Ep 176 | Staying in an Abundant Mindset with Gauri Manglik

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When you're growing or just starting out it can be scary. Figuring out what to do first and how to keep your mind on growth and abundance feels like it might be impossible. Gauri is here to share ways that you and your team can stay postivie and come from an abundance mindset to help open new opportunities. 

What you'll learn:

→ how to be a leader that encourages abundance.
→ creating an abundance model that your organization lives by.
→ how to enter the world of grant writing for immediate success.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[6:57] Abundance Mindset Have a proven model first and then work on trying to scale, rather than trying to scale first. View yourself as the first investor and why there is a need for your organization.
[11:06] Be A Leader Hire a team of people that are willing to grow and learn with the organization. Provide examples of how things should be done as people might not see things the way you do in the beginning.
[15:23] Applying For Grants Don’t rush into applying for grants too early. Take 9 months to a year to establish a clear vision and track record of what your organization is trying to accomplish. Be able to show what the money will be used for when you are ready to apply for grants

Resources

14-day Free Trial of Instrumentl use code DMTPOD50 for $50 off your first month or year
The Ultimate Grant Writing Resources Collection: features over 100 pages of grant writing resources ranging from grants calendar guides to RFP evaluation tools.
Live Grant Writing Classes: weekly live and free grant writing education featuring best-selling authors, educators and more.
Grant Writing Classes On-Demand: 50+ hours of free grant writing education that can be watched by any grant writer regardless of skill level
Successful Grant Proposal Examples: The Ultimate List: this post digs into successful grant proposal examples to show how you can start winning grant funding for your organization.
49 Grant Writing Resources: The Ultimate List: the most comprehensive list of grant tools and grant writing resources for nonprofits.
8 Things That Only Instrumentl Can Do: learn what makes Instrumentl the definitive institutional fundraising platform for nonprofits.

Gauri Manglik

Gauri Manglik

Founder, Instrumentl

Gauri has dedicated her career to building intuitive and delightful user experiences. Seeing the opportunity to force multiply the nonprofit sector's ability to create impact through software led her to her work at Instrumentl. As CEO and a co-founder, she has led Instrumentl to serve over 2,000 nonprofits today, making it a favorite tool among grant seekers for bringing grant prospecting, tracking, and management to one place.

Before Instrumentl, Gauri was CEO and co-founder of Fondu, an online community for sharing bite-sized restaurant reviews. After Fondu was acquired by Airbnb, Gauri led their mobile and special projects teams. Learn more: https://www.instrumentl.com/ 

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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of the digital marketing therapy podcast. And today, we're talking about a few different things. But really about abundance versus scarcity. How do you work through your organization and really come at things with a feeling of abundance and growth? And how does that play into your organization? And then we're going to talk about specifically how that interacts and engages with your grant writing. If you're afraid to go after that big grant, if things feel overwhelming to you, how can the abundance mindset really help you move through that? And to help me talk about this conversation, I am joined by Gauri Manglik. Gauri has dedicated her career to building intuitive and delightful user experiences. Seeing the opportunity to force multiply the nonprofit sector's ability to create impact through software led her to her work at Instrumentl. As CEO and a co-founder, she has led Instrumentl to serve over 2000 nonprofits, making it a favorite tool among grant seekers for bringing grant prospecting, tracking and management to one place. Before Instrumentl, Gauri was CEO and co-founder of Fondu, an online community for sharing bite sized restaurant reviews. After Fondu was acquired by Airbnb, Gauri led the mobile and special projects teams. So she has a lot of insight and information on how she herself has worked through the startup space, how she's kind of helped build her team. And then how you can do the same no matter what stage you are, whether you're just starting out or getting ready to scale. So I hope that you give this episode a listen, lots of good nuggets in it, and I know that you'll just hear it. And then it will kind of permeate through everything that you do on a day to day basis and the conversations you have with your donors in your organization. But before we get into this episode, it is brought to you by our digital marketing therapy sessions, head on over to thefirstclick.net/officehours, grab your time, if you just need to have a bite sized conversation with me to talk through anything. Storytelling and your grant writing, how to get your website ready to match up with your grant writing, how to kind of build in some of these elements we talked about into this episode into your organization. Again, thefirstclick.net/officehours. Digital Marketing therapy sessions are a great opportunity to have me as a consultant in your back pocket without having to be on a big retainer. Let's get into the episode. 

[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing, and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Everybody, please join me in welcoming Gauri Manglik to the podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today.

[Gauri Manglik] Thanks so much for having me.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, So, you know, you've started your own business. You're supporting nonprofits. And today we're talking scarcity versus abundance. But I'm curious, as we get started, kind of how do you work through that in your own business and your own growth? Like, kind of, where have you been in that journey? And kind of working through getting to that abundance mindset?

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, I mean, it's always a work in progress. For sure. And, you know, some part of it is like, you know, the reality is, like, when you're getting started, getting things off the ground, is, I think it's very easy to go to a scarcity mindset, because you're trying to do more with less. And that's like an easy, I think, thought pattern to go down. And I think for me, the way that I think about it, in the context of my own company, in Instrumentl, is like, what can I do to feel more proactive, more from a position of strength as opposed to reactive? And that's always a challenge. And I think, you know, one of the ways that we've that I've thought about it, in the context of Instrumentl, has been, you know, with startups, and same thing with like early stage nonprofits, like a big part of it is just getting the funding to get off the ground. And there's this idea of like needing to convince investors, or needing to like convince funders, or needing to, like, you know, go through this very challenging kind of power dynamic. And I think one of the things that's been important to Instrumentl has been to like rewrite that story. And to not come from a place where we actually need to raise external funds. So Instrumentl runs profitably runs, at a cash flow breakeven to profitable, and part of that came from this desire to actually not need to partake in that kind of like pattern, that kind of overall pattern of running a business. And so I think that's been an interesting journey.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I bet it has, yeah, that's awesome. That's great though. So, if people are hearing the term scarcity and abundance, for the first time, can you maybe just give people a quick overview? Because I'm sure you're living in one of these spaces, but maybe you just aren't aware of what that is.

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, I think at the simplest, a scarcity mindset is where you feel like there's less to go around. An abundance mindset is where you feel like there's enough for everyone. And another way that I think about it is, is also like reactive versus proactive, kind of like coming from a position of where things are kind of happening to you, as you're running your business, as you're running your nonprofit, the world is kind of imposing its own needs on you, as opposed to you exerting a force on the world and on what needs to change. I think those seem tied to me.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I agree with you so much. And I think that's so true. Because when you're, especially when you're in the early stages, or if you're in like a scale stage of your organization, a lot of times you get stuck in like the what has to be done right now. And that's when you get on the hamster wheel of funding and income, right, as opposed to when you continue to look a little bit forward. And put strategies in place to kind of have future growth that helps you, don’t you think, will kind of that long term more consistent, sustainable, whether it be donation or income and into your organization.

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, exactly. And it's like, it's interesting that sometimes, even as like leaders, like as executive directors, or like startup founders, or CEOs, it's kind of interesting how it can sometimes feel like you're, or it can be helpful to remind yourself that actually, like everything that you're doing is like, it's your call, like, you don't have to be doing things that are putting you on a hamster wheel, you don't have to be doing things that are feel more reactive, you can really change anything, it's your company, it's your nonprofit. And it's interesting how that can sometimes be hard to remember.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So that leads into my next question, which, like, when you have an abundance mindset, where you, you know, you really feel like, there's enough for everybody, I can grow my organization, it doesn't matter what my competitors are doing, even if they're in a similar space, like, I can do things my way, the way that I feel is the most impactful, what have you. And attaching that to your actions, like how does having an abundance mindset really helped you with making decisions and moving through? Because you also, I feel like when you're scaling and growing, have all the things coming at you, like people are coming at you with all these great ideas, are coming at you with all of these ways that you can grow. So how do you kind of stick with that and use that abundance mindset to make decisions?

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, I think that one of the first ways that shows up is in, I see there's a big difference between organizations who have a proven model, and then are trying to scale, and organizations that are trying to scale and do more without having proven a model. And I think the latter tends to feel like way more chaotic, it tends to feel like you're really not able to come from a position of strength, because you're trying to do too much at once. And the former is, requires more like concentration of efforts on your strengths, as opposed to trying to do everything, and a real sense of like rigor to really focus on the things that you're going to that actually are important for your organization to take on to get to the next step of like, of proving like why this organization is like solving a real problem. One of the things that, you know, people will say is like, oh, I need to like kind of build, kind of jump to kind of convincing donors or convincing investors. And I think there's a really important step of like convincing yourself first and treating yourself as like the first donor, you're spending so much of your time here as the first investor, that's like the biggest investment to make. And, like really looking critically at like, why you think there's a clear need in your community or in the market. And like seeing that laid out clearly. And then also being able to prove to yourself that the program that you're designing, the program that you're designing, the organization that you're designing, is actually going to be solving that. So having some sort of like minimum viable way that you're able to demonstrate that to convince yourself and like prove out that model is like generally the stuff that I see missing in nonprofits and for profits before kind of focusing on this like scaling piece or like fundraising piece. And sometimes you need to fundraise a bit to like get to that place where you can, like prove it. But that's really how that should be considered. It's like what's like the minimum amount that we need to get to, to like prove out a certain hypotheses or, you know, certain program’s success, as opposed to just like kind of taking on whatever, whatever grant opportunities or whatever is out there.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Because I feel like, I love it, you're saying prove it to yourself. Because if you walk into those initial conversations, not feeling good about what it is that you're doing, I think, you know, like, people can sense that kind of a lack of confidence. And I'm not going to give you money for your company or sign on for your services, or donate to your organization, if I don't feel that you have confidence in what you're doing, so that's such a great, and like, seems like a very obvious thing. But something that I think we forget when we're in the mud, of trying to, like, get something up and going.

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, well, 100%. It's definitely easier said than done. Yeah, for sure. But yeah, like you want to come to a place where you're like speaking to others, potential partners, or potential donors and feeling like fully convinced, and being able to point to a clear demonstration of success in some way, so that that person feels like, yeah, of course, if I give you this money, or if I, you know, partner with you, I can see like, clearly like, why you're the right person for me to do that with because of like what you've done in the past.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So as a leader, as you're building your team, as you're building your board, I think that's what also makes things so complicated. Because the more people you bring into your organization, the harder it is to continue to move forward with like, I feel like you kind of have to pull some people along, or you always have those naysayers, there's always at least one or two in the bunch, that are going to kind of bring you down to oh, we can't do that, or that's not going to work, or they already give money to that organization, or we'll never get that grant. How as a leader, can you continue to provide that culture of abundance so that your whole team is kind of working collectively?

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, that's a great question. Another way that I would think about it is like, how can you cultivate a culture of like, taking risks, as opposed to being like extremely like risk averse, and being comfortable with rejection. And I think that's also something that just, it gets harder as you grow. And it's really a thing that you constantly have to kind of fight against. Because I think it's kind of like the natural tendency, it can be like natural tendency of just like a group of people, it's hard to, you know, not have at least one person who's kind of bringing up things from a more kind of pessimistic perspective. I would say the first thing is to see if that can be part, honestly, part of your like hiring criteria, or the way that you actually think about putting people together is this kind of mindset, this mindset of like, we can actually achieve anything. We want to like focus on our strengths, we want to take risks, like learning is an OK outcome. It's okay to learn. And maybe not even just an OK outcome, maybe that's a great outcome, right? Because that means that you've pushed the, you know, moved the ball forward in some way, as opposed to staying stagnant. I think the second is just like managing that, continuing to manage that after you've like hired people, and to show people like what examples of that look like. So it doesn't feel like something they, you know, some of it, some of the things that I, I realized, when I'm maybe frustrated that, you know, somebody's not doing something a certain way, is I realized that they actually don't know what a good example of that looks like, right. And they're just kind of there with good intention, you're bringing up concerns because you care, you don't want things to fail. So it's not, it's not an intention problem, it's actually that it's more of like a skill that actually needs to be cultivated, and from you as a manager, or you as a leader, being able to like point to like specific examples, and talk to those examples with that person, and show and like brainstorm together or discuss together, what are other ways that you might actually have approached that problem? Or what are other perspectives that you might have? And come at it from a coaching perspective.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That's so good. I, when I started bringing in, like, BAs and stuff into my business, I remember like being so frustrated, because I'm like, why are they just not? Like, why is this not just naturally coming to them in what like I want them to do and that was a good lesson for me in that is like, you don't realize the little things that you don't communicate because they come so second nature to you, but that's not second nature to everybody. So I think that's great. And I think that comes into mindset 100% too, right? Like lead by example. But you have to show and give them the tools and the opportunities to be able to grow as well, right?

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, and it's really easy to as you said, like think that the things that are second nature to you are the things that are really easy to you are the same for everybody. And I remember I was talking to one of my coaches and I was talking to her about a person that I was having trouble with and I kept saying something like, you know, all she has to do was this, or all he has to do is that, and like she was showing me how, she had point out that like, my default assumption is that they know what I'm asking them to do. And they're just not doing it, which is like, not a very, from a default assumption perspective, not the healthiest. It actually is more generous and more productive if you actually assume, first, that they might not even know what you're asking them for. They might not even know that expectation.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. Well, let's bring this back around to fundraising because I know Instrumentl helps support nonprofits in like easing the grant writing process. But I feel like grant writing is something also that younger organizations, at least the ones that I've been blessed to be a part of throughout my career. It's like this hurdle that they don't want to cross or it's like this feeling of, well, I won't get that grant, or I like, you know, kind of saying no to something before they even attempt to jump into the game. And so, like, what kinds of things might you say to a nonprofit, like, you've already said, one thing, which is great, where like, be okay, for people to say no, like, rejection is okay. At least I learned, right. So how might like, what kind of pep talk might you give to a nonprofit that is, you know, maybe either scared to go for that big grant that they've been wanting to or just scared to kind of jump into that game first responder funding?

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, the first thing I'd say, the first thing I'd want to understand what that organization is, like is are they grant ready. And so there's a couple of things that you want to, you do actually want to make sure you have in place before you jump into the game of grants, because you want to make sure that you're set up for success. So some of those things are, you know, very, like, kind of obvious, like you make sure you are registered, you make sure you have like a mission statement, maybe have a clear, you know, idea of like what your organization is doing, have a board, and all of that. But I think the the two key things are beyond that is like, is that track record of success, that's really important in grants, especially because you're going after institutional funders, which are, who are, you know, sometimes there are startup grants, but like most of the time, institutional funders will be more risk averse than individuals, because they're giving the larger funds, they have just like a more, you know, institutionalized process. So they will want to see that, if they give you $100,000, they have a very clear reason to believe that based on what you've done in the past that like there's going to be something, they're going to be able to actually see what you're what you're telling them you're going to be able to do. And then the other piece is, is around capacity. And you know, one of them, capacity in one way is just like making sure if you do win grants, that you're set up for success and being able to like execute on what those grants are going to be for. And also capacity in the broader sense of the overall grants process. So grants are, with any new thing that you're doing, you want to give yourself the space to, you want to bake in the fact that like, you're not going to know everything from the beginning. And that's okay. And you need to give yourself the time to incorporate feedback into your process. And so I think like six to nine months to see positive ROI on grants like tends to be the minimum. And I actually advise folks to like, if they are grant ready, to actually give it closer to like a year to two years to apply to grants big enough to build those relationships, taking that feedback that you're getting, and then continue to really build out that process and that muscle internally at the organization. So for that reason, it's often, or it may not be like literally the first fundraising channel you should pursue, right? Because you do a fundraising channel that has faster feedback cycles, where you can actually get something off the ground or prove something. And so usually I see folks, you know, we'll kind of get to that stage like through individual fundraising in some way. And then at some point, they feel ready to add on another layer and have the capacity for that. But you know, in terms of if somebody's ready and getting stuck, I would say the way to start would be to start small. The more grants you win, the more grants, the easier it is for you to win grants and winning your first few grants is harder. So I would actually start with the grants that may come from like more local funders, or funders where you might have some sort of relationship that you can lean on or you know, there's some way, maybe like a friend, a partner organization that has worked with them in the past or some way to get a connection there. Go for like the low hanging fruit, the smaller grant amounts that maybe are not your ideal grant in the future, but will actually get the ball rolling in terms of having you be able to demonstrate that you can like win a grant and like prove success to that funder. And then I would say that, again, like the focus there should be really on learning. And if you don't have a clear hypothesis for every grant that you pursue, you're coming from a position of strength that you should apply to grants where it feels like it's a no brainer for the funder to fund you. And if that ends up being true, awesome. You're right, and if that ends up not being true, to really understand, like, from a position of just like learning, like what happened, like be curious, like if sometimes it's not easy to get in touch with the funder to get that feedback. But that's obviously something that I would try. What are other ways that you might get some signal on how you can improve? Maybe it's talking to like a consultant or grant writing consultant, getting their tips or a coach. Maybe it's just like looking at other organizations that that funder has funded more closely and really, just like really being critical on if there truly was mission alignment between what you're doing and that funder. And then just like baking that into the process. So overall would be to like, make sure your grant ready, and like start small and just focus on learnings and just just expect that it's going to be, it's going to take some like, it's gonna take a lot to build that muscle,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I kind of equate that mindset to, like, my daughter's really big into musical theater. And so I kind of equate it to like, like, she's now auditioning at our local theater, but we're kind of working our way up like going in, you know, we've thrown out like, let's just go audition at this bigger company and just see what happens. If you get something great. If not, then you've learned kind of something that you can do to better yourself. And I feel like relationship building and nonprofit making those big asks, grant writing, is almost sort of flexing that same muscle, if you can come into it with the mindset of like a rejection or a no, is an opportunity to learn, not a oh, they think we're bad at what we do.

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And I think that maybe this is true with other forms of fundraising too, but I kind of see with grant writing, and this I see this also with like copywriting, like with marketing copywriting. I'm curious your thoughts about that. Because anyone can technically write copy, you kind of underestimate that it's actually hard to write really good copy. And so I see that with grants too, where folks will come in with, like, if they can technically write a grant and like, send out like 10 proposals, and then they'll get, you know, rejections, and then they'll get really discouraged. And they just haven't, like, invested in like actually kind of building that muscle and like teaching themselves and haven't really been okay with that learning process.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, no, I agree with you. We work with clients on building their promo kit that they can share with their board members, with their volunteers, with whomever, that has all of the copy that they need. So everybody can speak the same language. But we really drive home that value driven storytelling as opposed to, I think, to your point, nonprofits, and especially like the technical grant writers, will make it very me centric, they feel like I have to talk about myself and all of the things instead of really sharing the impact in the story in a way that evokes emotion or evokes, you know, something that's going to make you feel more connected to that organization. So I think you're, you're 100% Correct. And I think similarly to how you would write a promo kit for your marketing, for your campaigns, for whatever, you can create the same thing in all of your different areas of fundraising, including grant writing, which will then, I think, all the major organizations that are writing a lot of grants do that, so they can pull all of their things together. So your confidence and your feeling when you're going after some of these things is like, Okay, well, I might have to tweak a thing here or there. But I've largely got all of this done. And I know that these types of things, these words, these stories that our organizations tell have already proven to fund. So you know, like it, like you said, gets the ball rolling, gets things moving. But yeah, that copy piece, I think, and that personality is very underutilized.

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, and I think you brought up a good point, which is like, being empathetic to the person that you're speaking with, and, like really connecting to like what they care about, is, I think, a much more effective approach, as opposed to kind of just like describing yourself. And the same thing with like, Instrumentl as a product, right? Like, if we can like, just, like, kind of list out our features, right, and like how the product works, but really what people care about is how it's going to like impact them and like change their workflow, their lives for the better. And like one way that I think that could also come about is just like, just like also more proactive, like nurturing of your donors and of your funders. So like, if you want to, let's say you want a grant, of course, you're gonna have like an end of the grant period, like report, maybe like a midterm report, but like, if you're doing great work, and you're putting together these, you know, these marketing materials and other angles, it makes sense for you to like continuously, almost like, nurture that relationship and take on the the kind of work of that if you're really being empathetic to that funder, right? Like that's what they are trying to get from you even if they're not like asking for it.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I love like all the things and the little nuggets in this conversation. Because I think abundance just really plays, like when you have that abundance mindset, it plays into so many things like you talked about, like being proactive, having better confidence, being able to go after the bigger things. And I just think now that people have started to hear this, I think it'll start to like percolate into all of their conversations, it'll, you know, they'll start to see it more, right? It's just like when you decide you're gonna buy a Toyota, all of a sudden, you see the Toyotas everywhere, now you're gonna see like abundance versus scarcity and all of your conversations. But if you were going to kind of leave people with one final thought about either how this has impacted your business and your growth or ways that they can continue to live this in their day to day, what would you say to folks?

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, I would say to, I think this is like a, this comes from like, some kind of war philosopher, right, where you like, kind of take on battles that you can win. And I think that another way to think about it is to like really focus on your strengths and your differentiators. When you're starting off, when you're on the smaller end, like you don't have, you are working with less, you don't have a ton of levers to pull to resources, but a really important lever is basically what you decide to work on. And like the scope of that. So I think my general take is that it's always better to do fewer things better, and the fewer things that are really causing your organization or your company to be differentiated in the community or in the market so that you're actually like, there's like a clear reason for like why you need to exist, a clear problem that you're solving. And I would try to place more of your efforts on doing fewer things that really showcase that as opposed to like trying to do more things.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That's so good. Well, people want to find out more about you and Instrumentl, how do they do that?

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, you can go to instrumentl.com. It's spelled instrument and then the letter l.com. And we have a 14 day free trial. So if you're interested in accelerating your grants process, you can check us out totally for free. And it's a totally risk free trial. So at the very least, you'll come away with some opportunities for you to pursue. At the very most, hopefully, you'll find that on top of finding great opportunities, it'll basically create a system for you to be successful, over the years, helping you build that grant calendar, collaborate with your team, and just be more strategic with grants overall. And we have a special link and coupon code that I'll send to you after that would be great to include in the show notes for folks, if you do decide to move forward with a subscription, you'll get a bit of a discount. And even if you're not ready to take the jump and like really go after grants, you can check out our blog, it's instrumentl.com/blog. We have a ton of free resources there to just teach you about the grants process to help you understand if you are grant ready. And we have webinars almost every week at this point from different experts that will teach you about different aspects of grants and basically coach you through it. And so we can just get the seeds planted for whenever you are ready to pursue it.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That's awesome. And we'll have all of this linked up at thefirstclick.net/176. So you can check that out. Thank you so much for joining me today.

[Gauri Manglik] Yeah, thanks so much for having me. This was fun.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I'm so thankful to Gauri for joining me today. It was such a great conversation. Again, the show notes are at thefirstclick.net/176. So you can grab that coupon code that she has for you as well to try out Instrumentl if that's something that's on your list. Make sure you subscribe wherever you listen so you don't miss out on a single episode and I'd love it if you'd leave me a little five star review, especially if you're on Apple podcasts. And make sure you check out the video versions of these episodes at thefirstclick.net/YouTube. We'll see you in the next one.

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