By Sarah B Lange under Uncategorized on October 2, 2023

We Don't Have a Fundraising Problem

You can watch the full episode on YouTube or listen to Spotify.

Hey everyone, I'm Sarah Lange and I'm here to spark the philanthropy revolution The word philanthropy means love of mankind My show is all about the ways we can open our doors and hearts so we can do more good.

Sarah: Hey everybody. Thanks for joining me today. For those of you who are joining for the first time, my name is Sarah Lange and I'm a professional fundraiser I've worked with over 200 nonprofits and raised over 90 million dollars and. Today it is my absolute pleasure to have with us Pamela Grow, who is a fundraiser in the Philadelphia area and we've known each other for a little while now. Among other things that Pamela does, she writes ‘The Grow Report’ and it is one of my favorite moments of the week, it comes out every Monday and not only are you “wicked snot”, as we'd like to say up here in Massachusetts, but you're funny, so I just love your sense of humor.

Pamela: Oh, thank you.

Sarah: Yeah, so welcome to the show and thanks for joining us today. Pamela I would love for you to tell everybody how long you've been in fundraising and how did you end up in this career?

Pamela: Wow, so I've actually been in fundraising for 23 years but I have been working in the nonprofit sector for probably about 30 years. I think we've talked about this, I worked in politics for 10 years back in Michigan, I moved to Philadelphia to join my husband and I stayed home with my kids for a while and always kind of thought I would go back to the political field and Kids were born I wanted to stay home with them. I didn't have family around to take care of my girls, I wanted to take care of them and I stayed home with them and I think my youngest, Abby, was about two when I decided to go back to work and I was looking for something part-time and I remember I used to get the mainline times because there were a lot more part-time jobs listed, you know out in the suburbs than there were in the city of Philadelphia and I saw this opening for I think it was a bookkeeper. Yes, I started there as a bookkeeper for the small family foundation not small, small in terms of staff not in assets, it was a sizable but 260 million I think in asset. The thing was they had been established like a lot of foundations in 1956, was that when the tax laws changed or something changed? So they were established then, but in all those years It just really consisted of the founder and his wife throwing checks out the window when they like something, you know, so there was no structure to it. The founder had just passed away probably a year before I came on board. They were in the process of establishing the program areas, the grant application guidelines, the website, all of it, so it was almost like seeing the growth of this thing from the very beginning, it was so much fun.

Sarah: That is fun.

Pamela: Oh, it was. I not only saw, you know, I learned a lot of important things like if a foundation was kind of just getting started, you might really lock out because the foundation might find it was coming on the close of the year and they hadn't spent their 5%, so we had a lot of grantees who were very surprised and delighted, they'd written 20,000 and they got checks for 200,000.

Sarah: Oh my word, I would love for that to happen.

Pamela: We got organized pretty quickly, but those first couple of years, I mean Sarah they were writing checks out by hand.

Sarah: That's hilarious. I love the image of them just throwing checks out the window, “Here’s the money, here’s the money”

Pamela: Yeah, “Oh We love your story”, Yeah, and it was just a lot of fun. I worked with the the founder’s daughters, the two daughters who were president and vice president and they said I started as a bookkeeper and I'm really not suited for that, but I did get them off the handwritten checks and on to quicken. It was just a great experience in terms of seeing how foundations operate but also in terms of really getting to know the nonprofit sector in Philadelphia, which is phenomenal, and that's kind of how I got started. When I left, my first job was as development director at a Regional Ambulance Corps if you can believe that.

Sarah: Wow.

Pamela: Yeah, and it was very cool. I Was still in the mainline area, most of our constituency a lot of them worked in Philadelphia so they didn't really understand, you know, that we weren't funded by the government. We didn't get any state and federal funds. It was all on us.

Sarah: Yeah, that's amazing. My older brother actually used to have an ambulance company in Montgomery County, so he served Montgomery and Bucks County and he had like 15 rigs on the road 24-7, it was…

Pamela: Really?

Sarah: Yeah, he used to be a paramedic, so that was his…

Pamela: Aren't they the best?

Sarah: Yeah Oh, I don't, you know, that was why I wanted him to get to the hospital when my dad had a stroke because I wanted him on the ground with the medical knowledge interfacing with the doctors so he was great when it came to, you know, helping us figure out that ‘labyrinth’ called the hospital system. What what else would you like people to know about you? You started out as a bookkeeper, I love your career trajectory from like trying to, you know, her and a bunch of cats at a foundation and then hopping over to an ambulance company. What are the things you want people to know about you?

Pamela: Oh, I think probably the most important thing is that, you know, my whole focus, I think, for my whole career has been really just building a strong core base of general operating support. It was one of the things that ticked me off the most when I worked at the foundation. I remember our president and our vice president, they were part of a group of what do they call those groups of grantmaker, you know, they renamed it over the years, but you know, they went to their meetings every other week or so and and I remember our very first grant application guidelines and one of the first things was they didn't fund general operating support, and I remember thinking, “Why not?”

Sarah: I know right? We have to turn on the lights, we have a light bill just the way that you do or that general electric does, I mean, we all have to…

Pamela: Exactly.

Sarah: Yeah, I was having a conversation with the someone yesterday, I was helping her kind of fine-tune her grant and they work with youth and they provide life coaches to youth but they keep running in all these grants that say “well, we don't pay for overhead.” It's like Okay, what who would you like to coach these young people right? these are kids who do not have a stable adult in their life and are in desperate need of someone who is invested in them and helping them negotiate adolescence, right? It just blows my mind though, because that's general operating is like, “okay If you're not gonna pay for the staff who's gonna deliver the services and where is that money gonna come from exactly?”

Pamela: Exactly, in a really strong base of core or general operating support really lets you run the organization the way that you know best, the way that's best for your community, for your clients, for the people you serve. It's ridiculous.  So, where were we?

Sarah: I mean we could rant about, you know, these things all afternoon I'm sure. Can you tell  the folks with us a little bit more about where you specialize and what that means, I know you focus really on small shop fundraising, so what does that mean? What qualifies like how do you define small shop?

Pamela: Well, it's interesting you asked me that because my coach is always on me about, “you got to get away from that small shop thing” but you know, I think of it typically as a smaller nonprofit that's maybe under two to three million in annual annual revenue and they typically have one development staffer, maybe two if they're lucky, sometimes it's a fundraising ED. One of our biggest success stories was, she joined my membership group way back when and it was Legal Aid Society out in California. It was just her and I think a couple of attorneys, no staff and she grew it to now they have a development team of three or four and they actually have a program that teaches other organizations like this “how to develop their funding” The Interesting thing with with Julia, the first person she hired, the first hire, was not a development director, it was a stewardship coordinator to manage the data.

Sarah: Very smart.

Pamela: Yes.

Sarah: I'll see if you agree with me. I feel like data is one of the most neglected things at most nonprofits yet can yield the best results when it's used.

Pamela: Oh God, yes. I'm actually doing a webinar next week on that topic because…

Sarah: Cool. For whom?

Pamela: Just it's out there.

Sarah: Okay. 

Pamela: It's on basics and more fundraising. It's a kind of a tie-in with we do an annual class on writing a great fundraising letter and this is all about figuring out that data segmentation, not just how to segment your donor base, but how to write to those different segments too. How do you write to your monthly givers? and a lot of a lot of organizations might even suppress them They might think, “well, they already have a made such a commitment, we don't want to ask them again.” That's just the point, they're committed to you, I love you.

Sarah: They're your biggest fans for God's sake, right?

Pamela: Exactly.

Sarah: Yeah. Well, it's really interesting because, you know, I was just out at nonprofit hubs cause camp in Ohio and there were so many presentations that were talking about the importance of donor data, and I was just like, “yey, we're talking about donor data”, and everyone's like, “ugh, data, that four-letter word.”, you know. I was, like, thrilled to see so many people mentioning the importance in the role of data and, you know, how you have to have your finger on the pulse of your folks and be and just like you said you're not going to talk to everybody in the same way. Yeah, I remember it was, I think it was Simone Joyaux who told me when we were talking about, like, not asking your monthly donors, like, she said, “that's like, you know, not asking your best friend to like be there when you're having a problem,” Right? And, like, these are your biggest fans, your biggest supporters and also people are tired of being asked to give the least they can give, you know. People are get excited when you challenge them. Also, let's let them have another dopamine hit of, like “yeah, I feel so good about myself when I give” 

Pamela: Exactly.

Sarah: Yeah.  I'm excited that you're focused on small shops because you know, that's 60% of the nonprofit market is.

Pamela: This is true.

Sarah: This, you know, is Small nonprofits. Yeah.

Pamela: And they've got so many challenges coming up. What was your biggest takeaway in caused camp in terms of data? Did you have one

Sarah: It just really affirmed my belief that you have to stay on top of your data, you have to have good data and especially at this time in this moment economically, you know, so many people keep searching for, you know, “Oh the Bill and Melinda Gates in our community” right or “the Jeff Bezos who lives around the corner” No, they're in your database, right?

Pamela: Exactly. 

Sarah: We keep looking outside our organizations for these big funders, I so I love that this organization the first hire was a stewardship coordinator because you have to cultivate and steward your donors and when you do that, they get more deeply engaged with the organization and they give more, so we don't need to get like 50 new donors every quarter, or like whatever numbers you want to throw out there, those people are already in our database and they're already giving, right?

Pamela: Exactly.

Sarah: Yeah. Let's mine for the gold in our data already…

Pamela: Exactly, mine for the gold and what was I just gonna say? They just slipped out of my mind.

Sarah: Yeah. What are the challenges you see these.. Did it come back?

Pamela: No, I was just looking at Chris' comment: mine for the gold. I love that.

Sarah: Oh, yeah. 

Pamela: And to remember that old story, I think it was from “Temple University acres of diamonds”?.

Sarah: Oh, yeah.

Pamela: Do you remember that one?

Sarah: I do.

Pamela: That old old chestnut? But it's so true, you gotta look in your own backyard.

Sarah: Exactly. Yeah, so what are some of the unique challenges you see in these small shop organizations? You know, we talked a little bit about sometimes you have your executive directors are also doing the fundraising, but what are the kinds of things do you see that are unique to small shop and the challenges they're facing?

Pamela: Well, I'll tell you one thing that I saw often and this was years ago when I was still, you know, out there in the field and was working as a small shop development director was that I would be hired on and I would find out after I was hired on that I was the fifth development director in three years.

Sarah: Oh Jesus.

Pamela: Right? Well, this one was really good at grants, so they put all their focus on grants and this one was really good ‘events’, let's say, and there's just like no rhyme or reason to their fundraising plan, if they even have one and there's no continuity in terms of the relationships with the donors, I mean, how many times, Sarah, have you asked a client a potential client? Do you do a donor newsletter? When did you last publish it? 2019, you know?

Sarah: Right.

Pamela: There has to be a continuity. It’s really critical.

Sarah: I have a relatively new client and they're kind of we're building them from the base up, right? So we're doing it the right way, right? I was doing some research because we were talking about some partnerships and I looked at this one nonprofits website and it had not been updated since 2018, I. Was. Horrified, there is no excuse. Okay, maybe like during 2020 to 2021, maybe Because of covid, there was stuff going on, but you haven't updated your website since 2018? What are your donors gonna think? “Oh, are you even still in business?”

Pamela: Well, exactly.

Sarah:  Yeah, I just could not believe it and so I happen to know the person who's the executive director and I sent her a kind email saying, “gee, I was just on your website and noticing it hasn't been updated since 2018.” I said that “it raises some red flags and concerns for me and you know, I would hate to see you guys losing traction” because they're a great organization but, like, “hello website updates.”

Pamela: Yeah, and well, that's another thing you know is that being willing to invest is probably the biggest challenge with smaller organizations that they don't want to make that investment. I know I've told you this story before because I share it all the time.  I had a student who was in my very first donor newsletter class and she worked for Nashville rescue mission and she sent me over all her materials and frankly Sarah, I don't know why she was taking my class. They were making three million was it? No, it was two million a year Just through their newsletter.

Sarah: That's amazing.

Pamela: Just through their newsletter, might have been three, whatever, it was two or three and I always share this particular story when I'm in front of groups because everybody's like, “two million a year with no ask” But then they find out the that they spend 300,000 a year producing this and sending out this newsletter. 

Sarah: Right.

Pamela: But think about that return on investment.

Sarah: Phenomenal.

Pamela: It's absolutely amazing,  but you should see the faces fall in the room, you have to  invest, you have to invest not only in systems but in materials donor care is particularly critical.

Sarah: Yes, so let's talk about systems, because I know, you know, you often say “You don't have a fundraising problem, you have a systems problem” So let's talk about systems because I totally agree with you. There's so many times where I will go in to speak to a prospective client and I'll start asking them all the questions about their existing fundraising strategies, their existing systems and this conversation has happened with the executive director of a 2 million organization as well as with a 12 or an 18 million Organization and the systems are not there to support the fundraising, so let's talk about that.

Pamela: They’re not there to support their fundraising. Yeah, when you get these systems down, it's kind of like your fundraising runs on autopilot.

Sarah: Yeah, so what kind of systems do people need?

Pamela: Well, you need your CRM, obviously. You need a great CRM.

Sarah: So what are your favorites?

Pamela: Oh, I'm not gonna say, I remember someone said this to me  I think he's actually retired now, but did you ever know Robert Weiner?

Sarah: No.

Pamela: He was big with n10, a data guy out in San Francisco. He was terrific, but he said there is no perfect CRM, but there is one that's just right for you. You know bloomerang might be right for you, but maybe it's not and the way to find it out is to really figure out what you need and not to go on Facebook and ask a bunch of random strangers which donor database they like, please? That drives me nuts.

Sarah: Right, it's not a popularity contest right? It's a needs assessment you have to do internally.

Pamela: It’s actually, yeah. I'd like to narrow it down to about three and then go from there.

Sarah: Yeah. All right, so we get our great CRM in place. What else do we need?

Pamela: Your great CRM, you've got to have your systems for what do you do when a new donor comes in the door. If you are an event-heavy organization, what kind of systems do you have to transition? Those ticket buyers into donors or to even get off the event, you know that event kind of treadmill. What kind of systems do you have for writing grants?

Sarah: The other one that I like to make sure is in place is a sort of an ongoing training and engagement with the board so that each board member is participating.  One of the things that I work with my clients to do is after we finish their annual fund development plan, which I refuse to let them get away with not having. Because that's like being the maestro of an orchestra and nobody's got any sheet music, right?

Pamela: Seriously, well said, I just love talking to you.

Sarah: Yeah Well, I love talking to you too. So it's a win-win. Yeah, so after the annual fund development plan is sort of settled, then I make them create this excel format where it's like we break down every task into like micro steps and then we say,  “great who's doing this?” You know, so there's usually role for the bookkeeper as you well know and you know managing the finances and putting together budgets and things like that, but you know, you're going to have to interview your program staff for certain grants , maybe you're having an event, maybe you're doing a giving tuesday phone-a-thon. There's places where you can break it down into bite-sized pieces and then go to your board with like a menu a smorgasbord saying, “here's all the ways you can participate in fundraising this year What works for you” and then they literally check the boxes. To me, it's so much easier because then you give their a copy of their form back to them, they're like, “oh, here's what you signed up for.” But then when you're heading into like say you're, you know, doing a spring fundraiser event then you've already got people who signed up and said “oh I'll help with that” So you don't have to like keep making ask after ask after ask , they get to choose at the beginning of the year ways to participate that fit their lifestyle, their time constraints, their comfort level that doesn't mean that, you know, you don't keep working on their confidence and their comfortable comfort level and their knowledge, but I just find that it's really good to plug them in early because, I don't know if you've ever had this experience, I've been on non-profit boards where I try to ask up front ‘What kind of commitment do you need from me beyond the monthly meetings?’ you know, they always want me to chair the fundraising committee and I'm like, “no”, that is what I do all day every day so I will help with something else, but you know, I don't like being surprised, you know, I have a pretty busy life, I have a pretty rigorous travel schedule and I don't want to find out, you know six months into my board tenure, “Oh, by the way We also expect x y and z from you.” I'm like, “well, why didn't you just tell me that at the beginning?” I think if we can engage our board early, we have a better chance of getting them to actually fully participate in those things that they've signed up and said “Yes” far.

Pamela: Exactly, systems for your board management, too.

Sarah: Oh, yeah.

Pamela: We do we have something up on on the website. This is specifically tailored for year-end fundraising, it's a board fundraising menu that we kind of came up with based on Andy Robinson's…

Sara: Oh, yeah.

Pamela: I love Andy Robinson and I love that book.

Sarah: He's so good. Yeah.

Pamela: He's so good. “Train your board”? Do you have that book?

Sarah: I do.

Pamela: Oh my gosh , I think I've been through like eight or nine copies of it because I end up buying it and then I give it to somebody.

Sarah: Yeah,  I brought all these books to cause camp because I was like, “well, these are kind of ones I want to give away because i've read them”, you know eight times or whatever nnd I just was like handing them out right and left and I said “hey”

Pamela: Oh, very cool.

Sarah: Yeah, it was really fun. I just carried them around in my tote bag and I was like, “hey, I have two books, does anybody want these?”, and they're like, “I'll take that one” So it was just so fun because like I cleaned off my bookshelf a little bit, but that is one book I did not give away. It just we need systems and I feel like one of the challenges I see with small shops is that they're so busy doing the next thing doing the next thing they don't put the time and energy into creating the systems which ultimately like make their jobs easier. So, they need A CRM, a system for like welcoming and engaging new donors…

Pamela: Donor acquisition system.

Sarah: Yeah, donor acquisition and then also switching someone from an event participant to a donor, having a grant writing system, a board Management system. Are there any other systems you feel like people need to think about?

Pamela: Well, you know,  your culture can really make or break you and I like to have systems in place for culture. There's all kinds of things you can be doing on the regular. You know, subscribing your board members and and all your staff members to a specific newsletter or something that is going to help them, it's kind of going to have everybody on the same page, how are you getting every everybody on the same page, are you doing a training at every staff meeting? Are you doing a training at every board meeting? Are you really celebrating the work that you do? Culture can be a tough one. You can be sailing along, loving your job, doing beautiful work and one person can screw it up and just make everything turn to…

Sarah: Yeah, and I think small shops are particularly vulnerable to that. You were saying earlier you took a job and you found out you were like the fifth person in two years, like, Okay, well something's wrong with that culture, right?

Pamela: For sure. Oh, no, that wasn't an isolated incident.

Sarah: Right.

Pamela: I mean,  as I moved on in my career, you know, you figured out which questions to ask.

Sarah: Right?

Pamela: So you didn't land in a situation like that, you know, so you could kind of avoid those big red flags, but you know, what are you gonna do? maybe it has to do with hiring a development director before you're really ready to listen to them.

Sarah: There you go.Right? that's…

Pamela: I mean, do you have this issue too?

Sarah:  All the time.

Pamela: I mean, you're the expert and they want to do it this way, especially when it comes to fundraising appeals.

Sarah: Right, yeah, well, it's just so funny because you know you and I have a few years under our belts in terms of fundraising and yet I love it when people who haven't even raised a million dollars think they know how to do fundraising, I'm like, “Do you give your dentist directions on how to like fix your teeth?”

Pamela: Exactly.

Sarah: Do you tell your mechanic how to fix your car? I have a hard time believing that this is actually something you would do, you know. Do you tell your accountant how to do your taxes for yo? Right? So why is it with fundraising, people think they know but they they don't. I just find it very interesting that the fundraising is unique to that people thinking that they, “Oh, let's just go ask coca-cola for money.” I'm like, “Do you know about the red dress campaign”

Pamela: That’s interesting that you mentioned that you said you find it interesting that it's fundraising. Do you think it's because fundraising is primarily female?

Sarah: I think that's part of it. Yeah, I think there's a long history of people telling women what to do or not taking us seriously. I think that's part of it.

Pamela: Yeah, I think so too.

Sarah: Yeah, I also think some of it is about the perceptions of the non-profit sector too though So, you know, there's people out there that don't really take us seriously or think we're not quite a real business, you know, and so they have this attitude like, “well, I'm a business person, I'm going to come in and tell you how to run this like a business.”, right, so that includes the fundraising, you know. I remember I had this one situation where I was trying to train a board on fundraising and there was this one particular person who had a lot of strong opinions that were not based in experience or reality or training or knowledge or data or any of it. I finally started kind of like, not really throwing them under the bus but like asking them pointed questions, you know, “Well, we should do blah blah blah.” I said, “really, do you have experience with that strategy before and tell me how it went?”,  “Well, no, but we should be doing it.” I said, “oh, well, I have a great idea, why don't you go out and do the research and then come back and you can tell us like how effective that strategy would be and why we should select it over the other ones were discussing,” of course, they never did the homework and they never came back. What I really wanted to say is, “and how many millions have you raised?”

Pamela: Exactly.

Sarah: Yeah, they had sold like 10 event tickets, I was like their experience with fundraising, I was like, “Okay, so maybe this is the time for you to listen?” Yeah, I do think some of it is gender-based, unfortunately. What are the top three tips you would give to people in small shops who are looking to raise more money, but like their small shop?

Pamela: What's the top three tips?

Sarah: Yeah, so we’ve got systems right?

Pamela: Yeah systems, but you also need to have a plan. I'm always surprised that how few people, organizations actually have a plan. Yeah, a plan.

Sarah: All right, so number one is have a plan.

Pamela: Have a plan and have the systems to back up the plan because we gotta cram that one into one tip.

Sarah: Of course.

Pamela: Focus your efforts on general operating support and put your primary focus on donor retention. This sounds kind of boring, right?

Sarah: But it's such a problem.

Pamela: It is such a problem and it's getting worse.

Sarah: It is getting worse, it’s getting way worse.

Pamela: Way worse and I suspect it will get even worse as more and more organizations. This is  where small shops I think can really thrive is with a good direct mail program. I had I had someone who was, I don't think they were a student, I don't think they'd ever taken any classes and I hadn't worked with them directly, but I'll never forget this small organization writing to me, it must have been two or three years ago, they completely ditched their direct mail and went solely digital and they lost like two-thirds of their donor base.

Sarah: Of course they did.

Pamela: Did they even check their data? Did they find out if they even had email addresses for these people who had been giving to them? But direct mail, I think, is probably the best thing you can do for a small community-based organization. It's sticky. How many times has this happened to you where you have gotten an envelope back from an appeal that was coded for like 20 years ago? Yeah, it happens all the time because it sticks around, it sticks around, it hangs around, I just had a call with one of our students last week, I'm trying to think this is a small community organization in Philadelphia. I think they have a, you know, maybe about a million and a half, got in almost close to three hundred thousand dollars in bequest gifts.

Sarah:  Wow.

Pamela: That they track solely to their print donor newsletter.

Sarah: What? That's amazing.

Pamela: One of them was someone who hadn't even given in two or three years . Yeah, your print donor newsletters, I learned this from Lisa Sergeant years ago and you know Lisa.

Sarah: Yes.

Pamela: They're your donor retention engines, but they can also raise considerable amounts of money and they really draw people deeper into your mission and then that legacy giving. That's just incredible.

Sarah: Well, yeah, I mean I used to work for an organization and they were a client for about three years. I came in as the interim director of development and then we fell in love with each other and I stuck around for way too Long, but it was it was good, but at some point they kind of forgot I was a consultant and I forgot that I was, you know, blowing door, too many doors are getting blown off the hinges at once, they were getting overwhelmed because I'm like, “Let's do this. Let's do this…” You know, they were like, “Waaah, the tsunami of sarah”, right? But they got $65,000 a year just from their newsletter and they had never done an annual report and they've been founded in 1974, so we did their first annual report, put an envelope in it, didn't even ask for money, that brought in 17 000. We just started doing all this direct mail stuff between the newsletter. We did some other things, we started sending out a year-end report from the executive director with just, “Here's all the amazing stuff you helped happen this year: Bullet bullet bullet bullet...” You know, “we wish you the happiest of holidays and look forward to seeing you in the new year.” You could like track the online donations, no envelope, no ask just “thank you, thank you, thank you, we've had a great year thanks to you.”, Right? It's that print response. Well great, so we've got: Have a plan and the systems to back it up, focus on general operating support and focus on donor retention and those are such good tips and I think if people just did those things their fundraising would just get so much better.

Pamela: I think so too.

Sarah: Yeah, you know, not letting yourself get spread too thin, not having shiny object syndrome.

Pamela: It's that shiny objects, it's that shiny objects right before I got on, you know, I'm looking at my inbox, right? “Join us for this free webinar”,  and you know, let's be real, there is just a plethora of software companies out there right now marketing to non-profits and some of them have people on their staff that really understand fundraising, that have worked in the sector and really understand it and some of them don't have a clue, and there's a lot of bad advice out there now.

Sarah: Oh, yeah. I was thinking this yesterday about all this free stuff and the consumption of free stuff and then, “Okay, great. Now you've consumed the free thing, what do you do with that information?”

Pamela: “What are you implementing?”

Sarah: Yeah, and then also “how do you vet the quality?” Right, so, “okay I went to a free webinar, was this given by somebody who's raised substantial money, has knowledge of the non-profit sector.” You know, this is one of the things I noticed at cause camp and I'm not blaming anybody, but one of the observations I made is, what you said exactly that there were a bunch of software companies there pitching to non-profits and as I started talking to the people who were at the fair, you know the vendor fair, It became so clear to me that they had no non-profit experience and hadn't even bothered to figure it out. I was like You know, “so bless their hearts.” There were these young 20 something men, perfectly nice men, but not even old enough to like know what the non-profit sector is all about, you know, but that was an observation I made that I feel like there's been this explosion of software programs that, of course, now need to sell their product.

Pamela: Yeah, so free free training and I don't know but when did you get in the sector? You've been in longer than me.

Sarah: Oh, geez, 1987.

Pamela: Well, yeah, so then like when I started, back with the ambulance corps, you know, and I needed to learn something, I'd have to schlep into Philly and pay for parking and take training, you know get training at an AFP class and usually that class would call, you know would be my whole education budget for one class and now there's there's just a ton of stuff out there, but Yeah, a lot of it can be taken with a grain of salt.

Sarah: Well and should be, right?

Pamela: Yeah.

Sarah: Well listen I could talk to you all day long but we're gonna wrap it up.

Pamela: I could talk to you all day long. We gotta get you back on motivate monday.

Sarah: Yeah, tell everybody about motivate Monday.

Pamela: Oh, it is a weekly 30 minute free webinar that we've been doing it every week since 2016. We've had on some killer guests. We've been had on Ken Burnett once who was just such a treat. Have you met Ken?

Sarah: I have not.

Pamela: Oh my gosh Be still my heart. He's such a sweetheart. This last week, we had on, let me see, can you see that? “Fundraising for introverts” brand new book? Do you know Brian Saber?

Sarah: I don't.

Pamela: Oh Brian Saber is the founder, co-founder of ‘asking matters’, which is a great site. It's all about using your personal style, so I don't think you would come up as an introvert or a shy person but I come up as I come up as a kindred spirit, so I'm actually real into the writing, real into the data that kind of thing less into the galos. This book is all about harnessing your strengths as an introverted fundraiser, So we actually had John Lepon for his book launch. Do you have ‘creative deviations’?

Sarah: I don't.

Pamela: Oh, you have to get it. This will be your bible.

Sarah: Okay.

Pamela: You know when I first got into direct response with non-profits Lisa Sergeant told me to get Denny Hatch's book that, ‘the great big huge one’ remember. Million dollar mailings, I think I paid a hundred bucks for it because it was out of print but I loved it. So think of ‘creative deviations’ as the million dollar mailings book before specifically for the non-profit sector, you are going to absolutely flip and love it.

Sarah: I'm going to check it out. Yeah, this is what I want to say about Pamela. She is, you have like a warehouse of knowledge. Every time I talk to you, I learn about new things, new people, new books, right? So it's great. Yeah, motivate monday every Monday…

Pamela: One o'clock.

Sarah: One o’clock, can people find that on your website?

Pamela: No, actually I need to fix that. If just that, they actually would have to sign up for the newsletter because we do a mailing every monday announcing it and it's usually in the newsletter on thursday. Yeah.

Sarah: Okay. So sign up for Pamela's newsletter, listen to motivate monday. Look at her grow report, it's awesome and I just want to say thank you so so much for joining me. It's been a pleasure.

Pamela: Thank you. This has been so much fun.

Sarah: Yeah, and thanks for giving us so much concrete advice on how to better run small shops, I appreciate that.

Pamela: Have a good one.

Sarah: All right. Thanks Pamela.

Pamela: Bye Bye.

Thanks for tuning in, I'll be back in two weeks with another episode. Got topics you want me to cover? organizations you want me to showcase? Let me know Also, I'm here to help you revolutionize philanthropy at your non-profit. If you want to talk about what that looks like, drop me an email

You can watch the full episode on YouTube or listen to Spotify.


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