Ep 122: How to Use Artificial Intelligence to Improve Donor Retention (with Allison Fine and Beth Kanter)

nonprofits are messyThis episode is about the future of philanthropy and the power of analytics to transform how we raise money. It’s about the role that artificial intelligence is starting to play in transforming philanthropy by reducing rote tasks and fueling donor retention.

While we often talk about revenue increases year over year by looking at the cost of fundraising on each of our special events, what I have seen missing dozens of times is one key metric – donor retention!

My guests today, Allison Fine and Beth Kanter are here to connect the dots for us and show us how AI is poised to reshape philanthropy by helping to identify prospects, match people to causes, and improve donor retention. We discuss ways to introduce AI into your current fundraising efforts and cover potential emotional obstacles to getting started.

Allison and Beth co-authored The Networked Nonprofit and are long-time champions for tech use in the nonprofit sector.

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Ep 121: Creating a 5-Star Board Retreat (with Dolph Goldenburg)

nonprofits are messyWhile I believe deeply in board retreats, I also believe they are often a big fat missed opportunity. How come? For starters, lack of clarity about the why. Lack of understanding about how outside support can help bring out the best in the group. No clear action items. And when there are action items, often the retreat ends with a list of things that should happen but no accountability mechanism for how to make them happen. Leaving you with the same retreat agenda next time around.

Struggling nonprofits rely on boards more than ever for expertise, growing reach, and influence so it’s really important to build strong boards.

Today’s guest, Dolph Goldenburg, helps do just that. He and I discuss our views on why boards matter, when to have a retreat, how retreats have gone virtual, and what it takes to make a retreat a home run.

Dolph Goldenburg has experience as a nonprofit CEO, interim CEO, he has years of fundraising experience and he has written a bunch of grants resulting in millions of dollars. His consulting practice focuses on board development, strategic planning and executive transitions.

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Bonus Episode: Turn Your Impatience to Your Heroic Pursuits

nonprofits are messyI don’t like it at all when things are not OK. Not in my family. Not in my country.

Oh, sure we all knew it would be messy. It’s 2020 after all. But some of us might have been hoping that after such a long year of uncertainty, at least knowing who the next president was on the morning after the election would provide some comfort.

As Mr. Rogers would say…

I like to be told
If it’s going to hurt,
If it’s going to be hard,
If it’s not going to hurt.
I like to be told.
I like to be told.

Well, I realize the 8-year-old trapped inside me is very impatient and wants to know but the 63-year-old is reminding me that I have a role in how it all turns out and that there is only so much I can do right now.

And so, as we await the outcome, I would like to encourage you to turn your impatience toward your heroic pursuits. After all, there’s a reason you become a nonprofit superhero….

Ep 120: Raising the Next Generation of Nonprofit Leaders (with Charlotte Alter)

nonprofits are messyBoomers are aging out of nonprofit leadership in droves. Many started organizations post Vietnam and there is a huge impending leadership void in the sector that needs to be filled. Nonprofit boards tend to skew old and are distrusting of youth and “inexperience”. And so the cycle continues.

So who will fill this void? How do we build a leadership pipeline?

In May of 2017 Charlotte Alter, national correspondent at Time, heard President Trump’s speech on how the US was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. She looked up each person who advised him to do so and began to feel that the decisions being made were examples of the old eating the young. This took her on a journey to write her book.

Today she takes us through the people, events and forces that she believes have shaped the political thinking of the rising generation of leaders in America.

We discuss how today’s leaders differ from yesterday’s and what we might do to nurture millennial leadership.

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Ep 119: Your First 90 Days as an Executive Director (with Michael Watkins)

nonprofits are messyThe first 90 days on the job.

You might think this podcast is for someone on their very first day as a new nonprofit executive director. But I want you to think broader than that.

What steps can be taken to ensure success and begin the process of crafting your legacy as a leader, even BEFORE you take on a new role?

In this episode, Michael Watkins, author of “The First 90 Days” (named one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time!) shares key strategies to a successful transition. What are the typical pitfalls and what must a leader really get right in the first three months? Does anything change if you arrive during a crisis, like say… a global pandemic?

Learn the key principles a leader can use to help an organization succeed and thrive, and also what might thwart their success.

Michael Watkins is THE expert on this topic, and I could not be more excited to have him on the podcast.

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Ep. 118: The Growing Charitable Movement That’s Raised a Billion Dollars (with Sara Lomelin)

nonprofits are messyWhen one person makes a donation to a nonprofit, they can make a difference for one organization. Now imagine that you gathered with a group of friends, relatives, colleagues pooling resources, sharing ideas and expertise to make a much larger collective impact in your community.

This is called a giving circle. And it turns out that giving circles are fueling the world of modern philanthropy in a big way. Huge.

How huge? Try 1.3 billion dollars over the past 20 years. Like I said, huge.

Philanthropy Together, a national initiative with a mission to diversify and democratize philanthropy, is led by my guest, Sara Lomelin. By strengthening and scaling the power of giving circles, she and her team are working to challenge the narrative that suggests you need to be a billionaire to be a philanthropist. Each spring and fall, Philanthropy Together hosts Launchpad, a virtual, interactive leadership training program that helps launch giving circles for a diverse group of community leaders from across the country.

Are giving circles the future of philanthropy? And how can you tap into this growing movement? Let’s find out.

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Ep 117: The Hunt for Great Board Members (with Robert Acton and Lalita Badinehal)

nonprofits are messyHave you ever said the words, “I can’t find board members”?

Yup. I know you have. I always respond as if someone has told me they lost their keys. “OK, so where did you see them last?”

The hunt for great board members is often a big pain point. It’s not just that folks don’t recognize the joy and privilege of service but that even those who do may not arrive ready to serve. What do candidates need to understand about the commitment to serve?

You’re about to meet two people who are evangelists for excellent governance and for communicating the opportunity and privilege that comes with board service.

Robert Acton is the Principal and Founder of Cause Strategy Partners, BoardLead, and BoardLearn. Lalita Badinehal is a Corporate Citizenship, Inclusion, Diversity, and Employee Experience Executive at Credit Suisse. Our conversation today revolves around the elements in building strong boards.

BoardLead is a matchmaker. When an organization submits an application, BoardLead looks to place talented professionals with carefully vetted nonprofits by looking for community impact, strong leadership, and a commitment to deliver around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

BoardLearn is an educational platform to prepare their candidates for effective board service and to drive impact. Their approach to training new board members comes from a place of abundance, not scarcity, and includes a mix of cheerleading and scaring.

Credit Suisse partnered with BoardLead to recruit, place, train and support high impact board service. Listen to how they work together and how they measure success.

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Ep 116: The Most Important Piece of Diversity Work: Belonging (with Neha Sampat)

nonprofits are messyConsider two different dinner parties.

At the first you’ve got like-minded folks who know each other well. It’s comfortable. Affirming.

The second is more diverse. Age, race, politics, class, life experience, you name it. The conversation is messy, the voices raised. You don’t agree with everything but it does leave you thinking. You drive home and realize you had to confront an implicit bias.

And you know what? That second one was a great dinner party.

This is what I think of when I think of the power of diversity. Our world, my journey through it is enriched by the diversity of folks around me.

My guest today, Neha Sampat, is CEO and founder of GenLead|BelongLab where she focuses on building belonging and true inclusion.

What is belonging? Here’s a clue – it’s not just fitting in. Belonging requires being seen, understood and valued without needing to change yourself.

To foster belonging we cannot make assumptions. We need to ask the right questions and make the right efforts to build a bridge between leadership and everyone in the organization. That’s how organizations gain visibility into otherwise hidden barriers to belonging such as Imposter Syndrome and internalized bias and the daily microaggressions that the most underrepresented may experience.

Neha suggests we start by shifting our perspective from believing we are do-gooders to accepting that even good people have biases.

About Neha Sampat

Neha Sampat, Esq. is CEO and founder of GenLead|BelongLab, where she focuses on building belonging and true inclusion. Through consulting, training, speaking, and writing, she helps organizations create peak‐performance, inclusive teams by addressing hidden barriers to belonging, such as Imposter Syndrome and internalized bias, unconscious bias, generational diversity, distrust in teams, and wellness challenges. She is a nationally sought-after expert on disrupting Imposter Syndrome and internalized bias and runs the top-rated “Owning Your Value” online course to develop inclusive leadership.

In her work, Neha leverages her experience working as an attorney at both large and boutique law firms as well as her tenure as dean of students and leadership professor. Neha’s insights have been featured in Time Magazine, ABA Journal, Attorney at Work, ABA Law Practice Today, Thrive Global, News India Times, the Heels of Justice podcast, the Resilient Lawyer podcast, the GenWhy Lawyer podcast, the Leaders Love Company podcast, Talent Think Tank, and other professional publications. Neha holds BAs in Sociology and Political Science from University of Illinois at Urbana‐ Champaign, obtained her JD from UC Berkeley School of Law, received her Certificate in Graduate Applied Psychology from Golden Gate University, and is certified in Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), Hogan Development Survey (HDS), and Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI). Neha works across industry, from Pixar to Perkins Coie LLP, and UC Berkeley to City of San Leandro. You can read more of Neha’s insights at blog.genlead.co, follow her on TW/IG/FB at @belonglab, and reach her directly at neha@genlead.co

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Ep 115: Taking Nonprofits From Good to Great – Part 2 (with Jim Collins)

nonprofits are messyWelcome to part II of my two part conversation with Jim Collins. In this second part, we discuss how to navigate uncertainty, disruption and chaos. Pretty timely, no?

We continue to explore the question of why some organizations thrive in uncertainty and chaos and others do not, using the research and principles in the book Great by Choice.

Jim and I talk about The Terra Nova Expedition, a story of two teams of polar explorers who in 1910-1913 went to Antarctica to reach the South Pole. Both were under the same harsh conditions. One team never made it back. Why? Collins contends that the successful team employed key leadership behaviors and approaches, and they map perfectly to what a modern day organization needs to do to survive and thrive. Lots to learn here.

If you are hungry to change the world it just might be you need a healthy dose of fanatical discipline, empirical creativity and productive paranoia. “What’s all that about?” you ask. Jim will tell you all about that and why you need to create a “do NOT do” list.

About Jim Collins

Jim Collins is a student and teacher of what makes great companies tick, and a Socratic advisor to leaders in the business and social sectors. He has authored or coauthored six books that have together sold 10+ million copies worldwide, including Good to Great, Good to Great and the Social Sectors, Built to Last, How the Mighty Fall, Great by Choice, and his most recent work Turning the Flywheel published in February 2019.
Driven by a relentless curiosity, Jim began his research and teaching career on the faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. In 2017, Forbes selected Jim as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds. Jim, an avid rock climber for more than forty years, has completed single-day ascents of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite Valley.

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Ep 114: What If Fundraising De-Emphasized the Donor? (with Vu Le and Michelle Muri)

nonprofits are messyThere are those who believe that the donor-centric fundraising model may be perpetuating the very inequity we seek to address in the nonprofit sector.

One such person is Vu Le, writer, speaker, and former Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice. He believes there’s a better way – community-centric fundraising.

Vu is joined on today’s podcast by Michelle Shireen Muri, strategic advisor and consulting coach who co-chairs The Council for Community-Centric Fundraising, a movement founded on the belief that fundraising should be first and foremost grounded in race, equity and social justice.

This podcast will challenge you to examine and think deeply about your relationship with donors and will define and elaborate on the principles of community-centric fundraising.

About Vu Le

Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and was the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at NonprofitAF.com, formerly nonprofitwithballs.com. Vu does keynotes, panels, and other speaking gigs and can talk about a variety of subjects: funding dynamics, cultural competency, self-care, unicorns, and what Game of Thrones can teach us about the nonprofit field. Has a spouse and 2 kids. Stepped down from Rainier Valley Corps to focus on writing. Stepped down as ED in December because of burnout and desire to spend more time with family and other endeavors. Maintains an active blog at Nonprofit AF.

About Michelle Shireen Muri

Michelle Shireen Muri is a strategic advisor, collaborator, fundraiser and coach at Freedom Conspiracy, Co-Chair of The Council for Community-Centric Fundraising and host of The Ethical Rainmaker, a new podcast, coming soon!

Ignited by a beautiful volunteer experience, Michelle has crafted her career through 15 years of resource generation through social justice movements. Her successes and tenure at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, now the largest immigrant rights org in the nation, gave her a critical lens towards fundraising and a deep love of community solidarity.

She believes there is deep power and personal healing in the work of generating resources from a values-aligned space.

Credentials: Board Member, Sexual Violence Law Center, Fellow, Sergeant Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Washington Equal Justice Community Leadership Academy, Fellow, NYU Wagner School of Public Service Women of Color Lead The Way Fellowship

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