Ep 73: The Arc of a Successful Capital Campaign (with Eric Javier)

nonprofits are messy

You need to do something spectacular and make a huge leap in your nonprofit. And so you require a significant amount of money in a certain period of time.

You may need a campaign. But each need may require a different type of campaign.

Eric Javier, who has helped to design and direct more than 200 fundraising campaigns and initiatives that have raised more than $2 billion, explains the difference between capital, endowment, and comprehensive campaigns, as well as the steps needed to create the arc of a successful capital campaign.

Perhaps if you’re struggling to hit payroll next week, you might think this is not the podcast for you. But I can’t tell you how many heroic nonprofit leaders have dug an organization out of a ditch and driven it right into the thrill of a capital campaign.

Listen up and file it all away.

About Eric

Eric Javier is a Principal and Managing Director with CCS. For the last 20 years Eric has advised leading executives, trustees, and development leaders from across the nonprofit sector.  Eric’s primary areas of expertise include feasibility and planning studies; capital and endowment campaigns; major donor programs; principal gift solicitation strategies; strategic development planning; case messaging and storytelling; and coaching and training.

“The truest definition of philanthropy is ‘love of humanity.’ It’s a privilege to work with passionate leaders who are working so hard to make positive change in the world. Philanthropy is the fuel that makes that change possible,” says Eric.

Eric frequently speaks about philanthropy and development strategy at professional conferences, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Eric resides in Westchester, NY with his wife, Kristin, their two daughters, and rescued dog, Oscar.

In this episode

  • Why engage in a capital campaign?
  • What is the difference between an endowment and a reserve?
  • Where does strategic planning fit into your ‘why’ and your ‘what’?
  • What are the key ingredients of a 5-star case statement?
  • How do feasibility studies factor into it?
  • Impact is one thing on the list of donor motivations. What else?
  • Advice on campaign fatigue.Continue Reading

Ep 72: Successful Year End Fundraising (with Gail Perry)

nonprofits are messyWe’ve reached prime-time giving season, and I have some good news.

It’s absolutely not too late to exceed your goals, no matter where you currently are in your process.

Right now, donors are thinking deeply about the causes they support. Are you ready? Have you communicated your needs and impact in a cheerful, abundant, and timely way?

My guest today, international fundraising consultant Gail Perry, will walk you through the logistical and emotional steps to ending the year on an amazing and successful note.

Gail’s tips include many specific strategies from phone banking to cutting through the Giving Tuesday clutter, to identifying ambassadors… and so much more.

If you want to make sure you meet – and exceed – your fundraising goals for the year, you’ll want to hear what Gail told me.

About Gail Perry

Gail Perry, MBA, CFRE, is an international fundraising consultant, speaker and trainer. Her following includes over 10,000 nonprofit readers around the world who follow her popular Fired-Up Fundraising blog.

Gail is also the best-selling author of Fired-Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion into Action that was touted as the “gold standard guide to building successful fundraising boards.”

Her Fired-Up Fundraising approach, developed over the past 25 years as a non-profit philanthropy expert, has helped organizations raise hundreds of millions in gifts and support. Gail helps nonprofits and NGO’s all over the world fire up their boards, engage their donors and secure major funding for their missions.

She is the founder of Gail Perry Associates, a Raleigh-based consulting and training firm, and is past President of the Triangle Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, which recently awarded her 2011 Outstanding Fundraising Executive of the Year.

In addition, Gail is a frequent guest on nonprofit interview shows, fundraising blogs, and writes frequently for Guidestar, NonProfit PRO (formerly Fundraising Success) and BoardSource.

In this episode

  • Readiness is a moving target. How do you deal with that?
  • What happens if you don’t have the budget for a Development Director?
  • Enthusiasm as ‘the story of being cheerfully aggressive’
  • How your energy and tone of voice can affect your numbers
  • Major political seasons – do they impact fundraising?
  • Tapping into “rage donations”
  • What is the impact of inviting a donor to an event they cannot attend?
  • What makes an appeal letter appealing?
  • The best ways to activate your board members
  • The sharable materials and direction ED’s should provide their boards
  • How to differentiate well-meaning strategies from effective onesContinue Reading

Ep 71: A Smart Nonprofit Budgeting Process (with Hilda Polanco)

nonprofits are messy

Your budgeting process can go one of two ways. It’s either a royal pain, or it’s a living, breathing plan for your leaders to determine and support priorities of your organization.

Sometimes on my podcast we wax philosophical. Today, we’re going to get nuts and bolts practical.

My guest, Hilda Polanco, discusses the elements of a good budgeting process, the difference between a zero-based budget and other types of budgets, and how planning is critical throughout the year – not just when funds are lacking, but even when there is excess.

Reflecting on risks and opportunities, Hilda describes how inclusiveness, clarity of assumptions, and reality checks must be balanced against your wishlist.

She shares tips and advice such as how to handle restricted grants, the roles and responsibilities of the various entities from treasurer, to board, to management, and how to deal with projecting, forecasting and… yes, recalibrating.

About Hilda Polanco

As Founder and CEO, Hilda has led FMA to become the go-to capacity builder foundation and nonprofit leaders seek to address nonprofit financial management issues. A nationally recognized and sought after leader in the field, Hilda serves the sector in many ways. Hilda was a founding member of the selection committee of the New York Nonprofit Excellence Awards, established by the New York Times and the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee. Hilda has served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Department of Health Policy and Management and is on the faculty of Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s Board Leadership Training Series.

When not speaking publicly or leading FMA’s team, she provides direct capacity building, training and coaching services to foundations and nonprofits throughout the country. Hilda served on the NYC Human Services Council’s special commission to study the closure of high-profile human services organizations. She also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the New York Better Business Bureau Foundation, as well as on the Board (as Audit Committee Chair) for Acelero Learning, an organization that works with local communities to support high quality Head Start programs.

Additionally, she serves on the National Advisory Board of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy and is Treasurer of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers. In 2016, Hilda was recognized as a Leap of Reason Ambassador for being a nonprofit thought leader and practitioner. Her previous honors include SmartCEO magazine’s New York Brava! award for Top Female CEO, the Social Entrepreneur Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners-New York City, an award from WHEDCO for outstanding leadership in the field of nonprofit finance, and the Latina Excellence Award in Community Service from HISPANIC Magazine.

In this episode

  • How can you call it a plan if it’s constantly changing?
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • What are the best ways to mitigate tension between program and development staff?
  • What is a zero-based budget?
  • What is the board’s role?
  • What type of communication should follow a board-approved budgeting process?
  • Should you break down elements of a program based budget prior to seeking funding?
  • What is a working capital credit line and what’s the criteria around applying for one?
  • Forecast vs. Actual… when do you revise a budget?Continue Reading

Ep 70: Unicorns, Superheroes and Nonprofit Leaders (With Vu Le)

nonprofits are messyIt’s a bird, it’s a plane… no, it’s a nonprofit leader. Today’s guest, Vu Le, writer, speaker, and the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps says that besides being known as a wildly good looking bunch of people, nonprofit leaders are incredibly creative, smart and talented.

This episode both celebrates nonprofit leaders as the champions they are and offers tips on fueling the fire that mobilizes disparate groups of people to take action.

The work you do matters more than you know and more than anyone will ever tell you.

About Vu Le

Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and 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.

Vu Le was the previous Executive Director at Vietnamese Friendship Association and the current Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, an exceptional organization based in Seattle, Washington focused on cultivating leaders of color and placing them in nonprofit organizations for the last four years and four months, and is also the writer behind Nonprofit With Balls blog in Seattle.

Founder of a private Facebook group (41,000 members) Nonprofit Happy Hour in which he works to bring confidence to a sector dominated by humble, compassionate who are seldom assertive. For executive directors, there’s ED Happy Hour, a monthly meetup in more than a dozen cities including New York, Portland, and Ontario.

Vu Le is a graduate of Washington University in Saint Louis graduating with a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work (M.S.W), socio-economic development.

In this episode

  • What to do when social circumstances make your battle tougher?
  • When immediate action is needed, is it important to strategize first anyway?
  • The inherent dangers of intellectualizing and overthinking
  • How to create new spheres of influence
  • Does participation mean something different to millennials?
  • Do we spend too much time preaching to the converted?
  • How to reach across the aisle
  • What happens when an organization is too risk averse? Continue Reading

Ep 69: New Power and the Building of Movements (with Henry Timms)

nonprofits are messyGiving Tuesday, #MeToo, the Ice Bucket Challenge, the out-of-nowhere victories of Obama and Trump…

They all have something important in common – they were movements forged by “New Power”. A deeper understanding of this new power shift gives all of us a better opportunity to build an “army of the engaged” and make a much bigger impact.

What is New Power? You may have heard of a state of flow; you know, being in the zone, focused, energized. You could explain New Power in that way, but not just for the individual, a supercharge for all. But it goes deeper than that.

In this episode, Henry Timms, President and CEO of the 92nd Street YMCA and co-author of New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World talks about old versus new power, describing one as held by a handful while the other as collaborative and participatory.

Timms shares the five critical steps you must take to build a New Power movement, and reveals the skills and attributes the best leaders must have in order to create that dynamic.

Using contemporary phenomenons that foster giving back, our guest describes New Power as a current that flows and surges, moves, is open and accessible for all and can propel us into the 21st century.

About Henry Timms

Henry Timms is President and CEO of 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center that creates programs and movements that foster learning and civic engagement. Under his leadership, the 144-year-old institution was named to Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” list. He is the co-founder of #GivingTuesday, a global philanthropic movement that engages people in close to 100 countries that has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for good causes. Henry is a Hauser Visiting Leader, Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School and Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. With Jeremy Heimans, Henry co-authored the book New Power: How Power Works In Our Hyperconnected World – and How to Make it Work for You, described by David Brooks in the New York Times as “the best window I’ve seen into this new world”.

In this episode

  • How New Power values different things than Old Power
  • How New Power manifests in large organizations
  • Does New Power diminish the value of expertise and experience?
  • Is the person at the top of an organization still the one in charge?
  • A critical piece of advice for a nonprofit leader in today’s changing world
  • Who are your “connected connectors” and how can they help you spread the word?
  • TED as a perfect example of the transition from Old Power to New Power
  • How to build a New Power crowd
  • How does unionizing relate to the Old Power/New Power structure?Continue Reading

Ep 68: No, You Can’t Do It All

nonprofits are messy“I feel like I’ve taken on the care of every gay person in America.”

That’s how I felt after starting as the new Executive Director at GLAAD. That wasn’t healthy. Way too much to take on my shoulders.

Look, you are a helper, and you work day and night fighting the good fight. But what is falling by the wayside? Your health? Your sanity? Your relationships? Will it take your spouse having an affair for you to realize not only you can’t do it all, but you shouldn’t?

How do you take care of yourself and still be responsible to your organization and the people you serve?

This is a solo podcast. Yup, just me, with three time management ideas, three conceptual remedies, and one place to go for support.

About Joan Garry

Joan Garry is the Principal of Joan Garry Consulting, a boutique nonprofit consulting firm that helps nonprofits across a wide variety of sectors to untangle strategic knots, enabling them to have a clearer path in pursuit of their missions.

Joan began her career as part of the management team that launched MTV. She followed this with a successful eight-year tenure as an executive at Showtime Networks. In 1997, Garry left corporate America and was named the executive director of GLAAD, one of the largest organizations working for LGBT equality.

Since leaving GLAAD, Garry has worked as a consultant for hundreds of nonprofits, teaching them the keys to effective nonprofit leadership with wisdom, joy and humor.  Joan is a regular panelist on NBC’s Emmy Award winning nonprofit reality show, GIVE. Garry is also an instructor at the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania where she teaches Nonprofit Media Strategy, as well as a sought after speaker on nonprofit leadership.

She blogs regularly at the popular https://www.joangarry.com and hosts one of the top nonprofit podcasts on iTunes: Nonprofits Are Messy.

Her book, Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership published by John Wiley and Sons was published in March 2017 and was in its second printing after only four months.

Lastly, Joan is the founder of newly launched The Nonprofit Leadership Lab, an online membership site serving the needs of board and staff leaders of small to mid-sized nonprofits.

Joan lives in New Jersey with her wife of 34 years and they have three grown children.

In this episode

  • Why I got myself a therapist shortly after starting as the E.D. of GLAAD
  • What Stephen Sondheim can teach us about being a leader
  • 3 smart ways to manage your calendar
  • The key decisions to make each week
  • The power of “why”
  • What would Kermit do?
  • Make time to laugh
  • Time for piano lessons!Continue Reading

Ep 67: Busting the Overhead Myth (with Dan Pallotta)

nonprofits are messyHigh maintenance donors. Do-nothing boards. A lack of development resources.

Running a nonprofit as a board or staff leader can be frustrating.

It’s no wonder it‘s so hard to scale. But what’s the main issue standing between your nonprofit and success? Is it OVERHEAD?

Really?

When you want to make a difference in the world but you believe the holy grail of charity is low overhead, or that high administrative costs indicate a charity is not well run, you undermine your own ability to solve the problems you want to solve.

Listen to this podcast to learn how my guest, Dan Pallotta  busts the overhead myth.

About Dan Pallotta

(born January 21, 1961) is an American entrepreneur, author, and humanitarian activist. He is best known for his involvement in multi-day charitable events with the long-distance Breast Cancer 3-Day walks, AIDS Rides bicycle journeys, and Out of the Darkness suicide prevention night walks. Over nine years, 182,000 people participated in these events and raised $582 million. They were the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.[2] He is the author of Uncharitable – How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University Press. He is also the author of Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World, and When Your Moment Comes – a Guide to Fulfilling Your Dreams. He is the president of Advertising for Humanity and president and founder of the Charity Defense Council. He is a featured contributor to Harvard Business Review online. In 2012 Pallotta wrote, Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World, which Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. called, “an Apollo program for American philanthropy and the nonprofit sector”. The book calls for the creation of a “Charity Defense Council” to act as a national leadership organization for the humanitarian sector in the United States. In 2008 Pallotta wrote, Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential. It became the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University Press. The New York Times described it as seething “with indignation at public expectations that charities be prudent, nonprofit and saintly”. The Stanford Social Innovation Review wrote that the book, “deserves to become the nonprofit sector’s new manifesto”. Former U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate Gary Hart wrote that the book was, “nothing less than a revolutionary work”. Pallotta has given in excess of 150 speeches in 29 countries on the book as of December, 2012.

In this Episode

  • Does it make sense to look at overhead without looking at impact?
  • An overview of the economics of the nonprofit sector
  • Why do so many people think keeping overhead low some kind of badge of honor? And do they have a point?
  • Why don’t leaders challenge this misperception and what would that look like?
  • Why do political campaigns have permission to spend money to get people engaged but nonprofits do not?
  • How do the “seals of approval” from watchdog organizations contribute to the scarcity model?
  • What has online marketing got to do with impact? Why do some nonprofits consider marketing an unnatural act?
  • How does fundraising build civic engagement?
  • What would investing in a community of caring (instead of one of consumption) look like?Continue Reading

Ep 66: When it’s Time to Leave Your Org (with Kate Kendell)

nonprofits are messyWhy do Executive Directors overstay their roles? Inertia? Complacency?

Or maybe they just love their jobs? Maybe the board doesn’t want them to leave. Maybe all of the above.

Often, the longer someone holds that leadership baton, the more identified the organization becomes with that individual. And that can be a challenge to the sustainability of the organization.

Kate Kendell leads the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national LGBT legal organization founded in 1977, for 22 years. She will be stepping down as the organization’s Executive Director at the end of 2018.

Her job allowed her to live out a purpose-driven and joyful career.

Kate offers her perspective on long standing Executive Directors who understand when it is time to move on. She discusses the pros and cons of staying in a job for two decades and answers questions about handling the transition. We also discussed how issues of age and race informed her decisions when making room for a new leader.

About Kate Kendell

Kate Kendell, nationally renowned advocate for social justice, is an attorney and Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights a position she has held for 22 years. Kate has grown NCLR’s budget from $500K to over $6M and a staff of 5 to 30. NCLR has been a central part of virtually every fight for LGBTQ equality and justice, including being a part of the legal team who won marriage for same-sex couples in 2015. She is an active and cogent voice online and in major media including NPR, The New York Times, and CNN.

In this episode

  • The many reasons why Kate didn’t leave sooner
  • How do attitudes of gratitude and possibility affect one’s ability to persevere in a job despite difficult circumstances?
  • How to add a level of comfort for your donors in your designing your exit strategy
  • Boards sometimes try to hang on to their outgoing leader for dear life. Should there be an offer for board service? Perhaps an honorary role of some sort?
  • How much lead time should board leadership get before an Executive Director moves on?
  • How long should leadership have knowledge that the Executive Director is leaving before it’s announced to staff?
  • What backwork should be done to get the plan in place before the announcement is made?
  • Thoughts on transitioning to an interim versus permanent Executive DirectorContinue Reading

Ep 65: The Case of the Serial Nonprofit Founder (with Robin Steinberg)

nonprofits are messyIt takes a very special kind of person to launch of nonprofit. I would argue that it SHOULD. A founder does not just see the problem and feel compelled to solve it, but has some kind of superpower. They look around and see the circumstances AROUND the problem. With a kind of x-ray vision, they see a root cause, and find the gap. And the gap becomes the kernel of an idea that can lead to a new nonprofit.

Founders ask “what if”; they most definitely ask “why not?” And they do so with a unique kind of tenacity and a dose of PT Barnum. Founders are persuasive, vocal and they can be wildly effective in building a small army to bring the work to life.

Yes, I marvel at founders. We all should.

Now many of us also know the flip side. Founders can have a hard time letting go of that which they found.

Not my guest today. Robin just can’t seem to help herself. And it makes sense. If you have this kind of superpower, you can’t just shut it off, right? You keep looking around, seeing the context. Looking deeper and seeing the gaps.

About Robin Steinberg

Robin Steinberg is a leader and a pioneer in the field of indigent defense. Since graduating from the New York University School of Law in 1982, Robin has spent her entire career as a public defender. In 1997, Robin founded The Bronx Defenders, where she helped develop The Bronx Defenders’ model of holistic defense – a client-centered model of public defense that uses interdisciplinary teams of advocates to address both the underlying causes and collateral consequences of criminal justice involvement. Robin has been honored by the National Legal Aid & Defender Association for her “exceptional vision, devotion, and service in the quest for equal justice” and by the New York Bar Association for her “outstanding contributions to the delivery of defense services.” She was awarded Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Fellowship in recognition of her “outstanding contributions and dedication to public interest law.” Robin created the Externship in Holistic Defense at Columbia Law School and is the author of a number of articles, including “Heeding Gideon’s Call in the 21st Century: Holistic Defense and the New Public Defense Paradigm” (Washington and Lee Law Review, Summer 2013). In addition to her work with Still She Rises, Robin is the CEO of The Bail Project.

In this episode

  • What you need – besides a willingness to take a leap of faith – to found a nonprofit
  • How do you identify the difference between a gap that should be a program in an existing organization versus the need for creating a whole new organization?
  • How can a founder know when it’s OK to move on to the next project?
  • How long should a founder stay (before the relationships formed become about the founder versus the organization)Continue Reading

Ep 64: Donors Who Know More, Give More (with Roxie Jerde)

nonprofits are messy

Why do folks make charitable gifts? What motivates them?

The cause is near and dear… A friend is connected with an organization and makes an ask… A disaster prompts action…

Mostly these are decisions of the heart.

But how educated do you think most donors are about the organization they support  and invest in? Do they know the budget size? Does the org have a plan for the future? Do donors even care? Most don’t.

And let’s face it. There are a ton of small nonprofits that would prefer a donor not know. Maybe their org is struggling or doesn’t have a plan.

So we have a kind of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ thing going on. Not good for the donors. Not good for the sector.

I want to see donors more educated. About the great work of organizations, about the power of philanthropy.

As it turns out, the more they know, the more they give. And I think transparency in the sector is key.

My guest today has addressed this very set of issues, and in so doing has built lasting partnerships between donors and organizations and is working to build a culture of philanthropy in a Florida county with 2,000 registered nonprofits.

Today, she shares the recipe, the tools, and the outcomes.

About Roxie Jerde

Roxie Jerde has served as President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County since March of 2011.

Since arriving in Sarasota, Roxie has worked closely with Community Foundation donors, along with area nonprofits, businesses and foundations, to solve important issues affecting the community. She spearheaded the launch of DonorEdge – locally branded as The Giving Partner in partnership with local foundations, and six successful Giving Challenges that have raised more than $40 million for local nonprofits, strengthened by support from The Patterson Foundation.

She has been a leader in numerous community collaborations including Season of Sharing, a community initiative for those on the verge of homelessness; the Campaign for Grade Level Reading; Any Given Child, which works to expand arts education, ensuring access and equity for all students; and EdExploreSRQ, an initiative that provides students with valuable exposure to arts, science and culture through educational “explorations.”

She also spearheads the Two Generational initiative which focuses on creating opportunities for and addressing needs of both vulnerable children and their parents together, informed by a partnership with Ascend of the Aspen Institute.

Roxie was selected to participate in the 2012 Florida Executive Leadership program. She is a past Chair and current member of the Leadership Team of the Community Foundations of Florida, part of the Florida Philanthropic Network, a Trustee of the Southeastern Council on Foundations, a member and past board member of the Suncoast International Women’s Forum and a trustee for the Lee Wetherington Foundation.

She was honored as a 2014 “Woman in Power” by the National Council of Jewish Women – Sarasota/Manatee and a 2015 “Women of Light Award” from the Women’s International Conference of Westcoast Center for Human Development.

Roxie is from Kansas City where she served as Senior Vice President for Donor Relations and Education at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the nation and widely regarded as a thought leader in philanthropy. Previously, she held a number of senior marketing and product-development positions at for-profit companies, including an 11-year career at Hallmark Cards.

Roxie has a BBA in Marketing and Management from the University of Iowa and a MBA in Finance and Organizational Behavior from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

An avid bicyclist with her husband, Mike, Roxie enjoys exploring Sarasota’s beautiful roads and trails. Roxie also enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes, yoga and reading.

In this episode

  • What responsibilities do charities who accept public dollars have to be transparent?
  • How a giving challenge brought more than $11 million to local charities in Sarasota, Florida
  • How you can bring giving challenges to a city near you
  • The power of the Giving Partner powered GuideStar to support community foundations as a service to donors, funders and the community.
  • A great way to make giving fun
  • How to inspire local community building through philanthropyContinue Reading