Ep 142: How Kindness and Community Empower Today’s Nonprofit Leaders (with John Hoffman)

nonprofits are messy

I love a good AHA moment.

I recently had one on the role of kindness in the work of today’s nonprofit leaders while watching the 2020 documentary, The Antidote. In this episode, I’m joined by one of the film’s directors, my friend and six-time Emmy Award winner, John Hoffman.

As I watched this film, which features the stories of people who are really touching the work in their communities, I realized the true reason why I embrace the word kindness — it implies action. It requires commitment. You see, kindness can be thought of as something gentle, but it also has real strength.

To quote one of the heroes the movie spotlights, “Kindness is a practice. Kindness is a stance.”

Much like the nonprofit leaders of our world, The Antidote inspires a commitment to using kindness as a force for good and a vehicle to bind our communities together.

Listen in as John and I continue the conversation that the film drives on the roles that kindness, decency, compassion, and respect play in nonprofit work and our society as a whole.

In this episode:

  • What role does kindness play in the work of today’s nonprofit leaders?
  • How is kindness defined in today’s world?
  • What is the difference between an act of kindness and sustainable kindness?
  • What can nonprofit leaders take away from The Antidote?

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Ep 141: An Honest Conversation About Donor Stewardship (with Lisa Greer)

nonprofits are messy

If you lead a nonprofit organization with a mission that requires financial support, an effective donor stewardship strategy is a must-have. My guest today, philanthropist Lisa Greer, knows this all too well…

When she and her husband became members of the 1% overnight, they were thrilled at the idea of contributing to causes as five-star philanthropists…but, as more and more nonprofit fundraisers began to reach out seeking sizable gifts, Lisa uncovered some hard truths.

Only 18% of people who give do so a second time. Why? Because unfortunately, many nonprofit fundraisers struggle to maintain positive donor relations that stand the test of time — and this ends up costing their orgs (and the causes they champion) millions of dollars.

As a philanthropist and the author of Philanthropy Revolution, Lisa Greer has some valuable, firsthand insights on how organizations can cultivate strong, lifelong donor relationships.

From treating donors like ATMs to not keeping them in the loop, she joins me today to fill us in on some of the most common donor stewardship mistakes organizations make and how you can avoid them.

Listen in to find out:

  • What are the most common mistakes nonprofit fundraisers make when it comes to donor stewardship?
  • How can nonprofit fundraisers improve donor relations for their organizations?
  • What inspires a one-time donor to give again (and again)?
  • What exactly do nonprofit donors need to hear (or not)?
  • Why are there currently $150 billion in donor advised funds that are not going to individual charities?

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Ep 140: How to Attract, Develop, and Retain Top Nonprofit Talent (with Gali Cooks)

nonprofits are messy

It’s no secret that attracting, developing, and retaining the best nonprofit talent is not always our sector’s strong suit. Today’s guest, Gali Cooks, is a nonprofit leader who works daily to help organizations find rockstar talent and set them up for success in lasting nonprofit careers.

I’m not naïve. I know that filling positions in a nonprofit organization comes with many challenges. After all, you want the right people in the right seats on the bus (not just butts in seats) — and the time and money constraints are real.

But, so too is the reality that having the right talent by your side is essential if you want your organization to last in the long run. That’s why having solid nonprofit leadership development and effective succession planning strategies in place at your organization is a must.

Luckily, helping organizations navigate these issues is today’s guest’s sweet spot. Gali is the founding president and chief executive officer of Leading Edge, an organization funded by organizations and formed to influence, inspire, and enable dramatic change in attracting, developing, and retaining top talent for Jewish organizations.

She joins us today to share how you can create a nonprofit workplace culture that empowers your best talent to grow and thrive.

Listen in to learn:

  • How do organizations attract and develop top nonprofit talent (Rockstars)?
  • What are the six ingredients that impact nonprofit workplace culture and, in turn, nonprofit talent retention?
  • How do nonprofit leadership development and succession planning impact an organization’s future?
  • How do nonprofit leaders get started with nonprofit succession planning?
  • How do today’s hiring decisions impact the future of your nonprofit organization?

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Ep 139: Interpersonal Skills are Hard Work (with Carole Robin)

nonprofits are messy

Executive directors, your interpersonal skills have a much bigger impact on your org’s success than you might think. Yet, so many nonprofit leaders struggle to navigate workplace relationships — with staff, with volunteers, and yes, with their boards.

Why do so many nonprofit leaders have a hard time with these interpersonal dynamics? Today’s guest, award-winning Stanford University professor and Co-Founder of Leaders in Tech, Carole Robin, is here to give us the scoop.

She’s the co-author of Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships, a book modeled off the most popular class taught in Stanford’s MBA program — Interpersonal Dynamics, affectionately called “Touchy Feely Class”.

Today We’ll Uncover:

  • How do interpersonal skills impact nonprofit leadership?
  • How does the power balance between staff and leadership affect interpersonal dynamics at work?
  • How does modeling vulnerability lead to exceptional workplace relationships?
  • How can nonprofit leaders vet potential hires for strong interpersonal skills?

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Ep 138: Joan’s Favorite Books for Nonprofit Leaders

nonprofits are messyIn my book, reading is one of the best investments you can make in your professional development. That’s why, today, I’m in the hot seat. Ah yes, the tables are turning and Cindy Pereira is asking all the questions—about my favorite books for nonprofit leaders!

I’ve shared with you some of my favorite books on nonprofit leadership on my blog. But it recently occurred to me that there is so much that nonprofit leaders can learn from every genre.

That’s why Cindy and I thought it would be fun to put together a summer reading list for nonprofit leaders that covers everything from nonprofit leadership to murder mystery (hopefully not in the same story!)

Cindy produces my podcast and runs my consulting business. She also worked closely with my team to launch the second edition of my book, Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership in 2020. Needless to say, Cindy and I have had lots of talks about books…and today we’re adding you to the conversation.

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Ep 137: Cryptocurrency and the Future of Donor Advised Funds (with Robbie Heeger)

nonprofits are messySometimes I feel really cutting edge. Not often, but every now and then.

A few months back I hosted an episode with Beth Kanter and Alison Fine and we talked about how artificial intelligence can be used in nonprofits. I actually kept up with the conversation. Like I said… cutting edge.

But I have to admit that the topic of today’s podcast made me a little nervous. Cryptocurrency and its role with donor advised funds. Really? Why yes.

It seems that more and more folks are donating with cryptocurrency. You know, bitcoin, ethereum, stuff like that? And meanwhile, only a few large nonprofits have any idea what to do with it.

So I’m kind of a podcast host toddler here being thrown into the deep end of the pool without swimmies. So it’s a little daunting. But it’s also really exciting!

My guest today is Robbie Heeger who is the CEO of Endaoment, America’s first Community Foundation to be powered by a blockchain. Blockchain? I leave it to Robbie to explain.

Here’s the thing. This new financial infrastructure just might be the future of fundraising. It’s fascinating stuff and I invite you to have a listen.

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Ep 136: Who’s Afraid to Return to the Office? (with Ellen LaPointe and Nick Turner)

nonprofits are messyAs more and more of us are fully vaccinated, many are getting back into the physical work space. But what do we do when people are afraid to come to work? This is a question a lot of Executive Directors are struggling with.

Sure, prior to the pandemic we all knew our staff had kids and dogs and spouses, maybe even a messy kitchen. But we learned so much about each over the last year working from home. Maybe we didn’t realize the depth of an underlying condition or that a mother-in-law was that much of a challenge. Maybe we suffered or witnessed losses.

We learned about and accepted each other’s vulnerabilities. Now we need to sustain that care as we think long term about our organizations. We must navigate this return to work in a way that will build stronger organizations to foster higher retention, and stay on the path of ‘built to last.’

Today, two of my favorite nonprofit leaders joined me to talk about where they are now as it relates to staff returning to the office. Ellen LaPointe, CEO of Fenway Health and Nick Turner, President at Vera Institute of Justice offer their insights.

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Ep 135: Building the Resilience to Withstand a Disaster (with Nina Meehan)

nonprofits are messyWhen you want to work effectively with your board, work on your staffing structure, be present for your family, and ALSO have time for standup paddleboard yoga – you need to really reflect on your priorities. My guest today really did all the work – she got an executive coach and put her life in order leading up to March 2020 when she thought she had it all down pat. Then a global pandemic shut down her entire industry. She needed resilience.

In today’s episode, Nina Meehan, CEO and Founder of Bay Area Children’s Theatre, explains how she found herself with no revenue and no live theatre. But she took the inability to do the usual things, her experience as a mother, and her newly renovated relationship with her board, to create an entirely new model. And it worked so well during the pandemic that it will stay with her institution and with a conglomerate of 41 theatres across the country (who produced A Kid’s Show About Racism) for the long haul. That’s resilience.

This episode is about the opportunity to stop, reflect, and re-emerge stronger and better even in the darkest of times. The principle — always focus on your big rocks!

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Ep 134: An Alternative to Strategic Planning (with Lindsay Hoffman)

nonprofits are messyStrategic planning, as a traditional process, can be costly, stressful, and deeply draining for everyone involved … and you’re often left with a very long document that sits on a shelf – or these days, in a forgotten folder in “the cloud”.

But you want your org to succeed, so what choice do you have? Lindsay Hoffman, a nonprofit consultant whose practice combines organizational development, strategic visioning and planning, program design, and fundraising strategy, for a wide range of organizations joins us to talk about Strategic Visioning – the alternative to strategic planning.

We talk about how to think expansively so you can create a process that will be energizing, not draining, for you and your team. In fact, it will leave your organization more aligned, more ambitious, and more ready to thrive in achieving your mission.

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Ep 133: Choosing the Right Nonprofit Business Model (with Rinku Sen)

nonprofits are messyThe nonprofit sector grows by leaps and bounds every year. In 2019, there were over 100,000 501c3 applications and the overwhelming majority of them sailed through. The paperwork may be a pain, but let’s just say that the U.S. government is not terribly selective on which they approve.

But does it always make sense to organize as a 501c3? What is the difference between movements like Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, or Women’s March – and a formal organization? What are the limitations and benefits of forming an organization? What questions should you ask yourself when deciding whether you need a c3, c4 or even a for-profit LLC?

My guest today is Rinku Sen, a writer and social justice strategist. Her books Stir it Up and The Accidental American theorize a model of community organizing that integrates a political analysis of race, gender, class, poverty, sexuality, and other systems.

Rinku joins us today to talk through these questions. We explore how to determine whether your current organizational model is working or constraining you, what other models exist, how they work, and dissect the pros and cons of building institutions. Our discussion was fascinating. Hope you enjoy it.

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