Transcript Episode 158

Transcript Episode 158 – Breaking Nonprofit Norms to 4x Your Fundraising with Christina Edwards 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, and their communities. Let’s dive in.

Hello. Hello. Welcome back to the prosperous nonprofit. I am Stephanie and I am here today with Christina Edwards, who is a career long entrepreneur and she is all about breaking all of these [00:01:00] nonprofit rules in air quotes here around email marketing and donor cultivation and outreach and influence our marketing.

And she and I have a great conversation really about all of the ways that. Inside the nonprofit sector, we can adapt from the for profit sector to innovate, to grow our funding to a five X and 10 X our fundraising results, doing things differently than we’ve been taught or differently than the way we’ve always done it.

So this was an awesome conversation. My wheels are turning on how I can. Maybe do things differently in my business too, right? We’re always learning from each other. So let me tell you a little bit about Christina and then I’ll tell you a little bit more about what we chat about. So Christina Edwards is the founder and CEO of Splendid Consulting, and she’s the host of the Purpose and Profit Club podcast, which by the way, go listen to that.

Purpose and Profit Club. It’s awesome. Christina is more than just a lifelong entrepreneur. She’s a trusted marketing expert, a passionate business coach, and [00:02:00] a catalyst for positive change. With her innovative profit and impact flywheel method, Christina has empowered thousands of ambitious social impact businesses and nonprofits to achieve remarkable success.

Her clients consistently experience extraordinary revenue growth, often doubling or even quintupling their income. Seriously, forexing their income. This is a testament to her unwavering expertise and the transformative power of her programs. Christina’s mission is clear. She is dedicated to helping purpose driven founders like you achieve your boldest dreams.

She believes that success should be enjoyable and scalable, and she is here to guide you every step of the way. And she was here to school us today for the last hour. So I love what we talk about. We talk about the importance of coaching for nonprofit leaders. Like this is not just something for entrepreneurs.

And we talked about the difference between consulting and coaching and how having both of those can really help you with the tactical pieces you [00:03:00] need. And with the mindset stuff that comes up all the time and that holds us back from taking bold action. We also talked about some of these rules that Christina wants us to break as nonprofit leaders around social media and why what we are doing just by posting a whole bunch of social media content is not really getting us the results that we want.

And so she gives us an alternative, which I’m like, Oh, mind blown. Such a good idea. And what she shares with us there, we are not sending enough emails as nonprofits. If we’re sending an email, you know, once a month or even once a quarter, that is not nearly enough. And so let’s break the rule of, you know, we don’t want to send too many emails and annoy our people.

So she talks about the power of sending emails to your list and what those emails should contain and some very specific tips on how you should send those emails. to get the most bang for your buck and the biggest results. And then we also have a conversation which 100 percent could have gone on for about three more hours around [00:04:00] overhead and how a lot of nonprofits are actually perpetuating this horrible idea that overhead is bad, right?

We’re bragging about our 4 percent overhead when our, You know, she, she made me laugh. She was like, yeah, we’ve had 14, uh, development coordinators in five years, but our overhead is, you know, only 4%, right? Like, that’s not a good thing. And so we talked a lot about overhead and how as nonprofit leaders, we can help reshape and redefine the conversation.

So this was a good one. Y’all. Christina has so much energy and so much passion for this work and for the, the coaching slash consulting that she does with nonprofit leaders and, you know, helping them to five X, 10 X their fundraising, their marketing results through these new and innovative ideas that really actually are not that new and innovative in.

The entrepreneur in the small business space, but really are in the nonprofit space. So you’re going to walk away with some good ideas and things that you can implement [00:05:00] immediately. So I hope you like this one and I’ll see you next time.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the prosperous nonprofit. I am really excited to be here today with Christina Edwards, and I’m really excited to dive in and get to know her. Uh, Christina, 

Christina Edwards: welcome. I’m so excited to be here. So thanks for having me. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yes. Well, we initially found each other through LinkedIn and when I saw that you had a podcast called Purpose and Profit Club, I was like, okay, purpose plus profit.

Like we are, we are meant to be friends. Um, so I’m super excited to get to know you more. Tell us a little bit about, let’s see, where do we begin? Why don’t we start with your business today and what you do, and then we’re going to get into the journey, but let’s start with what you’re doing 

Christina Edwards: today. Okay.

Amazing. Yeah, because boy, has that been a long and winding road, right? So today I host the purpose and profit club podcast, as you said, and I have a group coaching program of that same [00:06:00] name. So the club and I work with nonprofit leaders, marketers, and fundraisers. And the reason why I say all three is because smaller shops tend to have.

Maybe an organization where they wear all of those hats or where there’s at least some cross training and some crossover. Um, so I don’t necessarily say I only work with, you know, the ED. I only work with the marketer because a lot of times the marketing department is also doing the online fundraising and development.

And so it all, they can all play ball with me. And I work on two different things. I work with them to give them the strategy to get noticed and funded online. So that increase of visibility and What I noticed after doing this work for so, so long is that I can give you strategy all day. I can give you templates.

I can give you tools. I can give you swipe copy. I can give you done for you everything. And sometimes my folks aren’t taking action. And the reason why they’re not taking action and using those templates and tools is actually because of how they’re thinking and feeling. And so that’s really [00:07:00] where the inner work and the coaching for that piece.

So that’s what we do at the club. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: That’s awesome. So I love that second piece, especially as an entrepreneur, I’ve invested so much in business coaching for myself. And so I don’t see that often in the nonprofit sector. So is your program a group 

Christina Edwards: format? It is a group for a format. So I have several online courses that have been just an amazing signature programs that are self study courses.

I have an email marketing course. I have an influencer marketing course. They’re really amazing. When you join this program, you get all of that. So you can go through the courses, but ultimately what I found again and again, and again, is that I would have. A percentage of people who would just go through the course, put, put in the work, follow it, and they’re like, I 5x’d year over year.

I 5x’d this fundraiser. I’ve had amazing results. And then there’s another group that’s like, I’m not sure how to go fight influencers. For [00:08:00] my particular niche, or I’m not really sure what to say in this donor meeting or how do I, and it’s like, okay, let’s unpack that. And that’s the piece that they do there.

So they get both, they get all of the templates and tools and things like that. But then we, we meet each week to kind of go, all right, what are we working on? What’s the intention moving forward? And I think now I’m remembering Stephanie, I think that you and I, or I connected with you, maybe you didn’t know.

And I feel like we both have a mutual love for Rachel Rogers work. So I love, am I right? Did you work with her? Yeah. Yeah. Yes. So, um, I, I mean, for me, investing in coaching has been, it’s been like going for a walk versus going in a jet, right. In business, it’s like, it’s. It’s like, sometimes I talk to my clients about driving without directions.

If you’re just aimlessly driving, you sort of kind of get to where you want to, versus putting it in your GPS, putting it in Waze, getting there faster, like, that is the work that we do together. That’s the work that I think a great coach does. Um, I do [00:09:00] think that part of what I bring is still consulting, because I have a So much experience in this world in marketing and online fundraising and just scaling.

So we bring in the like, put this there, do this, not that as well. Mm hmm. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Oh my gosh. Okay. Oh, so many things. Yes. Okay. Love Rachel Rogers. She’s been my business coach for the last two years. Um, I was in her mastermind and sadly she’s not doing it anymore, but she, yeah, it like you’re so right. Like going for a walk versus getting on a jet, like a good coach will.

Get you in the seat on the jet and take off. And yeah, 

Christina Edwards: there’s no turning back. There’s like a leap to it. There’s like a leap to, I think the more I just really kind of work with organizations and just see my own business growth and where I’m like, we’re the same. Like we’re all entrepreneurs. We all have the same kind of mindset.

Stuff. And it’s like, you know, having a coach to believe in you, having a, having a coach to move you forward, to take that next big step that inevitably it doesn’t always feel like [00:10:00] good and cozy and comfortable to take those leaps, but those are the leaps worth taking, you know. Um, 

Stephanie Skryzowski: I don’t see many nonprofit leaders and I’ve worked with many, many, many over the years, um, investing coaching or maybe like, cause number one, they don’t know what it is or they don’t have access.

They’ve never been introduced or it’s like resources are tight and like, what is this coach thing? What are they going to do for me? So this is not like the norm in the nonprofit sector, at least as far as I’ve 

Christina Edwards: seen. Yeah. I think that sometimes. And well, investing in any, any sort of what I would call is professional development.

I mean, it is professional development. It is continuing education. It is the inner work. It’s the outer work. And no, it’s not normal. I think the most, um, sort of palatable, like, oh, okay, that maybe is let’s bring on a consultant. I know. And I think that’s kind of where I. Where even I felt comfortable for a while was, and I, you know, branded myself that way.

I got a lot of clients that way. I did a lot [00:11:00] of consulting work. And ultimately I’m like, y’all, we just thought the coachings, you know what I mean? And so, and again, with the online courses, it’s like, okay, maybe I can go to bat and buy this course. And I can go to bat to my ED and say, Hey, can I get this course or something like that?

And again, it’s that same piece. And I’m like, but you know, if I have a coaching call with those people, they are like, Help. They’re like, I need help. And I’m like, that is really where we’ll have one coaching call. I’ll pop in my Facebook group and somebody is like, all right, I sent the email and you won’t believe what just happened.

I’m like, of course it did. Of course you just did a hundred K because you sent an email that’s been at the bottom of your to do list because it felt really scary to send. You weren’t quite sure what to say. You were worried on the other side about like, what if they answer, what if they don’t answer all of the pieces of rejection?

Right. And so. Part of it is, it is new, um, and part of it is just saying like, okay, if we really want to be an [00:12:00] organization that is out there and doing different things, like the Charity Waters of the world, like how many times have organizations been like, why can’t we? And it’s like, did you notice? How much Charity Water invested in social, especially Twitter, um, I had their second hire who now is the co founder of the Adventure Project on the podcast to share that.

And she’s like, they were so willing to be scrappy. They were so willing to throw out the old playbook and be like, here’s what we’re building. A new story charity is another one. It’s like 3D houses, what? And it’s like, yeah, they’re so willing to throw out the old way of doing it and go, let’s try this.

Let’s go all in and try it this way and see if we can create a community online. And like, yeah, it works. And yeah, they’re paving a way. There’s not necessarily a playbook for it, but it’s that sort of, you know, relentless optimism that like, I think, I think I’ve got something here. So that’s that. Those are the type of people that light me up, that are attracted to my work.

And the type of people who are like, You know, [00:13:00] um, we’re going to send two direct mail pieces a year and we’re going to send four quarterly emails. I’m like, yeah, you’re, we’re, that’s not going to work. Yeah. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah. Yeah. Well, one thing, Rachel Rogers, um, I think she recorded a podcast on this a long time ago, but it’s like, have you really tried everything?

Have you really, really tried? And if you ask and answer that question, honestly, the answer’s probably no, you 

Christina Edwards: haven’t tried everything. So whenever I’m like, teaching a live webinar for Amplify Social Impact, which is that influencer marketing program, where it’s like, how do we get digital ambassadors, which I call social street teamers, to really be part of our community, advocate, and ultimately become amazing online fundraisers.

So my favorite is when somebody in the chat is like, tried it, and I’m like, Let’s break that down. How did you try it? You reached out to three people who had no alignment with your cause, who were maybe celebrities, and they never responded. You did not try it, my friend. You did not try it. Like, that is not.

Yes. [00:14:00] Yeah. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah, and that’s a power of a coach to hold you accountable to things like that. Yes, 

Christina Edwards: that’s right, to hold you to that piece of like, you know, and show you, okay, because I do get where it’s like, okay, but what do you want me to do, Christina? I do get that there is feel, it feels like, well, what am I supposed to do instead?

And so having somebody, and that’s really the next part of the process. Okay, well, let’s try this. Let’s stick to it. Let’s evaluate and let’s get you some, some easy wins because there are easy wins to get. I think we make things so binary sometimes of like, well, I reached out to three people, it didn’t work, bye.


Stephanie Skryzowski: Exactly. I, gosh, I still find myself doing that in my business sometimes and then I take a step back and I’m like, wait a second, I really 

Christina Edwards: didn’t do very much. That’s the piece is I’m like, we’re the same as like much of what my clients are going through. I literally, I’m like, you guys, I beta test this stuff myself first before I beta test it with you guys.

I’m like, I’m telling you to send more emails. Do you know how many emails I sent last year? I ran my report. I sent 260 some odd [00:15:00] emails. In a year, not to let, I’m talking as a mass email to my list, over 200 emails. I’m like, so don’t say, I don’t know what it feels like to be like, shit, is this another, you know, is this too many emails?

I know that discomfort and I also know the results of that, of like, this works. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Mm hmm. Yeah. Talk to me about consultants versus coaches, because I feel like in a nonprofit budget, which, you know, as a finance person, I’m seeing the budget line items, it feels a lot easier to put money in a consultant line item and versus like a coach, what is a coach?

So talk to me about the difference between the two and then sort of how you have come to like marry those two things 


Christina Edwards: your work. So a couple of things come to mind. And one is sometimes I’m. in the marketing budget, right? Sometimes I could be in that. Sometimes I’m in, and this is my favorite place to be, is in the professional development budget.

Like, when I see an organization [00:16:00] that’s like, you get three thousand dollars a year, I mean, whatever. I’m like, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Um, I’m seeing more of those, and it’s like, I always think the lag time between the for profit and the non profit, that lag time of like, You know, it’s become standard.

I remember having a conversation with my husband, I think a year or two ago, and he was like, Hey, I’ve got like 2, 000 of professional development. I got to spend it almost like your, uh, what is it? HSA. And he’s like, what do I do? And so I was like, it was so fun. I was like, okay, you could hire a coach. Okay.

Let’s look at conferences. And for him to just. You know, I just dream a little of like, actually, what, what do I want, you know, and we’re not doing that in the nonprofit world very often, so I get very excited when people actually have a professional development budget. Um, yes, we do see a consultant budget or something like that sometimes as well.

For me, I think of it this way, a consultant is typically a subject matter expert on what they do. And a coach tends to be. [00:17:00] In the like, if you zoom out, almost like a life coach or a business coach or something like that, a little bit more of just a more agnostic and they can help you get to where you want to be.

Like, could I coach somebody and have I coached people before on, you know, building their online business that is a for profit? But yeah, I can coach on that because I know how to do it. Um, so. It can be a little bit of both. I like to see the mix of this is not done for you. You’re not throwing work over to the wall, but I am helping you get to that finish line.

People, for example, I’m working with somebody right now who’s like, I want to start a monthly, or maybe they started a monthly giving program, but there’s like one person in it. Right. But I really want recurring giving. There’s a couple of people who have said that to me. So it’s like, I’m going to show you the process, but you’re going to come to me each week.

And then really what comes up is like, how do we get. They want 50 donors. How do I get 50 donors? What is our strategy for that? And what’s in the way, both in how you’re thinking and how you’re feeling and how do we get people, how do I get you on boards? You’re like feeling fired [00:18:00] up about it and not like that dread piece.

So it’s that mindset piece is really a huge part of coaching and a big part of what I think. People miss as being pivotal to their revenue, like pivotal. When you feel dread, I know the feeling of dread because I feel it every single year around tax time and it cracks me up because I track my hours just as a, um, as an internal process to show me my own BS and my brain.

So every, every year around, around tax time, I’m like, Oh my God, my taxes. Now I have QuickBooks, I have a lovely CPA, like it’s fine. But the amount of dread of just having to, like, think about it, I track it. So my taxes take me, like, a couple hours to do. The actual work, the amount of time that I think about doing the actual work is 5x the hours.

And so I’m making the entire process. It’s terrible. It’s like a terrible experience versus saying to myself, I got four hours, I can knock this out. And that [00:19:00] empowerment and that self pride and that like building that muscle of just being like, no, I can do this. So like donor cultivation, we feel that same thing, right?

Marketing, videos, all of that, like anything that requires like getting people into action mode where, where, you know, there’s some resistance. It’s like, that’s. The power of a coach that a consultant wouldn’t necessarily do. A consultant is going to kind of peek behind the hood, give you a strategy, give you some templates and go.

Stephanie Skryzowski: Exactly. Oh, that’s so valuable. Okay. Let’s back up a second and tell me about what has the journey looked like to get you to this point where you’re doing this work of sort of like, you know, quasi coaching, quasi consulting online courses. How did we get here? 

Christina Edwards: So obviously I got an art degree. Obviously.

Right. Yeah. Uh, I got an art degree and it wasn’t until my senior year of college that I got a business minor and I was like, this is interesting. Like, you know what I mean? But so I say that only to say, I [00:20:00] always, like, I’m always fascinated by people who are like, I went to. School for communications. And now I work in, or you know what I mean?

I’m like, you did? Did you go to school? Did, is your degree in what you do? No, not at all. Okay, perfect. I love it. Okay, great. So. Went to school for that, had worked my way through school, I had a bunch of different jobs, I learned sales really, really well, that’s something that I, if I believe in a product, it’s very easy for me to sell, I started my first business in 2007, I started selling real estate, I was really good at that, because I was just like scrappy, I was just willing, I started from zero, um, and I built a list, I built a, uh, you know, a client list from zero and I understood that like, I cold called.

So that’s the same thing. I’m like, I know what it feels like to cold call people and have people be annoyed. And guess what? I also like closed deals from cold calls. I’m like, so it’s, I’ve been there. Like I know the sweat that you get through that process. So I did that. I ultimately started a marketing [00:21:00] agency in 2011, something like that.

And that’s really when I honed this, this process, this skill set. We worked with a ton of companies, a lot of for profits, some non profits along the way. I did social media, marketing, PR, events. I once did a wedding. I was like, take weddings off the website. I never want to do events. I’m not an event girl.

So I really learned what, what I was good at. And I really could see there were so many times where I was like, Ooh, why aren’t my nonprofit clients doing this? Ooh, here’s something that they could do. And they’re just stuck in like that, what I call a rear view thinking. Ultimately I closed that business, launched my consultancy.

And from there have been scaling up. 2020 was definitely an invitation for me to scale up in a way I was used to teaching large groups, but they were large groups in Atlanta. And it was like, so I really scaled up and now work with organizations all over the [00:22:00] world, which is so fun. So that’s kind of been my, my process.

I think the last time I was an employee was like. I, in, in college, uh, maybe, I don’t know, so I, you know, I come from a line of entrepreneurs. So that was modeled to me. It was just part of, it was very, very normal growing up. So I think that there was that piece. And I also think that, uh, I’ve always been very fast and I can see the forest through the trees and I’m like, put that there, put this there.

And I now think. That I’m too much of a wild horse to like, wait and go through the slowness sometimes of a large company. And I love being the outsider looking in going, this is how you can make a hundred K in 30 days. Let’s go. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. So, um, yeah, that’s, that’s, I left out the part where I worked at a rock club for years and years and years.

It was so fun. And I will tell you that is how I came up with my influencer marketing method is working there. We would see low [00:23:00] ticket sales and we would call what was then guerrilla marketing a grassroots street team. And that is what I’ve adapted and teach and amplify social impact. So it’s, it’s like I took all these pieces which sound like they have nothing to do with anything, but they have, you know, everything to do with making money and getting visible.

Yeah. Oh 

Stephanie Skryzowski: my gosh. So I love that when you said like entrepreneurship is in your family and so that like risk to work for yourself, it did that ever feel like a risk to you or it was like, Oh, this is just what we 

Christina Edwards: do. I think that I, you know, and one of, I need to have my dad on the podcast and just be like, cause one of the questions I want to ask him is like, do you realize how comfortable you are with risk?

Because he had. He had one business that did very, very well, but he also had some side businesses that didn’t, you know, he invested in a restaurant that closed. He did that, you know, and I think that him being very transparent with me through my childhood was very helpful [00:24:00] because his business, he was an antique dealer.

So it was like, it also had a scrappiness to it. Like it, it was just like, you know, it was very like. informal. And so I knew his best clients. I knew everybody that worked at the shop, like everything. And so it really helps me understand. I knew when he had a good auction, I knew when he had a bad auction, he, he was very transparent with me.

He told me one day, how much it costs to run the business per day, like his nut for the day. And hearing that was so eyeopening because there was way more zeros than I thought. And. And just operating the business to keep the lights on, right. To break even. And so I think that hearing that was really, really helpful, but I think he’s somebody that also was, and also too, like was very nimble and very much figured it out.

And, um, that was modeled to me and my grandfather, my mother, like all over. So I think that helped. I don’t know if that answered your question. But 

Stephanie Skryzowski: yeah, well, it totally did because I feel like my journey as a [00:25:00] young adult was like very much the opposite. It was like you go to college, you get the job that has the 401k, you sit your butt in an office chair from nine to five Monday through Friday, and that’s what you do.

Like, that’s what you do. And so when I started my business coming up on almost. 10 years ago out of college, like for a long time at that point. So I like knew what I was doing. It wasn’t, I didn’t feel like it was a risk at all, but I would imagine that if I had done that, you know, a decade prior when I got out of school, it would have been like, Oh, what are you doing?

So do you see, um. You know, I don’t know if this is, I don’t know if you’re able to generalize, but the people that the nonprofit leaders and the social impact entrepreneurs that you’re working with that are coming through your programs, are you finding that they do have some tolerance for risk and the things that they’re doing?

Or, or is it like, are we sort of following the, you know, this nonprofit path that’s been like laid for us and we’re just doing what we’ve always 

Christina Edwards: done. That’s interesting. I think there’s a couple of different things. I’m thinking of the person who comes to my program who’s [00:26:00] like maybe a little bit woo, like he or she has done a bit of self development work.

Like, you know, maybe they’re, they’re just into a little bit of that. Like maybe they’re listening to Glennon Doyle’s podcast or something like that. Right. So, and they’re just like, they’re starting to make the connections with how their nervous system feels fundraising, how they feel marketing, how they feel leading.

And so maybe That’s how they’re attracted to me. Then maybe there’s another person who I’m almost thinking of the person who’s like on the edge of burnout, throwing their hands in the air going, what gives? What gives? Like, I’m so tired, and this isn’t working, and we’ve tried this, and I don’t know, um, I don’t know how long I want to be doing, like, almost like that frustration, like, I get that frustration, who’s like, interested, they’re like, okay, what Christina’s saying is intriguing, she’s saying that, one of the things I often say is, you don’t need more donors, they’re already in your world, they’re already sitting on your list, Like there are hundreds of [00:27:00] thousands of dollars you have not tapped into on your list.

So I think they’re like, okay, that’s an interesting theory and I feel burnt out, show me. And so there’s this like, sometimes too, it’s almost like in a, in a low, you’re willing and you’re open to something new and different. So I think there’s that person as well. And then maybe there’s a third person. I’m thinking of an ED that I’ve worked with for a really long time and he’s just.

He and I are very similar and he has an entrepreneurial quality to him. So he’s always, I’m like, I got an idea. He’s like, go run, go with it. Let’s go, let’s do it. So he has that hit the gas mentality. He also has a great relationship with his board where he is not going to his board for every minute, tiny thing.

And I definitely require that. I definitely require people who have a like. a willingness to lead and not go to their board for every tiny decision or every tiny expenditure. Mm 

Stephanie Skryzowski: hmm. Yeah. Do you think that nonprofit leaders, um, or the ones that you’re seeing most successful, do they need to have that [00:28:00] sort of entrepreneurial spirit in some way, shape, or form?

Is that kind of an essential quality to have? 

Christina Edwards: I think it helps, but I also want to honor that it can be cultivated. So if it’s not naturally in you, totally fine. It’s fine. We can, we can like build that muscle for sure. Um, I think that many people are tired of the long cultivation cycle for donors. I know I am.

And the long, oh, we have to do this, we have to do this. And it’s like, what if there’s just a faster way to do it? I’m somebody who, I don’t want you to make, like, I don’t want to go have a coffee meeting and then call me and then, like, what do you need? What do you need? You know what I mean? Like I don’t know.

I’m very like, I think my Facebook, um, my Facebook profile for back when I made it, and it probably still says it, is Bottom Line Me. Like, Bottom Line Me. Like, I want to scam. I don’t want to, and so it’s like, what if you start thinking about all the people in your world who, like, actually want to help, but fast track it there.

So we can build up that, like, entrepreneurial, creative, [00:29:00] daring, courageous muscle. It’s buildable. And if, if you’re an entrepreneur, it will have already kind of been built because you’ve already been putting yourself out there before. And so, yeah. Yeah. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: I love that. Like who really wants to have that coffee meeting anyway?

Like probably half the people don’t want to have it, but it’s like what 

Christina Edwards: you do. That’s right. I’m thinking about, and I know this, innately because I had the agency. And what would happen is I would have ad reps. So like, you know, media publications be like, Hey, Christina, can I take you to coffee? I’m like, I don’t want to go to, like, tell me the deal or, like, you know, hey, our ad rates have changed for the, or, like, what, it’s just, like, go ahead and tell me, like, how do we get this faster?

And it’s not for lack of, of caring or anything like that, it’s just, like, I know what you need, so let’s just get to that. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: It’s like, yeah, well, yeah. And it’s like, you know, you get where they’re coming. Okay. They’re trying to build a relationship. Great. Like, are there other ways that we can do this in a way that feels much better to everyone?

[00:30:00] So yeah, I love that. 

Christina Edwards: Scalable. Coffee meetings are not scalable. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: No, no, not at all. I mean, yeah, it’s, you know, 40 minutes for coffee plus the 15 minutes there and the 15 minutes back and the, you know, then 20 minutes on either side to get back into your work again. Like, no, that’s a lot of time.

Hey there, amazing listeners. I hope you’re enjoying another fantastic episode of the Prosperous Nonprofit. Before we dive back in, I have a quick favor to ask. That’s right. If you are getting value, knowledge, encouragement, or even just good vibes from our show, please share the Prosperous Nonprofit with a friend or colleague who you think would love it as much as you do.

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Well, one thing that, you know, then I know you’re into is like breaking all of the nonprofit rules. Um, and I say nonprofit rules in air quotes, because like we’re talking about, there’s just ways that like, people have always done things and you seem like you’re a rule breaker. So talk to me about some of maybe a couple of the quote unquote rules that you’re like, yeah, these shouldn’t be rules anymore.

And here’s how we’re breaking them. 

Christina Edwards: Okay, a couple ones. I want to talk about overhead, but first I will talk about social media. One of the things that non profits were like slow going, and now we’re here, is like they’re on social media, they’re doing the things, they’re posting, they’re creating the content, they’re doing the reels and all the things.

And I actually want you to like, Turn your entire social media strategy on its head. And I really don’t want nonprofits to spend a lot of time doing any of that. Instead, I want their social media strategy. So I want 80 percent of their social media strategy to be relationship building with their street [00:32:00] team so that they are doing that on their behalf.

Right. So you’re getting outside of, it’s like me sitting in my office and my house talking about my work, right? No. What if I actually go out and talk to my community and have my community members and my friends, and I go. You know, collaborate with them. So I want them to stop spending so much time creating their own content on their own networks and start creating relationships.

To kind of diffuse that out. So that’s one piece. The other piece is the email piece. So those are the marketing ones, is I want nonprofits to send weekly emails, period, full stop. And I don’t want them to be boring and I don’t want them to be those, like, long content blocks that read, like, an old newspaper.

I want them to actually give me a peek behind the curtain. I want to know the people writing it. I want them to make calls to action unapologetically. Do not stick that donate button at the bottom footer of the page and be like, see, I asked Christina, no one donated. I want you to actually send an email often to soliciting donations and do it in a way that’s really compelling and [00:33:00] still tells a great story.

But is unapologetic in asking for funding or asking for any sort of social action. So it could be, you know, sign up, volunteer, join, something like that. Overhead piece, I think, is the piece that gets a lot of non profits stuck in the, in the hamster wheel of revenue plateaus. stuck in the rearview mirror thinking because they literally are like can’t get out of it because they’re just stuck on their own like this is what we spend on this and so therefore we can’t spend more on professional development or anything like that or hiring support.

One of the pieces is I never want organizations to tout their low overhead. Oh my gosh. You know, our, our, you know, uh, right. Our good news, our overhead is the tiniest piece of the pie. On our annual report, it’s 3%. I’m like, do you know what you’re also saying? Great news, Christina. We pay our staff at poverty [00:34:00] level.

They’re barely ate, making ends meet, meet, and you know what? The people who are in junior positions are, are more, uh, newer account coordinators and so on, development coordinators. The churn we’re seeing in this position is amazing. It’s so many people are paid so little. They’re overworked that they keep leaving and we keep hiring new people, which costs us more money, but look how little we’re spending.

I’m like, that is what you’re saying. That is what you’re saying. And I also don’t want it to be, you know, like a seesaw where you’re like, okay, well, our ed gets paid really well. And then everybody else is like a volunteer and intern or, you know, making 30, 000 a year. So I want us to just like even set and go, okay, if all of these for profits are making, I mean, it cracks me up what you can make.

Starting an Amazon business selling succulents. This is a true story of somebody I know who’s doing over a million dollars a year. Oh my gosh. Just taught herself. [00:35:00] And she’s not a unicorn, right? There’s so many ways you can make money online, but you have to be willing to go, okay, let me put myself out there.

Let me figure this out. Let me invest. And it’s like, I just want us to realize that nonprofits can Reeducate, recalibrate the way that that funding comes in, prioritize online, invest in the tech to prioritize online. Again, I had another person come to me and say, you know, our donor was really mad about the fee to make an online donation.

So if you’ve ever used any I mean, there’s so many. Where they say, would you like to cover the cost of the donation? So, donor tries to make a thousand dollar donation, and there, there’s processing fees, and there’s like a checkbox. And that donor was like, how, oh, that’s, that is too much, right? That’s too much.

And I was like, well, you know, they can uncheck the box. And they were like, but on a principle, we’re mad that that’s how much your donation tool costs, right? So, on a [00:36:00] principle, they were mad about that. And I was like, do you know how much opportunity You missed on letting them know that that donation tool has a higher conversion rate and literally brings in more funding for your programs and services and also saves you the back end admin time, which I have seen it is a killer.

for them to piecemeal these thank you notes or piecemeal because nothing’s automated with the cheap one. I’m like, don’t be a race to the bottom. Like don’t race to the bottom to have the cheapest tool to pay your employees the cheapest to tout that everybody’s a volunteer and underpay like, what are we doing?

So investing in people and realizing that you can Spend money and actually grow your organization and grow your impact. Like that is my thesis. It works, but it does require you to have some uncomfortable conversations. Cause there are going to be times I would imagine like that one ed dealt with where somebody is going to say, Hey, you’re, I was told your overhead supposed to be this percentage.

And then you’re like, let me educate you for a [00:37:00] second. We’ve had 14 development coordinators come in and out the door in five years. Right. You know, you’re like. Here’s the cost that that actually costs. Like, do you Mm-Hmm, , how do you feel about that? Or, you know, so and so is barely making ends meet and can’t afford childcare on herself.

Like, like, this stuff matters. And I, it’s like, is your mission perpetuating what it is trying to like actually end, right? So if you work in any sort of poverty, if you work in any sort of, anything of food access, it’s like, how are we, are, are we helping or hurting in this overhead thing? So I can talk about that all day.

Stephanie Skryzowski: Oh my gosh. Well, me too, obviously in the finance space and people always ask me, what should my overhead be? What should our admin expenses be? I’m like, I’m not here to tell you what it should be, but like you, I’m like, the goal is not to get it as low as possible. And I have worked for organizations where that is the case.

And, you know, I couldn’t buy a new. Laptop and like every [00:38:00] time I would lift my laptop up the battery, this is like a long time ago, but the battery would drop out of the bottom of the laptop. So I had to duct tape together and I’m like, is this really, is this real life right now? Like we can’t, but our overhead is 4%.

Christina Edwards: So go us. That’s right. Go us. Right. I don’t, a laptop, it takes me an hour and a half to process one donation. But our donation tool’s free. Christina, it’s free. Like. Right. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah. And well, I think like, I think it’s interesting is like in a way there’s many nonprofits that like you said, are perpetuating the conversation because we’re still saying our overhead is so low and we’re still focusing on these outdated metrics that should not be a metric of a measure of success whatsoever.

So we’re continuing to perpetuate it by having these conversations, but an opportunity would be. Hey. How about we use those weekly emails that we’re sending? Cause Christina told us to, to talk about some other things and to change the conversation and to shift. And, you know, maybe we’re talking about like, Hey, this is what, you know, look at our [00:39:00] staff that we’re paying for and the amazing work that they can do, or I don’t know, there’s, I’m not a marketing person.


Christina Edwards: but it’s like, we’re innovating, like, how do we innovate? How do we bring in talent? How do we bring in people who are great storytellers, who are great with CRMs, who are great at scaling up? Well, they don’t want to make 30, 000 a year when they can make quadruple that in the for profit industry. And I guess my going back to the second thing is like my idea, my thesis here is that you can pay people well, you can pay them a better salary and it will make your organization more money.

But it does require. That leap, it does require like the leap. And then it, what it requires is educating. There’s going to be a part of your board. That’s like, ah, you know, can we do this? And then the one or two or three PO donors who, who are used to stereotypical imagery, stereotypical language, and perpetuating this myth of overhead and just being like, okay, well, Mr.

Or Mrs. Donor. Here, let me like take you to [00:40:00] school for just a second and you know, having your pitch ready to educate them and I would, I would bet they care about your cause and ultimately if they’re donating, let’s say they’re donating 50, 000 a year and they’re like, your overhead is crazy, we’re concerned, educating them that that 50 to help support your operations, how that actually helps Scale your operations.

Like you and them want the same thing. I don’t want just the, the person who’s going to be like, I’m dipping into this job because that’s the only job that I could get and I’ll be out of here. As soon as I can get a job that’ll pay me more, I don’t want that person. I want to retain talent. Yeah, 

Stephanie Skryzowski: exactly.

And you know, I, going back to the first thing you said on social media, I was listening to one of your podcast episodes. It was an interview with somebody about community. And I feel like, I think it was kind of a recent one. 

Christina Edwards: Was it Carrie Melissa Jones? Was it community building? She’s great. Yeah. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yes. Yes.

Yeah. Well, and I just thought like what you guys were talking about was so [00:41:00] interesting around, um, instead of, you know, nonprofits on social media, just sitting here talking about ourselves, Yeah. Here’s what we’re doing. Let’s have a whole bunch of other people like these influencers, like you’re talking about, be talking about us because you were saying on the show, it’s like, when you want to get a referral for a doctor, like, are you going to your health insurance website and getting the list of like all the doctors in your network?

No, you’re asking your like mom, friends who also need, you 

Christina Edwards: know, who have a good pediatrician. That’s right. Literally. That’s how we got our pediatrician, our dentist. Like all of the doctors, I could go to Google and say, what charity should I donate to? But I’m not, I’m going to go, Oh, my friend Muriel shared this fundraiser.

I trust her. I know I can trust her. I had no idea that this. Organization exists. This is cool. I’m in. And if you don’t add friction and I can make that donation for my couch, you got me. Now, if you add friction and it’s this long form and I got to get my wallet and maybe you lost me. So it’s like, those [00:42:00] are the pieces, right?


Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah. I think that’s huge. And that does feel like in some ways it feels organic. And in other ways it feels like it actually is scalable. Would you say that approach? It is it like sort of, you know, pounding the pavement, very organic, or is it scalable? 

Christina Edwards: The idea of influencers and street teamers and all that?

Yeah. Yeah. It’s the most scalable strategy ever. So the way that I teach it, the way that my clients have done it, they, I’m like, start your beta street team, start with three people, start with five people. And it is insane what you can do with five people. Like I’m talking five X year over year fundraisers, like with five people.

Wow. And then. Drop in more. So I have another client who right out of the gate, she got a YouTuber with a million followers, like, but this wasn’t a random YouTuber. There was a distinct alignment, right? And the other pieces, just like donor churn, we don’t want ambassador and street team or churn. So we want to keep those people.

So it compounds year over [00:43:00] year. So imagine your beta street team starts out with five people and next year, there’s 50 on it. And next year after that, there’s a hundred people. And to, to the point with the community building piece. And they feel seen. They actually feel like they’re making a difference.

Like what a beautiful way to scale up. I’m imagining like that, just scaling up the revenue just coming from that. It’s like the thing that everybody’s chasing with the monthly giving program. Have that. But also have this street team rocking and rolling and building year over year. And you’re going to see a lot more zeros.

And it’s very easy. It’s a very easy concept. It’s not something that you run year round. You just, I teach it where you’re running campaigns a couple times a year. So your street team does not feel like board work. They’re just dipping in and out to help you when you need help. They’re like, put me in coach.

Mm. Yeah. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Mm-Hmm. . So you have a street team and they’re tapping in at certain campaign That’s right. Periods throughout the year. That’s right. Gotcha. Yep. Okay. That’s awesome. Do you have a course 

Christina Edwards: on this? Yeah, that’s Amplify Social Impact and the Purpose and Profit [00:44:00] Club. That’s what we do in there. So they get access to the course and then they go, this is what happens every time.

They’re like, okay, but I work in food insecurity in this tiny town. Where do I get my street teamers? I’m like, come on. I got you. Mm hmm. Yeah. Mm hmm. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah. I think that’s huge. And when we’re talking about relationship building, I mean, that’s an avenue that you can go instead of like, okay, let me have coffee with a bunch of, you know, rich people in my town.

Maybe this is, this is a strategy that we probably haven’t tried yet that needs to be tapped. And I would imagine that this doesn’t really cost very much, if anything, 

Christina Edwards: for nonprofits. 0. 0. 0. 0. I’m glad you said that. So we are not paying influencers to post like an ad. So like about, you know, this mascara, we are collaborating, we are partnering with them and we’re asking them to be a part of your community.

And so it is not a taking, it is a mutual, like there is a reciprocity to it. So you need to find people who have a, uh, have a tie to your cause or [00:45:00] an interest in your cause. Many creators. Want to give back, especially our Gen Z, like they are, there are young philanthropists, so they may have hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram or YouTube or wherever, and they’re, you know, posting videos.

I’m thinking about the one my son watches, and it’s just like, you know, they’re doing all these crazy. Uh, obstacle course. He loves Mr. Beast too. Yes, yeah. But it’s like, they also, but I, I’m pretty sure Mr. Beast actually has some charitable components too. But they actually want to use their platforms for good.

Many, many, many of them are like, and my favorite thing. So my, my now, uh, sister in law, so my like cousins, my cousin’s new wife, she has hundreds of thousands of followers. And I’m like, does anyone ever pitch you from nonprofits? And she’s like, one time. They never get pitched. Wow. And she’s like, she cares.

So she has the biggest heart. She cares all like, give her a call, she cares. And then the one time that she got pitched, she [00:46:00] was like, yes, she was a heck yes. She helped them with a fundraiser they were on. And I was like, what’d they do after? She’s like, nothing. They said, thank you. Oh. I was like, oh, they did the one and done.

You know, they didn’t retain her. Yeah. So, you know, there’s a nuance to it to scaling it up, but once you get it, it’s, it’s such a, it’s such an untapped. Revenue source. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: That is brilliant. I feel like I saw, you know, I think a while ago, was it pencils of promise that had like Justin Bieber or somebody like a big celebrity back in the day, or people would like give their birthdays.

I feel like there was a big. Like a big pop in that. And then I feel like I don’t see that. I don’t like you’re saying, you know, this person has hundreds of thousands of followers and nobody’s, nobody’s asking 

Christina Edwards: her to collaborate. And here’s the best part is the nuances is we don’t need Justin. We don’t need Drake.

We don’t need Beyonce. They’d be cool. But actually you’ll see a higher ROI with a more micro or a more targeted. Influencer, anyway, [00:47:00] that like you and I aren’t, not a mystery, that we’re not, isn’t a household name, that’s where you’re really gonna see people go, like, for example, um, uh, an interior designer I follow, like something niche enough, but she’s got hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, right?

It can be like that piece. Yeah. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Mm hmm. That’s brilliant. I hope that all of our listeners are, like, I hope the wheels are turning 

Christina Edwards: here because we should link. So I have a masterclass on that. If you’re like, all right, tell me more. What is it? Let me tell you. It’s splendidcourses. com forward slash free training that will tell you about that piece.

If you want to see some ideas and inaction. Yeah. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: I think this is incredible because it doesn’t cost anything. It can amplify your impact without like doing Facebook ads and it’s actually taking the social media stuff that you’re probably already paying for and doing and probably not getting a return on and actually going to do something.

Cause we’re, 

Christina Edwards: what are we doing? We’re like, literally we’re like ditching the algorithm. We’re [00:48:00] like going out the back door where the algorithm’s like, great, well, we’re going to serve your post to like four people today. And it’s like, not with our street team. Yeah. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah. That’s so good. So good. Okay. I feel like I have a million more questions, but okay.

More emails. I was right. I was writing down when you were like, okay, the three things when we’re talking about breaking all the nonprofit rules, more emails, how many emails are nonprofits sending right now? Do you think like the ones that you work with, how many emails are 

Christina Edwards: they sending? Well, I would say the ones that.

Come to my world I would say between once a month and once a quarter or once every other month that’s something like that or completely and and it’s like no judgment or they’re like when I can and sometimes it’s like four times a year or six times a year or it’s like Not a lot. And then I send five in December.

So I would say I see that. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: That is so interesting because as entrepreneurs and, you know, as, as someone who follows all the online marketing, who were, it was all the people, they’re [00:49:00] like more emails, more emails. And so I’m like, okay, we’re sending, we’re not even sending, I mean, we’re sending like one to two emails a week.

And that feels like. Perfect. Doable for us. Yeah. Um, but like, I mean, there are some marketers out there that’d be like, you need to be sending like three or four emails a week. I mean, 

Christina Edwards: the truth is every time you send an email, you can make money. It’s an opportunity to make money like it is. Mm-Hmm. . And I think what we think is every time I send an email as an opportunity for somebody to get pissed off and unsubscribe.

That is our primary thought and no wonder that informs people sending or the other thought I think nonprofits think is Emails are for program updates And so I’ll just send a program update once a quarter once a month and that’s the purpose of the email I’m like no no no no no Email saves you from driving across town for that meeting.

Like, the email, the way I teach email literally has turned into people getting, major donors asking them for a meeting. Hey, can we, can we [00:50:00] talk? Like, that’s what you want. You want a reply rate, a response rate where people are like, I had no idea. Can we, when are you free? That’s what an email can do. An email can raise you hundreds of thousands of dollars, but you do have to send it and you can’t make it boring.

Like those are the two things. So you can’t do the thing again where you’re like, Christina, I’m totally sending weekly and nothing’s happening. I’m like, okay, well, let me look at it. Like, did I fall asleep? Was it so long? Did you bury the ass? Are there just content blocks? Is it, is it not accessible? Is it, um, hard for me to figure out what you’re trying to say?

Like those types of pieces. Like I actually want, people want the real, real. The emails that I read and I’m excited to read are where somebody’s telling me like a funny story or somebody’s telling me a vulnerable moment. Like, you know, I, we literally vacuumed My son’s first tooth, like it’s gone. The tooth fairy did not come, totally messed up.

That’s an email. And you’re like, what does that have to do with anything? But there’s a handshake that can happen between a story and your [00:51:00] call to action where you, you, yeah, you’re nodding. Cause you’re like, yeah, you know this. And it’s like, there’s so much opportunity for the nonprofit world to like, have some fun with it.

And, and my EDs that are, and I have some marketers too, who are doing this now. And it’s so fun to be like, yeah, no more boring emails. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah, what are some of the best calls to action that you either recommend or see organizations using? Obviously, you know, donate, but are there others that are, um, that have good conversion?

Christina Edwards: I think a couple of things as long, the more specific, the better. So if you can like. Say it more brandedly, right, like then donate, give, join our community, like, what’s the name of your community? What, why should they join? Um, today, now, those types of things can be help, helpful for urgency, but the biggest one that I would see is what I would call above the fold.

So before I actually start scrolling, give me a link. Okay, like, so don’t put it just at the bottom or in the last, you know, 50 percent of [00:52:00] the email content. So if you can put it up higher and then put it later too, so we want both. Which again is bringing up people’s discomfort and why coaching exists.

They’re like, that’s a lot of links, Christina. I’m like, it is a lot of links. Let’s just, it’s okay to feel a little uncomfortable at first. The amount of students that have come to me that said some flavor of like, I felt uncomfortable, or I wasn’t sure at first, like I just had, um, Wendy Faust Live Like Lou, she, I mean, she’s just killed it with her email list.

And she’s like, we weren’t sure about the 3X their frequency, and their open rate went up. Like, it never occurs to us, we always just think like, oh, this is gonna, everyone’s gonna be, you know, and she’s like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. Yeah. And get her engagement. People now, now are more, it’s more top of mind.

ALS is more top of mind because she’s spending more instead of like, you know, you know, once a quarter or something like that. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Yeah. Oh, that’s so good. Yeah. I like that advice to have the button above the fold because a lot of times it’s like, Oh, [00:53:00] actually I’ve been meaning to donate to them. I don’t even need to read this email.

Let me just hit the button and you know, go donate and move on with my day. Yeah. Yes. Totally. So good. Oh my gosh. Um, okay. I feel like we could keep going, but I think we need to wrap it up. So the one question I ask all of our guests is what does a prosperous non profit look like to you? 

Christina Edwards: Well, I think we’ve start, we’ve definitely talked about it today.

It is one that the staff is paid well, and the staff is Not only paid well, but I, like the idea of well rested or something is coming up to me. So it’s like work hard, play hard, like they have, they are so dedicated. They’re in this field for a reason, just like you and I are like, they’re so passionate about the work they’re doing and they have a personal life and they don’t feel.

Uncomfortable asking for time off or vacations like there’s this camaraderie and this understanding to the work that they do and [00:54:00] they have a professional development budget and they are just able to see their tangible impact because the people who choose this have such passionate heart driven, you know, purpose behind what they do and a prosperous nonprofit is, is one where not only Um, Yeah.

Are the clients receiving services treated well, but the staff is treated well, the volunteers are treated well, the community members are treated well, the email subscribers, the social media followers, whereas instead of it talking at them, we have to get your money, we have to get it. It’s this reciprocal loving relationship and if you think about any membership you’re in like it could be a community membership, a gym membership, anything like that, the ones that you’ve kept, I’m thinking about my Tuesday night ceramics class, like those types, those are all communities where you’re like, this is a two way, I give them money, they give me everything, it’s the best, right?

And that’s a, [00:55:00] that’s a prosperous nonprofit. I love 

Stephanie Skryzowski: that. Oh, all of that was, was so good. Oh, I could, I could keep going. I guess we could, we could, um, okay. Tell us all the ways to find you and we’ll obviously put the links in the show notes, but tell us again, the free training that you have to start. 

Christina Edwards: So if you’re interested in the influencer piece, go to splendidcourses.

com forward slash free training. Go to splendidcourses. com forward slash email. If you want to learn about email marketing, that’s there. And come hang out with me on the Purpose and Profit Club podcast. That’s where you’ll, you’ll get lots more of this and you can come, um, learn more about my work.

Stephanie Skryzowski: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. Thank you so much for chatting with me, Christina. I really appreciate it. Um, and this was such a good conversation. I have so many ideas now. 

Christina Edwards: Thank you so much. You ask great questions. So this has been so great. Yes. All right. We’ll talk to you soon. 

Stephanie Skryzowski: Before you go, [00:56:00] I just want to thank you for being here to access our show notes and bonus content.

Visit 100degreespodcast. com that’s 100degreespodcast. com and I’ll see you next time.