How to Create Value Driven Conversations


Patrick Kirby 0:02
nonprofit bootcamp. Hi, how are you? Welcome to our guest expert training of this month how to create value driven conversations with my partner in crime. Sammy, how are you?

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 0:15
I’m great. How are you?

Patrick Kirby 0:16
I’m marvelous. Say this is us. I’m Patrick Kirby, I’m the founder of do better. We’re a consulting firm that helps nonprofits raise money, and a co founder of nonprofit boot camp.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 0:26
I’m Sammy Vidal Mulhern, I am the founder of the first click, and we build higher converting websites and help you retain your donors.

Patrick Kirby 0:37
Sounds like a pretty fantastic pair of brains to bring you. Yeah, pretty good one here. This is a, this is a really great conversation that we’re gonna have today. So I think, regardless, if you’re a business or a nonprofit, one of the things that you want to do is have better conversations in the digital space, one on one in person of coffee, whatever the case may be, you’re always trying to look for an advantage over everybody else who’s just bulk data dumping into the universe. There’s no personalization, there’s no creativity, there’s no, I mean, that’s, that’s what drives I think you and I crazy in our sort of day jobs. But it’s really, how do we give this sort of value driven things like that? I think that’s a really interesting conversation to have. And really, your expertise in the social media stuff? Like who’s that attracting? I think that’s really one of the things why is this covering? Like, what is this? Why is this so important, I think for people to to stop by and sort of listen and take notes on in general.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 1:42
I think it’s like the whole the whole funnel, right? How do we add value from like, when we’re just putting out a social posts that we think people might not being paid might not be paying attention to, but then it like draws them in to then how are we connecting with them? Once they’re drawn in to? How do we then take that to a one on one conversation to elevate that gift, or to elevate that engagement? It’s starting from the beginning to the end, and kind of creating those good habits.

Patrick Kirby 2:10
I love what you said there, because I’ve had more times than I can even count where you’ll post something. This is either with the client for a nonprofit or anything, but really not a lot of engagement, or at least less engagement than you think you should write. Right? And, and weeks or days down the road, someone will come up and say, Hey, that was really great. I love what you said, here, here and here. Or that was a great sort of thing. You’re like, what you didn’t like it? What on earth are you doing working on our pages and gratification? Yeah, but they’re paying attention. They’re paying attention. I think that’s really what this is all about, like, hey, put out the put out the good. Believe in what you’re trying to write and believe in what your impact is, and what you’re saying. And know that your consistency and talking about how to have conversations in these areas, people will show up in this is the organic sort of way on how to build trust within your own business or your nonprofit community.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 3:02
Yeah, but let’s talk a little bit about what a value add is, because this is not your values. I don’t worry about what it’s not here in a second. But value ads are really about making it about your ideal customer or your ideal donor. So hopefully, you’ve done the work to figure out who you’re targeting. We’re not going to talk about that today. But hopefully, you’ve already done that. And so you know, what they care about, you know, what their motivations are, you know, what they what they want, and we’re going to instead craft our messaging and our statements towards them and their motivation, not us. So this is a shift in mindset. And we don’t want to come at them with a bunch of well, we’ll talk about that in the next slide, but instead want to come at them with like, Hey, you, you have two beautiful children, I’d love to chat with you about what the state of the the new education guidelines are going to be for next year so that you can understand kind of what next year is going to look like for your kiddos. Right? Maybe you’re an education advocacy organization, or I see you walking with that cute puppy, like, you know, where did you Where did you get your puppy Did you know that you know, maybe having two puppies is is a great way for them to kind of have have a bonding relationship and the sooner you do it, the better right? Like you’re talking to them about where they’re at, which is a value or coming back to you as your organization solving a problem that they have giving them resources as opposed to saying give give give us like I’m gonna give you resources maybe it’s environmental stuff maybe it’s hey, here’s recycling tips for your for your home. And then impact stories that mirror who your ideal who your ideal donor is all of those things that see them in your organization, I think are critical. Yeah.

Patrick Kirby 4:54
I love the flip of the script here it because I think if you’re a nonprofit, your business I got a sell price. Next, we’re gonna raise money net. So it’s me, me, me, me, me, me, me. Yep. And there’s not one imagine if you’re the person, right? That mean, the idea here is do you like the way that it’s done? Do you like the way that it’s all about them? And not about you? Do you like that they’re not solving a problem, but you’re just trying to guess what it is? Do you, you know, like to pay for everything out of the gate, or search endlessly for resources? Like put yourself into the position and pay? Are we an organization? Are we a business that’s adding value out the way that I would or where we would like to be appreciated? And that’s a great way to start this sort of thing. So I’m, I’m excited about this conversation.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 5:40
Yeah, well, but let’s talk about what’s not evaluate, because I think this is what we think we need to start with, right? And this is definitely not, especially in a one on one conversation. You don’t want to just walk in and be like, Hey, here’s all the things that our organization has done. Like you’ve done great work, we believe you. But that doesn’t engage me and get me excited, right? I do at some point in the conversation, want to know how my donation is going to be used but not know, right? That’s not a value add.

Patrick Kirby 6:12
You’ve made a really good point that this is this is to start. This is engage. This isn’t like, Hey, you don’t want to talk about your your the work you’ve done, you don’t want to talk about where the money is used. But that’s not your lead. This isn’t interesting to anybody to capture their attention right

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 6:28
away. Correct? Because we know, right? There’s clients, or there’s organizations that do the same thing. Right? So how can I make a personal connection with you, and then get you to know why we’re a little bit different, as opposed to maybe my competitor down the street and I know, a nonprofit world, we don’t like to talk about competitors. But you know, this is a great way to have conversation that’s more engaging. That’s not just looking for that handout. Yeah. And I wanted to talk about this. And I’m curious, your thoughts, Patrick, on this historical information about your organization or business, we like to go in and talk about all the things that we do that we’ve been doing forever, that we’re so good at? Not necessarily, we don’t care unless maybe there’s like a personal anecdote that you know, about the person you’re having a conversation with? Yeah,

Patrick Kirby 7:14
I think there’s value in staving, something along that we’ve been around for X amount of years, giving yourself sort of establishing a presence within the community be like, Hey, we’ve seen some things, man. But nobody cares about the laundry list of things out of the gate. And again, we’re from the Midwest, right? So we’ve got this wonderful perspective of this humble, we don’t want to brag about things or whatever. Because it feels weird to kind of go, Hey, let me tell you about all the awesome things we do before I ask you a single question are engaged at all. Yeah, that’s a turn off all over the place. So I think there’s there’s some real, some real great wisdom here on things that you should just avoid out of the gate. Again, these are things you want to talk about later. But out of the gate, we don’t talk about this. Like, let’s get a date this up this segment, for sure. But that’s yeah,

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 8:02
you know, talk about three now. Okay,

Patrick Kirby 8:05
bad joke, everything in here. It’s gonna be great.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 8:07
Right? So let’s go through, why would we want to add value driven language to our conversations? And really, the main thing is we’re looking to build long term relationships. I think the stat is, and maybe you haven’t updated stat, but it’s something like 76% of people that donate to an organization never donate again, Devon, DC, like if you worked in a for profit organization, you’d be fired, if that was like the results that you were bringing to the table, right? So we want to build long term relationships that keep coming back, because they’ll also send us new potential donors. So they’ll we’re building in that referral, because we know we’re treating them, like humans, we’re having great conversation, and we’re getting them where they’re motivated to give. So I think this is critical. Any thoughts on this? from your standpoint,

Patrick Kirby 8:59
you know, you think about, if your only goal is to have transactions, this probably isn’t for you, right? You can hard sell anybody to for a quick win. If your goal is to have these transformative relationships with people, with your donors, with your partners with your with your or your community itself, you have to add language like this, because all of a sudden, they see themselves as part of the solution rather than just a, hey, here’s some money. Now I got a thing, or I got a thank you. And that’s it. Right? The end game is way longer than you’re playing if you’re only in that transactional thing. So this long term relationship, and again, the better you treat people, they’re going to want to tell people about it. And again, people are gonna go like, What Why are you so fired up about going to this event or why are you so excited about doing whatever? Well, because that I feel like I’m making a difference because you’re having connections with them on a deeper level.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 9:56
Yeah, yeah. So critical. Okay, so we’re gonna go through some examples. We’re going to start kind of at the top of funnel, so social media and go all the way down through when you’re having those one on one conversation, so you guys can put this into action. And these are some posts that I actually found on social media. So this is the actual post. Imagine spending your days with this happy girl Susie, Sue is very smart and knows all basic commands. She loves toys, playing frisbee and snuggling up after getting those duties out. Excuse me, Susie enjoys the company of people of all ages, young children included. So I feel like this is a pretty standard post that you see from pet adoption organizations. And there’s nothing really wrong with it. But it’s just very much talking about Suzy and hoping that somebody just comes across it and says, okay, like, Oh, that’s a cute dog. Oh, yeah, that’s me. Like, you’re hoping you’re making people work too hard. Yeah. So what if we flipped it? And instead, we’re asking, Okay, what is your ideal summer day? Do you like going to the park with your kiddos and maybe a late afternoon picnic? Because we know that Susie Sue likes kids, right? Is it heading to the beach? For some fun in the sand and surf? Is it working in the backyard and watching the kids run around while you work in the garden? Well, that’s kind of worded weird now that I read it out loud. But you get what do you know? Those are Suze Suze favorite ways to spend summer days too. So what you can see here is you’re asking your audience to see themselves. So it’s not just about, hey, here’s this great dog that’s up for adoption. It’s hey, here’s what you love to do. Wouldn’t it be great if Susie Sue was along the ride with you? Can you kind of see that shift and how that kind of comes together?

Patrick Kirby 11:48
Yeah, what I yeah, I what I love about this, too, is it reads different than every other thing that you read in the social media world, too. Right? Everybody’s trying to sell you on something, right? This is now engagement and it’s sort of an engaging piece to go I’m curious. It’s it builds to some sort of like suspenseful, like Why on earth are you talking about this? Without some sort of nefarious I gotta get my wallet out to do whatever. That’s super creative in the way to flip that love that?

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 12:19
Well, and now can you I mean, if you like to do these things, you can’t imagine doing them without Siouxsie Sioux. Right? Love it. Okay, so here’s like a donation. If we were gonna go for a donation post. So this is real for number one is really long. But so I’m going to read it bear with me. But do you know about friends the club, it’s our largest Giving Club and combines community members and employees in a collaborative effort to support all BG CTC. This is the Boys and Girls Club programs, inspired by our mission to enable all young people, especially those who need us most to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens, friends of the club donors are united by their commitment to bgct C’s youth and families. Now, by the way, by Mr. Dubourg. All right, I’m gonna pause here because they’re doing what we talked about at the beginning, right? They’re sharing their values, right? They’re talking to you about their values, with more than 500 donors. Currently, this program is a gateway to connect friends, family, neighbors and communities for generations to come. There is no better time to take the next step in your engagement with our organization and share your gratitude with BGC TCS, youth and families. It’s all about collaboration and vision coming together to accomplish projects never thought possible. With an annual gift of $100 or more, you will be joining many others who shared your commitment to equity and opportunity by becoming a Friends of the club member.

Patrick Kirby 13:36
I literally wanted to go and pick up my phone while you’re reading because I’ve already like checked out

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 13:41
because there’s there’s nothing in here that says why like number one, what is a friend of the club member? What do I get for being a member and and they’re asking for $100 annual gift like that’s low hanging fruit like there’s no like there’s no reason why people shouldn’t be giving. So what if we flipped it? And instead we make it personal? So what is your favorite summer memory when it comes to your childhood? Water balloon fights summer camps fishing at the lake playing games at the park these are all kinds of things that Boys and Girls Club kids would experience when they’re there. So it’d be GCTC we’re all about making childhood memories with more than I making this up. I don’t know this organization, but with more than 1000 kids each summer for as little as $100 a year you can become a friend of the club member and and then I would insert some bullet points of like what exactly it is that you get for that. So now I’ve told that your emotions because I’m like oh my gosh, summer camp was like my most favorite memory of you know now I’m like engaged because it’s personal and it means something to me.

Patrick Kirby 14:43
And and again, I like to see the best in people but I realized that myself, I have the attention span of a gnat, right? Yes, this is this is now fluid enough for me to read as well. And so you I think you have to think about that nowadays. And the reason that this is An important topic. And the reason you have to be very interested in how to capture the attention of folks, is that it is so busy. It is so overwhelming on the interwebs. There’s so much stuff. There’s so much stuff out there. Yeah, we’re scanning. Yep. So how do you rise to the top? Right? How do you do something that is more eye catching? That reads better? That reads simply, you know, I think we, the lot of nonprofits, even a lot of businesses try to sound smart, in order to justify like a lot of stuff, right? I better spend my time with a thesaurus. Because that’s how we want to project ourselves. When you’re looking at how to attract individuals, as they’re looking for that initial emotional response. That’s what’s going to draw them in, then you can prove how smart you are with

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 15:53
into your point. The rule of thumb in the digital marketing space is to write at a fourth grade level. Yeah, it doesn’t matter who you’re talking to. And it doesn’t mean that you’re dumbing down your language. But we are scanning, it means that we have too many messages in front of us. And so when you write at a at a fourth grade level, people can read it and process it much faster and get the information they need. And then to your point, when they show up to that one on one meeting with you, that’s when you you know can have more of that. That conversation. That’s a little bit more. What did you say at the maybe at a collegiate level?

Patrick Kirby 16:30
Yes. But yes, they exclusively? Oh, yeah,

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 16:34
we want to have short sentences, we want to use emojis or graphics so that people can visualize what we’re saying, if they don’t read the whole thing. And we’re making it about them. That’s the biggest piece we’re making it about them. Before we make it about us. We’re making an emotional connection before we make it about what it is that we need.

Patrick Kirby 16:53
Is this type of verbiage, okay, for newsletter as well, not just a social post.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 16:57
Well, so glad you asked. We didn’t even play.

Patrick Kirby 17:01
It’s like I knew that segment right there.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 17:06
So once we have people in our network, i My favorite thing is always to get people to our email list. That’s a whole nother training we could talk about at another time. But the biggest mistake I see with nonprofit organizations is that their emails are too complicated. And they have too much in them because they say, well, we don’t want to email people on a regular basis. So we’re just going to put like everything but the kitchen sink into this one email. So same as what we just talked about one email, one goal is what I like to preach. Because we don’t want to overwhelm them with it with information. And I always want to lead with a story, that’s going to be a personal connection. So this could be let’s say, you’re sending out a weekly email to your donors, just keeping them updated on what’s going on. So it might be an impact story. It might be a personal story from your CEO that’s talking about kind of their the reasoning, why they got engaged, it might be it might be a story about a potential donor so that other donors can see themselves in that newsletter. So it’s really just about, hey, what’s the goal of this email, and then let’s reverse engineer it, and kind of go backwards. So the ask of whatever it is, is at the bottom. And I like to preface that most of the time, your email should not have an ask but should lead to a resource or a quick win. So maybe you are a pet adoption organization. So your email is not just going to be here’s all the pets that we need to get adopted outright, it might be that post that we shared, it might be this right? Like this could be your email, copy, because you’re driving them in and pulling them in. And then okay, here’s the pets that are available to adopt, that love to be outside and running around at the park. Or maybe your email is about pets that are family friendly or pets that aren’t right. So you can kind of group them together so that you can tell that story at the beginning of the email that’s going to connect to those folks.

Patrick Kirby 19:14
You know, one of the things that this does to me is it shows that you’re being thoughtful with not only the readers time, but you’re taking everything that you’re doing and saying how can I how can I be how can I be thoughtful? How can we be purposeful and I think that’s that transcribes them in the back of your brain like wow, I didn’t waste my time doing this, this this. They didn’t ask me for a million things. I’m not confused. I think there’s a risk where you dump everything in one giant newsletter. It eliminates the reader or the donor or the supporter or the business to ask the question, well tell me more. Yeah, in the brain as they’re trying to click around. Yeah. And the goal that that you’re trying to do that is like this when I want to learn more about Whatever other wins, or, Hey, I’m interested in this dog the way you just said other summer dogs? Well, I’m curious about that. Tell me more about that. Right there no searching for things rather than like scanning a way too complicated way too wordy way too convoluted thing, because you feel the need to go with everything. Awesome that you’re just word vomiting across the board. So this is so important, it tells the reader that you are purposefully thinking about them in a way that’s going to relate to them. And that comes across I think a lot in this restricted sort of car, your sort of toned down thing that you got going on there. Well,

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 20:44
and I’m gonna pass this over to you because I feel like this is all leading, right? So we’re all we’re doing kind of social media is more of your brand awareness. How are we kind of connecting with people in that standpoint, I’ve given you my email address. So now I’m more intentional, I might be a warmer lead. But really, the end goal is to how do we kind of get into those one on one? Conversations, because that’s where the magic happens.

Patrick Kirby 21:06
Yeah. And I think that, again, these are all the attraction pieces that are going to get people engaged. And I think we forget, specially in the nonprofit world, because we’re so busy wearing 10,000 different hats. We don’t know what the heck’s going on, if we’re just trying to keep afloat. And we forget that the individuals that we’re trying to recruit to either be donors or supporters or cheerleaders for our team, they’re like people remember that, like their other their people. And I think we see so many tips and tricks of all these little nifty ways to sort of do social media or try this new hack or this, like do things that will get you just treat people like regular people, like it’s okay to do that. Dale Carnegie got it right, years and years and years ago, which is be genuinely interested in other people. It’s the best way to build rapport with folks. And so I think you have to be genuinely curious about why they stopped to click or why they stopped to read your story, or why they picked up the brochure. Was it? Was it just flash? Or is there some underlying sort of reason that they’re like, Wow, I feel attracted to your mission, or I feel drawn in by by your passion to do X, Y, and Z. That’s something that you really have to think about. And you also have to play the long game. There’s, there’s a, there’s some hesitation with long game playing, right? The immediate need for money, right board of directors is is chomping at the bit to get you to raise enough money to do this. We didn’t raise enough at this event, how are you going to make it back? Right? We’re in panic mode constantly. And if you’re always in panic mode, you’re never asking the long term questions, because your immediate reaction is I need money now. No, no, no, no. Now, when you know, the best practice about fundraising, especially one on one, is to play the long game, the average lifespan of a donor who’s never heard of you, to giving you a major gift, like let’s just say it’s $5,000 is anywhere between 24 and 36 months, long time to develop a relationship from somebody who has no idea who the hell you are, to loves you so much, that they’re going to give you a massive amount of money. You can’t skip that part. Otherwise, you’re never going to get to that end game for these these people who just want a love and your mission. And some will say, Well, that’s a little disingenuous, if you know that you’re planning on asking them money three years from now? No, it’s not. That’s being wonderful, right? You don’t go on a first date, and plot your why maybe you do go into first marriage. I mean, maybe some people do. But you’re you want to get through all these wonderful steps first, because that makes everything sort of better. At the end, you’re like I learn more about this person, I understand their idiosyncrasies I am. So think about that. As far as, as you go. Here, here’s, it’s divvied up into a couple of things, right? So you know, we’re talking about lead conversions. We’re talking about ways to engage, they’re gonna come at you from one of three ways. One, they’re a cold lead, or cold individual. They’re, they’re a warm lead, got some sort of introduction, you got a hot lead, someone who really, I think thinks highly of your organization, the way that we talk, and the way that we ask questions, completely different in each one of those categories. Yeah. And I think a lot of nonprofits get confused on like, what should I say? You’re in luck. We’re going to want to tell you about that. Well, you mentioned something brilliant up at the top where you’re giving examples of like, here’s exactly what the Boys and Girls Club does. And it was just word vomit on everything that that we do. I like the thought behind it is treat people that as if they don’t know anything about your organization, especially if it’s cold. But don’t tell them about it. Ask them questions and be curious about, hey, do you know anything about Boys and Girls Club? Did you ever attend one of those camps? No, I have no idea. Well, it’s, it’s kind of one of those great things. It’s the typical, you know, a portrait of Americana, where you’re going to camp and hike and blah, blah, blah, and then they do this, if you ever are you a hiking fan, or you went outdoors fan, or whatever, you’re asking them, things that will eventually align with the stuff that you’re trying to promote. But you have to start with this idea that you should never assume they know what your mission vision values are, or your or what you’re trying to accomplish. So but the curiosity, as we sort of talked about in the in the previous slide, that’s gonna get you there by asking them, do they know anything about you out of the gate?

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 26:02
Well, I think you said, don’t assume they know anything about you. But you also don’t want to assume that you know anything about them. Like I don’t know, a single nonprofit organization that isn’t multifaceted that has multiple ways for people to give you walk in assuming you know what their motivation is, you’re missing that huge opportunity to really engage and understand what their motivations are to tailor those future conversations to them.

Patrick Kirby 26:28
Why would you want to put them in? So let’s just say the Boys and Girls Club, right? They have no interest in outdoor stuff. But they have a lot of interest in maybe the backpack program, or whatever, because their education or sort of basic needs is their passion point. If you’re not asking them what they like to be aligned in, or if they have any interest in gifting in the first place. What the heck are you doing? Right? You’re just assuming they’re gonna be in this position. So they’re no, if you come out cold and say, Would you like to give me $100? For this outdoors program? You’re like, No, I don’t. Yep. And you’re no, you might instantly think, wow, crap. It might be as simple as what sort of things are you passionate about? What sort of things are you interested in? Well, I’m interested in like, I give to our church and our food pantry, you know, basic needs kind of thing. Interesting. If you only ask that question, you could align them with him, we’ve got this wonderful program, we’ve seen that right? It you are essentially a matchmaker, that’s your job as a fundraiser, that’s a job as sort of the even a business salesman, this is what you’re supposed to be doing. Problem solved, right? This is what you mentioned earlier, are you solving a problem? The problem is basic needs. The problem is this donor or this potential donor wants to feel fulfilled, by giving through basic needs, ask the questions be like, I got it. I’m curious to see, is this something that you’d be interested in sort of matching up with, Oh, I’d like more information on that. And all of a sudden, you’ve got this wonderful match. Together, they feel good, you feel great. And that’s that’s how fundraising supposed to be. But again, cold leads, because you have no idea what their interests are. That’s where you spend your time.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 28:15
So can I ask you a question about this? So let’s say you’re having this conversation with your cold lead, and the motivation, the values, the things that they’re inspired by? don’t match up with the goals of your organization? How do you? How do you have that conversation? And how do you kind of pull back that desire as fundraisers to be like, Oh, I’m gonna get this gift gift, I’m gonna get this gift, even though it’s not 100% in alignment with your organization.

Patrick Kirby 28:45
I saw I love this. I thank you for asking this because I love this. Don’t, they’re not right for you. And I mean, this sincerely, have an abundance mindset, knowing there are way more people who are out there who want to align with you than this particular person. And it’s Oh, K. And it’s even better to say, you know, what’s great. I think there is an organization down the road or across town that exactly matches with what you do, I’d be happy to make an intro for you. Because I think YouTube would be a match made in heaven. That would be wonderful. Because you know, who’s doing that? Nobody? Do you know, what they’re going to remember about you? Is that you, you got them aligned correctly, to make sure they gave they’ll probably give to you anyway, because you made a match

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 29:31
probably anyway, and they’ll probably send more people your life

Patrick Kirby 29:34
exactly you your next Ask is not for money, but it’s like but who in your friends circle would be, you know, sort of interested in what we’re doing. That’s a way better lead because that becomes a warm lead, which happens to be what we’re talking about next. That’s right. If they’ve set you up for success, right, so warmly, to have somebody that’s completely different than cold is that they have at least some sort of verifiable or action oriented thing that you can say, okay, they need at least know who we are, they at least know a little bit about what we do. Maybe there was a match made, maybe they came to an event, and they least heard something about this. When you’re into that mode, now we talk in packed. Now we talk about what their gift did in their previous action, maybe they’re you’re sort of trying to get them back, you’re trying to be avoid one of those 76 percenters that don’t give again, right? So you need to now talk about in your one on one conversations in your social media, in your individual emails, whatever the case may be, attribute, whatever they did, to whatever you’re doing. And that’s the impact that you need to get out of the gate. Because you need to now say, your gift wasn’t a waste, your meeting that we had wasn’t a waste, your connection that we made wasn’t a waste. That’s what your whole goal is, with these warm leads. People had two pockets, especially business owners is one the business pocket, and then their personal pocket, you want to make sure that you get both, but especially that personal because it’s way more valuable than the business itself. You got to find out amount of marketing dollars, you want to get that other pocket, your connections in your impact are now based on who’s the person in front of you? And what appeal can you make to either the business brain, or the personal impact brain of the person that you’re having a conversation with? If you have a business owner? And she says, hey, you know, our business has really allocated funds for the YMCA or the local food bank? Great. That’s awesome. I can’t wait for that. What do you is this? Is this, asking the question like, Why do you give or why is your corporate giving the way it is, they’ll tell you an entire backstory on it. And all of a sudden, now you’re marking that down, you’re jotting it down, you’re documenting all of those things, because your next conversation with them is all about setting the table for aligning them a little better. And you can have so much more time to talk about impact. And what they’d like to see in the community itself, is that you because you didn’t spend a lot of time asking random questions about what they like, because they’ve already told you, they’ve already given you the indication,

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 32:21
I want to go back to what you said at the beginning. Because I think it’s so important in that in this warm lead conversation, you’re not just giving them the impact statements that your organization does, you’re giving the specific impact to what they’ve already done, or the impact to what their motivation is. So these aren’t like canned, boilerplate statements from your annual report, right? This is the research and the time that you’re putting into, okay, I’m going to directly tie those two pieces directly to each other.

Patrick Kirby 32:49
And the fact that you tie that smaller gift to great impact, right impact. There’s, they’re like subconsciously going, Wow, if I get more, I can make more impact? Or what does that do they feel valued

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 33:02
no matter the size of their gift? I think that’s another thing that you talk a lot about in these one on one conversations is you never know, who knows who who’s capable of what do you have to treat every gift and every conversation as if it’s, you know, that million dollar gift, they’re not all gonna pan out. But you never know.

Patrick Kirby 33:22
I’ll give you I’ll give you a quick story. Because I think this has a lot to do with that exact conversation we had when I worked at a former organization, I was their CTO. And at the end of the year, we got a gift for like a significant amount of money. And we look back in the donor database, and this person had given once back in 1984, was like six bucks. So at some point, 25 years prior 2030 years prior, they had been so moved to give you six bucks. Yeah. And then we did nothing with it for 30 years. And when this gentleman passed away, he gave us $350,000. So what kept me up at night about that whole thing was, holy crap. We had 30 years to develop that relationship and ask them questions and sort of connect the dots early on, we didn’t do it. And I know, you know, I wasn’t, you know, around, then I wasn’t a professional fundraiser then. But man, somebody dropped the ball. And that’s what you’re setting the table for. You’re setting the table for the opportunity to do that by showcasing this impact and they’re thinking about it and they’re like, So treating everybody in those smaller gifts might be the $350,000 donor that might be there. And some donors. Some donors at this level will give a smaller gift as a test. How are they going to react to my gift of this amount? And their thank you notes, their personal connections there outreach will determine what I do next. Yeah, there’s a ton of people who do that there’s a ton of people who do that. And the fact that you are a nonprofit, and you’re so busy, and you don’t think you have the time to do this, hear me, please, please, please treat everybody with the audacity to think that they are going to talk nicely about your organization, that their professional lives are going to be super successful, and they’ve already put you into their will. That’s the type of thing you can do. And it doesn’t have to always be the thank you note for the $2 gift. Spot, check it every once in a while, throw a thank you note to a small donor and just say, hey, I want to just you don’t get thanked enough here. Thank you. Look at how consistent they are. I mean, this is this right here, the warm leads that want to give you once, maybe even twice. This is where you make or break a long term. Big Ask opportunity right here.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 36:01
I’m Angie screaming Yes, yes, yes, in the chat. So she is very, with you. And I want to throw this out here at this point, before we go into hot leads. I feel like at this level, this is where it’s all about like that separation between a nonprofit customer or nonprofit donor and a for profit customer experience become the same. So when you think about why you shop at Target versus Walmart, or why you go to the fast food restaurant you choose or why you eat at the restaurant like all of these things, you Why do you go to the grocery store, you go to there, you have all the choice in the world, you pick the ones because of the experience that you’re given and the way that it makes you feel. And we know that people will spend more money on a product because of their personal connection to that that company, even if they could buy it cheaper somewhere else? Absolutely. This is the space where you’re creating that customer experience, right? Where you’re like really loving on them, even though it might not necessarily feel like it’s quote unquote, worth it right now.

Patrick Kirby 37:10
And this is this is where nonprofits have to make a decision. It’s where do you spend time? Right? Where are you spending the most amount of your time? Is it? Is it spending it in another five hour planning meeting? Or is it recruiting volunteers to help you make this connection, which is more valuable? And I think this is where the really good organizations thrive. And the ones who just can’t figure out or can’t understand that time in this sector is worth it. Yeah, I think it’s invaluable. I think this is where the thank you notes come in. This is where the thank you calls come in. This is where asking people about stuff that has nothing to do with the size of their checking account really matters. And exactly what you said they’re gonna go to this one every single time. And then of course, it gets into the hot leads, which is just, this is where I think either people get scared, or so like, unbelievably inspired and excited. It’s one of two ways. And either way, there’s a chance you’re gonna pee your pants. I think this is where I’m really excited about donors at this level. Because you’re either terrified to make this ask or you’re you don’t know, like what you’re doing. And you can’t get out like a guy like a puppy that’s trying to chase a car. And once you get it, you’re like, I don’t know what to do with it. Right? This is this is the great part. So if you’re having a conversation with a donor, and they’re very hot lead, right, hot lead, I mean by people have given to you consistently for a number of years, that’s the best indicator that you don’t even need to justify why you’re having a conversation with them or trying to sell them on your organization they’ve already bought in because they’re a long term donor, not just a long amount. Long term, I always suggest as for legacy gifts, is to look at the length of time donors give. And that’s going to indicate a better prospect for legacy giving than anything else. It’s not an amount, it’s length of time, because they’ve been with you through thick and thin and awesome. And a lot of nonprofits don’t look at it that way. A lot of nonprofits will rank in order the highest donor, and they’ll start at the top and work their way down. Now for legacy gifts, this is where it is. And so you get to a point where you’re going to make a big gift because they’ve proven that they love you. They probably said they love you. They’ve indicated financially they love you. And now you’ve got a big ask maybe it’s a silent campaign for a capital campaign thing or maybe it’s a project that you could have funded if you get five people to give a significant amount. Your conversation imagine this, right? It’s not sitting face to face over a cup of coffee and you wagging your fist that we wagging your finger that we talked about like hey, look at all the things we’re going to do. Imagine you’re sitting next To a person, and you’ve got your arm around them, and you’re sort of showcase like, imagine if we did this write your vision casting together, you’re getting them excited about whatever thing that you’re going to sell, then you’re sent, then you’re going to make the ask, and then you’re going to shut up. Because they’re gonna think about this. That’s the hardest part. I went through a training with a client a couple weeks ago, we did this exercise, and I made them make me the person they were going to make an ask, I said, Alright, make an ask. And then, and then you can’t say anything. We counted. I had everybody else count how long it took before they broke. And a lot a lot of people would have made wouldn’t make it six seconds. And I would ask them, like, how long was that? Like, I don’t know, 20 seconds. And I was like, because it feels forever. But this is where this is where you’re getting your donors or your conversations you’re making big asks whether it’s like, I’d love you to be on the board. Give your time, give your talent, give your treasure, whatever that is. Have them process because they’re now in this world, where they’re envisioning what a cool thing they could help accomplish together. And that’s really great. A lot of people will say, Well, how do you make that ask? Right? Is it like, will you give me money? No, it’s Would you consider a gift of this amount? Or would you consider helping to help us reach this goal of this amount? It’s a very subtle and soft approach that doesn’t put a number to it. And they might self identify in this case? Or would you consider a mount of $100,000? Would you consider amount of $10,000 to go to this project? And if they say, No, that’s okay. Hey, can’t blame the gal for trying? Can’t blame the guy for trying? Is there a number that’s more suitable for you? Is there a number that you’re more comfortable with? Draw right back on their plate? They want to give, you just haven’t found that number yet, and they will tell you’re self identified, they’ll still qualify themselves. And then

Patrick Kirby 41:53
you let them take it. I think I can do $50,000. Holy Hannah, thank you so much. This is great, what the magic, we’re going to do it together, and they’re gonna go off and run and tell their friends about those things. This is like the ultimate, the ultimate Hi, I’m telling you as a fundraiser, you know, this getting that yes. Can can sustain you for months of nose. It can sustain you for a lot of these. It can sustain you for that board meeting where they go, Where have all of our money, I get it. You go back to that. Yeah, that feeling. I want

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 42:29
to say the beauty of this. If you’re working through all the steps, and you’re going through all of the like you’re providing value along the way, and you’re really treating people well, then this, would you consider a gift question becomes so much easier, because you know, their motivation? Yes. Oh, why they care, you know that they care, you know that you’re pitching them on the part of your organization that makes sense, because you’ve taken the time to allow it to organically get to this point, as opposed to like you said earlier, the whole like, well, we you know, we’re being reactive when we need to get the money in. So that’s, I think, coming full circle and seeing how that can make this so much easier. It’s

Patrick Kirby 43:08
exactly right. This is this is the culmination of everything that you’ve been trying to do. It’s the combination of asking questions, it’s being curious. It’s setting the table, it’s thinking differently. It’s positioning the the post that engaged people first, it’s talking about it as as a way that like, wow, this organization really thinks and acts differently. And that’s super important. One of the things that I think a lot of organizations ask is, What on earth do we talk about? Or what questions do we ask that are different? And I put a list together here for you? Because these are interesting things that I either know, people who ask, right, so I, I have coffee with a bunch of smart people. And they are way smarter than I am. And I love having them ask questions, or I’m listening to questions that other people’s ask and then I totally steal them. And I use them as part of these things, because they’re great.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 44:05
And these are great questions to ask people when you’re at a chamber networking event to

Patrick Kirby 44:08
absolutely this is great. Hey, what are you most proud of for last year? Oh, you’re giving them an opportunity to brag about this. What are you most excited about? Right? They get to vision cast with you? What are you seeing in other industries? What I like, in your own words, tell me about what you do. It’s giving you permission. It’s giving them permission to not go and toe the company line but it’s personalizing everything, which is really great. These are great, cold questions to ask. Now you get into the the warm and the hot questions. What do you love most about your job? That’s an honest one. If they’re really honest with you, like I actually hate it. This is terrible. You learn a lot about that right? Having the team focus, how do you show up for each other? This is really interesting because you can gauge the vibe of a business or a business leader or an employee lawyer or an employee? What they’re doing really great. And does your value as an organization or a business match up with this individual or this business? Great. The passionate one question is great, too. Because it’s probably not about work. It’s probably about something in community, it’s probably something about, you know, wherever. That’s interesting to me. And then I love the last section. And regardless if you’re a nonprofit leader, or you are a business leader, or whatever, ending a conversation with Is there anything I can do to help you? That throws people for a loop? Because most people say, Well, no, I think we’re, I think we’re doing great. But the fact that you offered that up with no strings attached, you’re not asking like, Hey, can I do anything for you for exchange for a sponsorship? No, no, no, no. This is genuine and authentic? Is there anything I can do to help? And you’ve now like, but like, you just talked about him flipping the script. It’s not how you can help me. It’s how I can help you. In that strange sort of way. All of a sudden, they look at you a little bit different. They look at you as a partner, they look at you as somebody who’s genuinely interested. And those are the questions that allow you to have this wonderful connection, this wonderful conversation by doing something as simple as asking the delightful question, setting your social up a little bit differently, telling the story a little bit differently, that those are the simple things. Fundraising isn’t complicated. It’s hard. It’s not complicated, right? You’re telling stories you’re making, you’re connecting the dots, you’re being a matchmaker, and you’re asking great questions. That’s it.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 46:49
That’s what these questions are leading for people to ask information about you, which I love. So there’s nothing in here like, Do you know what we do? Yeah. Have you heard of our organization before? Or you know, this is all about learning information, so you can have more thoughtful conversation?

Patrick Kirby 47:03
My guess, is if I asked, Angie, what do you love most about your job? Or tell me in your own words, what you do? She’s going to tell me? And then she’s immediately because you can kind of get the vibe that she’s awesome. Anyway, she’s going to ask, well tell me a little bit what you do. And now you have the opportunity to exchange. No one’s going to leave you hanging the question like these, they’re going to ask you right back, because nobody puts thought into questions at meetings like this. So they’re trying to frantically think about how they can have like, wow, this is so insightful, or this is really meaningful to me. Lately, I’ll tell me about what you do. And all of a sudden, you’ve got this little weird interaction going, like people like, again, out of the gate, we talked about be normal. Just treat people like people like this is a really good and fun way to do all those things. This is why I love the authenticity here. This is why I love the perspective here. This is why I really love this training is because it gets you to think a little bit differently about what we’re kind of doing. That’s I’m telling you, this thing is great.

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 48:05
Yeah. So um, if you’re watching this replay, which most of you probably are, then there is a little chat box in the corner of the website that you’re watching this video on. So if you have any questions, feel free to pop those into that chat. It’ll get to Patrick and I and we can make sure to get those answered to you answered and back to you. Because we want to make sure we’re answering any questions that come up for you, even if you’re not watching this live.

Patrick Kirby 48:34
Super great. And again, I think if asked yourself the questions, are we doing enough? Am I Am I being authentic with my conversations? Am I being authentic thinking about the end game, rather than the immediate gratification of of $1? Am I being pressured? Or am I pressuring myself to get money now rather than thinking about a long term relationship? Am I going through the motions and not telling the story in a creative sort of way? Like those are questions that you can ask yourself and almost self audit all the stuff?

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 49:03
Well, the one that I would add to that is am I talking about me first? Yeah. For especially your digital communication before talking about about you? Because I think that’s the hardest hardest thing with with social and email is we want to brag on ourselves because we’re doing amazing work. But in the grand scheme of things, people want people want it to be made about them.

Patrick Kirby 49:26
Yeah, I love that. I love this as a training my friend. This is great. It’s wonderful to just have this as a reminder. And I’m glad that everybody else said boot camp gets to enjoy this over and over and over again. And this is a refresher course like right so every couple of months, take a peek at your stuff. Have a have a 4548 minute, little crash course on sort of asking better questions and thinking about a little bit differently. It’s a nice thing to have sitting here in the old nonprofit boot camp. Thanks so much. Again, we do this 10 times a year. You get experts. We’ve got them from all over sort of time. picks across the board it’s going to be great super excited to have you hey join us next time won’t you bring some friends and get a giant cup of coffee and enjoy it get set for training here nonprofit boot camp love it

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