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   20 episodes



The Small Nonprofit

The Good Partnership and CharityVillage

20 episodes

Nov 16, 2020

that dreaded question about sustainability with Kylie Hutchinson 

How are you going to make this program sustainable after we stop funding you?

Most people who have written a grant have been asked that question, and guess what, most people just improvise the answer.

There’s a lot to unpack about program sustainability. Is it a fair expectation to ask from nonprofits? If nonprofits do want to sustain a program, what factors should they consider.

Today’s guest on the podcast, Kylie Hutchinson from Community Solutions, has spent many years researching and trying to understand more about this subject. She even has a book specifically on this topic. 

Give it a listen, and know that next time when you’re scratching your head trying to answer that million dollar question about program sustainability, you’re not alone. 

Myths that Kylie want us to leave behind

  1. Let us run the pilot, then we will think about sustainability.  If you want your program to sustain, start planning for sustainability now. There’re many external factors that will help shape that, and although those factors can vary from program to program and organization to organization, it is never too early to think about sustainability, given that sustainability is aligned with your organization’s strategic goals.
  2. Sustaining a program means sustaining all parts of it all the time. Sometimes, like right now during the pandemic, even with the best intentions, it’s unrealistic to sustain all parts of a program. Instead, Kylie advises to focus on sustaining the core components of the program that can reignite momentum for the whole program.  

Kylie’s tips on program sustainability

  1. Show and talk about your impact. No matter how great your program is, no external stakeholders will know unless you tell a compelling story about your impact. Showing and talking about your impact is instrumental to bring attention to why your program deserves support and should be sustained. 
  2. Build community support through partnerships and collaboration. Kylie recognizes that partnerships and collaborations take work and require capacity, and sometimes it is very tempting to roll out a program all with internal support and no external collaboration. However, having community partnerships is like gaining legs for a table that is harder to shake down. Do the upfront work of collaborating now and your program will be stronger in the long run.
  3. Find your program champions in your community. Program champions are usually those who are at an arm-length with your organization (so not your board or staff) and believe in your impact. They have the connections and resources in local communities that you roll out your program, and so can contribute to your program needs in a practical way (like connecting you with a local media) or in a reputational way. These champions can have a huge impact in supporting your program in the long run.

My favourite quotes from this episode

Post your favourite quote on social to share with us!

“Don’t wait till you have a month left in your funding, start planning for sustainability now.”

“Ask yourself what are the embers of your programming absolutely need to maintain? So that when you are in a position to start rebuilding, you can blow on those embers and get your services back to where they were.”


Resources from this Episode


The Good Partnership


Find Kylie at Community Solutions

Finally, a Guide on Program Sustainability!

Nov 9, 2020

discovering your donors with Allen Davidov 

Conversations about data, databases, and CRMs often surface fear and insecurity. Are you doing enough? Are we missing out just because we can’t afford an expensive database? How can we leverage the tools out there to help our fundraising efforts? 

In this episode, Allen Dadvidov, VP of Business Consulting and Nonprofit Sector Lead from Environics Analytics, shares with us tips on how to leverage our existing donor data (yes, spreadsheets included!) to look for indicators that can help grow our fundraising and how general behaviour trends of the populations can support our understanding of donors’ engagement and giving potential. 

Myths that Allen want us to leave behind

  1. You need a fancy database to understand your donors. Even if you’re using an excel sheet, if you’re clear about what indicators you’re looking for to tell you more about your donors, you will be able to look for those insights. On the other hand, even if you have a very comprehensive database, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you will just be sitting on data that tell you no story. 
  2. Income level is not the sole indicator of a donor’s giving potential. On one level, income is a non-comprehensive data to reflect wealth, as people with high income can also have high debt. On another level, just because someone has a lot of wealth, it does not mean that person will make a large gift. Donor engagement is a bigger indicator for whether a donor will give than that person’s income level or wealth. 

Allen’s tips on using data to learn about your donors

  1. Track and look at what triggered a reaction. Don’t just track who gave and when. Look at whether there is a spike in donations after an email appeal is sent out. Or, try doing an A/B test with an appeal to see what kind of stories or tone works with your donors. 
  2. Leveraging existing tools to understand the general behaviour of our population. For example, Environics has a tool called PRIZM that has a free online postal code look-up component that allows you to understand the persona of the Canadian population based on the neighbourhood they live in. These data can give you a good sense who your donors might be and what’re potential ways to engage them. 

My favourite quotes from this episode

Post your favourite quote on social to share with us!

“The first great step to understand your database is to ask the question: how are people responding and engaging? There might be a group that's very specific to just eblasts and wanting to know about awareness about a specific part of what you do. And there might be a part of your database that could be very tied to fundraising or advocacy. Mapping out these segments and keeping tabs on them are very good starting points to understand your database”

“Oftentimes, when we look at fundraising data, we focus solely on how much we raise or how many people responded to an appeal, versus, what or who in an appeal triggered a reaction, because something obviously triggered a reaction. Understanding that is very important.” 


Resources from this Episode


The Good Partnership


Allen on Linkedin

Environics Analytics

PRIZM - with a free online postal code look-up to understand Canadian neighborhoods

Oct 26, 2020

sharing the responsiblity for decolonization with Tim Fox 

How do you go beyond the land acknowledgement?

In recent years, we see more and more nonprofits including decolonization as their strategic priorities. But if we do a gut check, how’re we actually committing to decolonization everyday?

On today’s podcast, Tim Fox, Vice President of Indigenous Relations and Racial Equity at Calgary Foundation, shares his lived experience of facilitating the Calgary Foundation to commit to transformative changes and learning. Tim urges us to challenge us to think beyond decolonization as a short term project that has easy fixes. He encourages us to reflect on how we might make ourselves open and vulnerable in sharing our responsibilities for decolonization and commit to life-long actions. 

Myths that Tim wants us to leave behind

  1. If we do this and that, it will get us to decolonization. There is no quick fix. Systemic oppression has existed for hundreds of years, and decolonization is generational work. It’s not enough to just do land acknowledgements. It’s not enough to just include indigenous communities in your funding catchment areas. With actions like that come responsibility to intentionally learn and understand the Indigenous communities. 
  2. Indigenous, black and people of colour have all the answers for decolonization. It is not the responsibility for BIPOC people to lead decolonization. BIPOC people are there to walk alongside with settlers to facilitate change. The responsibility for leading change rests with settlers. As well, the idea that some people are experts and have all the answers in and of itself is an assumption encoded with settlers’ logic. 

Tim’s tips on transformative unlearning and learning

  1. Recognize and try different processes of learning. Shifting away from the linear learning process of getting knowledge from experts or listening in workshops, Tim encourages us to be open to different methods and ways of learning, such as the circle learning process and art of hosting. 
  2. Letting go of the idea of perfection. Don’t set a deadline for decolonization work, and walk away from the mindset that there is a perfect way to do this. Allow yourself and your organizations to make mistakes, acknowledge them, and keep push through. 
  3. Be open and vulnerable. If you’re not an Indigenous person or a BIPOC person, put yourself in situations and settings where you’re the minority. Be vulnerable and don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable. 

Resources from this Episode

 The Good Partnership


The Calgary Foundation

Indigenous Ally Toolkit

Tim Fox

Oct 19, 2020

hack your brain for fundraising success with Cindy Wagman 

“Just because we've been told one story about philanthropy, or about ourselves as fundraisers, it doesn't have to be true. We can change the narrative.”

We become what we believe in. In this special episode, Cindy Wagman, the Founder and CEO of The Good Partnership and host of our podcast talks about why it is so important to tackle our mindset when fundraising, and how to do that without compromising our values and authenticity. 

Myths that Cindy wants us to leave behind

  1. Fundraising is hard and icky. The more that we tell our brain that fundraising is hard, the more that our brain will reinforce this notion and make it feel icky. It's a negatively reinforcing loop. 
  2. You have to become someone else to fundraise successfully.  Having a growth mindset for fundraising does not mean you need to be inauthentic or sell out your values and mission. Pretending to be someone else when fundraising is exhausting, and no one can sustain that in the long term.

Cindy’s tips on hacking your brain for fundraising success

  1. Align your mindset first, then build habits and tactics. No matter how many tactics you learn for fundraising, if you’re putting on the brake (ie, negative mindset), you’re not going to get the results you want. Align your mindset first then lean into the tools and tactics. 
  2. Give your brain space to change. The more you force yourself to change, the harder it is to change. That’s natural survival mechanisms. So when trying to create new pathways of thinking for your brain, be patient with yourself and set aside self judgements. 
  3. Stay true to your values.  One of the biggest turning points for many students at  Flipside Fundraising is gaining the understanding that their values and mission are what inspire funders and donors to support them. So stay true to your values as you align your mindset for fundraising success.

Want to learn more about Cindy’s secrets for raising over 8 million dollar for small nonprofits, join her on this FREE live webinar on October 20 1 pm EST. (If you can’t make it, sign up anyway to get the recording afterward)


Resources from this Episode


The Good Partnership


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