87: Measuring for Success: Alignment, Data, and Donor Confidence with Sasha Dichter

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“I’ve met countless executive directors who say, I do everything, but I don’t have to fundraise. I just leave that to my head of development . And I think, ‘Who is on your board that is letting that happen?’ ”

– Sasha Dichter
Episode #87


In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

Can you imagine a vibrant social impact marketplace built on outcomes-based data? My guest on this episode of What the Fundraising certainly can – because that’s exactly the platform he and his team at 60 Decibels are building out. CEO & Co-Founder Sasha Dichter explains the why behind creating a foundation for genuine benchmarks and repeatability when it comes to measuring nonprofit results. The goal is to give organizations a window into how their programs are performing relative to peers and to set targets based on meaningful feedback. 

Our conversation touches on the power of partnerships and lessons learned when Sasha moved from the corporate to the nonprofit sector. Far from his initial impression of fundraising as the pursuit of dollars at benefit dinners – somewhat remote and hands-off – he quickly identified the importance of building partnerships based on trust, not transactions. As Director of Business Development and then Chief Innovation Officer at Acumen, a strategic investor in organizations and people fighting poverty, Sasha learned first-hand about the transformational impacts that can occur when a clearly defined mission meets a genuinely engaged funder. He shares his thoughts on how to identify the core DNA of your organization, bring confidence to the table with donors (you have something of equal or greater value to offer) and build sustained relationships through authenticity and honest conversations. “You actually want to have the goal of a conversation (with funders) that involves trust and mutual respect,” says Sasha. “If you don’t have that, you can’t fake it.” 

At the end of the conversation we get to learn more about 60 Decibels and it is exciting stuff! With more than 1,000 researchers doing qualitative surveys in 77+ countries, 60 Decibels is creating a tech-enabled resource with huge implications both for incrementally improving the quality of what nonprofits deliver and unleashing capital investment based on systematic metrics that funders can get behind. Think of a future landscape in which this data-fueled tool could be used to pair funders and nonprofits whose values align. There is so much in this episode for nonprofit leaders, you don’t want to miss this one!


Sasha Dichter & 60 Decibels


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Get to know Sasha:

Sasha is the Co-Founder and CEO of 60 Decibels, a company that helps anyone, anywhere, listen to their customers to create more social impact. The goal is to reboot impact measurement to make it truly useful to entrepreneurs and the customers they serve, and to help investors and fund managers better allocate capital to companies that create transformative change.


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episode transcript

02:55 Mallory Erickson: 

Welcome everyone. I am so excited to be here today with Sasha Dichter. Sasha, welcome to ‘What the fundraising’. 

03:03 Sasha Dichter: 

Thank you, Mallory. Nice to be here. 

03:05 Mallory Erickson: 

I’m so excited for this conversation today. I read your blog on Seth Godin’s website after he joined me on a show and was just blown away. And so, I’d love to just start with you introducing yourself to everyone, telling them a little bit about your journey and what brings you to our conversation today.

03:21 Sasha Dichter: 

Sure, great to be here. And many debts to pay to Seth, and that’s certainly one of them. But I’m the co-founder and CEO of 60 Decibels. We’re a social impact measurement company. We make it easy to listen to end customers and beneficiaries anywhere in the world. Happy to talk about that a little more at some point, if that’s helpful. Before we founded the company in 2019, I spent 12 years at Acumen where I spent my first five years as the head of business development, and then the next seven years as the Chief Innovation Officer. But I guess the context for this conversation is, I was hired by Jacqueline Novogratz, the CEO to head the fundraising team without any fundraising experience, and she spent a year telling me, we’re going to reinvent fundraising. I sort of thought, well that’s great because I don’t know how to do it in the first place. So, I spent a lot of time really thinking about what that might mean to have to figure out my own way to do that. You know, happy to get into any.

04:06 Mallory Erickson: 

Yeah, tell me a little bit about that. What did it look like for you to enter in as a new fundraiser? What were some of the beliefs that you held about fundraising and what were some of the biggest surprises?

04:17 Sasha Dichter: 

It’s funny because right at that time I remember I was trying to figure out what my next job was because I had been working in the corporate sector and I was looking at kind of executive director roles of smaller nonprofits and every single one of them said like, think, think, think think, that I thought I could do and then fundraising, and I was just like, my wife and I were talking about that and she’s like, well you don’t know how to do that. Miraculously I talked myself into becoming the head of fundraising, but I just thought my job was somehow going to be to go to benefit dinners. And I don’t know why I thought that. Like, I don’t even know why I would fundraise from other people’s benefits, but it just, it all felt very sort of stuffy and far away from quote unquote, the work. So, I think that was the image that I held going in. That’s the thing that, that was never going to work for me. Like I was never going to be able to do that because I came from a more, space closer to the content of the work, if you will. And so, I just felt like I needed to find an approach that didn’t work that way. And frankly, that approach always just felt, I mean, again, funders don’t want to be far from, and we can talk about what the work really is or isn’t, but sort of in the traditional definition, the programmatic word funders don’t want to be far from that. And so obviously fundraisers who kind of give it experience of separation are going to exacerbate that distance instead of shortening it. And in many ways, I feel like the core of this is treating everybody as part of doing, as opposed to a separation between funds and the useful activity that a non-profit might do.  

05:34 Mallory Erickson: 

Yeah, I mean, this is one of the pieces in your blog that just resonated so deeply with me and aligned with so much of what I talk about. You know, I say that, even if I had a money tree that could fund your organization for the next 10 years without you ever needing to fundraise again, I wouldn’t give it to you because fundraising is the work and it has long been believed to be this sort of necessary evil or a means to an end. And so, talk to me about that because I really heard that message loud and clear in your article that fundraising is the work. And how does even the adoption of that belief shift how fundraisers experience fundraising too? 

06:12 Sasha Dichter: 

Absolutely. And the phrase necessary evil is one I’ve used a lot as well. I mean, I’ve met countless executive directors who say, I do everything but I don’t how to fundraise, I just leave that to my head of development. And I think, who is on your board that is letting that happen because more and more nonprofits have gotten to the point of realizing that no matter what good programmatic work they do, there’s a broader system that they’re part of that they have to pay attention to. And so, the starting point of being like, let’s be honest, there is a lot of concentration of wealth in our world, and corresponding with that concentration of wealth is a concentration of power. You know, people who are extremely wealthy, whether it’s people, or institutions, have a lot of influence. And so, if you just reframe the question and say, okay, well I need someone to spend time talking to and listening to some of the most powerful and influential people and institutions in the world about the work we’re doing to hopefully persuade them that they should be part of it or to listen to them and understand why it does or doesn’t work.

07:04 Sasha Dichter:

Like if someone said, Okay, well that job probably isn’t that important to the mission, but like it doesn’t make any sense. Ages ago I wrote a blog post called ‘Jeff Immelt was a sales guy’. She’s basically like, the CEO of every major corporation that you’ve heard of came through sales. And the reason is because they understood the customer. And what I’ve always found, especially when I have big spurts of what its fundraising right now, or sales, or my current job spending time with customers, I come back with like a thousand new ideas. I just remember time and time again, I’d sit down with someone and they say, so what’s new? And the question is, where are we trying to go? Right? And so, you are talking about where you’re trying to go, which is at the edge of what you can currently do right now. And when those ideas interact with the people you’re talking with and they say, I like this, I don’t like this, have you thought of this, here’s a partner, that is shaping in the best sense, your strategy. To me, I always found that, one, it was a question of like understanding that whether you like the word evangelizing or proselytizing or persuading or marketing, whatever word you like, talking to people who are influential about your work is inherently valuable for a hundred different reasons. And then in addition, if you’re really doing it the right way, you know, speaking of Seth, Seth wrote a post I think a week ago or so about why chief marketing officers always get fired, and it’s because they’re handed a product and then told like, go market it. And that’s not the job. The marketing is the product. And in many ways like that is the mindset that we can bring to this. To say, I am out there with a semi-formed version of what his product is, if you will, which is a reflection of our strategy. Talk to people who know a lot and then come back and say, you know, maybe we can shape it this way, that way, or the other way.

08:31 Sasha Dichter:

Now, of course, it can go too far. One of the biggest challenges if you’re a fundraiser is, I want to do idea A, funder says, what about B, and you run back and say, I guess we’re doing B today. That’s really problematic. You need to have a mission. You need to have a strategy. You need to align with the things that you’re best at. There really is this potential to both influence people and shape the direction of your organization as a result of what you’re learning from those conversations. Set of conversations, if you will, into how the organization functions and the ability of the person to have that kind of grasp to be able to both translate what it is we’re doing in really simple non-jargony ways as a group we are not always good at. And in addition to that, also be able to be welcomed back into the organization and say, you know what I heard made me think that maybe this and this and this and this, right? And then it becomes this virtual cycle, both of influence, but also strategic evolution, were just part of the circulatory system of any great organization.

09:22 Mallory Erickson: 

Wow. There’s so much that you said in there that I want to double-click on. I love what you said around the fact that there needs to be this sort of multi-channel communication around the way that we think about our strategy and our programs and our implementation, and that sometimes it goes too far. How did you think about that in terms of your work, and how do you think about that in terms of other fundraisers? You know, there’s such a spectrum in terms of, I think how well organizations know themselves. And I talk a lot about this concept of alignment fundraising, and that starts with deeply understanding who you are, what you believe in, what your values are, what drives the organization, what’s the vision and the North Star. Yes, all of that, how we get there’s evolve and iterate and test and change. But I’m curious, how do you think about that? Like what do organizations really make sure they know first to ensure that they don’t get sort of swept away with the influence of a donor? 

10:18 Sasha Dichter: 

Yeah, I mean that’s a hard one to answer in the time we have left. I do think you said a lot of the things that sound right to me. You know, it is about knowing who you are, it is about knowing like essentially what you’re best at. After I had a business development at Acumen, I became Chief Innovation Officer. And one of the things that I tried to distill for myself is I was thinking, help build the things that we do next. And so, the prerequisite to that is, well, what’s we, what do we do? What do we stand for? Who are we? And so, I would try to think a lot about what’s the unique characteristics of the organization that are non-negotiable. The moment we say like, mission, vision, strategy, we all start saying a lot of words. And I think we can get lost in those words, but it’s what makes us just tell it to me in a normal sentence. And it may have nothing to do with the strategy, but those are the things that are bolted to the ground. Those don’t change. And it could be certain set of talent, it could be knowledge, it could be people, it could be relationships. It’s in all of these categories to a certain extent. When someone says, well, I don’t know about that idea, but how about this? If you look at the things that are required to do that and then a level of excellence. And you look at your list of things that we know we are just, we’re the best at these things and you don’t see great overlap. Like that’s a moment to say. One of the things I would say more broadly is, what we haven’t talked about, which is in the backdrop of all of these things, is the power dynamic that many fundraisers feel exists between them and the person they’re fundraising from. And so, the context of that power dynamic where the fundraiser feels have less power because they’re in this asking position. When someone says, how about this other thing, it’s very difficult to approach that conversation as an equal and say, actually, let’s think about how we can make this the best of what you would like and the best of what I would like. So, I think there is knowledge, as you said, and there is confidence also. I think one also has to be willing to say always, that seems like a great idea, we’re not the best people to do it. And I think, again, from the perspective of the funder, what can also be frustrating is this experience of being seen only as a set of dollar signs to a fundraiser. And to the funder it’s like, well, anything that I say, this person will smile and nod and say yes to until I write a check. Right? So, to me, the very first question really, there’s all these prerequisites that you just talked about, but the real question to me is like, can we have an honest conversation here and what can I, as the fundraiser or potentially the funder. Cause I’ve definitely had situations where potential funders have just like reset an entire conversation and we got to like a very different place. So, it’s nobody’s individual job. One of the best ways to have a real conversation is to be clear in what you do and don’t do, and be clear that like, your job as the fundraiser is to be a partner to and steward of that philanthropist realizing their goals, and there are some goals that may go through your organization, but they have many goals that may not. So as a very practical kind of tip, I think Adam Grant’s ‘Give and take’ is a great metaphor for a lot of these things, are we givers, are we takers, are we matchers? It’s very easy to feel like you’re doing your job by being at least the matcher, right? They do something for me, I do something for them, right? When I was really actively full-time fundraising, I was thinking about the people that were, the relationships that I was managing, and I was actively thinking, what is this person’s priorities? Again, one of the privileges of being in an organization like Acumen was we just got to see a lot of really neat stuff, and so when something interesting would come across my desk, I would just proactively try to share it with a handful of people who would find it interesting to be useful to them. I think there’s a number of steps you can take. This isn’t what we’re best at. How can I help you make that happen anyway, here’s some interesting things that don’t have to do with you writing the next check. These are very kind, tactical things for fundraisers. First of all, you have to honestly have the goal. You actually want to have a goal of a conversation that involves trust and mutual respect. If you don’t have that, you can’t fake it. But then there’s all these expectations that you have to break through. And so, it’s just the question of, what practical steps can I take to build a space that is a space of trust and a space of actual partnership? There are reasons that the fundraiser feels inhibited in creating a real partnership, but there are plenty of reasons why the funder also just feels like, oh gosh, here’s another person, you know, got to get through this meeting and either try not to write a check. The check writing is a good thing. It just needs to be in service of something that both the organization and the funder are genuinely committed to it. 

14:14 Mallory Erickson: 

Yeah, and I think that has such huge implications for sort of the sustainability of our fundraising as well. Like we can get a one-time favor gift or a one-time guilt gift from that sort of energy. But then that isn’t what ultimately builds these sustainable organizations over time that are really focused on eradicating some of these problems. And it’s really interesting what you said around the trust piece, because we spend so much time in this sector talking about how to get donors to trust us. And how do you build donor trust? And we don’t talk a lot enough, I think, about trusting our donors to have those honest conversations. And you’re right. You can’t fake that energy like that is felt. If your only interest at the end of the day is the money at all costs, there’s no way to get around that intention in terms of how the funder is going to feel.  

15:03 Sasha Dichter: 

Right. And similarly, if you don’t feel confident and you don’t feel like you’re showing up with that conversation as an equal, you’re going to communicate that as well. So, in a way, I think there’s no escaping the steps of doing the actual work. And just on this point of confidence, it is reminding yourself that you are offering something of equal or greater value than the money that somebody might give, because otherwise, why would they give the money. And just really sitting with that and owning that. Because it is a hard thing for people to take in. But if you are a philanthropist, you have a philanthropy problem and your philanthropy problem is, I have money that I’ve decided to put towards good work, but I can’t find good work. Someone shows up to me and says, I have actually good work here, and we can talk at some point about measurement and understanding whether or not the work is really good, which is my work right now at 60 Decibels. Regardless, that is problem solving. Right? And you are actually therefore coming with something of, not only some value. If I show up and at the end of a meeting or an end of five meetings, someone is writing a million-dollar check to the organization I’m fundraising for, that means I have something to offer that’s worth that or more. Right? And it’s just owning that and doing that internal work to really recognize that, that I think is the step that we all skip because most conversations about fundraising are unbelievably tactical, and most philanthropists are doing their work as an expressive act to do something positive in the world and in that process, there is a potential for personal transformation.

16:22 Sasha Dichter:

So think about how different the language is if like, I am aspiring to doing something worthwhile and meaningful in the world that could hopefully lead to some personal transformation for me, versus like, the tactics of sending the email and da, da, da and making the clothes. It’s just like, we are in two different universes here. Talk about a failure of empathy on the part of the fundraiser. I mean, that’s what failure of empathy is, right? I just, I’m worried about my problem. I know the feeling, and I remember this sense every year we get to January again, I’d just be like, oh my gosh, we have to do it again. It’s a lot to hold and it’s a lot of responsibility to hold. It’s sort of like, you know, what do I wear and what color socks do I wear today? Like, the reality is nobody cares but me, right? Nobody cares about that problem you have, and you just have to really meet a person where they are and really understand, again, his journey. And I’m talking about major fundraising, larger gifts. I’m not talking about direct mail and $100 web donations, but if we’re talking about tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, million-dollar gifts, this is a deeply personal undertaking, and I just think we need to understand that in a fundamental level and then just recognize that the moment we show up in a transactional fashion, we’re just in the wrong space entirely. You have to show up there genuinely. And I think it is, as you said, internal work about mission strategy, who we are, who I am, that I have something on offer that’s valuable, and then patience. Because you’re not going to make an expressive transformational gift with someone with whom you have no relationship. I mean, it’s crazy. Right. So, I also think that sometimes we’re in this terrible hurry and just ruin any chance of true partnership as a result. 

17:45 Mallory Erickson: 

And we have a lot of resources on the show around sort of regulating our nervous systems for exactly that reason. Because when we let our sort of anxious energy take over, we show up in those really transactional ways. And I hear a lot of fundraisers say, well, we have a good relationship with that donor. And then when I sort of push them on having a more honest or hard conversation, they’re like, oh, we can’t say that. And I’m like, so what does good relationship mean then? Does good relationship just mean that they give you money? And to your point around what kind of transformational experience the donors are looking for, it’s like, wow. Like if that’s how we’re judging good relationship, that’s not a good relationship for them. So, I think that’s just something really big to look at. Okay. Tell us about 60 Decibels and what you’re doing now and this whole piece around measuring impact and bringing folks together around it.

18:33 Sasha Dichter: 

Yeah. So, I wish we had 60 disciples, we’re 60 Decibels, which is a volume of human conversation. I loved 60 disciples; we need 60 disciples in. So again, we were born in Acumen to solve basically our own social impact measurement problem. And to put it as simply as possible, social impact starts and ends with human beings, and we name the company 60 Decibels because we want to raise up human voice and bring the people who are so-called beneficiaries, which already has a huge power dynamic built in, to the table. So first and foremost, the act of actually listening to people in a systematic way is itself empowering. Then the second thing is, pretty much everybody has a social impact measurement problem. And we’re trying to provide a solution that is fast, that is easy, that is globally scalable, and that is affordable, which are like none of the words you would normally use to describe social impact. And by the way, useful, right? And so, what we do globally is, we’ve built a network of more than a 1000 people in more than 77 countries who actually call up people on the phone and ask them set of social impact questions based on our content and our expertise. So, you can understand, not in theory, and not because of a paper you read, but in actuality, whether it’s a solar lamp or microfinance loan, or a farmer who’s selling coffee or cacao to a major brand, is your life better? And the reality is, a person can tell you if their life is better. A person can tell you if they stopped using kerosene. A person can tell you if the amount they’re getting paid for the cacao allows them to put food on the table or if they’re skipping meals. So, there’s just been this absence of technological improvement and how we think about social impact measurement. And so, what we’ve done is, we built the technology solution that allows you to get those answers basically from five of the 7 billion people of the world. And because we do a really high volume of projects in more standardized set of sectors, we also bring you really great benchmarks. If I have one intervention and it says, you know, 40% of the people here in Kenya who are this customer beneficiary, live below the poverty line. Was that good or bad? We can tell you the answer to that cause we work with another 190 other Kenyan organizations of which 60 do the exact same thing that yours does. Same thing for improvements in quality of life, or improvements in household wellbeing, or improvements of empowerment, women. And so, we’re bringing the standardization and comparability to social impact measurement and in a way like cutting away through all the like framework nonsense. You know, it’s just like you do social impact measurement and like someone puts up a framework and someone puts up a logic model, and all this stuff and it’s just like, that is exhausting everybody. And it exhausts me, it exhausts us. So, it’s sort of like, but wait a minute, aren’t there people at the end, we’ve talked to a 1,00,000 thousand people who’ve gotten a microfinance loan. We know what matters to them. Shouldn’t we just ask them? Instead, what happens is like, we’re running this, you know, four lap race or whatever, and at the end of the second lap we’re like, oh, we did the framework and I told someone the goals, and it’s just like there’s no data. We don’t actually talk to people. If you put it that way, it’s just like, so let me get this straight. The standard of practice in the world is, we’re going to try to affect change and do social impact and never systematically listen to people either to see if we’re serving them well so we can serve them better, or to understand if it’s working. Like that’s the standard of practice today. And so, our belief has been, there’s no good solution that allows you to do that at scale because I can do a giant million-dollar study in one place, but everywhere else I’m not going to have the budget to do it. So, let’s make this quick. Let’s make it take 8 to 12 weeks. Let’s make it be affordable, and then let’s make it be comparable. And so, what we’re finding is, whether you’re a philanthropist who’s investing in underserved communities in the US or whether you’re an investor who’s trying to build energy solutions in sub-Saharan Africa, there’s a standard set of metrics that we can get folks in a way that’s actually like useful to the entrepreneur, useful to the implementing organization, useful to the funder, that actually has to do with performance. And again, the reason all that’s possible is not magic in a bottle. It’s, we talk to people, we ask them questions, we ask them to describe their lived experience, and that’s not the whole answer, but it’s a heck a lot more than people normally have been getting. So that’s what we’re doing every day.

22:12 Mallory Erickson: 

Wow. Oh my gosh. I want another hour and a half to talk to you about that. One of the things that came to me when you said that, that I think really opens up the possibility then for that piece around when a funder goes to an organization around wanting to make a certain type of impact that we are not the weave for, it also creates a potential like network model for finding the folks who are demonstrating that impact on the ground, which is really amazing. 

22:37 Sasha Dichter: 

Exactly, and that is actually, you’ve literally described what I hope we will launch in 2023, which is a matching service that allows someone to say… No, it’s great. We haven’t named it yet, so we have to figure it out. But it’s exactly that, which is we have all this data from all these organizations, and if someone says, well, what I’m actually looking for is something that does a good job in female empowerment that focuses on this segment of the population in these verticals in these three countries. We can say, great, well we’ve got 15 of those, would you like us to connect you? So that’s where we’re going towards with the model. My biggest frustration, and frankly I think this is as much as anything a philanthropist frustration. I actually think that most philanthropists would have nearly endless capital to provide if they really were confident that things worked. What always holds people back is this sense of like, I’m never really sure. And the reason is again, we haven’t built this system that allows us just normally in the course of business to say what’s doing well and what’s doing not well. More money does not go to things that have more impact. It’s just a fact. And ironically actually, because we’re talking about fundraising is, more money goes to the organizations that fundraise better. And that is just true and they may or may not be the organizations that do better work. And I think we need to just acknowledge that. So, one of my sort of Trojan horse goals with 60 Decibels is, if we can more systematically, in more sectors, make it really easy to find out what is actually making a difference, I hope over time we can create either a matching service or marketplace or something that makes it much, much easier for philanthropists to go, Okay, that’s really working. And again, there’s some organizations like GiveWell and the like who have done a little bit of that. I personally think, a narrow lens, randomized control trials, which therefore lend themselves to a very specific set of interventions. And so, to me, it’s like looking for your keys under the lamppost. So, if they’re under the lamppost, it’s great, but the lamppost is only showing you like 1% of the playing field. So, I do believe that those individual organizations are doing fabulous work, but a vast majority of the useful work that’s happening in the world doesn’t subject itself to that kind of measurement. And so again, the philanthropist is stuck saying, well, how in the world do I figure out whether this or this, or this is actually doing a good job. I’m going to rely on the organization. I’m going to rely on the information and data they can give me, but honestly, I’m going to rely on the stories that I hear from them, from the executive director, from the fundraiser. And that’s not to say that the storytelling isn’t really valuable, but it is not allowing us to create the philanthropic marketplace or for the impact investing marketplace that we want. Whereby again, when you do transformative work that changes people’s lives for the better you should just have people throwing their money at you. No, I mean, honestly, because I really think the appetite is there, but instead it’s just this like, murky thing where we’re walking around without the right prescription of glasses trying to see clearly. I don’t think we’re going to get there immediately, but that really is our ultimate purpose is to allow capital allocation to happen in socially oriented spaces in a much, much more efficient way. 

25:07 Mallory Erickson: 

Wow. Well, you’re building my dream software. I mean, that’s what I hoped our space to have, have for a long time. Well, thank you. Thank you. I want to be respectful of your time. I’m so grateful for this conversation today and for what you’re doing. Thank you for joining me on the show. 

25:22 Sasha Dichter: 

It’s been a real pleasure, and I hope we can keep on talking.

25:31 Mallory Erickson: 

All right. You better believe I was going wild over basically every sentence Sasha said in this episode. And before I dive into my top takeaways, I want to make sure you heard what he said around the fact that organizations that are getting the most funding are not the organizations having the most impact. They’re the ones who are fundraising the best. This isn’t right, and it isn’t fair, but it is the truth, and this is why it’s so important that all of you, my amazing listeners, understand the importance of growing in your fundraising practice. Okay. Now for my top takeaways that I’m thinking about right now. 

Number one. Fundraising is not a necessary evil, it is the work and the distance, the artificial distance we create between funders and the work actually creates a lot of the problems that we are trying to solve in our fundraising practices. 

Number two. There is a big difference between using feedback as inspiration or to look for iterations in your work to be more effective and going whichever way a donor’s whim is blowing you. I love the way that Sasha talked about the importance of donor feedback without centering them in the work. 

Number three. It is so critical to clearly define the DNA of your organization and know your zone of genius. I love that Sasha called me out for using the words we get lost in mission, vision, strategy. Let’s just say it simply, who are we? What are we uniquely here to do? Answer that question and then hold space for those projects and funders that intersect organically. 

Number four. When you bring a strictly transactional mindset to fundraising, you lose access to the important collaborative conversations that sustain long-term stakeholders. 

Number five, it’s critical that fundraisers know deeply that they bring something of value to the table. When you’re confident in yourself, it inspires the confidence of others as well. 

And number six, how do you define having a great relationship with a funder? Is it an honest one? Are you okay with having candid, even uncomfortable conversations? A great relationship with a donor is not that they give you money, it’s not a one-way relationship. So, let’s get clear about what we mean when we say we have a great or strong relationship with someone. 

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 Sasha and 60 Decibels and our amazing sponsors, Bloomerang. 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’m 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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