The pandemic hit the economy hard. Perhaps none harder than the nonprofit world. In fact, 1/3 of organizations faced financial jeopardy, says PBS.
Camille Nitschky and the Children’s Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region pivoted during the pandemic and increased fundraising by 27% despite the odds.
How’d they do it? Camille joins Accidental Fundraiser to discuss how her video strategy (and other creative fundraising ideas) led to the Grief Center’s best year yet and attracted interest both locally and nationally.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How to think outside the box for fundraising events & strategies
- Why you need a laser-focused mission to ultimately succeed in the nonprofit world
- How you can ask your donors for their time, talent, treasure and storytelling
Season 2 Episode 2 Transcript
Camille Nitschky: We always say we have time. Treasure. And tell, because at some point somebody’s going to tell you a story, or you’re going to know someone who experiences a death and they might have children. And so now you have something to offer them.
Kimberly: sometimes in fundraising, you have to step outside of your comfort zone, dive in and learn something new. I’m Kimberly O’Donnell. And this is Accidental Fundraiser, the show from Network for Good and Bonterra. Radically authentic stories from the trenches. Perhaps no industry was hit harder by the pandemic than the nonprofit world.
In fact, one third of organizations faced financial jeopardy at one time, or another says PBS, on the other hand, Camille Nitchsky and the Children’s Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region pivoted during the pandemic and increased their fundraising by more than 27%. How’d they do it. Camille joints, accidental fundraiser to discuss how her video strategy and other very creative fundraising ideas led to the grief center’s best year yet, and attracted interest both locally and nationally, a trained spiritual healer, Camille credits, or diverse skillset for connecting personally with our community and increasing donations.
Despite the odds, she sees it as a holistic world and it all just fits together. Thanks Camille, for joining us on accidental fundraiser day, I am really looking forward to the conversation and hearing about how your organization, the children’s grief center of the great lakes bay region navigated through COVID with the events that you were planning and your story of becoming.
Fantastic accidental fundraiser. Let’s start at the very beginning. How did you become involved with the children’s grief center of the great lakes bay?
Camille Nitschky: Thanks Kimberly. And it is great to be here in 2013, I had a flourishing massage practice. I actually believed in the concept that if you don’t do your emotional work, it’s going to come out either physically or mentally in your body.
So the whole premise of what we do at the grief center actually provides prevention in future problems. Kids are supported with their grief. A friend of mine who ran a hospice house, Tony and Trish house called me. And he said we were going to do a grief center for the last couple of years, and we’re not going to do it now.
And your face came to mind and I think you should do it. And he said that it was grief for kids. My dad and my sister had just died within a month apart. And I had a 13 year old and he said they used. And he also said it was based on like peer support models. So like cancer support groups or 12 step groups.
And I’ve always believed in the concept of somebody who has gone through something is the best person to help someone else go through it versus somebody that might not understand. He said it was based on the Douggie center and that’s a national organization out in Portland, Oregon. That’s been doing it for 35 years.
And so. I naively said, Hm, that sounds great. And I jumped in with both feet and within six months we had our 5 0 1 C3 status and, and I went out to Douggie center to get trained that following fall, we had our first groups in Midland and since then we’ve expanded to bay, city and Saginaw. We’re in a, um, a region with three big cities and a lot of small counties and we’re continuing to grow and thrive.
And it’s been an incredible experience.
Kimberly: If you could go back in time, what would you tell
Camille Nitschky: yourself? I came into this with heart and passion and having the. Wherewithal. Would’ve been like, oh, hookup with network for good or a platform way sooner than we did. It took us a few years. And for you guys to find us, we looked at a lot of different platforms and just the personable ness of, um, when we talk to people and the office hours that we were able to go in and learn stuff and work with other people that were having some of the same dreams that we had with our needs was phenomenal.
So I would have said. Right away from the get go find a platform that gives you a good stability to handle your donors and keep things confidential and have a means to follow up with all the paperwork and everything that you need. And thank you is everything that we’ve experienced with network for good has been for now.
Kimberly: And it is a transition, right? When you start out and you’re using Excel spreadsheets to track contacts and you’re tracking your donations and everything on it, and it is not secure. That is a very good point with that. And it also is not a great way to. Do what we call moves management, where you’re able to track and set up tasks to reach out to your donors, do follow ups, things like that.
So that transition to using fundraising software can be super valuable from a communication standpoint, planning standpoint, just organization standpoint.
Camille Nitschky: I’m part of a network, the national Alliance for grieving children. Uh, it’s an Alliance of 500 grief centers from around the country and Angela, Melvin down at Valerie’s place in Fort Myers.
Anytime I go visit another part of the country, I’m always like, Ooh, who’s here. And I go and visit their center. And she and I were talking and she started the year after us. And we talked that we were both using network for good. And she was like, don’t you love the graphs and the data that you can pull out of your information.
Yeah. I felt, wow. I’m not really utilizing that our whole program is based on peer support. So here’s one of my peers going, oh, wow. You got to try this. I realized how much we were. Underusing it. We were just using it for some, our basic needs and there’s so much more. And I still really think there’s probably some things that we aren’t using the best we can.
And I, I have heard there’s some changes coming up and I’m excited about that too.
Kimberly: Are you using the video tool for
Camille Nitschky: acknowledgment? We went from in-person fundraisers, COVID hit March 13th and we had a, a 400 plus in person fundraiser scheduled for April 15th. And what I love is that, so we have a couple other lap, bigger nonprofits in our area, and one of them has a big event before us and the other one has a big event after us.
And both of them canceled their events. And I think it’s probably cause we work in grief. You see people’s lives turned upside down in an. And so you’re constantly kind of pivoting and trying to figure out ways to handle and support a whole new landscape and same thing with us that happened. And it was like, okay, so how can we go virtual with this?
We just did everything and did it in an hour format, just like we would in person, but people watch it in a video. And so we were able to also promote it with network for good. And when we were like sending out notices and everything, we were able to put a little video on there that kind of gave them a snippet.
Got I’m excited about it. We actually had people calling us from around our community. Everybody just kind of froze during that time with good reason. We’re all kind of freaked out. But when we did it, they were like, well, how’d you do it? And so we were able to share some of the stuff that we used with never for good.
And we shared our video guy. He was, got really busy with everybody. We set up stuff remotely, cause you couldn’t come in contact with people. So we were doing videos with phones and. It was really, it was awesome. And, and the same thing with my Alliance, people were like, you guys still had your fundraiser, how’d you do that?
A lot of them followed suit. Once one person kind of breaks through the jungle, there’s a path. We did the same thing with our camp. We had a camp set up for June and again, we used all of our contacts and what we needed to do with network for good to send people the forms to have you got to fill out.
How old are you? Do you have any needs, different things and all the information and the surveys that we do with that. And that’s the one thing we use our network for good to be able to do that and contact people and have them finish up forums and get information. And so that was helpful when we did our camp a couple of months later.
Virtual again. And I don’t think without having network for good during that timeframe, we wouldn’t have been successful as we were usually for our fundraiser for that in-person event, we make like 35,030, 8,000. That’s big for us. But that year using it virtually with all the tools that we have with.
We’ve made $48,000. So not only did we exceed our goal, but we went past it every Friday. We were at the business hours. You guys have special times where we can come and go, how do we do this? And how we do that? And plus your team, like, and we had appointments and they like, okay, so you try this and do this and you can do this.
And they were amazing. And so part of that was that time we used the video tool and use that a lot with a lot of different things.
Kimberly: That is great. So you increased your fundraising by 27% by pivoting and just giving it a whirl. And is that a mindset? I love how you make the connection to grief where your life is thrown upside down instantly.
And so you have to adapt. Is that part of the culture at your organization to just get in there, give it a whirl. See what happens. Try and learn. Ask questions.
Camille Nitschky: Absolutely because we deal with grief and we see people and support people in those changes. We can have something happen in the office and it would probably derail most staff and we kinda take a break.
We rethink it, we reevaluate it. We say, okay, so now what are we going to do? And it might even be like, we show up cause we have two sessions. Locations. And so we have a closet with tubs of materials. It’s kind of like a Rite of passage for grief centers. You start out usually in a church, cause that’s usually who will offer you space for pro bono for free.
And so we just have to rethink it and it was like, okay, so let’s try this, let’s do this. So my staff is amazing when it comes to that. And I don’t think part of it is my characteristic. I’m not typing. It has everything in order. I have people around me that are that way, so it’s nice. We’re organized, but I’m also like, well, let’s rethink this.
Let’s do it. Let’s figure it out. Not everybody can be spontaneous and work on the fly. And I think that’s a skill that I bring because I have this faith in trusting the process. Since the very beginning, there’s been this thread of intention and my sister, my dad died and my mom died when I was in my thirties.
And I have this. Relationship with them still today that I see we had our race this week and my sister, the last thing she said to me was see me on Eagle’s wings and see me in the rainbows and the day of our race. Two weeks ago, somebody saw an Eagle, send me a picture of the ego. Look, your sister Kate’s here.
And at the end of the day, that day I got four pictures. People sent me photos of rainbows and said, look, it sounds crazy, but I have constantly been given signs along the way that we’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to. I push people and we take risks and we don’t have anything to lose. As long as our intention is, our heart is there for our mission and for our kids who are grieving.
And they’re the most important thing, no matter what it is, then it all works out. And I’ve always said, trust the process. We wrote it on the wall. In our first office, I almost had a tattoo on my. Because it’s the journey and you might not end out where you thought you were going to be, but if you’re mindful and your heart is in the right place, you can trust that where you end up is where you’re supposed to.
Kimberly: beautiful and so true. So true. We cannot plan our lives. We cannot plan for everything to go exactly as we want it to. And certainly COVID taught us that, but, but being a fundraiser and being a nonprofit leader teaches you that too. We have a lot of accidental fundraisers who have a lot of fear over asking for money going out and fundraising.
Did you ever have that fear and what did you do to get over?
Camille Nitschky: I never did. So I had this thriving massage practice as these people are coming in and, um, people in the community that I give massages to they’d be like, so what’s going on? Like, I’m thinking about starting this grief center, like, it sounds kind of crazy.
And they were like, well, what can I do to help? And I’m like in our first fund, Well, we have this fundraiser we’re going to do and there’s tables and they’re like 250 bucks. And if you want to sponsor our first fundraiser, we have like 18 tables, 10 people at a table. And probably 14 of those were my massage clients or people that I knew in the community.
And the thing is I’m not selling a pet rock. Our mission is recreate a human environment through peer support for children, teens, and their families grieving. It’s specific to death when this happens to a child or a young adult it’s in fathomable and most people are, it hasn’t been their experience. And so they’re like, how can I help?
You know? And sometimes the greatest thing you can do is offer a donation. Financial or your time. We always say that people’s time is the most important thing. There’s a local church and they always say the three T so you’ve got time, talent and treasure, and we’ve made these little heart pins. You can see one of my shirt, so this is our logo.
And so it’s a heart woven with strings. I had this vision of this heart and it had all these strings woven around it and it was like each string was. I made a S a heart for my sister. And then I made one for my dad and they were so different. And all I could imagine was like a wall where all these kids had done a heart and there was a thousand hearts and they all look completely different.
Cause everybody’s grief is different. There’s no right way to say, okay, this is how you do your grief. I mean, Elizabeth Kubler Ross had these great five little stages. She never intended them to go all in an order. However, there’s probably about 50 stages. We have. Heart. And I showed it to our board. I was on the board at the time and said, this could be our logo.
And the next thing you know, we had it as our logo. And then we had it as this little pin. So people wear these pins and they’re like, oh, I like your pin. Let me go to children’s grief center and tell them a story. I give them the pin and they’re like, oh, don’t give me your pin. I’m like, no, no, you know about us.
So you can tell about us. So we always say we have time, treasure talent. Because at some point, somebody’s going to tell you a story, or you’re going to know someone who experiences a death and they might have children. And so now you have something to offer them. We’ve become like a tool and a support place for people to send people to.
So in answering your question is like people stepped right up and we usually, it’s more about getting the word out about us. And that people then will support and, and donate. And that’s the other thing with what we’ve used with your platform. That’s been wonderful and being able to do that. So I’ve never had problem asking people for money to support this mission because it’s so meaningful.
And the other thing is there’s nothing in our area that does this. There’s about five or six grief centers around the state of Michigan. And I meet with them every two weeks. We don’t like hoard our ideas. It’s like, oh, so what’d you do? How’d that work? Well, did it like me talking with Angela about network for good.
When we talk about people say, well, what do you use and what do you use and what do you use? And I’m always an advocate for network for good, because there’s other platforms out there that do more, but they’re like, they are priced right out of what, what we need.
Kimberly: Right. And the goal is, as you grow your needs for fundraising, software will grow too.
And it’s okay. If you have to graduate to a more sophisticated platform, that’s a cause for celebration and all of us at network for good celebrate that we want to see organization. Thrive so much that they no longer need to use our software. They need something that’s much more robust. That’s a happy day.
That’s a graduation. Let’s talk a little bit about your fundraising approach. How many campaigns do you do a year? Do you do a couple of big campaigns? Are you mostly event driven? How does that all that. My very first
Camille Nitschky: one, we call it our hearts of hope luncheon. It was in Midland and our very first one, we had 180 people come and we raised like $25,000.
That was pretty good for a small little town. And so then when we grew to the next city, we had one in the fall. So Midlands was in the spring, sagging loss was in the fall. And then we did base cities in the winter. And so between the three of them, we raised about a hundred thousand dollars. And so that was our primary fundraisers.
So COVID. And we did all three of them virtually and we did really well. And then the next year it was like, okay, can we do them in person? Can we not do them in person? Are we going to set it all up and then get cut off? We were lucky in that first one, people weren’t sick as zoom yet. They were still like hot on Facebook and live and all that.
People were stuck in their homes. It was within three weeks of the pandemic. So we had a captive audience. So I really think that was the perfect storm. It wasn’t necessarily that we were that like phenomenal. Nobody else was doing anything. So that second year everybody was doing them. And I just thought, I can’t hold anybody hostage in front of a computer for an hour.
Again, I’m not doing it. So we thought, what can we do? I’m like, well, let’s have a race. So we had our first race in may of last year. And I have other people that in the area that have like their fifth year of doing a race and they raised like $10,000. And I’m just thinking, I need to like substitute for those three big luncheons and our first race.
Last year, we grossed over 60,000 and made. And so we just did it again recently and we did better. We had more runners. And so we’re still not at the a hundred thousand. So we’ll be doing a couple other smaller ones. The tricky thing with fundraising too, is that yes. Who you need to make the money, but you also, it’s never about the money.
It can’t be about the money. I know you got to survive and you got to pay for things. But if you get into that scarcity mindset and are just worried about the money all the time, You’re putting your foot on the hose and it’s not going to flow. Now. There’s going to be people listening to this and think, boy, she’s a dreamer.
She’s out there like Pluto, but it really is. My it’s been my mindset for a long time. I had a friend a long time ago and I was worried about money. She’s like Camille money just flows. And what ever since she said that I’ve always had enough, I’ve always had what I needed. I work really hard to have a good work ethic and I trust the process.
And so we’re in good standing. If I had to worry about my staff’s payroll or any of that, I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t sleep at night. And so I always make sure we have enough. We got enough to last for a year. And if something happens, we’ll figure out a new fundraiser to do something, to make more.
That’s what we do. We re navigate. We figure it out and we do it. And so we’ve had some wonderful donors come out of our fundraisers that didn’t even have a clue about. But they found out about us because of what we were doing and our mission and, and the run has been, it’s a lot of work, but man, it, it kinda does what we do.
Like it gives people a means to get outside, to get in nature. It’s very healing. We have Memorial signs of people, like specifically, like you could buy a Memorial sign of your person that died and it’s along the race. So we’ll have like runners that are all serious about running and they’ll like, realize this was really what it was.
Walking running along and seeing these people, it really just meant a lot to see what you do. And so I think any kind of fundraising, if you don’t have your. And if it’s all about making the money, that’s just kind of shallow and it’s not going to last. And if you are always putting your mission out there, then you’re always going to have enough because your intention and your motive is for whatever your mission is.
We have the best mission ever. We help kids. Who’ve had somebody close to them die. It’s not getting better. When I started this, it was one out of 20 kids in the nation would experience the death of a parent or a sibling. By the time they were 18. And now it’s one out of 12 in Michigan. So this need is not, it’s not going away.
People say to me, will you have the hard job you have? The hard work will here’s the money here’s. I mean, we have a wonderful organization, but we couldn’t do what we do without all of those people. There’s a award dinner in like a month and we were named nonprofit. Year for the heart of the city and Saginaw, you do what you do because it’s right to do it.
And it’s what you’re supposed to do. And you don’t even think about things like that. But then when you get an award like that, you realize that people are paying attention and they’re listening and they value what you do. And so it just makes you want to do it even more. It’s really. It’s
Kimberly: incredible work that you and your organization does.
It sounds like you have wonderful support around you and your community and by sponsors. And I love how you say don’t focus as much on the money being a fundraiser and a coach. I would, I would encourage our listeners to continuously fundraise. Don’t let it be a start. Type of thing, because then what you are doing is you’re putting your foot on the hose with fundraising, right?
Like whenever you’re, you’re only focused on fundraising once or twice a year, you’re missing that opportunity to link your mission and the great work that you’re doing with the outreach that you’re doing by hosting a race. Your friend raising as we call it, you’re creating new networks of people who can be put in contact with your organization for funding opportunities, but also for those service opportunities.
So I love how that event really ties together your and connects to your mission so well, and to the heart of what you do. Let’s talk a little bit about how you nurture relationships with your. Sponsors and supporters and your major gift donors. Do you have any major gift donors right now? What’s the largest gift that you’ve ever.
Camille Nitschky: We had a matching grant for a hundred thousand dollars for three years, and then we just reapplied. And so we’re doing a hundred thousand last year. This year, it’s 75,000. We’ve already met our match. And 50,000, our community is really blessed in that. We have a lot of wonderful foundations, Charles stroll, sacker foundation.
I get a grant from them to. Be able to provide books. So if somebody calls and says, grandpa died, I can send them books, the New York life foundation. So they give millions and millions to bereavement around the whole country. Recently, we had a $50,000 grant from them. We do also do school groups during the school year.
And so we’ll go in and do like a four week program with a counselor or a social worker at a school. If everybody actually. Came to us that needed us. We wouldn’t be able to support that. So this is a way to reach some kids that are in school. And so that was to also expand our school groups. And then also we do these good grief bags.
And so Midland, all souls has like the mid them big give the big gift, gave us money a few years ago and we did good grief bags and they went to all of the. Schools. And they have like 15 to 30 books in them that a counselor can lend out to a child. We have wonderful support from local organizations for a city, our size.
We’re really lucky to have the capacity that we have for people to support and to apply for grants. The military community foundation, we just were awarded $40,000 a year and a half ago to move into a new facility. It was kind of like a grief center right of passage. When you actually move into a rent, a facility,
Kimberly: Sometimes I’ll talk with organizations who are hesitant to ask their service recipients for donations.
What’s your thought on
Camille Nitschky: that? Sometimes I’ll get a donation from a family and I’m always like, oh man, you need to keep this for this or that or whatever. But your. Really by allowing them, or we don’t really encourage it as much. We don’t like, oh, we’d like you guys to donate to us. This is their center.
This is their grief center. And so we did a fundraiser one year. It was like, dear grandma, that I’m part of this grief center and this is what we’re doing. And we really like you to participate. And so they actually reached out to people that they knew. So it wasn’t necessarily them asking money for them.
It was too. Bring that like bridge to us and we’ve done that once or twice. And it, they liked doing it because it was like, this is from my grief center and I will talk to them and let them know. I’ll mention one of our donors or our organization. I know, look at these books, we got this from New York life foundation so that they also see that it just doesn’t fall out of the sky and that people care about them enough to give us money so that we can support.
And we buy nice quality art supplies so that they can use things. People donate and it’s wonderful, but we don’t have to buy things really cheap because sometimes we do. But when it comes to like have a nice markers or having good paint, or it’s just important. As an executive director doing this, you’re always dealing with people’s opinion about what you should do, and you try to put it out there to engage people’s opinions, especially if it’s a donor I’ll call and go, you know what?
This is what I’m thinking to do. What do you think? And they’re like, I love that idea. So that’s just important to me. I have relationships. With a lot of our donors, obviously, but we are also getting to the point where we’re growing, where we got a $16,000 anonymous donation last year. And I was like, I mean, that’s hard because I want to thank somebody.
And I’m like, oh my gosh, this is horrible. But at the same time, it just shows how much we’ve grown in. It. Isn’t just about the people that we know and people always think, oh, Camille, you’re the face of the grief center? Not anymore. In the beginning, I was, I was like pound on the street and telling everybody about it.
And I still do, but there’s a lot of people, a lot of connection to this center because of my volunteers, because of my staff, because of its mission. People sometimes. I’m like, how did you hear about it? And they’ll be like, they’ll name out five things. My pediatrician, my doctor, three other people, and I Googled it and I’m like, and I was in part of that equation.
So that feels really good because it doesn’t need me anymore. It’s like, I’m not part of that equation of is this of a success and that’s a good feeling. It really is. It feels like, okay, I’ve done good.
Kimberly: An amazing job. And that’s also like a graduation of knowing that you’re not just the face that the organization can stand on its own and has a long life with, or without you ahead of it.
Do you have a succession plan for your organization?
Camille Nitschky: In the near future, we are in the process that I’ve been kind of saying, we need to find somebody to replace me. I’m always going to be an advocate. And that is really it’s part of your sustainability. And so we are in the process of looking for my replacement.
And I’m going to go back to doing my little massage practice. I’m 62 years old and not ready to retire completely, but I miss listening to soft music and making people feel good. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also, and I say hard it’s just because my skillset, I came into this and you can say that about, just about any founder of anything.
They’re like, you know, this is probably a good idea. Let’s do this, but I’ll tell you right now. I know so much more. It has stretched me and. I’ve grown and I’m, I’m happy. And I’m just really grateful that even though it wasn’t like easy, that it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Kimberly: I saw you smiling just now as you were talking and I see a beautiful and very proud face as you think about this next transition and challenges that we’ve gone through through the pandemic.
And because of your deep understanding of grief and how the body holds tension, what advice can you give our listeners about the stress of being an ed or an accidental fundraiser, or just working in a nonprofit where you are. In a service area that’s heavy, quite frankly, that has the highs and the lows and, and some very real things that you address every day.
Certainly there’s some compassion, fatigue that people feel. What advice do you have for our listeners?
Camille Nitschky: Make sure that you have the ability to ask for help. Yes. I wear many hats, but I have learned right from the get-go that I know my weaknesses and I’m going to need an admin professional. My program director, Gavi McGuire is amazing and we continue to.
Learn. And I think that’s the other thing is don’t get stuck in just thinking, oh, this is the way it is. And just stay there. We’ve continued to take classes and do workshops and webinars and expand our knowledge than NAGC it’s. I mean, there’s webinars every week. That we can take with them. And we have interns, we had six interns last year.
We have interns every year and they challenge us because there are these new young, like hungry, how can I help people? And how can I do grief? I wish everybody could take our grief training because it basically teaches you how to lose. And not put your tweak on what somebody else should or shouldn’t do.
And grief is one of those things that everybody has an opinion like, oh my gosh, well, it’s been two years and she’s still sad about her husband died. And he was like, oh yeah. Or boy, she just got remarried. After three months, everybody has an opinion about what’s right or wrong for someone else. And you don’t know until you’re going through.
What’s going to be right for you and even with what’s right for you, that could change. And so really just like honoring people where they’re at, that’s one of our, part of our principles of that. Everybody has their own ability to heal and supporting them, allows them to do that. And we aren’t there to heal or fix people.
We just create that sacred space. And so trying to do that as well for yourself. Asking for help when you need it. Pausing, taking the time for your self care. Self care is such a buzzword, but it’s everything. I do a lot of things for myself. I continue to do my art journaling the times that I don’t, I can feel it and I can feel myself at work.
Being a little snippier. I’m not as happy. And so you can’t give to someone else if you don’t have it within yourself to give, so our board meetings, I do two, three minutes centering meditation because that’s what I do. And so, and I say our mission every time, because we’re going to be present for the kids that we serve and we’re going to use our skill of awareness.
And our reflective listening is if you got your little satchel of stuff, you’re carrying around, that is your stress. You’re not going to be good to anybody. So having that pause in that time. Oh, okay. I’m going to set this down. I’m going to be present for who I’m with right now. So that’s the thing I would say to anyone that’s doing any kind of nonprofit, is that make sure you take care of yourself, make sure you’re, cupful ask for help.
You can’t do it all. Find the experts in the community that can help you do what they need to do. I think the hardest thing from the last nine years is. Trying to educate the public on that your people are your most valuable resource and they’re going to serve your kids for right now. I’m just going to do the best I can and keep trying to educate people and, and serve our mission.
Cause that’s really what’s most.
Kimberly: Can we all, it has been a real pleasure to meet you and speak with you today. Um, what a beautiful conversation and what a great advice and incredible work that you’ve been doing. Thank you for living out your dream and your community’s dream. The work that your organization does is so important.
Thanks for, for that. And thank you for being a network for good customer. We truly appreciate your.
Camille Nitschky: Thank you. Kimberly was very comfortable talking with you. And then also thanks for doing stuff like this, because this is the human element to network for. Good. There’s just so much more than it just being a fundraising platform or a way to track our donors.
There’s a whole human element to you guys. If there wasn’t, we probably wouldn’t stick with ya. And I just see it continuing to grow and flourish. With the person that’s after me. It’s nice to have that confidence to be able to go. And this is what we use and you’re going to love.
Kimberly: Oh, that’s awesome. And kudos to you.
You’re you’re moving on the next couple of years. I’ll be surprised as you were sharing that, I was like, wow, we didn’t know. We didn’t go down that, but that sounds like a wonderful transition and lots of excitement in front of you. Here’s some key takeaways from today. Podcast one how to think outside the box for fundraising events and strategies.
You know, I really admire Camille and her team because they were pivoting during really challenging times, you know, with the pandemic and they were trying new things and they were not freaking out about it. They were just saying, Hey, let’s do this. Let’s see what happens. Guess what? This. Persevered and they did well and they learned, and they just kept on going.
And so I ask you, you know, when was the last time you and your organization tried some really new things, not things that were just an optimization of your day to day activities or your fundraising events or your fundraising campaigns, but instead you stepped completely outside the box and just tried something new.
If it’s been a while. Then I encourage you to reset and give that a whirl. If it’s something that you’ve done recently, then I hope that you’ve stopped and really analyzed what worked and what didn’t and how your team managed it. So that the next time you do it, which I hope will be soon. It will only be better.
So try and create that test and learn environment within your organization. Here’s another key takeaway and that’s around why you need a laser-focused mission to ultimately succeed in the nonprofit world. Look, you’re going to be approached. Time and time again, to do something that’s slightly outside of your mission.
And you’re going to have to contemplate whether or not that’s a smart call. Mission creep is real. So Camille reminds us of the importance of really just staying true to your mission, stay focused on it and keep at it and really, truly think about what you and your staff can accomplish together so that you’re not overburdening your staff and your organization with two.
And, you know, just as a reminder, it is okay to say no, and it is okay to say not yet. So keep that in mind, as you were planning your strategy for the rest of this year and into 2023, here’s another key takeaway and it’s around how you can ask your donors for their time, talent, treasure, and storytelling.
You know, sometimes we stop at the time, talent, treasure. Saying that’s been around forever, but I love this edition of the storytelling because we can use the storytelling to really broaden relationships and really showcase how people feel about your organization and the impact that your organization is making.
Because remember people are giving through your charity. To your mission. So you’re a conduit. So how are you showing through the stories that you tell that you are the conduit and that the conduit is actually making a real difference and helping a lot of people connect to the missions and purpose purposes that they really want to support.
And so that storytelling is key. Think about that and, uh, and really celebrate all of the different types of stories that your organization can tell with, um, both your staff, your board of directors, your volunteers, your service recipients, and even those who have been impacted over many, many, many years.
And by the way, you don’t have to tell the story in one, go round. Break it into chunks and carry your followers and your supporters along the way in this journey of these stories, it may make a difference in your fundraising and certainly in your communication strategy. Yes, you can. I’m Kimberly. See you next time on accidental fundraiser and be sure to follow along wherever you get your audio.