The Nonprofit Hero Factory: Episode 27
Navigating the Nonprofit Digital Divide, with Elizabeth Ngonzi
In this Episode:
The nonprofit funding landscape continues to shift in response to the changing landscape in the pandemic and post-pandemic era. At the same time, there is a growing digital divide between those that are quickly adapting and adopting new strategies and those that are in danger of losing the ability to achieve their mission.
Elizabeth Ngonzi, founder and CEO of the International Social Impact Institute joins Boris this week to talk about how some nonprofits are staying ahead of the changes and new opportunities to connect with communities and funders alike. We also discuss how LinkedIn is fast becoming a critical platform for nonprofits, and how professionals can improve their skill sets to help their organizations and themselves.
Read the Transcript
[00:00:18.780] – Intro Video
Welcome to the Nonprofit Hero Factory, a weekly live video broadcast, and podcast. Where we’ll be helping nonprofit leaders and innovators create more heroes for their cause and a better word for all of us. Da-Ding!
[00:00:19.720] – Boris
Hi, everybody. Welcome back to the Nonprofit Hero Factory. This should be Episode 27 that we’re broadcasting today. And it is with a friend of mine whom I’ve known for a few years now. We first met doing a Candid—it was a live stream, and back then an in-person—panel. Since then, we’ve formed a pretty good friendship. We do a lot of very similar things, so we have a lot in common and a lot that we want to talk to you about today. So let me introduce to you guys.
[00:00:50.870] – Boris
Elizabeth Ngonzi. She usually just goes by Liz. She is the founder and CEO of the International Social Impact Institute. She’s also an Adjunct Assistant Professor and the Faculty Program Developer of a new exciting program at NYU that we’re both going to be talking to you about today as part of what we’re going to talk about. But primarily we’re going to talk about Liz’s area of expertise, which is social media, storytelling, online fundraising, all of the things that we love so much. Liz’s bio reads that she is an international social entrepreneur and educator who helps purpose-driven leaders and organizations to clarify, develop their stories for increased impact.
[00:01:30.940] – Boris
She is the founder and CEO of the International Social Impact Institute, which through initiatives with the King Baudouin—I hope I pronounce that correctly—Foundation US, CIVICUS Global Alliance, Nelson Mandela University in South Africa, the Resource Alliance in the UK and others — create opportunities for and amplified the voices of social impact leaders from historically marginalized communities around the world.
[00:01:54.460] – Boris
As an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Fundraising at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU, she teaches digital storytelling, innovation and fundraising and planning and executing virtual events and fundraisers that inspire and activate support. Both of which are part of the Professional Certificate Program in Digital Fundraising she recently developed. Liz’s superpower is leveling the playing field for change makers and social impact driven leaders from historically marginalized communities. With that, let’s bring Liz on to tell her story.
[00:02:25.900] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Hello, Boris. Thank you so very much for including me today. Hello, everybody. I’m so excited to be here with you.
[00:02:33.340] – Boris
Thanks, Liz. I’m excited to have you. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been talking about getting you on the show,
[00:02:37.940] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:02:37.940] – Boris
And we finally had a chance to make it happen.
[00:02:40.620] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Yeah. No, it’s great. I’m excited to be here with you. And you did such a great … First of all, thank you for pronouncing my last name correctly. Most people botch it, right? Even if they know me forever, they do. So thank you for doing so. And I’m so glad you’re now part of the NYU program with us, which we’ll get into later. But should I go ahead and tell folks a little bit more about that?
[00:03:02.500] – Boris
Yeah. Your bio speaks volumes of the caliber of work that you do. But let’s find out a little bit more about you and your story.
[00:03:10.740] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
I think what most people don’t know is that, kind of like, storytelling is in my DNA, right? My late dad, Dr. John Ruganda, Uganda’s preeminent storyteller. He was a playwright? You can find his Wikipedia page, you can find his books on Amazon, is someone who really was looking to tell the story of Africans at a time when we were going through independence and so much was going on. So I’ve got him on one hand. And then my mom was with the United Nations Development Program for 30 years, retiring as the Deputy Director of Communications.
[00:03:46.000] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And she used to travel around the world reporting and sharing about the different projects that they were supporting in developing countries. So this is how I grew up learning about all of this, learning about stories, meeting really incredible people, having these incredible experiences. So when I graduated from college, I went to work for corporate America, my parents were like, “What? That makes no sense.” I did that for ten years. And then after working as a management consultant, I actually worked in technology sector as well, in marketing and in sales.
[00:04:21.390] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And I decided that I wanted to really work with nonprofits and teach them, kind of leverage what I’d learned in the private sector to help them. It wasn’t storytelling at the time. It wasn’t what I called it, but it was really helping them to build their brands, to be able to reach their supporters and raise funds. And we were actually even helping organizations create websites, back in 2004 for their events. We had a company that we outsource to in Uganda. They used to create little websites when you didn’t have all the sites you have now that you can use to host virtual events and to market them—market events—we literally were doing that. And so I’ve always been thinking about digital on how to integrate it into the things that I was doing to help, specifically nonprofits at this point.
[00:05:10.600] – Boris
I love the fact that your father was a preeminent playwright? And it’s something that as long as I’ve known you, I just learned a few minutes ago, part of me wants to just geek out about theater and theater history.
[00:05:25.680] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
You’re a theater nerd right?
[00:05:27.360] – Boris
I am a theater nerd all the way through. I mean, that’s what my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are.
[00:05:33.750] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
I don’t know. I never sort of thought, you know, there’s so many times when you talk about it.
[00:05:39.720] – Boris
One of these days, we’re going to get into all of it.
[00:05:41.040] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:05:41.880] – Boris
Today, let’s talk about your work and, from your perspective, what’s going on in the nonprofit sector these days. Particularly, of course, the elephant in the room, that’s pretty much taken over the house is, of course, COVID-19, which has shifted so many things to virtual, to digital, to online, something that you and I have been preaching for a long time that now has been sort of this mad rush for everybody to try to get in there and figure out what they can and can’t do. Talk to me. What are you seeing out there at the moment?
[00:06:13.630] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Yeah. It’s been a rough 18 months. Right? And for a lot of organizations that really weren’t prepared for this in terms of being able to easily move their programs, their general engagement, whether it’s with funders or other stakeholders online. And they’ve really suffered. Right? And quite frankly, those of them hasn’t been able to adapt, and we’re already sort of like, you know, stretched thin financially, had to dissolve or they had to merge with other organizations
[00:06:46.650] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
The organizations that were able to quickly come up to speed, and it’s interesting, my digital storytelling course just went gangbusters in terms of registrations at Covid because we were just trying to figure this out. And so, I’ve seen that those organizations that not only figured out how to bring their fundraisers online, figured out how to really engage their supporters through live stream, and these sort of like, Facebook lives, LinkedIn live, and so on and so forth, those are the ones that are really starting to come out of this. But the other audiences or I’m sorry, the other organizations that really have done a great job here, the ones who’ve identified new offerings online.
[00:07:27.920] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And so an example of that is I had a woman in one of my courses who worked for Film at Lincoln Center. Film at Lincoln Center literally had a month to basically move its film festival online, you know they had the catalog move online, and they did some in-person events through drive-throughs and things like that. But what they did was effectively create a Netflix offering. So they have the streaming service, which creates a whole new revenue stream down the line for them. And so I just thought it was just genius.
[00:08:00.010] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Now I understand that there are smaller organizations that are going to be watching this. But I always say, let’s learn from the organizations that have some of the budgets or the kind of the resources that we don’t have to figure out… they’ve already created a blueprint. How do we then emulate what they’ve done in our specific space?
[00:08:15.920] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
So that’s one example, another example that an organization need, that’s really embrace digital is JCC Association in North America. Another one of my students is a head of marketing for them. And in the past, they’ve held their JCC ProCon event, which is an annual event in Florida for a couple of hundred people and adults to senior leaders, a few hundred people. This year, they were able to bring it online and attract about 3000 people. And so what happened by doing that was that they were able to get junior professionals, senior professionals, and leaders to be able to participate in this professional development conference and bring folks together who’ve been separated during COVID, because JCCs are actually physical locations. Some people hadn’t really seen each other. So in this virtual training, they brought folks together, and it really helped to boost morale. And it got people to feel like they’re part of something bigger because now they’re able to actually participate in this great training conference.
[00:09:19.220] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
So those are a couple of examples that I’ve seen of organizations really embracing digital in an effective way. It’s not… it’s one of those things where you’re like, the technology is actually relatively inexpensive. The problem is, it’s the culture. So there’re organizations—like whenever I’m working, with my students, the course I teach at NYU—we essentially create a digital fundraising and marketing plan for their organization, and we always start with a SWOT analysis.
[00:09:51.880] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And inevitably, one of the biggest challenges or weaknesses they have is organizational. Meaning that they have a culture that does not embrace change. And we’re living in a world that you have to be able to adapt to change because things are happening so quickly. They were happening quickly before the pandemic. But you better believe they’ve been accelerated, right? So we have to really think about how do we change our cultures and how do we attract people or how do we change our mindset to be able to embrace this digital—because digital is not going away. Digital has been here for a while. And Boris, you and I talked about this, back in 2009 when I pitched my original course to NYU. It was just an online fundraiser course… I pitched it because I recognize just from my own clients back then, the huge budgets they had for Galas we’re going. They’re gone because of the economic downturn. So it was like, you have to now go online and really rely on online a lot more to be able to engage with the supporters that they need. Right?
[00:10:52.400] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
We didn’t have all the different social media platforms we have right now, but I did recognize that as a space that they really need to embrace. And I’m sure that’s where you are as well. And so, looking at where we’re at today, it’s not that different from were 11, 12 years ago. It’s just that it was didn’t seem as important because then we went back to normal. But I gotta tell you, normal is going to be hybrid from now, probably from now on.
[00:11:17.240] – Boris
I want to talk about a few of those things because I think you touched on several really great key points. The first in terms of the new opportunities, that the digital rush, if you will—it’s kind of a new gold rush feeling in the nonprofit space and finding new ways to leverage platforms that aren’t expensive anymore because technology, as you correctly said, the average cost has gone down and down. I recently actually came across and now own access to a tool where you can launch your own Roku channel.
[00:11:53.980] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:11:55.260] – Boris
Yeah. So I am actually now looking for a client that wants to launch their own Roku channel, talking to one of my clients about it right now. You talk about the film festival going online. Yeah. Here you go…
[00:12:10.790] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:12:10.790] – Boris
Put your channel on Roku, tell your subscribers where to get it. They could watch either in live set up…
[00:12:17.620] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:12:17.620] – Boris
Or in a format where it’s just on loop or something I programmed, and people can pick their own— “oh, now I want to watch this” kind of like Netflix or HBO Max or any of those.
[00:12:28.430] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Yeah. Whatever it may on.
[00:12:30.850] – Boris
The technology is so there. And wow, what a great way to find more people, provide more value, oftentimes with the content that you already have, because a lot of organizations have so much video content already.
[00:12:40.700] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
There you go. Exactly. That’s the thing. It’s like. Okay, so my hope is, and it’s not necessarily the case. But my hope is this 18 months that we’ve had to basically be at home and had time to reflect.
[00:12:55.100] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
It’s really helped organizations to think about new ways to leverage their existing assets, because why look outside when you actually have so much internally that you haven’t been leveraging? Right? So you record this thing, you have these assets and you just put them away, but actually they have value. You just have to know how to use them. Right?
[00:13:15.220] – Boris
[00:13:16.010] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Absolutely. And I didn’t know about this new tool, that platform, but that’s incredible to be able to launch your own Roku channel just like that. Think about it. Think about who owned media, who is able to rate that 20, 30 years ago. That was impossible.
[00:13:35.090] – Boris
Yup. Today we could compete with the Rupert Murdochs and Jeff Bezos of the world really,
[00:13:41.370] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:13:41.370] – Boris
Owns so much of the media and the Disneys and Netflixes. And if our message is more relatable and more relevant to our audience, then why not? Why wouldn’t they tune into us instead?
[00:13:59.580] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
I agree with you. Completely. I definitely agree with you on that.
[00:14:04.980] – Boris
It’s funny. Also, you mentioned the JCC conference. It’s awesome that you spoke to them. They have all internally gone through their own kind of revolution as well. And a year ago, almost a year ago, at this time, I was presenting to the leaders of JCC Global and all the different JCC leaders. And I got to talk to them in Russian, too, because now it doesn’t matter that I’m not physically there. The fact that I speak Russian, and there’s JCC all over Russia, and the former Soviet Union allows someone like me to go speak to them. It also allows them to reach Russian speaking Jews here in the US for extra support.
[00:14:43.880] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:14:44.430] – Boris
It works both ways. The definition of community has completely changed, and you hit the nail on the head. If you don’t change, you will die. It’s Darwinian at that. There’s been such a proliferation also of nonprofits that have started over the last year and a half and even before that, but it’s accelerated. And I feel like and Liz, maybe you have a different opinion on this, but you kind of touched on it that in a little while, it’s going to be too much, and we’re going to have to start merging organizations or folding them.
[00:15:20.220] – Boris
So it’s whomever can actually use the best tools today to reach the most people today. Those are the ones that are going to thrive. If your mission is important, you’ve got to be there.
[00:15:30.290] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Yup. It’s actually where you started. It already started. I had hosted a live stream, LinkedIn Live, with Candid, a couple of people from Candid last May, I think it was. And estimates, or the research indicated that about 50% of organizations we’re going to either, they’re going to go away or they’re going to have to merge based on what happened with the pandemic. Right? And we didn’t even realize how long the pandemic was going to last. Right? And effectively, we’re still in the pandemic. We’re not post pandemic. We’re still in it.
[00:16:03.910] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
So we’re in that process right now. We haven’t seen what’s come out. And you mentioned that there’re new nonprofits starting. But it’s not no longer just about nonprofits. There’s social enterprises. The individual is telling about that young man from Italy who has 110,000,000 TikTok followers. Right? He started his to account, like in March of last year. So in less than 18 months, he’s even able to develop this following. Now, imagine if he decided he wanted to support a cause or he wanted to support specific communities. He has 110 million people. He can say, “Hey, I want you to support this particular thing.” How does a nonprofit compete with that that has a thousand followers?
[00:16:51.090] – Boris
Yeah. Partnerships with influencers, I think, is a big thing. It’s a little risky at the moment, because the influencer… you never know. Let’s say that young man from middle, he does endorse an organization. And then, you know, a few months from now, he does something.
[00:17:05.810] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Right? No, of course, that’s the challenge. But the same thing that you have with ambassadors, right? Organizations have ambassadors. But I’m saying that he can either be a partner or he can be a competitor. That’s what I’m saying. So when you’re thinking about a competitor in the real world, right? You’re thinking who’s around me physically. When you go online, that’s anywhere. Right?
[00:17:29.310] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
I as a donor… I mean, I gave money. I made a donation to an organization in Cambodia last week. I don’t know anything about them, but it was because someone had… it was a thank you to somebody who would helped me.
[00:17:42.510] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And I said, please let me know the cause that you like. She said, this is what I’m interested in, so I made a donation to them. And I also made a donation to an organization here in New York. Right? So as a donor, I have a lot of options because I can do that online very easily.
[00:17:57.360] – Boris
Absolutely. We talk a lot about that the competitive landscape has completely opened up. And you were never really just competing with other organizations in your neighborhood. You are also competing with the Amazons of the world, the Facebooks who want your attention. The Amazons who want your money. Right? The discretionary spending hasn’t exceeded the growth of opportunity for me to spend my money at any given moment.
[00:18:24.750] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:18:24.750] – Boris
It’s making that connection to your specific target audience and making a really relevant and resonant connection that’s going to make the difference wherever they are around the world.
[00:18:35.840] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Absolutely. At the of the day, you brought up a good point. It is about story, right? You have to tell a great story, and you have to be able to differentiate yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re on every platform. Doesn’t matter if you have follows. You don’t have a story that’s compelling, you don’t have a way of engaging with folks in a way that makes sense to them. Right? Because when we’re telling our story, we need to tell it within the context of what is going to be of interest to your audience, to our audience.
[00:19:03.860] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And we tend to forget that we tend to communicate in terms of what’s important to us. And a lot of nonprofits can actually communicate that way. But it’s really important for us to think about what do the audience want? What does the want the audience want to know about us? What’s going to engage with them? What is going to activate them? Because ultimately you’re communicating, you’re trying to activate them. You’re trying to get them to do something. And so it’s important that we take that into consideration before we think about the channel we use. So we need to be really clear about the “what” we’re communicating, the “why” we’re communicating “with whom” we’re communicating.
[00:19:38.040] – Boris
Yeah. I mean, there are, well, six storytelling questions that we all learned in fourth grade and, well, most of us learned in fourth grade. And they are absolutely key to telling any story. What do you advise? Like, where should nonprofits be thinking at the moment to set themselves up for success going forward? Maybe they’ve been doing some of this? Maybe not. But since the landscape has completely changed in so many ways, what should they be thinking about right now to be effective going forward?
[00:20:13.440] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
I think, that first and foremost, it’s time to really take stock of where we are and who we are. And what are story’s all about. Is our story relevant for today? I wrote a piece for Candid last summer about—it was about digital storytelling. I spoke about the fact that foundations we’re starting to shift their focus. They’re starting to think about issues around social justice all around COVID-19 relief. And so organizations really need to recast themselves to be relevant within that context, that they wanted to be able to engage those foundations.
[00:20:47.430] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And so, along those same lines, I think that we have to think about who are we in this post-COVID or COVID era and ongoing COVID era, as opposed to what we were pre-COVID because it’s going to be different. The realities are different. The way that we even engage with people. The way that we’re online versus in person programming. And so and so forth. We have to really think about what’s going to really resonate with the people we’re trying to serve, the community we’re trying to serve.
[00:21:18.120] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
But also it’s going to resonate with those that we’re trying to engage, bring to come and support us. So that’s one of the things is really rethinking. Who are we? Right? We need to really rethink our purpose, our unique value proposition, which requires some soul searching, right? Some nonprofit soul searching, even for us, is people working in this sector.
[00:21:40.640] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
The next thing I’d say is that it’s really important that we understand that we need to diversify our fundraising. I think that a lot of organizations found—and this happened in 2008, 2009 as well—they were so reliant on just a few funders and even one instance, just one. And when that goes away, you’re done. And in a situation like this, it’s really about having diversified funding sources so that if one goes away or if you lose corporate and whatever, then at least you’re still able to stand. And so that’s also something that I think organizations need to think about. So you’ve got the corporates, you’ve got the foundations, and the foundation is actually the most stable. And then, of course, individuals, you’ve got high net worth, but then you’ve got the individuals for online.
[00:22:26.550] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And those folks who can really support you on a monthly basis, you don’t want to just get a one time donation. You want to really look at recurring donations. So it’s important we look at that. And I also say you’ve got to start internally. I didn’t even talk about this. I believe that you have no right to ask anyone for money to support your organization if you yourself don’t get to that organization. So I always say what I work in the clients, the board—you know everyone expects the board, the board—senior leadership, and quite frankly, even throughout the organization, it’s important that everyone has skin in the game. It’s not necessarily that they have to make these big donations, but there’s something they’ve got to bring in so that everyone’s clear that they’re actually, everyone’s a fundraiser in your organization, everyone’s part of the mission. So they should feel that they’re an investor in it, as well. So it’s also looking at how you can take advantage of or leverage the internal to your resources to be able to support the organization.
[00:23:22.260] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And then finally, I would say that—I’m not paid by them, but—LinkedIn. I wrote an article about it. I believe it’s on your site. Linkedin is such an important platform right now. You know, Boris, I’ve been at this a long time. So I’ve got accounts on every platform. I’ve used all of them. I’m on ClubHouse, I’m not even going to talk about ClubHouse right now. But LinkedIn, if you are serious about engaging with professionals, if you’re trying to engage with foundations… there are only 10% of them that have websites.
[00:23:56.660] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And so you’re going to really try to figure out how to connect with their employees, and that’s where you’re going to find them, because 900 million people have accounts on LinkedIn. So it’s important for you to really take advantage of that platform. Not only as a site like, a lot of people use LinkedIn in the past as a resume site, but it’s literally like your secondary and some of instances, your primary organization’s web presence. So, like, a landing page.
[00:24:26.510] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And it gives you an opportunity to showcase any of your thought leadership. It gives you an opportunity to present any of your projects and your impact. And then it also gives you an opportunity to bring all of your stakeholders together connected to that page. So that when you’re applying for a grant, whatever foundation and their doing research on you. They’re conducting to due diligence, they get to your digital profile, they’ll say, “Oh, so-and-so is part of the board. So-and-so as part of this. We know that person. We trust that person.” Otherwise, you’re just sort of like this little organization that they don’t know much about.
[00:24:59.840] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
The other thing is that when you’re then conducting research and you do find whichever company or whoever you’re trying to connect with, if you don’t necessarily yourself as the fundraiser or know that person or have a connection to that company or organization, there might be someone within your ecosystem, within your network, connected to your page who can make that connection for you. So it’s really important to have those connections set up. And then finally, I would say that you can take advantage of the training. They have so much going on on LinkedIn, and all nonprofits, qualified nonprofits get 50% off of their products. And so, great research tool, great place to build a brand.
[00:25:42.950] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And of course, you and I love LinkedIn Live. I did my first LinkedIn Live with you. So, LinkedIn Live, and also using the LinkedIn event sites. Those are amazing the invitation sites, because those themselves create a whole new landing page for your event that lasts a very long time. And so I’m super excited about it. I wrote a piece about it for Nonprofit Times, and in it there are tons of resources so that you don’t have to be like, well, how do I do this? I present a best practice. I give you the resource to be able to implement it. They give you other resources that you can use to leverage LinkedIn.
[00:26:24.020] – Boris
Those are all great points and tools that people should be absolutely thinking about. Speaking of LinkedIn events, the first LinkedIn event that I was a part of was the one that we just did for the NYU.
[00:26:39.740] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Oh, I didn’t realize that.
[00:26:39.740] – Boris
Yeah. I had never been a part of a LinkedIn event, and I was really impressed with the reach that it got. Especially, you were able to, we were all able to tag each other in the post, and the reach was phenomenal.
[00:26:53.130] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:26:53.130] – Boris
So many sign ups for that. I was genuinely impressed. And I’m looking forward to using the platform for that kind of thing again.
[00:27:00.780] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Right? It’s awesome. And the thing is, a couple of things that this really takes advantage of is, you see, when someone sends you an invitation, you get to see who’s actually already invited. And that helps you, because we’re all about peer pressure. There’s peer pressure, right? We want to be where the cool kids are. Right? So you’re like, “oh,” I’ll say. “Oh, Boris is going to that. Okay. That must be cool. I’m going to participate in that.” Versus receiving an invitation in my inbox. And I don’t know anything about who’s attending. I don’t know anything. I’m like, “oh, I don’t know. I may not be that into it.” So it gives the opportunity to use that social proof in terms of wealth is going.
[00:27:38.130] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And then within this site, once you just get into the event, you’re able to then also access any resources that the event organized or share. So we shared, like, articles. We shared that you’d written or I’ve written. We shared videos, anything we want. Polls…
[00:27:57.070] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And by the way, just because the event is over, it doesn’t mean we can’t continue to communicate. I think you saw I posted a post-event post yesterday, and that site is live. Next month, if we want to add something else, we still can. So it’s really great because we already know what they’re interested in because they signed up for this event so we can continue to communicate with them through this particular channel.
[00:28:22.340] – Boris
Yeah. And it still gets plenty of reach and can be constantly updated. It’s pretty great. I think we should actually link to that event as an example for people in the show notes, along with all the other things that we’ve been talking about and LinkedIn for nonprofits and all of those things, we are also going to link to that event so that people could check it out, see what that was about and how it worked. You could deconstruct it, if you will, and see for yourselves.
[00:28:47.320] – Boris
The power of LinkedIn networking in general… I think for a while LinkedIn was this kind of sleeping giant, if you will. Where, you’re right. It was just resumes essentially, a virtual resume platform and people trying to network to each other to just be able to get a job or something like that. Now it really is a connection tool. And organizations that have a message can find people whom it’ll resonate with on there. And your idea that you mentioned about maybe partnering with organizations with companies, for-profit businesses, right? They’re all on there. Any for profit business.
[00:29:25.140] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And here’s something that I should mention, you know, when you’re updating your LinkedIn profile. One of the questions that ask you, “Are are there any causes you’re interested in? Are you interested in volunteering? Would you be interested in board service? Would you like to mentor?” So, when you have a certain level of account in LinkedIn as a nonprofit organization, you can find those leaders, those folks who are looking to volunteer for cause like yours, who’re looking to be on a board like yours. And so it’s really helping with that kind of outreach, because we fill it out and we don’t even think about it. I’m like, “Oh, yeah, whatever.” But they’re actually their making it easy for nonprofits or whoever is looking for that information to be able to look for it, to find it.
[00:30:09.240] – Boris
So. We’ve teased this event that we did, and the program. We’ve mentioned the program a couple of times. I want to be respectful of your time and our listeners time, but I definitely want to talk about this because it’s so exciting. Tell us about this new program at NYU.
[00:30:27.030] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Okay. So as I mentioned to you, I started teaching NYU well, at the time, the Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising. And we merged—we were absorbed into the Center Global Affairs four or five years ago. But given how much like interest that was in my course during COVID, the directors kind of realized that there was probably something here. And I’ve been talking about. I’m like, we need to expand this program. And so they asked me to create a program that would basically take what I developed as an overall course that helps an organization to develop its digital fundraising and marketing strategy, looking at the different channels and then break that into the different, break each one into a course. Right?
[00:31:18.700] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
So we have you talking about high impact websites. I’m team-teaching with another woman, with Cheryl Gentry. We’re going to be teaching a course on virtual events and fundraisers. And then we have Kat, well, she already came. Right? So…
[00:31:34.960] – Boris
Yeah she will have been on…
[00:31:37.520] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
So she’s talking about social media. And of course, with GivingTuesday as part of that. And then we have Dane Wiseman, who’s going to be covering—it’s actually a course he already teaches on—basically social media metrics, and analytics. And so these are the different pieces that we need. So it’s a certificate program. You can complete it within a two-year period, or you can just say, I’m just interested in one particular course, and you can take it. And they’re six to seven weeks each. It’s really easy to manage. And they write to me once a week.
[00:32:12.480] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And not only is it great content, but literally you walk away… you’re have something, a tool that you can then use for your ongoing campaign for your organization. I’ve had some students who used it as a tool to get a job. It’s like an auditioning tool. And quite a number of folks also, they implement a lot of what’s covered throughout the period of the course in real time. So it’s very practical. I’m so excited to see what we’re going to be doing with your course, and I’m going sit in on it myself. I want to learn what you’re doing.
[00:32:50.250] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And so I’m just really excited about it, because what we found, if you look at the Giving USA report, overall, giving is a slight bump up. But online giving is going up significantly, right? Even over the last three years, it’s gone up by 32%. And so we’re really helping organizations to fully embrace how to do it effectively, because during COVID, folks just scramble to do it, right? But now we’re saying here’s how you can really develop a strategy around it. Here are some tools. Here are some of the wisdom we’ve garnered. Here are some examples and case studies. I’m going to have to see JCC Association coming into my course to do a digital engagement case study. I think it’s really exciting, and I’m really glad to see that we’re able to support the sector this way, because this is really necessary. I’m not saying the other topics and fundraisers are not necessary, but this is definitely very timely.
[00:33:50.040] – Boris
Now, with everything being virtual at this point, do people need to be in the New York Metro area to participate?
[00:33:56.060] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
No. The whole program is virtual. The whole program is virtual. In fact, I’ve had students as far from as far as Singapore, in Canada, from Hawaii, so they don’t have to be in New York. The course is pretty much in the evening, so they have to be able to either wake up really early for the different time zone or whatever the adjustment is. So people do it. It’s definitely worthwhile.
[00:34:24.260] – Boris
I’m really excited to be a part of it. First and foremost excited that I get to be an adjunct instructor, professor, whatever it is. Instructor, I think.
[00:34:38.140] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:34:38.140] – Boris
It’s kind of a lifelong dream for me to be teaching at a university, and especially one like NYU. Having grown up in New York, it’s iconic to me, of course. And I’m excited to teach all of these things that I’ve been trying to teach organizations. I’m going to teach other people how to really use them and hopefully partner with nonprofits to help redesign their websites and improve things for their own conversions, to activate more heroes for their cause, as I like to say all the time.
[00:35:06.910] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:35:07.470] – Boris
And anyone who completes it, they can get that certificate and put it up on LinkedIn to showcase themselves and to showcase what they’re working on.
[00:35:16.120] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And that’s a really good point you bring up, because, Boris, here’s the thing. If you think about our sector, there are not many people with those digital skills. And when I say with those digital skills… with the digital skills, with the formal training. And so, it is a true differentiator. Once you put it in there, you go from being a fundraiser to being a fundraiser with this digital aspect or marker with this and and so on and so forth. So people, again, like I said, they use it to get new jobs, but they can get promotions or whatever it is that they want to be able to do.
[00:35:52.760] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And we’re building this in such a way that yes, it will, it benefits nonprofit organizations. But if there’re social enterprises that are interested in this, they’re welcome. So are foundations because we’re really looking to support social-impact driven organization.
[00:36:08.090] – Boris
I often answer, when I’m asked, why is it that nonprofits are usually significantly behind the rest of the field when it comes to digital adoption and usage? That it’s partly inherent to the way that nonprofits are formed. It’s not usually by people who graduated with digital marketing skills and now want to start a nonprofit. Although there are plenty that have done that, and that’s fantastic. It’s usually people who graduated with different kinds of degrees and now want to put them in the service of good or are joining an organization that they believe in, but they don’t have that digital marketing or that website development or digital fundraising kind of background to them.
[00:36:52.290] – Boris
And so they’re kind of left to fend for themselves or hire consultants or hire expensive people in house. This program can really help level that playing field for organizations and super excited about that.
[00:37:04.350] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Yeah, I know. I agree a hundred percent with you, and it’s exciting to see that, because I feel like, this will really move the needle significantly. I’ve already seen it, right? So it’s not theoretical. It definitely will, and it has. And you know, really, to my knowledge, this is the first offering of this type at a university.
[00:37:29.720] – Boris
So, I’m hoping that a lot of people at least check it out. We’ll definitely link to it in the show notes, so that people go see the program and all the information.
[00:37:36.960] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
And also to see the webinar. The webinar, as you guys be a terrific job and let them see the webinar, too.
[00:37:42.050] – Boris
We’ll definitely be linking to that. As I said before in the LinkedIn event, so that you can deconstruct how we did it and how we got so many people there in the first place. And we’ll also link to several of your articles, your Nonprofit Tech for Good pieces. And you mentioned that the blog itself is a good resource for people, I believe.
[00:38:02.800] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Yeah, it’s a great resource. Heather, who runs it is awesome. It’s a great resource.
[00:38:07.600] – Boris
So we’ll definitely link to that. What is your call to action to any organization, any nonprofit professional, because organizations don’t listen, but professionals do. At this point, they’ve listened to our interview. What should they go do now?
[00:38:22.580] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Upskill their digital skills. And not just because it’s self serving, but really it’s no longer good enough for you to be like a terrific fundraiser, a terrific market. You need to have digital. It’s not a nice to have. It’s an essential. So absolutely make those investments, whether it’s a store program or elsewhere. Absolutely make that investment because this isn’t going away. Digital is not going away. And if you see, I don’t know if you can see the book, there’s a book behind me, which is The World Is Flat. Thomas L. Friedman.
[00:38:56.480] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
I read that in 2005. I think it was, and I was really looking at kind of differentiating myself too, what I was working on. And I realized that as professionals, as organizations, as companies, we have to constantly think about how we reinvent ourselves to be much more relevant. And if you’re known for real basic things, basic skills, you as a professional can be replaced or you as a nonprofit or you as a company, can be replaced. The more that you can really move up the food chain, the more that you can go to more value-added kind of offering, and this is one of them. The more in demand you will be.
[00:39:36.550] – Boris
Inevitably, you’re paid for the value that you can bring to an organization. Basically.
[00:39:40.910] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Yeah. So that’s what I would say.
[00:39:43.730] – Boris
Awesome. Liz, if people want to connect with you, by the way, I should probably say Liz is not a flat-earther. If anybody took that out of context.
[00:39:54.280] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Oh. Okay. Yeah.
[00:39:57.710] – Boris
But if anybody wants to connect with you, what’s the best way to do that?
[00:40:00.940] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
I’m @LizNgonzi on every platform, and they can also email me email@example.com.
[00:40:09.560] – Boris
Fantastic. I’m sure a lot of people will have questions. I want to follow up with you. I’m really grateful to you for coming on the show today, Liz, and sharing all this valuable knowledge and having this immensely important discussion with me.
[00:40:21.190] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Thank you for inviting me. It was so fun. This is really, really a pleasure for me to do this with you.
[00:40:28.580] – Boris
Awesome, Liz. I’m sure we’ll have more things to talk about, and maybe we’ll have you on again.
[00:40:32.670] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Yeah, bring me back.
[00:40:34.010] – Boris
Maybe the other myriad things that you and I could dive into.
[00:40:39.030] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
We could talk about plays, we could talk about theater.
[00:40:41.770] – Boris
Oh my goodness. I’m sure there are nonprofits focused on theater that would love that conversation, but maybe we’ll do that as a side note.
[00:40:49.780] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
I’m doing a presentation for arts organizations in the UK in two weeks, in Digital Storytelling.
[00:40:59.750] – Boris
Send me a copy?
[00:41:00.300] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Not that unlikely.
[00:41:03.750] – Boris
Actually, maybe an episode specifically for arts organizations would be great, because I do have several arts organizations clients, and they have some particular challenges.
[00:41:12.600] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
Oh they really would have gone through it. Really.
[00:41:20.740] – Boris
Yeah, absolutely. All right, we’re gonna do that.
[00:41:22.700] – Elizabeth Ngonzi
[00:41:23.870] – Boris
All right. Thank you, everybody, for joining us today on the Nonprofit Hero Factory. Please, please follow us on all the social media platforms. Subscribe to this podcast. And if you love interviews like the one we just had with Liz Ngonzi, then please go ahead and subscribe and leave us a review so that more people could discover it. Thank you, as always, for all the work that you do to make the world a better place. I’m Boris Kievsky, and I’ll see you next time.
[00:42:06.180] – Outro Video
Thank you all for watching and listening to the Nonprofit Hero Factory, we hope this episode has given you some ideas and strategies for creating more heroes for your cause and a better world for all of us. Please be sure to subscribe to this show on YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform and let us know what you think, by leaving a review.
Concepts and Takeaways:
- Over the last 18 months, some organizations did a great job quickly responding to the Covid shift to digital in their fundraising and programming, while others could not. (6:13)
- Small organizations can learn from larger ones, following their blueprint and applying it to their own organizations, even if at a different scale. (8:00)
- With the cost of technology dropping, the biggest differentiator between nonprofits adopting digital today is not financial, it’s cultural. Those that cannot adapt and embrace change may be forced to close or merge. (9:19)
- Nonprofits have to think about new ways to leverage their existing assets and generate new content. Most any organization can now compete with the large media companies in the world in terms of distributing your content. If your content is just as relevant to your audience, they will be happy to access it in the same ways they get their current entertainment. For example, it’s now simple and affordable to launch your own streaming channel on platforms like Roku. (11:17)
- Your community is now potentially anywhere in the world. Geography is not as important as relevancy and accessibility. (14:04)
- There are many new influencers with tremendous reach. These can either be competitors for attention or great allies for nonprofits whose causes they care about. As with all partnerships, though, you have to be careful with whom you partner. (16:09)
- With the increased competition for resources, building genuine connections with your audience makes all the difference. It all starts with a great story that resonates with your audience, is in sync with their interests, and differentiates your nonprofit from the competition. (18:25)
- Covid has changed, and continues to change the world. What worked before the pandemic may not be what’s most effective now. (20:47)
- The funding landscape has also changed. Relying on a few high-level funding sources is perilous in times like these. It is far better to diversify, including seeking out smaller recurring donations. (21:40)
- In connecting with foundations’ employees, organizations should take advantage of LinkedIn. With 900 million accounts, it is a great platform to reach people and organizations that may be interested in your work. (23:22)
- Only 10% of foundations have websites, but many have employees who are active on LinkedIn.
- It allows nonprofits to showcase their thought leadership, their work and their impact.
- Development professionals can research prospects on LinkedIn and connect with them directly or through someone in their network that can make an introduction.
- LinkedIn events are another great tool on the platform, creating a landing page around an event with social proof based on who else is attending. You can continue to add things to the event page, and the page will keep reaching your audience long after the event is over.
- Take advantage of the training. LinkedIn offers 50% off of their products for qualified nonprofits.
- There is a new certificate program in Digital Fundraising at NYU that offers courses in digital storytelling, virtual events and fundraisers, social media, analytics, high-impact web design, and more, taught by industry experts. (30:09)
- The entire program can be accessed virtually.
- Each class will have practical applications
- The certificate is a great way for nonprofit professionals to distinguish themselves in the field
Action Steps: What Now?
About this week’s guest
Elizabeth NgonziFounder / CEO, International Social Impact Institute
Liz Ngonzi is an international social entrepreneur and educator who helps purpose-driven leaders and organizations to clarify, develop their stories for increased impact.
She is the founder and CEO of The International Social Impact Institute, which — through initiatives with the King Baudouin Foundation US, CIVICUS Global Alliance, Nelson Mandela University in South Africa, The Resource Alliance in the UK, and others – creates opportunities for and amplifies the voices of social impact leaders from historically marginalized communities around the world.
As an adjunct assistant professor of fundraising at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU, she teaches Digital Storytelling, Innovation and Fundraising, and Planning and Executing Virtual Events and Fundraisers that Inspire and Activate Support, both of which are part of the professional certificate program in Digital Fundraising she recently developed.
The Nonprofit Hero Factory: Episode 26
How Nonprofits Can Get the Most Out of #GivingTuesday… and What Not to Do, with Kathleen Murphy Toms
In this Episode:
In its nine years, GivingTuesday has become the largest philanthropic movement in history—with activity in every country on the planet! And it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
With that success, come new opportunities and new challenges for nonprofit fundraising teams looking to participate.
The most common questions often are:
- Is it still worth participating or is it too noisy?
- If we do participate, how can we get the greatest returns on our investment?
- Will it cannibalize our year-end giving?
In this week’s Nonprofit Hero Factory episode, Boris talks with Kathleen Murphy Toms, the Director of Digital Strategy at GivingTuesday, to answer those questions and share strategies, tips and hacks for getting the most out of GivingTuesday.
Read the Transcript
[00:00:18.020] – Intro Video
Welcome to the Nonprofit Hero Factory, a weekly live video broadcast, and podcast. Where we’ll be helping nonprofit leaders and innovators create more heroes for their cause and a better word for all of us. Da-Ding!
[00:00:20.240] – Boris
Da-Ding! Hi everybody. Welcome back to the Nonprofit Hero Factory. Every week I try to find amazing guests who can help organizations do more with the resources that they have, who can activate more heroes for their cause, as we say, through everything from Web design and social media to digital fundraising. Today, I’ve got somebody who’s at the intersection of several of those things and part of, well, the biggest movement in philanthropy, maybe ever.
[00:00:47.400] – Boris
Her name is Kathleen Murphy Toms. She is the director of digital strategy for GivingTuesday. An organization I think a lot of us have heard about. The biggest philanthropic movement in history, GivingTuesday leverages social media and a broad network of nonprofits, community activists, schools, brands, small businesses and individuals to ignite a movement and global call to action to give. We talk a lot about call to action. That’s pretty much the central one that most nonprofits are interested in. It has seen record-breaking engagement at every level of society. From some of the world’s biggest celebrities and influencers to students, volunteers and everyday givers.
[00:01:27.260] – Boris
Kathleen studies the use of digital tools within social movements, particularly their use in shifting power, creating mass mobilization, instilling behavior change, and achieving global equity. Kathleen has coached thousands of social impact leaders and grassroots organizations from nearly every continent on how to not only generate funds for their cause, but to inspire and mobilize groundswell movements to create systemic change. She is an adjunct structure. I could pronounce that word. Right? She is an adjunct instructor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, where she teaches social change makers how to develop innovative content marketing and digital strategies to activate and engage new audiences.
[00:02:08.710] – Boris
When I asked Kathleen her superpower, she said, it is navigating the tools that are worth the time investment versus those that just aren’t. And with that, let’s bring Kathleen onto the show.
[00:02:21.260] – Kat Murphy Toms
Hey, Boris, thanks for having me. It’s always a pleasure. I was just going to say two days or to two times in one week. We are so lucky.
[00:02:29.740] – Boris
Yeah. We just had the Webinar yesterday about the new program at NYU that you’re a part of that I’m super excited to be a part of too.
[00:02:36.220] – Kat Murphy Toms
Me, too. We should talk about that.
[00:02:38.020] – Boris
We should talk about that. But really, I want to focus on the thing that you do that you’re a little bit famous for in super popular for, at the moment. You must feel like the belle of the ball because I’m sure you’re in high demand. And I’m so glad that you have some time to talk to me and our audience today about GivingTuesday.
[00:02:59.790] – Kat Murphy Toms
GivingTuesday. It’s coming. In 15 Tuesdays. Whether we’re ready or not.
[00:03:03.900] – Boris
Tell me a little bit about you. What’s your story that wasn’t in the very impressive bio that I stumbled through as best as I could?
[00:03:10.500] – Kat Murphy Toms
Sure. I mean, that’s the beginning of it. I live on the South Side of Chicago. I’ve lived here my entire life. We’re known for community organizing, and we’re known for a certain President who was elected from here. I was a part of that campaign. I was a part of all of his previous campaigns for Congress and Senate, and all of that. I moved from the political campaign world into nonprofit. It seemed like a natural place for me to go. The skill set of convincing people to vote, convincing people to vote for your person, particularly online. There was a place for me in the nonprofit sector.
[00:03:54.180] – Boris
This was in the early days of the hashtag. Right? I remember to this day clearly trying to convince people about, yes, a hashtag is here to stay. And here you need to use it. And yes, the GivingTuesday is a hashtag. Moved into the nonprofit sector, focused mostly on teaching nonprofits about how to use digital tools and convincing them that social media was not indeed, not going away. And I’ve been blessed to be on the GivingTuesday team for about three years, officially.
[00:04:29.220] – Kat Murphy Toms
But before that, I was a community leader. So when I brought GivingTuesday to Illinois, let Illinois’ statewide GivingTuesday campaign for all of the nonprofits in Illinois. I worked at my Nonprofit Regional Association, and we thought it would be a great opportunity for Illinois nonprofits to raise their profile, get involved in a global movement, raise some funds, raise some volunteers, all of those things. So I’ve been a part of the GivingTuesday land for, I don’t know, the whole time. Pretty much.
[00:05:04.520] – Boris
That’s pretty cool. And I’m assuming it was fairly successful. And now you are in house on the team.
[00:05:10.720] – Kat Murphy Toms
Now, I’m in house on the team. I can’t imagine myself being anywhere else. This is possibly the greatest thing that I will ever do and humbled to be a part of it, really.
[00:05:23.010] – Boris
I remember when hashtags first became a thing and explaining to people what a hashtag was, why it’s useful and were it even comes from as a computer science geek from back in the day, you know…
[00:05:35.790] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:05:35.790] – Boris
What hashtags were originally for…
[00:05:39.430] – Kat Murphy Toms
Is it pound GivingTuesday? Yes, it’s pound GivingTuesday.
[00:05:43.680] – Boris
When you’re entering it on your touch tone phone, you hit pound GivingTuesday. No.
[00:05:49.220] – Kat Murphy Toms
I’m going to make a shirt, “Pound GivingTuesday.”
[00:05:53.860] – Boris
Okay. GivingTuesday has been around for nine years now. Right? This is your number nine.
[00:05:59.760] – Kat Murphy Toms
This is number nine.
[00:05:59.760] – Boris
How’s it doing? Can you give us some stats?
[00:06:01.880] – Kat Murphy Toms
So I think everybody knows this story by now. This thing started as a day for anyone, anywhere to give. We said, okay, you’ve got Cyber Monday, you’ve got Black Friday. What does it look like if we create a day that flips that narrative on the head that people can do the reverse of that consumerism behavior?
[00:06:22.070] – Kat Murphy Toms
And maybe the original idea was like, hey, maybe people will take a little bit of their savings on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, throw it toward the nonprofit sector, and it morphed into something so much bigger than that.
[00:06:37.470] – Kat Murphy Toms
It was novel in the way that the team designed it because they hoped that people would grab it and take it somewhere new. And that’s exactly what people did. The thing that supercharged GivingTuesday was these small communities. Families, people all over the country and eventually around the world saying, I’m going to make this part of my annual tradition. And I think the most interesting thing about GivingTuesday as we watched it grow, is that from the very first day, this was a story about other people stepping up and raising their hand and saying, I want to make this idea better.
[00:07:10.930] – Kat Murphy Toms
Countries started calling. This was born out of the 92nd Street Y New York. Countries would call and say, hey, can we take this idea? I was one of them in Illinois. And then the UK called and Canada called and Henry Timms and Asha Curran said, yes, absolutely. Take this. Here’s the logo files. You can do whatever you want with it.
[00:07:30.990] – Kat Murphy Toms
70 countries later… 70 official country movements later, when we look at the data on the other side of GivingTuesday there was actually activity in every single country and territory on Earth. Last year was the first time that actually happened. We’ve been watching that grow. And last year was the first time we’ve been ever actually technically able to say there is something happening—whether that’s somebody tweeting about their favorite cause, whether that’s somebody sharing on their Instagram that they did an act of kindness in every single place on Earth, including space. Christina Koch, the astronaut, tweeted from space about why she loves GivingTuesday and how she’ll be participating. And it’s just the coolest thing.
[00:08:14.800] – Boris
[00:08:15.219] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:08:17.030] – Boris
It’s now an extra-planetary movement.
[00:08:18.290] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:08:20.550] – Kat Murphy Toms
And the thing that’s most interesting for me about this whole concept is not just about fundraising. This is a movement that people all over the world are leveraging, and it’s nonprofits’ opportunity to tap into that and to focus that energy toward their own cause in a myriad of different ways. So GivingTuesday celebrates absolutely all acts of generosity that you could ever imagine and encourages all of that. It’s not just about fundraising. Contrary to most of the questions that I ever get asked about GivingTuesday. The most successful nonprofits on GivingTuesday are actually asking their current supporters to activate for them in other ways and asking new supporters to come into their mission in other ways.
[00:09:11.420] – Kat Murphy Toms
Can you volunteer for me? Can you help me get ready for my GivingTuesday campaign? Can you join our junior board? Can you join with us and we’re going to create a pop up grocery store for homeless folks on GivingTuesday. People want to give desperately. And we’ll talk more about this in a little bit, especially now when the whole world is on fire, literally in some cases, and we are in crisis mode, and people want to give during crisis. It’s the one thing that they want to do.
[00:09:45.310] – Boris
You know, I want to get into all of that. And I love that there are so many different things that people can use GivingTuesday to activate their supporters. But let’s back up just a second, because I think you’re aware that there’s people out there and I’m on some Facebook groups for nonprofits, and people are asking, “Is GivingTuesday even worth it anymore?” You’re nine years in. It’s super popular, super buzzy. Is it too noisy for nonprofits to get involved at this point?
[00:10:17.960] – Kat Murphy Toms
No, that’s the entire point. Now GivingTuesday… it’s up to your nonprofit. You are welcome to participate in GivingTuesday. We’re not on a mission to ask every single nonprofit in the world to participate in GivingTuesday. That’s not what we’re here to do. We’re here to create a movement of excited donors who want to do something on this day, and then it’s your choice if you would like to enter into that opportunity or not, or leverage the movement in whatever way that you want to.
[00:10:48.140] – Kat Murphy Toms
That’s the thing about GivingTuesday. You can be creative, and you should be creative when you’re developing your campaign. The noise… So…
[00:11:01.880] – Kat Murphy Toms
No. It’s not too noisy because you’re not trying to compete with everyone who’s using the GivingTuesday hashtag. And if that’s what you think you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong. What you’re supposed to be doing on GivingTuesday is mobilizing your current supporters. That’s who you’re fighting against. The average person is not subscribed to 800 nonprofit newsletters like Boris, I know you and I are, and every other nonprofit development director that I know is subscribed to everyone’s nonprofit newsletter because they’re trying to get ideas. They’re trying to collaborate with each other. That’s just what we do as fundraisers.
[00:11:39.360] – Kat Murphy Toms
The average world citizen, that is not the case at all. They are not hearing about GivingTuesday in their inbox 800 times a day like you are as a fundraising director. I always try to remind folks of that. This is not as noisy as I think you think it may be. And then you’re not out here to be capturing people who are browsing on the GivingTuesday hashtag. You are out here to be mobilizing your current supporters to go out and get word out to their followers about why they might get involved in your GivingTuesday campaign.
[00:12:21.300] – Kat Murphy Toms
Peer to peer fundraising on GivingTuesday is probably one of the most effective campaign strategies, if not the most effective campaign strategies. So that’s where you’re asking your current supporters to, “hey, will you run a Facebook fundraiser for me?” Will you run on whatever platform you want, by the way, you don’t have to do this on Facebook. You can do use whatever peer to peer fundraising platform you currently use and go out there and ask your friends and family members to get involved in your mission.
[00:12:57.950] – Kat Murphy Toms
There’s no noise, there’s no noise.
[00:13:00.940] – Boris
So that makes total sense. And I think what a lot of people are seeing as noise is the—in another word—groundswell of activity that is becoming audible. And I think that’s fantastic, because what it should be doing, hopefully, is reminding people, “Oh, yeah, this is a day of giving. What are the organizations that I care about?” It’s on the news. And it’s not like, oh, now I’m going to go surf the GivingTuesday hashtag.
[00:13:27.390] – Kat Murphy Toms
There are only three days of the year where folks are actively looking for organizations to support. It’s, GivingTuesday, and then the last two days of the year when they’re trying to get their IRS, whatever it is that they get here in the United States, their tax break. So on GivingTuesday, this is more of a joy they’re looking to give out of joy. And that’s why it’s one of the reasons we invented this day. You come to tax day at the end of the year, and people are just plain, like, [sighs] that’s not exciting to be writing a check and sticking into the mail in order in order to achieve your tax benefit.
[00:14:05.260] – Kat Murphy Toms
What’s more exciting is to give in a joyful way. You’re given with the entirety of the rest of the world, to be a part of something bigger than yourself. And it’s amazing.
[00:14:16.010] – Boris
So you mentioned the end of year tax breaks, which, you know, you could be donating at any time and get the same tax break throughout the year.
[00:14:24.530] – Kat Murphy Toms
Yeah. But you know procrastinators,
[00:14:25.850] – Boris
Of course, everybody does.
[00:14:27.210] – Kat Murphy Toms
Everybody waits until the last two days of the year.
[00:14:29.260] – Boris
Absolutely. I understand. I’m—one of my other titles is Procrastinator in Chief around here. But the question does come up, then, “well are people going to see our GivingTuesday campaign, give us something on social media, and then feel like, well, I gave at the office, so to speak, and now neglect us at the end of year with their maybe bigger donation.”
[00:14:51.830] – Kat Murphy Toms
Yep. Constantly. The basic answer to that is that does not happen. The longer answer to that question is that GivingTuesday operates a Data Department. I don’t know that folks know about this. We’re humble about it. We don’t talk about it nearly enough, but we operate the Data Commons. It’s the, as far as I know, only philanthropic, collaboration like this that’s ever existed. It’s the way that we come up with the GivingTuesday total at the end of the year.
[00:15:23.880] – Kat Murphy Toms
We have organized… not me, my colleague Woodrow, who runs this entire beautiful operation, has organized every single donation platform, nonprofit donation platform here in the United States, and hundreds of others throughout the world.
[00:15:39.670] – Kat Murphy Toms
So these are your Classys, your Blackbauds, your Network for Goods, your Give Lively, every… QGiv, GiveGab. All of them are in a Slack group. They talk to each other, they collaborate on things and, most importantly, they give us their data. All of it, aggregated and scrubbed. It’s anonymized I don’t literally have your donors information. It’s all aggregated, I promise. But we have that for not just GivingTuesday. We have that for the entirety of the year. So what that empowers us to be able to do is absolutely immense.
[00:16:15.300] – Kat Murphy Toms
We can study everything from this exact question about does GivingTuesday cannibalize? It does not. In fact, GivingTuesday is additive. We’re seeing trends where folks are giving more at the end of the year because they gave a gift first on GivingTuesday and then they receive that on end-of-year-appeal and they just plain give again. I don’t know what else to say about it.
[00:16:38.410] – Kat Murphy Toms
It does not cannibalize end of year. The other thing that we’re finding is that folks who give first on GivingTuesday stick around for longer and longer periods of time than someone who gave for the first time on some other random different day of the year.
[00:16:56.210] – Kat Murphy Toms
They’re just inherently more engaged. It’s just the type of person who participates in GivingTuesday. We’re still studying this phenomenon about why exactly this is. But these are the kind of folks who are more likely to sign up for your monthly giving. They are more likely to respond to your ask to come out for a volunteer project. They are more likely to join your junior board and get more and more actively engaged in your cause. It’s amazing. I could go on forever about this, but the opportunity for participating and GivingTuesday is absolutely immense.
[00:17:34.920] – Boris
So I think that’s amazing. First of all, that you have that kind of data, is that publicly available somehow? Can we find it?
[00:17:41.500] – Kat Murphy Toms
Mostly, yes. If you go to GivingTuesday.org, there’s a menu item called Data and Insights. There’s two sections. We also collect academic research on everything related to generosity, not just fundraising, but volunteerism, mutual aid, all civil society things. And then we have a whole data hub.
[00:18:05.590] – Boris
That’s amazing. I’m definitely going to find that.
[00:18:08.490] – Kat Murphy Toms
It’s really nerdy.
[00:18:09.720] – Boris
If you don’t see me for a month. That’s because I’m playing with your data.
[00:18:13.810] – Kat Murphy Toms
Boris, I can’t even click on it because I go down a rabbit hole every single time. I’ve had to ban myself from clicking on the data. It’s absolutely incredible. There’s working groups who work on all kinds of different things. Workplace giving work group. There is a crowd funding work group. There’s a DAF Holders work group. We do a lot of other things outside of just pulling off this annual day that we do. It’s Cool.
[00:18:42.280] – Boris
So I’m sold. I mean, I have been, I actually wrote articles about GivingTuesday at like, oh my God, so many years ago.
[00:18:50.710] – Kat Murphy Toms
Then we appreciate you. Your one of the folks who helped mobilize and start this whole thing.
[00:18:58.280] – Boris
Anything I could do. I mean, that’s my goal, but alright, let’s say that the listeners, if they weren’t already sold on trying to do a GivingTuesday campaign or haven’t been doing them previously that they are now. Alright, we’re all in. What should we be doing? How do we make this the best effort, the best use of our time. Everybody is strapped for time. It’s one of the least appreciated resources that nonprofits are over stretched on. How do we maximize our time and maximize this campaign to get the most out of GivingTuesday?
[00:19:33.570] – Kat Murphy Toms
All right, a few things don’t invent a completely separate campaign than your end-of-year campaign. The most successful nonprofits are using GivingTuesday as a launching point into their end-of-year campaign. So don’t waste your time coming up with a completely different call to action, a completely different story line, new completely different graphics. There’s no reason for that. Just kick off your end-of-year campaign on GivingTuesday and run at the entire month of December.
[00:20:05.380] – Kat Murphy Toms
Tip number two is to if you haven’t already send your supporters a Save-the-Date email, and in that email, put a calendar invite. Literally a calendar invite. Folks are busy, especially now and I don’t know about you, but if it’s not in my calendar, it is not happening at all. So, you might send different calendar invites to different parts of your audience. If you’re sending it to your general supporters, you might put your donate link in that calendar invite. So when they get the notification on their Apple watch, they can go on their phone and hopefully your mobile donation pages. Mobile friendly.
[00:20:50.010] – Kat Murphy Toms
That’s probably tip number three actually optimize everything you have for mobile. And if you don’t have time to do that, you might think about just using one of the Facebook fundraisers or an Instagram fundraiser or something like that just so that folks can easily give on their phone. If you might send a calendar invitation to your board members that includes “copy-pastable” social media and a reminder that says like, “Hey, can you copy-paste this into your Twitter today or your LinkedIn today to help remind your folks to give on GivingTuesday” or whatever it is that your call to action is for that particular group.
[00:21:31.340] – Kat Murphy Toms
Calendar invite is the number one most effective tool to use on GivingTuesday. Hands down. If you have SMS or like, mobile messaging, text messaging at your disposal, that’s probably the second best. As you are well aware, the open rate on a text message is something like 90% and the click through rate on those are pretty amazing to compared to things like email and social media. So if you have that at your disposal, you’re still early enough. You can investigate that now hopefully.
[00:22:07.100] – Kat Murphy Toms
I use Community for our text messaging. I love it. It’s great. I want to say GiveLively and there’s a couple of other platforms that have mobile giving, which is a little bit different than the Community portal that I use. Big fan of mobile, big fan of text messaging.
[00:22:24.960] – Boris
Mobile is definitely sticking around and has taken over the web traffic, and it’s slowly, if not that slowly actually, taking over the giving space as well. We’re just on our phones all the time.
[00:22:38.680] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:22:40.260] – Boris
It’s the immediate place to reach us. It’s also the easiest place for us to take actions. The more you can channel us there and make it frictionless for us to give, the better it is. So let me just recap. You said first, use this as the launch of your year-end campaign, not an entirely separate campaign, which also saves a lot of bandwidth and work in the first place.
[00:22:59.490] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:23:00.600] – Boris
Great. The second thing you said was to send a calendar invite. Again, great idea. When you first shared this with me a couple of weeks ago, I think, I thought that was brilliant. Why isn’t everybody doing that?
[00:23:11.830] – Kat Murphy Toms
I know about a personal mission to get everyone to do this.
[00:23:15.550] – Boris
And you could be absolutely segmenting it. So if you know, ahead of time the people who are going to do Facebook fundraiser, then you could be sending them a reminder. Okay. You’re going to launch today, and you’re going to say this, right? Here’s some sample text, which I also do all the time. Make it super easy.
[00:23:32.710] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:23:32.710] – Boris
You should copy-paste this. Put your name in here if you want to or fill in the blank. But here’s what you’re going to say and go, go, go. Right?
[00:23:39.840] – Kat Murphy Toms
Yes. Yes. That’s like a blanket statement. You have to make it as easy as possible for anyone that is helping you out in your GivingTuesday campaign. For supporters, for the people who are volunteering to get out there and fundraise for you, it has to be easy as pie. Everybody has to have “copy-pastable” emails. I will make people a toolkit, and I think I have some of this actually prefabbed tool kits that you can customize and then share out to your peer-to-peer fundraisers. With all of this, like sample social media posts, a sample email that they might send to their friends. We try to shortcut everything for you all.
[00:24:20.250] – Boris
That’s amazing. And we will find those. We will link them in the show notes. Because everybody should at least start with that.
[00:24:27.000] – Kat Murphy Toms
Everything’s at GivingTuesday.org.
[00:24:29.360] – Boris
Absolutely. And then there’s the resources section. I know you’ve got some special things for nonprofits there. We’re going to drive as many people there as we can to get their campaigns going. And then the thing about mobile optimization, of course, when behavioral scientists, behavioral economists a few years back, more than a few now, were doing research on how to get people to take action, the traditional philosophies of carrot and stick methodologies, they realized, “Okay. Yeah. Those work somewhat, but actually the most effective thing is to remove as much friction as possible to the fact you want people to take.”
[00:25:06.490] – Boris
It’s almost like when you think about a river. Water will cut through the softest rock. It’s not going to go. “Oh, I have to go this way. Therefore, I’m gonna borrow through the granite. No, no, I’ll go through the softer sediment instead.” Same thing with the way that we behave as human beings. Make it the default. Make it the easiest thing possible. And as long as we don’t disagree with it and don’t have an issue with it, we’re going to go in that direction.
[00:25:29.680] – Kat Murphy Toms
We’ve got time now. So I hope that nonprofits are looking at their donate pages right now. You’ve got time to fix it if it needs fixing. I don’t know that folks go through their own donation process often enough. I like to advise folks to do that at least quarterly, because stuff changes on the back end to some of these donation platforms, and they don’t tell you. And it’s good habit to get into just donate a dollar to your own organization every once in a while, just so you can experience what the donor experiences. When it comes to GivingTuesday and you want them to take action immediately, you have to create as least space as possible between the thing that motivated your person to click on that donate button versus getting them to actually submit their credit card number or information.
[00:26:21.230] – Kat Murphy Toms
So these donate pages, they kill me. The ones that ask for the mailing address, the ones that ask for T-shirt size, the ones that ask for a whole host of other other 30 fields later. And then you’ve lost me. I have to go tend to these children. I have to cook my dinner. The phone has rung… you lost me. I’m sorry.
[00:26:43.280] – Boris
And I also might not—I might appreciate what you’re doing and want to donate to it—but I might not trust you enough yet with all my personal information.
[00:26:50.210] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:26:50.210] – Boris
I’ve fought with nonprofit leaders about including a phone number field. “No, I have to call them all.” Okay, sure. Can you follow up later, maybe?
[00:26:59.910] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:26:59.910] – Boris
And say, hey, we would love to be able to communicate with you in other ways. Can we please have your phone number?
[00:27:06.150] – Kat Murphy Toms
Yes. Perfect opportunity to touch that person again a couple of weeks later and get them re engaged in your mission. And so I am a fan of as least as possible. If you can figure out how to get Apple Pay so that I can just double click and it automatically inputs my stuff. That’s ideal.
[00:27:25.010] – Boris
Yeah. And the whole thing about going through your funnel, your donate funnel, quarter or so I think, is great. Not just to see how frictionless it is, but also the full donor experience shouldn’t stop there, right?
[00:27:38.541] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:27:38.550] – Boris
It should go on afterwards. And when you talked earlier about these folks who are giving again at the end of the year, maybe even giving more. Well, the question is, what did you do with them between the time they gave for GivingTuesday and the time that you asked for your final end of year request? If you gave them some positive reinforcement, if you gave them some more stories, if you made them feel more involved, if you asked them for their input and make them feel like a valued member of the community, you’ve increased their stake.
[00:28:08.600] – Boris
They’re going to then increase their desire to give more, to make it a stronger organization and help you succeed on your mission. Because it’s your group mission now. It’s not just. “Oh, that’s what that organization is doing.” It’s “look at me. I’m doing this!”
[00:28:22.180] – Kat Murphy Toms
Yes, Boris. That’s it. Nailed it.
[00:28:27.590] – Boris
I’m preaching to the choir at the moment, but hopefully there are organizations that do need to hear this and can think about this. Last week I had a guest on here who is all about the thank-you follow ups. And it’s so underutilized and underperforming for everybody. The relationship only starts at the first donation.
[00:28:49.980] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:28:51.710] – Boris
[00:28:52.950] – Kat Murphy Toms
Yes, exactly. Nailed it. This is about building a movement for your mission. This is not about simply collecting five-dollar donors and then not talking to them again until next GivingTuesday.
[00:29:08.110] – Boris
So, GivingTuesday is the kickoff day, let’s say, for the end-of-year campaign.
[00:29:13.420] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:29:13.420] – Boris
If we haven’t started planning yet for how to do that kickoff, is it too late or what should we be doing right now?
[00:29:21.800] – Kat Murphy Toms
No, I should hope that everyone’s starting to think about their end-of-year campaign. My goodness, if you all aren’t, you need to do that today. Where to start? That calendar invite, for starters. Figuring out what you’re going to do. What is your story going to be for your end-of-year campaign? How are you going to speak authentically about your mission? How are you going to set a goal, first of all. I think that’s another underutilized tactic.
[00:29:51.610] – Kat Murphy Toms
The nonprofits who have the best GivingTuesdays are almost always the ones who set some sort of clear, smart, tangible goal for not only they’re GivingTuesday campaign, but their end of year in general. Whether that’s: I want to get a X number of new donors. I want to sign up however many number of people for my monthly giving. I want to get sign ups for volunteers, whatever it is, put a number on it, give yourself a bar and work towards that.
[00:30:24.540] – Boris
Do you make those numbers public?
[00:30:27.300] – Kat Murphy Toms
Yeah, I do. I mean, we know for GivingTuesday because we never want to make a guess about what GivingTuesday is going to do, because we never know, we never know. But for nonprofits, absolutely. It gives your folks something to rally behind and some motivation and to see a little bit of the impact.
[00:30:48.200] – Boris
Absolutely. So I always like to talk about what are the metrics that need to be gauged to know whether or not you’ve succeeded? To know whether or not whether or not there’s something you can learn and how you could do better the following year.
[00:31:04.230] – Boris
But also, it’s this concept that I think really took off publicly when crowdfunding first became a big thing. You set a goal. Suddenly people see that goal and they see that you’re trying to get there and that there’s other people supporting it. There becomes this groundswell effect and now, “help us cross that finish” line is such a powerful motivator for people who believe that some of them actually come back in crowdfunding campaigns and donate again.
[00:31:28.650] – Kat Murphy Toms
Absolutely. Absolutely. Have you seen this Quentin Quarantino fundraiser? No. It’s absolutely mind blowing so quick. Quentin Quarantino is this Instagram influencer, he got popular, making memes about all kinds of funny things over the high quarantine times. Right. He started a fundraiser to get Afghanis, refugees, out of Afghanistan and into safe places, and particularly the people who are like human rights activists, LGBTQ activists—the people who really need to be out of that country right now—had set a goal for, like, $500,000. I think it was.
[00:32:10.300] – Boris
[00:32:11.610] – Kat Murphy Toms
Raised 16,000 of it in the first couple of minutes. It’s currently at $6 million. It’s been two days. And exactly what you said. I think people see this. They want to be a part of this groundswell movement. And you, scrolling through, you can see people giving again and giving more. It absolutely blows my mind every time I see it, even though I know for fact that this is effective fundraising and that that happens and that people are generally… that’s our humanity. The one thing that all of humanity shares is our want and our need to be generous. But it still blows my mind every single time.
[00:32:49.600] – Boris
We have a need to solidify our place in community and to give back. It’s part of the social contract that we want to be perceived as good, but we also want to reinforce good out there. So there is this need for generosity that’s baked into our DNA in a lot of ways.
[00:33:07.970] – Kat Murphy Toms
And that’s exactly the GivingTuesday magic. We have this need to… we want to post about our generosity. We want to share it with the world, and it just creates this groundswell and tornado and a Hurricane of generosity and it’s amazing to see every single time.
[00:33:23.360] – Boris
Okay, I know you’ve got a lot going on. And I know every nonprofit who’s hopefully listening to this if they weren’t already busy thinking about their year-end campaign, hopefully their brains are spinning right now. So I want to ask you, besides the tools that we know are up on GivingTuesday and some of the ones that you mentioned that we’re going to link to in the show notes, are there any other tools or books or anything that you recommend nonprofit leaders be thinking about or reading, right now?
[00:33:47.410] – Kat Murphy Toms
I’ve been consuming the entire Community Centric Fundraising website. I think it’s phenomenal. It’s so very GivingTuesday. It’s about how can we take a community-centered approach to our fundraising. It’s all of the things that we just talked about: community first. How can we involve folks together to give back toward our mission and center that. It’s amazing. All great, super great resources. What else have I been consuming? If you haven’t read our book, GivingTuesday has a book. It’s called New Power. Henry Timms wrote it. It’s amazing. Highly recommend that, too. What else?
[00:34:28.850] – Kat Murphy Toms
And follow us on social because we post about all of these things. We post about generosity and the rest of the world and tips that you can glean from the rest of the world, collaborate and innovate with everyone else. So please, if you’re not following our social, you should. If you’re not on our email list, you absolutely should be there. Make sure you flag yourself as a nonprofit so that I know to send you the weekly “what you should be doing for your GivingTuesday campaign” email, which will start soon. Not yet. In a couple of weeks. I need to make that.
[00:35:02.860] – Boris
Well, thank you so much for all this brilliant insight and passion that you have for doing what you do. It’s fun to see your face light up as you’re talking about this because you’re so into it and you know the power of it yourself. You grew up with it, if you will. And now you’re helping spread that joy and that power. So it’s amazing. We will, of course, like I said, link to all of this stuff. If people want to get in touch with you or connect with you, is there a way that you prefer for them to do that?
[00:35:31.240] – Kat Murphy Toms
@GivingTuesday. I am the person who operates that handle. I get back to you right away.
[00:35:37.100] – Boris
Fantastic. Kathleen, thank you so much for your time today. I think maybe we’ll even check back in with you because there’s more things that I want to talk to you about. But maybe after GivingTuesday where we could get together again to talk about… “that’s done, what do we do next?”
[00:35:52.000] – Kat Murphy Toms
[00:35:52.450] – Boris
“How do we follow up with that. And how do we prepare for next year?”
[00:35:55.000] – Kat Murphy Toms
Yeah. It’s great idea. Yeah. Let’s do that.
[00:35:57.560] – Boris
Awesome. Thanks again, Kathleen. And thank you everybody for joining us today for the Nonprofit Hero Factory. I’ve had a great time talking. I hope you had a great time listening. Please check out the show notes for all of the different tools that Kathleen referenced. And, of course, subscribe. Give us a review so that more nonprofit leaders like you can discover people like Kathleen and the work that we’re trying to do here to activate more heroes for your cause. Thank you, everybody.
[00:36:42.150] – Outro Video
Thank you all for watching and listening to the Nonprofit Hero Factory, we hope this episode has given you some ideas and strategies for creating more heroes for your cause and a better world for all of us. Please be sure to subscribe to this show on YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform and let us know what you think, by leaving a review.
Concepts and Takeaways:
- GivingTuesday was born from the idea to encourage people to take a bit of their savings from Black Friday and Cyber Monday and put them towards the nonprofit sector. (6:01)
- The goal from the start was to empower people to take GivingTuesday into new directions, and they have.
- GivingTuesday is not just about fundraising. It generates acts of generosity of all types and encourages everyone to do it. (8:20)
- Don’t worry about the “noise.” (11:01)
- GivingTuesday should not be about competing with others or anyone using the hashtag. What nonprofits should be doing, is mobilizing their current supporters, getting them to spread the word and even start their own peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns that day.
- There isn’t as much noise as you might think. Keep in mind that the average person does not subscribe to as many nonprofit newsletters as a fundraising and marketing professional.
- GivingTuesday does not cannibalize end of the year giving. (16:38)
- In fact, people get more engaged, especially those who gave for the first time, and stick around longer.
- If nurtured properly, many will even give again at the end of the year.
- Tips for getting the most out of GivingTuesday (19:33)
- Don’t invent a completely new campaign. Use GivingTuesday as a year-end campaign kickoff.
- Send your supporters a save-the-date email. And add a calendar invite in that email. You can even put your donate link right in the calendar invite so that the alert pops up with the link to give!
- Optimize everything for mobile. If you don’t have a great mobile experience, consider using Facebook or Instagram fundraisers. And use SMS if you can, because it has significantly higher open rates.
- Make it as easy as possible for your supporters to help with your campaign by giving them templates, graphics, social media language and more. The GivingTuesday website has a lot of these already available on their website. (23:39)
- When it comes to driving action, you want to remove as much friction as possible—to shorten the distance between the impulse to donate and the ability to complete a donation. Remove everything possible in between, including extra fields in your forms, the need to switch platforms, and other factors that make for a poor user experience. (24:40)
- Go through your donation process quarterly. Make a $1 donation to experience what your donor experiences, and make adjustments accordingly. (25:29)
- Set a goal. The nonprofits who have the best GivingTuesdays are almost always the ones who set some sort of clear, smart, tangible goal for not only they’re GivingTuesday campaign, but their end of year in general. (29:51)
- Making that goal public can create a groundswell of support, with people giving multiple times to help you succeed.
- We have an innate desire to share our generosity with the world, and GivingTuesday gives us an excuse to do just that. That’s part of its magic. (33:07)
Action Steps: What Now?
About this week’s guest
Kat Murphy TomsDirector, Digital Strategy, GivingTuesday
Kathleen Murphy Toms is the director of digital strategy for GivingTuesday. The biggest philanthropic movement in history, GivingTuesday leverages social media and a broad network of nonprofits, community activists, schools, brands, small businesses, and individuals to ignite a movement and global call to action to give. It has seen record-breaking engagement at every level of society – from some of the world’s biggest celebrities and influencers to students, volunteers, and everyday givers.
Kathleen studies the use of digital tools within social movements, particularly their use in shifting power, creating mass mobilization, instilling behavior change, and achieving global equity. Kathleen has coached thousands of social impact leaders and grassroots organizers from nearly every continent on how to not only generate funds for their causes but to inspire and mobilize groundswell movements to create systemic change. She is an adjunct instructor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs where she teaches social changemakers how to develop innovative content marketing and digital strategies to activate and engage new audiences.
The Nonprofit Hero Factory: Episode 15
60-Second Nonprofit Stories that Spark Conversation with Sam Horn
In this Episode:
Sam Horn, CEO of Intrigue Agency, shares techniques for crafting nonprofit stories that start conversations, intrigue your audience and inspire them to action.
Whether it’s a donor pitch, a virtual meeting or a face-to-face conversation, Sam and Boris discuss how to use story to illustrate the power of your work and gain the trust of your audience for your nonprofit.
Read the Transcript
[00:00:17.810] – Intro Video
Welcome to the Nonprofit Hero Factory, a weekly live video broadcast, and podcast. Where we’ll be helping nonprofit leaders and innovators create more heroes for their cause and a better word for all of us. Da-Ding!.
[00:00:22.550] – Boris
Hi, everybody, and welcome to an episode of the Nonprofit Hero Factory, we’re very excited today, this is one of our first episodes back. And we’ve got a prolific speaker, author and communicator in general, Sam Horn. Sam is the CEO of the intrigue agency. Her three TEDx talks, nine books, including “POP!” And “Tongue Fu!”, have been distributed widely and she’s presented to Intel, Cisco, Fidelity, nationwide, Boeing and Capital One, among many other illustrious clients.
[00:00:53.360] – Boris
I asked Sam earlier, and she definitely works with nonprofits as well. So she’s going to really hone all of her messaging today just to help nonprofits get their word out more clearly and more effectively. She describes her superpower as helping organizations craft clear, concise, compelling presentations, pitches, website and marketing copy that earns the attention, support, trust and donations of stakeholders. And if she could help us all communicate our messaging as clearly as that, I think we’re going to have a great episode today.
[00:01:21.740] – Boris
So without any further ado, let’s bring Sam onto the show.
[00:01:28.250] – Sam Horn
Hey, Boris, I’ve been looking forward to sharing some ideas with your viewers and listeners.
[00:01:32.690] – Boris
That’s fantastic. Since I’m all about storytelling. Can you share your story with us just for a couple of minutes?
[00:01:38.840] – Sam Horn
You bet. Two minutes. Rock and roll. So some people may know that I helped start and run the Maui Writer’s Conference for 17 years. We did something that was unprecedented at the time. We gave people an opportunity to jump the chain of command. You could pitch your screenplay straight to Ron Howard. You could pitch your novel to the head of Random House. I mean, it was just, it had never been done before. But what we didn’t realize is that no one knew how to pitch.
[00:02:05.150] – Sam Horn
And after the first pitch meetings, one woman came out with tears in her eyes. And I went over. I said, “Are you OK?” She said, “I’m not OK. I just saw my dream go down the drain.” She said, “I put my three-hundred-page manuscript on the table”, and the agent took one look at it and said, “I don’t have time to read all that.” He said, “Tell me in 60 seconds what your project is about and why someone would want to read it”.
[00:02:29.690] – Sam Horn
And you know, Boris. It’s that, I watch those pitches and I could predict who is getting a deal without hearing a word being said based on one thing. Guess what? The decision makers eyebrows.
[00:02:43.340] – Sam Horn
Because if we’re describing our nonprofit or if someone says, “oh, well, tell me what you do,” or if someone says, “oh, I’ve heard about your upcoming fundraiser activity, tell me about it.” And it’s “wah wah wah wah wah wah wah.” If people’s eyes are crunched up, try it right now… Crunch up your, see, it means we’re confused. We don’t get it. And if they don’t get it, we don’t get it. And now if their eyebrows were unmoved, it meant they were unmoved or they had Botox. Now the eyebrows are up right now. Just arch your eyebrows, lift them. Ah, do you feel intrigued? Curious? That means we got what we care about in their mental door and in our short time together today, that’s what we’re going to talk about—is that in a very crowded and noisy world right now, if we’re a nonprofit leader, how can we get people’s eyebrows up so they’re intrigued, and curious and want to know more about what we’re doing in our nonprofit?
[00:03:39.770] – Boris
That’s amazing. Sam, you’re giving me flashbacks of my career in Hollywood and pitch sessions and the opportunity to pitch something to Ron Howard. I might completely melt if I had that opportunity. He’s one of my heroes. And of course, I’ve worked with startups and nonprofits. And getting that pitch honed is so difficult. And I’ll be honest, even for my own things, it’s difficult. I can help others much easier than I can help myself. So I’m really excited to get into some of the stuff. What… Where do where do we even begin?
[00:04:16.760] – Sam Horn
Here’s where we begin, Boris. And by the way, let’s clarify. Pitching isn’t just for baseball, right? Is it? People think, well, wait a minute, I went into this because I care about the kids or I went into this because I care about this cause. The bottom line is, is that Nancy F. Cohen out of Harvard found that goldfish have longer attention than we do. Nine seconds, goldfish, eight seconds, human beings.
[00:04:39.590] – Sam Horn
So when we say “pitch,” all we need, you know, this as we walk into a meeting, we get on a phone call, we send an email. We’ve got less than 60 seconds to get their attention. So how can we hit the ground running every single time? So even if people are busy, even if they’re skeptical, even if it’s seven o’clock at night and they put in a ten-hour day, how can we get those eyebrows up?
[00:05:01.820] – Sam Horn
So you ready for a 60 second opening that gets those eyebrows up?
[00:05:06.080] – Boris
Let’s do it.
[00:05:06.980] – Sam Horn
OK, now, Boris, you said that you’re a storyteller. So what I do and what I hope everyone else does is that every time we want to make a point, we start with a story. Because if we start with the story, as you know, that’s what people relate to. That’s what they identify with. The eyebrows are up. They’re intrigued. And they Socratically get the message and want to know more. Right. OK, so here’s the story about how to have a 60 second opening that’s helped my clients get millions of dollars and we’ll tell the story.
[00:05:40.310] – Sam Horn
So you may also know that I was pitch coach for Springboard Enterprises. We’ve helped entrepreneurs get 10 billion, B billion, in valuation and funding. So one of my clients came up to me and she said, “Sam, I’ve got good news. I’ve got bad news.” I said, “what’s the good news?” She said, “I’m speaking in front of a room full of investors at the Paley Center in New York.” I said, “That’s fantastic news.” I said, “What’s the bad news?”
[00:06:06.230] – Sam Horn
She said, “I’m going at two thirty in the afternoon and I only have ten minutes.” She said, “You can’t say anything in ten minutes.” I said, “Kathleen, you don’t have ten minutes. You have sixty seconds.” Here’s the opening we came up with that helped her become Business Week’s most promising social entrepreneur of that year.
[00:06:25.550] – Sam Horn
“Did you know there are 1.8 billion vaccinations given every year? Did you know up to a third of those are given with reused needles? Did you know we’re spreading and perpetuating the very diseases we’re trying to prevent? Imagine if there were a painless one use needle for a fraction of the current cost. You don’t have to imagine it. We’re doing it.”
[00:06:50.600] – Sam Horn
And she’s off and running. Are your eyebrows up, Boris?
[00:06:53.550] – Boris
I mean, I’m intrigued.
[00:06:55.280] – Sam Horn
OK, now I hope people have paper and pen because that’s the only thing all of our authors agreed at, at Maui Writer’s Conference. You know, Terry Brock would say “you have to write first thing in the morning,” and and Elizabeth George would get up and say, “I don’t get going until the afternoon.” And Frank McCourt would say, “You have to work with an outline.” And Dave Barry would say, “I never work with an outline.” Here’s what they agreed on:
[00:07:18.110] – Sam Horn
“Ink it when you think it.” So grab a piece of paper, think about your nonprofit and think about your meeting with a potential sponsor or donor.
[00:07:26.630] – Sam Horn
You’re meeting with your volunteers. You’re asking people to come to an event coming up. Here are three steps that can help get their attention, whether it’s on the page or on the stage or online. OK, ready? What are three “Did you know?” questions you can ask about the problem you’re solving, about the issue you’re addressing, about the need you’re meeting.
[00:07:50.510] – Sam Horn
So it’s, “did you know this and this and this?” And now what we’re looking for are startling statistics about how bad it is about how money is, how much money is being spent, about how many people are being affected, about the trend is being worse because our goal is: “did you know this? I didn’t know that.” “And did you know this? It’s that bad?” “And did you know this is getting worse?” Do you see how in the first 20 seconds we’ve already turned a monologue into a dialog by asking questions that surprise and startle people, get the eyebrows up now they’re engaged, right?
[00:08:29.600] – Boris
[00:08:30.440] – Sam Horn
OK, now, by the way, if you’re thinking, Sam, where do I find those startling statistics? You “GTS” that stuff. I know we have nonprofits in every kind of industry and on every kind of issue. I guarantee you, if you put into search what are startling statistics about blank, about kids with disabilities, about, you know, about poverty, about homelessness, about your food, needs and things like that, you’re going to come up with things you didn’t know.
[00:09:03.380] – Sam Horn
And if you don’t know it, chances are you’re decision makers don’t know it. Now they’re smarter than they were. You just earned their attention. So that’s the first step. Three. Did you know questions? Ready for the next step?
[00:09:14.720] – Boris
[00:09:15.590] – Sam Horn
OK, one word. Imagine, imagine, pull people out of their preoccupation. It’s it helps them picture your point, see what you’re saying. So they’re not preoccupied. They’re actually picturing in their mind what you’re saying. Now link “imagine” to three benefits of your nonprofit, three advantages of supporting your cause. Three good things that will happen if you go ahead and attend this event or support the nonprofit. And let’s go back to kathleen Calendar. She was president and founder of something called Pharma Jet.
[00:09:56.390] – Sam Horn
Now, before we work together, guess how she used to introduce yourself? By explaining that pharma jet was a medical delivery device for subcutaneous inoculations. What? Look at those eyebrows, Boris. She would have lost them at hello. Right? But now she’s thinking about her decision makers. What are they thinking while they’re thinking about those reused needles? So we made it one use. They’re thinking about those painful inoculations. So we made it painless. Most decision makers, even for a nonprofit, are thinking about money.
[00:10:34.310] – Sam Horn
How am I going to know my money is being well spent? How will the results that you’re getting for my money? It’s so we made it a fraction of the current cost. Do you see how in a world infobesity, we distilled into one succinct sentence? Who wouldn’t want that? That’s your goal. Imagine this and this and this. And people are thinking, sounds pretty good. Ready for third step?
[00:11:00.770] – Boris
Definitely. I’m taking notes.
[00:11:03.530] – Sam Horn
You don’t have to imagine it. We’re doing it here, in fact, in this article, in fact, here’s this respected thought leader who’s on our board. It’s like, in fact, you know, here is a podcast interview or media interview that, that showcases some of our heroes of some of our success stories. Right. So here’s the thing. You can do all that in 60 seconds.
[00:11:27.920] – Sam Horn
And if you do that in 60 seconds, you just gave yourself a competitive edge because everyone else is still explaining what their nonprofit is, which is infobesity.
[00:11:39.110] – Sam Horn
You turn a monologue into a dialog, you’ve gotten their eyebrows up. They’re intrigued and curious. And now they know something they didn’t know before about the importance of your cause, about the number of people being affected by it, about, you know, that it’s getting worse and yet you’re reversing it. You did it all in 60 seconds.
[00:11:59.090] – Sam Horn
By the way, one last thing at the end there, come in with evidence and precedence. So when you say you don’t have to imagine it, we’re doing it. Come in with something that’s objective and factual to prove that this isn’t speculative or you’re just not making some claim. Here is the objective evidence that they can trust to show that you’re doing what you’re saying. You’re delivering on your promises so they can trust you and take it to the bank.
[00:12:29.530] – Boris
That’s awesome. So there’s a lot to unpack there and I want to explore some of it. There are a few copywriting or storytelling formulas because good copywriting should be always good storytelling that I teach and that this just goes hand in hand with, if you will. So the first is, of course, the three act structure of the beginning, middle and end. You’ve got a beginning, which I often compare to, since I spent a lot of time in Hollywood, to that trailer voice of “in a world where this is going on…”
[00:13:03.070] – Boris
Right? And those are the surprising statistics that that you’re talking about. “One man has to…” and that’s the solution. So there’s there’s another that’s the way you put it, of basically a problem then potential result, like the vision, and then the solution, the way we’re going to get there. So there’s current world hopeful world and now let’s build the ark to get from the beginning to the end. So you’ve got all three acts, but you’re doing it in a way that’s constantly teasing people to to think and getting their imaginations open, hopefully even getting some emotional connection, because in studies that I’ve read and the work that I’ve been trying to do, you know, emotion is what really triggers someone to respond and to take action.
[00:13:49.540] – Boris
So I think that’s a beautiful formula that can can really just simplify things for a lot of people.
[00:13:56.140] – Sam Horn
Here’s the good news. It’s a framework, right? It’s both of us believe that that frameworks, templates are just suggestions. And then we customize and tailor it. And Boris the good news: We can do this in integrity. This is not some cheesy tactic, some manipulating of language. All we’re doing is we’re understanding that people have heard it before. And we have 60 seconds once again to genuinely introduce something that they don’t know that now they’re interested in. So they want to continue to listen.
[00:14:29.500] – Sam Horn
Now, you just brought up emotion. So that’s one option. And by the way, this is a buffet of ideas. It’s not you have to do this. You have to do this. It’s not, you know, in a way. It’s not a formula. It is a framework.
[00:14:42.190] – Sam Horn
If you want another option of how to start something off, shall we talk about that?
[00:14:47.110] – Boris
Let’s do it.
[00:14:48.100] – Sam Horn
OK, we’re going to talk about something called the empathy telescope, because stories are a shortcut to compassion and examples are a shortcut to empathy. So here’s a quick example, right? If we show, we don’t tell. So Shankar Vedantam, who is host of Hidden Brain on NPR, wrote an article in The Washington Post years ago, and he wrote about an oil tanker that had caught fire eight hundred miles off the coast of Hawaii. Now, a cruise ship happened to be going by and they were able to rescue the 11 people on board.
[00:15:24.190] – Sam Horn
And the captain gave a press conference and he talked about how grateful he and his crew were to be rescued. All he can think about is his dog that got left behind, abandoned on the tanker. Well, that press conference went viral and donations started pouring in from around the world. Five dollars, five hundred dollars, five thousand dollars. The US Navy changed the exercise area of the Pacific Fleet just to search for that tanker. They found it.
[00:15:53.920] – Sam Horn
They sent a C-130 to fly low, see if there’s any signs of life. There’s a brown and white blur racing up and down the deck of the tanker. Boris, they mount a quarter of a million dollar rescue mission to get this dog, and they were able to safely bring him back to Hawaii. Now, people may be thinking, what does that have to do with running a nonprofit? What’s the point? Here’s the point: Why did people from around the world mobilize to save one dog when there are thousands of people in their own cities and states and countries going without food, water and shelter?
[00:16:37.630] – Sam Horn
It is because of something called the empathy telescope. And the empathy telescope says we can put ourselves in the shoes of one person. We cannot put ourselves in the shoes of millions. We can put ourselves in the shoes of an individual. We cannot put ourselves in the shoes of an idea of an organization or a cause, which is why when we try to explain how our cause works, why it’s important when we start talking about why, how we’re 501C and our mission is to do that, it goes in one ear and out the other.
[00:17:21.220] – Sam Horn
It’s why we give examples, not explanations. So the question, of course, is, you know, who are your heroes? Who are your dogs on a tanker? Who is the individual? And just as you said, Boris show the hero journey ark, right?
[00:17:38.630] – Sam Horn
Show, “as I’ll always remember when Jimmy came into our first event and he hung in the corner and he felt like he didn’t belong. And one of our hosts went over. I’ll always remember when…” So, start at the beginning. And then guess what? You’re you’re an author. You’re a screenwriter. You’re going to love this one. Guess what we do next?
[00:18:01.030] – Boris
What do we do?
[00:18:01.780] – Sam Horn
We follow Elmore Leonard’s advice, Elmore Leonard, great author, one of our favorite keynoters… someone in the audience said, Mr. Leonard, why do people love your book so much? Guess what he said. I try to leave out the parts people skip. Oh! Guess what, Boris? Skip over the middle. That’s where stories get bogged down, right? So we start when they came to us and then we fast forward. And would you like to know the transition that helps us skip the middle, the bogs down the story?
[00:18:35.360] – Boris
[00:18:36.350] – Sam Horn
“Three months later.” And and in our second activity is the next time they came to one of our events. So, see, we skip over the actual weeds of actually how that happened. And we go to the happy ending. It’s that now he doesn’t miss an activity. Now, this donor has decided to stay with us for ten years because we’re the only one that sends him a quarterly report where they’re the only one who says, you know what?
[00:19:06.740] – Sam Horn
We donate money to other non-profits. And the only time we hear from them is when we get the letter asking us to give us more money. We don’t hear like the results. We don’t hear voluntary good news of how they are benefiting people, how they’re getting results in the real world. So start at the beginning with an individual, not with many people and not with a demographic, an individual. Skip over the middle and then the happy ending, the benefit, the result. All done with dialog. I’ve been doing all the talking… ball’s in your court, Boris.
[00:19:41.570] – Boris
No, this is amazing. So there’s the fact that we can really only identify with one person which which you brought up a very acutely and appropriately there. We can’t identify with a million people. There’s also in that particular story of the dog, there’s the idea that I can’t save all dogs. I can’t. I wish I could. I love dogs, but I can’t. However, I can save one dog. So this one dog stuck and we could all—even as you were telling me the story, I was getting emotional.
[00:20:15.950] – Boris
You know, we could all feel for that dog owner, especially if we’re for dog owners ourselves. We could all feel for him. And we feel like if I donate, maybe I can make a tangible difference, some result that I can see based on the effort that I put in, which might just be, to donate. It might be to donate and share. It might be to invite people specifically, to come and hear about this story and make it go viral.
[00:20:42.110] – Boris
So there’s a lot, in that story itself.
[00:20:46.730] – Sam Horn
You know, Boris, it’s like, do you know what the title of that article was in The Washington Post? Genocide and Infamy. Because the point was, just as you said, Boris, when we hear about something that is massive, when we hear about something that is on the other side of the world, it feels distant and it feels overwhelming and we retreat and we withdraw. And that is why focusing on one individual, as you said, we feel that we can we feel like we can help instead of feeling helpless.
[00:21:22.670] – Sam Horn
In fact, there’s another great little story about this. Years ago, I was in charge—I started the National Speakers Association chapter in Hawaii. And so we had Sylvia Chase, who was in town on vacation. And so she spoke to our chapter, Sylvia Chase, worked for CBS News and one of the early versions of 20/20. And I’ll always remember she had a show that she wanted to do and her producers would not approve it. So she jumped the chain of command and she went in to Uncle Walter, Walter Cronkite, because she knew if she pitched your idea to Walter and he said yes, that it would be a yes.
[00:21:58.940] – Sam Horn
So she went in and she pitched your story and he looked at her and he said, let’s see. He said eight words, guess what he said, Boris?
[00:22:10.130] – Boris
[00:22:11.300] – Sam Horn
“Sylvia, your cat is not in my tree”, and she was “What?” He said. “Think about it.” Your cat is not in my tree. In other words, well, Boris, I’ve been talking long enough Boris. What does that mean to you?
[00:22:30.500] – Boris
It means that I don’t know how I can step in and help. It’s not on my property, so it’s not my problem, but it’s also removed from me. So I can’t get in there and do anything about it feels like not my problem, essentially.
[00:22:47.220] – Sam Horn
See, Boris, you just got it. Every nonprofit leader right now, it’s like if we’re not on someone’s property, they don’t care. And it’s not that they’re not compassionate people. It’s just they’ve got a lot on their plate. And recency equals relevancy and so is nearness. When something is happening in our backyard, we are much more likely to care about it than if something is literally and figurative far away, distant. It’s not just geographical, it’s metaphorical and it’s psychological, right?
[00:23:21.170] – Sam Horn
So part of our goal and role as a nonprofit leader is how when we’re talking with someone, we can use a real-life example. Once again, not some made up story, a real-life example of something that is happening in their neighborhood, in their city, in their backyard, on their emotional property. So they feel not only that they can help, that it’s possible they feel almost a responsibility or an obligation to step up and do something instead of just look the other way.
[00:23:56.600] – Boris
So we naturally can understand and relate to, sympathize and empathize with things that are going on near us in our immediate vicinity. If something’s happening in my city and there’s a danger, of course, I’m going to be more attuned to that, more responsive to that. But I will say, I think in this day and age, with with digital technology and social media and all kinds of media interconnecting us, there are different kinds of neighborhoods now. It doesn’t have to be a physical neighborhood or city.
[00:24:24.020] – Boris
It could be a neighborhood, a community that I feel I’m a part of. For example, it’s pride month right now. Right? I feel like pride is critical to our society at this point in our history. And I’m going to stand up and take action. If I see something happening to that community or for that community,
[00:24:45.050] – Sam Horn
I tell you, good for you, Boris. In fact, we had talked about how many nonprofits because of covid have shifted to being on Zoom and being virtual.
[00:24:54.710] – Sam Horn
So how can we create a community online? Right, when we have people around the world, around the country, around the state, how can we make them feel or create an environment where they feel they belong, they’re part of the process instead of apart from the process? So let’s talk about how we can do that. Virtually want to?
[00:25:12.500] – Boris
[00:25:13.560] – Sam Horn
OK, number one is that is is to send a letter and email before a Zoom meeting, before any event. And one of the first things is: “We know you’re busy. That’s why you can trust us to start on time and to end on time.” And from now on, understand, Richard Branson said “time is the new money” and I think time is the new trust. If we want our participants to trust us, we always start on time because what is the message sent?
[00:25:48.350] – Sam Horn
If we say we’re going to start at nine o’clock and people are there at nine o’clock and we say, well, we have a few late comers, so we’re going to wait for a few minutes. Who are we rewarding? Who are we penalizing? No, we say you can trust us to always be a good use of your time.
[00:26:06.080] – Sam Horn
Now, the second thing always take less time than they anticipated. People are accustomed to like an hour meeting. You say in that email, we know how busy you are. We know that our board meetings are normally at seven o’clock and you’ve already put in a twelve-hour day. So we have reduced our board meetings to thirty minutes.
[00:26:26.600] – Sam Horn
You know, and people are going, “OK, they’re acknowledging the fact that I’ve got a lot on my plate and I’m a lot more likely to be on that board meeting and participate in that board meeting because it’s a half an hour instead of an hour.” So keep it brief so they don’t give you grief.
[00:26:44.480] – Sam Horn
Now, number three, say you have a thirty minute board meeting. Guess what you can say there’s ten people on the call, Zoom. Guess what you do for the first ten minutes? You go around and you give every single person a voice because otherwise they’re not a part of the conversation. They’re apart from the conversation. They’re passive, they’re not participants. So by giving people a voice in an identity, you are creating a community where we feel connected.
[00:27:16.190] – Sam Horn
So “it’s please tell us, each of you have 60 seconds—and by the way, when we say 60 seconds, we mean sixty seconds—to give us an update, something going on in your world. So that you are connecting your board, not just on a report of what we’ve done since last month. We’re saying, you matter. We want, “Oh, I didn’t know you’re part of that club.” “Hey, congratulations on finishing that 10K.” “Hey, I saw that you got that award.”
[00:27:41.850] – Sam Horn
So that people once again feel connected instead of just sitting and listening to something that’s not even personalized or customized for them and then guess what we do after everyone has a voice (sixty seconds)? We share one of our hero stories. We don’t go right into our budget report and what we spent. What would we say? Here’s a two minute story of of something actually that happened that was a win for the organization that can help you feel proud to be on the board of this ship.
[00:28:14.100] – Sam Horn
So we go right into one of our “Dog on a tanker” stories. So and then then we go into the report, etc. And at the end, you know what we always do? We set up a pipeline because we warm up a cold communication. Do you know how most people start a zoom meeting? You ready? “Put yourself on mute!”
[00:28:39.980] – Sam Horn
Boris, when we have, we have a party at our house and walk in and the first thing he said people is “Put a sock in it”, be quiet, stay silent. No, the first words are welcome. “Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule.” “It’s good to see you again.” “Congratulations.”
[00:29:00.710] – Sam Horn
Warm up the opening so that people are glad to be there. Robert Frost said “no joy in the writer, no joy in the reader.” No joy in the host, no joy in the listeners. And then at the end always set up a pipeline with the words looking forward. We’re looking forward to seeing you next month. We’re looking forward to sharing a report about how that event went. We’re looking forward to sharing next month’s hero story so that we warm up communication. We create a community where people feel involved and engaged instead of just passive spectators who are not participating. They’re not a part of the process. They’re part from the process. What are your thoughts about that, Boris?
[00:29:46.550] – Boris
Well, so I don’t deal very much in board meetings, but that structure absolutely makes sense. And when it comes to building communities online or in person, however they are, whether they’re through social media or through Zoom calls or through in-person meetings, absolutely. What’s key is helping people feel or empowering people to feel like they are a contributor to the community, like they’re part of the narrative. They’re not just listening, but they’re an active participant. That they can share their insights there and make them feel like a human being is absolutely critical.
[00:30:20.640] – Boris
So I love all of that. Speaking of being respectful of time, we just reached the half hour mark and I really want to be respectful of yours. If you have a few more minutes, I’d love to nudge you slightly further in one direction, which is that’s how you engage people and make them feel part of the community. There’s a big content strategy called user generated content where you really solicit insights from your audience, from your community, and then you share it out with everybody, making them feel even more heard, making them feel like they’re actually influencing the direction of the organization, which is fantastic.
[00:30:58.910] – Boris
But what nonprofits are having a hard time with. Not “but”… another thing that nonprofits are having a hard time with is getting people to tune in in the first place. Right? So we’re competing now sometimes on a national scale, which is great, because all of a sudden, Brooklyn organizations that I’ve been talking to have participants in Texas. Great! But they don’t know how to get that attention in the first place, how to compete with the Amazon ad or the retargeting ad that that they just someone just visit a website or the next funny video in the TikTok feed or Facebook feed or whatever it is.
[00:31:35.950] – Boris
So some people call it, how do we stop the scroll? Others are just simply asking how do we rise above the noise? And of course, I have my theories, but Sam, I really want to hear yours.
[00:31:46.130] – Sam Horn
Well, great question. Boris is I believe in something called 60-second stories we’ve already talked about. We don’t have ten minutes or we have sixty seconds. So here’s one of my favorite examples, is that I believe we turn an elevator speech into an elevator story. And so here is a story. My son Andrew Horn started Dreams for Kids, DC. And when people used to say, so what do you do? He said, I run a nonprofit. End of the conversation.
[00:32:15.440] – Sam Horn
Boris. We don’t want to end the conversation. We want to open the conversation. So from now on, don’t tell people what you do, because if they get it, they’ll go, oh, end of the conversation. If they don’t get it, they’ll go, huh? And now they’re confused. Uh-oh, we lost them at hello. Instead, do what Andrew started to do. He would jump right into the Jerry story.
[00:32:37.040] – Sam Horn
He would talk about how Jerry had cerebral palsy, that the first time he came to an event, his mother was very concerned about him. He’d become very withdrawn and introverted, bordering on depression. And so Dreams for Kids, DC, had a policy where they would assign someone to every single kid who showed up at one of their activities, whether it was with the Nationals, whether it was with at the White House or whatever. And and so the first time that Jerry was there, Betty, was his host. Well, Betty made him feel welcome. Betty cheered him on whatever.
[00:33:14.270] – Sam Horn
And a couple months later, they had an event out at Great Falls. And it was actually kind of like a mud race. Now Jerry is on crutches and doing the mud race at Great Falls was quite a challenge. So now all the kids had finished and Jerry was nowhere to be found. So Andrew ran back on the trail to find out where Jerry was. Well, here was Jerry and his host struggling up the trail and he was very determined he was going to finish it. Well now, you cannot make this stuff up, Boris…
[00:33:48.140] – Sam Horn
Andrew runs back, gets volunteers to line the trail so that they can cheer him on and let him know it’s just a couple of hundred yards ahead. While, the while the volunteers along the trail are cheering Jerry on, a van from I think it was Channel 9 shows up and Leon Harris, one of the great broadcasters in Washington, D.C., tumbled out of the van. The camera crew came out.
[00:34:13.130] – Sam Horn
They saw all the commotion and they started filming Jerry come over the crest of the hill, “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry, Jerry.” And they caught as he finished the finished, that race in Great Falls with everyone cheering him on. And Leon goes over and he sticks the mic under his face. “Jerry, how’s it feel?” And Jerry says, “I’m a winner. I’m a winner.” Andrew doesn’t talk about being a 501c and all their different activities and that, no, he tells Jerry’s story.
[00:34:53.520] – Sam Horn
And so I’m asking every every nonprofit leader who’s listening to this, do you have your Jerry stories in 60-second videos on your website? Do you have your Jerry stories on your face, on your Facebook feed, on your YouTube channel? Because in the bottom, on the bottom line, it comes down to are we sharing true, real life examples that show what we do in a way people can identify with it in a way they want to support it, in a way they want to recommend it in a way they want to get involved with it?
[00:35:28.920] – Sam Horn
If so, that’s how we stand out in a noisy world.
[00:35:33.500] – Boris
Very cool, great story, by the way. Takes you right there. Yeah, so Sam, tons of value here. Thank you so much for sharing all of that with us. We’re going to have it all in the show notes. We’ll have the transcript of this. We’re going to have all of it for all of our viewers and listeners to consume in any way that they prefer to really on their time. I ask everyone if there are any tools or resources that based on your expertise and insights you would like to share or you would like people to check out once they’re done consuming this content?
[00:36:12.980] – Sam Horn
Well, thank you, Boris out there of the books that I’ve written. There are three that are particularly useful for nonprofit leaders is one is called “Tongue Fu!” And it’s how to deal with difficult people without becoming one ourselves. It’s been sold around the world now for more than twenty five years. And and this can help us deal with someone who’s upset or unhappy if can help us deal with a sensitive or stressful situation. So “Tongue Fu!” Will be helpful.
[00:36:39.680] – Sam Horn
Also, I wrote a book called “POP!” and Seth Godin said “a third of the way through this book, you’re going to be begging to hire Sam as your consultant.” So Pop helps you come up with one of a kind names and positioning and messaging that can help whether it’s your content online or whether it is a pitch to a donor or a funder, it can help capture people’s attention.
[00:37:01.550] – Sam Horn
And then “Got Your Attention” is based on this whole idea that people are busy and distracted, and how can we hit the ground running and how we can we communicate in a way that really is intriguing. People haven’t heard it before and we get what we care about in their mental door.
[00:37:18.060] – Boris
Awesome. We’re going to have links to all of these in the show notes, if viewers do want to or listeners do want to follow up with you directly or what’s the next step in their journey that they should take?
[00:37:31.130] – Sam Horn
They can go to my work. Well, two things go to the website, which is intrigueagency.com. So it’s intrigue. I n t r i g u e, IntrigueAgency. And if they go to the section called “POP”, we actually have workshops where we work with organizations. And we help with, what are your goals for this year? What do you want to have happen? Now how can you help make that happen by making all of your communications intriguing and strategic and smart and purposeful so that they develop that.
[00:38:03.780] – Sam Horn
And also is that if you go there or the second way is just get in touch with this personally. Just reach out to Cheri, cheri@IntrigueAgency.com. She’s my business manager. She can answer your questions or we could do a webinar for your organization, speak at your annual conference. I’d love to continue the conversation.
[00:38:26.310] – Boris
Thanks so much, Sam. And we’ll have links to to all of those as well in the show notes. I really appreciate your time today. The perspective that you put on things, the way that you frame them, I think is going to be helpful to a lot of organizations. And you’re basically doing my job for me, convincing them that they need to tell stories, they need to tell good stories and do it in a way that’s going to really connect with audiences and get them to take the actions that we want them to take to make a better world.
[00:38:52.800] – Boris
So thank you so much for your time today.
[00:38:55.170] – Sam Horn
You’re welcome. Hope people have found it intriguing, inspiring and useful.
[00:39:00.000] – Boris
And thank you, everybody, for tuning in. We’re excited to have guests like Sam on every week. We’re back now full time and we hope you’ll keep tuning in. If you like us, please go ahead and subscribe. Rate us, help us get the word out so that more people could discover guests like Sam and all of the great other guests that we have on here that help nonprofits reach their audiences and create a better world for all of us.
[00:39:23.040] – Boris
Thank you, everybody. Take care.
[00:39:46.800] – Outro Video
Thank you all for watching and listening to the Nonprofit Hero Factory, we hope this episode has given you some ideas and strategies for creating more heroes for your cause and a better world for all of us. Please be sure to subscribe to this show on YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform and let us know what you think, by leaving a review.
Concepts and Takeaways:
- 05:10 — Every time we want to make a point we should start with a story, because that’s what people relate to.
- 07:26 — Three steps to get attention, whether it’s on the page, on the stage or online.
- 11:39 — Turning your monologues into a dialog to get listeners intrigued and curious.
- 14:48 — Empathy Telescopes: People can’t relate to a large group, corporation or demographic. Zoom in on one person/example with which people can empathize. What’s your “dog on a tanker” story?
- 22:47 — Proximity and recency equal relevancy, so keep your stories near-and-dear to the audience.
- 29:00 — Warm up your opening so that people are glad to be there. Create a community where people feel involved and engaged.
- 32:15 — Telling people what you do ends the conversation. Jump right into the story to start a conversation instead.
Action Steps: What Now?
About this week’s guest
Sam HornCEO of Intrigue Agency
Sam Horn is the CEO of the Intrigue Agency. Her 3 TEDX talks and 9 books – including POP! and Tongue Fu! have been presented to Intel, Cisco, Fidelity, Nationwide, Boeing and Capital One.
The Nonprofit Hero Factory: Episode 2
How Nonprofits Can Use Video to Build Community with Russ Johns
In this Episode:
Boris and guest Russ Johns talk about how nonprofits can use video to engage and grow their communities on—and generate content for—social media. Russ’s superpower is building communities through video, something he’s been doing for nearly 20 years. Today, as the host of the daily #PirateBroadcast, Russ knows a thing or two about showing up, talking and really listening to his audience. Learn about the tools and strategies that you can apply to your nonprofit’s engagement strategy on LinkedIn, Youtube and other social media channels.
Read the Transcript
Boris Kievsky 0:15
Hi Everybody and Welcome to Episode Two of the nonprofit Hero Factory. It’s actually my very first live show. I recorded episode one earlier last week, and you guys are welcome to go and check it out. If you want to learn more about me and about this podcast and video series, what we’re all about what we’re going to be doing and delivering over the course of next week’s, month. Hopefully years. As long as you guys are interested, we’ll be here to provide the content.
Boris Kievsky 0:42
Today’s episode is going to be with a good friend of mine and an expert in the field of building communities and using video to do just that. His name is Russ Johns before I bring him on I just want to apologize in advance. As I said, this is our very first live streaming episode it is also the age of Coronavirus. So at the moment, there are a few kids in the house and a new dog in the house. So you might hear any of the above, making some noise in the background or even my kids yelling at the dog in the background. It’s just the world we live in and life goes on. Right. Without any further ado, I would love to bring on Mr. Russ Johns. Russ, can we get you in? There he is. Hey, Russ.
Russ Johns 1:28
Hey Boris. How you doing?
Boris Kievsky 1:32
I’m doing all right. I’m both excited. And as you well know, nervous about this as we’re starting a whole new thing. it’s a new chapter, right? I titled Episode One of this series, our story begins and this is that was really the prologue. As I’ll keep referring to storytelling throughout this whole series, that was the prologue and this is the beginning of chapter one. I don’t know yet where the story is going to take us. So it’s exciting to discover it and I’m really glad that you are my first victim or guest or however you want to see yourself today because I know you’re a pro at doing this. You’re the one who has gotten me into doing this in the first place. Russ, let me give you the floor for a minute go ahead and introduce yourself to everybody out here on the nonprofit Hero Factory. What do you all about? Yeah, what do you hope to share with us today?
Russ Johns 2:23
Yeah. First and foremost Boris I just have two hats off to you applaud the fact that you’re taking steps to help more people I know, the passion and the focus you have on the nonprofit space in general, and your kind heart and I know that you’re going to share some amazing stories and amazing information in value to your community. I just really appreciate the fact that you’re doing this and not because I’m biased and I’m your friend. However, I think right now more than any other time in history is an opportunity where we can actually work together to share good information to help more people. I think that’s what I’m passionate about. I really like the idea that you bringing on guests and having conversations around your storytelling and how important it is for the community, I think that’s going to be so incredibly valuable right now. I just want to take a moment to applaud you for for your efforts. Thank you so much for being here.
Boris Kievsky 3:32
Thanks, brother. I really appreciate that and appreciate you. So yeah, tell me I mean, I know a lot. tell our audience a little bit about what you’ve been doing over the past few years now that I’ve known you. You’ve been building communities I know, through LinkedIn, and through streaming, specifically, live streaming now. You’ve been creating tons of really great content that people really respond to over the years. So tell me a little bit about that. What drives you? What gets you going?
Russ Johns 4:02
Well, I’m super excited. I actually grew up in the advertising industry and as far back as 85. I’ve seen this whole process evolve. I was really excited A number of years ago when I was in Houston, and the opportunity, and I got involved in podcasting. Podcasting was the first arena that I got to play in and I actually started building out this organization that helped broadcast High School varsity games, using streaming media. We get individuals who are passionate about sports, which I know very little about, send them out to these games, and they would broadcast these games, and then we’d streaming back to the radio station. I was managing radio stations at the time. Then we would play these local varsity games on the radio station in Texas. As you can guess, is very passionate about their high school sports in their, and their kids and everything else. It was this is kind of like an open door to see what the possibilities could evolve into. I started an organization and started training people is called the future media Association. The whole premise was that you are the media, you have the opportunity to tell your story and share your gifts with the rest of the world. By using some technology and how it’s evolved is is the opportunity for us to share the stories. I think especially in the nonprofit space, it’s really important for people to understand what you do, how you help, and where you can take people and assist in their mission in your organization. With that, I’ve built a number of communities. I have a good community with broadcast on LinkedIn, and YouTube, I’m continuing to grow on my YouTube channel and Twitter and all the social media. It’s amazing to watch how you can actually communicate and engage your audience. I think when you have an opportunity to have a conversation, you can just share so much and deliver so much value.
Boris Kievsky 6:23
Yeah. That sounds a lot, as you know, very much in line with the types of things that I teach nonprofits and talk to nonprofits about being the master of your own media, about being your own Broadcasting Company, if you will. There are very few barriers these days. Of course, the nonprofit’s biggest barriers are resources, time, and money. Technology has really made it cheaper and cheaper, reducing those barriers to entry. So that the difference between any organization and ABC these days is very small, despite all the Disney money behind ABC. It’s absolutely critical that they get out there and they connect with their communities and tell their stories in the best ways possible. Oftentimes, like I said, nonprofits will struggle with the resources of it, though, whether they just feel like it’s too much to take on or a feeling like they can’t afford to do it. What should they be doing? What are you seeing out there, that’s working? What are you advising people to do just to even get started without spending a ton of money and just start building that kind of community?
Russ Johns 7:42
That’s a great question. I think the word that pops into my head right now is activation. The reason I’m so passionate about video is because it quickly allows an organization to either In US using a smartphone, they can actually take and record something about something that’s taking place, or communication that needs to be shared, or something that is available to the community to activate others around the community. Say, for instance, I’ll give you a perfect example is that I’m working with an organization that builds prosthetics for people that are in rural areas in third world countries, and they use technology to scan limbs so they can quickly process prosthetics. As a result of their video, they’ve been able to tell their story to more people. All of a sudden there’s an awareness in that video can actually be shared and you can see the lights In the eyes of these children, and you can see the parents and the opportunities that they have. The people that are involved and engaged are so motivated and emotional and passionate about what they’re doing. That’s not impossible to transfer to a written word or an image. However, the beauty of the video is that then the nonprofit can take that and share it again and again until the end well until they close the internet. It’ll be there. I think that’s the value is you can do it once and share multiple times. I think there’s a transfer of energy there that takes place.
Boris Kievsky 9:44
Yeah, video is definitely one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful tool today that we have. Arguably, video feeds into some even more powerful tools perhaps like VR and AR. The closer we get to that one to one experience Right. In terms of media, the closer we get to that one to one experience of being able to put ourselves in someone else’s world, really, and we can’t help it, right, we have these neuroreceptors and transmitters, and we release these chemicals in our brains like dopamine and oxytocin and what is the, there’s four that I normally talk about. That really creates empathy and connection to someone else. As soon as you do that, we’re genetically programmed to respond to it, and help it we start to trust we start to want to help someone who is in need. Absolutely video and that first-person storytelling as often as possible, right that’ll get you there the closest. The thing though, is I feel like what happens oftentimes, nonprofits and really not just nonprofits, most people in Organizations, they put out a video and they might even have it super produced and great shiny video. They’ll put it out and they’ll sort of wait for things to happen. You and I were talking earlier and I asked you what your superpower is. You said your superpower is building community. How do we use video? Not to just broadcast our message and be ABC, right, which has historically been one-directional, right? It one too many great for them. But one-directional, how do we and they’re still wrestling with this to create a two-way conversation so that it’s really building a community because the community is not, listening to someone speak and saying, Okay, sure. Community is dialogue.
Russ Johns 11:46
Boris Kievsky 11:47
What are you doing to really facilitate dialogue out there?
Russ Johns 11:52
That’s an excellent question. I’m glad you brought it up because a lot of people, We’ve had many discussions around this point, Boris is a lot of people think that social media is going to solve their problems. What I like to do is make sure that people understand that social media is just a tool for communication. The ability and the opportunity that we have is with social media is the opportunity to actually have a conversation with somebody and one of the tools that I shared with you, that I absolutely love right now. It’s not required. You can do this in many different ways. But dubb.com is one of the tools that I use to actually create one to one communications, conversations with individuals, say a nonprofit. They have a list of donors, they have a list of people that have participated as volunteers. They have a list of people that are involved in the organization in some way, shape, or form. One of the things that I love to use on LinkedIn to engage in a direct message.
Russ Johns 13:08
LinkedIn allows you from your phone to leave a voicemail, it allows you to leave a video without any other additional software at all. It allows you to leave a text message. If you’re connected to these individuals, I encourage you to think about how you can quickly and simply just reach out and check in on people and open the dialogue that takes place and stay active in that process and make it part of your daily routine. To reach out to a few people set aside 10 15 minutes a day to actually engage in your community and allow them the opportunity to introduce you to new people that are in need of your nonprofit or actually can help Hope you’re nonprofit because people are inherently, in my history and my experience, inherently want to help people, if you’re asking for help, people are good to help if they know how they can help. Just communicating quick video on a LinkedIn phone or even in a messenger on Facebook, there’s, it’s very simple to produce. It’s very quick and easy to engage. It actually creates a lot of responses. I think that over time, that’s how I built up communities, multiple communities over time.
Boris Kievsky 14:40
Do you have a LinkedIn right now, Russ?
Russ Johns 14:43
I do have a LinkedIn. How many connections do you have there? I have, I don’t know. It’s almost 22,000 or so. connections.
Boris Kievsky 14:56
If you’re working is that a lot of people actually feel like they aren’t connected to you because you do do that you reach out to people you talk to people directly. It’s not just oh, I click the button. Yeah sure. Now I’m connected to somebody, you actually establish connections. Yeah, Dubb is a great tool for that. Dubb can also if you like, and there’s also another I don’t remember what it’s called right now, something video by type form. Also the video responses, a few tools now coming out to do that, which I think are awesome. One because it helps communicate in two directions, but also to help, for example, collect social proof, right, a video testimonial. I’m fascinated by behavior and behavioral change.
Boris Kievsky 15:41
One of the formulas that have really stuck in my head from a couple of different books that I’ve been reading lately is behavior equals motivation, plus ability Plus trigger or maybe it’s times ability to trigger and you talked about that trigger. if they see the video and if you ask for something right that’s the triggered ability these days technology like Dubb like type forms new tool and even just playing conversation Facebook Messenger will allow you to do this right? It makes it super fast and super easy to just open up your phone or open up your webcam and record a quick video and shoot it back. Now you’ve got this A: bidirectionality so you’re actually being social rather than preaching and B: your the motivation is in the is partly in the ask the trigger is right there, the call to action. The ability is super simple. You’ve now got a behavior change formula that is super simple to use.
Russ Johns 16:46
Yeah. To take the next step for us is with Dubb. I actually have been able to within Dubb, I can create a Dubb video and say, Boris, I really thank you for being on my show. I want to be able to explain to people your experience and kind of if you could share something, and then you can actually reply in the video. What that does is it allows the opportunity to be involved and engaged. If you could do that with your community in the nonprofit space, that is huge, because when you can offer ownership and it’s like, all of a sudden, that connection is like, Hey, I’m part of a bigger thing here. I’m part of a movement that’s helping individuals or helping animals or save the park or whatever it happens to be. There are so many opportunities that what happens is you collect and you acquire, and you start working on a mutual goal that everybody understands what they’re they’re part of the equation is, and there’s a lot of ways you can do this. I love Dubb, because of what it’s been able to do for me and the conversations that have started, and the conversations that I continue to have with that tool. Inherently it’s the ability and the opportunity to actually share this video and start a conversation. Because, starting the conversation, and continuing to stay engaged is is the key benefit here.
Boris Kievsky 18:33
I just want to reiterate that there are a few tools out there. I just looked it up, it’s Video Ask by type form, right? Dubb is great but it’s not the only thing out there. It’s what one of the things I’m constantly for lack of better word preaching is the best tool is the one that you have and can use right now. Whatever is most easily accessible I think is great. You also when we return Talking mentioned Stream Yard, which we’re actually using right now. Tell me, how do you think nonprofits should be using Stream Yard or similar live streaming tools like this?
Russ Johns 19:10
Well, the big platform that a lot of people have heard a lot about, I’ve been using the stay at home movement with pandemic going on is Zoom. It’s a video conferencing. I want to make sure that I explain this in a way that is easy for people to understand is that Zoom is based on and you can record Zoom sessions, but Zoom is based on multiple people getting into a room looks like imagine a conference room, it’s a virtual conference room, and you can come in and have a conversation and make comments and things like that.
Russ Johns 19:52
Whereas Stream Yard is actually a platform that allows you to stream to multiple locations, At the same time, and we can have guests in the room, and we can have multiple people in different looks and feels. It’s focused on streaming live video. We can actually take that moment, this conversation right now. Then we can take that and develop future content with it as part of the conversation, and we can repurpose that like I said until they close the Internet, and we’ll have this available, and then you can use it. Then we’ll take this audio file and create a podcast for you. Then we’ll go recreate some images, and then you can share it out again. Its Multi-Purpose benefit is that it? It’s shared multiple places by just doing it once.
Boris Kievsky 20:49
That’s exactly what we’re doing with this show. Right?
Russ Johns 20:51
Boris Kievsky 20:51
We’re doing it live. Right now. I think we’re just on Facebook and
Russ Johns 20:55
Boris Kievsky 20:56
On YouTube already and Periscope and then hopefully soon, we’ll get LinkedIn as well. People can interact. Also, that’s the other thing. Zoom, you can stream live, I think to Facebook and possibly even to YouTube, I don’t remember. The interactive portion Stream Yard is great at bringing in if anybody makes comments, they flow into the stream yard window as well. Then you can keep it up there, but you can also repurpose it right so we’re gonna take this and we’re going to set it up as opposed to the podcast, which people can hopefully subscribe to and download on whatever their favorite podcasting platform is. By the way, for those of you listening, watching all of these tools, whatever we mentioned in shows, we’re making it a point to put into the show notes for easy access. So if you go to npherofactory.com or specifically for this one, it would be npherofactory.com/eptwo Episode Two, it will redirect you to the full show notes page. Where we’ll have links to all this stuff as well as more info on Russ and everything that we’re trying to do. As you know, I love this concept of taking content and sort of some people call it downsampling.
Russ Johns 22:14
I’m glad I kept my fax machine, right.
Boris Kievsky 22:15
It’s really down streaming it in several ways where you start with the big picture, I don’t even know where my hand is, at the moment, you start with the biggest object, which is the most the one that’s going to be most easy to repurpose for all sorts of other functions, which in this case, is a conversation with my friend, Russ Johns. Then you can repurpose it into all kinds of other media and other places on the web. Until the internet dies, which I don’t think it ever will. It’s gonna keep evolving. In a generation, it’ll probably look very different than it does today as all things do. The content will still be there. We don’t have to worry about going back now and Converting our old analog VHS and cassette, audio cassettes to digital.
Boris Kievsky 23:09
I just had a new internet service installed, I had files installed, and the guy tells me, Yeah, and if you have a fax machine, there’s jack right on the back is that I’m sorry. What? The first fax machine I remember was in 1987, I think and I thought it was exciting new technology. Today, if somebody says fax, I tune out. I can’t and I understand some people are still comfortable with that technology and good for them that it exists. We’ve moved past the analog age and now that we’re in the digital era, there’s no going back. Any content that’s currently created, can and will outlive all of us in so many different ways. The trick though, I think, and as you said, it’ll live on forever. You can keep using it. I think the trick is to keep repurposing it and reinfusing it with substance, right.
Boris Kievsky 24:08
So in a few years, maybe live streaming won’t be as important as it is right now. But parts of this conversation are still going to be relevant and can still be used, even just for archival purposes, but also the concepts that we’re talking about of communication of bi-directional communication, right? Those are going to even outlive the media. I think there are many ways, I think one term that I used to use for this upcycling, right, so we’re going to downsample this content, but we’re also going to upcycle it in the future, because we might be able to compile a series of things like I might ask a specific question throughout all of these and then have a bunch of people answering it right now it’s content around one specific subject, even though we talked about 15 different things during this episode.
Russ Johns 24:57
Yeah. Well Here’s the thing that the thread that pulls it all together Boris, This is what I know that you’re passionate about is helping nonprofits have a clear, concise story that everybody understands is key to their evolution, because whether you’re sharing it today, a year from now, or 10 years from now, as long as the story and the message are clear and concise, people will always understand and appreciate what you’re looking to accomplish. That’s what you bring to the table. That’s what I admire you for it, I’m all over the map, and I can ramble all day. However, you’ve always been a one that can relate back in and saying, Okay, how does that support the story? How does that and that’s the principles that you share with so many nonprofits right now is the ability and opportunity to help them craft that story. So whether it’s a year from now or 10 years from now That story is still relevant.
Boris Kievsky 26:03
The only thing I’m going to add to that recipe, thank you for that, but clear, concise. I’m going to add a third C just because we’re in C’s, and compelling, right?
Russ Johns 26:14
Boris Kievsky 26:16
It has to draw you in it has to call you to action, right? I love the hero’s journey, apparently, for these things in the Hollywood interpretation of the hero’s journey, if you will. So yeah, clear, concise, and compelling. It’s possible that your story will evolve over time. It should nothing should stay the same forever at any given point in time,
Russ Johns 26:38
People that have a guide to help them with those stories, too.
Boris Kievsky 26:42
Russ Johns 26:44
You’ve helped me many times. I really appreciate what you do and the talent that you have what
Boris Kievsky 26:50
I think I can attribute that partly to my own OCD, where if something doesn’t fully make sense in my brain, I will obsess over it until it does. Which is a great treat in some respects and very frustrating for some people in my life.
Russ Johns 27:04
We’re kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s like, hey, just make it happen. Everything works out.
Boris Kievsky 27:11
Yeah, yeah. Both are totally valid and that’s why I need someone like you in my life to help me kind of balanced that so I appreciate your buddy.
Russ Johns 27:21
Well, thank you so much for having me on the show. Boris, I know this adventure is going to be challenging at times. Amazing, and others. Regardless of where it ends up and how far it takes you. I know that you’ll have success and you’ll help many people in your future because that’s who you are. That’s what you do.
Boris Kievsky 27:46
Russ, I feel like you just made a toast at my bar mitzvah. Today, you’re a man, a streaming man.
Russ Johns 27:53
You’re a streaming man! You will stream forever!
Boris Kievsky 27:59
Thank you, brother. I appreciate you. I hope everyone will go and check out. RussJohns.com. The link to that is also, of course, going to be in the episode, show notes so that people can get to know more about what you’re doing, including helping people like me, get our own word out, and of course helping nonprofits get their word out. Thank you for being my very first guinea pig on the show, and I look forward to sharing so much more with you and with all the nonprofits out there that are listening.
Russ Johns 28:29
Love you brother. You take care!
Concepts and Takeaways:
- Using Video for Communication is the way that we all need to look into
- Podcasts and Live Broadcasts are going to become more popular in the future
- Video will be around as long as the internet exists
- Non-Profits can reach more donors and communicate with people they wouldn’t normally talk to through, Video-Podcasting, Live Broadcasting, and other social media platforms.
Action Steps: What Now?
About this week’s guest
Russ JohnsHost of #PirateBroadcast
Be SEEN | Be HEARD | Be TALKED ABOUT
EVERYONE HAS A GIFT, A MISSION, and VALUE…
I’m passionate about connecting and developing relationships and want to help others that are passionate about doing the same thing.
I believe we all have gifts worth sharing.
Not everyone is ready to share the message benefiting those around us. I Believe YOU GOT THIS!