Nonprofit Leadership
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Nonprofit Leadership Podcasts

What Does Effective Advocacy Look Like in Today’s Nonprofits, Especially Now?

Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention and Chief of The Center for Health Metrics and Evaluation for the American Heart Association.

Advocacy can be somewhat of a mine field in the nonprofit sector. There are many questions about how much an organization can do and what kinds of advocacy it should take part in.

Rob’s guest today is Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention and Chief of The Center for Health Metrics and Evaluation for the American Heart Association. He has also served as Vice President and CMO for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, where he was able to focus on worker and work site wellness, clinical prevention, and chronic disease management. Eduardo believes that advocacy starts with knowing the mission and reaching out to those that have the power to do what needs to get done. Advocacy is needed to make sure that nonprofits are not casualties of this crisis.

Links to Resources:

Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., American Heart Association

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas

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It’s All About Impact

Here is a blog post that I wrote on the importance of demonstrating your impact as a nonprofit organization, and it was published by Fundraising Leadership on June 24, 2020.

I’ll never forget the day, my staff member, whose role is Latino Outreach, came into my office to let me know that a family who had lost everything in a fire had called our center in order to ask if we could provide them with a house full of furniture. They had lost everything in the fire, had no insurance and little means to replace their furniture. This is not an unusual request, in that our humanitarian center regularly helps people with all kinds of needs, whether that be food, clothes, furniture or mental health counseling.

What was unusual that day, was the fact that on the exact same day, we received a call from one of our regular donors. She wanted to donate a house full of furniture to our center. She knew that by giving us this furniture, we would normally turn around and sell these items through our thrift stores, which in turn directly supported our many outreach programs like our food pantry. Her furniture was very nice and would sell for a good price at our stores.

Before hanging up the phone, she asked if by chance we had a family who was in need of furniture. While she was fine giving it to us to sell through our stores, she would prefer it be given to a family who really needed it if there was someone who presented a need for it.

We couldn’t believe it. The timing was incredibly serendipitous. When these two calls came in on the same day, we knew that this family who had lost everything in a fire, needed to receive this exact furniture from our donor. We also knew that our donor would be thrilled to learn that her donation would go directly to help a family in need.

The day our team brought over the donated furniture to the family who lost everything through a fire, was the kind of day that nonprofits live for.

It is all about impact.

One of the most important questions that donors have is this; “What measurable impact will my gift have?” One of the best ways to demonstrate your impact is through a powerful story that illustrates your mission in action.

Demonstrating your impact as often as possible is absolutely critical for nonprofit organizations. One of the reasons this is the case, is illustrated by a recent article in, that stated no less than thirty five percent of Americans don’t have confidence in charities. This is especially true of millennials.

Many researchers who study the trends of millennials have pointed out the fact that they want to make a meaningful difference on today’s biggest global challenges and they are open to trying new strategies to make this happen, but they want to know, see and experience the impact that their money is having. They are not content simply to give  towards an organization and trust that their money is going to the programs they intended. They want to see and hear what kind of impact their giving is having.

So how can nonprofit organizations do this effectively? It starts by creating accountability through transparency. The more transparent an
organization is about their programs and services, the more accountability they create. The result of more accountability is more support from donors.

Nonprofits can demonstrate transparency by using technology to communicate the impact of their programs, even when the program doesn’t have the full intended impact. This could be in the form of a video, a picture, a blog or even a live feed of an event or experience the nonprofit is providing.

Trust is built when you provide transparency.

One of the most powerful examples of true transparency is sharing a “failure” of one of your programs. I’m reminded of a story from Charity Water, a large international nonprofit that provides clean water to the developing world. They had an event where they were unveiling a brand new well they had built and they were going to have this grand celebration streamed live online, as they turned on the water for the first time. The camera was set, the crowd had gathered and the moment came to turn on the water. It was a complete dud. The water did not emerge, gushing out as planned. In fact, the well didn’t work at all. And it was all captured live, on video for everyone to see.

Instead of cutting the live feed, they allowed this failure to be seen by all of their donors who were watching. They chose transparency over perfection. The trust they gained from their donors towards their organization after that event, sky-rocketed as a result.

Transparency builds trust.
Donors give in response to trust.

As a guest on my Nonprofit Leadership Podcast once said: “People give through a nonprofit not to a nonprofit.” People give through your organization in order to make an impact on the world. They give to your organization because they trust you. They continue to give to your organization, when you are able to show them the impact of their donation.

Next steps:

-How can you demonstrate your impact more effectively?

-What communication channels do you need to improve upon, in order to tell the story of your nonprofit better?

-What meaningful, hands-on volunteer opportunities could you invite your donors to engage with, especially your millennial supporters, that gives them a real-time experience to see how they are helping to make the world better?

It is all about impact.

View the published blog post on Fundraising Leadership’s site here.

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Nonprofit Leadership Podcasts

How Has a Global Pandemic Changed the Fundraising Landscape for Nonprofits?

The landscape has shifted under our feet over the last three months. First the global pandemic of COVID-19 has directly impacted both donors and nonprofit organizations. Then, on the heels of this pandemic, in the US, we have had a huge uprising and unprecedented response to racial injustice in our society.

Kris Putnam-Walkerly, founder of Putnam Consulting

Rob’s guest today is Kris Putnam-Walkerly. Kris has served as an advisor to some of the top global philanthropists for over 20 years. Through her company, Putnam Consulting, Kris has been able to assist hundreds of wealthy families, Fortune 500 companies, celebrity activists, and foundations allocate over half a billion dollars in grants and gifts. Kris is also the author of a new book, Delusional Altruism, which focuses on achieving better outcomes through Transformational Giving. Between the global pandemic and the social injustices movement going on right now, Kris believes that every nonprofit must adjust their strategy in order to survive.

Enjoy today’s show.

Links to Resources:
Robert Sterling Clark Foundation

Kellog Foundation

Ford Foundation

Change your nonprofit strategy to make a difference:

Check out Kris’s book:

If you have questions or want to come on the show, email Rob at:

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Nonprofit Leadership Podcasts

How One Nonprofit Is Helping Women Fight Back Against Sexual Assault

Shannon Henry. Shannon, President and Founder of SASS GO

On average, there are 20 victims of physical violence every minute by an intimate partner, which equates to over 10 million women and men in the US. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Furthermore, in just one day, physical violence hotlines receive over 20,000 calls. Those stats are mind-boggling and sadly with the recent forced quarantine, stay-at-home orders because of the COVID-19 pandemic, those numbers are actually going up. This is a tragedy that is taking place everyday.

Rob’s guest today is Shannon Henry. Shannon is the President and Founder of SASS GO, a nonprofit dedicated to providing trauma-informed programming designed to reduce risk, build confidence, and empower women and girls to defend themselves against physical and mental risks to their wellbeing. Unfortunately, Shannon’s life was changed forever when she was sexually assaulted by a high school boyfriend. She knows first-hand that sexual assault can make someone feel ashamed and isolated. However, Shannon has transformed that painful experience into an unshakeable resolve to help other girls and women who have also experienced sexual assault.

Links to Resources:
If you have any questions, reach out to Shannon Henry, President and Founder of SASS GO!

If you have questions or want to come on the show, email Rob at:

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Nonprofit Leadership Podcasts

Leadership in the midst of COVID-19

Though most states around the country are beginning to reopen, we are in a time as a country and as a world where we are still far from “normal”. Now, more than ever, we need solid leadership.

Rich Harwood, President and Founder of the Harwood Institute

One of the effects of this pandemic, has been the renewed awareness of the pre-existing disparities that have been present in our country for awhile now. Disparities in things such as drug treatment, healthcare, education and more, have become clearer than ever right now. While some nonprofits are having a difficult time adequately addressing these problems, organizations and individuals are finding new ways to support those in need of help. Networks are coming together to make sure that those suffering from these disparities are not left to battle their challenges alone.

Rob’s guest today is Rich Harwood, the President and Founder of the Harwood Institute. Rich is an author, speaker, and innovator, working through his institute to bring together people on the front lines to bring lasting change in the community. The Harwood Institute focuses on bringing groups together to tackle shared challenges through collaboration instead of competition. This is the perfect time for those in positions of leadership to find out what really matters to one’s community, stop the competition, and build stronger ecosystems in the community in order to create systemic change.

Links to Resources:
Achieving Recovery Together
The Greater Clark Foundation
The Harwood Institute Facebook

Find out how you can mobilize and inspire your community:

If you have questions or want to come on the show, email Rob at:

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