Opening Remarks with Robbe Healey
DonorPerfect Community Conference 2022
Opening Remarks with Robbe Healey TranscriptPrint Transcript
Eleanor Stasio: Good morning, everyone. Welcome from our headquarters outside of Philadelphia. Get excited, the conference is finally here. My name is Eleanor Stasio, and I am the Vice President of New Client Onboarding and Services. It’s great to see everyone and thank you for Read More
Eleanor Stasio: Good morning, everyone. Welcome from our headquarters outside of Philadelphia. Get excited, the conference is finally here. My name is Eleanor Stasio, and I am the Vice President of New Client Onboarding and Services. It’s great to see everyone and thank you for joining us today. We are so excited to be bringing you our 2022 DonorPerfect Community Conference.
We listened to your feedback last year and switched some things up a bit. Our two-day conference reviews the concepts of stories we’re sharing and how they impact your community. We will be covering the whys, but what about the hows? How do I get this done? We’ve taken care of that. For all the registrants who have actually signed in and registered, we have added four hands-on workshops from July to October that will cover how to get it done, your feedback in motion.
Before we kick things off in the conference, I’d like to address some housekeeping items. One, there’s a navigation video that can be found on the main page of the conference platform. It’s a quick listen and you can get some great navigation to the conference. All sessions have handouts that can be downloaded to your personal briefcase that can be found under your profile.
By attending the conference, you can earn up to 11 CFRE credits. Very cool. You can find the checklist in our DonorPerfect resource center. Take advantage of the lounges throughout the conference. Go ahead and explore all the opportunities available to you through DonorPerfect. All sessions will be recorded and made available after the conference. Make sure you can connect with others, learn concepts and have a great time.
Now, I’d like to give a warm welcome back to our DonorPerfect community friend, Robbe Healey. We are lucky to have her as our hostess and keynote speaker. Robbe has practiced philanthropic fundraising and nonprofit organization management for over 40 years. She was named a 2021 AFP global distinguished fellow and is a member of the AFP Ethics Committee where she is past chair.
You can read more about Robbe and all of our speakers in the speaker section, so check it out. Without further ado, I will turn it over to Robbe to kick off our conference. Let’s get it started, Robbe.
Robbe Healey: Eleanor, thank you. It’s so fun to be back and it’s so fun to be back together instead of remotely. I know not everyone is enjoying that but it’s great to be together with colleagues. Storytelling, the theme of this year’s conference. Great development officers, I believe, are always wonderful storytellers. It may be so automatic to you that you don’t even think about the bits and pieces that make up your organization’s stories.
We also need to remember, we are also teachers, we’re also coaches, and our agencies depend on us, not just to tell the agency story but to teach and guide and inspire our volunteers and staff colleagues to do the same thing. They need to do it with imagination and with compassion. As we spend the next two days together, talking about stories worth sharing and our roles in those stories, I hope you’ll challenge yourself to think about what are the great parts of great stories.
Deconstructing those parts may help us think about it a little differently and perhaps become better coaches and teachers for our volunteers and our colleagues. When you think about it, our mission stories are all non-fiction. They’re based on multiple perspectives and the realities of very diverse stakeholder groups. Our work always starts with a call to action and that call to action is developed and interpreted by volunteers, by staff, and especially, by the important voices in our communities.
How do our diverse constituents find us? How do they view us? How do they interact with us? It’s a reflection of their values and their life journey. How does your story, our story, become one of the stories worth sharing for our key constituents? I want to challenge you to pause for a moment and think about a great book you’ve read, especially a non-fiction great book you’ve read. How did you find it? What made you stick with it? What did you get out of it? What stays with you after you’re finished reading it?
Think about the structure and how the book reveals the story. If your organization was a great book, how would that book be organized? What would be on the cover? The book you love, what captured your attention? Maybe it was the cover. Maybe it was the image on the cover or the title, something made you want to know more, and I think our organization story, the book cover is the pathway for a first-time donor.
Perhaps if the book piqued your curiosity, you flipped it over to the back cover. What was on the back cover? Was it more images with their captions? Were there excerpts from reviews, testimonials? Who wrote those? Are they people you were familiar with? Were you still curious? What did you read next? If it’s a hardcover book, if you remember hardcover books, maybe it had a dust jacket.
The inside flap of the dust jacket often had a photo of the author, a brief bio, maybe excerpts for more reviews. Were you still curious? Is this what happens with a first-time donor? Do they find out a little bit more and they stay curious? I don’t know about you but I typically look at the copyright date. How current is this information, especially with nonfiction? When was it written and does what was written still matter?
Is it the kind of timeless content that will always matter? Is it important history? Or if not, we make a decision, is it still relevant today? Is it outdated thinking? Everyone will be his, her or their own judge. As a first-time donor makes a greater commitment to our organizations, what facts do he, she, or they want? Is your message timely? Is it up to date? Is it current?
I love the table of contents in a good non-fiction book. I often skim that because it gives me an idea of how the book is organized. Are the chapters long or they’re short? The title gives you the clues to the story but the table of content gives you clarity. Does the book make sense to me as the reader? Think about your constituents. How are you reaching them? Do you use the resources you have to reach the constituents who are critical to your mission?
Does the book tell you how? When you develop and interpret your case, you’re creating the chapters, the stories about the elements of your work that you will offer to your communities. The table of contents, the chapters need to resonate with your important constituencies.
Next, who are the people who gathered the data? Nonfiction always has people who gathered the data, gathered the opinion, gathered the facts, who analyzed them, interpreted the results. Did the author have a team of people working to help with that? If they did, are you familiar with the researchers? If not, do you Google the researchers and find out their background? What do you find out to respect them, trust them, admire them? Is this the same journey as our first-time donor? Analyzing whose voice is telling our important outcome stories.
What facts are your donors hearing? What facts do your donors care about? How are you proving your program is working, and whose voice is saying that? Who says it works? Dedication in a book is often very important to the author, but is it important to every reader? It really depends. Usually, the dedication is a brief message, and quite frankly, a reader can skip that probably without sacrificing any content, but if the reader’s close to an author, they may be more interested.
Step back for a moment. Does this kind of internal fact matter to a relatively new donor? It might be very important to an experienced donor but we need to know the audience. The forward of a book is written typically by an expert or an authority on the subject matter. They are the person vouching for the author. If you read the forward, are you familiar with the author? If not, like the researchers, do you Google them? What do you find out?
Once you have some information, do you respect, trust, and admire them as the authority? Endorsers add credibility to our work. If the endorser is known by the donor, that certainly helps. Should you, do you need to change the respected authority vouching for the success of your nonprofit? Do you need to change the authority depending on the constituency you need to reach?
It’s not bait and switch. It’s not telling different stories to different people. It’s customizing the storytelling, depending on what’s important to the constituency you’re reaching. What about the preface of the book? The author tells us why he, she, or they wrote the book. What inspired them? What inspired them to do the research, to do the writing? Does their explanation make sense to you? Does it seem like it will be useful? Is it consistent with your lived experience? Will it challenge your lived experience?
If it will challenge your lived experience, is that what you’re looking for? Are you open to that? If you’re not, maybe you walk away from the book. Think about whether your preface is your founder’s call to action. Every organization had a founder. Is the founder’s call to action what sparked our donor’s curiosity in the first place? If not, does it matter to a new donor? Does it matter to a new donor the same way it matters to a more experienced donor?
Are we somehow interpreting our call to action in a founder-centric way and is that working? If it’s not, or even if it is, do we need to add community-centric voices to help explain our call to action? Finally, we get to the chapters, the heart of the content of our book. This is where the ideas, the concepts, the tactics, the recommendations, and the substance of the book is revealed. Can I skip around and pick and choose between the chapters and topics I’m most interested in, or is it organized in such a way that it makes me, it forces me to read from front to back?
What if I’m a back-to-front browser, does the structure of the chapters, the structure of our case appeal to us, or perhaps make us walk away? The chapters of the book are the essential elements of our cases for support. How are we organizing it?
Stories of impact on people, on our programs, and the stuff we’re fundraising for, the stuff we need to achieve our missions support for people and programs, building and equipment. Not every donor cares about every chapter. Which chapter does each donor or each group of donors care about? How do we customize that story?
Then the afterward, in the book, not the last words, but the concluding notes, comments from the author, it gives us a glimpse into the author’s final thoughts, foreshadowing the future. I think these are the bridges, our next steps, the bridges to our future, and the way we link our donors through cultivation and stewardship.
The references in a non-fiction book. Can we help us connect the research, the citations, perhaps to do a deeper dive into something we may now be curious about? Maybe to gain perspectives of the work of others or a greater depth of understanding or our cases for support. These are the critical links that give donors who want more a way to get that.
Who are the editors, the individual or team who helped the author organize the material? Make it readable, make it understandable to any of the non-experts. Our donors tend to be non-experts. They may be highly educated non-experts, but they are still non-experts. Who is helping you sharpen your message? Who is helping you remove the jargon? Make it outcome-focused. Does it resonate clearly with the right external audience?
Thinking about how first-time donors find you best practice demands that we constantly challenge and update our thinking. We know we need to read and listen and learn from as many sources as possible. That actually is part of the problem. There are so many sources, lots and lots of credible sources.
In the next two days, we, you have the opportunity to listen and learn from some of the best thought leaders on a variety of compelling topics. Embrace every moment, embrace each of the stories, and have fun. Next up, we are so lucky to kick it off with Mallory Erickson with her session, Does Your Organization Tell the Right Story to the Right Audience?Read Less