Transcript Episode 114

Transcript Episode 114 – How Rachel Bearbower Helps Nonprofit EDs Ditch the Overwhelm on The Prosperous Nonprofit

Stephanie Skryzowski: [00:00:00] Hey there. If you’re looking for the 100 degrees of entrepreneurship podcast, you’re in the right place after a hundred amazing episodes, we’re changing things up to serve you the most inspiring content in a fresh new way. Thanks for being here and keep listening.

Welcome to the prosperous nonprofit, the podcast for leaders who are building financially sustainable and impactful nonprofits and changing the world. I’m Stephanie Kowski, a Chief financial Officer and founder and c e o of 100 Degrees Consulting. My personal mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers, to grow their impact and their income.

On this show, we talk to people who are leading the nonprofit sector in new, innovative, disruptive, and entrepreneurial ways, creating organizations that fuel their lives, their hearts, and their communities. Let’s dive in.[00:01:00] 

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the show. I’m really excited to have here with me today a very special guest. Now, when I first started this podcast, Rachel Bauer was the very first person I interviewed, and I remember like on that first call with her figuring out my microphone and feeling a little bit nervous, even though we’re kind of friends about like, oh, do I ask what questions do I ask?

I hope I’m asking the right things. And so now she is back for the second time and we’re shifting our conversation. A little bit. Now, Rachel and I are buddies because we have both come up in the nonprofit sector and we also both run businesses. So we have this really unique perspective of entrepreneurship and working in nonprofit and.

In many ways, there’s a lot of similarities, um, but in many, many ways, which we will talk about today, there are a lot of differences and a lot of things that we can [00:02:00] learn from entrepreneurship and apply in the nonprofit sector. So Rachel Bauer is a fundraiser, former executive director and founder. She’s a host of the Sprout podcast and Spencer Time building a community of small shop executive directors inside her membership Sprout ed or s sprouted.

Her work stems from struggling inside an underfunded, limited resource system, less organization, despite working countless hours with a combination of never having enough time and feeling isolated as a leader of a small shop organization where burnout was inevitable. Now, this is a story that is not unique to anyone inside the nonprofit sector.

Rachel believes in reclaiming your time to create better relationships with donors and raise more for the mission you love. While creating a sustainable and lasting impact, and oh my goodness, if this does not speak to my heart, I don’t know what does. And so we have an amazing conversation today about how her work really helps executive [00:03:00] directors ditch the overwhelm and focus on what matters in their organization versus.

You know, wearing the proud badge of the person that wears all the hats and doing the most with the least, right? So this is a really great conversation, one that will hopefully shift your mindset and give you some really practical ideas of how you can ditch the overwhelm and start coming back to a place of balance as you lead your organization.

So, without further ado, let’s get to the episode with Rachel.

Hey everybody. I am so excited to be here today with my friend Rachel Bauer of Small Shop Strategies. Welcome Rachel. Hi. It’s great to be back. I know. So we were just chatting that you were my very first interview of the podcast when it was a hundred degrees of entrepreneurship, and here we are kind of kicking things off again, so, so excited that it’s you because I [00:04:00] feel like we’re buddies and we can just kind of chat.

And so tell us about you and about your business and what your business does. 

Rachel Bearbower: Yeah, so. Like you said, small shop strategies. I work with small shop executive directors, really focusing on helping them reclaim their time, and what’s really important about that is when you reclaim your time, then you have more time to build better relationships with your donors.

Raise more money. You can’t do that if you are just like scattered and all over the place and feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. So I really try to help Eds find that really stabilize. And uh, I do that through a program called S Sprouted, which is my membership program for small shop eds. And yeah, that’s what we do.

Stephanie Skryzowski: And how did you like realize that this was a problem in the nonprofit sector? Is it something that you saw? Is it something that you personally experienced? How [00:05:00] did you realize that this lack of focus and this disorganization was something that was a problem that needed to be solved? Well, uh, teach 

Rachel Bearbower: what you know, so start there.

I was that overwhelmed executive director who always, who always felt guilty for not working. I first, I started in a humane society, and so I felt like if I wasn’t working, like animals would actually like, Die because of me. And then like, that is a lot of pressure. That is a lot of pressure. Then when I was, I was like, well, obviously I have to be working all the time so that board members and staff and volunteers can see that I’m, I’m doing a good job.

So definitely, uh, personal experience. But then I have worked with hundreds of organizations and. What I [00:06:00] have found is they do have this desire to make this impact in the world to do good, but they are so overwhelmed and they’re focusing on all different things all over the place, and so they aren’t actually getting to what is most important and.

I dunno how we did it. Maybe it’s being like the oldest kid of six kids and like whatever. But like I’m really good at time management and coming up with strategies to be super efficient and to get the most out of whatever I am doing. And I was like, Edie’s gotta know how to do this. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: This is what we need to do.

Mm-hmm. Okay. First of all, I did not know that you were the oldest of six children, like learned. I feel like we’ve known each other for a while. I did not know that. And do you feel like, I don’t know, like where our heart is almost like too much in the mission that we, we let everything just kind of take over [00:07:00] where I feel like in the entrepreneurial space, we’re often encouraged to.

You know, to rest and to have boundaries and to, um, create balance in our lives. But it doesn’t really seem like that translates over into the nonprofit sector based on what 

Rachel Bearbower: you’re talking about. I have so many thoughts on this because I think that, hey, there is this like, there’s like the hustle culture that we’ve seen, which doesn’t work.

Like you burn out, you’re exhausted. You’re not gonna do your best work if you don’t rest at the same time. There’s stuff to do. Mm-hmm. Like, I don’t know any entrepreneur, any executive director who hasn’t had to just be like, I gotta just bust this out. Mm-hmm. Last night, I’m, I’m doing some kind of fractional ed work for an organization and I had to send out tax receipts and I did it the hard way.

And they had to go out. I had to get [00:08:00] this off my plate, and you know what? I spent like four hours doing it, I was up until way too late. And sometimes you just have to do it. So yes, we need to rest. We need to encourage that. In the entrepreneur space, you are a lot more in control of how that works. When you’re in a nonprofit, you’re reporting to board of directors to staff.

To donors and your money and how you spend your time, not always your own. It’s very different and we don’t talk about the kind of the mental labor that is on nonprofits, on executive directors. Yes, we have all the different hats. We need to make sure our books are done. We need to make sure that our programs are running.

But in the back of our mind, we’re always like, are we raising enough money? Have I filled out that form? Uh, have I paid my quarterly [00:09:00] taxes? Like, are my staff getting what they need? Are they taking their time off? Are all of my board members happy? The emotional and mental labor that happens when you are a leader of an organization.

Or even a business like mm-hmm. It’s a lot. And so I think that that oftentimes it’s hard to just turn off. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I mean, as a mom I feel like we hear a lot about like the mental load of parents, um, especially mothers. And so I 100% can relate because it never turns off at four 30 this morning. I’m like, okay, so I gotta get the Valentine’s for Kyla’s class, but they can’t be anything with food or candy, so Okay.

Like, yes, yes, yes, yes. And I never really thought about that. The sort of mental labor, the mental load of an executive director really managing. All the things because I feel like in your business, um, in my business, I have delegated a lot of that. Um, [00:10:00] because like you said, um, I have the control over the money and over my time to be able to do that.

Whereas an executive director, maybe he doesn’t have control over, you know, over the budget, over their own time to be able to delegate. So that’s a really interesting. Contrast, I guess. And so I feel that mental load and we’re, we 

Rachel Bearbower: created, like in the nonprofit sector, we created this culture that like we value burning out.

You know, we, we value working all hours of the night, but we also created this culture where we just don’t have the resources to be able to delegate the resources to like make a living wage. Yeah. How, yeah, it’s this, 

Stephanie Skryzowski: I don’t understand. It’s this culture of martyrdom I feel like, where it’s like, yeah, you’re valued for working around the clock because it’s in pursuit of the mission, it’s in pursuit of this greater work.

And the work that nonprofits are doing and executive [00:11:00] directors are doing is. Incredible. They’re, you know, you’re literally changing the world and you’ve dedicated your life to changing the world, and that’s so important. But like, is that worth it at the cost of burning out yourself and impacting your family?

That’s, that’s hard. So how do we, like, how do we change the culture? Rachel, like quick casual question for this. Um, first call on a Wednesday morning, how do we change the culture of the nonprofit sector? I mean, Kind of jokingly, but also like you are working to do that. Like that is what you do. So how do you help support Eds with like that mental load and like the more practical things?

Yeah. How do we change the culture? 

Rachel Bearbower: Oh man. Quite simple. Let me break it down in a different bullet 

Stephanie Skryzowski: points. Step 1, 2, 3. You 

Rachel Bearbower: know, I think it starts by, like, it starts by pausing. And I know that, that that is something that like terrifies people. They’re like, [00:12:00] I gotta just keep going. I gotta keep doing, I gotta, 

Stephanie Skryzowski: and it feels very unnatural to pause.

Rachel Bearbower: Yes. And you have to get very, very clear about what is a priority and like what is important, what is urgent. And what have you decided or what has somebody told you is important and urgent that is actually not Great example is picking up the phone, calling donors, asking for money. There’s a lot of steps in that.

I simplified that quite a bit. That’s gonna bring money into your organization, it’s gonna give you resources, it’s going to allow you to continue to do the work that you’re doing. Posting on social media, it’s a great touchpoint, but it’s not going to make the impact that call like one, you could call one donor [00:13:00] and possibly get a thousand dollars gift.

You could make a thousand social media posts and not raise a single dime. So it’s in an organization you are always going to be faced with. All kinds of decisions. You are always going to be juggling, and you have to be so intentional about what ball you are going to drop. There is no way to keep all of the balls in the air.

You have to get really, really good at prioritizing what needs to stay in the air and what can drop. Mm-hmm. And that is a skill that is learned by failing over and over again and being like, oh, well I really should have focused on that one. And oftentimes I see in organizations, they pause and then don’t get started again.

Or they pause, I shouldn’t say pause, they freeze. So they’re like, we don’t wanna do anything wrong. Mm-hmm. And I think that’s another big thing in our sector is [00:14:00] we don’t allow people to, or we don’t allow organizations to be able to take risks. We don’t fund them long enough to make. A plan for five years so that they can make multiple mistakes so they can get really good at what they’re doing.

We expect them to figure it all out in a year. Let me tell you, I’ve never figured anything out that’s groundbreaking in a year. I have to fail a lot. I can do that in my business because I have control over that. Inside your nonprofit, different story. So, Reclaiming your time stabilizing, understanding what is important and urgent and getting that done, what is gonna make the most impact, and then also creating boundaries.

Like I, I do this, um, I do this challenge every year where I teach people like how to, uh, [00:15:00] Like how to layer their calendar. And I start by putting your non-negotiables. So non-negotiables are like your, like you have to pick your kids up for school, you have to make dinner, you have to walk the dog, um, you have to take your grandma to physical therapy.

Okay? So you have your non-negotiables, then you add in your energy blocks. So we have this idea, we have to work nine to five. Well, no one can stay productive or work. Nine to five, like that’s not real life, but I know that I work better in the morning, so I try to do my big projects in the morning and I don’t have meetings until noon.

And so adding those in, are you gonna be able to add every single thing in? No, but adding that layer so that you know that about yourself and you’re not just back to back to back to back in meetings and then you never get anything done. I know as an ed, I felt like I was like, Back to back in like committee meetings and like board [00:16:00] meetings and stuff, and then all of a sudden I was like, so when am I supposed to do all the things that like it just landed on my to-do list.

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah. Yeah. You end the day with more on your to-do list than you started because you’re in meetings all day that then have deliverables afterwards. Yeah. Is there any sort of like also asking yourself, like, do I actually need to be present for this? Because I know I’ve done a lot of that in, in my business.

Like I actually don’t think I need to be here, so I’m not gonna be, if y’all need me, you know where to find me, but like, I don’t need to be here just to listen, you know? Is there, do, do you talk about that? Do you, do you find that a lot? Yeah. 

Rachel Bearbower: I mean, it’s, again, it’s going back to like juggling those priorities.

Like is it important for me to be in this meeting or is it important for me to like go to this donor meeting or this networking event? Those are questions that you just have to ask over and over and over again. And sometimes you’ll get it right and sometimes you won’t and that’s okay. And sometimes, like everything happens in seasons, so [00:17:00] sometimes you know you’re gonna be really on your game and.

It’s gonna be great and you’re gonna have time for all the things and sometimes you’re not. You’re just, just in a season when it’s hard and yeah, knowing that this too shall pass will, I don’t know. That’s what gets me through chaos. Mm-hmm. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: I love that you’re teaching this cuz I feel like when I worked in nonprofits, I definitely was just like, yes, I go to all the meetings, I do all the things and like I just figure out and work until it’s done.

And it really wasn’t until I built my business and frankly, if I’m being honest, it probably wasn’t until like the beginning of last year, so just about a year ago was when I really started implementing. Managing my calendar very intentionally. So like I only take meetings on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from like this hour to this hour, and I don’t have meetings on Thursday and Friday.

And like I never even thought that that was a possibility when I worked at a nonprofit, when I had a job or a real job, I. I [00:18:00] even had to be pushed to do that when I had full control over my own calendar. Like, but I had to even be pushed to do that. So I feel like any, you know, nonprofit leader that’s listening, like you do have the power to put some, you know, parameters and some controls and some strategy into.

Your calendar, you don’t need to be open and available for every single person from Monday at 9:00 AM till Friday at 5:00 PM Like you don’t have to. Um, and there we do have, I feel like we have more control than we think we do. Um, you know, with team meetings or if you’re, you know, you’re meeting with your particular department or you’re meeting with your staff, like you have control over that.

Just because it’s always been on Monday at 11 doesn’t mean it needs to be on Monday at 11 for all of eternity. About what you were saying about making decisions. When you use the example of like, should I spend this time like posting a million things on social media or like making some donor phone calls?

One thing that. I learned from a mentor like a long time ago was when you’re making decisions in your organization, this is when I worked for a [00:19:00] nonprofit, um, really thinking about making those $30,000 decisions versus the $30 decision and thinking about the impact that it’s going to generate because maybe the social media post like that feels easy.

Let me just like, Mess around on my phone on Instagram for an hour and I can knock a bunch of stuff off. But like, is that really going to generate the highest return on that time? Because time is a resource too. And for nonprofit leaders, time is a precious resource. And so really thinking about the highest leverage, you know, use of your time, I feel like is so important.

So I love that you are teaching that inside your program. Do you have like a framework for doing that or do you use the grid where with, with like the four quadrants of like. 

Rachel Bearbower: Eisenhower Matrix is incredible. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just Google it. It’s like all over the place. It’s incredible.

I do have something called the Sprouted method that really just is a reminder that like everything happens in in seasons [00:20:00] and you can’t always be going 90 miles an hour. You have to. Pause and plan and build your blueprint. And then you need to focus on kind of growing, like bringing all of your resources together, making sure that you can grow that plan, making sure that you have all the pieces in place, which is essential.

Like full disclosure, I live on a farm, so like seasons are very like, yes. Very important. But you know, after you build that blueprint, you gotta bring all of your resources together. And then you gotta, you gotta fuel the flame. You know, you have to, it’s like you get the seeds in the ground and then you gotta put the fertilizer on.

You gotta get the water and the sunshine to make it grow, and then you harvest and you boost your impact. And so, Does that take you a year? Does that take you a month? You’re just [00:21:00] always in some sort of phase or some sort of season to get you to that point where you can create that sustained impact.

Because impact, impact is created by little tiny habits and routines every single day. It’s not one big million dollar check that just happens. You might see somebody get that million dollar check, but it’s all of the habits and routines that they did prior to getting that check, it didn’t just land in their lap.

Mm-hmm. So getting really clear, okay, you wanna raise a million dollars? Well, what are all the different things that you need to do to get there? Mm-hmm. And I think one thing that. I think also small organization, just nonprofits in general, we don’t take advantage of technology. There are so many automations, so many really useful [00:22:00] tools that can save a ton of time.

And so, you know, something like Calendly, you sent me a calendarly link to schedule this call. We didn’t have to go back and forth. It was beautiful. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So I would love if nonprofits took that. That’s another piece of what I really tried to teach. I was like, here are some like really simple tools to use for you to save more time, get more time backing your day so that you can focus on all those habits and routines that are gonna raise you the million dollars.

Stephanie Skryzowski: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I, I feel like I have gotten pushback on things like that. Well, there’s a cost to it. Yeah. It’s like $15 a month. Let’s like do the math on the return on investment of $15 a month. I realize that every penny is precious. I get that. But like if that $15 a month for Calendly, for example, would save you two hours.

Even if you just did this [00:23:00] straight math of take your salary divided by how many hours in a year, your salary is definitely more likely, likely more than the $15 a month that, um, that it costs. And I feel like. I feel like as entrepreneurs, we do that all the time. It’s like, okay, great. Well I’m gonna pay for this because how much time is it gonna save me?

Great. It’s gonna save me way more than the cost done. But I feel like in the nonprofit space, we’re like, oh, but it’s $15. I don’t know. We’re like, don’t do that math often enough to realize, wait, that’s actually a huge cost savings that I just found for it. I walk people through that math. You do the math.

Oh, I love that you do math. And 

Rachel Bearbower: Okay. Shout out to Stephanie. If you have not gone and gotten the Profit Playbook on her website, it is a free like go get it. I use that thing in my business every single day and I now have a tab that is all the different tech and software that I use in my business, I spend $10,000 a year [00:24:00] on tech 10,000.

I did the math that tech, that $10,000. Three full-time people. Amazing. That’s like 90, amazing thousand. Amazing. So that’s a $80,000 savings. Yeah, exactly. And there, there’s free versions. You do get what you pay for, but there’s a lot to use technology to help you save time so that you can do all of those things, so, 

Stephanie Skryzowski: exactly, exactly.

Because that is not like, You scheduling appointments and going back and forth via email 50 times to like find a common meeting time. That’s not why you were hired. That is not your gift to the world, to the mission that you’re working for, and so I love that you’re helping sort of transform that mindset

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Strengthen your revenue pipeline, build a cash reserve. Ace your audit and analyze your financial statements with ease, and I promise no technical accounting knowledge needed. Head over to nonprofit to learn more and enroll now. I’ll see you there. I loved what you were talking about, planting seeds and sort of your farm life.

I’m not a farmer and I don’t even really do very well at keeping houseplants alive so that it’s not my, that is not my gift. But I do talk all the time about building a strong foundation, and I, a lot of times I’m talking about it related to your finances and your, your money management. Um, but I think it just, it goes across the entire organization.

And really like, it takes time. It takes like brick by [00:26:00] brick to build this strong foundation. And I have had conversations with a couple organizations that I work with and they’re like, oh, I just saw this organization get like 5 million from Mackenzie Scott. Why can’t we get 5 million from Mackenzie Scott?

Cuz you know, she’s giving a whole lot of money away. And actually one of our clients did get a significant gift from her, but they have spent years. Building that strong foundation, not only with their finances, but in all areas of the organization. And so while, yeah, you see them post on LinkedIn and it looks like overnight random success.

No. The foundation has been built over years and years because they have had the time and the focus to build that foundation. So I love that you’re. Helping eds like continue to build that foundation to plant the seeds, whatever metaphor you choose, because that is what is going to lead to lasting impact.

Because we don’t wanna be like a flesh in the pan’s success where yeah, sure we get a million dollars randomly overnight. Cuz yes, could it happen? Of course, [00:27:00] but then it’s gone. And the impact, the lasting impact, the sustainability that you wanna have is not there because you didn’t have that foundation to build on.

So I love that you are. Helping executive directors focus on that because it’s not often, that’s not really fun. Like, that’s not like the sexy stuff that you know, that you work on in your business. Like setting up Calendly, that’s not like fun, but like that’s the stuff and that is going to lead to long lasting impact.

Maybe it’s technology. Maybe it’s bringing somebody in short term, so it isn’t [00:35:00] always jumping to like, I have to delegate. I have to get it off my plate. It’s like really thinking about each piece strategically to eventually get you to the place where you can fully delegate it. But sometimes in our organization, we just don’t.

It’s not 

Stephanie Skryzowski: possible. Yeah, yeah. And So I love that. And I think you make it fun, right? Do you make it fun? 

Rachel Bearbower: I mean, I try to, I definitely add a lot of fun gifts because, you know, Gotta be able to laugh. Um, I also, I really do try to bring in the human side of sometimes this stuff is hard and, and like I said, like I’m doing some fractional ed work and I don’t always get it right.

I just said that I was up way too late doing tax letters because I didn’t do [00:28:00] it. I’m just gonna like put it all out there. I created a Zap that was going to take the email it, it was gonna create a draft email. This organization doesn’t have a crm. It would’ve been a lot easier. We’re working on that. Hmm.

I created a draft email and then I realized that I didn’t actually attach the receipt, so I had to individually attach the receipt in every single letter. So I know how to do that now. That is a skill I now know how to do that. You have to be okay making mistakes. You have to be okay not getting it right.

And I try to be really honest about that. I try to share, when I don’t get it right, I try to teach how I did it so that you can try it. I, I had an ED at the end, or beginning of January, talk to me and she was like, you know, I’d been in your program for a year and I had heard about all the different pieces that you were talking about and different ways that, you know, I could save [00:29:00] time and I’d been trying, but I just wasn’t like seeing it happen.

And then it was the end of the year I had to get a couple of pieces of communication out and it just like I was able to integrate all of the different programs. I was able to basically send. I think she said like 250 Loom videos out to all of her donors and ended up raising like an extra like $30,000 because of that.

What? What? 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Amazing. 

Rachel Bearbower: But it was slow progress for an entire year and then it all came together when it mattered and it was incredible. Does that happen to everyone, all that? I mean, it happens a lot actually. I’ll be honest. It does happen, but. It’s different things that help you build that foundation, and it does take time, but it’s setting up those systems, setting up those habits and routines to [00:30:00] be successful.

And running your nonprofit like a business and being really, I don’t wanna say running your nonprofit like a business, because there are some very distinct differences, but having an entrepreneurial mindset. Is really helpful and not being afraid to try and fail and try again and get a little bit better and try again, and then you figure it out.

And that’s very, 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah. I think that’s so important. And speaking of mindset, when you first start working with an ED joins your program, um, what like mindset do you feel like they have that’s maybe holding them back or that is just not serving them? What mindsets do you see? Scarcity? Hmm, tell me more. Tell 

Rachel Bearbower: me more.

I mean, and you obviously, you know this so well being in. The financial industry, like [00:31:00] people have so many emotions around money and there’s a lot of baggage that comes along with that. And then we layer on an industry that is underfunded, under-resourced and around because we aren’t providing the necessary services for people to like.

Live and have a good life and not be hungry and have homes like it’s kind of messed up, kinda messed up. Mm-hmm. So there’s a lot of layers there, but I think that small organization, big organization, ed, is everyone kind of comes in with, I’m so committed to this mission and to solving this problem and I will do anything to make that happen.

And I think if we back up, that creates a lot of problems because [00:32:00] you don’t often have all the resources that you need. You don’t have the skills that you need. You don’t, you have to kind of dilute all of your skills into, you know, what’s that saying? Like a mile, widen an inch deep instead of going a mile deep, you know?

Mm-hmm. You have to be good at a whole bunch of different things, which. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. Mm-hmm. Scarcity is, people are worried, people are stressed. People want to do really good work and make a big impact, but they’re just kind of all over the place, scattered and burned out and, and, and I, and they come in when, when they’re at that point.

And so helping them breathe. Helping them pause, helping them prioritize, helping them reclaim their time so that they can go and create a more [00:33:00] beautiful world. Mm-hmm. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah. I feel like we’re always trying to do the most with the least. It’s like, yeah, let’s do, let’s cram as much as we can into our tiny little budget without regard for.

Really anything. Let’s just do the most with the least. And I feel like there’s also, um, this is not meant to be like a complaining session about the nonprofit sector because it’s, it’s not, but there’s, um, but I think there’s also this, you know, We wear all the hats and we wear all the hats as like a badge of honor.

We’re proud to wear all the hats. We can do all the things. Versus again, something I’ve learned being a business owner. Being an entrepreneur is like really focusing in figuring out your zone of genius and focusing in on your zone of genius and trying to spend the majority of your time in your zone of genius.

And I’m pretty sure that came from the Big Leap by gay Hendrix. I think that’s where that concept came from, which. Is a very good book and I highly [00:34:00] recommend, but I feel like that’s like in stark contrast to wearing all the hats is your, your zone of genius. And do you see, after, you know, EDS are in your membership, do you see them starting to hone in on their zone of genius, really what they are amazingly good at and you know, either delegating or getting rid of or out, whatever, outsourcing the other things so they stop wearing all the hats.


Rachel Bearbower: I think that sometimes there’s still that like funny space where I recognize that I need to delegate or I recognize this is not my zone of genius. So kind of containing that and saying, okay, I don’t have I, I don’t have the budget to hire someone. What can I do to make this. More efficient. What can I do to make this easier?

Rachel Bearbower: yeah, sometimes people push back. They’re like, yeah, you keep saying delegate, but I don’t have anyone to delegate to. And I was like, yes, you do. Delegate to your future self. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Hmm. Okay. I like that. I like that because it, it, you know, somebody might be listening to this and be like, okay, yeah, I wanna work in my, in my zone of genius, I read the book.

Like, I, I want to do this, but I’m literally a one person shop, which I think you work with a lot of those. And so I think that that’s a really important point to your future self or to like delegate to a software program that costs $15 a month, like, That is, that is the thing you don’t necessarily need, um, new, you know, new [00:36:00] team members or whatever.

So how are you seeing. Leaders of nonprofits get creative in terms of the way that they’re freeing up their time. Maybe they, okay. A lot of us, like actually do, have very slim resources. I get that. Like, let’s not pretend that we all, you know, are sitting on a bunch of money. We, they’re, it’s very slim resources for a lot of organizations.

So how are you seeing leaders get creative in terms of Yeah, giving themselves more space? So 

Rachel Bearbower: I think it’s actually not even like getting creative. It’s simplifying. So if you are an organization that has very few resources, it’s getting very clear on what you do. Now, there are a thousand thousands of dog rescue organizations.

So how do you set yourself apart? Well, You are the only dog rescue that [00:37:00] re homes dogs to people on farms. You know, you, you get really, really specific and very clear about why you are the only organization that can do what you do. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, you get really, really specific and really simple.

What happens is people then are like, oh, I know somebody who needs a farm dog. You gotta go to this organization. And, but if you’re like, oh, I don’t know, there was that organization that, you know, does dog rescue gotta get really, really specific on what you’re doing? The other thing that happens when you simplify, it’s a lot easier to say no.

It’s a lot easier to say no. We’re so good at, again, trying to be all things to all people. So we say yes to all of the things when it’s [00:38:00] not really what our mission is doing. It’s not really where we should be spending our time. And so kind of back to your question, what, how are Eds getting creative? It’s, it’s less about that and getting very clear and simplifying what they are doing.

So that that’s just what they are focusing on and they’re doubling down on what makes their organization so awesome and just putting all of their resources towards that instead of trying to spread themselves too thin. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: I love that. So if anybody’s listening and you’re like, oh my gosh, I wanna do this. I want more systems, I want more processes.

It is not about getting creative and implementing like 50 different new tools to save you time. It’s about, I. Simplifying. I love that. And just getting so crystal clear on who you serve and what you [00:39:00] do and why you’re here and focus only on that. And like you said, it makes saying no like so much easier.

Do you mean saying no to um, So what do you see organizations saying no to? They’ve simplified, they have a very clear focus. Now they can say no to, to what? Is it funding that maybe requires them to do something different programmatically that’s outside of what they normally do? Or what else? What else do you see organizations saying no to in pursuit of the, like their larger goals and their, their mission?

Rachel Bearbower: Yeah. Such a great question. Well, I think funding we oftentimes like will. Apply for a grant, and the grant will be like, and we want a new program. Mm-hmm. So you’re like mm-hmm. Creating a new program. It’s like, but we have to do this thing really well, but you want us to do this. We can get money. That this is also hard.

Turning down money is extremely hard. So, yep. That’s one thing. It’s when, um, [00:40:00] board member is like, oh. We should add a new event. Mm-hmm. And you know, I saw this other organization, they do a golf tournament, they raise a ton of money. We should totally do that. This is like legit example from my real life.

Okay? Mm-hmm. Already doing two other events that super successful and we tried to add that third event. Surprise, surprise, it flopped big time. Because we didn’t have the time and energy 

Stephanie Skryzowski: to go all in, 

Rachel Bearbower: but yeah, we should have just doubled down on what we were doing. Um, yes, when I was an ed, we, I, it was a youth empowerment program and so we, uh, were constantly asked by like farmers’ markets and parades and schools to like be there [00:41:00] and like set up a booth.

Mm. That took so much time. So much time, and it was me for a long time, like those stupid 10 by 10 popup tents. You 

Stephanie Skryzowski: need that up? You’re an expert. 

Rachel Bearbower: Me. Call me. Here’s the thing. I, I was doing so many of them that I wasn’t meeting with donors. I wasn’t working on the program pieces that needed to be done because I was spread so thin doing all these other things, saying yes to all these people, and so I started saying no.

When somebody brought it to me, if it was a volunteer or something like that, I’d be like, I will give you the supplies to do that. I will show you how to put up, put up that 10 by 10 tent, and I will let you do that. That was hard. That was letting go of control of a [00:42:00] piece of the organization that I felt like I had to be out there and doing this.

But when I did that, I had more people who were like, Hey, my community is doing this. Can I get, can I get a booth box so that I can go and do that? I’m like, heck yeah, you can. But if I didn’t start saying no, I mean, I did not need to be at the 4th of July parade making hotdogs. That was not what my organization did.

Stephanie Skryzowski: Right. Yes. Yeah. Your time is not best served setting up a booth and manning it for, womanning it for eight hours. 

Rachel Bearbower: Exactly. And yeah, there’s examples of that all over. You know, it’s, it’s also when somebody’s like, oh, you know, we, um, we run a women’s shelter and we need to have hidden activities. We don’t have, you know, [00:43:00] youth programming, so, We’ll create youth programming.

What if you said no, we are gonna focus on what we’re really good at, which is mm-hmm. Nurturing women in their time of need and partnering mm-hmm. With an organization that’s really good at what they do with youth services. Mm-hmm. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Love it. Yeah. With like, Stay in your lane from a very loving place, but like, stay in your lane, focus on what you’re really good at.

And that’s advice that we hear all the time in the entrepreneurial space as well. You can’t have multiple ideal clients cuz if you’re serving everybody, you’re serving nobody like you said. Um, so I, I love that. And there’s, there’s a lot of power in saying no because it really does free you up to focus on what, what you know works.

Um, Rachel, this has been so good. I feel like we can keep talking. We probably have another three hours in us. However, I wanna ask you one final [00:44:00] question. What does a prosperous nonprofit look like to you? It’s 

Rachel Bearbower: where the people inside the organization feel good about what they’re doing, when they are working, and when they are focused on the mission and.

Can close their computer and walk away and also feel good about that. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Beautiful. I agree. I love that. Well, thank you so much. Where can our listeners find you? Because I know everyone’s like, okay, Rachel, teach me all the tools and all the secrets to simplifying and getting my life back, um, while also making an incredible impact on the world through my organization.

So where can they do that? Where can they find you? 

Rachel Bearbower: Go to the challenge? So I’ve got a challenge. It’s a productivity challenge. Small shop Go check that out. [00:45:00] You are gonna learn. It’s like a masterclass. You learn so much goodness. Um, go there. I hang out mostly on Instagram. I’m at small shop strategies.

Mostly you’re gonna see like, Random happenings on the farm, the silly things that my dogs like to do. You have dogs? Yeah, some, you know, I, I do some teaching and then I’m also on LinkedIn as often as I can, and then I have a podcast too. It’s called Route. Yeah, it’s the place for small nonprofit executive directors to just get some really practical step-by-step advice.


Stephanie Skryzowski: So, yeah. Love that. Come hang out. Go listen to Rachel. She’s so much fun. And do her challenge. I’ve heard amazing things. I, I like, I need to do your challenge. Okay. And 

Rachel Bearbower: honestly, if you’re an entrepreneur listening, like you can do it too. It’s so practical whether you’re nonprofit or not. It’s great for that individual process.

So [00:46:00] 

Stephanie Skryzowski: yeah. Awesome. We could all use that. All right, well, thank you Rachel so much. As always, it was amazing to chat with you. Thank you. Thank you. Hey everybody. Wasn’t that episode so good? I swear I was having the conversation with Rachel, but I was taking notes. I’ve got like two pages of notes from our conversation, so hope you loved it.

I did just want to say that Rachel mentioned our Prophet playbook a few times, and our Prophet Playbook is a free resource that we had given for a long time to our. Small business clients, but I wanna let you know if you want this amazing forecasting template that Rachel mentioned, um, that will help you really see into the future of your revenue and, and expenses.

I have it for you. So if you go to 100 degrees, you can get the template. It helps you map out your revenue, your expenses, your cash flow. It’s super useful. And Rachel told me before we started [00:47:00] recording. That she downloaded this literally years ago at this point it, I think probably three years ago.

And she says she still uses it every single month with her accountant. So it’s really good. It’s really easy to use. A hundred degrees So I just wanted to pop in here and let you know exactly what in the world Rachel was talking about and give you a place to go get it. 100 degrees for your forecasting template.

All right, friends, I’ll see you next time. Before you go, I just wanna thank you for being here. To access our show notes and bonus content, visit 100 degrees That’s 100 degrees, and I’ll see you next time.