The Non Profit Podcast Network

Addressing the Non-Profit Landscape of Sustainability & Leadership with Impact Foundry's Kim Tucker.

June 05, 2024 The Non Profit Podcast Network
Addressing the Non-Profit Landscape of Sustainability & Leadership with Impact Foundry's Kim Tucker.
The Non Profit Podcast Network
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The Non Profit Podcast Network
Addressing the Non-Profit Landscape of Sustainability & Leadership with Impact Foundry's Kim Tucker.
Jun 05, 2024
The Non Profit Podcast Network

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode. Please send me a text...

What if nonprofits could thrive with the same professionalism and efficiency as for-profit businesses? Join me as I sit down with Kim Tucker from The Impact Foundry to dissect the evolving landscape of nonprofit business models and capacity building. Kim unpacks the shift from donation-based funding to earned revenue and why nonprofits must invest in robust internal systems and talent. Discover the misconceptions that hold nonprofits back and the critical distinction between ego-driven and mission-driven organizations. It's not a good vs bad thing.

Explore the nuances of nonprofit sustainability with insights into the Impact Foundry's Certified Sustainable program, a "mini MBA" designed to transform passionate initiatives into enduring institutions. We discuss the challenges of nonprofit marketing, often seen as an expense rather than an investment, and introduce the Cultural Intelligence Unit program, which aims to enhance inclusivity and cooperation. This conversation highlights the importance of strategic planning and robust governance in achieving nonprofit longevity.

Lastly, we tackle the broader challenges and strategies faced by nonprofits, from leadership compensation and marketing paradoxes to the necessity of collaboration and advocacy. Kim emphasizes the need for a mindset shift from scarcity to abundance and showcases innovative initiatives like the "What If" conference. Learn how effective storytelling and strategic partnerships can elevate nonprofits from behind-the-scenes heroes to recognized community pillars, especially during crises like COVID-19. I think you'll find this a thought-provoking discussion that redefines what it means to be a successful, sustainable nonprofit in today's world.

For more information on The Impact Foundry visit: https://impactfoundry.org/

CHAPTERS
(00:00) Nonprofit Business Models and Capacity Building
Nonprofits are businesses, evolving funding models, need for infrastructure and talent, and unrealistic expectations for operational expenses.

(08:47) Nonprofit Organization Sustainability and Diversity
Mission-driven nonprofits can achieve sustainability through revenue generation, efficiency, community engagement, and governance, with a focus on inclusivity and collaboration.

(23:13) Challenges of Nonprofit Leadership and Marketing
Nonprofit leadership should be valued and compensated adequately, and marketing is crucial for generating community support and impact.

(26:52) The Importance of Marketing in Fundraising
Nonprofit marketing and funding challenges include unrealistic donor expectations, supplementing grants with fundraising, and the importance of storytelling.

(32:39) Collaboration for Nonprofit Impact
Impact Foundry's funding and operations, membership dues, challenges with grants, partnership with Luminary Partners, and importance of collaboration in the nonprofit sector.

(45:43) Challenges and Strategies in Nonprofit Sector
Nonprofits face challenges in addressing community needs, hindered by inadequate resources and funding practices, but innovative solutions like the "What If" conference offer hope.

(57:56) Promoting Nonprofit Advocacy and Collaboration
Nonprofits play a crucial role in communities, with a focus on storytelling, advocacy, collaboration, and bringing people together for effective solutions.

HIGHLIGHTS
(01:24 - 02:38) Nonprofits as Big Business
(05:53 - 06:51) Nonprofit Indirect Cost Restrictions
(11:23 - 12:54) Nonprofit Governance and Marketing Challenges
(15:37 - 16:44) Increasing Diversity in Nonprofit Leadership
(26:52 - 28:17) Marketing Investment for Revenue Growth

Show Notes Transcript

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode. Please send me a text...

What if nonprofits could thrive with the same professionalism and efficiency as for-profit businesses? Join me as I sit down with Kim Tucker from The Impact Foundry to dissect the evolving landscape of nonprofit business models and capacity building. Kim unpacks the shift from donation-based funding to earned revenue and why nonprofits must invest in robust internal systems and talent. Discover the misconceptions that hold nonprofits back and the critical distinction between ego-driven and mission-driven organizations. It's not a good vs bad thing.

Explore the nuances of nonprofit sustainability with insights into the Impact Foundry's Certified Sustainable program, a "mini MBA" designed to transform passionate initiatives into enduring institutions. We discuss the challenges of nonprofit marketing, often seen as an expense rather than an investment, and introduce the Cultural Intelligence Unit program, which aims to enhance inclusivity and cooperation. This conversation highlights the importance of strategic planning and robust governance in achieving nonprofit longevity.

Lastly, we tackle the broader challenges and strategies faced by nonprofits, from leadership compensation and marketing paradoxes to the necessity of collaboration and advocacy. Kim emphasizes the need for a mindset shift from scarcity to abundance and showcases innovative initiatives like the "What If" conference. Learn how effective storytelling and strategic partnerships can elevate nonprofits from behind-the-scenes heroes to recognized community pillars, especially during crises like COVID-19. I think you'll find this a thought-provoking discussion that redefines what it means to be a successful, sustainable nonprofit in today's world.

For more information on The Impact Foundry visit: https://impactfoundry.org/

CHAPTERS
(00:00) Nonprofit Business Models and Capacity Building
Nonprofits are businesses, evolving funding models, need for infrastructure and talent, and unrealistic expectations for operational expenses.

(08:47) Nonprofit Organization Sustainability and Diversity
Mission-driven nonprofits can achieve sustainability through revenue generation, efficiency, community engagement, and governance, with a focus on inclusivity and collaboration.

(23:13) Challenges of Nonprofit Leadership and Marketing
Nonprofit leadership should be valued and compensated adequately, and marketing is crucial for generating community support and impact.

(26:52) The Importance of Marketing in Fundraising
Nonprofit marketing and funding challenges include unrealistic donor expectations, supplementing grants with fundraising, and the importance of storytelling.

(32:39) Collaboration for Nonprofit Impact
Impact Foundry's funding and operations, membership dues, challenges with grants, partnership with Luminary Partners, and importance of collaboration in the nonprofit sector.

(45:43) Challenges and Strategies in Nonprofit Sector
Nonprofits face challenges in addressing community needs, hindered by inadequate resources and funding practices, but innovative solutions like the "What If" conference offer hope.

(57:56) Promoting Nonprofit Advocacy and Collaboration
Nonprofits play a crucial role in communities, with a focus on storytelling, advocacy, collaboration, and bringing people together for effective solutions.

HIGHLIGHTS
(01:24 - 02:38) Nonprofits as Big Business
(05:53 - 06:51) Nonprofit Indirect Cost Restrictions
(11:23 - 12:54) Nonprofit Governance and Marketing Challenges
(15:37 - 16:44) Increasing Diversity in Nonprofit Leadership
(26:52 - 28:17) Marketing Investment for Revenue Growth

Kim Tucker: [00:00:00] Capacity needs to be ever expanding in order for our nonprofits to meet the needs that are ever evolving in our communities. We saw that when COVID hit, when food banks were being asked to double and triple who they were serving. 42 percent of Sacramento County residents are asset poor, which means they have fewer than 90 days of liquid assets in the event of a catastrophe, an illness, a job loss.

We have so many of us living on the margin, and if we want to do something about that, we have to fundamentally change how we approach those issues. I'm

Jeff Holden: Jeff Holden. Welcome to the Nonprofit Podcast Network. Our purpose and passion is to highlight a nonprofit organization in each weekly episode, giving that organization an opportunity to tell their story. In their words to better inform and educate the respective communities [00:01:00] they serve as well as provide one more tool for them to share their message to constituents and donors.

Our goal is to help build stronger communities through shared voices and to both encourage and support the growth of local non profit organizations through podcasting. Thanks to our founding partners for their foresight in helping us transform the way conversations start. CapTrust, fiduciary advice for endowments and foundations.

Runyon Saltzman Incorporated, RSE. Marketing, advertising, and public relations creating integrated communications committed to improving lives. And Western Health Advantage, a full service health care plan for individuals, employer groups, and families. From foster care to public radio, my guest today has helped nonprofits develop programs, attract funding, and expand the delivery of their mission.

She is currently the executive director of the Impact Foundry in partnership with an engaged board and stellar staff team. In [00:02:00] 2006, she joined Threefold Communications in Sacramento to launch the nonprofit division, focused on capacity building for faith and community based organizations and serving the interests of corporate community benefit programs.

Local, statewide, and national foundations engaged the firm for the multitude of assets they provided in helping nonprofits improve upon and demonstrate their impact. In 2015, Threefold sponsored her to assume the helm at Nonprofit Resource Center and to lead its expansion and transformation to the Impact Foundry.

She is now having the time of her life creating new pathways of impact within the nonprofit sector in her current role, focused on strengthening the capacity and influence of nonprofit organizations or social profits that work tirelessly to save and change lives, improve our economy, our environment, and provide a full spectrum of opportunity for today's and tomorrow's leaders.

She believes our future depends on well equipped, engaged youth, and for that reason serves on multiple [00:03:00] boards, consults to many non profit leaders, and has received numerous awards of recognition, including one of our region's most admired CEOs by the Sacramento Business Journal. She hails from Alaska where she grew up playing with bears and catching salmon barehanded, and most of the time she tells the truth.

I'm excited to be speaking with a dear friend and someone I consider a mentor. Kim Tucker, welcome to the Nonprofit Podcast Network. 

Kim Tucker: Thank you. Thank you. About time. 

Jeff Holden: I know it's been a while. I've been trying to get you over here for some time. You know, first off, it's I love the name Impact Foundry. It has this, this solid, heavy feel of something that is causing things to change.

And I think in a way that really is what it is. 

Kim Tucker: Yeah, I think the, the board back in 2016 went through a process of Being more than what the non profit resource center naming suggested, right, that we don't serve just non profits. [00:04:00] And that, you know, this sustainable community change requires all our sectors.

So this old fashioned, you know, younger people today don't always get it, but the foundry model, right, that you pour in all these otherwise different things and what comes out is stronger than what went in individually. That's the foundry portion of it. And then for us, it's business, government, philanthropy, and nonprofits.

They don't get to work in a silo. 

Jeff Holden: That's, we're going to talk a lot about that because that's so critical in the collective nonprofit space that, you know, organizations may be vertical, solo, but you can't operate that way. And before we get there, I think, you know, let's talk a little bit about Nonprofit business.

Nonprofits as business because people tend to look at them differently from the outside in. Those of us who have been inside and understand the working, it's a business. And in many cases, [00:05:00] it's a big business. It's a huge business. Some of these organizations are talking 10, 12 million dollars. Some of our biggest are 30, 40 million dollars.

That's a lot of money. And. Again, some of the outside in perspective. It's seen, well, that's a non profit, you know, that has to be run differently and nothing could be further from the truth. 

Kim Tucker: Yeah, there's a couple things come to mind about that. In terms of business in California, every non profit that has an employee follows the same laws of EDD that you would here at your firm or any big business would.

Right. So we're subject to the same rules around the safety of workers and the, the legal mandates right around business. So right there, we have to meet a test that's related to business. I think the other side of it is historically we looked at nonprofits as the place for your spare change to park, right?

You know, we say, well, we'll, we'll give you some, some extra resources [00:06:00] to do a good thing in our community. Okay. And probably when I started in this business, we averaged as a sector about 80 percent contributed and 20 percent earned in our revenue models. So those would be the primary two ways an organization gets funds, right?

So earned is you sign a contract, you have a contract or a particular type of program grant where you do exactly what the terms are to receive those funds. That's earned revenue, right? Contributed is when people donate to you. And that's the most classic definition. So, the donated dollars are very flexible, usually.

And the nonprofit can expand and contract based on how much it has. And over this last generation, nonprofits have gone from about an 80 20 contributed and earned model, business model, to the exact opposite, where we're over 80 percent earned and 20 percent donated, right? So the, the way nonprofits have [00:07:00] been funded has changed.

That's going to call on us to have a different way of doing business. Right? If, if the majority of the funds that come through our doors are earned revenue, contracts and agreements, then we must have the infrastructure to properly account for them, to properly deliver on what we promise. And that's a business model that that's not like my favorite job is the one that pays you.

You don't have to show up for it. Right. That's great. Right. Send the money and bless us with whatever you have and we'll do something with it. Okay. Non profits don't run like that anymore. 

Jeff Holden: Mm hmm. 

Kim Tucker: They really don't. 

Jeff Holden: So they look like a business. Right. It's a business that provides a service. It's a fee for service.

And therein lies the revenue for the organization with a small percentage that comes from other sources, be it donation, community wide and or grants, et cetera, et cetera. Yeah. Yeah. 

Kim Tucker: You probably don't want to get me mad in the first few minutes of this interview. Well, I have a place where I think I will.

Yeah, that's good. Well, but what starts to [00:08:00] wind me up about that too is that, yeah, that all sounds great, right? We'll, we'll let you operate a little bit more like a business. without necessarily providing you the respect and the resources and the opportunities to invest in your infrastructure as a business, right?

There is a way for us to better the way we tell it, of course, nonprofits, we all know we need to do a better job. But when my donor or my grant funder or my government agency who contracts with us expects a certain type of accountability, I must have an infrastructure for that accountability, right? I need an accounting system.

I might need a CFO. I might need talent and tools to be the business that is expected of me when historically that was never an allowable expense for us, right? Because 

Jeff Holden: we're looking at that margin, correct, goes to the cause. 98, 99 percent ridiculous. 1 percent goes back to the business operation. 

Kim Tucker: That's right.

And if you want to invest 

Jeff Holden: [00:09:00] nothing like A business because if you ran a business like that, it'd be saying, what's wrong with you? That's right. Yeah, you're not reinvesting back in your business 

Kim Tucker: Yeah, will you be here tomorrow for the next catastrophe that the government is calling upon you to help with right now?

Jeff Holden: Not at 1%. 

Kim Tucker: Not at 1%. I think in professional services, it's about a 51 percent indirect rate for your lawyers and accountants and insurance brokers. By the way, all vendors we have 

Jeff Holden: and have to 

Kim Tucker: pay for 

Jeff Holden: same as. A for profit business. Correct. 

Kim Tucker: Correct. We still have to file our tax returns. We still pay a significant amount of taxes.

Ours show up mostly as payroll taxes. But when you employ 2 million people in the state of California, you pay a little bit of money. Right? Right. So we need an accounting system to support that. We need on demand tools so that our donors get the answers they want when they want to know how we spent their funds.

They're owed that information. But we're also owed the opportunity to actually have a system for it, right? [00:10:00] So if, if professional services starts at around 51 percent and maybe a retail store starts at maybe a low of 25 percent indirect costs. Why are we pummeling nonprofits to stay within 10%? And I know there's a different word that donors like to use that's, that's called overhead.

I don't know what that is. I think it's a made up word. I don't think it's an accounting word, no accounting class. I took it. I had that word in it. Indirect costs? Sure. Right? That's fair. We have indirect costs just like any business would, just like any family would have. And if what you think a nonprofit is, is to have no money in the bank at the end of the year, then we are not being very prepared for the next time you need us to show up for that flood, that fire, that childcare crisis, whatever it is.

So we have to develop retained earnings. Right? We need money in the bank. Being non profit does not mean that we're in the red all the [00:11:00] time. The outcome is often we are, right? Because we haven't made sufficient investments in our indirect costs. 

Jeff Holden: And sometimes that's because the leadership of the organization wasn't really a business person to begin with.

Kim Tucker: Correct. 

Jeff Holden: They may have been in it for the cause and the purpose and the passion of the mission of the non profit, but didn't really understand the business side of it. Mm hmm. Before we get there, uh, into some of the operational elements. What is it that the Impact Foundry provides for our non profit organizations as well as the community?

Kim Tucker: Well, we, we couch all of our work or screen all of our work. So, I'm going to be talking about the work possibilities through the concept of capacity building. 

Jeff Holden: And explain that for those who maybe aren't familiar. 

Kim Tucker: Yeah. We, we want to help build the capacity of those who serve in our communities, right? So Thank you.

At the individual level, that'd be professional development. At the organizational level, that would be increased capacity to either more [00:12:00] efficiently deliver what you deliver or to expand or deepen what you deliver in the community. That's what capacity building means, right? Mm hmm. If Well, I would think at any time, an organization, including my own, can ask this question.

Are we ego driven or mission driven? If I were to step away from Impact Foundry, would it survive? If it would not, then we are an ego centric, ego mission organization, and that's not what we want to be. And many of our best caretakers of our community, are ego driven and egocentric organizations. That's not an It's not to say it's a bad thing.

No, it's just what it is, right? Someone with a huge commitment who was impacted deeply by something in their community has said, and we're so proud to align with those kind of people, has said, I don't want this to continue. I don't want more kids to die in my neighborhood. I'm going to do something about it.

Right. I don't want the bad air quality in my neighborhood. I'm gonna do something about it. Whatever [00:13:00] the issue is, they stood up and said, I'll do something about it. Those, those people end up with organizations often that continue to be wildly under resourced. And that key person is pulling it along.

Right. And what we want to do is can help convert those passion projects into viable. Fully legal, indemnified organizations that enjoy the public's trust. 

Jeff Holden: That 

Kim Tucker: would be our success metric. 

Jeff Holden: Which is a great lead into sustainability. That organization we want to live on, therefore it's good that it provides.

And one of the programs that you've got, one of your core programs is certified sustainable. 

Kim Tucker: Yes, and for us, that's like a mini MBA program for nonprofits, right? So if we look at the latest research, and this is a continually evolving program, so we [00:14:00] do maintain a good lit review of things and studies that are happening.

But the options within an organization to focus, right? We tend to focus on our stakeholder, whoever it is we're serving, right? Yeah. Yeah. But that takes, that takes behind that a structure, right, in order to be effective and sustained. So for us, it's revenue. It's operational infrastructure. How do you deploy the assets that you have in the most efficient and effective ways?

How do you prove the efficacy of your work? The community engagement side, which does include how you communicate, how you sell, market, fundraise, reputation management, all of those things. How do you partner effectively in a world that really is not meant for you to go along? So what does that look like?

And then finally the issues of governance, right? So we've borrowed clumsily from the corporate structure in America and we have a community based board, apparently, right? All of us don't do a good job at it, [00:15:00] but it's beautiful when members in the community want to step up and serve in that way. They can provide the oversight.

They can be a thought partner with. Staff leadership, they can be great fiscal stewards and great brand ambassadors for it, too. Because that is the one deficit we chronically live with, is that, and I don't know how we change this necessarily. We certainly try. It seems like it's not cool to market if you're a non profit, right?

And we're supposed to just, like, be here to receive the goodness people have. We would like to prompt some of that goodness, and we couch it in outreach. and community engagement, right? 

Jeff Holden: Mm 

Kim Tucker: hmm. But it's very difficult. We very seldom receive funding that supports marketing. 

Jeff Holden: One part of that gets back to the perception of the non profit 

Kim Tucker: and 

Jeff Holden: its expense and what percentage is going, again, to the cause.

Well, if you're going to spend X amount of dollars marketing, well, then you can't. give more to the cause, of course. 

Kim Tucker: Which is kind of twisted, right? Because if I [00:16:00] don't create the, the, the pipeline for you to enter into what we offer, then that's a life that I have not had the opportunity to save or change.

Jeff Holden: Right. 

Kim Tucker: So to me, marketing is a program cost, right? 

Jeff Holden: And, and before we get too deep into that, that Certified Sustainable is a program. It's a program that you provide to nonprofits could be somebody new getting into a startup. and or an existing nonprofit that needs the education, the training there, they realize we don't have enough.

Kim Tucker: Yes. And it could, it could start to answer those questions from the ego to mission centric maturation that you're looking for, right? The founder, you know, doesn't necessarily going to be there forever or something like that, but it is, I mean, To graduate from the program and to be, you know, sort of get that good housekeeping stamp of approval as, as sustainable, you need to complete a multi year plan for your organization.

So it's not, it's four months of classwork followed [00:17:00] by three months of planned development with individualized technical assistance. And then, you know, probably eight months in a big graduation party for that cohort, right? 

Jeff Holden: And how long is the program? 

Kim Tucker: Well, that's about what it comes down to. If we start in January, you'll graduate in August.

Jeff Holden: Okay. So it's a commitment. 

Kim Tucker: It's a commitment. It's probably at least I'd say a minimum of 10 hours a month in the first four months just to receive the curriculum, work through, do the homework, show up, support the cohort members that are in your class. We try to do it in an average of around 20 organizations at a time.

We have goals for that in addition to just the peer to peer learning that's possible. We really want to see collaboration come out of these. We do believe that. Yeah, 

Jeff Holden: no, there's a lot of, a lot of work to do because I think 

Kim Tucker: the within the law there's, 

Jeff Holden: there's a lot of work that needs to be done. But then there's a, uh, a lot of other things to be done on that.

There are other areas that [00:18:00] are kind of close to being done. 

Kim Tucker: Yeah. 

Jeff Holden: Where you, you don't need to put that much 

Kim Tucker: time going on. with some creative staff that have since retired, but I'll still give them credit for the naming. Cultural Intelligence Unit. I love the name because it sounds 

Jeff Holden: like a secret service.

Exactly. Well, 

Kim Tucker: picture a Marvel character, right? Like I think, I think everyone around the Cultural Intelligence Unit feels a bit like a superhero trying to do something important and saving of our community. It started out a few years prior, thanks in large part to funding from Kaiser Permanente to investigate.

the models in various communities for racial justice, right? How do we, how do we ensure none of those organizations that focus on issues of race and equity and inclusion are sufficiently funded and supported that they're, they're able to access supports as they need? You know, can we get different disparate communities to talk and work together kind of thing?

So we determined that More cultural intelligence was needed, right? We need to learn more [00:19:00] about each other. We are disproportionately white led in this community right now. We need more communities of color represented in two key areas. One, on boards of directors of non profits, and second, as leadership staff.

Right. I think a survey I saw a few years back now is on average about 65 percent of those working in nonprofits come from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds, but only 14 percent are in leadership. I don't like that. 

Jeff Holden: I wonder what the boards look like there. It's probably less. 

Kim Tucker: Right. I think according to the giving edge platform maintained by our community foundation, it's more than 85 percent white.

And I don't want to disparage anyone who identifies as white, who has.

I'm asking them to expand their vision a little bit and look beyond the people right next to them that look just like them and look for communities of color to represent on those boards as well. 

Jeff Holden: And it's a challenge. I know I'm on [00:20:00] several boards, have been on boards, and we would look around and say, there's nobody here.

On our board, that looks like our constituents, that's where the organization, 

Kim Tucker: that's right. Because we have systemically perpetuated a racist structure, frankly, that when we keep doing what we've been doing, we just get more of that, right. And at some point I trust that an awakening is happening and, and with that awakening comes a sense of responsibility to do something about it.

Jeff Holden: Right, 

Kim Tucker: right. In the past, we've lovingly tapped our friends. And for many of us, our friends look just like us. So the first work to do individually is for us to make some new friends, right? And to, and to really make an effort and do it with humility, do it with an effort to learn. Right. And Those of us who identify as white have really held every advantage.

And if we want that to change, then we need to be able to give up some of that advantage. [00:21:00] That's hard for people. 

Jeff Holden: Oh, understood. Nobody wants to give anything up. 

Kim Tucker: They don't. 

Jeff Holden: Not to mention change. 

Kim Tucker: But if we don't at least make the pie bigger, right. And you can keep your same slice, but there's more to go around.

It won't change. Right. And, and that's not a sustainable thought either. 

Jeff Holden: Other programs. Yeah. Those are your, your, your big program. And, and these programs, not so much the certified sustainable, but the cultural intelligence really is available to the community at large. Anybody that wants to, 

Kim Tucker: yes, 

Jeff Holden: exercise their, That's right.

Kim Tucker: Yeah. And some of the ongoing training that we provide, whether it's helping people learn how to write grants or search for grants or how to serve on a board, right, we do a fair amount of that. We have great partnerships in the business community for employers to bring us in to help their emerging leaders or director level staff learn how to represent their business interests at the same time that they represent things they're passionate about on community boards.

Mm 

Breath: hmm. [00:22:00] 

Kim Tucker: We need well, well informed, good minded people to do that. I really appreciate Tykert Construction, for example. They have an entire training center and they welcome me in there to work with their staff. And it's also a safe place to ask questions about what success could look like in serving on a board.

But it's also then bringing back to the boards they sit on some of these free resources that we offer. Right? So we see it as very circular in that sense. That's amazing 

Jeff Holden: that they actually have that within the organization. 

Kim Tucker: They do, with a commitment to that. Others do too. Financial services is very good about that too.

Jeff Holden: When we see, and those are the people we see prevalent in supporting a lot of our non profits in the community. You are a resource center and certainly for non profits, but are you equally as well a resource center for non profits? for businesses that are not nonprofit? 

Kim Tucker: Yes. And I think this is, this is that interesting, like from 1989 when, when [00:23:00] the Austin attorneys along with the SAC region community foundation and junior league said, we need something for nonprofits.

Right. And this was established on the third floor of the public library and a library sciences woman sat there and answered your questions, right? That's how it started. And, and then it just matured from there, right? We have those, those. really important organizations to thank for the creation of it initially.

And then it moved from there. It grew luckily and, and, and took on different components. The resource center at the time that I took over was struggling and, but it had been a drop in center. So it had its own space at Sierra Health Foundation. 900 dusty books on the wall, but we would subscribe to the foundation directory online and you could drop in and without having to pay to search, then we would provide you some staff support.

You can search for grants. And it was a little bit limited to that for a long time. COVID certainly switched a lot of that up. People want things on demand where they're sitting, not to [00:24:00] have to travel to something, right? We, we do still have a lot of people drop in. We don't continue to subscribe to the foundation directory online.

Mostly because of COVID, it wasn't possible to come in. Right. And so that was a fee that we needed to eliminate. Instead, we've done some good partnerships with resources, right? So when you join Impact Foundry, you have an opportunity to subscribe to GrantStation, which is a digital platform to search for grants at a reduced rate than you might pay if you didn't join, right?

Similarly, we've partnered with training programs that if you want to take them online at your own pace. MindEdge is a partner of ours, and you can subscribe at a discount to their programs on our website. And then we offer things in person and via Zoom. We're actually migrating a little bit away from Zoom.

We're done with the hybrid. I think all of us are completely annoyed by the word pivot and hybrid, right? Like, we don't want to do either of those things anymore, thanks to COVID. So we're putting more in person classes together now. 

Jeff Holden: [00:25:00] What are you finding? 

Kim Tucker: It's interesting. We're going to experiment with something that we announced a couple of weeks ago at our big mixer.

We formed some professional cohorts many, many years ago, we had what was called ed bootcamp and CEO link, which were kind of like baby and adult versions of support groups that they put together, we've reconstituted them around issues of for eds or executive directors and CEOs of nonprofits. So, these will all launch in September and registration will open June 1 for these things.

We have people now in the DEI space, right, a Chief Diversity Officer. That could be at a bank, a hospital, could be at a non profit. But we know that the data about those careers is fraught, right? Average 18 months in the job, under resourced, 

Jeff Holden: Right. DEI, that's a role? That's a position? That's right. We thought it was a thing.

Kim Tucker: Mm hmm. And so, similar to fund developers in our industry, they tend to be under [00:26:00] supported inside the organizational structure. And it's unclear what success is, right? So we'd like to bring more of them together in a resource and support group atmosphere, providing services, actual resources for them to fulfill whatever their jobs mandate is around engagement with employees, right?

On issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. And at the same time, support what is a really lonely job inside these organizations, because they don't tend to have a big team. It tends to just be them. So how do you go to work every day and feel inspired? We have some of those coming online in the fall.

Jeff Holden: Outstanding. The reality of non profit leadership has been, as we spoke a little bit earlier, the purpose of the person who's the leader. The Executive Director, the CEO may be egocentric, but not necessarily. The organization could have preexisted. Now it's sustaining itself and it moves [00:27:00] on. But we tend to look at that as Well, it We can't pay them competitively.

It's a non profit. Yeah, 

Kim Tucker: isn't that BS? Yeah. Let's go there. This is where I'm letting you go 

Jeff Holden: there. I want you to go there because Well, I'd say 

Kim Tucker: this to everyone who works in a non profit. I don't know about you, but I did not take a vow of poverty to do good in this world. 

Jeff Holden: Right. 

Kim Tucker: I think that you see memes of a political nature or social nature sometimes about, you know, The difference that school teachers make compared to, you know, heads of defense companies or whatever, whatever the point they're trying to make.

The bottom line is, where do our values sit, right? And if we value kids being able to read before they graduate from high school, then we ought to invest. In the people that will see that that happens. Right. Right. And that can include community-based organizations that are trying to support parents that are trying to cover three jobs and raise their family and keep their housing.

Mm-Hmm. . So there's lots of ways in to that issue [00:28:00] just on the reading literacy front. Right. Which is a personal passion of mine because I, I agree with the Sacramento Literacy Foundation. And when April says that reading is democracy and you can't participate if you can't read, I think we should take that seriously, right?

Similarly, I think childcare is an entire industry of issues relating to people returning to work from COVID to seeing that, that families on the margins have the opportunity to get jobs. Whether you're a hand up or hand out perspective on the politics of government support, it hits. It's a red, white, and blue issue, right?

If domestic violence is one of the key leading indicators of absenteeism in the job, that's hurting employers. So as employers, whether you care socially or through your faith or through some other means, care about the bottom line of your business and see that the investment is important, right? So meanwhile, why would you relegate all these [00:29:00] important topics to the least paid in the No, no retirement plan employee, right?

Like that's terrible. I feel like we're upside down when it comes to, if you look at our economic structure and where are we putting our resources? 

Jeff Holden: When it gets back to, we mentioned marketing, you know, how do you market the organization that's doing so much good in the community to perpetuate the good?

Kim Tucker: That's right. 

Jeff Holden: If you don't have a budget to market it, you can't tell people about the story and you can't cause more good to happen. 

Kim Tucker: Yes, one of the most frequently stated, and there are a few and we can joke about all of them at some point, but one of the most frequently stated things I hear from nonprofits is we're the best kept secret in town.

Jeff Holden: Right. 

Kim Tucker: Best kept secret. Really? Okay. Let's see. You're community owned for the benefit of the community and the community has no idea you're here. What the hell are you doing? 

Jeff Holden: Right. 

Kim Tucker: Thanks. If we took it, I mean, in the Aramaic language of [00:30:00] Christ's time, a sin was an archery term that meant you missed the mark.

Well, you are entirely sinning if you're the best kept secret in town. 

Jeff Holden: Yeah. 

Kim Tucker: Isn't that terrible? We want 

Jeff Holden: everybody talking about you. Exactly. We want the noise on the good that you're doing. 

Kim Tucker: That's right. 

Jeff Holden: Well, and I think from a perspective, we know that marketing generates revenue and that's a good thing.

So, if you're a million dollar organization. And you have to invest X percentage to marketing and it keeps you at a million or you're growing minimally, you know, in one, two, three, 4 percent in the old perspective. That was good. Yes. You were kind of doing okay. Cause you didn't have to spend a lot of money to grow the organization, but what if you took a big percentage in marketed and you grew the organization disproportionately to the money you invested.

Oh, I'm sorry. Your percentage to the cause changed, but your revenue to the [00:31:00] cause doubled. And I think that's the perspective that we just get caught up in. And yes, you need somebody who understands business to be able to understand the concept of how to do it properly. 

Kim Tucker: Yes. But we, we had an organization a few years ago who had a HUD grant and at the time HUD was notorious for having maybe a.

7 percent indirect rate, something ridiculous. And they came to this organization and said, you do such a good job, and whatever it was they were doing, we'd like to double our investment in you so you could serve twice as many people. 

Jeff Holden: If you cut it to six? 

Kim Tucker: Well, they didn't dare try that, but what happened instead was we said, you know what?

Let's run the numbers. This was a certified sustainable candidate, you know, an organization in our program. And we ran the true cost of delivering on that contract. This organization held a golf tournament every year and they raised about 80, 000 to support the lack of funding that that HUD grant actually provided to [00:32:00] fill the gap for what it is they accomplished that got them kudos in Washington D.

C. and the opportunity to double and in the end they had to go back to this program officer and say no thank you. Mm hmm. We can't afford to double this program because we can't afford to do two golf tournaments a year. To supplement which you already don't pay for. And 

Jeff Holden: that's the problem. Which would only keep us even and destroy our team, our staff.

The energy that goes into these events is immense. 

Kim Tucker: Right. And the program that they want delivered isn't being fully funded as it is. And this I think is the other message donors don't understand. Very seldom does the grant funded. Program be fully funded by the grant itself. There's a need to supplement it, right?

And, and that's the unrealistic part of running a non profit business. If I owned the donut shop and you came in and bought my donut, our relationship would be complete. You [00:33:00] would pay for exactly what you wanted. And if I 

Jeff Holden: was running it properly, I would make a little money on the doughnut. I would have 

Kim Tucker: built a margin, right?

Jeff Holden: And I'd be okay. 

Kim Tucker: That's right. I maybe left the stale one for you and sold it at, no, I'm just kidding. It's the day old one. They still 

Jeff Holden: work for me too. The day old ones are fine. Yeah. 50 percent off, I'll do it. 

Kim Tucker: Sure. But instead what happens is, this is why the business model is more complex. I have something I offer.

I have to sell it to you who will never benefit from it. but I have to sell you the funder the idea. Your life will be better if you will help me pay for the behavioral health I'd like to provide to the homeless mentally ill man that's sitting outside your business. Okay. I convince you to give me the money.

Then I go over to the mentally ill young man sitting in front of your business and I need to convince him to get help. All right. I'm selling again. 

Breath: Yep. 

Kim Tucker: Right. So I've got a non non direct beneficiary investing. I've got a direct beneficiary [00:34:00] uninterested in any investment. And then I've got to bring in the staff and board and volunteer support to deliver whatever it is I said I'm going to deliver for your money.

Jeff Holden: And so the guy who doesn't want it to the guy who wants it. Correct. To the organization that maybe can't afford to do what you just promised. 

Kim Tucker: Exactly. So the selling, the marketing is very labor intensive without an investment to do it. Mm hmm. Right? And I don't think people fully appreciate that difficulty.

Jeff Holden: Oh, I totally concur. I agree with you a hundred percent. 

Kim Tucker: It's just, it's phenomenal. The miss, the misalignment that exists there, and it is why donors say, don't spend more than 10 percent on indirect costs. A lot of times we'll get opportunities to do things and the, the grantor, the donor will say, I want to pay for this program, but I don't want to pay for staff.

Right. Well, how the hell you think I delivered that program? I mean, that ought to be my biggest expense followed [00:35:00] directly by my rent or something, right? That is a typical biggest cost in an organization because we're delivering a mission which takes human power, right? So it's really not understood well in the donor sector, 

Jeff Holden: unfortunately.

We'll continue the conversation with Kim Tucker of the Impact Foundry right after this. I was in the media business for over 35 years and had the great privilege of working with Runyon Saltzman RSE, Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations. We collaborated on many different campaigns, but their commitment to the non profit sector hasn't changed since their founder Gene Runyon started the agency.

Over many years and many campaigns, Runyon Saltzman has been committed to improving lives by tackling California's most challenging issues, guided by research informed strategies and insightful, creative solutions. RSE develops innovative communications campaigns that raise awareness, educate and reduce stigma in diverse communities throughout our state and beyond.

To learn more about [00:36:00] RSE, visit rs e. com. 

Scott Thomas: Hello this is Scott Thomas with CAP Trust in our Sacramento office. I specialize in working with local non profits and associations. Annually, we survey private and public nonprofit organizations across the country to better understand challenges they see in today's environment.

In our more recent survey, we heard concerns about proper board governance, mission aligned investment, and how to implement all term investments. If you would like a copy of the survey or to discuss your organization, look me up, scottthomasatcaptrust. com. 

Jeff Holden: I'm thrilled to have Western Health Advantage partnering with us as they do so much to support so many non profit agencies in our community.

As a truly local health plan, you'll find individual and family options. Employer options, plans for CalPERS and Medicare Advantage. From medical services to pharmacy, health and wellness support, as well as behavioral health care, Western Health Advantage has a plan [00:37:00] that fits what you need. As an employer, for profit or non profit business, individual or family, you can find more at westernhealth.

com. Let's change gears a little bit. We're, we're talking about marketing. Don't make me stop complaining though. No, no, no, no. Okay. You can complain all you want. Okay. As a matter of fact, I appreciate that because I think this is part that people don't hear often enough. They don't. And you know, the podcast itself, it's what we do.

We're helping people tell their stories because they can't do it themselves. And we've heard those. We're one of the best kept secrets. It's like, yes, that's a tragedy. Because you're. Uh, product, your program, your service is unbelievable. And more, if more people, if more people knew about it, think of how many more people you could help by doing it.

And that's, that's, therein lies the tragedy I think. Funding is important all the way around. Yes. [00:38:00] How is the Impact Foundry funded? 

Kim Tucker: Well, we're disproportionately an earned revenue model. We do book our membership dues, which are quite low for the over 850 organizational members we have today. We book that as contributed revenue.

It's a donation to us. It does help fill some gaps in our general operating costs and helps us to be able to show up for our members. But earned revenue in, in the, in the way of program grants. and contracting. We do a lot of non profits hire us to facilitate board retreats, to conduct specialized training and engagement in their teams.

The, the grant or, you know, like corporate grant funders hire us to come in and provide some of that training to their grantees. So we get mostly earned revenue opportunities like that. Yeah, so, 

Jeff Holden: so you speak of it as grant training. But, so it has to go through the grant process? 

Kim Tucker: Sometimes depending on the funder, right?

If you're following the money, [00:39:00] if, if you as your foundation were to give us a general operating grant, we would book that as contributed revenue. You've given it to us for whatever choice we have. And of course that's the most coveted money. There are very few general operating grants. I would give a shout out to JPMorgan Chase.

I think they're one of the best partners in our local region for getting to know organizations and investing in them with general operating grants. 

Jeff Holden: Interesting. 

Kim Tucker: Yeah, but very few do that. 

Jeff Holden: And then the rest, is there a fee for service where you actually just get? paid to bring a program. 

Kim Tucker: Absolutely. And that is our earned model, right?

Is that we would quote a price. I could do a 2, 500 to 40, 000 engagement in a large nonprofit for a year long strategic planning effort or something, right? So we balance some of those shorter term and longer term projects just for our own capacity. And then there's, you know, fees people pay to take our classes.

There's a fee to be in Certified [00:40:00] Sustainable. Most of the time funders pay for that, but out of the couple hundred organizations that have been through it, half a dozen or so have paid the fee themselves. 

Jeff Holden: Okay. 

Kim Tucker: But otherwise it's grant funded. 

Jeff Holden: How many people represent the Impact Foundry? 

Kim Tucker: Well, we're way down on staff coming through COVID.

We had a lot of retirements and relocations through that. We've purposely not staffed back up. We recently engaged with Luminary Partners, which is a woman owned, locally woman, diverse woman owned business. to provide management services. So rather than hire staff that sit in the office, we've hired them.

We do feel like it's an efficient way to scale our programs and to really test the market in some of these new things we're launching in the fall. So we want the flexibility to do that. We still have a partnership with Rabbi David and the Fresher Futures Initiative. We do have a collective impact project on solving hunger in our community that we're happy to partner with him and his different boards [00:41:00] on and to provide some back end support for that.

So we do have dollars that pass through us to that program. Otherwise, we've got about three FTEs total, maybe down from 12. And we have about 35 subject matter experts that we call our faculty. Okay. They'd be teaching classes or being warm referrals for project work, or we would partner with them on a project.

That we keep active as well. 

Jeff Holden: Okay. Keyword partner again. 

Kim Tucker: Yeah. Because 

Jeff Holden: the next question, collaboration is, certainly has been the buzzword. It sounds like impact is the new one. Hey, 

Kim Tucker: they stole that from us. That's right. We had that before. And I love it. 

Jeff Holden: I mean, we were talking about that. Even our phrases. I should have 

Kim Tucker: trademarked it, huh?

Darn it. 

Jeff Holden: Generating impact. You know, amplifying stories, generating impact. Mm hmm. Collaboration is so significant. And so important with the multitude of organizations we have here, second only to DC by per [00:42:00] capita. Absolutely. That's right. You know, numbers, I've seen numbers like 11, 12, 13, 000 non profits of which, you know, some are nickel and dime, small little, you know, organizations for little league or whatever it may be.

So not quite the same, but enough of the larger scale that in some cases, you know, it's They siphon off some of the good that other organizations could do because they silo. And how do we get some of these organizations to work? You certainly are one of the collaborative because it comes to you, you're a collective and something like a social venture partners, multiple organizations, impact 100, multiple organizations impacted as a result of what they do.

But often, and even many times right here in the studio, we're talking with somebody is like, have you talked to. And they look at you like, I don't know who that is. Right. When in fact, you not only should you know who you should be working with them because you're in the same space and you could benefit greatly by doing things together [00:43:00] versus alone.

Kim Tucker: Yes. And I think A little bit of shame on us, because we ought to be better at putting that out there. And I think that's certainly on our growth objectives, is to communicate some of those stories more effectively and more seriously, right, in our communications to our membership. Beyond that, we have a cultural attitude here in the capital city.

We get a rather parochial sometimes. It becomes a who you know town instead of a what you know kind of place. I think new money. In San Francisco is very exciting and it doesn't always translate the same here in Sacramento. So we need to break through some of that parochial attitude. One of the misnomers that is carrying out in the non profit space is that we have limited Limited donors, limited dollars, limited support.

I don't happen to believe that. I think we have quiet and untapped resources in addition to those that are well [00:44:00] known. And we need to stop running our businesses from an attitude of lack. Right? And so, non profits feel that, so we say collaboration. Often times what happens is it's called co op etition.

Right? A funder says, you must collaborate to get our money. Okay, for today I'm going to collaborate for you. But I'm only doing that to get the check. 

Jeff Holden: Right. 

Kim Tucker: As soon as this engagement's over, I'm back to Holden all my my nuts here right around my nest and I'm not going to share and we need to stop that and sometimes we're going to lose when we try it, but we still need to try it.

So collaboration has the possibility of doing lots of things we care about at the same time. So could expand our capacity without. overtaxing our capabilities, right? I could look at things from a continuum of care model where I might bring that young person in for this part of their journey and pass that young person onto you for the next phase, rather than me [00:45:00] try to start a program to meet the next need they have.

There's already an organization in town. It exists, 

Jeff Holden: right? Why don't 

Kim Tucker: we have a collective impact model where we have four or five of us working together, you know, and we could streamline some things. But that requires egos to get out of the way, right? It also requires that we build trust between us and among us.

And if we layer the DEI concerns of our region on top of that, we've got to stop trying to be all things to all people because it's. racist in its background, it's colonial in its attitude, and it continues to keep us divided, right? There is full agency inside of every community of color in our region.

The answers live in the communities that the problems are being seen and experienced, right? Our job, if we don't identify as part of that community of color, is to remove the barriers for their full agency to exist. [00:46:00] Right? And I mean agency of person as well as of organization. My job is not to go into that community and tell them what their problem is and tell them how to fix it.

To be a white savior, or any of those other terms you might hear. My job is to get out of the way. So I think at Impact Foundry, so I personally can work on however that can show up for me. And be as radical and supportive an ally as people will let me be and always be willing to say I'm sorry on the process.

Beyond that, Impact Foundry needs to highlight the work that is being done in those communities and create the invitation for people to find out more, right? That'd be the number one reason I'd be willing to sit in here and talk to you. Right? I mean, I love talking to you. Don't really like hearing my own voice on things.

Right? So, but I think it is important. We do need to, to up level those stories. And highlight that impact. And, and I think Impact Foundry needs to do a better job of telling those stories. So, I have that commitment for sure. 

Jeff Holden: And part [00:47:00] of that is mixers. 

Kim Tucker: Yeah. Bring people together. That was a good party, wasn't it?

It was wonderful. Earlier this month. It was wonderful. Yeah. That's thanks to the partners that we have and would not attempt to do that level of good time without them. I know Valley Vision wasn't able to be present that night, but they are an active part of this alliance that we formed last year with social venture partners, with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation and with Impact Foundry.

And just the fact that the four of us who lead those organizations are talking every month, that we're sharing what we're thinking about, we're, we're commiserating a little bit. We don't hold pity parties, so we don't buy real estate there, but we might share a few things that irritate us. There's been some recent county contracting that didn't go It's, it's a reminder that we need to do more to organize ourselves and then to advocate for ourselves.

And then what's the unique role that social venture partners brings in [00:48:00] with individuals who want to collectify their dollars in support of something. And, and, and, and. Their fast pitch program is an excellent example of how they are building capacity inside organizations thanks to the help of their members.

The Sacramento Region Community Foundation has a long standing history of taking very, very good care of our local philanthropists. And in recent years, I think they've done a really great job in diversifying how they connect to the nonprofit sector too. 

Jeff Holden: And there is one where we get the noise. from the marketing investment, public relations investment, Big Day of Giving.

That's right. I mean, if you don't know when Big Day of Giving is happening, when it's ramping up, you I don't know what rock you're under because it is everywhere. It's omnipresent. 

Kim Tucker: That's 

Jeff Holden: right. 

Kim Tucker: And it creates a low barrier entry for especially our grassroots organizations to be introduced to new donors.

Right. It really should be a donor acquisition experience for people. And, you know, [00:49:00] Kudos to the region foundations past leadership and current leadership because they did that study about the level of philanthropy in our community and where we were a little bit low on what we could expect from local people.

And then they did an initiative to engage them and then big day became out of that and, and to me that's That's what we wanna do, right? We, we are gonna call a problem, a problem, great, but we're not gonna sit in that space, right? And um, and, and you know, what we tell nonprofits, especially people on boards all the time, is it's not the qualified to get called the call get qualified, right?

So we're called to do something about that. Let's get the facts and then let's come up with and try even to the point of failure. Some solutions to it. Right? Right. So to me, big Day is a tremendous success for those reasons. 

Jeff Holden: Right. And the opportunity to now donate at a lower threshold. That's right. To engage newer donors, people who, Mm-Hmm.

don't have the means, but they wanna participate. 

Kim Tucker: Mm-Hmm. . 

Jeff Holden: Well, everybody can afford, I forget what the minimum number was. Maybe like a [00:50:00] $25 gift or something. Right. 

Kim Tucker: Yeah. 

Jeff Holden: So it's accessible to many more people because once they start, you know, it's a feel good. Right. And, and you want to feel good about your community.

You want to say you had a part and a hand in, in developing it, by Valley Vision as well. So. 

Kim Tucker: Yes. And then especially since Evan and her team have, have been become the repository for millions of dollars in economic development monies, they're an important player in helping design programs that strengthen communities.

So we, we want them at the table as well. 

Jeff Holden: We have a captive listener here. I would imagine we're probably going to have a lot of non profit leadership listening because I want to hear what Kim has to say. If they don't already know. I need to get out more. Right? Okay. If they don't already know. What would you say is the greatest need?

What would be the greatest benefit to the Impact Foundry at this point? 

Kim Tucker: You mean from anybody who's listening and has a wallet? 

Jeff Holden: Yes. And so, so that kind of answers, is it just money? Money is [00:51:00] mission. 

Kim Tucker: You know, more money is more mission. Yes. And this idea that, I mean, we're in a little bit different position than many of our member organizations.

You know, the fruit of our labor grows on other organizations trees. When their capacity is strengthened and there are fewer children, In a system that doesn't serve them or fewer people committing suicide or whatever the issues are, that's great. They get the credit for that. We don't feed people. We feed those who feed people, right?

So it's a harder sell from a donor perspective, right? We have a business case to make for sure. And, and we need to continue to do better on that. But, but on the money is mission piece, we know a couple things. We know that capacity needs to be ever expanding in order for our nonprofits to meet the needs that are ever evolving in our communities.

We saw that when COVID hit, right? When, when food banks were being asked to double and triple who they were serving, right? We [00:52:00] know. From when, man, maybe 2010 or so when the FDIC partnered with United Way here in Sacramento as one of the 10 cities studied for asset poverty. And we know that coming through that, 42 percent of Sacramento County residents are asset poor.

Which means they have fewer than 90 days of liquid assets in the event of a catastrophe, a, an illness, a job loss or something. We have so many of us living on the margin, right? And if we want to do something about that, we have to fundamentally change how we approach those issues, right? I fully believe that hunger and homelessness, the only reason those are not solved is we don't have the political will to solve it.

We know how to make it work. We just need to adequately resource the organizations that are doing it. 

Jeff Holden: And that, that. That right there, it's adequately resourced, the resources are there, they are not going where they belong. 

Kim Tucker: But then you've got elected officials at the state level, 

Jeff Holden: right, 

Kim Tucker: who say, well, the reason we don't have [00:53:00] answers is we have to put the spotlight on nonprofits and ask them how they're spending their money.

Let me tell you, I mean, just look at the Sacramento County, 90 plus percent of all behavioral health dollars are outsourced to nonprofits. They are contractually obligated to do things. The reporting is so onerous, I can't believe it. I can't. We don't need to put a bigger spotlight on us. Put a bigger spotlight on the county.

Find out why they're not contracting with the ones that have the best outcomes. Don't put it on us. This is what I find insulting and interesting in not a good way, is that our electeds are so transactional in their thinking that the quick answer is put the pressure on the person who delivers. No, no, no, no.

Once you put the pressure starting at the state level around how you're going to thread the needle between housing and hunger and homelessness and mental health, right? And figure out something. And frankly, if you don't have the nonprofit leaders of our community at that table [00:54:00] telling you what works, then shame on you as an elected or appointed person in our state, right?

The answer, we know the answers. We just need the opportunity to share them with the people who can make the decisions. 

Jeff Holden: Mm hmm. And, and to your point of, of homelessness, one of the most popular episodes we have on the network happens to be the whole cooperative. 

Kim Tucker: Oh, excellent. 

Jeff Holden: Relative to homelessness. 

Kim Tucker: Mm hmm.

Too bad it didn't crash the Prop 1 initiative. Mm 

Jeff Holden: hmm. Tough because a lot of nonprofits are feeling the impact of this one. 

Kim Tucker: Well, a lot of us are going to lose, not us as Impact Foundry, but a lot of us, meaning the community we support are going to have dollars redirected to solve a problem for a very narrow slice of the homeless pie versus the continued investment in the proper mental health and behavioral health services that are required to have people move forward in their lives.

And it's an oversimplifying of answers in order to get votes [00:55:00] that doesn't, that has unintended consequences. And that's very unfortunate. 

Jeff Holden: Mm-Hmm. I. And we are going to see the impact of that in our communities. 

Kim Tucker: Yes. 

Jeff Holden: Especially in our nonprofit organizations. Many have come through and lamented some of the challenges they're having as a result of it already.

Yes. And what it's gonna force them or cause them to have to do. So. Yeah. Truly unfortunate. Now you have a wonderful event that was. Pre COVID, called What If, which is a great name, you've got some great names, and the If is IF, Impact Foundry. 

Kim Tucker: Correct. 

Jeff Holden: Uh, so, so. You told them 

Kim Tucker: the answer already. What are you talking about?

Yeah, we launched the What If conference in 2016 following the name change, in part because I got a lot of phone calls about what the hell's, what's going on. What does that mean? I like the nonprofit resource center. So while we worked with people to transition through change, we made the argument and introduced the organization that way in the initial conference, but it was the [00:56:00] largest continued to be the largest California convening of nonprofits, at least Northern California convening of nonprofits.

We had over a thousand people for a day of learning and networking and celebrating. We themed those for the years that we did those leading up through February of 2020. We had nationally renowned speakers come and the idea here in what if is what if you had everything you needed to fulfill your mission?

What could the world look like? How could we experience it? If everything you needed was supplied to you. So there was a professional development, you know, we did over 20 workshops in the day. We tried to speak to some form of innovation with everyone of the conferences. We brought this really dynamic group of young people out of Atlanta who had taken What do they call the Fitbit technology?

The near range technology in a Fitbit. And had developed a tool for working with homeless men in Atlanta to put [00:57:00] all their documentation in this bracelet. Because if you're homeless and in an encampment and you get routed during the night, you lose all your stuff. But what if everything you needed was on a bracelet?

Mm. And then you could actually check into your clinic. You could check in with your po, whatever the things were right, and you could create a record for people who otherwise don't quite fit into the bureaucracy of public treatment opportunities. That was really exciting to, and it turned out it was a California company that had invested in the technology with them, so.

You know, we want to highlight those kind of things. Who's solving problems in an innovative way? We'd love to have them back actually. They've gone on to get some real recognition and investment in their program. But we want to do that. And we want to, we always had massage therapists there giving chair massages, right?

Free head shots. Because those are the things that we as non profit people don't invest in ourselves. We don't have that margin. In our budgets to provide that kind of support and we want everyone loved [00:58:00] on and thanked and celebrated as part of it. So we'd love to bring it back. COVID is the big disruptor.

The venue at McClellan closed as a result of COVID. There are very few venues in Sacramento that you can put a thousand people with a bunch of workshop rooms and a place to, to enjoy lunch and a happy hour. So we do need to look at how we might do that again. It's being asked for, so. 

Jeff Holden: I agree. Mm hmm. And I think we've seen many times that I speak with people in the organizations, you know, the events were decimated with COVID.

So anything post March 2020, to date, has maybe now starting to come back. But what we're hearing from the people who are attending is, this is wonderful. It's so great to get back together again. Yes. Yes. And we're. You know, you're out of it and you kind of forget that, no, we're still, people are still getting comfortable with the fact that we're, we're gathering and are big gatherings.

That's right. But it looks like [00:59:00] it's, it's coming along and we hear it through all the organizations. We want our events back. We want to get people together and they seem to be supporting them. The events look like they're doing well. If we see what's online and. You know, we have some auctioneers who are doing a fabulous job of raising big money for organizations and that money seems to be better than it was pre COVID.

So it's, I think, encouraging. And back to your point of, of capacity in the community, not for the organization, but the capability of people to give. It's there. It's totally there. It's, it's whether they choose to see the cause appropriately. Because it's been able to tell its story well and that it's, it's got a proven track record, you know, and that's something we didn't talk about.

Let me, I do want to bring that up. The results of the organizations. There are many organizations doing good work, but do we really know, with tangible evidence and key performance indicator and data that says we're doing good work. Are, are non [01:00:00] profits in that space of being able to not only tell the story, but demonstrate factually to a donor that here's where it is.

Literally, here's where it is in so many ways. What are you seeing? 

Kim Tucker: That's an issue. Why Certified Sustainable as a program includes that element, right? It also links with your comments before, one about best kept secret. Like we just put our head down and do our work and we don't always look up and see who else is joining us in this fight, right?

Or if we do, we see them as competition instead of a collaborator. And then also the underfunding of the storytelling. Right? We don't, we don't have the resources. We, we, we complete a project or a program or complete our work with that human being and we move to the next one. And we don't pause to celebrate often and we don't pause to document what took place so we have a compelling story to tell.

Those are all things we need to do. I mean, no excuse zone on that. We definitely need to do it. I think that there's a lot of efficacy in the work that [01:01:00] nonprofits are doing. Absolutely. Especially the ones who know they have those key performance indicators identified. We do training on what those could be for organizations, or at least in the consulting we would look individually at them.

But we all need to have some, right? And, and we do train on the difference between kind of vanity metrics and things that matter, right? I don't care how many friends you have on Facebook. We look really good over there. Yeah, exactly. You know, let me distract you over here. Yeah, we want, we want them to be meaningful, right?

Yeah. Yeah. I think about 5 percent of the data we collect is meaningful. Let's turn that 5 percent into something really powerful that attracts people to make an investment. And I think that's back where we need to be is we have a value proposition. We can make our case. We can do it for all the different types of donors and investors we have, from the heartfelt pay it forward to the real business case.

And we do need to do both. In our, in our pitches and in our reports. 

Jeff Holden: I cannot thank you [01:02:00] enough for making the time to come speak with me today. And I think a lot of people are going to benefit significantly from what you said. There's key points there. And jump on the bandwagon too for some of the necessary moves that have to be made in the nonprofit community.

But the significance of what you're doing, what the impact boundary provides to nonprofits It's, there's nothing like it, there's, there's just nothing like it and we need that resource. So, so thank you for that. And I mentioned in the, the introduction, you know, one of Sacramento's most admired CEOs for very good reason.

I think this conversation They're not 

Kim Tucker: discerning in their process? Is that what you're getting at, Jeff? 

Jeff Holden: No, you did a good job of following him, Kim. But you are such a wealth of knowledge, you are so committed to the nonprofit community and the people. in the greater region. And, you know, it's, it's not just about the organizations.

It's about the people that not only run them, [01:03:00] but the recipients, beneficiaries of those organizations. So, you know, what a wonderful discussion, but more importantly, what a wonderful person you are for your deep care and consideration, because that's what makes the difference. 

Kim Tucker: Well, thank you. I do think that there's a reason to get up every day and do this work.

I think we have some of the most dynamic hometown heroes that people just don't know about. Organizational leaders that are doing some things that I think would blow the donor's minds if they understood it, right? We do need a better way to tell that story. It's also why coming through COVID we've started an advocacy vertical within the organization to mirror up against certified sustainable and the cultural intelligence unit.

We must be advocating for the role that nonprofits play in our region. When you do consider how much of COVID's recovery dollars were in the hands of nonprofits to try to put band aids on or prevent something worse from [01:04:00] happening. We are relied on, right? The nonprofits do what business and government can't or won't.

And we are not adequately resourced to respond when called upon. It's something in there has to change. So I'm hoping in this next year that our advocacy efforts begin to bear some fruit on that question. So stay tuned. We'll do a part two. 

Jeff Holden: Oh, I think so. I think so. And we do collaborate with you so, so much.

You are integral for what we do and, you know, without the, the blended. knowledge of all these assets that we've got, we can't do it like you. I'm just a conduit. 

Kim Tucker: Well, I think like us, you're a broker for good. And I think that's what's key is each of us should ask ourselves, where have we brokered some good in the day?

It could be in our own organization, could be in our own family and to our neighbor, but wherever it is, I think that's impact foundry's role. We need to broker that good. You have a need and you have a [01:05:00] skill, then we'll put you two together, right? You're doing it by telling these stories, right? Because you're going to broker relationships that you haven't even begun to quantify, right?

And, and people from this market and other markets are hearing these things. We need to come together. And, and I do think the solution exists. 

Jeff Holden: Yeah. 

Kim Tucker: We just need the right people at the table. 

Jeff Holden: Well, we are here to help. 

Kim Tucker: Right on. Let's do it. 

Jeff Holden: Thank you. 

Kim Tucker: Thank you. 

Jeff Holden: Thank you for listening to the Nonprofit Podcast Network.

I hope you enjoyed the episode. If what you heard moved you, please reach out to that organization and do what you can to help. If you like and appreciate what we're doing to support local nonprofits, please consider Please give us a positive review, subscribe, and share. If you're a non profit with an interest in participating in an episode, you can reach me at jeff at hearmenowstudio.

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