Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell

The Secrets to Keeping Your Donors with Lynne Wester

October 13, 2021 Julia Campbell Season 1 Episode 10
The Secrets to Keeping Your Donors with Lynne Wester
Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell
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Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell
The Secrets to Keeping Your Donors with Lynne Wester
Oct 13, 2021 Season 1 Episode 10
Julia Campbell

When the world is spiraling, nonprofits give the world hope. However, we often falter when showing donors the difference that they made and make every day - and convincing them that they made the right decision to support us. 

That's where Lynne Wester comes in - thankfully! If you know Lynne, the Donor Relations Guru, then you know that she pulls no punches and does not hold back in her opinions, her expertise, and her generous advice. She is one of my absolute favorite speakers and thought leaders in fundraising, donor relations, and philanthropy.  Lynne's guidance has led organizations to be recognized on the national stage for fundraising innovation, creative communication, and groundbreaking donor relations work. 

In this episode, we dive deep into what Lynne calls "the gospel of gratitude" - how are we serving those who make our work possible? How can we look at people and truly value them - no matter how much they give to us? And how can nonprofits further inclusivity by making daily decisions, large and small? 

Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • Why the pandemic was actually a good thing for donor relations 
  • What are the ways that we can see giving through a DEI lens and practice
  • Her advice on coordinating in-person events
  • Why she encourages nonprofits to drop their giving societies
  • How to create an "attitude of gratitude" instead of a "culture of philanthropy" 

A Lynne Wester quotable: "Everybody keeps saying they want a culture of philanthropy. I want a culture of generosity."

And, one more: "We need to look at people and value them far more than their monetary gift."

Connect with Lynne:
https://www.donorrelationsguru.com/
https://twitter.com/donorguru
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewester/

Do me a favor? Rate, Review, & Follow on Apple Podcasts (or your podcast player of choice) - it helps this podcast get seen by more people that would enjoy it!

About Julia Campbell, the host of the Nonprofit Nation podcast:

Named as a top thought leader by Forbes and BizTech Magazine, Julia Campbell (she/hers) is an author, coach, and speaker on a mission to make the digital world a better place.

She wrote her book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits, as a roadmap for social change agents who want to build movements using engaging digital storytelling techniques. Her second book, How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit, was published in 2020 as a call-to-arms for mission-driven organizations to use the power of social media to build movements. Julia’s online courses, webinars, and talks have helped hundreds of nonprofits make the shift to digital thinking and raise more money online. 

Clients include GoFundMe Charity, Meals on Wheels America, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. 

Take my free masterclass: 3 Must-Have Elements of Social Media Content that Converts

Show Notes Transcript

When the world is spiraling, nonprofits give the world hope. However, we often falter when showing donors the difference that they made and make every day - and convincing them that they made the right decision to support us. 

That's where Lynne Wester comes in - thankfully! If you know Lynne, the Donor Relations Guru, then you know that she pulls no punches and does not hold back in her opinions, her expertise, and her generous advice. She is one of my absolute favorite speakers and thought leaders in fundraising, donor relations, and philanthropy.  Lynne's guidance has led organizations to be recognized on the national stage for fundraising innovation, creative communication, and groundbreaking donor relations work. 

In this episode, we dive deep into what Lynne calls "the gospel of gratitude" - how are we serving those who make our work possible? How can we look at people and truly value them - no matter how much they give to us? And how can nonprofits further inclusivity by making daily decisions, large and small? 

Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • Why the pandemic was actually a good thing for donor relations 
  • What are the ways that we can see giving through a DEI lens and practice
  • Her advice on coordinating in-person events
  • Why she encourages nonprofits to drop their giving societies
  • How to create an "attitude of gratitude" instead of a "culture of philanthropy" 

A Lynne Wester quotable: "Everybody keeps saying they want a culture of philanthropy. I want a culture of generosity."

And, one more: "We need to look at people and value them far more than their monetary gift."

Connect with Lynne:
https://www.donorrelationsguru.com/
https://twitter.com/donorguru
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewester/

Do me a favor? Rate, Review, & Follow on Apple Podcasts (or your podcast player of choice) - it helps this podcast get seen by more people that would enjoy it!

About Julia Campbell, the host of the Nonprofit Nation podcast:

Named as a top thought leader by Forbes and BizTech Magazine, Julia Campbell (she/hers) is an author, coach, and speaker on a mission to make the digital world a better place.

She wrote her book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits, as a roadmap for social change agents who want to build movements using engaging digital storytelling techniques. Her second book, How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit, was published in 2020 as a call-to-arms for mission-driven organizations to use the power of social media to build movements. Julia’s online courses, webinars, and talks have helped hundreds of nonprofits make the shift to digital thinking and raise more money online. 

Clients include GoFundMe Charity, Meals on Wheels America, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. 

Take my free masterclass: 3 Must-Have Elements of Social Media Content that Converts

Julia Campbell:

Hello, and welcome to nonprofit nation. I'm your host, Julia Campbell. And I'm going to sit down with nonprofit industry experts, fundraisers, marketers, and everyone in between to get real and discuss what it takes to build that movement that you've been dreaming of. I created the nonprofit nation podcast to share practical wisdom and strategies to help you confidently find your voice. definitively grow your audience and effectively build your movement. If you're a nonprofit newbie, or an experienced professional, who's looking to get more visibility, reach more people and create even more impact, then you're in the right place. Let's get started. Hey, everyone, welcome back to another episode of nonprofit nation. I'm your host, Julia Campbell, and I'm here with one of my absolute favorite people to see online to speak with to hang out with. It's Lynn Wester, the donor relations guru. She's an expert in curating donor experiences that make donors happy to stay on as loyal supporters. And her guidance has led organizations to be recognized on the national stage for fundraising, innovation, creative communication, and groundbreaking donor relations work. So happy to have you here, Lynne.

Lynne Wester:

Excited to be here, Julia, thanks for having me.

Julia Campbell:

Yay. And we were trying to figure out when we met, it might have been cost came up might have been online. But I was really fortunate to have spoken at your donor relations conference. Was that 2019?

Lynne Wester:

Yes, that was two years ago. Yeah. Because the pandemic feels like it's lasted eight years. So it

Julia Campbell:

does. That was such a fabulous event. And thank you so much for having me there. So I'm just really thrilled to have Lynn here. Today, she's going to tell us about her work, and then we're going to get into it. So why don't you tell us what you do, the clients that you work with, and the kind of impact that you're making?

Lynne Wester:

Sure. So we have the donor relations, Guru group focus on donor relations, communications and events. So kind of the infrastructure behind the donor experience. We don't necessarily ask for money, but money comes. And our goal is to keep donors happy. donor retention is really what we live for. We work with organizations, large and small, from best buddies, to major universities, health care organizations. We also provide tons of free resources on our website. So we have samples of every type of fundraising communication you can imagine at donor relations guru.com. And we also host Facebook Lives webinars, we are here as a source for those who are looking to better their fundraising and donor relations. And I like to say sometimes we spread the gospel of gratitude. And so we want everyone to understand how important thanking and reporting their donors impact is to their organization.

Julia Campbell:

So one quick question is How are donor relations different than fundraising? And how do they fit together?

Lynne Wester:

Yeah, so I know a lot of fundraisers say donor relations is what happens after the gift, I like to say that fundraising is a part of donor relations, actually, in that effective fundraising is building relationships with people. And so we really specialize in the areas of gratitude, impact recognition, and engagement. So mainly post gift, but also leading up to the next gift, two sides of the same coin. And one of the things that we've learned is that in order to keep your donors giving, you have to keep them happy. And so we work very hard to keep donors happy to keep them engaged with the major changes they've made in your organization, and to have them feel really good and positive about those changes.

Julia Campbell:

What are some of the biggest changes or shifts that you have seen in the sector in terms of donor relations or interest in terms of really anything since the pandemic started?

Lynne Wester:

Yeah, so, you know, I hate to say that the pandemics been a good thing, but for donor relations and fundraising it has we've seen organizations focus on what really matters to donors focus on the basics, the fundamentals of thanking donors, to them what their money did, avoiding the pomp and circumstance sometimes of events that don't really aren't really meaningful to a lot of donors, and really focusing on direct relationship building when all the gimmicks and the flash are gone. If at the end of the day, it's a relationship between an organization and a human being.

Julia Campbell:

Absolutely. So you're seeing events do You think events are going to come back or just be a different type of animal.

Lynne Wester:

I'm guiding my clients differently around events than I used to in terms of, I think that events will come back. Of course, human beings are social creatures by nature. I'm guiding my clients to do much smaller, more intimate, bespoke events of 10 to 25 people, maybe 50 people maximum, as opposed to the 300 person cattle call that used to be

Julia Campbell:

the callin call.

Lynne Wester:

Standing at the bar, the picked over cheese tray, oh, gosh, I have their hands on food anymore. No, right. So we also have to think differently about how we serve people, we have to think differently about our spaces are going to have to be larger for fewer people. Because now we have this kind of six foot bubble around us. It doesn't matter if you're vaccinated or not. You still want your bubble, you still want your space. I don't think I'll be ever eating a buffet again, or you know, like those Oh, God, I know I'm but now I realize how few people wash their hands.

Julia Campbell:

Like, oh, then you realize really how gross all?

Lynne Wester:

We are. Yeah. And I'm like, why did we have such a problem with hand washing? Like, why was that the thing? You know that. So I think donors want experiences tailored to them. So instead of events, I want us to create experiences. I take that from my time at Disney, where we create guest experiences, right? We don't have events or have parties at Disney. We believe that your trip there isn't a lifetime experience with us. And so I want nonprofits to think about that. I also want nonprofits to think about what really matters to the donor? Do they need that coaster that mug that T shirt? Do they need to be placed in a giving society? Do you need to list their names? You know, as we look at our fundraising world through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens, I am encouraging people to drop their giving societies because basically, it's a rich people worship group, you know, like, Oh, you've given us a million dollars, you're a better person than someone who's given us $50. And we'll name you the gold leaf laureates. And we're not going to do that for people who've given us $50 for 40 years. So how does that encourage inclusion in our donor base? And how does that encourage a younger donor who says that's not aspirational anymore, it's not aspirational, to take a bunch of wealth, and to be lauded for it just because you have capacity, I want a lot of people who make sacrificial gifts and people who are loyal to our organization. So the other thing that the pandemic, you know, we faced a dual if not a triple pandemic, and looking at race, Equity and Inclusion here in the United States. And I am bound and determined to make fundraising a more inclusive profession, a more inclusive opportunity for donors who say, What will my $100 do when all I see is you standing next to a million dollar checks and, you know, rich, pale people. And so I don't want to be a part of creating elitism, I want to be a part of reinforcing that every donor is a generous soul, and that there's only 60% of us that are generous. So why are we valuing someone that gives us$1,000, more than we value someone that gives us $50. So that is a change and a shift, I am pushing hard. I love that. I want to democratize philanthropy as well. And that's why when I'm teaching and talking about social media, and online giving, and text to give and things like that email giving, I see it as a form of it's not a shiny new tools on shiny objects. It's really the democratization of philanthropy. If I can give $5 to my friend's birthday fundraiser, I may be more inclined to research the nonprofits around me or to volunteer or to give $10 to a different organization. So I think we have it all backwards in the way that we're doing it.

Julia Campbell:

But I love that I saw when I last saw you speak, you talked a lot about loving on the smaller donors and commenting elitism. But what I love that you talk about now, I'm on your email list I watch a lot of your Facebook Lives is the inclusion, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lens that you really want people to see philanthropy through or their fundraising through. So how can we best do that? What is your advice for a nonprofit leader that really wants to do that?

Lynne Wester:

It's interesting, because it even goes down to the language that we use and look, yes, I've been fundraising for 21 years. This is this is a shift that I started making five to 10 years ago and it started but now I feel like we have an opportunity a window to really make serious change. So when I started in fundraising, I was painting To chart that said for$5,000 donors, we do this and for $25 donors, we do this. Now, I'm building behavior based donor relations. So first time donors loyal donors, regardless of amount, it doesn't matter how much you give, because you said, Well, if I give $10, to my friend's birthday fundraiser, that $10 is probably more of a sacrifice for you financially than giving $10 million is for some of our billionaires. And we know that people have high net worth, actually give less. So they give returns of a percentage exactly 80% of their worth away. And people beneath the poverty line in the United States that's beneath $19,900 give 3.7% of their worth away, the poorer you are in America, the more generous you are. So if I'm a nonprofit director, how do I change this? I first start by and I know this might be a little controversial in our industry, but everybody keeps saying they want a culture of philanthropy. I want a culture of generosity. I replaced the word philanthropy with generosity every time I speak because when I was a little kid, my mom never said to me, honey, we want to raise you so you become a philanthropist. She writes, right? core value, you know, share your toys and give money to She didn't say that. She said, Honey, I want you to be generous, and generosity could be sharing my toys. I'm helping someone with the last piece of pizza, which I'm not that generous. Haha, no, no, but generosity of my time and my resources. But nobody ever said I want to win. I want to grow up. I want to be a philanthropist. So I think even the words, what's relatable to people who aren't involved in the philanthropic community? Can everybody be a philanthropist? Probably not. And the community in our industry doesn't see people as philanthropists. But we everybody can be generous, everybody can give something they have. And I think that's one of the big changes is bringing that and then an attitude of gratitude to the organization that we are grateful for every gift. So we need to stop calling donors low level donors. Just stop using the word major gifts. like as if there's a minor giving department sitting around, you know, going, I hope somebody gives me a small amount of money a minor gift. Even our terminology is elitist, and it like I keep watching the crown going, God this is like the fundraising, you know, oh, oh, dear. She hasn't given enough. Oh, you know, like, yes. And so we need to look at people and value them from far more than their monetary just a one amount at one day at one time. Because isn't it always true and I love these stories, but they also break my heart. woman dies at age 97 leaves $3 million to her local library. Yeah, live. No one ever thanked her jelly sandwiches, but every year had given them $25 a year for 60 years. And nobody noticed. And oh, her money came out of nowhere. No. If you had paid attention to her, or him or a couple, you would know where the money came from, because they'd been giving to you for 60 years. Why don't you know their name. But you know, Randy, who owns the car dealership, because he gives you 25,000 a year, which is less than one of his you know, Mercedes even goes for used.

Julia Campbell:

So let's talk about worth Exactly. Those stories. When I read them. I do always think how, what a missed opportunity. It was not to reach out to this person, I think of a client of mine. And I've told this story before, I don't think on the podcast yet, but a local organization that works in substance misuse and substance misuse treatment, and they received a donation. Every Friday, every other Friday, you know, $20, a man would walk in to the office like pre COVID when they were open and give them a $20 bill. And no one thought to ask this particular gentleman what his story was or what was going on here. And I said when I started working with them, I said, I think you need to talk to him because it sounds like he's first of all reaching out to you to probably, you know, ask him some companionship. Yeah. So he turned it turned out that his son had died of an overdose. And he would send His Son $20 every week. And that was just his way of paying it back. I mean, I I've told this story so many times, and I still tear up every time I hear and it's just so powerful. I know. So I think those stories are out there, but we were so focused on like you said the major gifts, the hierarchy. The giving society is the people that are at the top end of spectrum. And we are not paying attention to the richness of generosity and the incredible stories that are around us even with these these $20 donors $40 donor

Lynne Wester:

that was helping that gentleman grieve, but yes, yes. And we missed the opportunity to help a person even further with their journey of grief, right. And if we if we say we're committed to our cause, like I do a lot of work in higher education. educating people about generosity is another thing we can do, right? Like, it's part of who I am. And, you know, giving gratitude is part of our work. And it's probably, you know, the enlightened nonprofits are getting that and they're spending time and resources and donor relations and, and so I think there are things that have changed in COVID going to the basics, and I think that unfortunately, there will be a rush back to some bad behaviors that I worry about, like when are we going to schedule our gala? Nobody missed your Gala. But you

Julia Campbell:

nobody actually missed it

Lynne Wester:

when anyone miss it. Nobody needs another Chili's gift card like no offense to Chili's but or whatever is in your town. But I've never gone around my house. And I'd like you know what I'm missing in my life. A gift card I got it a silent auction for a nonprofit, right? Oh, like and and on my worst of days during COVID. And, you know, let's be clear, it's you know, it COVID is still going on the pandemic is not over. Some of us are fortunate enough to have been vaccinated in our family members have been on my worst days, what I would do when I would get down in the dumps is I would go to world central kitchen, my charity of choice during COVID. And I would make $100 donation and I would get a video from Jose Andres. And you know, I would get great stewardship telling me what they were doing with my money. And, you know, they were doing everything from feeding protesters during Black Lives Matter movements to voters to you know, providing food for people who are hungry, they kept the restaurant industry alive in Austin and other places by hiring restaurants to make food for people who had food insecurity. Because when my chips were down, I didn't think about or when I was having a bad day, I didn't think about what I could do to enrich myself, I thought about what can I do, because I'm whoa is meaning because I'm not on a plane or I'm not at a conference with Julio or, you know, having a beer with my dad or something. But I thought and there are people who are hungry, I am not hungry. So I need to get my poop together, make a sacrifice. So making a sacrificial gift and understand that. So what are we going to do in the nonprofit industry that says I'm not returning back to that behavior? There is no return to normal, I hope. Exactly. I'm encouraging people not to return to exactly everything they did.

Julia Campbell:

Hey, there, I'm interrupting this episode to share an absolutely free training that I created that's getting nonprofits of all sizes, big results. Sure, you've been spending hours on social media, but what can you actually show for it? With all this posting and instagramming and tick talking does really translate into action. In my free training, I'll show you exactly how to take people from passive fans to passionate supporters. And I'll give you specific steps to create social media content that actually converts head on over to nonprofits, that convert.com. Again, that's nonprofits that convert calm and start building a thriving social media community, for your nonprofit right now, without a big team, lots of tech overwhelm or getting stuck on the question, What do I do next? Let me show you how it's done. I can't wait to see what you create.

Lynne Wester:

What you said is so powerful because it is similar to the man that was giving the $20. It's a sense of agency. And it's a sense of feeling less helpless about your situation. So I did want to talk to you giving was actually up in 2020. And I definitely want to ask you about your perspective and why you think that is and what we could do moving forward. But for me, I think it was because just like you said a lot of us felt really powerless to stop. I mean, it's a virus. It's not like an election. It's like we don't feel as powerful you don't feel empowered to stop a virus. You can't stop it. So for those of us that are control freaks. Oh, hi. Hi.

Julia Campbell:

I'd like to raise my hand as well.

Lynne Wester:

Chris tells me all the time you realize you can't control that I'm like, but I can try and he goes, and you'll be frustrated. And I'm like, Oh, so as a control freak who wants to control everything? Yes. You control my generosity. Yes. The world was spiraling around me. For me. It wasn't just COVID. It was not being able to see my family. It was George Floyd being murdered.

Julia Campbell:

It was, which is today is the one year anniversary actually is the one year anniversary of his murder. I'm recording this. I know. Sorry. That's okay. I mean, it needs to be said, and by the way, I haven't heard a peep from nonprofits. So we can talk about that.

Lynne Wester:

Right. I haven't either. Share, Sherilyn Eiffel at, I just heard from her and Southern Poverty Law Center. So I just heard from them. So okay, other nonprofits I haven't heard much from but there was so much going on political strife. I mean, you know, and so when the world was spiraling, I feel like nonprofits provided people hope. And so one of the things I can do during a crisis that I can't control is to give I think it likens to disaster fundraising after a hurricane NASS fire I can, I can help us rebuild. I think the healthcare fundraising was I can provide PP, almost, I would say 99% of my clients were up in fundraising in higher education, because the pandemic laid bare an inequity that we were not prepared for in higher education, to be honest. And that is, I don't think people understood that students did not have access to the internet, that they were in parking lots using their phones, you know, not stealing, but borrowing the Wi Fi from the library, and administrators had no idea they just assumed that if you got into college and your financial aid somewhere paid for it, not knowing that your home may not have broadband internet, or we have not provided laptops or you know, and it's a requirement, you can't turn in your paper, you have to turn it in online, you can put it into a bin. So I think that laid bare and so people gave to that. And then I'd love to tell a little bit of the story of my parents giving this year love that, how it changed. So my parents, they're generous people, they raised us to be generous, not philanthropists. But yeah. And my parents give to, I would say, four or five, probably organizations a year and I was talking with them at the end of 20. And I said, Hey, Mom and Dad, like, what was your giving, like, this year? Because of course, the conversation started around taxes. And my dad goes, Well, you know, we don't give because of taxes. And I'm like, I know, dad, and he goes, but we changed our giving. And he goes, some of the organizations are probably gonna be mad at your mother and I and I'm like, Well, I don't think they get mad. You know, and dad goes, Well, we changed our giving this year. And we only gave to two organizations at the end of the year. And I said, Okay, what did you give to and he said, We gave to the north Georgia Food Bank, because they live in North Georgia. And they realize how fortunate they are to have food and not be food insecure. They're in their 80s. They're on a fixed income, but they are very fortunate to be able to buy at the grocery store, whatever they want. And then they gave to PBS. And I said, and they've supported PBS before. It's not like it was new, but they eliminated all their other giving. And they gave two big gifts at the end of the year. And I said, Why PBS? And my mom said, Well, that was my gift. Your father was, you know, they make their giving decisions together. And we could talk a little bit about women's influence and giving but Oh, yes. She said the PBS was my gift. And I said why? And she goes, I can't imagine those Mamas and daddies who had kids at home. We thought they could turn on Sesame Street, or whatever was on PBS tiger. Very, I'm very familiar with sepia and that we have some free entertainment for their kids. On days when homeschooling was too much and they couldn't do another thing. She goes. I thought if I was a mom home with you kids, there was two of us in our household. And I had to school you and quarantine with you. And you know, we were all in the house and your father would have been upstairs working on the internet, you know, and she goes I would have wanted a day where I just plopped you in front of DVS turned on PBS and like had a moment and a bath it by myself. So yes, your mom. Yeah, so she goes so I gave to PBS so that they would stay out. I'm like, I never would have thought of that. And she goes, your dad thought about the tummies and I taught about what what am I going to do trapped in a house with two little kids. And I said I know all my friends were mamas I could barely take care of myself and I'm a 43 year old adult. And some days I never left pajamas and didn't eat proper food. How did Mamas and daddies do that? You know are Auntie parents?

Julia Campbell:

Yeah, well, and sort of not well, it very much depends. I love

Lynne Wester:

that. Thought about their gift. Dad went for hunger and mom said, You know what, it's okay. They're kids. They're not going to end up damage because you put them in front of Sesame Street for three hours cannot

Julia Campbell:

that reflects exactly how giving happens in our house as well. You know, my husband was reading and looking, you know, looking at the data that said, food banks are going to be the hardest hit. And just he's very analytical and very much logic based. Yep. So it's like, oh, food banks are gonna have the greatest hit. Well, I'm not going to give to St. Jude's this year, you know, I'm going to give to the food bank. For me, everything is very emotional and driven by, you know, I'm very, obviously I support Planned Parenthood, I support women's issues and very into just things that I'm very passionate about, and then a monthly donor, because that's what I like to do. That's how I that's how I do it. But it's so interesting that you said that, I love that. I love that. So I think you're like that. First of all, PBS. If you're listening, you need to talk to Lynn's mom, because that is such a great story from a donor like getting that story about that perspective that a lot of people probably didn't think about

Lynne Wester:

having grandkids she doesn't have she thought about herself it What would she have done being a mama in the pandemic like, and she I The other thing I thought about that that just tugged at my heartstrings was giving the grace to moms to say it's okay to pop your kid in front of a Netflix or in front of PBS, right? And take a day and take a day. It's like you're not super parent, you can't do this. And my dad's like, Well, you can't do that if the kids hungry. You know, he's exactly engineer. So he's very practical. And I think for them, my both of them are children of the depression. And so my dad has actually been hungry in his life. And so whenever he tells me all the time, you don't know what it's like until you've actually been hungry. You are such a privileged child that you've never, I'm like, I've been hungry. And he's like, No, you've never been hungry, right? He's like, you've been hungry for certain things. Or you were mad that your dinner wasn't served on time. Because if you've never been hungry, and you've never had to make decisions about where to put the money, do you put it into food? Do you pay the power? Bill? Do you hate gas? Yeah, right, exactly. And so that was a lesson and so. So they gave us the same if not more this year than they did in the past. But they focused they're giving focus, they're giving even narrower than they had before. And I thought that was a lesson for us. But if your nonprofit didn't see a surgeon giving, I want you to ask yourself why and don't blame the donor. Don't blame the donor because the donors were out there giving. They just have been that in donors eyes this year, your programming or your service wasn't as much of a need. It was more a want.

Julia Campbell:

I love that. talk more about that.

Lynne Wester:

Well, when the chips are down, right, like all of us have had times where we've not been we've lived paycheck to paycheck, if you work in nonprofit, you're not wealthy, right? And I remember sitting in my New York City apartment once going, Oh, God, I got the cable bill and the power bill, you know. And then I realized, well, you don't have cable if you don't have power. But that's a whole nother issue. Right logic and my life. But we've all had to make tough choices. And growing up my parents taught me We will provide you all of your needs. And your wants will be based on your performance at your job, which is school. So if you make some grades, you will have nice things and you won't want for much right? If you kind of how we do it here. If you make poor grades. My dad goes, there's a tent in the backyard. Yeah, and I experienced that. Like I slammed my door once at the ripe old age of 11. I thought I Oh, and then the next day I didn't have a door because yes, he took it off the hinges, yes, my dad did that too. That is funny. And I remember him saying to me, the government says I have to provide, you know, clothing, food and shelter. And he you know, and he says never in there does it say it has to provide a door and I pushed my luck pressure Laughlin and said, Can I see the paperwork? And that just extended my grounding a little. So yeah, so needs and wants. So maybe didn't see your organization as a need. So for me like I leaned in heavily to racial and social justice. I leaned in heavily to healthcare to food, and I leaned away from some of my want charities, you know, like you said, anybody that had a big endowment that I knew could make it through I was like, Look, you're not a need right now. You're you know, and and so I wonder what that looks like for some organizations.

Julia Campbell:

What I think is so interesting, though, and what I love that you said about your your mother giving to PBS is I know there are a lot of people listening, and I'm sure you have a lot of clients that say, Well, I'm an arts organization, I'm higher ed, I'm just I'm not a need. I'm not forward facing, I'm not a COVID response, charity, the story, the anecdote of your of your mother, giving to PBS just proves that you can be a need to your donors.

Lynne Wester:

You have to make yourself relevant, though, right? I would challenge back to those organizations like perhaps a fine art museum at the University of Florida. They made themselves relevant and a cause. So they took photos of portraits and paintings, and then they had activities where your kid could make that out of vegetables, or fruit or things laying around the house. And they involved and engage their audience, rather than just saying, well, we're closed, we have no programming for you. What was us? We can't have the opera or the ballet. What are you doing to make yourself a need? Not just sitting on your pedestal going? Well, it's not fair. Because no one has come to us, you know what I mean? So you choose yourself,

Julia Campbell:

No one's gonna choose you.

Lynne Wester:

And then I would also say, younger donors and more inclusive donors give to causes, they don't. institutions. So what are you doing to break down your walls and not be so institutional and because base so that's higher Ed's problem is they expect you to give back to your alma mater? Well, what is my alma mater doing in my community? Are you profiling alumni who are social workers or run a community garden? Are you only profiling your alumni who are successful quote, unquote, mommy success where they make a lot of money? Do you know what I mean? So I guess my question is, how do you make yourself a cause? Because for me, when I saw people being jailed for peaceful protesting, I went and paid their bail. Yeah, because I physically can't protest. I wanted to protest. But for me, I had some factors. Some I couldn't physically protest, and I will bail you out when you get arrested for peacefully protesting this, so I can provide bail money for you, that is a need. Because I know that if you stay in jail, they will draw out the process and you won't get your due process in time. Right. And you did nothing wrong. You were a peaceful protesters. So do you know what I mean? Those are I love that I think about those are needs. And so if I have to decide between the next performance of Les Miserables and bailing out a peaceful protester that, unfortunately, guess what,

Julia Campbell:

right and the culture that we're living in right now, so we could talk for ages. And actually, I really think we should do another session on how to make your nonprofit cause I think that's, that's definitely something I'm working on with my clients how to become not an attraction, and not an organization, but an actual cause. Because it cause lives beyond you, you know, lives beyond your walls. And that is when you really build a community. Exactly. So what should we be thinking about? As we end? 2021?

Lynne Wester:

Yeah, I think we should be absolutely obsessed with showing donors the difference that they made, and obsessed with giving them the gratitude that they deserve, especially if you had donors who gave to your organization for the first time ever, during the pandemic, oh, my goodness, think about those people that stepped up for your organization and said, You know what, I've never given the Boys and Girls Club before I've never given to your organization before, but I'm going to step up. And so what are we doing to make sure they understand that that was the right decision. So I think that's essential. And then I think the second thing that's essential is absolutely every day in every way, having conversations about what we can do in terms of furthering diversity, equity and inclusion. Yes, in our profession, and what messages we send when we do our general work and what that means so you know, if you're doing things the same way you did, pre George Floyd, pre Black Lives Matter, pre anything you really I need you to I need you to question your existence. I need you to you know, simple simple things like why are you still addressing people on an envelope Mr. And Mrs. Mark Campbell, right. And why am I Mrs. Idris Elba I mean that is my job but also my race.

Julia Campbell:

Yes, you know, the fantasy of gender.

Lynne Wester:

You don't need to assign me property as his Yeah, my name is Lynn Wester. I don't need to miss a Mrs anything on my envelope so and Lynn Swann is a dude so pick don't vendor me because you're gonna get it wrong and then you're gonna make so how are we further inclusivity by its decisions large and small.

Julia Campbell:

Wow, I love that. Thank you so much for being here. Where can people find you, everyone's gonna want to get in touch with you,

Lynne Wester:

Oh, I'd love to be found. So on social media, it's at donor guru. Very simple. You can find me on LinkedIn. And then our website is donor relations, Guru calm. We have so many resources, so many free things for you to come and join our community. We have a community of lifelong learners. And you know, I don't know everything about fundraising and generosity, but I can probably hook you up with somebody who knows what you're trying to get information on. And so seek us out, we're here to help. And I'm just so excited for those of you listening to this podcast that you've found Julia, who's I think, damn. And I just want to say Good on you for listening to a podcast about fundraising, and really improving the world for you, your organization and the people that benefit from your organization.

Julia Campbell:

Thank you so much. And everyone, make sure you check out donor relations guru. Follow Lynne everywhere th t she is. And if you're luc y enough to see her speak n person, you're in for a trea Well, hey there, I wanted to say thank you for tuning in to my show, and for listening all the way to the end. If you really enjoyed today's conversation, make sure to subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app, and you'll get new episodes downloaded as soon as they come out. I would love if you left me a rating or review because this tells other people that my podcast is worth listening to. And then me and my guests can reach even more earbuds and create even more impact. So that's pretty much it. I'll be back soon with a brand new episode. But until then, you can find me on Instagram at Julia Campbell seven, seven. keep changing the world you nonprofit unicorn