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86: Responsible and Sustainable Nonprofit Leadership with a Celebrity Founder with Careshia Moore of Usher’s New Look

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“Usher is truly a part of the fabric of this organization. People always say, ‘Is he acting?’ Absolutely not. He’s on the board. He attends board meetings. Our young people know him and he takes the time to get to know them.”

– Careshia Moore
Episode #86

Overview

In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

You could sit back and relax if only you had a big celebrity attached to your nonprofit, right? Well not quite, as my guest on this episode of What the Fundraising explains. For all her professional skills and the competent staff behind Usher’s New Look, President & CEO Careshia Moore still works hard to keep the organization financially healthy, vibrant and strong. Even with the deep, long-term involvement of a major performer like Usher Raymond IV and his mother, Jonetta Patton, no organization is sustainable without multi-level buy-in, sponsorship and community engagement. Fortunately, Careshia and her team are up to the challenge! 

In this episode, you’ll learn about the roots of Usher’s New Look’s and how it has transformed the lives of more than 50,000 under-resourced young people in Atlanta and New York. Their remarkable programs develop global leaders by sparking their passion and breaking down barriers to entry – whether it be access to quality education, internships or career opportunities. In our conversation, we also explore what it means to operate from a position of abundance, which is often hard for fundraisers (who feel perpetually beholden). Careshia is all about speaking up, owning the power of what her organization brings to the table and offering donors a chance to contribute in multiple capacities. And speaking of capacity, here’s something important to consider: Overhead shouldn’t be a source of shame, says Careshia. It’s actually an opportunity for funders to get involved in the infrastructure that supports all those programs that make everyone feel so good!

This conversation is full of actionable strategies, operational and budgetary priority recommendations for unpredictable times and new ways to think about ourselves as mission-driven professionals running enterprises that just happen to have a different tax status. 

If you haven’t already, please visit our new What the Fundraising community forum. Check it out and join the conversation at this link.

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Get to know Careshia:

A licensed attorney, Careshia has always followed the thread of what she was passionate about, which ultimately led to her current role as President & CEO at Usher’s New Look, an organization that provides access, opportunity and exposure to under-resourced youth. She believes in developing a growth mindset for families who seek to transform their circumstances. The organization’s program includes identifying and collaborating with strategic partners, networking with donors, communicating the mission to the greater public and forging relationships with young people.

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I teach nonprofit fundraisers to bring in more gifts from the RIGHT donors… so they can stop hounding people for money. Fundraising doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

MALLORY ERICKSON

episode transcript

02:06 Mallory Erickson: 

Welcome everyone. I am so excited to be here today with Careshia Moore. Careshia, welcome to What the Fundraising. 

02:13 Careshia Moore: 

Thank you so much, Mallory. It is great to be here. 

02:17 Mallory Erickson: 

It is so great to have you and to just see you again after we met so briefly in Atlanta all those months ago. Why don’t you tell everyone listening just a little bit about you and your organization and what brings you to our conversation today?

02:31 Careshia Moore: 

Yeah, so I am the president and CEO of Usher’s New Look. Usher’s New Look is a youth development organization that was founded by Usher Raymond IV 23 years ago. And we work to develop global youth leaders, helping them identify their spark or their passion, and then exploring education, cultivation and career around their passions and talents. And we’ve served over 50,000 youth in the time that we’ve been operating primarily here in Atlanta, as well as in New York, where we have after school programs for teens. We work with youth ages 14 through 24, and it truly is about changing the trajectory of their lives. I got into this work, I started out as an educator and saw very quickly the disparity in education. Not so much the academics, reading, writing, and math, but the access opportunity and exposure, which to me is really the level of the playing field. That’s what really helps young people change the trajectory of their lives. And so, I’ve practiced law, I’ve done a little bit of everything, sat on boards, mentored, but ultimately this is my passion and my calling in working with young people, and I found that in Usher’s New Look. 

03:36 Mallory Erickson: 

I love that story. People are probably listening to this and they’re like, wait, is this like Usher, Usher? So maybe we should just make it clear, this is Usher, Usher. And so, tell us a little bit about what that’s like. We’re going to dig in around what it means to be an organization founded through the vision of a celebrity figure. But talk to me a little bit about what it means to work for and lead an organization that was started and catalyzed through the vision of a leader like Usher.

04:08 Careshia Moore: 

Right. So, I’ll tell you a little bit about the origin story of Usher’s New Look. Usher around age of 20, he and his mom were thinking about, in addition to his growing celebrity as a global entertainer, what is going to be his legacy as far as building the community. And they went into Judge Glenda Hatchets courtroom, the TV judge, and she’s an actual practicing attorney, wonderful woman. And they observed a juvenile proceeding. And what they saw, young people coming through, they had made decisions that weren’t necessarily leading them in the right path, although they were demonstrating leadership abilities. There were also, community service was seen sort of as a punishment, being punished to community service and Usher thinking, community service should be something that people enjoy and they want to do. And so, when they left the courtroom that day, they thought these young people need a new look on life. And that was the beginning of him visioning Usher’s New Look. And so, it started out as a summer camp. He had done some things through Make-A-Wish Foundation, et cetera, and it was truly about helping young people understand that their gifts and talents can lead them into careers they enjoy that can help to build a thriving life for themselves and their families, for generations to come. And so, to be able to lead an organization that has an amazing origin story like that from someone who truly is about helping humans, become better and live their purpose and mentorship and making sure that they understand wealth and generating wealth and building community. I could not ask for a better organization to lead, quite honestly. Usher is truly a part of the fabric of this organization. People always say, well, is he active? Absolutely. He’s on the board. He attends board meetings, but our young people know him and he takes the time to get to know them. We have a tradition in our organization where students and special guests, they come and speak, they get a code name, and his code name is, if you can ask any student, Big Brother Almighty is how you pronounce it even. And when he walks in, the kids just know that he’s there to join what it is that they’re doing and he has their best interests at heart. And that’s the beautiful thing about it, is that this was truly an organization that is built to last, to sustain, and to continue to impact our community and our youth for generations. 

06:28 Mallory Erickson: 

I love that. And you know, before meeting you, I didn’t know about the organization, but I had heard about Usher’s generosity and just about his commitment to this work, even though other organizations. So, hearing what he’s done and what he’s built is really tremendous. You operate in an ecosystem where a lot of nonprofits are having board conversations where their board members are like, okay, if you can just send an email to Leonard DiCaprio’s folks, or you know, if you can get this one celebrity to sort of sign off on our work, then that’s going to be the golden ticket for us. And you know the reality of what it looks like to really have a huge celebrity sitting on your board whose vision and story leads the organization. But what are some of the biggest misconceptions about what people have in terms of what that means in terms of the daily operating nature of the organization?

07:23 Careshia Moore: 

Obviously people may say, oh, we apply for funding, we’re a 501(c)(3) organization, we’re out there fundraising, just like every other non-profit. And people may say, oh, they have Usher, they’re good, they don’t need any more funds, but that’s not what he built. He didn’t build something that just kind of funnel all of his money he gives and supports the organization and makes the connections between his business world and the organization, but this is truly a public charity that corporations, the public sector, individuals can support and be a part of good and the impact that’s happening through Usher’s New Look. And so, I think that’s probably the biggest misconception, Mallory. And getting people to understand that it’s not just about supporting Usher. They do because especially when you have someone like him whose artistic reputation is just absolutely amazing globally, to be able to support something that he has started, people want to be a part of that. And I think that is a way that people can think about it. It’s not so much giving to somebody who they feel that, oh, he can just fund it on its own. It’s a joining and having that collective impact with someone’s vision. With an organization that it quite frankly is having huge impact with our young people. 

08:31 Mallory Erickson: 

I love that. And the thing I think that’s so important about philanthropy in general and giving and donating is exactly what you’re saying. That it’s what aligns us with our joint vision or helping gives us the opportunity to create a reality that we want to see created and to work together in doing so. And that even if one person could fund an organization, so that they would never need to fundraise again, that would actually be in conflict with the work and the movement building because every time somebody gives and makes that decision, they become more aligned with what it is that you’re doing, they’re more invested, they want to see that impact in their local community, it changes all these elements of their identity and educates them around things that are happening. So fundraising is such an important mechanism through which I believe we actually do the work. And so, I love the way that you talk about that in terms of it’s about aligning with him around this vision and doing this together. 

09:35 Careshia Moore: 

And the other thing that I will say, and I tell people this all the time, as I’m talking to different potential donors and partners, the financial aspect of what’s going to happen through a partnership is great. We cannot function without funding. However, for us and the work that we do, that human capital is also important. So, with every partnership, we’re also thinking about how can a company’s employees engage? How can they volunteer speaking for our students? Opening up their companies for a job shadow and internships, because that is what we do. We open the doors for the young people that we serve, and we can’t do that without partners. So along with the check or the money that supports the organization and the young people that we serve, quite frankly, it’s also about pulling in those folks that help those companies and the individuals who want to support and support our students, which is important as well. 

10:27 Mallory Erickson: 

You know, something I’ve noticed about the organization just in through meeting you is the way that the youth are so centered in everything that you do and the impact that you’re having on the youth is so centered in everything that you do. And I’m curious, has it ever been a challenge to do that without centering the organization’s brand around Usher? Because when I’m on your website or I’m hearing you speak or I’m talking to you, his brand is not the brand of the organization. You all have an identity and a brand that’s really separate from him, and he’s a of course, an important part of that. But I feel like you do a really incredible job of being really clear about who the organization is and what you represent and where your priorities lie. Has that ever been a challenge? 

11:16 Careshia Moore: 

When I think about it, I think the fabric of our organization, the DNA is always putting the youth first, and that really trickles down from Usher. He does not want to be touted as the celebrity of this organization. He is there to pour into our young people just as any other person, any other board member. Yes, he is the founder and there is total respect and understanding of that. He’s the visionary for what it is that we are able to do today, but it really is about the young people that we are serving. It really is about pouring into them and making sure that they can change the trajectory of their lives and experience all that they should base upon the talents and the gifts that they have. And so that is something that we are very intentional about. You know, when people have conversations about development, you can’t do that without marketing. And so, we think about that. It’s like the twins, we call our marketing and our development person here at UNL, they’re like twins. They need to be locked, joint step with one another. It really is part and parcel of being able to share the vision of the organization to raise money for the organization, but to tell the stories of impact and be able to pull that data that we have, which is so important. So, when you think about all of the things that I just said, it truly is about the young people. It really is. If I sit in front of a donor, they don’t necessarily want to know all of the great things that Usher has done in his music career. They want to know how we are moving a young person from point A to point B. Our program starts at age 14, and it’s designed for young people to go through after college graduation. They want to know what happened, what did that kid look like when they came to the program, and how did their lives change once they left? And that is what we center. That’s what we lead with. That’s what we focus.

13:00 Mallory Erickson:

It’s such an important advice because I think especially in the scarcity mindset, we can get trapped in in this sector a little bit, and the urgency and discomfort we can feel around fundraising. We often search for sort of a shiny object to feel like it’s going to be that silver bullet. And I think what you’re saying here is that the work is the thing, the work and the impact and the long-term investment and consistency, and stories, that’s what makes the difference. That’s what gets people to invest in all of you, and it’s been so wonderful to have been founded in that way. It sounds like really based on the nature of who Usher is. And I think that piece you said at the beginning around legacy, we see celebrity non-profits or foundations set up for a number of different reasons, and legacy might be communicated as a reason for it, but it isn’t always the guiding light, like deep legacy, like impact legacy, not just how did this look or how much access did it give me to talk about X, Y, and Z, but really how many lives does this ultimately change. And so, I think that’s a really sort of inspiring mindset and framework to think about in relation to this. 

14:22 Careshia Moore: 

And I think it’s how the organization is established and set up. Usher did an amazing job at creating that initial board, seasoned board members who have been around philanthropy and non-profit for a long time, who were able to help build the vision of the organization along with him. And then the first CEO that we had was very seasoned in building, sustaining organizations that created huge impact within the community. And so, the organization functions, I always say non-profits are businesses and we should function as such. You know, sometimes outside looking in, they think we’re just a bunch of do-gooders and we just do good in the community and we’re not really worried about anything else. But that’s not what it is. I mean, the framework and the foundation of the organization is solid from the board, to the staff. We are truly about building capacity within this organization so that we can function and we can serve more youth, is our goal. And I think that that really helps with the impact that we’re able to make as well. 

15:23 Mallory Erickson: 

Okay. Can we dive into that a little bit more? Cause I love that you said that. And I was going to ask you another question about what you had said a few minutes ago about your marketing and your fundraising working in tandem. And I think that relates to this mindset that you have around, our non-profit is a business, a 501(c)(3) is just a tax designation. It doesn’t mean that we’re some all-volunteer group who are just going to smarter ourselves to do these things on top of everything else. So, talk to me a little bit more about that mindset and how that impacts, how looking at yourself as a business really impacts how you operate on a day-to-day basis, and how you hold yourself accountable and your team accountable around priorities and impact? 

16:06 Careshia Moore: 

You know, just based upon my previous experiences working for large law firms, and working for big organizations. And then I even taught as a professor, a class on non-profit management. And that was the thing. There was no difference in what I was teaching or what I was experiencing at these corporations than I want Usher’s New Look. And it’s the expertise, our teams to have expertise in their particular areas for us to be able to operate and have departments. We kind of walk around sometimes a non-profit as a badge of honor. I wear thirteen hats. That’s not what we want to do. We want to be able to have people in their swim lanes and be able to function and have experts in those particular areas. And that’s what we aim to build and have continued to build. And fundraising is a large piece of that, and been able to build capacity so that all funds are not restricted, but you get those unrestricted funds to be able to identify and look at your org chart and say, Okay, where do we have holes that are going to help us function more efficiently, which ultimately provides better output and outcomes for the work that we are doing and for our mission. And that’s just the focus. I think you find that a lot more these days than probably in the past. You have leaders who are pretty business savvy and thinking about their organizations and thinking about reserves and what it is that we do with our dollars that we receive. The business model of the non-profit. I was just at an accelerator retreat last week and it was truly all about what’s the business model of your non-profit? And thinking about our, in terms of fee for service, we have programs that we’re able to earn income on that are within what it is that we do. And so, I think that’s just important. But I also find that a lot of leaders are starting to think like that, and hopefully sort of those older thoughts around nonprofits are starting to kind of leave. And I will say this too, Mallory sort of coming out of the pandemic, we can’t work like that with our teams anymore. People are no longer wanting to wear; they’re not going to wear 10 hats. It’s not good for just our health, it’s not good for boundaries. All of these things. And so, we have to be able to build organizations that are sustainable, but also allow our team members to thrive professionally, but also personally. 

18:17 Mallory Erickson: 

I love that. I mean, I said to someone recently, I’m obsessed with the quiet, quitting conversation. I don’t love that people are feeling disengaged in their work, but you know, I was reading this article that it’s not actually happening as much as it’s being talked about happening. And I’m like, who cares. I just love that we’re talking about it, that the whole thing is getting flipped on its head to think about how can you build an organization that avoids quiet quitting, like that’s going to start to actually lead, I hope, much healthier cultures. I’m like, yes, let’s let all these businesses freak out that their staff aren’t happy and engaged, and yeah. 

18:56 Careshia Moore: 

You have to do it. We have our mental health day in addition to PTO, that our team members are able to make. We try to make sure that people are swimming in their lanes and doing what it is that they need to do. We just hosted a huge summit that we host every year for our youth that we serve here in Atlanta. Over 200 youth. It’s called a Disruptivator summit, pulling in a contractor so that people aren’t trying to do their regular job, plus pulling this huge summit. So, there are things as leaders have to think about and really forecast so we don’t find ourselves in the middle of burnout, quite frankly, with our teams burning out because without the teams we just can’t serve the people that we serve. So, I’m watching closely too. I just told someone, I said, I bet they’re having some real interesting conversations in MBA programs right now. Because the whole employee and work model is changing and I’m watching just to see where does the pendulum kind of stop and slow down. 

19:48 Mallory Erickson: 

Yeah. I love that and I love that you’re talking about it because I think sometimes, we think in the non-profit world, oh well that won’t hit us in the same way because all of our people are so mission driven. That extraction mentality, it’s really hard for me to hear especially when we have organizations that are working to write the injustices in our society, and then their insides just don’t match their outsides. And we’re like, wait a second, that inequity is happening inside your organization right now. So, I think there is just this need for a much bigger conversation around this. I’m curious with your funders, how have you found ways to talk to funders about things like this, investing in strengthening the capacity of the organization and investing in your people and having departments? What’s some of the language that you’ve used and things that you’ve found when you’ve broached those conversations with funders? 

20:46 Careshia Moore: 

When people ask, what is it that you need, I’m very honest. Yes, programs are strong and you can always invest in our programs. However, if you want to invest in something that we wanted to build to serve more youth, we have to build capacity within our organization. We’re small but mighty. We’re still a small organization despite the celebrity of our founder, and in order to really grow and serve more youth and have bigger impact, we need more people in these particular areas. And so unrestricted funds are a way to do that. One of our long-time funders, we just had that conversation and she said, tell me more. And I told her, I said, look, we’re in development, ironically, right Mallory, in development where we don’t have someone to help with the follow up, sort of a donor engagement person. That’s something that we need in order to help to continue to grow and increase our revenue, which obviously allows us more resources to do more work. And she said, okay, and they sponsor one of our big programs that we hosted. She said, well, let’s go ahead and increase the ask, complete the grant application for the program as well as for the capacity, and we got it. It was a reinforcement for me. So, I’m having conversations with [inaudible21:56] and they ask me what I want, I start out with that. Because, you know what? If we have the people, the programs are easy, we have the people to run the programs. I no longer necessarily, depending on who I’m talking to, start out with the programs. If it’s sort of an open ended, what do you need? Because we truly need to continue to build capacity within organization, and I see myself as a leader, I have to be able to champion and advocate for that on behalf of our team. And that’s what I do. So, I couch it in terms of this is going to help us grow, and your investment in the organization can be a part of that growth and sustainability. 

22:33 Mallory Erickson: 

I think sometimes perhaps as non-profit leaders, we become overly obsessed with the overhead conversation to the point where we actually lose sight of the fact that overhead is also what makes everything else run. I think when we separate it too much in our minds, we forget that those people are running those programs or they’re marketing those programs for students to enrol in, or they’re so deeply tied to the work. And so, I think the way that you talk about that is so important and the fact that you, I love that you come out of the gate with it. Because I think that I did this other episode at the beginning of season two with a woman named Vanessa Bohns, and she wrote this book called, You Have More Influence than You Think. And she was talking about the influence that we actually have as fundraisers that we don’t realize we have and the way we [inaudible23:26] see the influence of the donor to actually be more than they’re intending it to be. That when there’s a perception of a power dynamic at play, we actually take maybe a flippant comment from a donor and we’re like, oh, they definitely want to do that thing. And that’s kind of how power creates these biases in the way we hear what they’re saying or perceive what they’re saying. And so, it’s really interesting to me hearing you share that because my guess is that when we give the investment and capacity at the end of a long list of programs, we’re not really leveraging our influence, we’re burying the lead. Right? We’re sort of like, here are all the things that you’re going to likely get excited about first. And we could also probably use it for this too, if maybe you’d consider it. 

24:16 Careshia Moore: 

We minimize the importance of it when really, it’s one of the most important things, if not the most important. 

24:22 Mallory Erickson: 

Yes. And the other thing I love about you sharing that, that I’m realizing for the first time is that, if they don’t invest in capacity and you lead with that, they’re going to ask about your programs, they will say, we don’t do that type of investment, can you tell me a little bit more about the programs that you have? So, you’ll always have the opportunity to dig into the programs if that’s not a fit for them, but the other way is likely not going to happen. So, if you start talking about the programs, the funders are very rarely, maybe 1% of the time, going to say, we’re actually interested in investing in capacity. Could you tell me what you need on that end? It really lays out a great way for folks to think about talking about that in their meetings. I appreciate that so much. 

25:06 Careshia Moore: 

No, listen. And what we do is, we think about it holistically. Even in investment in capacity building gets you access to support our programs. So, you still get those volunteer engagement opportunities. You still get to see it up close and personal to participate. And then maybe you want, like this company, right, double your commitment to the organization because you feel tied to not just the vision and the stability of the organization, but now it’s also, wow, they’re doing great work, how can we help support that too. And I think it’s what you talk about, it’s that scarcity mindset. That’s what I loved about you, Mallory, when I first heard you speak here in Atlanta, I’m like, oh my gosh, I think I made that comment to you. I said, she was in my head, she was in my head, is that when you’re first starting to ask for money, you always think it’s an either or, not realize. And sometimes we can close windows and doors on ourselves. Put it out there. You never know what someone is looking to support, and instead do that cultivation of those donors and put out there what it is that you need. I’ve come to learn that. 

26:10 Mallory Erickson: 

Yeah. I also want to caveat what I was saying before for folks who are listening that, I think the other reason that works so well in this situation in particular is because they’d already been funding your program as you were sort of alluding to, and then saw how aligned they were with the work, and they wanted to take that relationship to the next level. And so, program investments can be a great gateway for a funder, but then I think those questions start to arise around what else do we need? We have gotten into the, well, we don’t want to lose the funding, so we don’t want to talk about something new because then maybe we won’t get anything at all, when really what they’re looking for is something like this. So, I really appreciate that, and I’m curious when you’ve had, it strikes me, maybe I’m making an assumption here that’s incorrect, but my guess is that you have been really good about not over-inflating your budget on a programmatic level to a point that your organization can’t support operationally. And I’m curious if you’ve ever run into challenges around that, where folks want to give more to a program than you all can sort of operationally hold and how you’ve managed that.

27:20 Careshia Moore: 

Where we first experienced that was during Covid. Operational expenses of programs decreased, right? Because everything was virtual for us, where you bring a group of kids and there may be food, there’s transportation, there are just other costs that we just did not have in Covid, and so what we have done is gone back and we’ve even gotten restricted funds where I’ve gone back to that funder and said, hey, through this Covid, or I just did this with a scholarship fund that we have. We have some additional scholarships that would not have technically come out of that, but I said, we have X number of dollars sitting in this restricted fund account. We have X number of dollars that we have additional scholarships to be paid. This is the parameters around the scholarship. It really does align with this other scholarship account. Are you okay or interested in being us funding these scholars out of this particular fund? A one sentence email. That sounds great.

But again, just asking, and a no is just a no. You know, when you get into fundraising, you learn a no. Sometimes it’s not right now, it’s just a no but you don’t know if you don’t ask. And the same thing around Covid. We have had funds that were for programs and we realized, okay, we didn’t spend as much because everything was virtual. Going back and saying, are you okay with us using these particular for something else. In all cases that I asked, the answer was yes. I think it’s asking if you can reallocate those funds for areas that you need if you are not able to expend all of those. And for us, it wasn’t a case of over inflation, it was just the fact that Global Pandemic prevented us from expending it. We’ve done pretty good now with understanding what the costs are to run programs. We make sure that everything is just in there. Like you said, from the marketing to the personnel, to the admin planning, et cetera. Whatever we’re going to use, we try to make sure that it’s all within, in that particular budget so that when we ask, we’re going for one ask and not having to piecemeal different funding sources to fund a particular program.

29:16 Mallory Erickson: 

I love that, and you just strike me as such a smart leader in these ways. And so, it’s bringing up this other question I have. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the comparison of non-profit fundraising with start-up fundraising and like venture rounds. And the way that there are these rounds that have a goal associated with them. And if you don’t hit the goal, you don’t do the thing, you don’t get a fourth of the goal and say, oh, we’re going to do it anyway, we’re going to figure out how to make that work with a quarter of the money. I think in the non-profit sector, we actually do that a lot. We want to make it work with whatever we have or whatever we got. And so, I’m curious, as you think about program expansion and sort of execute on that in your fundraising and programmatically, how do you think about those step functions and really sort of make sure that you’re raising what you truly need to be able to do the next level of growth that you’re setting out to do?

30:14 Careshia Moore:

I’m smiling as you talked about that because we have a project right now. We got a million dollars from Truist foundation. And that allowed us to build in financial literacy into our programs. And from that we learned, okay, entrepreneurship is huge with the young people that we serve. How can we sort of help build this youth accelerator that can help them thrive in the same way that we built off this billion-dollar budget we built it out for the youth accelerator. And we have talked to several people. No one has jumped in and dived in yet. We know annually what it’s going to cost us to be able to run that particular program. It’s on hold until we get that, at least that first year of funding. I don’t ever want to pull people in. First of all, personnel are tied to these programs. You don’t want to pull people in, even if you have the funds now, they’re going to run out because we didn’t budget for that particular thing. And then you have to tell people, sorry, we didn’t get the funding for it. You know, I just think, you handle people in a way with dignity and respect. Also, we want to be able to run these programs with integrity and have robust programming to be able to really fulfill the vision and not do it to a certain percentage because you’re not going to get the outcomes that you want. If you trust your experts and your staff to develop this vision, and we know through the work of our programs and research and the professional development that we need these particular factors in order to get to these outcomes for our young people, then we have to be able to fund that completely. It’ll be right for the right donor. And once we’re able to get those funding, if they say, no, we don’t want to do a multi-year, but let’s start out with one year, then we have that funding and we know once we execute on it, we’ll continue to get the funding because we have that sort of belief and confidence in the product that we’re putting out. We don’t start a new initiative or a partnership or program unless we have the funding to that. 

32:03 Mallory Erickson: 

How do you budget and sort of manage your time? You’re doing a lot of things and the programs are doing a lot, but you’re also managing your staff and your team and your board really carefully. How do you think about your time and ensuring that you’re staying healthy in whole, and also able to prioritize the most important tasks?

32:25 Careshia Moore: 

Well, that’s a great question. And I love that you said prioritize because all the time it’s not balanced. But I think I was telling you; I have a board meeting coming up next week. I’m traveling for a board meeting this week, so I am all in on those particular things, getting someone to help with, sort of the minutia. I found when I first came into this role, I was just doing too many minute tasks that would take away my time. When I think about meeting someone and you do the back and forth around scheduling, to scheduling sort of that first meeting, I did get someone to help me schedule so I can include them. I don’t have a full EA just yet, but it’s someone that I can put on an email and say, hey, she’s going to help us get coordinate our schedule so we can get that first meeting, and now I can take that out of my head and move on to the next thing. Also trusting the team that we have is huge and important and you can find some people, and I may raise my hand slightly on this being a little type A, wanting to know all the details of everything that’s going on. And I can’t say I’ve never been there, but what I have done is, said I can’t live there because if I’m living here in this small details then some of the bigger things, the visioning work, the building relationships with other people that need to know about our organization, are not happening. So that’s something else. I would say it’s a lot of work on self that has helped me to then activate that in sort of actionable ways, like having someone schedule me, locking out my calendar. I think just Friday I had on my calendar non-negotiable board prep, no meetings. So, making sure that I have that time. And then I’m also a wife and a mom, and so weekends for me as much as possible, sometimes I have to do meetings or come to things with the youth that we serve, I try to engage my kids, but for the most part, I’m either at a Basketball game or a robotics tournament for my daughter. So, just making sure that I’m able to also show that my children are a priority as well. I always say, I never want to save all of these kids or help these kids, and then my kids are at home fledgling and, and figuring out, well where is mom, to help me figure out my spark. So, I make sure that I keep that as a priority as well. 

34:38 Mallory Erickson: 

Okay. I want to just end there. I’m so grateful for this conversation, for the work that you do, for the way you show up and lead. Thank you for spending this time with us today.

34:48 Careshia Moore: 

Mallory, thank you. It was such a pleasure. Again, you just are so awesome with what you do, and I appreciate you for inviting me to have this conversation.

35:03 Mallory Erickson: 

Wow, there are so many things that came up in this conversation that I want to double click on. 

Number one. Even if your non-profit has a significant backer, there is nothing that replaces the collective impact that comes from coalescing as a community around the cause or issue. 

Number two. At the end of the day, no matter who is at the helm, thriving non-profits are centered on outcomes. What is it that your non-profit is accomplishing and why is it successful? Those are the questions that you want to be asking yourself. 

Number three. Non-profit is a tax designation rather than a business model. Whether for profit or not, your enterprise still needs to be financially healthy and hit goals. And there are a lot of different business models under the non-profit tax status. 

Number four, securing truly adequate project funding out of the gate is key to integrity and sustainability. You do not want to stretch your organization thin by trying to launch a program without all of the funding in place to truly make it thrive. 

And number five, remember, even if you lead with an ask around capacity building and your donors aren’t interested, they will still stick around to hear about your programs, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true. Plus, if you have a specific need, ask your donors to fund it instead of trying to read their minds. You might be surprised around what funders are willing to get behind if they truly understand the impact of that investment. 

Okay, there are so many more takeaways and tips inside this episode, so head on over to malloryerickson.com/podcast to grab the full show notes and resources now. You’ll also find more information there about Careshia and Usher’s New Look. 

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 what the fundraising underscore. Have a great day and I’ll see you next week.

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