raise money for a dog park playground, movies in the park and other projects. So chris john’s following maria’s advice. Very smart man. Congratulations on being non-profit radios listener of the week oh, i’m glad you’re with me. I’d suffer focal segmental glomerulosclerosis if you wasted my time to say you missed today’s show volunteered e-giving when is it okay to ask volunteers to donate? How do you get started? What about objections? Greg cohen is senior associate at cause effective, and he knows the ropes and wounded warrior and overhead. There is such a thing as bad press and wounded warriors, the latest example, they’re under withering criticism for excessive and lavish spending. Jean takagi returns to explain good overhead versus bad overhead and how to avoid this kind of trouble. He’s our legal contributor and principle of neo the non-profit and exempt organizations law group on tony’s take two youtube we’re sponsored by pursuant full service fund-raising data driven and technology enabled, you’ll raise more money pursuant dot com, also by crowdster online and mobile fund-raising software for non-profits now with apple pay amglobal donation feature. Crowdster dot com welcome and greg cohen back to the show. He’s senior associate itcause effective he’s worked in and consulted for hundreds of non-profits cause effective is the non-profit itself, that is, counsel to non-profits over more than thirty years, they’ve helped over five thousand organizations. They’re at cause effective dot or ge and at cause effective. Welcome back, greg cohen. Thanks really happy to be here. Pleasure. I love cause effective. Tell us more than i was just able to say what the programmes are all about. How you’re helping non-profits i love your work. Sure. Thanks so much. S o we work with me with non-profits in the new york city region. And we are though it’s called in the business a capacity build there. So we teach a man to fish or woman, and we focus on three areas relationship based fund-raising, which is mostly fund-raising from individuals and institutions where there’s a single gate keeper making the donation decision like a family foundation or ah ah, privately held business, strengthening boards for both their governance and stewardship for ditigal thank you for tonight boardmember is confident and effective fundraisers. Everybody needs that in the third area is the strategic use of special events, so not event management, but the bigger questions of what events are right for our strategic objectives and the audiences we can reach what’s a realistic budget, but for revenue and what we’re going to spend and what should be the objectives for our events. Your colleague susan gabriel has been on talking about events and strategic use of anniversaries and events. Yeah, i refer you when when someone comes to me and says, you know, how do we get to the next level? I think of cause effective? Actually, i haven’t. I haven’t been thinking of you only for the new york area. I don’t know if i’ve been making referrals from throughout the country, but you will talk. To anyone but tend to build coaching relationships, which are promoted through face to face contact, so we tend to keep in the new york city area. Um all right, so we’re talking about volunteered e-giving why are volunteers potential good potential donors? So, uh, after staff who knows your program better than those who are coming in and participating in providing your services but your volunteers so if we think about the basis for wanting to contribute to an organization, of course they’re many forms. Ah, yeah, of resource is that you can contribute one of the most valuable, of course his time. Thes air folks who are already your donors, they’re giving you time, not yet money, and we ought to be treating them as donorsearch exactly talk a lot more about that. We’re gonna get there exactly, but they’ve already shown a deep commitment to your work. They haven’t understanding it’s logical that out of the context of what they know about your work, that you could make a strong case for them providing monetary support as well. And it’s well documented that volunteers are among the most ready to make a monetary contribution on top of time. Ok, now i notice you say you say valentine, you almost say valentine’s, there was volunteers where you from, what part of country? From i’m from connecticut. I don’t know why i’m hearing, right? Yeah, it sounds like a look. Volunteers right now now made yourself kind of guy. I’m sorry. No it’s. Okay, but it’s essential that all that you’re going to volunteer, valentine and i should say that, um, i’m drawing upon more than my cause effective experience and talking about this prior to cause effective. I was executive director of the youth development group based in a public high school, and i had a stable of over one hundred volunteer tutors. Ah, so i interacted with a large number of very committed volunteers overtime. So most of my ideas actually have grown from that experience because they became very generous financial contributors as well as givers of their time. Our volunteers are seeing the need every time they’re they’re they’re working with our our staff for our program beneficiaries. I mean, they see the needs day in, day out. They name you know, it’s. Too bad. This is too bad they don’t have morgan is more. Money to do this because we could be doing this so much better. I mean, they’re living their living it exactly, although often, and this happened in my own organization where i had boardmember sze, who started as volunteer tutors and then became board members. They were very hesitant for us to ask for money because they felt it was intruding on the generosity that was already being shown by people giving their yeah, that’s, where i want to go next, actually overcoming these objections, but i think, you know, if you’re careful not to minimize the volunteering right on dh, just recommending the e-giving but let’s, talk about overcoming these objections. Boardmember tze mei say, oh, no, no, you know, they’re giving enough, you know, which is kind of contradictory because five thousand dollars donorsearch e-giving enough, but they could be giving ten or fifty we don’t know until we ask, right? But so overcoming objections, right? Well, so the first thing is to make sure that you’ve got the basics, as you say, of treating your volunteers in a steaming them well for what they’re already giving, so you wouldn’t want to jump into asking for money if you aren’t already treating the donation of time as something of great value, and and you want us to do this? Not just at the time were asking for a monetary gift from day one on so in walks in and says i’d like to give you my time. I would like to treat it as if they took out the check book and said, i’d liketo make a donation you have to treat, in fact, it’s harder these days for people to give time than write a check. I had so many donors who said i’m sorry, all i can do is give you money. I wish i could i’m in and give some time like and they actually envy the volunteers, so it starts with a steaming volunteers for what they’re already giving. If you haven’t done that, then don’t move on, okay, asking for donations and so let’s let’s spend ah, little time on that. How can we buildup that that culture within our organization, that volunteers are donors are communications? You know? How could we be doing this right? So one way is to make sure that volunteers have a holistic view of your organization and understand how you operate, so it starts right when you orient volunteers when they come in. Of course, you’re oriented to the specific work that they’re doing in the case of two djing with students and exams they face. But you also want to explain here’s the context in which the organization operates ah here’s, where we get our funding, these air, the different programs that pays for there’s, a big role for donations to help cover it so that they have a mental model that it operates. That was particularly important for my organization because people, when they first came in, assume that we were part of the department of education and that we were one hundred there are funded by state government indeed, we had a million dollars of funding all private, so when they heard oh, my goodness, you raise a million dollars privately all of a sudden there they were attuned to thinking about what role could they play in helping bring in that money? We’re raising awareness of the importance of individual giving exact to our to our revenue right before we’re asking were telling stories argast orientation, this is about the organization, all right? He’s got to go away for a break, okay, we come back, greg and i going to keep talking about volunteered giving stay with us, you’re tuned to non-profit radio. Tony martignetti also hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy. Fund-raising fundamentals is a quick ten minute burst of fund-raising insights, published once a month. Tony’s guests are expert in crowdfunding, mobile giving event fund-raising direct mail and donor cultivation. Really, all the fund-raising issues that make you wonder, am i doing this right? Is there a better way there is? Find the fund-raising fundamentals archive it. Tony martignetti, dot com that’s t i g e n e t t i remember there’s, a g before the end, thousands of listeners have subscribed on itunes. You can also learn maura, the chronicle website, philanthropy dot com fund-raising fundamentals, the better way. Dahna xero welcome back to big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. Greg cohen and i talking about volunteer e-giving okay, so we’re starting this process at orientation and training of board members, and we’re making this ah, clear to them that individual giving is important from the beginning. That’s right? Okay, okay, if we’ve laid the groundwork, um, we have some other ideas, like communications, like sending send your your volunteers, your donor communications. Exactly. So some of the rules that apply to donors again, you’re treating that time as a donation. So you’re profiling volunteers. You’re helping communicate to them the connection between their work and the outcomes for the beneficiaries of their tutoring and generally including volunteers as valued members of the community. So already before you’ve asked him there feeling very connected to the mission and to the other people who are doing the same work. Okay, now we have boardmember zoho are going to object and say, this is it’s, not appropriate. Volunteers are doing enough. How do we overcome? And maybe not only board members? I’m picking on bouchard’s. But how do we overcome these objections? Wherever they come from? So it caused effective we love to answer questions by actually asking them of the people who are going to be affected. So one of the most defective things is talk to some volunteers who say yes, i’d be open to contributing or who may already be contributing on their own initiative. Have them come in and talk to the board members, have the board members have the chance to ask them, what does it feel like when you asked, do you take offense, what’s the nature of an ass that feels comfortable and respond to their legitimate concerns about being too pushy with people who are already giving and let them hear it from the horse’s mouth? I think that would be my my primary oppress, ok, that’s. Very simple. Yes invite volunteers to the board members or to have a conversation with the board members or there or wherever it is that subjecting right? Interestingly, for the board members who put up resistance. In my case, we’re very generous donors themselves, but they weren’t ah, recognizing that there were other, maybe less affluent volunteers who would be as happy to give us their do you see much objection among the volunteer managers? Or directors, you know, are on staff, is that does that come up? It doesn’t usually because they know the volunteers best, and they recognize the generous spirit of the volunteers. And also, if a volunteer says, how come you you don’t have this, you know, study guides or whatever, then the answer is, we can’t afford it. They hear from the volunteers will let me help their interest, and we had some incredibly generous offers from volunteers even before we’re soliciting buy-in laptops for their students and in other ways, making material available to there, to the students they were working with and and other tutors and not surprising. I mean, they’re already committed, like you say they’re giving something so precious their time, and they see the need and they would like the need to be minimized or eliminated, right? So they fill the gap exactly so thie other thing is that many volunteers for us came through corporate programs and the culture of those corporate volunteer programs. Ah, encourage them both to give time and it’s. There are incentives for them to give money often a matching grant from the corporation if you’re a volunteer in an organization you give money will match it in a larger proportion than no. What for? For just a normal that donation donation by not volunteer and there’s even broken mohr of incentive if you’re on the board of an organisation for some corporations. All right, so if we’ve we’ve laid the groundwork, we have the right culture. We’ve overcome our objections. How should we get started? So i think one of the most effective ways for soliciting donations from anyone is to encourage up here of the types of people you want to donate to be your solicitor. So i would form a little asking group of people who are volunteers who are already e-giving and work with them to say, would you appeal to other volunteers to use the most powerful words? And fund-raising would you join me in supporting this organization as a fellow volunteer? So that would be a first step, which is to gather some folks around me who are already committed in that way to both give time and money. Alright suppose we just have maybe half a dozen volunteers from small organization. You know, if we recruit yes, a committee that’s half the volunteers. I mean, i guess we could do two or three on the committee latto recruit the other flavour for if you have six volunteers, i would still try to recruit one to be really ask her the other five, okay, at least in partnership with me, not alone, necessarily, but because, in fact, if you don’t get stumped by these questions, overviewing you’ve seen it all. This is not okay. We’re going into actually our thirty fifth year. So we’re at about five thousand organs at your web sites that they always pushing thirty five. All right, all right, all right. Um that’s great. I mean, that’s. Why, that’s? Why i refer refer people to you. Um okay, so we have a little volunteer committee do some training for that, the way we would sure help everybody has to learn to ask it’s not a natural thing. So some training. And then the other thing to think about is what are we explaining? We need the money for and as you pointed out, if we can connect it to providing resource, is that a line with the work they’re doing? Is volunteers it’s going to make a natural connection between the synapse in the heads of the volunteers. You don’t necessarily have to do that, because most individual donors will make a gift and trust this staff to put the money where it’s most needed. But if there are clear needs within the realm of volunteering that you can meet that’s, a powerful connection toe offer to broker between the money they donate and strengthening the program that they were here, it seems like a grand slam. Okay, okay. Uh, let’s, um, let’s see about knowing, you know, getting to know your volunteers mean, you have ah, bigger organization would have a volunteer director, i guess, but you’re lucky enough. Yeah, ok, but if not maybe it’s the executive directorate or, you know, maybe the director development, right? You want to i mean, this is a relationship fund-raising if we’re asking peer-to-peer ass right, you want to know the people you’re talking to exactly and in fact, that’s one of the precursors toe asking, which is do i know my volunteers why they’re volunteering, what their life stories are, what their interests are, and if you haven’t created enough of a relationship for them to exit to be known in front of you and seen, you’re probably not ready to ask. So building that personal relationship between that someone on the staff and the volunteers is another important step before asking. Okay? And again, you know, parallel, tow your monetary donors, you get to know them before you ask, right? This is a colt cultivation process, right? So we’re doing something parallel. We’re just working with volunteers, and another thing that comes from getting to know someone is from a technical point of view. You can assess how large your ask i should be. So i’ll give an example of a long time volunteer who i was in a conversation with who told me that he had lost his daughter tragically early in her life, and he had been with us for a long time and ah, i was able to say, peter, would you? I knew he was interested in kids being able to go on to college. That was one of hiss. Ah, personal motivations for tutoring. I said, would you be interested in creating a little scholarship fund to memorialize your daughter? And indeed, he he created that fund and annually funded it, but it came from me understanding he was retired. He was pretty well to do. Then when he told me that story, i was able to connect something he was very interested in to an important personal fact, which is is the memory of his daughter. And in a way, i think he connected his work with those young people with with her life. Yeah, yeah. Was she roughly the age of of the time? Wand, don’t you don’t ok, ok, the other the other natural thing to connect, to which we saw a lot of which is volunteers tend to associate ah good part of their identity with their volunteering, and so it’s known in their families that they are connected there going i’m telling their friends today is my day at the center is actually talking about the kids, the people at the soup kitchen, they’re coming back and sharing those stories and it’s because it’s part of who they are as people, so a very natural thing is to suggest to people, you know, to the couple that has everything, uh, if an occasion comes up, when people want to give you a gift, you could suggest making a gift in honor of the anniversary, the birthday to the non-profit in place of buying a present and that very volunteers, i love that idea, and i had a whole siri’s of people who gave regularly to honor the work of volunteers, including, actually i was in this public school. There were two teachers who were lived together for a long time and then decided to tie the knot after twenty five years of living together. Of course they didn’t need any toasters or blenders? So they said to all the guests, please make a contribution to the school’s. Non-profit and not only did people make gifts at the time of the wedding, but because we were good at communicating what we were doing, even though the bulk of the guests came from minnesota, where both the couple had grown up. Some of continued to be significant donors years afterwards, because now they felt a connection to the organization through our communications with them. Brilliant. I mean, that’s, that’s, another grand slam. You guys are good. You know what you’re doing? Something that you were just you said it’s just a couple minutes ago rings true. I was just having dinner with my mom and dad and, um my dad had just met an organization that he got connected to. That is, they don’t have shelters for young, young single moms, but they have day programs and referrals and counseling and education programs. And andi came, you know, he came home motivated by about this and my mother and he goes to the kitchen. My mother whispers under breath. There goes another day nobody’s boasting alright, has even started. He brought a donation of ah, gifts in-kind he had bicycles for the for their children and things like that. Um, but, yeah, you know, he’s boasting already has he really gotten started? But people like to talk about their volunteer time, right? And come father’s day there’s a chance for you to honor his service by making a gift in his honor to that organization. Thank you very much. Let’s. Not get carried away. I’ll get your good work. You’re too good. Now five, fifty four years old. I’m living at home, but it’s only temporary that’s. Only temporary. I’m in transition. Please. I’m in transition. Sabat. Okay, well, i guess we’ve talked about well, when we started every really covered, like when is the right time to ask? You gotta know them very well, right on they they have to be well embedded as a volunteer, so they have to have spent some time with you and built that sense of affiliation. Um, and then i think any time after you see, people are comfortable and in the routine and understand your work and you’ve oriented them and you know their story a little bit it’s appropriate to ask and then every organization has its own rhythm of program. So schools june graduation time. Ah, organizations that work with young mothers. Mothers day, of course, the holiday season for programs that work with underprivileged families. Those air kind of natural times to be asking are carrying out simple appeals to volunteers to participate. Do you find that volunteers become sustaining, you know, regular committed donors arm? Or just ah, one time when as and no and absolutely committed donors and and even if their schedules change and they and no longer volunteers? If they started a regular pattern of giving you money annually, they’re likely to continue mohr than other donors. Wow! After volunteers, as in cool, cool. Um, let’s. See, what about? We kind of covered, you know, who’s. Best to ask about how much? How much should you be? Right? Well, so that’s ah, that’s that’s always a tough question for any kind of fund-raising so partly its by talking to people sing are they generous with other causes? Find out a little bit about their other terrible involvement. You’re going toe in time. Learn more about the socioeconomic status of your volunteers through conversations and then you bring some of the same rules of judging how much to ask, but i’d say for the first gift, the most important thing is that they become a donor rather than the amount so it’s, just two to get that person to becoming donors of both time and money. In the first instance, i wouldn’t worry much about the size of the gift. And then over time, you can work on increasing the size of the gift. Then, of course, we love for the average doner to become a monthly sustainers because that’s going to last longer, and they tend to give maura’s an ad average gift than people give once. Here arika, um, let’s, talk a little more about treating your volunteers as donors. Um, you know, we talked a little about communications events. I mean, they should be invited as donors are let’s. Talk more about that. Uh, sure. So my philosophy is time should be treated in the same way. Money is, as i say, if in most of our lives it’s a more precious commodity than money. It’s hard to give time for things. So i would definitely include volunteers in all the activities that you include for financial donors, you indeed can have volunteers who are helping you run those events, for instance, and one way actually, it can work in reverse, which is if you have donors, one way to increase their affiliation with your group is to invite them to volunteer. S o there’s very good, some back and forth in that. Yeah, yeah, cool. Um, would you ah, if you have a aa, an expensive annual gala or some kind of an event, would you offer a reduced price for your volunteers? We’re getting carried away. Well, i’m going to go. Yes, and now i’m going to channel my colleague susan and say, if your primary objective for the event is raising money, then you don’t want to discount too many seats. Ah, but if i start with the objective, i want to celebrate my volunteers work that i’m going to create an event specifically to celebrate the volunteers so oh, and not worry about how much money i’m raising. If my primary objective is make those volunteers feel good there’s going to be some overlap because some of your volunteers, they’re going to become significant donors and you can move into those events that have fund-raising as their primary objective, but i’d be careful about crossing the tooth objectives of raising a lot of money and celebrating, yeah, ok on this would be susan’s more, but have have a cultivation event for earth a celebration for years. For your volunteers, you must be having volunteermatch condition events if you could bring in volunteers can’t save all your events just for those who are expensive tickets. What about volunteers at at board meetings that we, you know, we mentioned having them talk about their experience in giving to overcome that objection, but but just, you know, as a way for board members to relate to the what’s going on in the program areas, having volunteers, come talk to the board, i think it’s a great idea if you’ve got a significant volunteer program it’s a way of the board understanding the dynamic of that program and to check in on it the other important thing i mentioned some of my best boardmember tze had started as valentin ears and then became board members so it’s another aspect of the volunteer pool, which is it becomes ah farm team for discovering people who have skills and talents who ah, our perspective boardmember zoho all right, we just have about a minute and a half left tell me what you love about the work you do show him a nosy person and every non-profit represents a distinct subcultures, so i don’t feel so bad about asking where you’re frightened. No, not at all on dh with every client, they have wonderful missions and it’s fascinating to see who they’ve grouped around them and then personally satisfying to give them the tools to further that mission and see them grow and become more sustainable. You wantto give a shout out to an organization that you’re working with now comes to mind, or even if you don’t want to say the name just some. So i’m going filling here to ah wonderful organization called i challenge myself that challenges high school kids who maybe never rode a bicycle, too, participate in a health and fitness program and write a hundred miles by the time they they finish school in the spring, i challenged myself excellent, we should be challenging ourselves. Great life lesson, greg cohen, senior associate at cause effective there at cause effective dot or ge and at caused effective. Thanks so much, greg. My pleasure school. Thank you for sharing. Ah, wounded warrior and overhead with jean takagi coming up first. Pursuant you have a problem, you have a pain point, you need to raise more money. Pursuing is your solution one of your solutions? They have online tools like velocity for managing fund-raising ah, another tool is prospector to find your donors who are upgrade ready that five thousand dollar donors that could be giving ten thousand or that five hundred, dollar donors who could be giving fifteen hundred all helping you raise more money. They are data driven technology enabled. You hear me say that and that’s their tagline what i find interesting is they’re they’re smart technologies using your data, it’s analyzing and organizing your data to make you smarter and better at fund-raising you’re going, you’ll raise more money. I can’t make it any simpler pursuant dot com and also crowdster with their new one of a kind apple pay mobile donation feature, so they’re lengthy people can pay through ah, through their their their iphone increases mobile donations again. You raise more money there, they build campaign sites because it’s crowdfunding, crowdfunding sight so they build the campaign sites that you used? They’re simple for your donors, they are savvy on the back end, so your administration is not difficult. Easy for donors to navigate. Easier for you to navigate and they are crowdster dot com now, tony steak too. Have you checked out non-profit radio on youtube? My channel israel? Tony martignetti some clown stole my name before i could claim it on youtube fraudster, in fact, trust me, if a dude, if you want to steal my identity, go ahead, it’ll get you absolutely nowhere. I mean, i have my social security number on my credit card numbers on my website. Go ahead, help yourself have at it my date of birth it’s on my lincoln. Good luck, i have a credit score it’s not negative. It’s imaginary ivan imaginary number of credit score! It doesn’t exist, so you want to steal my identity on youtube? Go ahead, real tony martignetti i’ve got over two hundred videos from conference interviews, i’ve got some tv appearances and some stand up comedy bits are also there, so my stand up comedy gigs lots of interviews with lots of smart. Guests from the many conferences have been at the past five years. The link to youtube is that tony martignetti dot com. And while you’re there, you can pick up my social security number. That’s tony’s take two. Jean takagi he’s back. I love when he’s back he’s, managing editor of neo the non-profit and exempt organizations law group in san francisco. He edits the popular non-profit law blogged dot com and on twitter he is at gi tak gt a k jean takaaki. How you doing out there in san francisco? I’m doing great. How are you, tony? Terrifically. Well, you sound you sound brighton loud and wait. Sam’s turning it down till time down. Sam, he sounds great. Sound good. You’re calling from the same phone you always call from? I think so, it’s. Just a funny in san francisco. And we’re all waiting for the super bowl this week. Oh, yes, yes. Super bowl weekend. Oh, yes. Is that the one with the, uh, with the three point shots from the from the outer rim? Is that is that football i have? Well, we got the warriors here do that. We’re going to enjoy them, too. Okay. I’m crossing over in my sports. All right, let’s. See? Okay, we you got the warriors got wounded. Warrior, the wounded warrior project gene is is not in the news for good reasons. And i’m gonna i’m gonna venture that most listeners are well aware, but why don’t you just acquaint us with some of the bad press? They’re getting around some of their spending? Sure. Well, it started last week, and cbs news and the new york times both ran some articles that were highly critical of wounded warrior project and most importantly, on how wounded warrior project spent its money. So the wounded warriors project for just in case for people who don’t know is a very prominent veterans organization whose mission is toe honor and empower wounded warriors. They’re pretty big. The total revenues are three hundred forty two million for for the last year they reported on the nine, ninety, which ended fiscal year september thirty two thousand fourteen, three hundred forty two million dollar organization, big organization. But the what, you know, the most critical, i guess. Aspects of the spending that were alleged by both cbs and the new york times is based dahna charities ratings organization that said that wounded warrior project spent sixty percent of its total expenses on programs which kind of infers an overhead ratio of about forty percent. And that didn’t sit well with a lot of people. Yes, and the press continued, cbs had aranha siri’s. The new york times jumped on, um, rating agencies jumped in a little bit. Yes. So it’s, it’s, it’s gotten unattractive? Um, we’re not goingto dissect wounded warriors spending and and nine, ninety and their balance sheet because that’s not fair and it’s it’s not appropriate, but i did want to use it as sort of a leading to another discussion that we’ve say another because we’ve talked about this before, but it was a couple of years ago, um, to be exact, it was september sixth of twenty thirteen, so i think it is bears repeating and then review good overhead vs versus bad overhead and i think i want to start with just you need to be aware of perception. Yeah, that’s so true, tony. And just before we leave wounded warriors project, let me say that while charity are charity, ratings organizations might have said that there was a sixty percent program kind of ratio program service expenditure ratio wounded warrior provoc project says that figure is really eighty one percent. So let me just add that there’s a dispute over how how you characterize income and that comes to perception. Tony on dh what one of the documents that you mentioned the form nine ninety, which is the annual information return to the irs on dh you’ve had a show on this before it’s, a really important document because it really tells the public, because it’s a public document, uh, about what the organization has been doing all year, and when you put in numbers and descriptions of your activities in that document, the public is going to read it for what it is on dh if you don’t explain some of the nuances behind it and just using wounded warrior project as an example in this time they, you know, wrote in that they had twenty, six hundred twenty six million dollars in expenditures and conferences and meetings, but without explaining that any further that just leaves it opened. Teo misinterpretation, perhaps misinterpretation. The conferences and meetings were really to benefit the veterans and the beneficiaries of the organization rather than to reflect. You know what some people might think, which would be, like kind of staff training and staff parties on dh sort of morale boosting events and that’s, you know, there’s a huge difference between those things and, uh, not anticipating that can really be problematic for organizations. And they could end up spending tons of money on crisis management and dealing with all of the perceptions and misperceptions later on. Yeah, it feels like the wounded warrior project nine ninety was not artfully completed on the show you’re alluding to i don’t have the date of it, but the guest was named eat. Oh, tsh tomb. So if you go to tony martignetti dot com and you search his name, which is why i g t yeah, you’ll find the shows that he was on hey was on. And then i replayed it once, and the subject was your nine. Ninety as a marketing document. And indeed, you know, if if they spent twenty six million dollars of wounded warrior on conferences, but ah, big part of that was a big, big part of that was scholarships for for for the beneficiaries, the wounded. Service people, then that the nine ninety would’ve been a perfect place to say that and, you know, maybe they maybe they shouldn’t have put it in that category. You know, we could argue about whether that’s appropriate to put that number in that line on that line item anyway, but but, you know, you could explain things basically using your nine, ninety as a marketing document because it’s so pervasive, it’s, it’s, it’s, so easy to get it should be on your own site. And it’s it’s definitely a guide star and the i r s and state attorneys general sites. And, yes, it has a lot of uses. And that’s, the first place charity ratings organizations and journalists who are writing investigative pieces about charity’s often run for something bad that’s the first place they go on. So when organizations reviewed in nine, ninety and i’m probably reiterating what your former guests, it said, but when the review is, you have to think not only of it is a marketing tool for good purposes, but also for defensive marketing, because if it’s misinterpreted or leads to easy, miss miss perceptions of what the organization is doing with their money that’s totally avoidable by explaining it further. Yeah, and then you have a goodwill problem in a public relations crisis and that’s what wounded warrior project is mired in right now? And i’m glad. It’s, you know, it was very timely because it’s all just broke last week. Um all right, you know, so we could refer back to them if if if you think that’s valuable but let’s, let’s talk about some of the categories of good overhead. And i know one that you believe in is education for board and employees. Yeah, i think that’s a really important one. You know, you and you want invest in education for a few reasons, but the first one is to make sure the organization is run effectively and efficiently, not just on the administrative side but on the programmatic side as well. So you want dahna sufficiently informed boardmember executive staff and volunteers who can deliver programs in the best way possible for their intended beneficiaries. And if you want to be innovative, if you want to just sort of raised the bar to providing services in a better way, you’ve got to invest in that and you got to make sure your staff is prepared on well educated and sufficiently equipped to deliver those services. So investing in education, i’m just a very strong proponent of that and that so that’s professional development like conferences and, you know, travel and meals and things like that could have been aboard retreat mean there’s value in that? Yeah, absolutely there is, and they can be misused some of those things and, you know, again how you frame that in your nine, ninety or on your web outside about what you’re investing in when you when you make certain expenditures, is really important to say you’re investing in your team so you could deliver the best programs possible to the most people possible in the most effective way possible, looking for innovative ways to do things better. That’s what you have to say, all right? And now lets you know i’m going to get into splitting hairs a little bit, but, you know, if you have the wherewithal toe, have your onboarding treat or your staff retreat at a at a nice place, i mean, there’s, nothing wrong with being, you know and like, ah, hilton hotel or a western or you know, is there, but but maybe you don’t need to go to ritz carlton. Yeah, i think that’s a good point and that’s kind of like whether you’re goingto pay for everybody to travel in first class, business class or coach and it may depend in part on what type of organization you are. So if you’re an anti poverty organization, it’s a little bit sometimes problematic if you’re if you’re celebrating kind of an event at a five star hotel, although if it’s really based on, you know, training on doing things better, there could be an exception to that. So it really depends upon again what purposes you have for putting it in tow kind of that luxury category if you are with with, you know, veterans organizations where there’s always not enough resources to provide tio some of our most who we say, our some of our most valued citizens of our country and you know, but we don’t always act that way in terms of providing services that there’s some sensitivity there a ce toe how how luxurious their lavish your stack retreats or board retreats or your travel expenses should be yeah, yeah, you know, but sort of on the other side or, you know, it’s really related it’s, um, you know, smaller organizations, teo can’t be as effective as, you know, ah, wounded warrior project type organization with with the three hundred forty two million dollars that they raise the last year that we know, you know, even i don’t know it feels like even if it’s only sixty percent, which does seem low, but even if it’s only sixty percent of sixty percent of such a large number, you know, a smaller organization with a half a million dollar budget if they’re spending ninety percent on program who i’m having a hard time gene, i mean, who’s doing more for vets? Yeah, i mean, let’s talk about fund-raising good overhead they think that’s near endeared tio what you do as well. And, you know, i think there’s their legitimate issues there, and i think, you know, investing and fund-raising is really important, but i think there are limits as well. So, you know, the question might be, is it worth spending or investing? I should say ten cents to make an extra dollar, and i think most of us would just say you know, yeah, of course it would be, then there’s a question about whether it would be worth investing ninety cents to make an extra dollars. So you only netting ten, ten cents for for programs there on dh on dh, then that’s, maybe more questionable. Now there, times when you’re just starting a brand new fund-raising program and in the first year where it maybe that’s what it takes to develop this new structure because you want to do it properly, you want to do it legally. You want to make sure everybody’s up to speed and doing it, and it takes time to develop these relationships and donor engagement. So maybe you’re one ninety, ninety percent fund-raising expenses. Okay, but year after year, i think most of us would be upset by that number. So how you invest in fund-raising? Depends on what type of organization ur depends on what stage you are in with that fund-raising campaign or solicitation early stages you got invest more later stages. Is it’s more mature? You don’t expect that high high ratio again. So is it’s it’s nuanced? For sure? What do you think, tony? Yeah, i think we ought to. Take a break, but we’re going. I’m not going to ignore your question, but i agree with you. Let’s, go away and jean, i’ll come back. Like what you’re hearing a non-profit radio tony’s got more on youtube, you’ll find clips from stand up comedy tv spots and exclusive interviews catch guests like seth gordon, craig newmark, the founder of craigslist marquis of eco enterprises, charles best from donors choose dot org’s aria finger do something that worked and they only levine from new york universities heimans center on philanthropy, tony tweets to he finds the best content from the most knowledgeable, interesting people in and around non-profits to share on his stream. If you have valuable info, he wants to re tweet you during the show. You can join the conversation on twitter using hashtag non-profit radio twitter is an easy way to reach tony he’s at tony martignetti narasimhan t i g e n e t t i remember there’s a g before the end he hosts a podcast for the chronicle of philanthropy fund-raising fundamentals is a short monthly show devoted to getting over your fund-raising hartals just like non-profit radio, toni talks to leading thinkers, experts and cool people with great ideas. As one fan said, tony picks their brains and i don’t have to leave my office fund-raising fundamentals was recently dubbed the most helpful non-profit podcast you have ever heard, you can also join the conversation on facebook, where you can ask questions before or after the show. The guests were there, too. Get insider show alerts by email, tony tells you who’s on each week and always includes link so that you can contact guest directly. To sign up, visit the facebook page for tony martignetti dot com. I’m jonah helper, author of date your donors and you’re listening to tony martignetti, not non-profit radio. Big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. It’s time for live listener love did you think i forgot? Perish the thought live listener love going out cozza dero, california! Chicago, illinois st louis, missouri! Maplewood, new jersey. I’m hanging out in new jersey these days. New bern, north carolina. I’ll be hanging out more there. Ah, not too far. Mag adore ohio live listener love let’s stay in the u s new york, new york cool! Thank you, new york and philadelphia p a i love it, let’s! Go abroad! Mexico city, mexico live listener love, locate al uh, good afternoon, bonem bonem start is tokyo is with us and kyoto. Konnichi wa iran is with us. I love we can’t see your city, iran, but we know you’re there live listener loved to iran, italy, pesaro labbate lots of live listeners today and there’s more to it. We got o sole and young son in south korea on your haserot thank you, jeanne, for that indulgence. Oh, wait, i’m sorry, jean. I’ve got to do podcast pleasantries. How could i forget? Perish the thought over ten thousand listeners podcast, whatever time, whatever place, whatever device pleasantries to the podcast listeners and the affiliate affections to our am and fm stations throughout the country am and fm stations squeezing non-profit radio into their weekly timetable whenever it is affections out to the am and fm affiliate listeners. Thank you, jean it’s. Important tio recognize our our listener donors? Uh, fantastic. Thank you. Thank you for that indulgence. Okay, so you asked me a question. What do i think about this? Um, yeah, i agree. I think it’s very fact sensitive. And i go back to if you’re if you think you might have trouble, explain it on your nine. Ninety, i guess. That’s that’s the best i can do. Yeah. Or your website, but definitely give us some context that we just don’t openly criticize it. Yeah, yeah, on dh. We don’t. Right, because if you don’t, if you don’t explain it, then people will have to draw their own conclusions. Witness what’s happening at wounded warrior. Okay. Let’s, let’s. Ah, delve into another good overhead area that you’ve got for us. What else you like? Sure. Well, i like paying employees a decent wage. That obviously hot topic these days. And, you know, even if that might be higher than the market forces dictates. So you know if it’s above minimum wage and those employees might be hired, you know, for minimum wage anyway, well, maybe that’s not the right thing to do especially, you know, depending upon the type of organization you are, maybe just paying a livable wage is really important and consistent with your mission and very important in terms of recruitment and retention. So in the long run, when we talk about wages and determining what a reasonable wages under those circumstances, you’ve got to be mission focused as well, and not just martignetti just let market forces determine where you set your wages, and if you are concerned about executive compensation, gene and i, jean, you and i have talked about this. You can you could search for executive compensation at tony martignetti dot com. We can also pick my social security number. Is there? Um, good luck with it and and you’ll find where jean and i talked about the executive calm because there’s all kinds of there’s, a there’s, a rebuttable presumption and things you can do to make sure that your executive comp is fair and appropriate. Raging yeah, absolutely. And maybe one one. No two wounded warriors. Well, when you’re talking about executive comp position of a huge, massive sized organization, you can’t equate that teo executive compensation in a tiny organization, so there has to be some reasonable understanding of that, and we have to educate everybody about that as well. Yeah, yeah, i saw the wounded warrior ceo is paid roughly half a million dollars a year. I think that maybe that was twenty fourteen. And to me, that doesn’t seem bad. I mean, he’s managing a five hundred person, three hundred forty million dollars a year organization. But but there have to be things in place too, too, that the board has done to justify that salary compensation for the ceo. And jean and i covered those on that show. You could search for executive compensation. Um, i like technology, gene, technology, infrastructure. Do you have to keep up and you do maybe not wood like the latest iphones for all your staff. But you have to, you know, be aware that old technology khun lied to inefficiencies on the lack of innovation and in a new technology, could allow for more effective and efficient ways to deliver services and engage in advocacy measure. Impact we talk a lot about measuring impact now, but you know, some some old forms of doing things that don’t lead easily to being ableto monitor those things without an extensive amount of paperwork and old system. So i mean new technologies you fund-raising and communicating with donors and engaging supporters and finding new donors, staying up with technology and investing in technology is very, very important. And as you invest in technology and get more data data protection, that is also going to be important, and you don’t want to invest in one without the other, okay, um, there’s another category that ah, i want to talk about building engagement and collaboration among employees, volunteers. Boardmember yeah, i think that’s also really important again for recruitment and retention. That’s important mint internally for collaborations outside, i think so many non-profits get told, you know you’ve got to collaborate more because that will help us, you know, gaugin and get collective impact that’s a hot button term that’s that’s been used over the last couple years, and collaboration really isn’t port knowing what your allies and competitors, if you will in the market are doing and the best way. To do that is to invest in that because those things don’t just bubble up by chance and what they really need investment. So it’s like any relationship, tony, i guess, uh, you know, when two people want to develop a relationship with each other, it’s not just sort of overnight, and you don’t invest anything in helping each other and listening to each other, you’ve got to put time and resource is into it and that’s very true for organizations that are wishing to collaborate on dh i think in terms of, you know, engagement with employees, i think the quality of your work place, you know, you want to have people, you know, they don’t want the desks don’t have to all be donated. And, you know, you should have a nice workplace professional that people come to day in and day out. Yeah, and i think that’s the education and training actually it’s helpful as well for creating job satisfaction and again, recruitment and retention are affected by that, and that ultimately effects on how well you deliver services so that’s all tied together. So when we talk about overhead and you’ve had shows on the overhead myth as well i’m just a strong proponent that overhead is a very, very bad way to assess whether an organization is doing well or not. You alluded to that earlier this program as well. There there are better ways that teo assessing organization and while overhead ratio is may be an important factor. The most important factors impact like you said, so if an organization like wounded warriors project is putting in hundreds of millions of dollars helping veterans, even though its program ratio might not be as high as some people like that impact may be important and not easily replaceable. But doing gino, we just have a minute left and actually forbade overhead. I’m going to refer listeners if you want to get the categories of bad overhead. Gene and i talked about that on the september six twenty thirteen show i’m selecting toe just deal with good overhead, and we just have about another like thirty seconds or so genes. Can you say a little about risk management in about thirty seconds? Sure. So i think i’ll summarize it by saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Are the old saying that our parents, our grandparents, had told us and that’s what risk management is all about it on the board level, it’s creating policies and on the management level, it may be implementing and enforcing policies because it’s no good, i have a policy and with you enforce it. So make sure you’ve got directions, rules and guidelines for your staff and your volunteers and anybody that’s, that’s, you know, helping you further your mission. Jean takagi, managing editor, managing attorney at neo non-profit and exempt organizations law group you’ll find him on twitter at g tak gt a k thank you so much, gene. Thanks, sonny. Wonderful to talk with pleasure. Thank you. Next week. Do you know the-whiny-donor on twitter she’s at the-whiny-donor and she’s. Going to be with me. Plus, amy sample ward returns. She returns willingly. No whining by amy if you missed any part of today’s show, i beseech you, find it on tony martignetti dot com. Where in the world else would you go? And i’m still not sure about that. For twenty sixteen. Responsive by pursuant online tools for small and midsize non-profits data driven and technology enabled pursuant dot com and by crowdster online and mobile fund-raising software for non-profits now with apple pay mobile donation feature. Crowdster dot com. Our creative producers, claire miree off sam liebowitz is the line producer. Gavin doll is our am and fm outreach director. The show’s social media is by dina russell, and our music is by scott stein. Thank you for that affirmation, scotty. Be with me next week for non-profit radio. Big non-profit ideas for the other ninety five percent. Go out and be great. Hey! What’s not to love about non-profit radio tony gets the best guests check this out from seth godin this’s the first revolution since tv nineteen fifty and henry ford nineteen twenty it’s the revolution of our lifetime here’s a smart, simple idea from craigslist founder craig newmark yeah insights, orn presentation or anything? People don’t really need the fancy stuff they need something which is simple and fast. When’s the best time to post on facebook facebook’s andrew noise nose at traffic is at an all time hyre on nine a m or eight pm so that’s, when you should be posting your most meaningful post here’s aria finger ceo of do something dot or ge young people are not going to be involved in social change if it’s boring and they don’t see the impact of what they’re doing. So you got to make it fun and applicable to these young people look so otherwise a fifteen and sixteen year old they have better things to do if they have xbox, they have tv, they have their cell phones. 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