How to Rethink and Reimagine Nonprofit Culture
DonorPerfect Community Conference 2023 session with speakers Jeff Schreifels & Karen Kendrick with Veritus Group
How to Rethink and Reimagine Nonprofit Culture TranscriptPrint Transcript
I’m so excited to see so many folks bouncing in here, right at 1030. Eastern or 730. Pacific. I was joking yesterday that I’m usually on the west coast for this conference. And so this is so nice. It’s 1030. And so I’m so thrilled to be with all of you today. We have Read More
I’m so excited to see so many folks bouncing in here, right at 1030. Eastern or 730. Pacific. I was joking yesterday that I’m usually on the west coast for this conference. And so this is so nice. It’s 1030. And so I’m so thrilled to be with all of you today. We have an incredible day. I hope you all are feeling refreshed and excited after our time together. Yesterday, we discussed so many incredible online giving strategies with Dana Snyder cue give constant contact. We also got some incredible major gift and relationship building advice from Rhea Huang and Brian Crimmins and Nathan Chapelle. And of course, we got to hear from the incredible tastily Williams and Joe Gary. And I would love to know for those of you guys jumping in right at the start of the day, what were you surprised to learn yesterday, or which speaker really influenced your thinking the most, drop it in the chat, I’m sure it’ll be great to hear from everyone some highlights what you’re thinking about 12 hours later, just to sort of keep us flowing and going from our time together yesterday. Today, you guys, we have an incredible day planned. So we get to start today with the amazing speakers that you already get to see in front of you right now, Jeff shortfalls and Karen Kendrick and I’ll introduce them in a moment, we’re gonna be talking about what fundraising needs to embrace in terms of a more collective culture. And then we’ll have some incredible thought leader sessions from Sandra Allen, where you’re going to learn more about calendar planning, Erica wha store if you’re going to talk about monthly giving Sabrina Walker Hernandez is all going to talk about stewardship beyond the thank you and you’re going to learn some tactical and technical tools as well around streamlining your calendar in DonorPerfect and using the monthly giving process, the monthly giving product and process. And do not forget the very end of the day. Today, we are going to wrap with a community happy hour in the DPW room there will be a closing reception at the end of the day today, where we’re just going to get to spend some incredible time together reflecting on these amazing two days. So let me kick us off by introducing the two incredible speakers that you are seeing in front of you right now. So first we have Jeff trifles a principal at Veritas group. For more than 32 years, Jeff has been developing, planning and executing strategic fundraising and marketing programs. He served as development director at several nonprofits and was the senior strategy director at the domain group where he helped to develop record setting fundraising programs for the agency’s large and largest clients, in addition to serving the community in a variety of charities. And then we’re also joined by the incredible Karen Kendrick, who has a master’s degree in education and counseling, and two leadership coaching certifications, something very near and dear to my heart. He has spent over 20 years in nonprofit fundraising, working in the higher education and social services sectors. And additionally, Karen has worked as a fundraising coach, consultant and educator for more than a decade. In her time, inside the nonprofit sector. She served as a program director, director of development major gift officer and Executive Director, which I’m sure so many of you can relate to doing a variety of roles like that. And given her experience across fundraising, program execution and administration. Karen has a passion for supporting fundraisers and nonprofit leaders to have a balance of technical and emotional intelligence tools to live whole authentic and successful lives. I could not be more excited for this session. So please join me in welcoming Karen and Jeff, Karen. And Jeff, it is so wonderful to have you here with us this morning. Thanks. It’s great to be with you. About our passion. Session. You guys have a wonderful day, everyone.
Thank you. All right. I believe her. Yeah, we are presenting. All right. So here we are. This is me, you’ve already heard about me. And we’re gonna have a great time, Karen. This would be a really fun session and really interested in hearing and answering a bunch of questions from everyone. Not just
add, this is something Jeff and I are really learning about and excited about. So we’re happy to share this with you.
Okay, so we’ve worked with hundreds of organizations over the last decade. And we’ve seen how powerful a relational fundraising approach can be. But many organizations are stuck in a culture that values money over relationships, which is holding your organization back from its true potential. The money over relationship approach is really a transactional mindset. Where you see don’t As as ATMs see the organization as the solution, and don’t see community as a critical part of your work. This mindset can show up in a variety of ways, including having systems that don’t support the donor journey, only communicating with donors about giving, not incorporating your donors, passionate passions and interests into your strategy, and pursuing money at all costs.
So what happens when you have this kind of mindset and culture in your organization? Well, a lot of very significant and impactful things start to happen, like donors who stopped giving as much or leave your organization altogether, staff burn out and leave because they’re being crushed by the pressure to just get the money. For those that stay, there’s no joy in their work. And you’ll also find that the people you’re committed to serving aren’t actually being helped if your organization is approaching the problem with a mindset that you know best. And those being served don’t have a seat at the table, then those with experience and expertise are not guiding the solutions. That Savior mentality couched in doing good only causes harm. Overall, you’ll find that your organization’s growth is minimal or stagnant at best, because you aren’t nurturing relationships with the key people in your community who have to be working together to achieve your mission.
That’s right. And this isn’t just some anecdotal impact. We’re actually seeing this in the numbers. In fact, just recently, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project report is significant and shocking declines in both major gifts in men and mid level revenue. On top of that, we’ve seen substantial turnover issues across the nonprofit sector, with organizations struggling to find good candidates and retain them. This is really unfortunate truth is that this doesn’t have to be your reality. The revenue declines and turnover issues you are likely facing are not inevitable.
All right, so let’s dive in. And the first step in changing your future is to shift your mindset moving out of a transactional perspective and into a relational one. When you’re focused on building meaningful and authentic relationships with your donors, your internal team, your community at large, here are some of the things that come out of that everyone at the organization understands the donors interests, passions, and communication preferences. Everyone’s committed to supporting what’s needed to promptly and regularly report back to donors impact and celebrate. Everyone in the organization sees the donor as a vital part of your work. And internally, you have a culture of collaboration. So there’s not this competition, where everyone’s working together and to really advance your mission. But here’s the rub. You can’t have a relational fundraising culture if your organization’s culture is not relationship focused. We know because we see it every day that successful fundraising is relational. But you can’t have a relationship focus in a vacuum. This kind of culture must permeate every aspect of your organization.
That’s right. This the kind of culture that allows you to create this relational fundraising approach is radically different than the culture at most nonprofits. When you consider culture, you have to go beyond just the donors your mission or values you have posted in the boardroom. You need to consider what the culture means to everyone involved in your mission, including those who serve your community, key leaders, your team and your donors. When we think about the cult, a culture philosophy that allows organizations to thrive, it has four key tenants. It rejects the idea that you need to be focused on the money. It knows that when you focus on the relationship, the money will follow. It focuses on building relationships and deep connections. This is not just with donors, it’s internally between fundraising and program, between donors and program between community leaders and the organization. It sees all the people involved in your mission as important parts of your community. And it sees giving as a spiritual experience not not a religious experience. I want to point that out. It’s not about religion, but a small s spiritual experience. So let’s unpack each of these of these culture principles a bit further. So rejecting the focus of money must be something that permeates every level of the organization. leadership must be on board finance must be committed to this. And the fundraising team must have this as part of their ethos. When you reject the focus on money, you’re moving away from a culture where fundraisers are pressured to get the money You may not think you have this. But if you’ve ever faced a revenue shortfall, and told your fundraisers to go out and ask for an additional gift, or push fundraisers hard at year end to make as many asks at as possible, then you do have this as part of your culture. Another area that reveals a focus on money is in your metrics. are you evaluating measuring success with relational metrics, or just activity? If all you care about is the number of face to face meetings a fundraiser has not the quality and value of them, you’re too focused on the money. When you focus on the relationship first, it drastically changes how you interact with a donor, and how you develop a strategy for that relationship. Here are two scenarios to illustrate this. So you have one donor Kelly, who hasn’t given their usual September gift. You’ve chatted with Kelly a few times by email and phone, but really only reach out to ask for a gift or a share about something you sent in the mail. She didn’t go through a formal qualification process, but was added to your caseload because she hit a major gift threshold. You don’t know why Kelly hasn’t given and you can’t get an answer when you reach out. So you send a proposal in the mail and hope for the best. The result is you get a smaller gift than you had asked for in the proposal. And Kelly continues to not want to engage because she feels like an ATM, not a partner. Now, let’s take this from a different angle. You made sure to qualify Kelly before adding them to your caseload. You strategically communicated relevant and valuable information to Kelly, about the impact of their giving and the programs they care about. You’ve been you’ve asked authentically, open asked open ended questions to learn more about Kelly’s passions and interests. And you regularly connect with Kelly. You’ve developed trust and build rapport. So when you reach out to Kelly about their usual September gift, you learn that Kelly’s child just started college. And money’s a little tight right now. Instead of sending another Ask, you align with Kelly to learn when they’d like for you to reach back out. And if you’d like to send, like if she’d like for you to send anything over for a year and year and gift, you honor and respect whatever that answer is, and continue to nurture that relationship. And as a result in the new year, Kelly’s able to return to their regular giving, and gives a larger than expected gift because you continue to connect their heart to your mission, and you saw them as a human. Do you see how different those two scenarios feel? We probably all responded like in the first scenario, we’ve done that. So don’t worry if you haven’t done that in the past. As you continue to reject the focus on money and prioritize and focus on your partnership with the donor, you’ll move into it this deeper, more meaningful level of relationship.
So building meaningful and authentic relationships isn’t just for your donors. As we said earlier, when you create a relationship based culture in your organization, this kind of approach permeates everyone in your community. But so often we have a limited view of who really isn’t our community. Sometimes it’s just our little fundraising team, and how to establish a deeper relationship. Our relationship culture Jeff and I have been talking about today is not something new. And it’s something we’re learning about and working to bring into our own culture Veritas. Many cultures across the globe throughout history, especially those represented by black and brown communities have a more relational culture. This is in contrast to the white American culture, which is more individualistic by nature. And in that culture, we’re many of us have grown up, there’s competition and a drive to be the best, which can sometimes result in a lack of sharing ideas and resources, listening to a broad community and sharing power. So if you’re interested in learning more about this community based approach, the community centric fundraising 10 principles are a great place to start. So here are some questions you can start asking yourself because everything we do at Veritas, we want to apply it to action. We want to help us all think differently, and really, process so we’re gonna be asking questions throughout the time, maybe jot some of those down. Think about this, how do you view other people within your community? Are you developing authentic relationships and establishing trust? What does that mean to you? What does that look like? And are you building a relationship where you both have input feel heard can bring your authentic self. So start thinking about that as we talk more in this presentation. So we encourage you to also consider where you likely need to expand your career. You know, you’re like, who’s missing? Who doesn’t have a seat at the table? Whose view Are you lacking? Are you just imagining that? Well, finance, I don’t want to be a part of this, they think, you know, they’re just wanting the numbers. actually building a real relationship with them can totally change how you’re approaching the work you do. So as you broaden your view of community, you must also consider how you can exist within community together. Remember to live in community must have trust and healthy boundaries. So consider how you create community for collective input and consensus. How are you involving those your serve? are you explaining what you’re doing and fundraising and how it works and asking them what they’re doing and how you might collaborate, and really bring in key participants in your work. I’ll share a story recently, I went to a an orientation for a local nonprofit, where I’m volunteering, where I live, and it’s a black and brown run organization. And the orientation was totally different than what I expected and actually brought tears to my eyes a number of times. Why? Because their orientation was not about getting through an agenda and talking about roles and responsibilities and schedules, their whole orientation was about showing us how they live and work and talk and share and community and how they may, they’re gonna have an agenda for a meeting, they get a lot done, but they start with a relationship. And so as things come up in meetings, as things bubble up, they’ve stop and the relationship and the discussion, sometimes difficult sometimes not, is where the focus is versus the agenda and the time. So my soul was just so touched to be in a space where people were willing to lean in, and be in community in that way with one another.
That’s awesome. So this idea is something Richard and I have talked about since the early days at Veritas. So often, fundraising and the idea of giving can have a negative perspective, people feel uncomfortable with it, or like it’s something to be looked down upon. This feeling has a big impact on your culture. Because when people don’t understand the role of fundraising and donors to your organization, they’re less likely to partner with fundraising to develop meaningful relationships or see donors as partners. We believe that this piece can have a dramatic impact on your overall culture. When you move from seen fundraising as begging to a spiritual experience for the donor that transforms the power of money, it feels radically different. Everyone in your organization needs to know and understand that donors need to give and that your organization is a bridge that connects the donors passions, to one of the world’s greatest needs. And that’s really powerful. And when the entire organization is working to create a strong connection and partnership between your donors and your mission, that is when you see a tremendous impact.
That’s right, Jeff. Now, you may be in this training and have very little perceived power in your mind, in your organization. Maybe you want a leader and the way you think of leaders being or you don’t really manage any particular area. So how much can you really change? Anyways? Well, I want to encourage you that you do have power, every person on this call has the power to champion change, and shift the culture within your sphere of influence. Take a moment to think about what you do have control over. Maybe it’s how you interact with donors are how you connect with your program leads, you can ask program, if those you serve, have a seat at the table and provide input into programming, you have the power to change how you show up in those relationships. You have the power to open the door and invite more people in even if it’s just in small ways. So remember, every moment every kind of change has a champion, don’t discount the credible potential, you have to champion change and begin to shift the tide in the culture at your organization. So for this last part of the presentation, we wanted to give you some actionable steps you can take to begin rethinking and reimagining the culture at your nonprofit organization. I first just want to emphasize that you shouldn’t worry about doing all of these consider your sphere of influence. And think about who else in your organization thinks like you do, who you could gather and get support and start some momentum. Where do you have power and then find one or two of these ideas that you think you can execute?
All right. All right. So we’ve worked with a lot of champions, people who are willing to bring others along and start to bring about change in their organization. Every one of you can be a champion for change by embracing these qualities. One be someone who gathers information to advocate for change, prepare your case and be ready to talk about it. find other people who are willing to join you in advocating for this new idea. And always remain open to what others are sharing. Create a space to hear their fears, concerns and questions. Knowing this information builds trust and allows you to better communicate about the change that is needed. And get a proof of concept. Start small and then celebrate your success. Once people start seeing the success you’re having, they’ll want to get on it.
Yes, they will. It’s very, it’s very electrifying. So the first step we recommend everyone does is to gain an understanding of your existing culture, name where you are personally and organizationally in this work. You may be a culture where those with the most money or power make all the decisions, like a few keyboard members who donate large gifts or maybe your your work in a silo and compete for donors. This could also be a valuable discussion to have as a team or within your leadership. Here’s some questions to help you process what culture currently exists in your organization. Do you exist in community with other departments, donors, those you serve and other partners? What’s the history of your culture? How does that impact your work today? And what opportunities are there for collaboration and a more collective culture?
If you manage a team, or have the ability to bring the team together for discussion, that can also be a really valuable step to start uncovering misunderstandings, cultural beliefs and narratives that need to change. You may be surprised by what you uncover. Maybe there’s this undertone, that donors are just there to give you money. Until you know that you can’t start unpacking that belief and having conversations around shifting the perspective. Something you can do, no matter your role is to build bridges wherever you have relationships. Ideally, you’ll be able to begin by in in connection with leadership. But that may start with just some conversations with your supervisor, or finding a like minded leader elsewhere in the organization. Your board can be a big advocate for creating a healthier, more vibrant culture. As you create, change and establish proof of concept. Don’t forget to engage your board as part of the community that is shifting your culture. And of course, continue to always build connections and relationships with different members of your community. There is an incredible impact when you connect donors and program, fundraisers and those you serve. The options are endless. But the more connected we are, the more we create understanding, trust and a joint commitment to the mission. In improving collaboration internally can feel like an uphill battle, especially if there’s a long history of difficulty. The first thing you need to do is check your own beliefs. Where is your belief coming from? For example, if you are resigned to the fact that program just won’t give you the information, you need to report back to donors? Why do you believe that? What’s behind that belief? Maybe the program lead just doesn’t really understand why it’s so beneficial and necessary to have that information. Since they’re so busy, they don’t prioritize it. You should also take it upon yourself to do some research and understanding what’s happened in the past. Maybe trust has been broken. And that’s why there’s a lack of collaboration. Once you’re ready, you can begin to set up meetings to discuss how to improve collaboration. It’s great if this thing can happen on a larger level with leadership and your team members. But as hosel fantastic. If you start small, you can reach out personally to a key program lead and start the conversation directly with them about how the two of you can improve your work together.
So Doug Conant, the CEO who turned Campbell’s soup from losing market share to one of the highest rank companies in employment employee engagement often said that asking how can I help is the ultimate leadership question. But the key here is not to ask unless you mean it. Because once you once you hear how you can help, you need to advocate for removing the roadblocks that are getting in the way. And when you ask this kind of question, you’re creating a space for honesty, and a space to listen. So often we ask questions they may sound like this and cause people to be defensive asking something like Why haven’t you made more transformational ask this year is very different than what’s getting in the way of asking for more transformational gifts and how can I help? Yeah,
a key part of changing your culture is building trust or reestablishing broken trust from the past. Remember, trust is a key part of being in community. And this is something you can do no matter what role you have. Consider all the relationships you have in your role. Each one requires trust and nurturing. And as you build Build trust, it’s important to follow these principles so it’s authentic, and develops into a meaningful relationship on past issues that are broken trust, follow through with actions, be an active listener, foster regular communication, celebrate your team members, and get regular FaceTime with each team member individually.
I love that list, Jeff. So, one of the most radical things we can do to step into how we can change a culture is by first taking care of yourself and your team if you have one. Trisha Hershey, the founder of nap ministry coined the term rest is resistance. And that’s absolutely true. So when you rest you’re resisting burn a burnout culture where workers are treated like machines instead of humans. This is a powerful and a stark difference from many nonprofit cultures. So often organizations are plagued with this sacrificing worker mentality, especially for fundraisers, you’re expected to meet with donors at all hours with no balance in your schedule, you’re expected to be present at all organization events, you’re the token person to take on all the random things that need to get done. And you’re expected to do all this for low pay and limited benefits. So caring for yourself and your team members advocating for what they need to live happy, fulfilled lives and be able to find joy in their work. And it’s worth noting that fundraisers and support staff have incredible power in the current work environment, turnover is incredibly high, and organizations are struggling to find and gain and retain that good staff. So if you’re taking care of your team, they’re going to stay. So the last thing we want to emphasize as a tool in your toolbox to champion culture change is creating a culture of celebration, you have the power to celebrate regularly and meaningfully throughout your work. You can do this with anyone you interact with try to make an effort to understand how each person in your team wants to be celebrated. Take note of the small things, not just the big moments, do this as regularly as possible to develop the habit. It’s a powerful way to shift the culture, and will also support your relational relationship built building in many, many other ways.
Awesome. So thank you so much for your time and attention. And now let’s take some questions.
Were short and sweet.
Hi, there. How are you?
Good. Good to be with you.
Oh, you too. Okay, so we did have some questions that came in. But I do have to say that the comments that were made during they all kind of centered around the same thing as they really loved the approach that you were giving them. So I don’t know if you got a chance to see anything in the chat. But they are applauding everything that you guys had talked about. So okay, so I’m going to go into some of the questions that we have here and we have some good ones. First one I have is we are a local educational foundation, raising money for public schools, parents, families, primary donors, how do you manage the transactional nature, their students receive benefits when they donate while building meaningful relationships?
Jeff, you want to start with that one?
Why don’t you start with?
So they’re asked me about it. What’s the question again, about how do we build meaningful relationships within that structure?
So yeah, managing the transactional nature at all? Yes. Well, you
know, really, the story I was telling you all about the orientation I went to is a nonprofit that gives grants and they’re being countered to how many times grants giving is very limited to certain populations, right, you have to be able to do all this sort of reporting back, it goes to larger organizations that have more quote, trust, you have to prove that you’re going to do all the things and it’s difficult for smaller black and brown run or smaller organizations or many times not given those opportunities. So it’d be interesting to look at and have people come in and say, no, what about our process isn’t equitable, who was left out? Before whatever reasons it might be assumptions, we make our system and structure the expectations. And there might be some really interesting aha moments and opportunities to support the community in different ways.
Alright, so from SF heritage, what if you are friendzone so this was towards the beginning. meaning. In other words, your donor or staff person feels like they only owe you advice.
They only owe you advice. Well, you know, we talked a little bit about, we set out a little bit a qualifying donors, meaning we want to make sure that the donor wants a relationship, a two way relationship with us. Before we would actually put them in a major gift portfolio, let’s say. And the reason for that is a lot of fundraisers have portfolios full of donors that actually don’t want that relationship, or in this case, only once a one way relationship, not a two way relationship. And in that case, you know, there’s not much left to do with a donor that doesn’t really want that genuine relationship other than to, you know, put them in the regular direct response communication stream. Because you as a fundraiser, you’re all about trying to create authentic relationships with the donors that want the two way relationship. And so if somebody on your file is not wanting that type of relationship, then you’re really wasting your time trying to keep it going. And odd really frustrating.
And if all they’re wanting to do is give advice, great. Just don’t have them in your caseload with a goal attached to them.
Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so Denise asked a question, and it was really up voted meeting you, they can go into the q&a? And if they want the, the answer to, though, upvote the questions. So we have quite a few. In the question is many of my donors are one off and send checks. They support a project or program or memorial? How do I transition them in order to establish a relationship? Regular communications can be expensive, since I only have mailing addresses as well. Okay.
So that’s an interesting one, again, I go back to qualifying donors. So we know from all the work that we’ve done over the years, that only one in three donors that meet a metric actually want a relationship with you. So you may have all these donors that you say, are one off or have given one, you know, and that’s the kind of, you know, the way you’ve acquired them. The next step would be to go through a process. And we use like seven to nine different touches, from an introductory letter to a follow up email, if you have the email to a phone call, to survey to try to get information from them, like their email or their phone. If you’re doing all of those things in a systematic way, you’re, you’re leaving room for the donor to respond to you. And you’re in your, but you’re you want to get that response from the donor to know do they actually want that relationship. And so that’s the advice I give is that for all those donors in your file that you say, are one off as they become acquire, they hit that metric as a potential major donor. You have to be, you have to be patient, and persistent over a period of time to make those seven touches to allow them to respond back to you. And then after that amount of time they don’t respond, then continue to cultivate them through your direct response program, but not in your one to one mid or major gift program. Because it will take up a bunch of your time and you’ll be frustrated. You want donors who want a relationship with you. If they don’t want that, that’s okay. You’re telling that relationship,
not just add, let’s say they say yes to a relationship, then the next piece is really like if if that’s you, Laurie, I’d be like Laurie, I would love to hear more about, you know, you started giving to us five years ago, I’d love to hear more about how that started. Tell me more about your heart for this mission that we’re that we’re doing what what has drawn you the most over the years. Tell me more about the history of that for you. So you’re learning about their heart and their passion. And then, you know, here’s some here’s some programs I think might be a match for that. Does that make sense for you? Would you like to hear more about them in what way would you like to hear? So it’s like really starting to create that. Oh, this is a relationship If you care about what I care about what I think and care about, you tell me how I’m making a difference. And it’s a cyclical thing. And donors aren’t used to that. So you’re almost giving them a whole new culture and experience. Yeah.
Okay. Nice. All right. Okay, SF heritage, asked another question. How do you bring finance and admin out of transactional focus? MPs devalue this function already?
I love it. Let me start in the new ad this time, Jeff? Sure. You know, I think there’s just such a history of like finance people are have their brains this place, they don’t care. And, and we’re here and they think we’re just like out having wine and playing racquetball with donors. You know, so, we have these, we talked a lot about how we have stories in our head. And so to me, it might be finding, maybe you have one person, you know, over there, or one person you want to start with and sitting down and saying, we would love to understand more about what your work is about what your experience is. And we’d love to share more about hours, we’d like to work more collaboratively, would you be open to doing that, and then start that conversation and really listen. And then in that relationship building, which may be more than one conversation, you’re starting to build, they’re starting to get, oh, they need a budget in a donor friendly way, so that donors can give significantly which is great for my finance issues. And this is why they need it. And this is how they need it. And we figure out together how to do it in a way that works for both parties.
Yeah, you know, when we work with our clients, on either mid major or plan giving, we always bring everyone in that organization together for an initial kickoff meeting. So that everyone understands exactly what we’re all trying to do together. And in the mid and major gift or plan giving world here. So that means we invite the program people, we invite finance, the executive team, board members, whoever can fill that room, so that everyone is understanding, like why everyone in the room is important to making this a success. And it has had a tremendous effect on the organizations coming together, collaboratively. Just getting them around the table, I had no idea that you did that. Or that’s why you need to produce these reports. program people are like, Now I get why you need impact reports, your donors are asking for these. And they will give bigger gifts if they get those reports. So it’s so important to bring them around the table to tell them what you’re doing. And then there’s also the informal times, I don’t care and said something about drinking wine. But I have seen this happen so many times where people get together informally happy hour or going for a coffee, take them out to lunch. And you talk about your work and why it’s important. And you get to know these people. And it is a huge difference maker in how they respond to you. When Gosh, you need numbers for a grant you have to make or whatever. It’s it’s a big deal. And so there’s formal things that you can do, but there’s informal things that you can do. And we were talking about building relationships, and it’s not as a fundraiser. It’s that’s why it’s so hard being a fundraiser, you have to build relationships with donors, but you also have to build relationships internally. Because you’re going to need everyone in that organization to help you do the best work you can with your donors. So
you know, we have a donor engagement plan where in major gifts you have a 12 month plan for every single donor and a goal and it’s wonderful I really helps you build that relationships of trust, but then we say you need to have your, your DP for your other colleagues as well. Like I need to put my reminders in to check in to finance a program or board members and so that I’m remembering to continue that relationship and build that trust.
Yeah, I have seen the Divi I have we have some donor pocket clients that are working with it. And it it really is for lack of a better word intense it really does take it granular enough to be able to work with your donors and and keep track and know what’s happening and know what those next steps are later. So I I think that it’s a it’s a real is a great tool and working in conjunction with with DonorPerfect. I’m not saying that it takes the place, but it really is a great tool. Yeah,
we talked about building relationships of trust, you can’t do that unless you have a really clear system and structure, which we’re all about data driven systems and structures and in that you can your arms around all your donors, and do that do that effectively.
Yep, exactly, exactly. Um, okay, so I’m assuming this name is Stephanie, and I apologize if it’s not correct. So they’re asking I am in a new development role working for a treatment facility that is a nonprofit, helping those struggling with substance use disorder. This organization is very grassroots, and fairly new with no donor base. And any suggestions on how to start a potential donor list or tips?
Wow, I know that’s tough. While we’re not usually in the new donor acquisition part of a of the world, what I can say from for small organizations, where I would start is with the board of directors and helping them empowering your board to be able to reach out to their sphere of influence, and bring them in and let them know what you’re doing. That would be the number one place I would start is with board members. And if there’s any donors that have been giving, also, they’re their friends as well. It’s really tough at the very beginning stages of organizations, but if you look at every organization, nonprofit that ever started, it usually started with the board, kind of helping expand the number of people who know about what you do, because supposedly, the board should be some of your biggest advocates. They’re like your evangelists, right? And so, when especially if you’re new, and you’re starting out, those are the ones who have the energy and the passion to be able to bring others around.
You okay. All right. So Tony asked, Do you think our field our field titles, and department names are too transactional? For example, Institutional Advancement, annual fund, major gift officer? Manager? Have you seen examples of titles of departments and or individual roles that are more relationship focused? Should we rethink our approach? Yeah, before death?
Yes. I think, Karen, we have a whole ton of those alternative title, things
we definitely agree with, I’m trying to think of the new titles.
I know, we have a whole list of them. I just can’t think of them off the top of my head. But yes, anything that sounds institutional, is not something that those outside the organization really are going to relate to. And so yes, I would rethink all of those. And I guess you can I think we might have some of that on our website. In our resources, have alternative names for those, because y’all can probably
put them in the chat box. I’m sure you think of them donor relationship manager. And yeah, we can think of you pop those in the chat box. I’m sure you already have figured some of that out. But definitely move away to from it being about the money.
Yeah. Yeah, we had that one was was up photo quite a bit. So I’m assuming they will all kind of chime in in the chat there. Okay, so if this was posted by anonymous, but what happens when you can’t make authentic relationships with key staff, staff that is burnt out and unwilling to change or picks and chooses donors that they like?
So I love this thing anonymous. I’ll start. You know, I think as a leader, you know, with Veritas we have a whole Veritas way. It’s a system and structure that you’re taking, you’re qualifying donors, you’re building a caseload, you’re creating a goal and plan for each donor. You’re working your plan, you have metrics. And so as a leader, it’s really important to come in and say, This is how we’re doing fundraising so that we can be relational and I need you to get on board. Let’s talk about Where the obstacles are for you are the concerns and start how people aren’t going to go from zero to 100 and change completely, but start moving them in that direction. And then over time, you’ll see is this a person that’s going to move with me? Or is this a person? That’s not? And is this the right fit for them if we’re going to create this expectation and have this accountability in our organization, so I think it’s important to have clear guidelines, but create that change over time and know that you need to bring people along in that process.
Yes, I agree, I think, especially today’s world, leaders have to step up and say, this is the way we’re going to do it. Now, if you’re in the, if you anonymous, have been doing everything you can, and your leadership is not on board, and your colleagues are not on board. And you know, this the right thing to do, even though you’ve tried everything that you think you can, then honestly, you need to leave, you’re in a really good position yourself in the nonprofit space, because people are hiring, the need to hire good people. And if you’re in a place that will not allow you to do the type of fundraising, that we’re talking about building those relationships with donors, and you have no support, you should you should consider leaving that organization and finding a place that does, because there are organizations that do. And, in fact, if we all did this as fundraisers that would up the up the game of nonprofit leadership to get on board, right? Because all of a sudden, our leaders are saying, Hey, why are all my people leaving? across, you know, what is happening? And we get the feedback that, oh, we’re just about the money. We don’t care about what the donors do, we’re not going to have systems in place to help all of those things. I mean, this would help the sector actually start to move and start becoming more relationship focus. So that would be my advice.
Okay, well, we have, we have a few minutes left, but I do want to comment, because it looks like we have somebody asking about the D EP and getting a copy of it, it’s been uploaded quite a bit. So I thought I’d let you you know, throw that out there, let them know. You know, all about your your go
to? Yeah, I’m gonna talk about it. If you can get the
link up, that’s great. Or you can go to Veritas group.com and go to the Resources tab. And in that Resources tab, you can download the DDP.
Okay, looks like you have quite a bit that are like, floating out the 100%. The clapping, I don’t know if you guys are noticing it.
Yeah, we do. Rise everywhere we talk about this all fundraiser saying, Gosh, we need a tool like this. Yeah. This is why we’re talking to DonorPerfect to put it into DonorPerfect. Yes.
Is what we are working on. It’s and we’re hoping that that’s something that helps our clients and helps you as well. So it will be a good marry to me. So
I popped our website resource spot onto the chat box for you all please go there we have all that we talk about free in white papers, blogs, other resources. So check us out. We’d love for you to get some support.
Okay. All right. So we’re down to about a minute. I don’t know if either of you have. Okay, so Karen, you posted that in the chat. Now, somebody’s asking for an email about those suggested titles that you you had mentioned, is that also going to be something in the resources that you just mentioned?
There should be but if you can, you can get a hold of me at Jeff at Veritas group.com Okay. All right, and just say,
Yeah, everybody’s excited. So remember what they are. Good. Thank you. Yeah, yeah. Okay. All right. We’re just about out of time. I want to thank you both for joining us today. This was a great session. We had some great questions as well. We have some sessions coming up in about 10 minutes so we have a little bit of a break in there. If you want to jump into a lounge or head other directions, please do so. And again, I appreciate your time today. And for you joining us and everybody else who joined in on the session, and we’ll see you soon in some of the next ones. Have great morning. Thank you, Laurie. Yeah.