This episode offers a featured conversation with Dr. Jeff Thompson, a pediatrician, author, sought-after speaker, and CEO Emeritus of Gundersen Health System in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Dr. Thompson is author of the recently published book Lead True and his perspective shines throughout the book: when others are afraid of the risk, the timing, or the possible failure, true leaders step forward to meet a need.
As most listeners know, healthcare systems often represent the largest, most complex nonprofit organizations – perhaps second only to colleges and universities.
During his successful CEO tenure at Gundersen, Dr. Thompson not only improved health outcomes but also used hospital resources to serve as a catalyst for rebuilding the surrounding community, helped patients die with dignity (even though it wasn’t in the organization’s financial best interest), and become a green organization while dramatically curtailing the rising cost of providing healthcare.
And he did all this while protecting the financial well-being of hospital employees, patients, and the community. True to his ethos, Dr. Thompson is donating his proceeds from this book to the Gundersen Foundation Leadership Development Fund!
A few time-stamped highlights from our conversation included:
(4:11) The difference between respect for employees and reverence for employees
(6:10) How to maintain a sense of reverence when your organization’s financial position is weak and strained
(9:58) How to convince your board to support long-term growth strategies during crisis
(14:15) How to deal with staff who are going to war with each other instead of working together to achieve the mission
(17:03) The importance of quickly addressing behavior and performance issues with upper management.
(18:20) Using HR to stop be a people-buildter instead of a rules police.
(18:38) The importance of leaders being responsible for their team members’ success (and that being more important that simply holding people accountable)
(21:10) How to challenge the employee who’s performance is “just good enough” but is cruising along at 80% of their potential.
(24:20) Why leaders need “durability” in order to succeed
(28:03) How leaders can make better decisions during times of great difficulty
(31:20) A real life example of “making the right decision” even though it would decrease revenue
(42:09) Why your nonprofit organization should consider taking your fund balance out of savings to invest in green initiatives, local businesses, and partner nonprofits.
(48:43) The value of “learning journeys” to educate and build your board.
From the moment we get up in the morning until our eyes close at night, we are bombarded with marketing messages. Today we get marketing messages through our phone’s apps, online, via email, on the radio, on tv, and through the old fashioned postal mail.
Is it any wonder that traditional marketing messages aren’t working? After all, we have to cut through a very cluttered marketing environment in order to reach our nonprofit’s prospective volunteers, advocates, and donors.
This is why many nonprofits are turning to a content marketing approach that creates and distributes content that is relevant and valuable to our target audience. To help explore content marketing for your nonprofit, we spoke with Robert McGuire. Robert has decades of experience in journalism and marketing, and his firm McGuire Editorial is a recognized leader in content marketing.
Our conversation covered a lot, including:
About Successful Nonprofits Host Dolph Ward Goldenburg
I’ve been thinking a lot about stories lately after reading an incredible book titled: The Story Telling Nonprofit by Vanessa Chase Lockshin. This is a practical guide to telling stories that raise money and awareness, and the Amazon reviews for this book are incredible.
Readers said things like:
I found the book useful, and felt strongly that the principles Vanessa lays out in the book can be used whether you are in the nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors.
Our conversation with Vanessa Chase Lockshin includes:
And more! Be certain to download this episode and start writing more compelling stories for your nonprofit!
Link to purchase her book The Story Telling Nonprofit (click book cover):
Contact information for Vanessa Chase Lockshin:
About Successful Nonprofits Host Dolph Ward Goldenburg
It’s the week after Thanksgiving for the podcast listeners in America, and you know what that means. Christmas trees, menorahs, stockings, and dreidels seem to be everywhere. The malls are full of shoppers, charities are sending their holiday fundraising appeals, and media outlets everywhere are looking for those heartwarming holiday stories.
We’ll soon see lots of newspaper, magazine, and television features about lives changed for the better. Each of these stories will directly or indirectly highlight the work of nonprofit organizations, and almost all of them will have been pitched by a nonprofit.
Every year, board members and executive directors wonder “how can we get our good work in the New York Times, the Wiregrass Gazette, or the Portland Tribune?“
To help you solve this puzzle, we invited media strategist Peter Panepento to join us. Peter is the principal at Panepento Strategies, a full-service content, digital, and social-media strategy consultancy serving many prominent nonprofit clients: Guidestar, National Center for Family Philanthropy, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Before launching the practice, Peter spent more than a decade covering the nonprofit and foundation world at The Chronicle of Philanthropy — first as a contributing writer and most recently as the editor who managed its online and social media presence, as well as its research and data projects, webinars and new products.
Peter shared the steps for successfully garnering media attention this holiday season, including how to:
With the valuable information Peter shared, your organization can pitch its own heart-warming holiday story to the local media. Peter noted it’s not too late to get holiday media coverage, but you’ll need to act quickly to make the holiday news cycle.
Peter Panepeto’s Contact Information:
Links mentioned in the show:
We spoke with nonprofit consultant Eleanor Boyd this week about the first two stages of the nonprofit lifecycle: infancy and adolescence. We discussed not just the key characteristics of infant (or start-up) organizations, but also the strategic steps organizations can take to transform themselves into more stable adolescent organizations.
This is a "must listen" for any start up organization wanting to get to the next level.
Boyd also shared some excellent resources for small nonprofits who cannot afford to hire a consultant. Specifically, she recommended finding your statewide nonprofit association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and several additional online resources:
You can contact Eleanor Boyd at email@example.com.
When Bill Lutz started as the Executive Director of an outreach ministry called The New Path, he brought a strong management and leadership background to a traditional ministry. Within six months of accepting the position, he learned that he often did not learn about an issue until it was a “full fledged disaster or catastrophe mode.”
For this reason, he created and implemented a quarterly “Pulse Survey” to measure the three key organizational indicators:
The survey is sent every three months to staff, board, volunteers, partners, and other key constituents. Started in 2015, they have sent the survey for five quarters.
The first survey resulted in a strong response – noting both issues to work on and strengths to celebrate. During the first few quarters, the survey indicated low numbers on “strategy”. And this provided data to help the board understand the importance of allocating funds to hire a strategic planning consultant and completing a strategic planning process.
Our conversation also included:
Many of us (including this podcaster) started our nonprofit careers without thinking about a professional brand. But how we brand ourselves professionally shapes our career and our lives for years to come. In fact. every stage of a nonprofit professional’s career offers opportunities to brand yourself based on your competencies, core values, and vision.
To help us better understand how to brand ourselves, we spoke with Kristin Battista Frazee, who is truly a renaissance woman. Holding an MSW from Columbia University, she has been a geriatric social worker, legislative assistant at a Capitol Hill lobbying firm, published magazine and book author, marketing consultant, and personal branch coach for social and human service professionals.
Our Featured Conversation included how to
Kristin Battista-Frazee's Contact Information:
The case for support isn’t just a tool for capital campaigns. As fundraising expert Linda Lysakowski notes, the case for support is an essential tool that ensures consistency among all fundraising and marketing efforts.
Linda, who has trained over 30,000 fundraising professionals through her seminars and authored over a dozen books on the topic, shares her insight and expertise on developing and using the case for support.
A few highlights of the conversation included:
Search the archives
Browse archives by category