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Nonprofit Lowdown

Nonprofit Lowdown

By Rhea Wong

This is Nonprofit Lowdown where I review and recommend the best ideas, resources, tools, tricks and tips to run your nonprofit like a pro!
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#106-Delusional Altruism with Kris Putnam-Walkerly

Nonprofit LowdownOct 08, 2020

#254 - Being Fiscally SeCURE with Raj Thakkar

#254 - Being Fiscally SeCURE with Raj Thakkar

Hey friends and fellow nonprofit nerds! Get ready for a super fun and informative chat with my buddy Raj Thakkar.

You may know Raj as the founding genius behind FOREsight Financial Services for Good. But did you also know he's the author of a brand-new book called Fiscally Secure?! Raj knows his stuff when it comes to helping nonprofits get their financial ducks in a row. And let me tell you, it is WAY more interesting than it sounds. Who knew analytics could be so uplifting?

In this episode, we're talking all things budgeting, fundraising, and shaking that scarcity mindset! Raj shares his 10-step framework for getting – and staying – fiscally fit. I know it sounds intimidating but I promise it’s way more empowering than it is scary.

We also dive into creative ways to build revenue that don’t involve emptying your bank account. Hint: the answer isn’t always hiring expensive development pros! Sometimes the best solutions are right under our quirky nonprofit noses.

So pour yourself something fun (I’m drinking sparkling water with lime today!) and get ready to geek out on numbers. I promise you’ll be feeling inspired, not stressed, by the time our chat is done.

Sound like your kind of episode? Then click play! Let’s get fiscally secure together, friends.

“What I realized was there was actually a method to our madness and ended up calling it “The Fiscal Responsibility Method” where there's ten components to responsible financial management in the way we define it.” - Raj Thakkar

Important Links:

Sep 18, 202336:45
#253 - Joy in Storytelling with Tara Dorabji

#253 - Joy in Storytelling with Tara Dorabji

We all know storytelling is a powerful way to move people and effect change on the important issues of today. But in the fundraising world, storytelling has gotten a bad rap. Poverty porn, sensationalism, and negative storytelling practices have left a bad taste in our mouths and, at times, exposed the very people we want to help.

So how can we use the powerful language of storytelling to unify and empower communities rather than divide and conquer? 

Join me today as I talk to Tara Dorabji, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for The Center for Cultural Power! 

We talk about the need for value-aligned storytelling that is rooted in authenticity and how we can choose, gather, and elevate stories and storytellers to amplify and elevate diverse voices that can accelerate systemic cultural change. 

We also dive into how to test and measure the impact of our influence so that our efforts don’t fall on deaf ears. 

Tune in for an eye-opening discussion that just might put the joy back into your storytelling!

It's not just about one messenger. … [D]ifferent Messengers speak to different groups, so it's important to have a multitude of stories and to continue to test and … learn. And as culture shifts and people shift, the storytelling will change too.” - Tara Dorabji, Vice President of The Center for Cultural Power

Important Links: 

The Border Report 2023:

Sep 11, 202336:32
#252 - Maximizing LinkedIn for your NPO with Tania Bhattacharyya

#252 - Maximizing LinkedIn for your NPO with Tania Bhattacharyya

Social media is a modern-day jungle. If you don’t know who you are and what you want to say; the algorithms will eat you for breakfast. So what choice do non-profit folks have if we want to be heard above all the noise? Please, don’t tell me I have to dance... PLEASE don’t tell me I have to dance… 

Not even a little, my non-profit fam! 

For your sake and mine, today I’m joined by the marvelous Tania Bhattacharyya, founder of Lumos Marketing Co and host of Campfire Circle Podcast. She’ll tell us all about her experience in the non-profit world and her unmatched storytelling prowess on LinkedIn. Tania teaches underrecognized social impact leaders - coaches, consultants, service providers, and nonprofit execs - to build top of mind trust and community by sharing their stories on LinkedIn. 

 “What's beautiful about building a personal brand as a non-profit leader is you get to pick the audience that … lights you up and that you were put on this planet to make a difference for. And so often it is the person that you once were or still are. It's the person that you can become a guide for because you have trudged through that journey yourself and now you have some nuggets of expertise and advice and wisdom to pass on.” - Tania Bhattacharyya

Tania champions the idea that you can be consistent and “lazy on LinkedIn” and still gain traction with people you want to meet. It’s all about resonance versus reach, and I can’t wait for you to soak it all in!  

Get ready to hear practical tips for building your brand and cultivating legit relationships on LinkedIn through thought leadership–without doing a song and dance or an endless stream of meaningless content. 
Important Links:

Sep 04, 202341:43
#251 - When a Black Founder Transitions with Cassie Haynes & Jean Friedman-Rudovsky
Aug 28, 202335:18
#250 - Philanthropy by the Numbers with Dr. Una Osili

#250 - Philanthropy by the Numbers with Dr. Una Osili

I’ve said it before; if you want to get big contributions, you have to make big asks. But, for so many of us, our scarcity mindset holds us back. We wonder, can we really make big asks in an economic downturn? Does generosity still exist in America in 2023? Do donors of color give monetarily to the causes they care about?

The numbers say, yes, to all of the above! Data for the win! 

Nerd out on numbers with me on today’s podcast as I get Dr. Una Osili’s thoughts on global philanthropy and giving trends in our complex philanthropic ecosystem.

Dr. Una Osili is the Director of Research at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Associate Dean for Research and International Programs at the Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. 

Listen to the full episode and subscribe for more data-based tips and tricks that will transform your mindset and help you niche down to find large givers and build trust as you can form a community of givers united under a common mission and vision.  

“So donors now know that it's possible to give in an unrestricted way. This is not just a good time to be engaging donors, but it's also an important time to bring innovative and transformational opportunities to those donors and to ask for those transformational gifts because more donors are aware of the needs.” - Dr. Una Osili

Important Links:

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy -

The General Social Survey -

Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy -

Global Philanthropy Tracker -

Global Philanthropy Indices -

Global Philanthropy Environment Index -

Aug 21, 202341:29
#249 - Women's Leadership Council

#249 - Women's Leadership Council

Aug 14, 202347:25
#248 - Small Shop Strategies with Rachel Bearbower

#248 - Small Shop Strategies with Rachel Bearbower

Meet my friend and homegirl, the amazing Rachel Bearbower. She is the Founder of Small Shop Strategies, a nonprofit consultancy focused on teaching Executive Directors how to detangle their systems so they can focus their time + energy on building relationships and raising more for their causes.

This episode is perfect for those Executive Directors and fundraisers who are neurospicy, who struggle with consistent, boring action, and who need help prioritizing tasks that drive results.

Are you awkward when you’re fundraising? So are we! We talk about the importance of being a real human and not taking things personally when you hear the word “no.”

Hear our personal experiences and mistakes in fundraising as we discuss nurturing donor relationships, managing board expectations, capitalizing on your board member’s genius, and upgrading yourself, your systems, and your software for sustainable success.

“You can create all the systems, but at the end of the day, it’s just doing the damn thing. There’s not a silver bullet. It’s the consistent reps over and over and over that are going to get you the result that you want... It’s those little things, building in those little habits that are going to help you raise that million dollars… two million… five million.” -Rachel Bearbower


Additional Resources:

10x Is Easier Than 2x by Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy

The Nuclear Effect by Scott Oldford

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Aug 07, 202333:22
#247 - Root Causes of Burnout with Dr. Emily Bennett
Jul 31, 202333:04
#246 - Childfree by Choice with Therese Shechter
Jul 24, 202339:26
#245 - Funding Feminist Movements with Latanya Mapp Frett
Jul 17, 202338:38
#244 - Innovations in Board Management with Bill Ryan

#244 - Innovations in Board Management with Bill Ryan

Get ready for some board management wisdom! In this episode, I sat down with the brilliant Bill Ryan, a nonprofit board governance expert 🌟 We dove into the nitty-gritty of effective board management, covering everything from board culture to fundraising and the three modes of governance. 💼💰 Key Points: 🌟 Board Culture: Boards need to align their culture with the organization's mission. Bridging generational and ideological gaps through open dialogue and getting to know each other is key. 👥✨ 💪 Fundraising Challenges: Boards often struggle with fundraising due to unclear expectations, lack of training, and avoidance. But fear not! By providing the right tools, training, and support, we can empower board members to fulfill their fundraising responsibilities. 📈💰 🌟 Changing Board Culture: Boards must take ownership of their fundraising role and engage in honest discussions about goals, accountability, and individual contributions. Realistic expectations and meaningful work are the secret sauce to motivate board members. 🏆💼 💼 The Three Modes of Governance: We explored the fiduciary mode (oversight and compliance), the strategic mode (planning and decision-making), and the generative mode (generating insights and agreement). Engaging in generative work allows boards to shape the organization and drive effective governance. 📊🤝 💰 The Connection Between Governance and Fundraising: Effective governance, especially through generative work, boosts board members' motivation and generosity in fundraising. When boards take ownership and see the impact of their work, they become passionate fundraisers. 🙌💵 💬 Open Conversations about Money and Fundraising: Acknowledging board members' fears and concerns about money and fundraising is crucial. Honest dialogue and understanding help board members overcome anxieties and become rockstar fundraisers! 💪💸 Don't miss out on Bill Ryan's expertise! Connect with him: to take your board management to the next level. 📞🚀 "We can find questions to put to boards that are at the right altitude." -Bill

Jul 10, 202353:25
#243 - Gen Z staff, Gen X leaders with Darren Isom
Jul 03, 202341:03
#242 - How to Use Chat GPT for Fundraising with Robby Fowler

#242 - How to Use Chat GPT for Fundraising with Robby Fowler

In today's episode, we have a special guest joining us: Robby Fowler. Together, we'll explore the game-changing potential of ChatGPT in the world of fundraising. ChatGPT, powered by OpenAI, is an AI language model that's creating waves in the fundraising landscape. Nonprofits, listen up! Get ready to unlock the true power of ChatGPT and take your fundraising efforts to new heights. Picture this: 🖼️ Donors engage with your organization like never before. ChatGPT enables personalized interactions, where donors can ask questions and receive tailored responses in real-time. It's like having a 24/7 assistant at their fingertips. Campaign planning just got a major boost! ChatGPT becomes your brainstorming buddy, refining your strategies through interactive chats. Fresh ideas and concepts are just a conversation away, empowering you to create impactful campaigns. Prospecting made easy! 🎯 ChatGPT leverages its data-processing abilities to identify potential donors and provide valuable insights. It's like having a prospect research expert right by your side, guiding you towards fundraising success. Say goodbye to mundane tasks! ChatGPT automates routine activities such as follow-ups and acknowledgment emails. This time-saving feature allows you to focus on building meaningful relationships with donors, amplifying your fundraising efforts. Ready to revolutionize your fundraising efforts with AI? Don't miss out on my ChatGPT bundle, available at Chat GPT for fundraising: To connect with Robby and get his Chat GPT course, visit: "The fact that you can just crank out mediocre content is not necessarily a win for fundraising, nor for your donor if you actually want to serve them" - Robby

Jun 26, 202350:46
#241 - Non-boring Events for Nonprofits with Joey Goone

#241 - Non-boring Events for Nonprofits with Joey Goone

Welcome to a captivating conversation with Joey Goone, an expert in creating connective fundraising events for nonprofits. With a unique blend of event planning and neuroscience, Joey reveals the remarkable role our brains play in designing transformative experiences. Get ready to be inspired as we explore the power of emotional connections and the art of crafting unforgettable events.

Key Points:

  1. Power of Connective Fundraising Events:
    Unleash the potential of fundraising events that go beyond raising funds. Joey Goone emphasizes the importance of fostering a sense of community and emotional bonding. These events create lasting connections and drive increased donor retention and support.
  2. Neuroscience and Event Design:
    Discover the science behind impactful event design. Joey Goone leverages neuroscience to elicit positive emotions, shaping experiences that resonate deeply with attendees. Through storytelling, sensory engagement, and personalization, events become transformative moments.
  3. Storytelling and Emotional Engagement:
    Stories have the power to inspire empathy and forge strong emotional connections. Joey emphasizes authentic storytelling, sharing personal narratives of beneficiaries and supporters. Crafting a narrative arc ensures active engagement and emotional investment.
  4. Sensory Engagement and Memory:
    Immerse attendees in a world of sensory richness. Joey reveals how engaging multiple senses creates unforgettable experiences. By incorporating music, lighting, and interactive elements, events leave a lasting imprint on memory and emotion.

Joey Goone's expertise in connective fundraising events is a game-changer. Neuroscience-driven design creates events that ignite deep connections and drive support. Join us as we explore the transformative potential of events that leave a lasting impact.

Joey Goone

LinkedIn: Joey Goone -

"You're Invited" by John Levy -

"When the mind stops speaking, the heart starts listening" - Joey

Jun 19, 202342:60
Special Scaling Series #3: Secrets to Unlocking Donors
Jun 16, 202342:53
#240 - Unlocking Performance with David Meltzer

#240 - Unlocking Performance with David Meltzer

In this episode, I interviewed David Meltzer, co-founder of Sports One Marketing and bestselling author. We talked about shifting from scarcity to abundance. David emphasized the importance of embracing abundance, conquering fears, and appreciating what we have. He shared practical strategies like focusing on what we want, surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals, and adding value first when fundraising. If you're interested, reach out to David at to join his community and learn more.

Stay tuned for more insightful episodes of Nonprofit Lowdown! 🎧✨

"Be Kind To Your Future Self" - David

Jun 12, 202317:49
Special Scale Episode #2: Unleashing Nonprofit Growth: Internal Pillars & Infrastructure Secrets! 💥💼

Special Scale Episode #2: Unleashing Nonprofit Growth: Internal Pillars & Infrastructure Secrets! 💥💼

Join me and Brooke Richie Babbage as we reveal the 🔑 to nonprofit growth. Get ready for an enlightening discussion on strategic vision 🌟, strong teams 💪, efficient systems 📊, and optimized fundraising workflows 📈.

🔍 Discover the power of a crystal-clear mission and vision statement. Set the course for success!

💪 Build a robust team and embrace strong governance. It's not just about hiring!

📊 Streamline your systems for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. Automate, measure, and refine!

💼 Optimize fundraising workflows and harness the potential of CRM tools. Maximize donor engagement and revenue!

Unlock the hidden potential within your nonprofit. 🚀

Take this quiz to see how to take it to the next level:

Get ready to scale your nonprofit to new heights! Hit that play button now and embark on a transformative journey. 💥💼

Jun 09, 202331:07
Special Scaling Episode #1: Personal Mindset Shifts to Scale
Jun 09, 202334:45
#239 - How to find more donor prospects with Andrew Olsen
Jun 05, 202344:16
#238 - AAPI Leadership with Ronald Rapatalo
May 29, 202349:53
(ENCORE) #99-Decolonizing Philanthropy with Jenn Ching
May 22, 202348:23
#237 - Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Me

#237 - Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Me

In honor of AAPI heritage month, we’re featuring AAPI guests. This week’s guest is…me! I’m trying out a new monthly feature called Ask Me Anything (AMA) to answer your fundraising queries. Let me know what you think (

In this week’s episode, I discuss how to know when to hire a Development Director, ways to get started with an individual fundraising program and how to do first approaches to foundations.


"Development Directors are not magical fairies who fart gold out of their butts." - Rhea

May 15, 202326:42
#236 - Money Mindset with Yulin Ling
May 08, 202341:44
#235 - Real Estate Opportunities for Nonprofits with Stephen Powers and Amy Lawrence
May 01, 202341:40
#234 - How to Use Video to Amplify Your Work with Aron Murch
Apr 24, 202335:05
#233 - 4 Social Ads all Nonprofits Should Have with Dana Snyder
Apr 17, 202336:33
#232 - Starting a Planned Giving Program with Tony Martignetti
Apr 10, 202330:51
#231 - Should You Do a Capital Campaign in an Uncertain Economy with Amy Eisenstein

#231 - Should You Do a Capital Campaign in an Uncertain Economy with Amy Eisenstein

My guest, Amy Eisenstein, a fundraising consultant, author, and speaker, shares her expertise on why you SHOULD consider a capital campaign during uncertain times.

Amy explains that a capital campaign is a focused fundraising effort to raise a significant amount of money for a specific project or initiative, and it's crucial for nonprofits to achieve their long-term goals and expand their impact. She then goes on to explain that launching a capital campaign during economic uncertainty, like the current pandemic, may seem counterintuitive, but it can actually be a strategic move. Amy explains how nonprofits can use this time to build stronger relationships with donors and demonstrate their resilience.

To learn more about capital campaigns and how to launch one for your nonprofit, visit the Capital Campaign Pro website:

"When there's a will, there's a way." - Amy

Apr 03, 202341:51
#230 - Unlocking Social Progress by Addressing Structural Racism with Britt Savage
Mar 27, 202332:21
#229 -How to learn through interviews - Pooya Pourak
Mar 20, 202345:14
#228 - Sustaining Happiness with Dr Ellen Wong

#228 - Sustaining Happiness with Dr Ellen Wong

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Ellen Wong, a naturopathic doctor and happiness expert.  

During our conversation, Dr. Wong emphasized the importance of understanding that happiness is not a destination, but rather something you create.  We also discussed the importance of self-care and self-compassion in achieving happiness. Dr. Wong stressed that taking care of yourself, both physically and emotionally, is crucial for your overall well-being. She also emphasized the importance of being kind to yourself and treating yourself with the same compassion and understanding that you would offer to a close friend.  

Finally, Dr. Wong offered some practical tips for cultivating happiness in your everyday life. These included: 

✅ Making time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy.
✅ Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
✅ Practicing mindfulness and meditation to help you stay present at the moment.
✅ Setting realistic goals and celebrating your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem.  

To learn more about Dr. Wong and her upcoming Happiness Summit, visit her website at Dr. Ellen Wong, ND - Chief Happiness & Well-Being Officer. 

"Productivity is not about doing more things" - Dr. Ellen Wong  

📣 If you wanted to get inspiration for Fund Raising Notices, Upcoming events, and a cute dog 🐶 picture, subscribe to my weekly newsletter now:

Mar 13, 202341:05
#227 - So you want to consult with Tom Pyun
Mar 06, 202348:36
#226 - GRIT (Getting Results in Transition) Program with Suzi Epstein and Kim DiPalo

#226 - GRIT (Getting Results in Transition) Program with Suzi Epstein and Kim DiPalo

Calling all New York based nonprofits!

In this episode, we speak with Suzi Epstein, Senior Program Officer at the Robin Hood Foundation, and Kim DiPalo, Director of Development and Communications at Drive Change, about the GRIT program. Applications due March 15!

Listen and learn about:

  1. What is the GRIT program?
  2. How does the GRIT program work?
  3. What impact has the GRIT program had?
  4. How can you, the listeners apply to the GRIT program!

GRIT Program:
Robin Hood Foundation:
Drive Change:

Quote: "Everything old is new again"

Feb 27, 202331:39
#225 - Afrofuturism and Fundraising with Miranda Ling
Feb 20, 202339:50
#224 - Why Major Donor Processes Suck and What to Do Instead with Greg Warner
Feb 13, 202346:27
#223 - Negotiating like a Hostage Negotiator with Troy Smith
Feb 06, 202347:21
#222 - DAFs and Crypto Donations with Alexis Miller
Jan 30, 202347:41
#221 - East Coast vs. West Coast fundraising with Adam Michael and Marvin Vilma
Jan 23, 202344:52
#220 - Exponential Growth with Yamilee Toussaint Beach
Jan 16, 202343:53
#219 - Listening + Speaking with Intent with Jason Frazell

#219 - Listening + Speaking with Intent with Jason Frazell

In this interview with Jason Frazell, we discuss the three levels of listening and how they can impact our ability to connect with others, particularly in the context of fundraising.

Listen in to find out the difference between pretend listening, active listening, and energetic listening.

We also discuss how the need to be right or how operating in scarcity can keep us in a transactional, not relational state.

To learn more about Jason Frazell and his work on listening and connection, visit his website at

QUOTE FROM JASON "Pay attention when the words do not align with a person's energy"

Jan 09, 202344:12
#218 - Stop the Nonprofit Blame Game with Hardy Smith

#218 - Stop the Nonprofit Blame Game with Hardy Smith

Happy 2023 everyone! 🎇

To start off our year right, join me and Hardy Smith to discuss his book Stop the Nonprofit Blame Game. Hardy and I touch on some of the hot-button 🔴 issues like why board members don't do what they're supposed to do (i.e. fundraising), what the role of the governance and fundraising committees are and how board chairs manage (or don't) in real life. This is an eye-opening interview and I hope it inspires us all to go forth and manage our boards better.

To check out Hardy's book and other work:

Quote from Hardy "Board members tell me that they don't feel listened to"

Jan 02, 202342:49
#217 - Top 10 Fundraising Trends in 2023 with Rhea Wong

#217 - Top 10 Fundraising Trends in 2023 with Rhea Wong

We are in our very last week of 2022 and I think we can all agree, it has been a lot. After the upheaval of the pandemic, I feel like life is back to normal-ish. And what I've been hearing from a lot of you is that you are feeling really tired and so that you find some time at the end of the year to enjoy it with your friends and family. 

Here's a fun way to wrap up our year, I have decided to put on my prognostication hat and discuss some of the Top 10 trends that I see for fundraising in 2023, listen now!

Have a happy, healthy, safe and restful, joyful time and I will see you in 2023! Take care 🐶 Happy holidays 🎄

Dec 26, 202211:43
#216 -Coaching for BIPOC leaders with Glasa Gottschalk

#216 -Coaching for BIPOC leaders with Glasa Gottschalk

Happy holidays, friends. As we wind down, I wanted to give you the gift of this podcast episode with my dear friend Glasa Gottschalk. Glasa is a coach who specializes in working with women of color. We talk about Glasa's own professional journey, how coaching is different than therapy, how coaching can help you progress in your career and in life and how to make the case to hire a coach.

Glasa is thoughtful, wise and brings a healing energy to the conversation. This was such a delight and I hope it brings you much joy and wisdom in the final days of 2022.

To connect with Glasa, check out:

Quote from Glasa "Coaching is a space where you want to be able to be 100, there's no sugarcoating here"

Dec 19, 202243:25
#215 - Doing Board DEIAB Work Right with Christal Cherry and Renee Rubin Ross
Dec 12, 202242:35
#214 - Tips for Community Building with Mitch Stein
Dec 05, 202246:09
#213 - Tapping into the Power of Gen Z with Meghana Gunturi
Nov 28, 202230:20
#212 - Asking Styles with Brian Saber
Nov 21, 202253:58
#211 - Monthly Giving Programs and Donor Retention with Erika Carley
Nov 14, 202250:05
#210 - How to be grant ready with Gauri Manglik
Nov 07, 202229:05
#209 - Surviving To Thriving As A Leader with Emily Frieze-Kemeny
Oct 31, 202239:18