The Fundraising Talent Podcast

asking our profession's most difficult questions

Listen on:

  • Podbean App

Episodes

4 days ago

I don’t often get the pleasure of having a conversation with an author who has influenced my thinking, which makes today’s  conversation, in which I have the pleasure of hosting two of them, especially exciting. Both authors are returning guests so they know the routine. Rebecca introduces herself as having been fortunate to live in the company of generous people; she is the author of Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as a Ministry. Tyrone introduces himself as the son, grandson, nephew, and cousin of Black Baptist preachers and First Ladies; and he credits these individuals for framing his perspective of philanthropy and inspiring his career. Tyrone is author of Madam C. J. Walker's Gospel of Giving: Black Women's Philanthropy During Jim Crow. Tyrone explained that Growing Givers’ Hearts as gave him permission, early in his career, to think differently about the work we do. He describes the book as an encouraging counter-narrative to what Robert Payton begrudgingly referred to as the “business of fundraising.” I appreciated how our conversation centered on those donors who are easily overlooked in much of contemporary fundraising practice. In many ways our conversation raises the question of whether Madam CJ Walker, were she were alive today, would be cooperative with or intolerant of contemporary practices. As Tyrone suggests, Walker might have expected us to ask ourselves whether we had earned the right to ask. If the answer is no, as Rebecca suggests, would we have the patience to lean into the relationship until we have earned that right? As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about Responsive Fundraising’s sense-making retreats, email me for more information. If you’d like to purchase a copy of Rebecca’s or Tyrone’s books, visit Responsive’s library here.

Tuesday Jun 14, 2022

Today I had the pleasure of a lengthy conversation with Gloria Novovic about “Rethinking Philanthropy,” a series of articles published by The Philanthropist Journal that seeks to chart a “just transition” towards a vision of Canadian Philanthropy that is anti-racist, justice-oriented, and based in solidarity. Gloria began by observing that, while there is a lot of rethinking about philanthropy going on, much of it is oriented towards a critique of what we have done wrong in the past rather than what we can do right going forward. Today’s conversation begs the question of whether the nonprofit sector has itself stuck in the wrong story and posits that, rather than trying to mimic what the private sector or our government accomplishes, we need to see our distinctiveness as a good thing.  Among the many insights that Gloria offered, she described our sector as winning by losing: in the process of winning the support of large donors, corporations, and other power brokers, we lose the connection with our own communities, making it increasingly difficult to accomplish what we originally set out to do. Another example would be the sector’s over-reliance on the marketable charity model that appeals to a donor’s individualism and their desire to be the hero in their own stories but doesn’t appeal to a sense of justice and raise their awareness of the need for systemic change. As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about Responsive Fundraising’s sense-making retreats, email me for more information. For more information about the series we discussed, click here.

Tuesday Jun 07, 2022

What I initially appreciated about my conversation with Tony was that, after he found himself dissatisfied with his work as an attorney, he re-engineered himself as a fundraiser and has since found planned giving to be very meaningful and rewarding work. Tony describes himself as an evangelist of planned giving and is the founder and the creator of the Planned Giving Accelerator which helps nonprofit leaders design and implement a planned giving program for their organizations.  As we have had very few podcast conversations about planned giving, I was especially grateful that Tony came prepared to address several of the myths that often get in the way of launching a successful planned giving effort.  After Tony addressed what is perhaps the most insidious of planned giving myths - the idea it is a conversation about death - we explored a few others that linger close behind on the list. As I shared with Tony, I recall early in my career making the assumption that planned giving was highly technical work that only highly trained individuals were qualified to do. I also recall numerous times throughout my career hearing that discussions about planned gifts would undermine an organization’s opportunity for more immediate support.  As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about Responsive Fundraising’s sense-making retreats, email me for more information.

Sunday May 29, 2022

My conversation today with Melanie reminded me of the work of that Damon Centola has done on understanding how digital networks affect social change. Very similar to Centola’s observations, Melanie wants to us to make sense of who our digital champions are and what value they can bring to the organization. These individuals create the social reinforcement that is often essential in compelling others to act. As I suggested to Melanie, the less predictable aspects of this approach will be unsettling for those who prefer to see a straight line between themselevss and the donation. However, as we all know, such “assembly line” fundraising has been waning for some time; and perhaps the nay-sayers just need some encouragement from the people like Melanie to convince them to give this nonlinear approach a try.  What I most appreciated about our conversation was hearing how this concept applies to the baby boomers and those we may assume are not especially responsive to playing meaningful roles in our online strategies. I think we can very easily make sense of the idea that boomers are just as inclined as the rest of us to share what’s important to them and want to know that they are influencing the decisions of others in positive ways. I also appreciated the idea that digital champions could resolve some of the weaknesses in our new acquisition efforts. Rather than acquiring a large number of “warm glow givers” who can’t be counted on to give again, the digital champion affords an efficient (albeit less predictable) and gradual yet steady way of creating a donor community that can be counted on for many years to come. As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about hosting the Responsive Fundraising roadshow in your local community, email me for more information.

Sunday May 22, 2022

Tim insists that the fundraising community has become “guru-city” - chock full of self-declared experts who believe everything they say is golden. Tim believes that there really is no such thing as a fundraising expert and instead of having all the answers, he has designed a company that allows him and his team to be about the business of learning. The team at NextAfter wants to journey alongside their clients in order to understand what the donor is saying to them. Tim describes their team in much the same way that we refer to ours at Responsive as a professional learning community.  Tim’s approach to learning and expertise evidently informs his opinions about the how and why of messaging that we employ in fundraising. He explained that thanks to the Don Drapers of the world, we have all developed impressive bull-shit detection capabilities which allow us to see right through much of what of what shows up in our inboxes. Tim wants fundraisers to wrestle with what should be glaringly obvious: no matter how shiny and impressive it might appear to us, many of our messages aren’t getting through resulting in a donor response that doesn’t match all the hype. Tim explained that much of the disappointment that we encounter is a consequence of having allowed our marketing impulses to get in the way of our ability to demonstrate that real human beings are hitting the send button.  As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about hosting the Responsive Fundraising roadshow in your local community, email me for more information. For those who would like learn more about the NextAfter, visit their website here. 

Friday May 13, 2022

Today Nneka started our conversation by sharing some additional perspective into the thoughts that she shared in Collecting Courage, a collection of personal experiences written by Black fundraisers whose stories make us think twice about the inherent goodness we often assume of our sector. Nneka shared how fundraisingafforded her an opportunity to find herself; from there she began to understand the meaningful role that fundraising plays in starting movements, preserving history, and telling the stories of oppressed people.  After celebrating the work of the Collecting Courage authors and some of the history of this project, Nneka challenged us to contemplate the possibility of rested Black women taking the helm of today’s nonprofit sector. To clarify, we’re not talking about tokenism or another committee. Nneka insists that there are perfectly capable, willing, and ready Black women who have the power and influence to completely overhaul the culture of our sector. Nneka argues that, instead of continuing to descend into irrelevance, such a collective move may be the essence of what’s necessary to effectively address many of the challenges our sector currently faces. As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about hosting the Responsive Fundraising roadshow in your local community, email me for more information.For those who would like learn more about the Collecting Courage project, visit their website here. 

Friday May 06, 2022

It seems a lot of us are thinking about career changes lately; and my conversation today with Kristi begs the question of whether fundraisers are, to use her words, being ruthless advocates for themselves. Kristi started our conversation with the topic of adequate compensation; however, as I shared with her, I remain skeptical that compensation alone in our space is the real challenge. Regardless, Kristi insists that the next generation of fundraising professionals must keep reading; keep experimenting with new ideas; and, when it comes to adequate compensation and benefits, keep brining it up! Among the many compensation and career development questions that we contemplated today was whether fundraising as a career path has a tendency to plateau and inevitably leave us looking for something else. Why is it that after a decade or so, so many of us are looking for opportunities that our employers can’t offer? As I shared with Kristi, I have often wondered how many of our challenges in the sector would remedy themselves if more of us never confined our careers aspirations to fundraising in the first place and instead aspired to be “fundraising CEO’s” who are as confident and capable of ensuring mission delivery as they are mission advancement. As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about hosting the Responsive Fundraising roadshow in your local community, email me for more information. And, if you’d like to download Responsive’s latest edition of Carefully & Critically, just click here.

Saturday Apr 30, 2022

Today I enjoyed a thought-provoking conversation with Killian, one of the newest members of our consulting team here at Responsive. Killian has found fundraising to be very meaningful work and enjoys assisting his clients in getting it right. Killian and I began our conversation by asking how many fundraisers actually want the responsibility of building meaningful relationships with their donors and will stick with relationships long enough to ensure the the most significant and sustainable levels of support. We went on to discuss whether fundraisers should aspire to be our community’s best boundary spanners, admired and recognized as being confident at the lunch table with people who are unlike themselves and whose experiences and world views are very different from their own. Killian reminded me that it was Tocqueville who applauded Americans for their tendency to voluntary organize associations rather than rely on the marketplace and the state to orchestrate social relations. It has often occurred to me that, as our society becomes increasingly diverse and pluralistic, fundraisers have an opportunity to shine in a myriad of ways that extend far beyond their ability to secure large checks. Fundraisers have the opportunity to learn how to be especially confident in coffee shops and across lunch tables with people who see and understand the world very differently than they do. As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about hosting the Responsive Fundraising roadshow in your local community, email me for more information. And, if you’d like to download Responsive’s latest edition of Carefully & Critically, just click here.

Saturday Apr 23, 2022

My conversation today with Collin reminded me of an important point that we often make during our roadshows and when working with clients. Do fundraisers know how to differentiate between and ensure their organizations benefit from both low and high context fundraising efforts? One of the fundraiser’s primarily responsibilities is to discern when low context fundraising efforts have done their part and when high context fundraising practices are now in order. It is at this point in the relationship that a fundraiser must have a strategy in place that transitions the relationship from mailboxes and inboxes to coffee shops and lunch tables. As I argued in my first book, this can be as easy as distinguishing between the strategies that ensure the initial gift and those that secure the subsequent gift.  Colin is certainly right about the fact that our friends who deliver on low context, “lane one” tactical efforts lack the incentive to move donors out of their preferred channel. He points out that reducing volume hurts everyone who is invested in this initial-gift oriented part of the process. Their systems are designed to always deliver on volume in the most efficient way possible. Knowing this to true, the discernment process for shifting gears is on those most accountable for the overall effort and who are responsible for creating and implementing fundraising strategy. As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about hosting the Responsive Fundraising roadshow in your local community, email me for more information. And, if you’d like to download Responsive’s latest edition of Carefully & Critically, just click here.

Saturday Apr 16, 2022

In her recent contribution to Carefully & Critically, Meena used the word “struggle” to describe her professional journey over the last two years. I have similarly used the word “angst” to describe what so many of our colleagues have articulated in the more than 170 podcast conversations that we have broadcast since March of 2020 when the pandemic became our reality. Meena’s article and today’s conversation are an exploration of the wisdom that she’s gained with the help of her LinkedIn Community in the last two years and how she has been able to apply that wisdom to her work. So many of our guests have described the last couple of years as a journey towards understanding the struggle of being committed to meaningful work that can so easily let us down. As a data enthusiast, the struggle has afforded Meena an opportunity to explore questions that otherwise might have been ignored and overlooked. For example, how could analytics evolve in such a way so as to provide us with more desirable qualitative outcomes rather than the mere the quantitative outcomes we’ve come to expect? And how might we identify those who are as inclined to sustain meaningful, long-term relationships as they are to write a check? As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast. If you’d like to learn more about hosting the Responsive Fundraising roadshow in your local community, email mefor more information. And, if you’d like to download Responsive’s latest edition of Carefully & Critically, just click here.

Image

Your Title

This is the description area. You can write an introduction or add anything you want to tell your audience. This can help potential listeners better understand and become interested in your podcast. Think about what will motivate them to hit the play button. What is your podcast about? What makes it unique? This is your chance to introduce your podcast and grab their attention.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved

Podcast Powered By Podbean