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a primer on design thinking with Betty Xie

The Small Nonprofit

Government & Organization

Have you ever heard the term design thinking thrown around whether in our sector or in the business world and you've thought, what are they talking about? What is that such a buzzword? But there's actually a lot of really cool stuff happening around design thinking and the approach that it has to problem-solving, which is exactly what today's podcast is about, how we can apply design thinking to our fundraising and our work.

Our guest for today’s episode is our colleague at The Good Partnership, Betty Xie, a fundraiser, filmmaker, and Coach for creatives. She studied Strategic Foresight, Innovation and Design at OCAD and brought that to our work. 

Myths that Betty wants us to walk away from:

  • Design Thinking can't be applied in fundraising.  At the core of design thinking is a process of problem-solving that is focused on a human-centric, problem-solving process. In the fundraising space, empathizing with the user is the key. This means understanding your donors and funders’ needs, reaching out to them, and getting feedback. 
  • You need to have a perfect pitch deck to raise more money. Following the process of design thinking, at the most minimum prototype, it’s just like passing an idea or some kind of model that doesn’t go for the most perfect state and move forward with it. 

The Stages of Design Thinking Process 

  • Empathize with the user - In the nonprofit’s case, this could be our beneficiaries, the people that we serve, or our donors. 
  • Framing the problem - Defining what exactly is the problem that we try to solve. 
  • Ideate and design a solution - Once you have an idea of a solution, instead of going with the perfect solution, you will come up with a prototype and a prototype doesn't need to be physical. In a context of an organization, the prototype can be an idea that you're testing or a server or program.
  • Testing and Iterating - Testing the prototype to see what works, what doesn't work, and then bring it back, have an honest conversation of other feedback, and try again and again. 

Favorite Quotes from today’s episode 

Empathize with the user is key. And in the fundraising space, that means really understanding your donors and funders’ need. I just think that it's very common to not spend enough time staying in that space and trying to reach out and get feedback. 

Resources from this episode

Betty Xie LinkedIn 
Lead to Create 
The Good Partnership 

HR Intervals by Imagine Canada 

Looking for HR resources for your nonprofits?
HRIntervals.ca is a new and free HR toolkit specifically developed for managers, employees and board members who perform HR functions at small to medium-sized nonprofit organizations. Explore HRIntervals.ca today! 

Support the show (https://paypal.me/smallnonprofit)


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