Ep 180 | What Should You Do to Grow Your Organization?

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So many people get stuck on what they should or shouldn't be doing when it comes to marketing in your business. The thing is, when you talk to different people they'll tell you something a little different, especially based on their specialty. So what do you do?

I'm sharing some ways to think about your business and what means the most to you so that you can take these activities and figure out what your best steps are for you!

What you'll learn:

→ what to do with all your great ideas.
→ how to determine if the actions you're doing are generating the most they could be.
→ making decisions on the activities you add in and what you keep or stop doing.
→ how to ensure your team is working efficiently.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[4:40] What to do once you've attended a training or conference Take it back to what your goals are for your organization and what's on your plate. Determine where the new skill fit in with that before you take more on. Do the new things help get you to where you're going? The things you aren't going to do right now go into a folder somewhere for you to review when you're ready to add something new in.
[7:49] Audit your current events events take a lot of time and money. What is the ROI of the event? Is it the best use of time for the biggest impact. Don't forget to take into account the volunteer time and not just staff time. Also, the conversations right after the event that might bring in new donors, how is that affecting the bottom line.
[10:31] Determine where you want to deep dive and what action you want to jump into what can you be super consistent with? Make sure the activities you choose to add in are things you can do well! Quality over quantity always!
[13:28] Time track for a week understand where you're really spending your time. Do personal and professional tracking so you can get a better picture of your day-to-day.


EP 177 | Creating your 2023 Big Picture Strategy
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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So I've recently been speaking live at a handful of events. And I've also been participating in a bunch of virtual events, all helping nonprofits with their fundraising and hitting their fundraising goals, growing their organizations, right? Working on things that are more traditional fundraising, also online marketing, all the things. And there's a common thread that has come up in conversation in all of those conversations, and that is, what should I be doing? Where should I be putting my efforts? And I think that's a little bit of a loaded question, because depending on who you're talking to, they're going to have different priorities, right? We all are experts in different things, that all kind of come together to help you build this organization. So Well, every single thing that person is going to be telling you is important. They're going to be telling it to you from their perspective, right? There are major gifts supporter or their website person, or they're an email marketing person, or their social media person, or they do ads, right? All of those things are going to be slanted from the perspective of that person's personal expertise. And that's all well and good. But the question of what should we be doing is something that really organizations get hung up on. And I think also, we, as leaders tend to do the things that we like to do, and not necessarily put an effort into things that we know are going to help us get to our goals, but are not maybe what are our favorite things to do. It's human nature, I do it too. And so that's why it's important to really kind of think big picture and figure out what's going to help overall. So that's what I'm going to talk you through today is ways to kind of figure out what you quote unquote, should be doing. And I don't really like that word, because it's a little bit different for every organization. But also just kind of talking through ways to think about how you're spending your time, we've talked about this in a lot of different episodes. But because it keeps bringing it up, it keeps coming up in conversations that I'm having with organizations, I thought that I would bring it up again today. And maybe put a different spin on it. Because you know, we always hear things when we need to hear them. So maybe now is the right time for you. And I think especially as we're going into our strategic planning, or at the end of the year, we're getting pretty darn close. So it's good to really make sure that we're thinking thoughtfully about the activities and the strategies that we have going into 2023, can you believe it, I can't believe it. Now, I also want to say, for all of you small and medium sized organizations that are listening to this, this is not something that is unique to just where you're at. And I don't say this to frustrate you, I say this to empower you. Medium and large sized national giant organizations still struggle with the same thing of, okay, well, let's do this shiny object syndrome. That is not something unique to small organizations. It's not something that's unique to nonprofits. It's something that we all deal with. And we all are trying to figure out how can we best grow? And how can we do that? Adding a staff person, you know, adding those expenses, it's all very overwhelming. And so I really hope this episode will help you break it down and give yourself some grease in space to say it's okay, I don't have to do that. And it's not going to take my business. Okay. That's what we're going to talk about.

Before I get into it. This episode is brought to you by our digital marketing therapy sessions. These are 30 minute sessions with me, you can book one you can book 10, totally up to you. Or you can have me in your back pocket to ask me any question that you want, all you have to do is go to https://thefirstclick.net/officehours , snag that time slot. And we will go through whatever strategies that you need to help get you going on your way. This episode will help you figure out what those elements are that you may need support with. But definitely check them out. I'm excited to be here and support you through the rest of 2022. And going into 2023. Again, https://thefirstclick.net/officehours. I'll see you there. 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] Okay, so you go to a training, you go to a conference, you go to a workshop, whether it's online in person, you watch a webinar, you hear all these amazing new things and new ways of doing things. And now you're looking at your calendar and you're like, Okay, I gotta do this, I gotta do that. How am I going to fit this in? What should I be doing there? I'm not really sure what I'm going to be doing right? It's all very frustrating, and it's all very overwhelming. So the first thing that I want you to do is go back and listen to episode 177. So https://thefirstclick.net/177. And that is the episode where I talk about how I plan my big rocks for the year, what are the like the non negotiables that are happening that have to get done on the regular? And the reason why I want you to start there is because it's really going to help you clearly identify what it is that you're going to take on and what it is that you're not, what are the things that you know, have to be done, like, shut out all the noise, what are the things that have to get done in order for you to do the bare minimum in your business, and that looks like business and personal, I do personal rocks in there as well. And that looks like major fundraising events that looks like maybe you have weekly donor calls that you do. It could be a trip that you have planned, or weddings, or like celebrations or things right, so go back and listen to that episode, check it out. And then as you kind of work through that, and you set your strategic goals for the year, I want to make sure you have those handy. So really, what you should and shouldn't do in your business is really related to those goals. And then the calendar that you have set up for what you know, must get done. Because anything outside of those, we want to put aside. Now, the biggest thing that I like to do when I listen to a training, or I go to an event, or I find some new strategy that I really love, you know, we put them on sticky notes. And then we have them all over our monitor. And then they're still looking at us in the face. And we're like, oh my gosh, I want to do that I want to do that I want to do that. Right. I like to put them either in a folder, or in your project management software, create a list that is just ideas so that you can categorize them. So it might be social media ideas. It might be email ideas, it might be content creation. It might be event ideas. Maybe you're thinking about switching up the events that you do. It might be I don't know, fundraising conversations, things that you've heard about LinkedIn. So anytime something new comes to you, and you're like, Well, should I do that? Or should I not do that? I want you to take a look at it. I want you to take a look at your goals. And your calendar, say can we add this in? Can we fit this in? Will this help us get there? And if the answer is yes, then by all means, pop that in? If the answer is no, then put it in to that folder and organize it so that you have it there. So then, at some point, when you're like, Okay, we're ready, we're hiring somebody that's going to help us do some social media stuff, you can go back through that whole folder of things, and be able to really think through which ones then might be the right fit. So that's one of the easiest ways that I like to kind of think about and prioritize all of the different things that we do.

The second thing that I want you to do is take a look at the events that you're doing, and really do a debrief on all of them. Because we know events take up a lot of money, and they take up a lot of time. So as we think about some of the other things that are coming into our world, let's do an ROI on the things that we're already doing. Because before we can add new things, we need to make sure we're making time and space for them. And yes, we don't know what the sex success of the new things is going to be. We need to test them. But we do know what the ROI is on the things that we're already doing. So let's say we take our big gala, for example. And our goal for our gala is to raise $100,000. And maybe last year, we raised 120,000. So we're feeling pretty good about ourselves. We're like, Yeah, this is great. We absolutely have to keep doing this gala every year, we're just going to grow it. It's doing awesome. But maybe you haven't gone and done the ROI. So the return on investment. So then we want to think of well, what were all the expenses that went into it. Okay, well, maybe that was 20,000. Okay, fine, then we want to think about the time that went into it, the board time, the staff time, and maybe all of a sudden that starting to add up, and you're starting to see all the numbers and well, maybe the venue isn't available next year. So we have to go somewhere else. And we can't negotiate the same rate, all those things. And now maybe all of a sudden, we're realizing that our staff is spending maybe a total of 100 hours on this project. And we're actually only netting 20,000. Maybe that's not a good use of our time. But maybe what we're finding is that our staff time was 100 hours, we only raised 20,000. But the conversations that came from it, it brought in 50 new donors that we have the ability to talk to, and then that allowed us to raise an additional $50,000 Then maybe that makes sense, right? But we don't know if we don't really track the ROI. So before you think about what should we be adding in or taking away or adding in like new strategies, let's figure out what we're already doing. And if we if we should be doing those things still, if the ROI is there, or if it's time to maybe let some of those things go. And I know that's change. I know that makes things difficult. I know it's easier to have those expectations and know what's coming with something you've already done. And then to give that up and try something new $20,000 is still $20,000, right? But we could be doing so much more. So understanding what you're already doing, what the ROI is, will help you kind of maybe take some of those things off that calendar we talked about, and allow space for you to bring in something different and bring in some of those new strategies that you have been learning about and talking about. So then once you kind of know where you're at with that, then you can pick and choose and maybe dive deeper. So maybe you only learned a little bit about what an online event might be, maybe you've only learned a little bit about a monthly giving program, maybe you've only learned a little bit about how to really get your website updated so that you can get better conversions. So now it's time to really figure out what you want to double down on. And here's the secret. There's no right or wrong answer in anything that you're doing with your online and offline fundraising. It's all about consistency. So if you say we're going to double down on email marketing, but then you only send an email once every quarter, and you're not really consistent, and you haven't really kept up with it and all this, that and the other than it wasn't really worth your time and effort. So we really want to think about the things that we can do and be successful at. And that's going to look different for every organization. Because we all have different skill sets. So you might be blessed with a volunteer on your board. That's great with video, cool. If that's something they want to go and run with having them go do that. You may have somebody that's a great writer, you may have some that's a great photographer. So really take stock in the resources that you have currently. And how can you utilize that to be consistent to create quality content or create quality, whatever it is for your organization, and go from there, because everybody's different, everybody's going to have their unique skill set. And then as you continue to grow and build, you can add more team members, you can add more staff, you can add more specific people to fit into some of those roles. But you can start testing now. But remember, quality over quantity, and consistency, these are the key things that are going to help with any type of marketing and any type of fundraising. If you don't contact a donor in a year, and the only time you hear from them, is when you want to get an annual gift from them. That's not gonna get you as far as if you are consistently showing up for somebody. And that could just be a quarterly phone call, it doesn't have to be every week you're reaching out to them. Consistency is different depending on the task, but we want to be consistent and show up for those that are showing up for us. Okay, I'm feeling like I'm getting a little preachy, not normal for me, and I don't know if I really like it. But that's okay. I'm really passionate about this. Because I think we get stuck on the mindset of different things like we think we need to do all the things we need to be on all the social media, we need to be doing all the email marketing, whatever. And if you're doing all of it, like crap, you're getting nowhere. So let's focus on the things that are going to get us moving forward and double down on that. So you've set your goals, you've got your calendar, you're tracking new ideas, based off of that you've done the ROI, you've dumped the things that you're like, you know what, these aren't really delivering what we need, I could use that 100 hours of staff time on this and potentially double or triple what it is that we're raising. You The last thing I really want you to do, and we've talked about this in several episodes is time track for a week. I love the app, toggle T O GGL. But I would love for you to time track for a week, you and your entire team. And really make it clear that people don't need to share it. Because

I think a lot of times we're not honest with our time tracking if we need to share it with everyone. But the goal here is really to see how we're spending our time. And if we work from home, if we work in an office, I like to do this for like my whole day, like I want to see personally and professionally like where's my time going because there's always more that we can be doing on all sides, right. And with workforce being what it is with burnout with fundraisers, the more that we can support our teams and having just like holistic work life balance, and feel good about what that means for them. The more productivity and the more we're going to get out of them, the more quality we're going to get out of our whole team's volunteers are paid in general. So I want you to track for a week, everything that you're doing, and you can do it by buckets. But what this is really going to do is a couple of things. So the first is during the week, when you're tracking your time, you're really going to start to notice how much you kind of jump from task to task to task and how much time you lose. Because you're doing that as opposed to like chunking things out. The other thing it's going to do is show you places that you're spending time on things that you aren't even realizing are sucking 30 minutes an hour to hours out of your week, that is valuable time that you could be spending somewhere else. Um, and then the third thing that you're not going to notice is the things that you're doing that you could probably pass off to somebody else. What are the tasks that you could have somebody else do so that you could focus on more strategic things? Or maybe you're looking at it, and you're like, Yeah, based off of this, if we hired a part time person to help with all of this administrative stuff, and I had that 20 hours a week to do something else. While it's scary to hire somebody, that 20 hours a week that you're spending on donor cultivation, and donor relation is probably going to lead you to a lot more money and donations coming in, then if you are spending that 20 hours on administrative tasks, so really, it gives you that visual picture to figure it out. And if you bring your team together, and you say, okay, you know, what did you learn, right? We don't just share everybody's, but what did you learn? What did you experience, what were you surprised by, you can really then have a real conversation about where people need support, where people need maybe better ideas and resources, you could also really easily figure out which tasks to automate, you might be surprised to find the people that are duplicating efforts, it will help you build those systems and processes so that you can be more efficient and more effective and free up more time for your whole team to continue to move forward, then you can go back to that pretty little folder that you have all of the great ideas that have been percolating that you want to try, because you'll have a better idea of where you have time and space to fit some of those new things. Okay, so it's really not that difficult. It's really a mindset thing. Trust me, I work through it all the time as well. It's easier said than done. But if you do these things, and now is a great time to well, maybe not now, this is a great activity for January. I know we love to start the year fresh. But in the nonprofit space, I really love doing stuff like this in January, the year end is done. Let's rest and reflect. Let's figure it all out. And let's move on with our year. So let me know if you try any of these things out and how it works for you. I know I am getting ready to go into all my full on strategic planning. So I'll be doing some of these same activities alongside you. So look forward to your feedback and thoughts and any insights because I'm always looking to streamline my processes as well.

But for now, make sure you subscribe wherever you listen and leave us a five star review, especially on Apple podcasts so we can support more nonprofits in 2023 with their digital marketing and Website Conversions. But thank you so much for listening. You can check out the video versions of these episodes at https://thefirstclick.net/youtube and I will see you in the next one.


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