101: A Case for Life-Giving Culture, Community Building & The Future of Engagement with Danielle Farage

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“My experience became this mission to educate and also enlighten leaders of today and allow for this generation – Gen Z – to be seen and heard.”

– Danielle Farage
Episode #101


In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

When it comes to Gen Z, there is a cultural investigation going on that is challenging older generations to reflect and in many cases reset. Danielle Farage, my guest on this episode of What the Fundraising, is a “Workplace Futurist” helping the first fully digital generation create a new sense of work-life harmony. As Director of Growth & Marketing at Café, a platform fostering development and collaboration within hybrid environments, Danielle’s mission is to leverage technology in bridging the gap between leaders and talent. The result? Workplace cultures that are more inclusive, equitable, and dynamic. Our conversation touched on everything from the biggest misconceptions about Gen Z’s collective commitment to self-care to the tendency among older generations to default to a workplace ethos that reflects different, less human-centric times. “We have an opportunity to reimagine the workforce and it’s not just about the younger generation. It’s about everyone,” says Danielle. “We have a serious opportunity to change the way things have been for the past however many centuries of work.”

Applying her prism as an advocate and educator to the nonprofit sector, in particular, Danielle helped me explore further the tendency among hard-working, committed fundraisers to stay focused on altruistic, empathetic external goals while internally working under toxic conditions. We have to pause and consider: How can we effectively market the core values of our missions if our own workplace practices don’t align? For leaders and team members alike, it all starts with offering vulnerability and authenticity. You’ll discover in this dynamic give-and-take the opportunity we all have to reshape our definitions of work, play, community, compassion, connection, and even marketing. Says Danielle: “The better we create a relationship with ourselves, the more confidently we can show up at work – and in life.” 

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Danielle Farage


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Get to know Danielle:

Danielle is a Top Voice and digital nomad, who has first-hand experience in living the future of work. For the past three years, Danielle has worked in the HR technology industry, helping organizations navigate challenges posed by the pandemic, widening skills gap and a mental health epidemic. She fosters a belief in communicating through “Danielleisms” and  “Friendtorships” to enhance ways of conscious thinking and relationship building.


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episode transcript

02:03 Mallory Erickson: Welcome everyone. I am so excited to be here today with Danielle Farage. Danielle, welcome to What the fundraising. 

02:11 Danielle Farage: Thank you, Mallory. I’m very excited to chat today. 

02:15 Mallory Erickson: So, why don’t we start with you just sharing a little bit about you and the work that you do, and your journey to this point.

02:23 Danielle Farage: Little known fact about me, since the age of seven, I’ve actually been playing pretend workplace together with my friends. I always wanted to like construct a workplace that allowed feedback and fluidity and fairness. And I would literally pretend to be this educator and advocate for my fellow workers. Fast forward a bunch of years, I graduated with a bachelor’s in social sciences and Psychology from USC. And in 2020 my first graduation gift was actually the pandemic. I found myself living at home, working remotely in a toxic culture, and I was feeling extremely isolated, not to mention misunderstood by tone deaf leadership. And I thought back in those moments to when I was a leader in not only my childhood but also in high school, I actually led the branch of government that was dedicated to all the community services and all the outreach on behalf of the school. I went to a Jewish private school in Manhattan, which I’m very grateful for my education, and I literally led those initiatives. And so, for me in those moments, I was like, wow, if I had the opportunity to be a leader, I would do X, Y, and Z so differently. And so, this pretend world, at least my experience also in high school, became this mission to educate and enlighten leaders of today and allow for this generation, gen Z to be seen and heard.

03:57 Danielle Farage: And so, over the past two years, three years now, I’ve been working in HR technology. I am also a digital nomad and I’ve been experiencing the future of work firsthand. And as the director of marketing and growth for Cafe, I saw my role as a director at 22 years old as also responsibility to speak up and not shy away from the fact that I was a leader, the fact that I believed in a different future of work than how we’ve been operating for a while. And so, in conjunction with the work that I’m doing at Cafe, I’ve learned how to be a community leader. I’ve cultivated my own communities online. I’ve become LinkedIn’s top voice for Gen Z. A lot of exciting things definitely on the horizon. And I guess my mission in the world is really to help values aligned leaders, reimagine the work together in order to really lead forward this new workforce.

04:58 Mallory Erickson: Okay. There are so many things that you said that’s going to resonate with a lot of nonprofit leaders, is that young leadership role. And I used to say, the for-profit sector has changed a lot since I left undergrad. And one of the things that I always loved about the nonprofit sector was that I thought it gave me a ton of leadership very early. And that has its blessings and its curses in the nonprofit sector in particular in terms of support or why we’re being thrown into such big leadership roles. But I found myself in a director role at 22. And I really had this belief at that time that that was unique to the nonprofit sector, that I was being given that amount of responsibility and I felt really grateful for that, but then also had to work through, it sounds like maybe imposter syndrome or figuring out how I and my voice and my leadership fit into that moment. So, I’m really grateful for you sharing that. 

05:54 Danielle Farage: Yeah, and actually I struggled so much to the point where I actually was not going to take the job. In 2021, the company I was working for was being acquired by one company and then another acquisition on top of that of a public company. And in my heart of hearts, I knew that the leadership was not for me and I knew that I needed to get out, but I also was being given this opportunity of a lifetime to lead an organization or help lead it that was based in Europe. And so, it was sort of like double outside of my comfort zone. And what ultimately got me to leave the decision was, funny enough, I met this woman on Clubhouse. During that time, I was speaking a lot on Clubhouse, actually. It’s how I started speaking and sharing my story. And her name was Dr. Jill and I had never really invested in myself before. I had a job and I was a year out of college at this point, but I really hadn’t put my money towards myself in any like significant way beyond like a facial here and there. And so, I decided in that moment of in betweenness and not being sure if I could do it, I reached out to Dr. Jill and I was like, what should I do?

07:11 Danielle Farage: And she was like, let’s work together. Let’s work through this. You’re obviously struggling with confidence. I can help you with that, and in three months you’ll be a different person, and in six months your relationships are going to be so different and just so much better. Not just your relationship with other people, but also with yourself. Dr. Jill’s a mindset coach, I didn’t include that. And so, I went into mindset coaching immediately upon starting that job, even just before. 

07:37 Mallory Erickson: Wow. Well, you’re speaking my language because I’m an executive coach, but also always being coached. And my first experience being coached was at 22 in that director level role, and it was life-changing. Will you explain a little bit more for folks who might not be familiar with a role like yours? Can you tell us a little bit about what you do at Cafe and sort of what you’re responsible for? 

08:05 Danielle Farage: My role has definitely shifted over the past year and a half since I joined. So, we’re a YC, YCombinator backed startup. For those that don’t know, it’s the biggest accelerator in the US. What an accelerator does is, it helps the business grow. It invests in the business, whether it’s education or capital or mentors, and it really helps the business accelerate. And I joined and we were a team of four at the time. And so now I was the fifth member. And I was the only one in the States. And so, the idea was for me to come in and sort of Americanize the brand. So, it is a French company by origin. And so, what that entailed was totally transforming the copy, being a part of the process of rebranding as the product also went through new phases and transformed from one product to another in front of my eyes. So, over the past, when I started in July of last year to this summer, it was a lot of product development. So, I was helping the product team understand what was happening in the states from a market perspective so that we could, when we were ready, enter the US market in more of a on point way. And recently someone told me, oh wow, this website, it seems so American. I would never think it was a French company. And I was like, thank you, I did my job then. Right? So now these days we’re much more focused on content, marketing, all of that. So, I’m actually responsible for project managing, a lot of the content that is in the works and that we’ve recently published. I just did a piece on constellations versus shooting stars, navigating the organizational galaxy. So, if you have time to read that, that’s on the Cafe blog. And a lot of my job is now talking organizational dynamics, researching that, talking to experts and leaders, scientists, organizational psychologists. 

10:07 Danielle Farage: I also think to a degree, I’ve been a leader in terms of the culture of the company, which is interesting because I’m the only one in the states. So, I have to be my own advocate at times of. Everyone on the team, I think that I have the most background as someone who studied Psychology and who has learned about community and podcasting and network effects and organic marketing. I probably have like the most knowledge about dynamics in the workplace. I’ve been definitely stepping up to that position and helping as we’ve grown the team in this States as well. We’ve just hired two new people in New York to develop this little team here. I’ve been pretty instrumental in helping us develop our own culture.

10:53 Mallory Erickson: Thank you for sharing all of that. And when I first was introduced to your work, I think it was the first time I had seen the term work futurist. And then as I’ve read more of your content or seen posts, watching your focus on community building and creating inclusive communities, I’m curious about that intersection. What do you mean when you say work futurist for others who are hearing that term for the first time, and then what is the intersection between that and community building? 

11:25 Danielle Farage: Actually, I came up with the term work futurist with this woman. She’s absolutely incredible. Her name is Sarahbeth Berk. And she’s, I think a Doctor, PhD level. And she wrote a book and it’s all about hybrid titles. And essentially, I think it’s called You’re More Than Your title. What the book is really about is that throughout our lives, throughout our careers, we own a lot of different titles. When at 22, I owned a very different title from the job before where I was marketing associate or whatever. And it’s never really felt right to me to define myself by the title that someone else has given me, the title that I’m hired for, because people are so much more than just their title. And there was a time, I think about a year and a half ago it must have been, where she was doing these audits and people could come on stage and she would help them work through their title and come up with sort of like a brief of like, here’s my title and here’s what I do. And so Work Futurist was the thing that I landed on and essentially what I intended for it. And originally, this is what it said, I said, I’m a work futurist who fosters an elevated consciousness around the intersection of identity, culture, and workplace. 

12:44 Danielle Farage: And what I’m trying to do as a futurist, is to help break down these ideas that pose as barriers, whether it’s bias or they’re misunderstanding because a lot of the workplace things are kind of up in the air, they’re not very tangible. So, I help people understand these things like what is DEI? Why are pronouns important? And the mission is to help people understand how identity, culture, and workplace intersect. And to create frameworks for people to be able to access this knowledge and use it and leverage it in their everyday lives, whether it’s at home or at work. But I think that overall, the real challenge and the reason why I go by a title that’s not just director of growth and marketing is because I deeply believe that we are more than just our titles. And it’s important for us to have a deeper sense of self because the better you create a relationship with yourself, the more confident you can show up at work and in life, and the less confused. You are when you come to an office you’re one person, and when you go home, you’re another. It’s all this work life harmony, as I like to call it. And that’s really how I aligned my career. My career is my passion, and I really worked super hard to integrate my passion into what I’m doing today. 

14:09 Mallory Erickson: Okay. Everything that you’re saying resonates so deeply with me on so many different levels, and one of the things I’m so excited about for the world is your ability to do that in the for-profit sector. Whereas when I left undergrad and even my graduate program, I really felt like if I wanted to live an aligned life, I had to be in the nonprofit sector for sort of purpose driven work. And while some people might disagree with this or see the complications involved in this, which I do too, I really like seeing the overlap that started to happen here. So, in the nonprofit sector, I would say they like rest on their morals a little bit around the fact that everybody is there doing work that is deeply meaningful to them. And because of that, there isn’t the same amount of intentionality put into culture and support, and community inside organizations. And we know the burnout rates and the turnover rates in the nonprofit sector are extremely high. And yet they have this element of deep purpose on the one hand, but then an environment that doesn’t support all these other elements of their life to actually create that synergy, I think on the other hand. And I’m just curious with your knowledge of workplace culture and identity, what are some of your first thoughts when you hear that?

15:40 Danielle Farage: My initial thought would be, it must be that if a culture isn’t aligned fully, there must be miscommunication coming from the top. And if it’s not hierarchical, which most organizations are, there must be a miscommunication or not enough communication amongst the leaders or everyone around the expected policy etiquette and norms that are happening within that organization. 

16:11 Mallory Erickson: What do you say when you’re looking at an organization where it seems like maybe what they’re saying isn’t matching how they’re acting? So, for example, I remember when I took my last nonprofit leadership job. And I said, I’m going to have a separate cell phone. It is going to be off between 7:00 PM and 7:00 AM on the days of the week, and it’s going to be off on the weekend because I had heard that the board chair was not great at boundaries. So, I said, we’re going to have this phone, the phone’s going to set the boundaries for us. And I remember the first Monday morning I turned on that phone and there were 192 text messages. I’m not joking. And, I was like, okay. And like I didn’t stop using that phone. I didn’t stop turning it off. I didn’t stop any of those things. But it was a really good representation, and I think this is very common in the nonprofit sector. We say out of one side of our mouth, we care about these things, but our behavior does not match that in a number of different ways. And I love this sector deeply, and I am also not afraid to call out the toxic things that are holding us back. So, I’m just curious from your perspective, or when you see that even in the for-profit sector, how do you advise leaders to rethink that? 

17:35 Danielle Farage: Leaders themselves, as in the people doing it? 

17:39 Mallory Erickson: Or the employees, either way. If it’s more on the advocacy side for the employees. 

17:44 Danielle Farage: So, with employees, I think that you did exactly the right thing in establishing those boundaries for you. I’ve been dealing with some really difficult things the past few years at home where boundary setting was the only thing that I could really rely on. And I was the only person who could really look out for myself. And I think that’s the first thing that you have to remember is that, you are the only one looking out for you. If you don’t, so many things could happen. And I see this within my own friends who are working in these really tough environments in the for-profit sector, the non-profit sector, where they’re so unhappy. Or some of my friends who are college students and they’re telling me, oh, I’m following this path and it’s just the whole environment of going after the big five. It’s so toxic, it’s draining, and it’s all this. And I’m like, but why are you doing it then? Oh, because it’s the right path, it’s the right thing to do. Screw that. I really believe in the idea that you are your best friend and the only person who’s going to look out for you. And when there’s a surrounding culture that is toxic, that is not acceptable, that doesn’t make you feel good inside, where your intuition is saying, get out of this, you don’t deserve this, this is not for you. Listen to it. And if you can’t, then the next thing I would say after you establish these boundaries is, don’t feel guilty about it. Because there’s going to be a lot of people, including your boss, who are going to say, and I’m sure you got this to some degree of like, this is the way that things are being done, and you have to respond.

19:23 Danielle Farage: Well, I didn’t see it in the job description, so no, I don’t. That’s a second thing, is just accepting. Even in the toughest circumstances and the toughest surroundings, faced with the toughest sort of pushback, being true to yourself and respecting your own boundaries is such an important thing. And the third thing I think is, surround yourself with the right support. For me, I went through a toxic culture, so I totally understand where you’re coming from, where actions did not align with words. I was a new grad and I was super scared and there was an impending recession, and I was like, what the heck do I do, I don’t have a job or a network. I lean on my, whoever I could reach out to. I leaned on my parents’ friends. I leaned on the director from [inaudible20:06] on campus. I reached out to everyone who I felt like I had a connection to who could look out for me. And so, I tell people all the time, you know, look for those people whether they’re internal and they’ve been there for a long time, or they left the organization, maybe an old boss of yours who has dealt with the same challenges. Reach out to them and see how they’ve dealt with it.

20:29 Danielle Farage: And fourth and final I’ll say is, probably get out. It’s unfortunate. I hate to hear that the turnover rates are super high in nonprofit. Like nonprofit is inherently impactful. It’s inherently mission driven, and I hope that I could help these leaders navigate and do the right thing. It’s definitely what I’m trying to do in the work that I do outside of Cafe, but at the same time, you have to do what’s best for you. And I always tell people, be a cultural investigator in your everyday life. If you want to stay in the nonprofit sector, that’s totally cool. Do it. But find a nonprofit where the internal culture is healthy. Reach out to random people and just be an everyday cultural investigator. Like ask people, do you like your job? How’s the work life harmony? Why do you stay? Ask these questions that really get to the heart of retention, get to the heart of the employee experience, and the culture itself. And I recommend people do that because you never know when things are going to flip. It’s better to be prepared and to have an idea of what you might want for your next step. 

21:33 Mallory Erickson: Yeah, I think that’s great advice. I would also say that I have found that in holding my boundaries, culture has changed. Those text messages stopped coming. I didn’t go and like make it all okay and apologize for not, I was like, we talked about this. And I’m sure there were still some experiences of that after, but never again was it that bad. And I maintained that boundary. And so, I also think as nonprofit employees, we can hold boundaries that then ultimately impact culture, especially in some of these smaller organizations. But it’s really hard to do that when we accommodate the people not adhering to our requests. There’s this other piece that I’m feeling from what you’re saying, and you can tell me if you feel like this is true or not. Something that’s sort of striking to me as you’re talking is, when we think about work life synergy or harmony, I think about that typically on a personal level. However, there’s something about the way you’re talking about this that’s making me think as nonprofits if we’re talking about community building, we’re talking about bringing people together, we’re talking about addressing X, Y, and Z issue in society, if that’s our external facing work and our internal organization or community and culture don’t match what we’re trying to build out there, that’s going to come across that way, or it’s not going to attract people or it’s going to feel disingenuous. And so, because I think you look at the inside community and the outside marketing simultaneously, I’m curious what you think about that.

23:16 Danielle Farage: Call me woowoo, call me whatever you want, I literally don’t care. I believe that energy is like a real thing. It’s real, it’s living. It’s my actions impact someone else on the other side of the world, whether you can see it or not. And that is literally one of the reasons why I decide every day to show up as a light, because there’s so much darkness.

And so many people, including the news, focusing on the negative, that if you’re able to focus on the positive, it spreads like wildfire. And people say to me all the time, like, I follow you because you’re so authentic and you’re so positive and all this stuff. And I’m like, yes. Like that’s what we need. And so, your question made me think about that aspect of myself and also this aspect of alignment. If you’re not showing up internally as you are externally, people are going to know. And it’s not even like, oh, they know what’s happening, they’re psychic or whatever. It’s an energy that it can’t be really expressed or described.

24:22 Danielle Farage: I’ll give you a great example. I’m a young professional. I’m also Jewish. And I want to be involved in the Jewish communities in New York. I’ve looked into a number of Jewish organizations. And the thing that sort of rubs me the wrong way is in order to be involved in these nonprofits; you have to pay to attend your first event. And in the world of community, the first sort of level of involvement and in community building is like, you have to give people an incentive to want to join your community. And so being Jewish is not enough of an incentive. A nonprofit doing good is not enough of an incentive for people to get involved and to say, oh, yeah, here, take my whatever percentage it is of my spending, which I don’t have a lot of discretionary funds, I can’t just throw my money away. So as a young professional, I expect these nonprofits to notice that, to invite me for the first three times I get a free invite so I can try it out, so I can meet people that I potentially connect with, and to try out these different communities to get a taste of in order for me to then make the right decision for me in terms of where do I want to invest both my time and my money.

25:40 Danielle Farage: And so, when I think about nonprofit, I think that’s one thing that a lot of nonprofits are getting wrong, is that first you have to give people a reason to care about your nonprofit because there are so many nonprofits out there. And second, you have to bring them in and show them who you are. Here’s another story I’ll give to sort of explain the second part, which is I have a close friend who works at the ADL. And they don’t have a young professionals sort of group. I knew that, but what I didn’t know was that, when I was in Miami, I had never really encountered like an anti-Semite in real life. I had always learned that anti-Semitism was alive and well, and everyone sees the numbers of 60% of the hate crimes committed in New York City in 2022 were anti-Semitic. And I knew this, all of this. And I also was trained and educated on how to combat it. And so, I went to my friend who works at the ADL, and I said, what’s the ADL doing? What is going on? I want to know what’s happening inside of this Jewish organization that’s the Anti-Defamation League, which is supposed to be fighting anti-Semitism.

26:47 Danielle Farage: They sent a letter. And I was like, that’s not enough. The Jewish community right now needs community. We need someone to say, hey, let’s get together. Let’s support each other, and that is the value that I would pay for. But yet they didn’t have an external young professionals’ group and they also didn’t have an internal young professionals’ group. So, my friend literally started a conversation internally, which was very well received, and I’m very excited that that was the case. She went to her managers and she said, we should have an internal young professionals’ group. And guess what? A ton of people were super excited about the idea because they have a lot of young professional workers and they all felt the same way. We need an internal young professionals’ group. We need also an external one. We want to do fun events, we want to do events focused on Judaism and dating and life as a Jew, like whatever it is, get people together. And so, I just thought that that was a great example because she was able to start a movement and she was in an environment where she felt safe enough to go to her managers and to tell them, this is how I’m feeling.

27:55 Danielle Farage: It was very vulnerable for her to share, but yet she was able to. The entire thing is really about the energy. It’s about setting a great example, being open to ideas. For a lot of organizations struggling with this culture thing, that’s what they’re lacking. They’re lacking the saying yes. They’re more in this old mentality of this is how we do things so we can’t change. And I think that maybe if they took my advice, they might see some positive change. I don’t know. 

28:26 Mallory Erickson: I love both of those stories and I think it’s a really important point for nonprofits around. The way in which we silo our goals and our work in different ways. So, we have fundraising goals over here. We have community engagement over here. We have volunteerism over here, we have marketing over here, and sometimes those are siloed in departments. Sometimes those are siloed in budget line items. So, when there’s talk of economic recession, marketing gets cut. And it’s like, wait a second, marketing is fundraising, but it gets so siloed and then nonprofits are often left with fundraising really being like asks. And the moment of the transaction and then fundraisers are told, don’t be transactional, and they’re like, wait, but you took all the other things away. Those events that are happening, I’m sure that where they’re charging you on the first time, that’s what’s happening. Their maybe, community building budget has been decreased and their fundraising expectations have been increased, and they’re left with no other choice than to start to charge for community building. And I think there’s also stigma around the nonprofit sector around that nonprofits should do as much as they can with as little as possible. And I believe really deeply in, pay equity inside the sector and the operational costs are really important to healthy nonprofits and the martyrdom needs to go and all of those things. But what you said, and so when you first started to say that, honestly for me, I was like, oh, but they deserve to charge for all the work that goes into those events. But what you made me think about that I hadn’t thought about before is that, that is then aligned with a different intention. And if the intention is community building, if the intention is making an invitation and getting new people involved, then the way they show up and the way they invite people needs to align with that intention. And it’s just another example of those things getting confused. So, I’m really grateful for you pushing me there. 

30:39 Danielle Farage: Yeah, of course. And I totally agree. Like I want to pay but when you’re faced, you know, in today’s economy of choice, everyone has choice. I have choice paralysis. And a lot of people in my generation also struggle with that. I can’t tell you how many of my friends tell me, oh my gosh, I have to buy this dress. I have to order food. I have to choose a nail polish color. I can’t decide. And we’re all asking each other. Oh, what are you going to do? What are you going to do? Everything is word of mouth when it comes to Gen Z. And also, it’s about research. We research on like six different websites before we buy something. And so, when you’re thinking about who your target audience is, and this goes back to marketing, goes back to growth, goes back to community, you have to be able to meet them where they are. And so, in the nonprofit, the way that I see it is, of course you have to be values aligned. So, if you’re coming to me and you’re saying, hey, I’d love to get you involved in this community. Pay $35. Well, guess what? I’m getting the same six messages from different nonprofits trying to involve me. So how am I going to make a decision if there’s no marketing and if I have to pay for every single one, I don’t have that money. So, what are you going to do? 

31:53 Mallory Erickson: Such good advice. I’m curious, what do you think people get wrong about Gen Z? What are some of the assumptions about Gen Z that people get really wrong?

32:04 Danielle Farage: That we’re lazy, that’s the worst one, because it couldn’t be more untrue. I think that the stat is around like 60% of Gen Z is already an entrepreneur or thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, and 48% have one or more businesses. So, how are you going to tell me that we’re lazy? That’s one. And people don’t really understand is that, we’re extremely mission driven. And so, when we encounter a culture that is aligned, it’s difficult for us to stick with it. It’s difficult for us to wrap our heads around, you’re saying one thing and doing another. One of the biggest values of Gen Z is authenticity and transparency. And if you’re mission driven, we want exactly what we said before. We want you to show up the way that you’re saying you want to show up. There’s nothing worse than greenwashing. There’s nothing worse than rainbow washing. And these are terms communicating, saying one thing and doing another when it comes to climate and LGBTQ, IA, plus rights. And so that really gets our viewers grinding. And I think that sometimes the…

33:14 Mallory Erickson: Stigma

33:15 Danielle Farage: Stigma can be used against us. But realistically, I don’t think it’s laziness. I think the laziness is just a byproduct of what’s going on underneath which could be a misaligned culture, someone not really liking their job, not being the right choice for them. And I think that could be improved with better leadership and better questions. People don’t ask a lot of questions. 

33:44 Mallory Erickson: Talk to me about that. Tell me what you mean by that.

33:48 Danielle Farage: So, funny enough, I was at this event for workplace Leaders a few months ago. And it was an amazing event. This woman, Nellie Hayat, is a workplace leader and she puts these on, and she’s one of my frientor, she’s a role model of mine. And at one point this real estate guy, he raises his hand and he’s asking, but how do you know what people want when it comes to workplace? We’re having a tough time really understanding what people want when it comes to, how do we get them in the office. And I look at him and I raise my hand and I’m like, can I answer this? And she calls on me and I’m like, have you asked them what they want? And he looks at me like a deer in headlights and he was like, no, you know, we’re having trouble with like surveying, we’re not really sure. And I’m like, start there. 

34:38 Mallory Erickson: I mean, I think that plays into a lot of like ageism stuff around, not even necessarily believing that people know what they want. I also think there’s some fear there sometimes around, like, we don’t want to hear the answers. And so, we don’t want to ask questions because what if we don’t like the answers and then, holy crap, we have to change and nobody wants to do that. When you were talking about that lazy piece, one of the things that really strikes me about Gen Z is their commitment to not suffering. And when I think about everything that gets called by its different names of Gen Z taking care of themselves. And look, I’m not going to lie. I understand when you have suffered a lot in a role or in a sector or in leadership, and when we haven’t taken care of ourselves throughout the process, people naturally hold a lot of resentment then for people who do the things that they felt like they could never do, and whether that felt like was rooted in reality, which it is so many oppressed people or not. It makes total sense to me that people feel pain and discomfort and jealousy, and all these very uncomfortable emotions when they watch it in action. And I think it’s up to us, the collective us to acknowledge and validate our feelings about it, look at our values more deeply. Do I really want somebody to suffer because I suffered? Do I really want somebody else to have to go through what I went through? Because I think at the end of the day, if we actually took the time to get in touch with our truest, deepest desires for humanity, for most people, not for everyone. Some people are like, yeah, I definitely do because I had to do it, so someone else should have to do it. So, there are those people. But like I remember the first time I felt activated around an employee of mine, what I felt like was entitlement. And I was like, ugh, but like I’m working 80 hours a week and I would never, you know, do that, whatever. And I was 27 at the time when I first felt that. They’re not committed. All these narratives I felt come up in me and activated in me, and it really took me taking a step back and being like, okay, this is a really good information that you’re not taking care of yourself. And because you’re reactionary from this place, and a really good information about the need to take a step back and really make some decisions about the values you want to lead with in terms of how you support your team and what you say you’re about and what you honor. I just wanted to sort of add that for folks who are listening and maybe themselves activated around the topic or have found themselves with some of these biases around Gen Z. I do think for everyone, it’s an important thing to look at, and I don’t think it’s being talked about enough in the nonprofit sector. 

37:42 Danielle Farage: I agree. It’s such a good point because it’s also something, you’re right, it’s totally under talked about. This notion of, you suffer because I suffer is something that is toxic. And when I say we have the opportunity to reimagine work for the new workforce, it’s not just about the younger generation, it’s about everyone. It’s about you, it’s about me, it’s about the next generation, and the next one, and the next one, because we have a serious opportunity to change the way things have been for the past however many centuries of work. And I’m not going to sit here and deny that Gen Z has an attention span problem because we do. But I’m a deep believer that the way you do one thing is the way you do others. And if you think about how we use technology and social media, which we grew up with, right? We’re the first digital generation. So, when something in our lives was difficult, what did we do and what do we do? We retreat. We go on social media; we start scrolling to numb the pain. And that’s not healthy by any means. And I’m definitely healing my relationship with technology and a lot of us are in therapy. But again, it takes two to tango and you can’t blame someone for choosing a better choice for them. You also can’t say, you suffer because I suffer. And what I believe, and I’ve definitely myself struggled with this of like, do I stay, do I leave, you know, I have so many choices. And sometimes we just need guidance. We just need support. We just need someone to look after us and someone who will listen, and someone who will ask us, how are you doing? how can I help you? How can I be there for you? 

39:35 Danielle Farage: And with leadership, I deeply believe that it’s 51:49, that if you want people to be vulnerable and authentic with you, you have to do it first. And if they ask you an uncomfortable question, you sit with that question and you reflect on it, like what you did, and then you answer them. And if there’s something that they’re struggling with that you can’t support them with, be transparent about it. If they want to work from home all the time, because that’s the best way that works for them. And you went to your leadership and higher ups and they said no. You come back to them and you explain to them, listen, I really tried, I advocated for you, but I couldn’t get them to agree. But listen, I’m going to look out for you and I’m going to make sure that the days that we’re all together in the office are the days that work best for you. And if I can’t, and if over time things don’t change, please let me know. I want to still be a part of your journey and I want you to tell me how you’re feeling at different points. Please use me as a resource. That’s what you got to say. It’s that simple. Just literally getting down to, I care about you, and let me show you that I care, not just in words, but in action. 

40:49 Mallory Erickson: Wow. Okay. That is the perfect moment to end on. Danielle, thank you so much for your time and for your work and for sharing all of your wisdom with us. I’m so grateful to you and I’m so grateful to learn from you and be in your orbit. And I’ll make sure folks know where to find you and follow you and connect with you and get all of your resources. So, thank you so much. 

41:09 Danielle Farage: Thank you so much for having me. And if anyone wants to jam on cultural investigation or cultural transformation, I’m here. My website is daniellefarage.com. Thank you so much for having me, Mallory. It was a really great conversation. 

41:30 Mallory Erickson: Yeah, I loved it. 

Okay. There is so much inside this episode that I want to highlight, but here are my very top takeaways. Number one, although fundamentally values driven, the nonprofit sector often has blind spots with regard to intentionality and the alignment within internal workplace cultures. 

Number two, if the intention is to build community and inclusivity, then the way we show up as fundraisers has to align with that intention. 

Number three, if you want to know what would make your workplace culture healthier, or more appealing, try simply asking your team and soliciting advice. Get curious with them.

Number four, if a Gen Z team member’s behavior seems entitled, take a moment to wonder whether feelings of jealousy or martyrdom have been activated triggering a hyper reaction.

Number five, if you’re feeling wobbly in your leadership role, a mindset coach can help you work towards a foundational sense of self-esteem and confidence. 

And number six, I love her top tips for rethinking boundaries. Committing to be your own primary advocate, being true to yourself and being unafraid to challenge norms or toxic behaviors, surrounding yourself with the right kind of mentoring and support, and leaving, getting out. If the environment you’re in is dysfunctional, it might be time to make a move. 

Okay. For additional takeaways and tips inside this episode, head on over to malloryerickson.com/podcast to grab the full show notes and resources now.

You’ll also find more information there about Danielle and our sponsors Feathr. Thank you for spending this time with us today. If you enjoyed this episode, we would love it if you would give it a rating and review, and share it with a friend. I am so grateful for all of my listeners and the good, hard work you’re doing to make our world a better place. 

And if you miss me between episodes, stop by and say hello on Instagram under whatthefundraising_. Have a great day and I’ll see you next week.

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