July Bonus Episodes

Bonus Episode 1

Bonus Episode 2 

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Bonus Episode #1

This episode was featured on Easy Style with Sami and is all about creating your dream personal and professional life. It's critical to build in time for yourself. As leaders in our organizations, that means setting the systems we need to be able to step away and truly relax. 

Alyson Caffrey shares her sabbatical method to approach our businesses in a way where we can take mini sabbaticals regularly and bring meaning and impact to all aspects of our lives.

Bonus Episode #2

This episode was featured on The Official Do Good Better Podcast. It features host Patrick Kirby and guest Dean Crownover in a conversation about how you can raise more money at your fundraising events. Dean is a sought-after nonprofit auctioneer. He is giving you all the goods as it relates to events that are fun, engaging, and most importantly, RAISE MONEY!!

We love creating the podcast. If you like what you learned here please give us a tip and help us offset our production costs.

When you leave a review it helps this podcast get in front of other nonprofits that could use the support. If you liked what you heard here, please leave us a review.

Bonus Episode 1 | Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I am so blessed in my business to have met so many amazing humans. So many amazing colleagues bid on podcasts, listen to other podcasts and really just gotten support from so many people. When it came to this podcast, we have grown and evolved and changed in the way that we communicate and the way that we share the content that we share. And this year has been fantastic, really focusing on one theme for the month, but really supporting you as nonprofit professionals and making sure that you have the tools and the resources that you need to make the biggest impact that you can in your communities. So we are excited to be putting out some bonus episodes. I have loved talking mindset and organization and all of those things they don't always fit in with the digital marketing strategies and the resources that we provide.

So I started a sister podcast called Easy style with Sami, where we talk about people's stories and evolutions and how they have built the life and the goals and the dreams that they want. And put them into reality over time. And so I'm going to be sharing some bonus episodes with you here, so that you can listen to those as well. Now, you could always go in stream easy style with Sammy and listen to all of them. But I'm pulling out some specific ones that I think are going to be relevant and super exciting for you as nonprofit professionals that might help and support you. I'm also going to be featuring each month a podcast from a colleague or a friend of mine, an episode that I know will also help support you in a topic that I don't necessarily talk about or that I'm not an expert in. So to give you some more specific information on how you can really have a robust and holistic approach to your fundraising responsibilities, your digital marketing and getting out there in front of new audiences.

So we're gonna kick it off today with an episode from easy style Sami, my sister podcast that I'm super excited about. So I had a guest on earlier this year. Her name is Alyson Caffrey. And she wrote a book but what we talk about in this episode is all about putting the term sabbatical into your everyday experience. How can we, as nonprofit leaders, or business leaders in general, really build a practice and a business that allows people to take breaks to avoid burnout, to keep going and have the energy and productivity that we need. And she talks a lot about her own personal life systems operations, and how to really kind of craft that life, that co working life that work life, that family life, and kind of pull it all together. So if you're growing a team and building a team, if you're trying to really expand, if you're trying to just make sure your organization is set up so that you can take a break. This is a great episode for you. So we're gonna tee it up right now, you can check out show notes at https://thefirstclick.net/july. That's where we're where we'll have more information on both of the bonus episodes that are happening. So you want to make sure that you subscribe to digital marketing therapy because I will not necessarily be sharing these publicly, they will only be available if you check out the bonus episodes that are going to be here on this podcast. I really hope that you like this cross promotion and these other pieces of content that are different from digital marketing really help you be a well rounded nonprofit leader. Without further ado, here is easy style with Sami, Episode 19 featuring Alyson Caffrey.

[Intro] Welcome to Easy Style with Sami. I’m your host Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each episode, I invite a friend, family member or colleague or just someone I’ve met on this journey called life to come and share their personal style and approach to business, parenting, life and everything in between. You’ll hear motivational and inspirational stories that will help you refine and build your own personal style. Remember, style is easy when it comes from within.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hello, hello. Welcome to another episode of easy style with Sami, I am so excited to have Alyson Caffrey. Join me on the podcast today. Thank you for being here.

Alyson Caffrey 0:38
Thanks, Sami, I appreciate you having me. I’m really excited to be here as well. Yeah.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So normally, most of the people that are on this podcast are people I’ve known for years, there’s been a handful of people that are newbies to my world, and you are one of them. And so I am so excited to have you here, because what you’re coming to talk about just kind of hit home for me so hard that I was like we got to have this conversation, because I think it will be something that a lot of people need to hear. So thank you for that. Yeah, thanks. So why don’t you start by just maybe introducing yourself to everybody and telling them a little bit about who you are?

[Alyson Caffrey] Yeah, sure thing. So I’m Alyson Caffrey. I’m the founder of operations agency. And I have about five years in OPS agency and about eight years industry experience in small business and medium sized business operations. And it wasn’t until I actually had my first kiddo that I really realized the weight that operations carry behind the scenes in a business. Meaning that if you want to build an asset that is independent of the founder, independent of any one person, this is a really critical piece to get right. And ultimately, it ended up kind of hitting me over the head when I was actually sitting in the hospital bed with my firstborn son. And my husband had just snapped this really lovely picture that I still to this day cherish of me and my son. And the very next scene, which we don’t ultimately end up documenting some of the challenging times was me on my phone on my email answering client questions, you know, getting my team next steps and making decisions. And I think whether or not you know, this is true of, you know, listeners who’ve had kids or listeners who’ve tried to take a vacation or listeners who just honestly need a break from things that are going on in their business, I find that lots of owners get reluctantly pulled back into client fires and team issues. And it’s just really, really, really reactive. And so that’s one of the reasons why I exist is one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about what I do is to make sure that businesses not only have the longevity that they want, but also the day to day enjoyment of running a business because this really is such an opportunity. And I think operations unlock the door for both of those things.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, because operations isn’t necessarily a sexy thing that people want to talk about. Freedom, right?

[Alyson Caffrey] Yeah, so funny. I said that all the time. I’m like, ops isn’t sexy, but like, neither is like getting sweaty and working out in the gym. Right. But you, you’re committed to your overall health. And we know it’s a core component, right. And we can do some small things and create some small wins and small habits, right? We don’t need to do the operations equivalent of training for a marathon right out of the gate, right? We could just go for a walk around the block, get some sun on our face, right, really experience some of the benefits there?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, so let’s talk about the subject of burnout, because I think it has looked like so many different things since 2020, and COVID. And now coming out of it and now remote hybrid, we go back to the office, you know, how do we still communicate with our peers? Colleagues? How do we work as a team operations has changed dramatically in these last three to five years? So like, what’s your take on burnout? Is it getting better? Or is it getting worse? Is it just changing? Like, what’s your kind of high level view on that?

[Alyson Caffrey] Yeah, that’s a great question. And honestly, I think burnout is getting better, like holistically, right, since COVID, since folks have been really into work life balance. So since folks have been seeing their employees and their people as more like 360 people, does that make sense? Right, like we’re also moms, we’re also sisters, we’re also spouses, right? Like all the things, I think that the discourse around, you know, work life balance has been at least spoken about more. Now. I do, however, think that businesses want to provide work life balance for their employees, and to support them through things like taking breaks, like taking vacations, but they don’t know how to access that tactically, right. They have these really high hopes they want to provide incentive programs, but they don’t know how to structure things behind the scenes to be able to allow somebody to go on a two week vacation with their family uninterrupted, right or sign off at 5pm event right and not be pulled back into things at eight o’clock after they put all the kids down and they do dinner. So that’s the thing that I think it’s the tactical piece that’s missing there. And it’s one of the reasons why I think talking about this and just you know how it can be such a unique approach for each and every business right depending on the size of your team. Even depending on what you guys want to do, I know so many businesses now who are experimenting with the four day workweek, which is so excellent and such a great way to keep folks engaged and to make sure that we are balancing kind of that those rest periods along with high performance periods. Pardon me. But I think what ultimately is happening is that the lines are getting blurred ever so slightly. And I want to stop that. Because I think ultimately, everyone, now if we’re working from our home, I mean, I’ve always worked from my home. So I know how to kind of create some of those boundaries. But I remember when COVID first happened, I was getting interviewed constantly about working from home, and what that looked like and how to increase productivity, and make sure that we didn’t have like dogs and cats and babies and things like jumping into the picture on the screen. And, you know, and I think we’ve all kind of come around to the fact that this is going to be a little bit more standard in the new landscape that we’re operating in as a business. But I do think that there are going to be some challenges right in creating some of those boundaries,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] right, like, I think my husband was just down here making food in the kitchen. Because my office is right off the kitchen. And I usually warn people when I’m recording because my mic tends to pick up more, but there’s dogs barking all the time in the background. And I will say not to like make this a gender thing. But one of the things that I’ve noticed since more people are working out from home is more of the male counterparts in the office are also experiencing that and almost feeling like getting it a little bit more like I’ve had just as many interruptions from kids, when I’m on interviews with, you know, with males, podcasts, or like consulting, calm, whatever, as I have with, you know, with moms and dads. And so it’s been kind of like an almost like an equalizer of like, okay, we get it, it’s not just you saying it’s not just you not prioritizing work, it’s your life.

[Alyson Caffrey] Yeah. And it’s funny, I talk about this a lot with moms because I also own a company called Master maternity leave for mom, producers and companies with expecting employees like how to really extract somebody and be able to still function. And honestly, a lot of the time, when we talk about this, right, we want to make sure that folks feel supported in their time outside of work. Because if you’re leaving kids, if you’re leaving things that you’re really excited about, you’re leaving your spouse, you’re leaving your home, you want to step into what you’re doing and feel enrolled in that vision. And part of that is this place supports me and I support that, right. So that’s the thing I think that I talked a lot about with some of my executive level folks, as we’re like, hey, look, how can I really help my team become more enlisted in what we’re doing and really show up and do their best work? Well, that means checking some boxes behind the scenes, right? I need to know my kids are taking care of I need to know my spouse and I’s relationship is good. I need to know my personal health as an order. So that I can stand here in front of you and be the best version of me contributing the most I can possibly contribute in my role. So you can show up ready to show up? Yes. Okay. So I want to talk about the small to medium sized businesses really quick. And like how do we engage. So like, if you are a small, medium sized business owner, or if you work for a small, medium sized business, and you want to advocate for some things that you might need that might support you in your role?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I think a lot of times in operation some of these quote unquote, perks or benefits, we automatically assume well, we can’t do that, because it’s going to be expensive, or it’s going to, you know, we’re gonna have to pay out all this extra money in vacation or like, we can’t afford to do these things. And so like, that’s kind of the way they just get out of saying, well, we just come for too small, we can’t afford to do the things that the big guys do. So what would you say to those business owners?

[Alyson Caffrey] Yeah, so these owners, I mean, I see it all the time, right? They don’t understand what the costs actually might be in terms of losing a person, right, until they actually go through it. And I know so many owners who are so burnt from hiring, I mean, listen, PETA are by far going to be the biggest expense in our business period. Right? And we all need to just digest that and take it one bite at a time, right? Don’t be so frivolous to hire folks that you’re constantly expanding, contracting, expanding, contracting, right, we got to make sure that capacity is great. And we also need to understand to what are the individual contributors in our organization even doing right, so let’s begin with some key performance indicators. Let’s begin with outcomes, right? Stop managing your people based on a 40 hour work week, right? It’s really antiquated. It needs to get the heck out of the way. And I look at my team and I say, Hey, listen, you’re responsible for this outcome, and it takes them three hours to do that, versus 40. That is a win because now my organization has more capacity. We don’t need to just fill this ambiguous time, we really need to focus on outcomes. And so that’s usually where I encourage my owners to look first. If you’re managing a team. If you’re in a position where you yourself, right, the founder, I know a lot of founders who wear multiple hats and have multiple places in the org chart and occupy multiple boxes, define each of those roles. And I talked about this all the time too. There really does not need to be a negative stigma around wearing more than one hat in the business. And I say this, especially for my small lean teams, what we need to make sure of are two things. First is that all of those hats aren’t all on at one time. And second, that we define specifically what they are so that I know when I’m wearing hat number one, I’m supposed to be generating specific kind of outcome when I’m wearing hat number two, that needs to happen. And then further, when you start crystallizing these outcomes, what ends up happening is probably the baseline foundation of operating is your standard operating procedures start to come out of those things, right? If I’m looking for X outcome, what’s on the other side of the equation, right, it’s these five or six standard operating procedures, the more transparency you have in your organization, the less expensive people will get, because the knowledge transfer will be smoother period. So if you have somebody going out on vacation, you can support them with that small term, you know, short term expense, but over time, as the team comes in to support that person, and then that person supports the team as another person goes out, you have a really fluid supportive way of operating. And there’s nothing that is really living inside of a person’s brain, that is going to be the biggest lifesaver.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] When I think when you’re in a small organization, like I took my first vacation in August, I turned 40. We had a big couples trip. And I was like, I am not having like, I’m five days, I’m not going to have my computer. I didn’t bring those first time. I think I’ve traveled in years where I didn’t even bring my computer. And some congrats. It was a beautiful thing for the world did it fall apart was a little crazy when I first came back. Sure. But I think, um, I think it’s so critical for us as individuals to also own that piece and say, Okay, this is what I want for my life. This is what I want as an employee or as an employer. And then make sure that you’re setting up the systems like we can’t just be innocent bystanders in this and just expect somebody else to set this up for us and be like, well, they’re not doing it. So like leaders come in at all levels. You don’t have to be the CEO to be a leader in your company.

[Alyson Caffrey] Absolutely, yeah. I love that, that reframe because I do agree that it’s your position to advocate for yourself. And it’s also your position to be as open and transparent with your team as possible, right? If you see all of you guys working together as a collective whole, right? That means access to information that means clarity of priorities, right? It means clarity of role, it means open and honest discussions about pay incentives, right? Because what you might incentivize one person with looks totally different for the other person, like I’ve had employees in the past who are like, Nope, I just want to make more money. And I’ve had employees in the past or like, I’d actually love to cut out at three to go pick up my kids from school. And that was really important to them. And so it’s different, right? It just is. And so we don’t have that unless we can communicate openly and be really honest about outcomes. Because my opinion is is really as an owner, then what decision I need to make is, am I willing to pay X amount of dollars for this outcome? And if the answer is yes, because it’s a driver of my business, then like, does it matter? What the kind of minutiae is between things? It really doesn’t, right. And I think that simpler approach to operations is, I think, what’s been missing in the discourse a little bit, right, everybody thinks it’s red tape, everybody thinks it’s traction, or Eos, or this one size fits all thing. But really, if we just start repositioning things in terms of outcomes, and what we are willing to work toward, or what we are willing to spend on those things, we can start to fill in the gaps a little bit easier. And just to start to make momentum in the right direction.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Why is the beauty if you’re a smaller organization, or if you’re, you know, just starting out, you have a lot more flexibility to be more nimble, and to be more personalized with your team, and to support people where they’re at. Because I’d also think, if you’re a smaller team, that cost of losing an employee is exponentially more expensive to your business, then, you know, the apples of the world or the Googles of the world, like yes, it still costs them money. But it’s way easier for them to fill in that gap than if you’re a team of three, or a team of five and you lose somebody that’s a pretty

[Alyson Caffrey] big deal. 30% of your staff if you’re a team of three, right, yeah. Yeah, I think that would hit Apple pretty hard if they lost 30% of their staff.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Right? Well, and so what really hit me when you emailed to reach out about being on the podcast was the sabbatical method. And when I hear sabbatical, I immediately think about, you know, professors that take six months off to go do research or like, you know, somebody who gets to take, you know, a year off and go travel, because they put in 20 years at the business. And so they’re giving them like it’s almost a reward for tenure. And so you approach it from a very different space. And that like sabbatical can kind of happen in our everyday life. It just needs to be a part of our everyday thought process. And just how we approach works that we don’t burn out and we don’t lose our employees. So could you talk a little bit about that?

[Alyson Caffrey] Yeah, yeah, I love this method because I think it’s been an unlock not only for me, but for a lot of the clients that we work with and really I think I love your description of sabbatical because it does it has this like, very like Parisian tenured vibe, where you’re just like, on Do Not Disturb and auto respond for six months or whatever. And it also has a very negative connotation. Right. So a lot of folks who have sabbaticals either have like some sort of mental crisis or a health crisis, right? And they’re out on sabbatical, right? So we have these like two really solid extremes, where we either feel like one is super unattainable, right? The like, kind of slow paced, really long sabbatical that correlates with tenure. And then we also have this other one that’s kind of like that looming. What if like, what if I drive myself to the brink of failure, and I have to take off for my business? What if I go get a checkup from the doctor and they tell me I have some sort of adrenal fatigue and I’m not going to be able to get up like, some folks, if they don’t have enough rest, like physiologically, it ends up shutting their organs die. I’m one

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] of those people, oh, nine, maybe not as extreme to shutting my organs down. But if I’m not getting good sleep, I am a nasty person. Nobody wants to be around me. And it’s like, I’m not productive at all.

[Alyson Caffrey] Yeah, and it’s one of the most overlooked pieces of high performance, right? So it was actually in the research around this method and and kind of crystallizing my frameworks and things. I came across a lot of research around folks who summit Everest, and I think it’s something on average, like 800 people a year seek out to summit Everest, and the number one reason why they fail is because they do not rest for long enough periods at the base camp to acclimate to altitude. That makes sense. Right? So it really is and I mean, think about it, you run a Saharan desert marathon, you do any sort of high performance training, every single one of them includes periods of rest strategically to help you with longevity, with muscle growth, with rebuilding with hydrating, right. So why do we include that in our business? Why is the discourse always just hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle? My opinion is is that just like with parenting, right? For example, right? The boundaries are a little unclear, right? When we should be letting our kid walk to the bus stop on their own or allowing them to sleep over a friend’s house and attended. But isn’t our goal to raise competent adults that thrive externally of us? Isn’t that the outcome. And I think the same is true with our business, right? We whether your goal is to keep it forever, and grow it and leave it as a legacy to your family and all of those things. Or if your goal is to exit, we need to make sure that we as founders are completely extracted from all of the outcomes. And that doesn’t mean that we need to take a six month sabbatical and get out of the business because that’s not attainable. For some folks, we need to start with this methodology in a small enough increments as humanly possible to build the muscle over time and create that longevity. But I

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] love the two examples that you talked about with work, whether you’re trying to, you know, build it to sell or build it for legacy regardless, either way, if you don’t take care of yourself, you take yourself out of the equation, your business isn’t going to be able to do either of those things. Yeah, so

[Alyson Caffrey] it’s so it’s so simple, right? But I think it’s so overlooked, right? So we have we have this, were able to come in and do some rest periods. And those also include, again, just strategic input, right? So where are we going next? Allowing thoughts allowing things to come into your brain to really incubate the team on okay, what is the next step, right. And those I mean, personally, I know, and for a lot of folks that we work with, a lot of that stuff comes at rest a lot of those breakthroughs.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, and you see this a lot too in larger companies, where they’ll say, as a perk, we do one day, a week or one week, a month of just creative, you can work on whatever project you want, not related to what your requirements are, or we have an afternoon of creativity, or we do X mutant you have time built in for learning. You know, and I think that’s speaking to what you’re kind of saying in that opening ourselves up allowing ourselves to be creative, allowing ourselves to follow our passions, which is ultimately going to drive innovation, for your business in ways that you wouldn’t even know.

[Alyson Caffrey] Exactly, exactly. It’s accessing same thing as our previous conversation, right around operations and having access to some of these things that larger companies have access to, we can access the benefit of sabbatical without being super in the whole you know, costly six month vacation, we don’t have to groom you know, C suite level people and grow our organization to 1000 Folks, right to be able to give only the top five people access to this type of innovation, right? We can be in a position to really weave this into how we operate and into the culture of our business, so that our people constantly feel like we care about them as whole people and we also care about the overall health of the business and you’re contributing to it.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And there goes my dog because we can’t talk about nothing podcasts without her. Loving the renters that are outside right now. I want to touch on then it kind of one more thing before we kind of get into the questions that I asked every guest because I think this is so good question, but the what you’ve already shared. But how might we start to kind of flex this muscle? So if we want, if we’re feeling a little bit like we’re close to burnout, or if we want to have conversations with our bosses or with our teams, like what kinds of things might be a great entry point into flexing this sabbatical method muscle?

[Alyson Caffrey] Oh, great question. So I have this piece in my book that’s coming out. It’s called the SR. And so you can kind of channel of this mindset around the type of sabbatical that you take, and one of them is called the assister. And I use this example of one of the most successful NBA players that probably ever played, he had the most assists and the record for assists in the league. And he had a really, really great career at the Utah Jazz, and all these different things. But he was super overlooked, right? But he assistant one, some of the best teams of all time, right, some of the most record breaking teams. And so what I like to do is I like to try to change the perspective of the owner or of the team leader or anybody contributing in the business to become an assister. How can I help somebody else generate the results that I am generating? Right? How can I tee this up for them? Right? We use a lot of screencasting methods, we use a lot of, hey, listen, what do you think about this? How do you feel like this might be helpful, and even just opening up the conversation or possibility right of someone else, being able to own this, we start to create alternative opportunities to make a process that lives outside of our own brain, right? And we can surely come in with more assistance and say, Hey, listen, these are the non negotiables, right, we have to run this play. But this is a little bit, you know, up for grabs, we can exercise our creativity here. But just shifting the doing to the assisting is the very first step.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] This is genius in this, like now my brain is going and we could talk about this, I think for our love to do an ongoing. This just gets me so excited. Because I think to like if if we show up and start that conversation, and we’re trying to assist others, you’re building a community, then them saying, Okay, well, now I can assist this person, and I can assist this person. And then because you’re kind of putting it all into operations, and freeing up that headspace of like, well, I’m the only one who knows how to do it. So if I don’t get this done, then like, everything’s gonna fall apart. Like you’re, you’re then creating all of this headspace for the whole team to just work in, like fluidity and kind of, like you said, maybe get things done in three hours and then rise to the occasion, then what else can you incorporate? What else can you incorporate? And that growth in your business? You know, seems like you just opened up so much more potential.

[Alyson Caffrey] Yeah, absolutely. And it also shows your team that you are confident in their ability. They’re not just doers. They’re also thinkers, right. And that’s what we want. We don’t just want to build a team of doers. We want to build a team of doers and thinkers, right? So do during these periods of time think during these periods of time, and make sure that we show our confidence, right? I don’t know about you, I mean, I’ve been managed in the past, you know, I was an operations manager at a high growth company for years. And I literally remember every time one of you know, the C, C level folks came in, and they were like, oh, no, I’m gonna do this instead. Or I’m gonna take this over and totally, you know, push my confidence level down, right? Where if I were in a position to have been assisted, right, and I could have gotten the end result, but I was assisted, I think that it could have built confidence in my ability, which ultimately ended up helping grow that business to over 2 million in our first two years. So I think like, really, what you want to do is you want to say, Hey, listen, team, you’re here for a reason. I know, I currently do this, but let’s explore the idea of how you might do it. And honestly, some of my folks that I helped through this process end up coming back to me, and they say, well, they actually did it better than I did. So it’s perfect that they took it over. Because ultimately, right? You’re not You’re You’re a founder, right? If the founders are listening to this, or if you’re a team member who has a specialization, right? Like you can’t be amazing, at every single thing, right? We want to sharpen our axe and a few key areas and make sure that we’re really effective in a handful of ways. But you know, businesses need a lot of different things, right? They’re an ecosystem, right? And we can’t expect to be every single thing in the ecosystem because guess what, you can’t remove yourself from an ecosystem if you’re every single thing.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, and how much does creating an environment of ability to fail permission to fail? And dropping ego like that is seems like a critical component to this methodology as well.

[Alyson Caffrey] Oh, absolutely. I mean, listen, everyone has their own secret sauce, their own special gifts to bring I totally believe that. I do also believe that we need to be okay. We meaning business owners and I’m speaking specifically to business owners here. We need to be okay with letting our perfectionism go, period. And I have a mentor who is amazing. His name’s Dan Martell. He just wrote a book, it came out earlier this year. But he says 80%, done by someone else is 100% freaking awesome. And I stand by that I 100% do. And I think that 99.9% of the reason why folks have issues with delegating, or issues where they’ve been burned by hires in the past is because they’ve expected this complete 100% delegation, and it comes back to them with a big, shiny bow on it exactly the way that they want it. And that is a pipe dream, we cannot expect somebody who’s never done something the way that we’ve done it, without the brain that’s between our two ears to be able to get the same exact results. This whole clone yourself fallacy. It’s just not realistic. And I think what we need to do is just be honest with ourselves and say, Hey, listen, what is the 80%, that’s non negotiable, so that I can now free up my time to focus on other growth initiatives and do some things that are really going to propel my business forward, or really invest right in my family. So if that’s the case, if you’ve been in a position where you’ve been neglecting your personal health, neglecting your personal relationships, right? Can I get this 80% of the way off my plate so that I can go have dinner with my spouse? For some at some point during this week? Right? So those trade offs, I think, really do pour into our cup, and we don’t realize how much of an impact they make until honestly, we don’t have them?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I think that communication is key. That was the hardest lesson I had to learn when I started my own business, because I would like, my brother works with me in my business, I would send him stuff. We you know, we have project management tool we have, you know, we’re working on our apps working on it. But I would send him stuff. And it would come back to me and I’m like, but no, like, why didn’t you do this? And like, I started to realize all the things that I don’t include in that comp communication, because I just was like, well, you should just know how to do this? Well, no, he should not just know, he knows the technical side. But he doesn’t know what my expectation is. He doesn’t see what’s in my head that I’m looking for. And so it was definitely a lesson in over communicating so that expectations are there. And that also gave him a better ability to ask better questions. So while it took me a little bit more time on the front end to put, you know, the things into our project management tool for him to complete. He was it still made it faster in the long term for us to get things done, because he could ask better questions, and he could get his work done faster. And then now, you know, we’re seven years in our business, things have started to get a little bit more streamlined, but it takes time and practice and effort on my part.

[Alyson Caffrey] I love that example. I think that’s that’s beautiful. how that worked out for you and your brother?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, you know, we’re lucky because you know, working with families working with family well, um, I think so many good things for people to think about. If if there was kind of any last thing you want to say about your method, or taking breaks and avoiding burnout, kind of what’s one last piece of advice you would give folks?

[Alyson Caffrey] Oh, absolutely. So actually, I talked about this this morning to my community. So the number one thing, if you want to kind of strip away everything that we’ve talked about, is, in order to build competence in how you operate, make sure to prioritize your physical health. And so if you’re so tied into your business, that you actually can’t feel like you can nourish your body with whole foods, you can drink enough water, you can sleep enough you can move your body at whatever cadence you feel comfortable, start to assess how you can make those things happen as soon as humanly possible. And you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, right, we need to just do really critical things to make sure that we are nourished as a person. And that’s kind of like the first level of accessing the sabbatical method life is making sure that we have our basic needs covered. And I think we show up as better professionals, better spouses, better fathers and mothers and better partners and better everything. If we have those basic needs covered. And I think from there, I have so confident that you will have the capacity inside of your decision making brain to be able to get to the next step from there but begin there, begin with that confidence a you know, a person who is rested and fed and you know, have moving their body, right, someone who is at a baseline healthy can move forward into larger projects and high performing projects and high performing businesses with competence. So it’s such

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] a good reminder. Yes, and something we all need to hear over and over and over again. Because when we use the hustle mode, it’s like the first thing to go. So thank you for drilling that into our brains. Okay, so the last five questions that I asked every person on this podcast just because I get so many good nuggets of wisdom and I love it so much. But when you are working on your own personal growth or personal development or learning, where do you go? What’s your resource and tool?

[Alyson Caffrey] Oh, I love books. I’m a voracious reader. Surely you can maybe see above me, but like my books are my lifeline. I really, really Do appreciate all the knowledge and wisdom that you know is there. A podcast that I specifically also listened to a brand that I really like is called Family brand. They talk about how to approach your business as intentionally as you approach your family. So a lot of folks have like business friends, but they don’t have family brands. So I really, really enjoy that podcast as well, when I’m looking for a quick injection of excitement and endings.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Do you have a current favorite book right now? Totally, what did I just finished,

[Alyson Caffrey] I just finished essentialism for a second time. And I have two little boys under three. And I read it back in 2014 when it first came out, but I just read it again. And it’s taken on like a whole new perspective since I have become a mom. And I’m like working through all these things. So essentialism is what I just read. I really love it. One of my favorites is atomic habits by James clear. Yep,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] that’s a good one. That’s good one. Okay, would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

[Alyson Caffrey] I am an introvert with extrovert tendencies, I can surely hold a fun conversation and be light and bubbly and all the things but I go home and I crash super hard. So the way that I recharge is totally with my nose in a book hanging out, you know, at home with my kids and my spouse. That’s awesome.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And the same way, I had to rear my second podcast recording, and I had a client meeting today. So like by after this call, it’s going to be like, mundane tasks for the rest of the afternoon. Oh, yeah,

[Alyson Caffrey] it’s lights out. It’s like, I’ll respond to this email, but I’m not making any more big decisions. Totally.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yep. What is something that you have on your goal list for this year, either personal or professional?

[Alyson Caffrey] Yeah, my goal is for this year is Lauren on my team love her to absolute dad, she’s been with me for over three years. She’s currently like head of our Client Services right now. And I really want her to be Chief of Staff and just be like our super duper champion for our entire team. So we’re working on that transition. She’s super excited about it. And honestly, I think she’s going to crush it like absolutely more than anyone’s ever crushed her role. So yeah, I’m excited to uplevel Lauren to Chief and stuff,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] that’s exciting. Piece of advice that you’ve gotten from someone that has stuck with you.

[Alyson Caffrey] I heard a talk one time, it was a gentleman who used to train Special Forces up in Canada. And he had this really amazing quote, he said, Don’t chase your dreams, hunt your reality. And I loved it. I think it was just so enlightening, because I think, you know, it kind of goes with that whole, like life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you kind of thing. And it really does put you in the seat of being able to control the outcomes in your own life. And I love just also the intentionality behind it. Right? Like when you think of a hunter, you think of like, days of preparation, and like, you know, rustling through the leaves, and like, you know, stocking and doing the whole thing, right? And that’s how I feel like we should prepare to live our lives, right? So that when something when we have an opportunity, we can capitalize on it right away, right? And jump in and say no, no, I’ve been preparing for this, right? Versus just this like hamster wheel of chasing your dreams, right? This thing that might happen at some point, right? Well, let’s just like make the landscape the best possible way it can be for us to be able to hunt our reality. So I love that quote very much. And I actually frequently think about it. Well, because

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] we’ve talked on this podcast a few times about like, how I think we are a culture of comparison, and assuming overnight successes. So we see people, whether it’s in, like, well, how is that person able to afford that house? What do they do for a living? Or like, how is the coach doing so much more than me? Like, how do they have such a bigger audience? I’m doing all the things. Instead of just like, like you said, preparing for exactly what we want, because you don’t know what they’re doing. And maybe they’re working towards the goal. That doesn’t even make sense for you. Maybe your family is your biggest priority, and they don’t have kids in the span. Like maybe, you know, like, working for what you want. I love that. That’s such a great reminder.

[Alyson Caffrey] Thanks. Yeah, I also think, yeah, that comparison thing is a challenge. Because you also don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes of other people, right? Maybe somebody has a huge following, but maybe they have a terrible relationship with their family and friends. Right? So you really don’t know like you really don’t know. And so I think focusing on your own thing, focusing on adding value to the communities and adding value to the ones that you serve. And then obviously adding value in your personal and professional relationships. And just keeping those blinders on is going to serve you I mean, it’s one of the most old school tactics and honestly, that’s one of the reasons why I love operations is because there’s no like newfangled fancy ways of doing things, right. This is all like tried and true methods, right? Like the things that are non negotiable. I love it. I love the basics. It’s just so freeing to understand that like, we don’t need very much more than what we’re already equipped with to have the life that we imagine.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yes, that’s so good. Okay, what is a non negotiable in your life? Speaking of non negotiables

[Alyson Caffrey] Ah, I love my family. I love to spend as much human like humanly possible time with my two young boys. I have a lot of bruises to prove it And my spouse, like he is just my biggest champion of all time, like anytime I’ve ever had a doubt about me about business about anything in life, he’s always been like, No, you are capable, you can do this. And so non negotiables for me are like, such consistent time with my family. And even more tactical than that, like, I don’t miss lunches, dinners or breakfasts, like any meals with my family, if I can help it.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Are you all work from home household? Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah, we, um, and that is something I’m trying to practice is actually taking time to eat lunch. So I’ll work on that. And then I’ll get to the other piece. But I think it’s a beautiful thing because mealtime is when so many amazing conversations, like just happen off the cuff like, you know, you don’t you’re not missing anything. And with a three to one or three, I’m sure those are very animated meals.

[Alyson Caffrey] Oh, my gosh, sometimes at points frustrating, I’ll admit, I will say to that, like, I think the act of having something else to do, right. It’s like, you know, when you’re meditating, and there’s something that you’re doing like for me, I’ve never meditated just sitting still, I’ve always been like doing yard work or like doing something else with my hands. I feel like we access a level of like creativity while we’re eating our meals, because we have something else that like our one side of our brain is focusing on. So then we can just say the craziest things. So my kids will just like out with, like my older son, specifically, because the younger one just screens quite a bit. And he’s just like yelling and wants to be, you know, having lots of attention. But yeah, Frank will be saying the craziest things at dinnertime. And honestly, it is just the sweetest, most fun experience ever.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That’s so great. Well, Alison, thank you so much for being here for sharing all of your amazing wisdom for inspiring us to lean in to what we need in supporting ourselves and our teams. If people want to learn more about you make sure they can get notified when your amazing book comes out. How do they do that?

[Alyson Caffrey] Yeah, operations. agency.com has all the goodies ways to get in touch with me, you can purchase the book from there as well. And also Honestly, I really, really just love connecting with folks. I’m most active on LinkedIn. So if you want to send me a message, I will likely respond within the day or two. And if you have any specific ops questions, I really pride myself on being very accessible.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. Well, thank you so much for being here. I don’t know about you. But I needed to hear some of those things today about taking care of ourselves, prioritizing ourselves, avoiding burnout, supporting your teams like really looking holistically at our work and how we show up. I think I love the way that Allison really reframed all of that for us so that we can show up as our best selves, not just for the people around us, but for ourselves as well. You can grab all of the resources and information on Alyson’s book at https://easystylewithsami.com/19. I really think that you’ll find some of the things that she’s sharing in those resources to be super helpful for you. And your approach and rethinking and reframing or even just talking with your management and your team leaders on how you can rethink the way that you show up in the way that your team is fully supported. So, again, the shownotes https://easystylewithsami.com/19. Check us out on YouTube at Easy Style with Sami as well. If you want to watch video versions of these podcast episodes. Make sure you subscribe whether you’re listening or watching so you don’t miss out on a single episode. They come out every Thursday, and I thank you so much for listening. Share it with a friend and I’ll see you in the next one.

Bonus Episode 2 | Full Transcript

Sami Bedell-Mulhern 0:00
Hello, hello and welcome to a another bonus episode here at Digital Marketing therapy. I have so many incredible friends that I love their podcast, they've been on my podcast, they share such incredible information and insights on things that we don't necessarily talk about here. So today I'm featuring my dear friend Patrick Kirby's do good, better podcast, the official do good, better podcast. And so I asked him what episode he thinks would be great for this audience, because he knows you because you're just like his audience. And he sent me this episode featuring Dean Crownover. Who's an event fundraising auctioneer. This is an incredible episode. So if you've hired an auctioneer before, but maybe you weren't sure how to utilize them, or you didn't know what to look for an auction and auctioneer, or you just want tips on how to do your event better. This is a great episode and episode for you are talking all things about events from who to invite, how to have the right people in the room for the goals that you're trying to make, how to set up the event to prime people to be ready to give and not leave any money on the table. There's so many great insights in this episode that I know that you're gonna love. So, I hope you like this bonus episode from the official do good, better podcast, featuring Dean Crownover, and my friend,

Patrick Kirby 1:28
Patrick Kirby. Hey there friends, before we get to a brand new episode of the official do good, better podcast, we want to thank you, the listener for subscribing and sharing with all of your nonprofit friends. Most importantly, we need to be thanking the sponsors to this very show. If you're in the market for a CRM system that makes your life easier, there is no better item in your fundraising toolbox than donor doc. Donor Doc is not only the premier sponsor to the show, it is the premier and intuitive CRM system that not only has everything you want, but has zero things you don't. No one needs complicated, especially when you wear 10,000 different hats at your nonprofit. So get donor doc and use do good better at checkout and get a month free to try it out. Thanks donor doc for being an awesome sponsor. Hey, speaking of life, being easier, fundraising is not. And as a listener to this podcast, I hope you found some insight and tips and tricks on how to make it a little less challenging, but you're looking for more content more done for you templates, weekly support and a community of other do gooders like yourself to either commiserate, challenge co create or celebrate with join. Do good university hates our brand new membership site. We have hours and hours of on demand trainings, exclusive guest expert webinars and access to the entire do good, better crew to answer all of your pressing questions. All of that is for an affordable monthly fee. So visit do good university.com or click the link in the show notes for details. Hey, get ready for another episode of the official good better podcast.

Speaker 3 3:16
Your organization is awesome. But sometimes you want to be even awesomer it's time to get your fundraising on with your host fundraising expert author Patrick Kirby.

Patrick Kirby 3:28
Hey, everybody, welcome to the official Judah better podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Kirby. And of course we bring on guests who are going to help our small and medium sized nonprofits and do good better. One of my favorite topics. If you've been listening to the show a lot, you know, this special events, specifically fundraising events, I know what you're thinking, a ton of work to ton of effort, it's a ton of time I get it, but I can't tell you that it is the single best place to tell your story to as many people as possible with the object of getting them to give something because once they give you something you get the opportunity to follow up and say thank you and then you get to develop a relationship and what where we're on else on Earth. Can you legally lock somebody in a room and you and tell them why they should be giving to you you can't? I'm pretty sure it's against the law outside of fundraising events. And with me today I am ecstatic to chat about Dean Condor. He's from my Benefit Auctioneer he is your benefit. auctioneer Dean, welcome to the official do good, better podcast.

Speaker 4 4:37
Patrick, thank you for having me. I'd like to feel I'm trying to do good and be better.

Patrick Kirby 4:42
You are my friends. We're going to talk about your book in a little bit. But first, if there are people who are tuning in on iTunes and Spotify and YouTube and the rest because they want to know about nonprofit fundraising events, they want to talk about these things they want to learn a little bit about it might not know who you are. So could you give us a five 1000 foot view on who you are, what you do and why we're talking today.

Speaker 4 5:03
Well, I am Atlanta base, though I'm national. But I live in Atlanta, and I am a benefit auction specialist. And what that means is, I am your auctioneer at your event, of course, but I'm really a profit consultant. So meaning that a client's I'm not a hired gun, who just shows up and jumps up on your stage. Most clients booked me year in advance 90% of what I do is consulting. I want to look at your event from A to Z revenue streams maxing them out your story, what are what your what is your nonprofit does? And how will it change lives for the better, I want to max that out. So 90% is working that year. And then 10% is on the stage. You're absolutely right, I bring change, we lock the door. And we have armed guards all around to keep them in until they give or a whole desert. But a lot of times I'll tell them, they don't get desert until they give and that'll do the trick. Or close the bars. That's a really good. Listen, you give it the 1000 where you can get a drink. So So my job really is the consulting part is the biggie Biggie and the getting up there. I came from entertainment. And I got thrown to the wolves in 2008. To do this a little tiny school. I think Moulin Rouge, the movie had come out and they hired a funny Frenchman. I'm not French, but I bled Warhol and to real kancan girls as eye candy for their theme. But I laugh at it now. But part of the job was oh, Dean has to get up there and also auction off. And now I knew nothing. And there were no TV shows at the time about this. And I just guessed it, and it went fine. And then another actor called me and said, Hey, I volunteered for this other school. I heard you did it. I can't do it anymore. I got a paying gig, can you do it because I wasn't charging at the time to auction. And then he started growing to the point where the state of Georgia got a hold of me and said, Listen, because I started charging a nominal fee. And they said you need a license. Like you need a license to be an auctioneer Who's Who knew that. And in the state of Georgia, you do not every state but in the state of Georgia. And then that opened up a door. And I didn't realize I had a brand new business. Because when I combined the chops of entertainment with the skill, that was what I was really learning this skill of of nonprofits and selling. And by the way, in my class, I was the only guy there who wanted to be nonprofit, everybody else was there to sell things that make money, land and cars and all that, right. So I don't know, I've been doing it now for 12 or 13 years, my wife was a nonprofit forever as a Director of Development and SEO and everything. So that's kind of our household. And that's the language we speak. And compared to normal acting when I go home. And I get to say how much I got to raise or help raise. That's you know, that's just so much more fun and important to me, then coming off of doing a commercial or something for someone Italia. And we you know, we filmed this today. And that was fun. But this this has meaning. But that is the short version.

Patrick Kirby 8:22
I love it. And I what I love most about this is that your approach is holistic, it is not what happens on the stage that only makes the event worthwhile. It is like you said 90% of the stuff is done beforehand. Oh, yeah. So I saw I kind of so appreciate that. Because I think a lot of our nonprofit listeners are like, well, what if we don't do this tonight? And what if we don't do this? Like what doesn't matter if you don't have the right people in the room, you don't have the right storytelling. And if you don't have the right prep work, so you know what's going to go on. So you're not surprised. That's how you make a successful event. So I want to talk about all this stuff. And I know you're nerdy enough to walk with me on this, my friend. So let's talk about this when you are talking with a client when you're talking with the nonprofit and they said Dean, I got an idea for an event. Where do you start? What's the first thing that you're just trying to understand? When they say do I want you to raise us raise them a bunch of money? Great.

Speaker 4 9:25
With our question out of the gate. Are you having a fundraiser or are you having a friend raiser? Very important? Because a fund raiser is a party in disguise. It's it's I'm sorry, it's a fundraiser disguised as a party. And that is the the factors you just named. inviting those who can attend and spend. It's about making money first, for your nonprofits so you can continue to do the work that you do. Or are you having a friend raiser where it's about one earnest, because that's really important too. It's less about the money and more about awareness and, and thanking the community, your volunteers, what have you. But let me put it in perspective out of the 80 to 100 clients I do a year to maybe say it's not about the money. So it's an even those as right about, they'll keep saying not about the money, not about the money, then about as right when I'm about to walk on stage, you know what, a little bit about the money, but how you cannot have both. And I want everybody to understand that one must edge out the other because that is the difference in building a revenue stream. So 99%, they absolutely, it's about fundraising first. So then the second question is, okay, let's what? What are you envisioning? And then we get, it's all about data for me from then on out. How many people what do you what are the numbers from last year? What was the reaction? What didn't work? That's what I want to hear. What didn't work. What was, and a lot of times, it's people spoke too long. Because when's the last time you went to one of these and said, Man, I hope they have more speeches? Never. Right? So there's so much into that. And then I really start, I, I almost feel like I'm an organizer at that point. I'm cleaning their closet to look at all the data, we're pulling out the junk. We don't need any more. We're reorganizing it from run of show revenue, streams, marketing, I want to look at every single thing. And then get we all get on the same page of what is this new thing we want to do? Like your

Patrick Kirby 11:47
Marie Kondo wing, the data gods, right, yeah. Nice little bit there. So what you said a bunch of interesting things we're going to revisit a couple of those things is that this is what we're going to do. All I'll show I think, is they're gonna say a bunch of smart stuff. And we're gonna get more explanation. I only have six hours today. That's all I got today for you. A fundraiser and a friend raiser. I love that you said that. Is it okay? To say that this might not be the event for you? If you're a guest, this is a fundraiser? Well, I can't afford that. Not a big deal. We have this event for everybody. This is the event to raise X, Y, and Z. Because I think a lot of nonprofits are hesitant to not invite everybody because they don't want them to feel left out. Have you had that conversation with nonprofits ago? No, no, this is okay. You can have an event that invites everybody hope you do whatever this is for fundraising. The purpose of this is to raise money. If you invite these people who do not have the money to do the fundraising theory they're going to speak or they're going to be part of your, your proactive group that's going to sort of conjure up stories in the room, or they get to do something else, because we're going to invite these people because these people in the room have the capacity to give How do you have that conversation with your nonprofit clients?

Speaker 4 13:01
And you know what? Having a more and more for sure. Because you're absolutely right, they're trying to combine it all into one thing. And I'm looking at their costs. And when I run the data with them, and we go, literally, how many people did you have at the last event, and we can see the bottom of the page 40 people, 100 people, whatever it was, didn't really give or do anything, but you paid for them. Now I'm looking at dollars and cents, and I understand it. But what I always suggest to them and same thing I go How about this, if you have a smaller event, that that is a fundraiser, it will cost you less because you are inviting only those who can attend and spend. And by the way, forever, nobody believed me on this COVID hits, we go virtual. And I talked about this in the book, we go virtual. And then coming out of virtual, I've been doing live auctions since last August, pretty much non stop. And it was a year and a half of virtual and then than that. But the first six months, they only invited half the amount of people so we could have six foot spaces right around each other. They only invited the people that really did well last hour gave a lot. They were doubling the money. We were doubling everything less people more. So when they started seeing those numbers then when we talk about what about a thank you party. For everybody else, maybe do a small fund a need or a Paddle Raise there. How about some free raffles are really really inexpensive things. You know, you could do a heads or tails game. You could do you know, wandering whatever, if you want to make a little bit of money, but have a different mindset. One of them is a business for that night. The other one is a big thank you and when we put it in those perspectives, it was like a light went off

Patrick Kirby 14:59
and I love this because it's because it's forcing you to look at the list. And so what the brilliance if you're listening to this, the brilliant part about what Dean just said, it is a forcing you to look at those folks who didn't give. And you need to know why. Or you need to tell us who they are, in order to justify not only yourself, are they politically aligned? Are they part of your program team? Are they part of like, where are where do they fit in the pantheon of your supporters? And if you can just have like, well, we need them politically for this, this and this great, but now you're thinking analytically rather than IV as many people as I possibly can at this event, and I love that sort of critical, you know, piece and that critical component to that you mentioned, also, the script. This is a big piece of contention is, well, I shouldn't really, I don't want to ask them for what they're going to say they kind of riff off the cuff all the time. It's my belief, we've done enough back end stuff as well as the front end, that if you don't script every absolute word in your agenda for the night, you are going to regret it. Am I

Speaker 4 16:12
on this Dean? Okay, I'm gonna give everybody out there. The best real life story of that this wasn't this was at an event. This was not this was before dinner was coming out. This was not even a testimonial before the paddle race. This was not a huge honoree. And it was just one of three people getting a quick award. And on the side of the steps, the lady goes, Oh, I'm only gonna be about a minute. Like a great, she's gonna get the word. Thank you. One T minutes later, dinner was pushed back. The fundraising got pushed back, people started leaving her 20 minute writhing. Almost railroaded the whole thing. Her heart was in the right place. I don't know what instructions they gave her. But I now this is what I tell all my clients to tell their speakers and I tried to get involved with what they're going to say and the bullet points, a page and a half double spaced 2424 font. Don't have agent that'll be about two minutes. Less is more guys. Two minutes, videos, two minutes. You don't you're not there to preach, you're there to inspire, and to give some enough food for thought to make them want to give.

Patrick Kirby 17:43
So let's have people have the attention span of nats you're gonna lose them within the first 90 seconds because it's something that is horrible. And nobody really cares about you lose whatever men momentum and joy people had at the event because you've sucked it out. And nobody has ever Great. Nobody's ever said I wish the person would have spoken longer. Nobody, not one person. I don't care how good of a lark. I've even

Speaker 4 18:09
seen where. Yeah, I was at one and waiting to go on. And this is. The Padres have the funding needs setup, which we can talk about later. But the it's usually it's a one to put what I call the one two punch. It might be a short video, and then a live testimonial because they lie I will I will take a live person talking anytime. Yeah, because the emotions, right? Well, I can tell you in the first two minutes, she had them if she would have stopped right there. And let me go on. But she went for another 10. And you see them glaze over. Because they already know they want to give. And now they're thinking when they go off to the bar or the bathroom or and I don't want to lose, we don't want to lose them.

Patrick Kirby 18:54
Dean, how do you have that conversation with a donor or a board member or somebody who's getting up to speak because you don't want to offend them that they can't speak as long as you want? Because I think a lot of people are tiptoeing around, I don't know, if what they've given us so much. And they can speak for Howard. He wants to know, how do we have this conversation? Because I think it benefits them. They're as appreciative of it as you would be giving them a framework and a parameters to do that. But how do you how do you initiate that conversation without you feeling bad about you not giving them enough time?

Speaker 4 19:26
Oh, something's really flipped. I think COVID Because the attention span, because everybody went virtual, and they had to make it much, much quicker. The whole thing is in 30 minutes right now, and starting really last year, I would say almost every development team I'm working with goes oh no, we're not letting them speak. We're giving them a minute. They've already taken that. They don't even look for permission anymore. They're just like we're telling them because everybody's going prior to COVID and virtual ever Nobody talks too long. So now they don't care who they are. And they're very respectful. Let me say that, right for those cases that we, they haven't come to that conclusion yet. I always say, let me be the heavy. And I mean that again, in very respect, I would never talk to anybody demeaning in any way, shape, or form. But I can be that guy as your paid consultant. And this is, again, work in that year prior, that I become the board's friend, because I usually have to address them at some point. Everybody kind of knows me as what my role is. So I can say to them, guys, your three stories of how it went horrible, because you let because they let another client let someone talk too long. Less is more. And when we start doing that, they start getting on board, I gotta tell you, I don't think I've had anybody ever kick back and go, Oh, no, they all agree because they've either been a guest, or they don't want to talk long, because they got a little stage fright. So it that works for us to

Patrick Kirby 21:03
know, it's, that's a great piece of advice. Because again, nobody is going to a punch you in the face for asking for money. And nobody's going to be mad if you give them a timeline and a timeframe to speak. And that's okay. Because you can go back to the saying, Hey, we've got a timeline. And we got a strategy here, you can even walk through, and then you're going to be up here and speaking, you're going to you're going to touch on this and then this person is going to touch on this. It's all part of this wonderful web where weaving together. And now they're on board to Well,

Speaker 4 21:29
I always get this this guy, if you will, will gene, okay, our executive director or board chair, or whoever, it's very hard to rein him in. And we're really worried he won't give us notes. We're really worried. I go, what about this? What if we did a q&a with him? Where somebody is controlling the question answer. And then you can just end it, you know, you're going to do two questions, give them to them prior. And then you end it and move to the next thing. So now you're controlling it in my world, and you probably know this to never give up the mic. Like, don't, don't ever give a guest a mic, because you won't get it back. You know, it's very hard. So it's in a sense, it's the same thing. But if you've also positioned it to that person, hey, we're gonna put you in a different light, we're gonna make you the interview portion. And so it sets up a whole new thing. So consider that.

Patrick Kirby 22:24
And that's great. And again, use your MCA, use your auctioneer, use your professional who's doing this on stage, who's done a lot of these lean on them. And then again, I like what you said, let him be the heavy. Hey, this is kind of how the show needs to run. I'm the expert on this kind of thing. We've done this for years, this is the ideal Best Practices thing, you know this as well, as we do blah, blah, blah, that's going to be a lot more buying. And then you don't have to be the bad guy, if your nonprofit, put it on the ones who are kind of doing that there are speakers that shouldn't be speakers, Dean. I've seen him. And sometimes they get asked to speak. And it is a terrible, terrible thing. How on earth? Do we have a conversation with clients and nonprofit tears to say, Listen, we really like this person. But microphone isn't their strong suit? How do we have that conversation? And what can they do to still feel like they're going to participate, even though might not be able to talk very well.

Speaker 4 23:19
So depends on what are they being used for. Because I always go back to that I want to get let's,

Patrick Kirby 23:25
let's give a scenario of saying, hey, they want to talk about the organization or they want to be a part of the event just in general, they want to talk but they're not really good speakers.

Speaker 4 23:35
So what I always do is, what is their point? Can that point be said in the opening? By the welcome. Can that point the video where you can edit it? Can or can other? The q&a If we have to do that? What's the point? And is there another way to do that point, because I have had that too, that I get that a lot actually, he's not a very good speaker, he runs our organization, but he's not a great speaker. So one of the things that came out of virtual and this is in my book paddles up to that everybody will get a free copy of in the fundraising paddle race portion. In virtual because we had no audience. And it was just usually me and an executive director six feet apart in a studio with two other people, right. I had to create instead of me just talking to the audience and explaining at each level of giving, you know, $10,000 could do this. Then it became a question answer session. And I've taken that to the live stage now. And I call it the fireside chat. And it's doing great. So we take that person, because we've already scripted this as a q&a, that again, going back to that format, but it's a little different because I go Alright, here's a fact Did you know that? You know, there are 30,000 homeless people in a given night in Atlanta, but such and such mission is doing this program to help it. Executive Director. Tell us about that. And I've worked with them, they get 30 seconds or less to do it. And then I go and collect money. Yeah. And it's all written out on the on the podium to in the script. So they, they got bullet points, and they don't Veer. And I gotta tell you, even the people who may not be a great speaker, because we're, they're passionate about this. They're talking just enough where that passion is coming out. But they're talking very short, and then we move on to the next thing. That's working well, too.

Patrick Kirby 25:45
I really liked that as a fireside chat. If you're not if you're not doing something along those lines, even if you're just sort of trying to figure out how do we engage as many different programs and services? So you might what a wonderful option, but I do like that as a setup. But it leads me to, how do we know there's money in the room? This is a wild guess clearly, we're having Dean right. We're just guessing that people have money. We're not doing anything in advance, right? We're not doing any work. We're having no conversations with donors, right? We just want to guess, is that the right way to do this?

Speaker 4 26:17
And I would say hang it up. Look, don't do that this year. I've only had a couple where I have suggested that. Because for the most part, they they don't know it, but they have the data. And when I tell them where the data is that you can literally you might have to manually do this most people using mobile bidding software 99 to 100%. Really. Nobody's using pen or paper at these things anymore. We can run a report, how much did that person spend? And then we like I was saying earlier, you can literally go to the bottom and say, okay, these people aren't spending but these people are and and then I'm suggesting something that's blowing their minds. This thing called the telephone, not the email, the way it's like the telephone. It still exists. It's it's the future. I want people to get on a phone and call those major givers. Not talking to sponsors. That's a whole different thing. And go, you gave last year. And a here's the date of the event. We have tickets for you. Because give them free tickets. And then can we count on you this year? I had a client and it was my son's school early in my career. So I was very involved, very involved. And with everything. The first year, we didn't even have a school the school was new. We didn't even have a school yet. This was a fundraiser to get money to get a school going. And huge donor this gentleman huge donor the next year, two weeks before I go, did anybody talk to this guy? Because I haven't heard his name? Because I was less involved because they had a bigger committee. No, did you ask him? No. I called him up and he goes, why didn't somebody call me I had all this money ready for you guys. I've already given it to other people. But I'm in for a much smaller amount. And I go, Why didn't anybody just call him he got overlooked? And that happens a lot.

Patrick Kirby 28:24
Oh, yeah. Go to your data.

Speaker 4 28:27
And start, just ask if you don't ask you won't know. You don't have to call everyone call the bigger guys. Because for the paddle race for funding need I'm one of the homework for my clients is who's the highest or the person who will verbally give the highest level? Because that sets our levels? And to get somebody at five? Can you get that same guy at 10? Again, I just literally 30 minutes ago had a conversation with a client for December. She's going to call him because he jumped up at this event we even know he existed last year. So she's gonna call him this week and say, Are you and again for 10? That will help set that's what I want them to do. And then from there, it's about host who are the hosts that you're inviting to this? Who can attend and spend and are they bringing people who can attend and spend because one of the big changes by the way is sponsorships. It's not about giving away 10 tickets anymore. And those companies just give them to anybody. Mike the mailroom guy is my enemy. Don't freak them out again, by coming to get drunk. He's coming to he doesn't care about your cause he's coming for a free dinner. I'm sure Mike's a nice guy. But here's what you say by the way, when you're giving don't give a ton of tickets away anymore. Say, now we know if your executives can't come you're going to invite people who best represent your company. And that changes the dynamic. Those little words so So from, you know, they have to start looking at who gave before and who's coming and who's hosting and who's inviting. They've got to get involved in that and start asking questions. That's the hard part. A lot of people hate to get on the phone and ask,

Patrick Kirby 30:13
you know, what's funny is that you've given legitimately a blueprint on how to get the right people in the room, pick up the phone and ask them to be there. And number two, it's, you don't want to guess, at what you might raise during your funding need, you don't want to guess what you might have, as you know, you may have worked on a wonderful live auction item for a trip. And you don't want it to go for way less than value. So you know, in your database, who likes a fishing trip, who likes a golf trip, and you're going to call those individuals and say, Hey, listen, I want to give you a sneak preview of what we're actually doing here. It's just amazing that this, this and this, anything suit your fancy. And can I put a minimum bid on here just to kind of get the paddles flowing for you

Speaker 4 30:56
go one step further, hold on one step further. Now, this is something easy, this little thing called Survey Monkey, ooh, here's what I want you to do. I want you to have a one question survey that says, Where are you going on vacation in the next two years? Or what's your bucket list vacation in the next two years? And then send it out to all the big donors and givers to the board, to your top people that come to this? Now you don't have because I'll be in a room for hours with them. They're trying to guess, well, we want this for the live auction, or we want this, well, do they want this? Guess what? Let them tell you in advance. And if we see enough common threads like Tuscany, that's huge. We're going to put a Tuscany in.

Patrick Kirby 31:44
Or we're going to certainly shoot for something like that. So ask them. This is it's not a one way ticket, you don't have to guess. In fact, this is going to be more fun for your guests, because it's almost like you curated it for them. Think about this, you don't have to worry about is that and hockey suite is going to go for the same amount of money even though nobody cares about that hockey team anymore. Whatever doesn't matter. Because you've already asked, you've already done a lot of heavy lifting. And you've already been talking about the event with the people who are going to make your event awesome. Yes. And self is going to be amping up and building the momentum into it as well. That's the cool part about what you're just laying out right here.

Speaker 4 32:24
And the build it they will come theory I don't believe in I believe it to the degree on some things. But yeah, you have, go ahead and make listen. I love nonprofit. nonprofits in general, and everybody worked there is underpaid and overworked. And my job is to make their job easier. And so don't second guess don't. Oh, my God, I will be in talks for hours. They're bored hours. No guys just find, just start asking. Yep. Just ask.

Patrick Kirby 33:00
It's gonna be okay. You mentioned sponsorships. And I think the the nature of sponsorships has changed dramatically. We're back in the day like, Hey, you're presenting sponsor, you get 197 tickets distributed? Oh, my God, I need you to walk us back off of the cliff of what used to be what we gave businesses for sponsorships and what they expect or what they really want. Now, based on what you're seeing,

Unknown Speaker 33:25
so Oh, wow, we can have a whole topic on this.

Patrick Kirby 33:28
I know I told you, there's gonna be in seven hours. So perfect.

Speaker 4 33:31
Pre, pre 2020. Okay, and I'm going to give a rough number here. Pre 2020, it was usually pay sponsors will my clients would get enough sponsorships to cover 3040 Maybe 50% of what our goal is or what the production cost was, or what however, they were framing it right. Then all of a sudden, it's COVID comes along. And I'm going to thank sponsors right now, because you sponsors did not go away during virtual events you stayed, and people who gave donors who gave him the the paddle arrays as well. But underneath, those were the two big monies. But what what we what clients had to do during virtual and now this is what I'm preaching for them to do for their live events, is getting 80% to 100% of everything covered that way when we walk onto the stage, because at first it was 50% from the sponsors and then I had to get 50% from the stage now 80 To 100% from sponsors, and everything else is gravy. Now we're still going to make a decent amount of money for sure that's not going to change. But what I see change is the stress level in my client. How many times have I walked in in the last six months and go we've already hit her number. And they you can see them physically relaxed at the event because they're already in a tizzy and rightfully So it's very stressful to do this. So, sponsors have jumped up now here's where it's changed. And I love this. Yes, you still have your basic gold, platinum, diamond, all that less. They want less seats, less seats. Ask them how many they really would need for those. Those executives who want to come, right. The bottom line is what they want to know. And we I polled early my career about 30. Now these were smaller business, but this still have the same information. I said, What is it you guys want? You want all the seats when you sponsor? Do you want your name plastered everywhere? What do you want? And it surprised me, it surprised me. They said, here's what we want. We never know. If what we did help their bottom line. We never find out how much they made. We never know if it helped. I know what you're kidding. So. So we came up with an idea. They came up with the idea. They said it would be really great again, I'm kidding you not if somebody would just call me or come by and tell me we raised x because of you know, because of your help sponsors really want to know if they helped. That's the number one thing then now. Yes. Would they like exposure? Sure. But you can now give them exposure online, because it's all virtual changed all of that. You don't have it not about what's in that room. You can give them a lot prior. And now here's the best part that came up and this is totally in the book. It's called sell the farm. Go past your platinum your gold. Get nitty gritty, every line item for your production including me, get me sponsor get your auctioneer sponsored the band, the bars, the caterer. And if it takes a couple of sponsors to pay for them. Great. Here's my favorite. Greg. His last time I'm so sorry. He's a great auctioneer out in California. Greg Q would stellar auctions by the way, he came up with a cell, the refresher station and Patrick, you know what that is? It's the bathroom. That is so good. Everybody goes to the bathroom. Everybody goes to the bar. Get a plumber to sponsor it. Now you don't have to be NASCAR with with signs everywhere. You can still be elegant but you walk into there's a vanity space that is great real estate. On one side it says Mr. minute, you know, such and such company or plumber or whatever. Thank you for sponsoring our bathrooms. And on the other side, it may have a big poster that or even dollar store frame that has the funded need or Paddle Raise levels that we're going to ask for that night or live auction item. But sponsorships are now niche. Every gang come up with some fun stuff and make them lower of 250 $500 1000. These are for the guys who are not going to get seats, you're not getting seats for any of this. But you're you're getting it's the small business small and medium businesses that can pay the 2500, maybe 5000. And they're going to be helping.

Patrick Kirby 38:23
This is again, if you've been paying attention to everything or anything. The idea is just ask. This is home a few if I had a theme for this entire conversation Diem is just ask people pick up the phone and ask them have a conversation and ask them what would you really like to have as a sponsorship? How can I make this work for you? How many tickets do you really need? What time Oh, how many guests will you be bringing? What is what is the thing that I can do to make you see value? What

Speaker 4 38:51
exposure Do you want? If any? Yeah, yeah.

Patrick Kirby 38:55
One of my favorite things,

Speaker 4 38:56
I believe that's my new book I'm about to write. I feel like that was just the for what I will write for you.

Patrick Kirby 39:04
So two quick things. One, you and I are going to talk about how to set up your funding need. We're going to do it in our guest expert training at Duke University. So make sure that you click on the link in the show notes. Because you're not going to want to miss this we're going to give you a step by step process on how to do that thing. If you don't know how to do a funding need, you will know how to do a funding need immediately after this. So make sure you click on do good university go forward. I have two last questions for you before we end number one. What is the most ridiculous auction item that you have sold at an auction? What went so far above and beyond? You just go What on earth happened here? Because I think we all love to hear those stories.

Speaker 4 39:48
I'd love one from you. Okay, so it's all relative right on what it costs versus what I made right? So I can give you really, really high numbers. So I've sold literally in 12 years. 1000s of items, right? Um, I, you know, so they all follow for the most part through travel entertainment, that's your number. That's the categories that always do well. During COVID When there was a toilet paper shortage, stop, I got a six pack. Somebody gave donated six pack were virtual. They said, Dean, My God, what are we going to do with this? Just give it to a volunteer. And I said, Hold on. And I grabbed it. And I go, ladies and gentlemen, if you're out there listening, I've got the six pack. What does that costs four or five bucks? Patrick? Now this is a relative, I sold it for $150. No, in my world, that's not big money. But it was a it made everybody laugh and smile during a terrible time. Be that person wanted to just give and they were they were, there was a bidding war. Because everybody knew why were there there. So that was one great thing. The big big money I want sold. In Florida, there's a stretch of beach called 38. It's a highway and there's a bunch of great little resort towns there. And it was just a home for a week you can go rent this home, little higher end home but maybe slept ate. But it was a country performers, a country music artists wife was just going to show up for the night. And she was bringing a chocolate Somalia. There's only one in the country. She used to be the chef for this different country artists but for Faith Hill, and then went on to do this. And I've I've since met her and she's lovely. But she is a specialist in this, get a load of this, this would normally sell for a couple of 1000 maybe at a normal auction, I was at a very high end auction with very few people very celebrity driven. Got it to $75,000 now this this she's coming for the one night but you get you know, the beach house, but there was nothing else to that. Other than the the wife of the country star coming for that one night to a man just jumped up 100 grand a house a vacation for 100 grand. And I went to him afterwards. And I said, Why did you do that? And he goes, I knew I was gonna give. This just seemed really fun to jump it up where nobody can outbid me. And I wanted to make a point. I wanted everybody here to know to give. And I just thought, Oh, that's great. And then the other one that jumps out and this is the one that saddens me a little bit. And I had no I'm pretty good about what I sell. And if it's something that I feel like I'm not a fan of puppies, even though I've had to sell them and or puppies are going to be rescues and I want you to work with the Humane Society or someone first. But I had to sell a cow to be butchered. And they even had a name for the cow. Oh my god that really bummed me out. I made them Max money on it. And and I really tried to get them not to do that, you know, but that poor Rosie. Rosie was her name really jumps out and maybe haunts me a little bit. Yeah, so yeah, it's it really is. There's so many wonderful, crazy, neat things. It's just what can we do with them? Like the toilet paper? How can we? How can we attach it to what's going on and to how it's going to help. By the way, I want to tell everybody out there have your auctioneer or whoever's doing your auction. The new thing is, if this sells for value, ladies and gentlemen, we can buy 13,000 computers or we can send X amount of kids to camp associate something with that item to give them because you're doing it and the funding need already. This gives them food for thought on this isn't just you're buying something. It's actually a donation, you're gonna get something out of it. But you're also here's how you're going to help us with it. So, so start doing that.

Patrick Kirby 44:10
Brilliant. I love it. That's awesome. I bet there are a couple more tips in a book that you might have written off. Mm hmm. And it just happens. Oh, look at that. I just happen to see that everybody here who's listening gets a free digital copy of said write book, which is crazy. My friend. Talk to me about paddles up. Why'd you write it? What is in there and talk to me about some of the cool tips and tricks you got.

Speaker 4 44:38
So paddles up and the tagline or the subtitle my Benefit Auctioneer reveals post 2020 Gala fundraising secrets so what how really here's what happened because that transition. I was one of the first on the east coast to go virtual I had a week. What happened we shut down on March 14. So around the 20th I had to do my first one. And then another week because I had people that didn't know what to do. They were to have their galas and people were canceling left and right. But some of them this whole thing called virtual was popping up. And I needed to understand it right away. Now I came from film and TV. So I understood that part to a degree. But I need to understand the the online thing and how do we infuse that with mobile bidding, and you know, all that. So literally, all these great auctioneers, we all started talking to each other weekly. And it was, it was a new, it was just this whole new era of trying to figure out best practices in a week, or in a in a summer, really. And so we would constantly talk with each other. We are not, we are all friends for I gotta say, this is a great community. And we started talking with the vendors, and we the Mobile Bidding vendors and every vendor and how do we make this happen? So what had happened, what I noticed, is going back into live, I went, you know, we can't go back into live the way we did in 2019. And there were too many great things like one of my favorite things is open the silent auction a week before the end, let everybody in their mother bid on it. Don't charge those people. Yes, charge the people come to the event. But don't charge for online tickets. Because some clients were trying to do that. I said, No, don't do that. Let everybody in their mother during virtual tune in to give. Don't put barriers right. So now it's the new best practice is open up your funding aid and you're live or your silent auction a week before the event. Close it down the silent auction during the event but keep the funding neat open another week of clients making five figures 10, grand 20 grand just extra by opening in another week. You sir, no brainer things and get people hooked and ready to come to your event or to watch online. Because we're not doing big virtual productions anymore. At least I'm not. But we are simulcasting them with somebody's phone or what have you. So yes, at home, I can turn it on at eight o'clock and just watch what's happening. And then participate during the funding need when I asked if I want to do that. And if not, I'm just going to give to you. So this was all the ideas because clients were asking left and right, what's new, what's new, what are we what are we going to do now? How are we going to make this happen? And I was talking to my wife one day and said, You know, I'm answering so many questions, I need to put it all in something. And paddles up. So paddles up book.com any nonprofit, it's free. It's the full book. It's all meat, no fluff. I guess there's not fluff and meat. But what is it all cake no ice? No, that's good, too. I like icing. It's all good stuff.

Patrick Kirby 47:44
It's called Get the dang book, because it's going to be great.

Speaker 4 47:47
Please do. And if you want a hardcopy go to Amazon, it's their real cheap, but I want every nonprofit to have it. So just go put in your name and your email address and you download it instantly.

Patrick Kirby 47:57
Perfect. We're going to have ended around show notes, we're gonna have a link in the show notes. Go over and get that and you're gonna get all the secrets you're gonna get all the the the tips and tricks, you're gonna get all the creativity that you can bring back to your nonprofit, you can get back to your committee and say, Hey, why don't we try this one, even though you've already listened to the show, so you're gonna have that why you're gonna learn that it's a fundraiser or a fundraiser you're gonna be purposeful, you're gonna pick up the phone, you're gonna start making acid. This is like the best trip through like memory lane. It's I kind of got my first start doing doing events. This has been wonderful. You've been absolutely wonderful with your thank you perspective. And by the way, if you want more, yeah, that's common. link in the show notes as well going to do good university. Sign up, you're gonna get a guest expert training on how to do your funding need and then they'll immediately go back to its Dean's book. Thank you, my friend. This is great. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the simplicity of your message and your enthusiasm by doing it. It's wonderful to have you and team do good better here is great. Thank you, my friend for being a guest. Beneficial, do good, better podcast. Fundraising is hard. And as a listener to this podcast, I hope you found some insight tips and tricks on how to make it a little less challenging. But if you're looking for a lot more content, done for you templates, weekly support and a community of other do gooders like yourself to commiserate challenge co create or celebrate with I want to invite you to join do good university. It's our brand new membership site. We're going to have hours of on demand trainings, exclusive guest expert webinars and access to the DO GOOD, BETTER crew to answer all of your pressing questions all for an affordable monthly fee. So visit do good university.com or click the link in the show notes. For details.


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