Transcript Episode 135

Transcript Episode 135 – Meaningfully Integrating Core Values into Your Work with Chad Zibelman on The Prosperous Nonprofit

Stephanie Skryzowski: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Prosperous Nonprofit, the podcast for leaders who are building financially sustainable and impactful nonprofits and changing the world. I’m Stephanie Skrzewski, a chief financial officer and founder and CEO 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,

Hello, hello. Welcome back to the prosperous nonprofit. I am Stephanie Skrzewski, your host, and I have on the podcast with me today, Chad Zibelman. Now Chad and I have known each other for a very long time, like 10 plus [00:01:00] years. We used to work together at another nonprofit and I wanted to invite him on today because he’s just has amazing experience working with a small nonprofit that does work in Burkina Faso.

Which is a country in West Africa and what I love about Chad and his organization is their ability, even though they’re a small nonprofit, they can adapt, they can be flexible, they can change, and he’s so open to changing and to pivoting and to trying new things, which I think is so important and so needed.

So we talked about that quite a bit and the other thing we really talked about a lot was having a strong set of core values before we even started talking about core values in this episode, he had dropped like a sort of name dropped, but core value dropped the core values at the Sonder Project into our conversation.

So you can just tell like how ingrained. Those core values are into the way that this organization runs. And I think that is so important and can be used as a really good [00:02:00] decision making tool, right? If you’re evaluating a potential new funding source or potential new project, does it meet the core value test?

Like, does it sort of help us exemplify the core values and the mission that we already have? So we talked a lot about core values and the last thing that we talked about. It was about corporate partnerships and he drops like a total light bulb moment on shifting your mindset around corporate partnerships and what you can do to bring more corporate partnerships into your organization.

So I’m not going to tell you the secret, you gotta wait, you gotta listen. So let me tell you a little bit more about Chad besides for the fact that he is a friend of mine and a long term colleague. So Chad Zubelman is the CEO of the Sonder Project and International 501c3. Non profit organization whose mission is to empower impoverished communities through high impact, sustainable development.

Chad grew up in the Philadelphia area, graduated from Temple University with a degree in education, and then joined the Peace Corps and taught in a rural school in [00:03:00] Namibia. And upon completion of his service, Chad returned to the U. S. and began an eight year career. with constructs schools in developing countries and Chad worked his way up to become the TREC director, responsible for a program that brought over a thousand volunteers a year abroad to immerse in communities and help build schools.

And the founders of the Sonder Project, which is where Chad works now, came to know him when they participated in a BuildOn trip to Burkina Faso in 2015. Three years later, they asked him to lead the organization. Chad lives with his wife, his two daughters and their pet rabbit in Sonoma County, California.

So I think you’re really going to like this conversation today. And I think there are three big, really tactical takeaways that you can use and implement in your organization. So without further ado, let’s go talk to Chad.

All right. Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Prosperous Nonprofit and welcome Chad. I’m so glad you’re 

Chad Zibelman: [00:04:00] here. Thanks so much for having me, Stephanie. It’s great to be with you. Yeah. So 

Stephanie Skryzowski: you and I go back many, many, many years. I don’t know how long, 10 plus? We do, 

Chad Zibelman: yes. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: A very long time we used to work together.

And actually you’re the second, uh, BuildOn alum that I have had on this show so far. I talked to Skylar a few weeks ago as well. So I’m gonna make my 

Chad Zibelman: rounds. That’s great. That’s a good community of folks. So certainly build on attracts great people and glad to still be connected with a network doing great things.

Stephanie Skryzowski: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, tell our listeners, I would love to hear a little bit about what you do, an organization that you work for, and maybe your own journey of what kind of led you to do the work that you’re doing now. 

Chad Zibelman: Great. So I am the CEO of the Sonder Project, which is a small nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower impoverished communities through high impact [00:05:00] sustainable development.

And we run programs in Burkina Faso and Malawi, in Sub Saharan African countries, focused on clean water, education, and food security. And stepping back from that, how I got here, really began, I guess, with the Peace Corps. Ultimately started my journey. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia. Back in the noughts, that’s how you say that decade, and, uh, I was a teacher, I studied education, I was teaching in a school in Namibia, I had a really positive Peace Corps experience, lots of Peace Corps volunteers out there will have all different types of experiences, but mine was very positive.

And as an educator at the time, I was, I really liked the opportunity that alternative education bring, I learned so much to the Peace Corps and by serving abroad that I thought more people should have that experience. And I dreamed of an organization that [00:06:00] would bring people from the U. S. to, uh, the developing world.

And I, while I was a volunteer, I like wrote proposals for this organization I wanted to start. And I pitched the idea to other volunteers, all this stuff. Anyway, I came back to the United States and I found build on, which is a nonprofit organization, of course, that you’re quite familiar with that builds schools in developing countries and ran.

Trips, uh, with students to these countries and it was just perfect. It was exactly what I wanted to do. And so I worked for build on for eight years, originally as a coordinator, leading trips, organizing service projects, ultimately becoming the track director, which was, uh, there was no track director. I was the first official track director, uh, because that was a title that grew out of the growth of the program that we experienced.

And wonderful organization is, um, met so many great people there were doing really powerful [00:07:00] things and the Sondra project was actually at that time, 2014, they, the Sondra project began because a group of entrepreneurs in the panhandle of Florida. We’re very successful in business and wanted to give back.

And through their research, they were really inspired by a book, the life you can save and realize like the greatest way to have an impact is to work abroad. And so they, they were researching organizations, they found build on, and they were like, Oh, let’s fund a school with build on. And so they did. And they traveled to Burkina Faso on one of the track experiences that I was directing and had an amazing time.

Met people there and wanted to do more. Wanted to be more engaged. Didn’t just want to be a foundation giving out funds, but wanted to establish their own nonprofit organization. And so they did. The Sonder Project was born in 2015 and a few years later in 2018 when they were seeking leadership and [00:08:00] somebody who had experience in the space.

That’s when I got involved, as I had left BuildOn prior to that and was looking for new opportunities. And so, it came together so well because I had so much experience in where the Sonder Project was working. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: It’s really interesting, and I think that the Sonder Project is such a good fit for you. And I don’t know if you found this in your career trajectory as well, but like, Your experience and my experience as well, working in these developing countries and specifically the countries where we have worked is such a specialized experience.

As it happens, like when I started my company, a lot of our initial clients were organizations working in East Africa, working in countries that I was familiar with, um, because. They weren’t finding other people that really understand how things work in those countries and that have spent time there. So it seems like a fantastic fit for you to, to go over and be the CEO of Sonder Project.

I don’t [00:09:00] know if you found that as well. Like we have a very specialized set of set of expertise. 

Chad Zibelman: Oh, absolutely. I mean, the fact of the matter is like when I joined the Sonder Project, we were just in Burkina Faso. And when we were seeking for ways to kind of grow and expand, we expanded to Malawi. But that process, because of my experience, because of my history working with, with build on specifically and being a Peace Corps volunteer in Southern Africa.

Made that process really smooth and you just build a network through experience, you know, so much of your career is network building and I’ve certainly found that and it’s been instrumental. I mean being here talking with you is part of that network You know, it’s just incredible to me how the people you work with at some point in your life will come back to you somewhere and You got to appreciate and respect that 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah, I love that.

And I think that, you know, for [00:10:00] our listeners, it doesn’t really matter like what level you are at an organization. If you’re not the CEO, even if you’re not a manager, like the, still the importance of building those connections and building those relationships are so important. And I agree. Cause I was recently connected with.

Somebody else from our like build on sort of alum group. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’m like friends with a lot of people that I worked with literally a decade ago. And it first of all, doesn’t seem like it was the decade, but yeah, I love that. So I want to talk about. The Sounder Project is a relatively small organization, but you’re also really adaptable and flexible to, like, changing needs internally, changing, you know, sort of landscape externally.

And I would love to hear, like, what makes you unique, or what principles, or what tactics have you used to really be flexible? And I think maybe the size is an advantage, like being small allows you to [00:11:00] be more flexible, but I’d love to hear your take on that. 

Chad Zibelman: So, I definitely think, to an extent, our size is an advantage.

I mean, moving large non profit organizations is like steering a cruise ship, and the Sonder Project moves like a, I don’t know, for a cruise boat, but certainly at least a ferry boat, if not faster than that. It’s a great benefit and it makes things really exciting because we are allowed really to respond to the needs of the people that we’re supporting.

Uh, for example, we drill wells. So we’re working with communities who need access to clean water. And in some cases, you know, the systems that we were, the boreholes that we were drilling weren’t always the best solution for the areas that we were discovering. And so we started partnering with Sawyer. And bringing in personal water filters at the household level and we were kind of able to try that out and make [00:12:00] that shift.

Early on. Another example is like we’re partnering with build on the build schools and we were we were focused on that school construction and partnership. But then we were able to develop and pilot a student sponsorship program with fast movement to roll it out. And now you know that started in 2021.

And two years later, we’re sponsoring over 200 students a year. And so I feel like we’re really nimble. And it also, you know, our We, we take our core values. Um, we really try to live by our values. And one of our values is to listen to others. Um, and that includes our beneficiaries, includes partners on the ground, includes our donors, but we take that seriously.

And I feel like, and our staff, you know, we don’t assume that we know everything or that we know how to solve every problem, but What we do know is that we will approach each situation kind of heart forward with the [00:13:00] aim to do the most good and have the greatest impact possible, and we will listen to all voices so we can collectively, you know, come up with that solution.

Stephanie Skryzowski: love that sort of sense of experimentation and trying new things that that it sounds like you’ve been able to do a lot of because I feel like That’s one thing that we see and hear all the time in like the small business and entrepreneurial spaces to try and pilot and experiment and fail and then, you know, be able to iterate and try again and I feel like that’s something I don’t see as often in nonprofit because a lot of times we have like money, funding, grants, just like writing on Thanks, Ed.

Our ability to deliver. And so often that doesn’t give us a lot of wiggle room to try new things. And so I think that’s really cool that you’ve been able to pivot and shift and pilot and experiment with different things, because I think [00:14:00] that is what allows us to get better and improve and to have a deeper impact, I think often we’re like, Oh, well, I would be able to do that if I had, you know, more resources or whatever, but you’re a small.

Organization who has been able to do that. So how do you like, how do you think of, or like view failure? Have any of the projects that you have tried out, is anything like not worked out the way you wanted it to, and what’s kind of been the results of that? 

Chad Zibelman: I would say, well, number one, I don’t 100 percent believe in failure.

I, I believe that because failures feels like an object end. And in my mind, nothing actually ever really ends. It’s just an opportunity to kind of learn and grow and change because, uh, and so have things not gone as we planned or have we made changes? I mean, perhaps some things have failed, but we haven’t given up.

Ultimately, and so, for example, [00:15:00] uh, one project that has been kind of an ongoing challenge for us, uh, admittedly, is our food security project. So we have a, uh, a 11 acre farm in a rural village in Burkina Faso, and we have been working on this Program since before I got involved with the Sonder Project. So before 2018.

And the goal has been and remains to increase access to food security for the specific community where we’re working and, and to provide a community that has always relied on rain fed agriculture, a consistent, reliable water source year round. And if you can go from rain fed agriculture to year round, water.

It’s life changing, particularly for communities who are subsistence farmers. Now, the infrastructure and process to make that happen is not simple and complicated and [00:16:00] partnering with contractors on the ground has definitely produced challenges. And we are now in our third iteration of what the infrastructure on that farm looks like.

And I am most excited about where we are, like, right now, today, with that farm, than I’ve ever been since I’ve been with the Sonder Project, but we would never be here if it wasn’t for all those mistakes, and I guess you could say failures up to this point, so you have to be able to, I guess, fail to ultimately succeed and not be You know, afraid of those failures.

And I will say what I think allows us to take those chances and and be flexible is the support of kind of our loyal donor base and supporters and the relationships we’ve been able to develop with our community, who you. You know, we can talk transparently to about some of the things we’re trying out and what’s going on.

And so people, you know, if people [00:17:00] know what they’re investing, people aren’t necessarily afraid to take risks. You know, if they believe in what your mission is, they trust. In the people who are working at your organization. And so, you know, trust and transparency are, I think, key to innovation, being able to innovate.

Stephanie Skryzowski: I love that where you said, you know, we wouldn’t be able to do this without our loyal supporters. And I wrote down before you said the word transparency and then you said it. And so, yeah, I think that’s, I think that’s key is having that relationship where. You can be transparent so your supporters know what you’re doing and they’re, you know, right alongside you.

And I feel like sometimes we want to just sort of put on this, you know, show is like, I don’t know if show is the right word, but we just want everybody to think like everything’s going perfect. We’re having this amazing impact. Everything is, you know, [00:18:00] going according to plan. So we, because we think that that’s going to maintain the confidence of our supporters, but I, I like your point that really it’s that transparency and telling them, Hey, like we’re in this process.

You’re part of the process with us. And, um, and I love your mindset and perspective on failure because I, I agree with you. Failure sort of indicates that it’s the end versus this process of. You know, keep going, keep trying, doing different things.

Today’s podcast episode is sponsored by GrantsWorks. With billions of dollars in federal grant funding available, now is the time to learn about how to apply for and manage federal grants from Patrice Davis, an expert who simplifies federal grants. Her federal grants simplified bootcamp is a six week hybrid training that gives you the freedom to access on demand training on your schedule and to [00:19:00] attend live weekly Q& A sessions with Patrice.

And bonus, GrantsWorks is a CFRE approved continuing education provider. Go to www. grantsworksacademy. com Slash federal dash grants dash simplified to learn more about federal grants simplified bootcamp and use discount code degrees to get 10% off your registration.

Do you think that it’s possible, so if somebody’s listening, they’re like, ah, but I work for like a really big organization. I don’t know how we can pivot this quickly, or, You know, we’ve got too much riding on these big funders. Um, do you think there are ways for larger organizations to have that agility and that flexibility and that, um, sort of appetite to try new things?

Chad Zibelman: Absolutely. You can. And I mean, I experienced that at build on, you know, if, if you remember, [00:20:00] like build on went through a lot of change and talked about the track department. That, you know, and oftentimes, you have to be able to create and be able to explain, like, in a compelling and passionate way, why something is so important.

I mean, people are not, um, without reason. And so, you know, most people, I would say, aren’t without reason. So, um, I think it’s easy to say, well, it’s never going to be like that because it never has been like that. But then of course, if that’s your mindset, then you’ll never realize the vision that you hold.

Uh, and so I think it’s important for individuals working, whether it’s a small organization or a big organization to not be afraid of the vision that you set and to make sure you are a constant advocate, I think for that vision. And communicating it and because if you’re having that conversation like it’s only [00:21:00] gonna strengthen your idea and your vision and ultimately maybe that vision changes like maybe the vision that you have isn’t actually what will be most successful, but um, if you’re not having the conversation.

You’re never going to get there. So it’s absolutely possible. Um, and perhaps it just requires a lot more voices to get involved in the process. And so understanding how decisions are made within an organization is super critical. And, you know, if you’re working in an organization where you feel connected to the people, Then you’re in the right space and, you know, work within that system.

It, I do feel like change is possible. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah. I really like that idea of holding that vision and constantly reminding yourself of that vision. And I know something that’s really important to you and to the Sunder project is your core values that really sort of weave throughout everything that you do, and I know in this conversation already, you’ve [00:22:00] woven those core values into this conversation.

And I think that. The only way to really make sure that you are living those core values or living that mission or that vision is by, you know, bringing them into your everyday work. Because I feel like a lot of organizations, yeah, we all have a mission statement. We all have a vision statement. We all probably have at least a handful of core values.

But like, how are we really living into those and exemplifying those core values in our everyday work? And so, I would love to hear more from you about how you use your core values as like guiding principles in the work that you do 

Chad Zibelman: every day. Yeah, thank you. We really love our core values. And I think in terms of discussing them, like part of it is the process we use to come up with them, which was really collaborative.

Because when I began at the Sonder Project, we didn’t have the same core values we have today. But we went through a process to kind of Redefine our mission. Redefine our values. [00:23:00] And it was a really collaborative experience with all of our board members and our staff kind of understand like what drives us.

What is it that we believe is an organization to come up with the kind of seven core principles that we have. And so these are core principles that, um, or values that we discussed like with our staff, they’re in our kind of reviews. We talk about which of our core values, how are they reflected in the work that we’re doing.

And ultimately, I do feel like the core values that we have are a real reflection of my, uh, approach to work because I really connect with the Sonder Project and our core values. And so we’ve really been able to create a vision that we can believe in. You know, they don’t feel like just random words on a page that kind of sound good.

You know, they’re, no, these are in fact values that we believe in. Considering integrity is something that I really [00:24:00] value strongly, and so, um, it’s so much easier. To be able to talk about your organization and you know, what your values are when you believe in them. And so we’ve really dug deep in that process.

And now, you know, if you ask any member of the Sonder Project team, board members, staff, uh, I feel like core values are something that all of us really take pride in. Yeah. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: And I feel like you can also use those core values as like a decision making tool, right? Like, you know, if you’re considering piloting a new project, for example, you can sort of run it through the core value test.

Okay. Does this Project, or does this activity, um, really hold up against our core values? And if the answer is yes, then you kind of have, um, more confidence to proceed. But if there’s, you know, something along the way where it’s not aligned, um, it’s very [00:25:00] easy to say no, because you know what? No, this is not aligned with our core value that I see often.

Organizations chasing funding or just like applying for a million grants that are sort of kind of tangentially related to what they do or accepting funding from a donor who wants you to do, you know, to make significant changes to the way you’re running your programs and kind of taking money because they need money, not because it’s like perfectly aligned.

And so I love the idea of having a set of core values that are really ingrained in the work that you do to use as like a decision 

Chad Zibelman: making matrix. Agreed. And in addition, just can I add to that, not only are the core values, but our mission statement specifically has space in it. It’s a bit. Rod, and some people would, um, you know, I think some perspective is like, well, what exactly do you do?

It’s not very specific. You know, it is to empower impoverished communities through high impact, sustainable development. Um, but going back to that earlier conversation we had, [00:26:00] a kind of flexibility, like as a young small organization and figuring out who we are, like we go to our values, like our vision is to do the most good.

Like Are we listening? Are we believing in the potential of others through this work? And then, is it meeting our mission of having high impact? Gives us a lot of room to take an input, and, and we’re not so rigid in our goal. Like, our rigid is, our goals are to do the most good, to impact lives, to partner with people, to make sure people’s voices are heard.

Um, And so, you know, as you create a mission statement, or as you create core values, like, I think it’s nice to create… Base to allow, especially for young organizations to allow those things to kind of mold and grow and not be too rigid. You know, we have a broad enough umbrella, but we also have to identify.[00:27:00] 

You do need to understand when things kind of fall out of that umbrella. And we’ve, we have experiences with that as well. But, um, you know, we, we learned from those experiences. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah, that’s really interesting that there’s like, you have a broad mission statement, but then you’ve got these, the core values that you sort of hold yourselves to.

And I like that that is intentional and allowing that flexibility that we talked about before. That’s really, that was very cool. Um, I want to talk to you about corporate partnerships because I feel like corporate partnerships are to some nonprofits, this like elusive thing. Like we all know that corporations have a lot of money.

And that many of them are willing to give that money away. But like, how do we get ourselves in the room with the right people to kind of sell them on our mission? And you mentioned earlier that, you know, starting from corporate was kind of where the Sounder project began with business [00:28:00] people who had successful businesses and wanted to find a way to give back.

And I know that. You have had success with corporate partnerships before. So I would love to hear a little bit about the way that you do corporate partners. Like, how do you find them? How do you engage them? What does that look like? Especially for our listeners who are like, yeah, I want to get into that space, but don’t really even know where to begin.

Chad Zibelman: Well, I guess to begin to is to, you know, making sure we’re not working from any assumptions that just because somebody is coming from the corporate sphere, they’re not interested in giving back or doing good in the world, which of course is wouldn’t be true. And so, you know, giving people the benefit of the doubt that they want to have an impact.

They want to do positive things. And in the corporate world, oftentimes they need opportunities to do that. They’re just seeking for a nonprofit often that they can trust that they can build a relationship with. And so for us, what’s been successful is certainly the network, [00:29:00] uh, and connecting with individuals who have a connection to the Sonder Project, who are familiar with the Sonder Project, but also creating something tangible that businesses can benefit from.

I mean, we’ve had really a lot of success with our well program. Where businesses are able to fund a specific well and those wells were able to then provide. A picture of the completed well with a sign respecting that business, which we then mail to them in a framed photo where we hand deliver that says here.

This is the well that you funded like they want to see the impact of their funds. And when you can do that, it’s really powerful. We’ve done the same thing with some businesses where We’ve gotten the employees involved in giving, and so we have a couple businesses where employees are giving a percentage of their paychecks to the Sonder Project on a regular basis, and then we’re including those individuals in some kind of tangible thing, whether it’s funding a [00:30:00] well, whether it’s sponsoring students, so when you can kind of reflect, like, we as the, uh, good thing about this is it can lead to all this kind of work.

And this is how we do that. And these are the tangible impact that we’ve had. It’s kind of amazing. Like I was just at an event on Friday with a real estate company who was celebrating their agents and all of the success that they’ve had. And at the same time, they gave space to the Sondra project to celebrate the success that we’ve had and the success that we’ve had because of them because of that partnership.

And so it’s about. Believing that it’s good in the corporations that are out there, which there absolutely is, and then not being afraid to approach them and provide something tangible that, you know, so they can understand how they can also benefit. I feel like it’s perhaps maybe harder if you’re just looking for, you know, checks to increase your general fund from [00:31:00] corporate partners.

In my experience, at least, we’ll look for something more tangible, a way they can benefit, especially a ways that their employees can benefit, will definitely lead to a more successful partnership. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Ooh, that is really good. You’re right. I mean, if a company can say like, Hey, we actively give back to this organization and shares how, like that’s a selling point for them.

That is value added to that company that you as a nonprofit leader are adding. And so that’s a really great point that they’re going to be looking for some sort of return on their investment, some sort of ROI. And maybe it’s not. necessarily monetary, right? Maybe you don’t necessarily have to say, okay, if you give us 10, 000, we’ll, you know, be able to give you a 10 X return somehow in the impact that we have.

Maybe it’s not that, but maybe it’s, maybe it’s a qualitative ROI, right? Like being able [00:32:00] to involve the employees like you were talking about and, um, and get the entire organization or the entire company Um, involved. So I love that, that sort of strategy of what value can we provide to the corporation, not just being like, okay, hand me a big check.

Chad Zibelman: Um, I will say the employees who then connect to, I have such a wonderful group of committed employees from some of our partner. Corporations who who really connect with what we do. And I’ve met employees who’ve told me the reason that they started working for this corporate organization is because of the relationship with our nonprofit, and they wanted to be part of that.

And so You know, there’s a benefit for corporations to have a really strong corporate responsibility, social responsibility plan. And yeah, and if you can make a compelling argument, but [00:33:00] why, how you can create that for them, then it’s, it’s a win win. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah, I was just going to say, that’s huge. Like that’s something that you can include like in your pitch deck.

If you’ve got something that you’re kind of going out to potential funders, I think. You know, being able to put forth a compelling reason about how your nonprofit is going to add value to their companies. I think that’s huge. That’s so cool that there was an employee that joined a company because they wanted to be part of the Sonder Project and the impact that you are having as a nonprofit.

Like that is very cool. Well, one question that I love to ask all of our guests before we wrap up is what does a prosperous nonprofit look like to you? 

Chad Zibelman: Well, certainly. One that is making an impact and improving the lives of its beneficiaries or benefiting its beneficiaries. One that kind of understands its place in space [00:34:00] and aware of the impact it’s making.

An organization that is not afraid to look hard at itself and reflect on what it’s doing and being able to make changes, uh, and be able to adapt and respond to the environment in which it’s working are critical, and I have to say strong financial management, and you did not make me say that. Stephanie, but, um, absolutely, like understanding the accounting and understanding, um, or at least having, you know, the spreadsheets to look at, uh, to know where the math is, is so helpful.

And create an environment where people are not afraid to speak their minds and share in a safe space only allows the whole organization to be more prosperous. So, um, and of course, all this doesn’t [00:35:00] happen without like a really clear, strong mission and core values that everybody is connected to. So that mission and vision of what you’re trying to do is something we can all.

We all share because if there’s confusion there with what the goal is, then it’s never going to work out because people are going to have different visions. In mind. And so if we’re working within the same structure, we will be more prosperous. Mm hmm. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Love. I love that. You know, I love the finance piece as well.

And no, I did not make Chad say that, but I totally agree with you. And I love that. Are you talking about at the end? Because that just goes back to. Really integrating those core values and that mission throughout all of your work. And one thing that came to mind, I was going to ask you, when you are hiring new people for, you know, to work for the sounder project or bring out new board members are like really bringing anyone into the fold.

How do you [00:36:00] incorporate core values into like the interviewing or screening process? 

Chad Zibelman: Well, certainly we include it in like the job description of to help define like this is who you’re joining But also we share them and we’ll often ask questions that kind of relate to Those specific values like give us an example Of a time or an issue or past work experience where you felt like you really led with integrity in your work.

Like, what is that experience? Or give us an example how what you’ve done in your life to demand equality in past career experiences. Questions that reflect back to our core values. And so how will this individual candidate relate or connect with these values? You know, do they truly believe in them? Can they make Reference to how they’ve applied in their own life or how they.

ultimately hope to apply them or be part of those values. [00:37:00] Yes. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Uh, that’s so important. So anybody listening, if you’re not integrating that into like the intake part of your organization, the way that you bring new people into the organization, that is one huge takeaway that I think is so important. Um, well, Chad, I feel like we could keep chatting for a long time, but I am going to wrap us up.

So. Before we go though, I’d love for you to tell our listeners where they can learn more about the Sonder 

Chad Zibelman: Project. Great. Well, thank you. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you, Stephanie, and anyone who’s interested to learn more about the Sonder Project, please go to our website, the sonderproject. org. We are also active on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, so please check out those social media platforms.

Uh, we would love to have you involved. I, I don’t mind, feel free to shoot me an email, chad at the sondra project dot org. I’d love to hear from you. We just recently released a, a new mini documentary, and that’ll be actually [00:38:00] coming out this week to be more public, so excited to share that. With everybody, and please, please check us out.

TheSondraProject. org 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Awesome! Thank you so much. I know I’ve seen you post on LinkedIn about this movie, so I’m excited to watch it. Is it available to watch, like, right now, or no? Like, this week, you said it’ll 

Chad Zibelman: be available? This week, it’s coming, Stephanie. It’s coming. So we will be releasing it soon. By the end of the week.

Stephanie Skryzowski: Perfect. Well, by the time this episode airs, it will definitely be available. Since this will be aired, uh, a little bit after we’re recording. So… Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Chad. I so appreciate you being here and sharing all of your wisdom with us. 

Chad Zibelman: It’s a real pleasure, Stephanie. Thanks for having me.

Stephanie Skryzowski: Hey, everybody. I hope you loved this podcast episode as much as I loved recording it for you. You probably heard earlier in the show that this episode was sponsored by GrantsWorks and I just wanted to pop in here and give you my two cents [00:39:00] on the Federal Grants Simplified Boot Camp. Patrice Davis is a genius at literally simplifying federal grants, which can be so scary and so confusing.

But she gave me access to her bootcamp so I could check it out for myself. And oh my goodness, there are just six modules. They are super simple and super clear. I love how she walked us step by step through the federal websites, which are so confusing, to make sure that everything is set up right on the back end to be able to apply for federal grants.

She goes over the application, including the budget and all of the like wonky federal rules. She goes over what in the world uniform guidance means and what’s inside, basically all of the rules that come along with federal grants. She also has this amazing federal grant application checklist and the ultimate grant workbook.

And there’s so much info inside, I loved that I could pause. Take in the slides, take notes, and then hit play again. [00:40:00] So I just wanted you to hear it directly from me that I actually went through the bootcamp myself and it was fantastic. So the link again is www. grantsworksacademy. com slash federal dash grants dash simplified.

And that is where you can get all of the info on this amazing bootcamp. And don’t forget to use the discount code degrees, you know, like 100 degrees consulting degrees to get 10 percent off your registration. Okay, friends, this is the end of our podcast episode for today. As always, thank you so much for being here.

I appreciate you so much. We have our little community of loyal listeners and I really just appreciate you. So if you wouldn’t mind sharing this podcast with a friend, I would love it. I would love if another nonprofit leader is able to listen and get all of the information that we drop in each episode.

So, all right, friends, I will see you next time. Bye.[00:41:00]