How to Enjoy Fundraising and Build Better Relationships, with David Oaks

How to Enjoy Fundraising and Build Better Relationships, with David Oaks

Fundraising doesn’t have to be a chore! Why should it be? We get to invite people into a greater story. David Oaks and I had a fun conversation about the simple things that build better relationships and raise more money for your mission.

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Kay  00:01

Welcome to Episode 63 of the Life and Mission Podcast. I’m Kay Helm, and Today my guest is fundraiser, David Oaks. Now, don’t run because you don’t like fundraising because I’m telling you, if you listen to this interview, you are going to be sold on fundraising as like the most fun thing you can do. It is this, this interview was a blast. Before starting his own business. David was a successful Christian pastor who maximized relationship and organizational growth strategies to build larger organizations. And nowadays, you’ll find him coaching nonprofit leaders, leading capital campaigns and making new friends on the international stage. All while mentoring young men and women at home and abroad through his own nonprofit, Bethlehem International School Foundation, David talks about minor touches that result in major gifts.

Kay  00:55

And I really want you to hear this, there are a couple of things that you can do that are really simple. And if you’ll do it, it will make the world of difference in your fundraising. So let’s jump right into the interview with David Oaks. Hi, David, welcome to the life and Mission Podcast.

David  01:17

Kay, it is my privilege and honor to be here with you. I’ve already told you you know this, but I’ll tell all of the people who follow you found you and I stalked you. And the reason that we’re here friends and the reason we’re going to be great friends, even in the future, because I’ve already decided. I stalked you and listened to your podcast, I’ve overdosed on – I say overdose, od. I find people and then od on them. And the more I hear and know and learn about you, the more I think David, that was a great decision to pull Kay Helm into your life. So it’s my honor to be here, there are about five people that I’ve picked, I can tell you who they are, you know, I’m all their big shots, big and amazing people. And I’ll start them all and I’m almost at the end of pulling them into my life. God has been so good to me. So thank you for letting me be here today. You’re one of my heroes, I follow you and I’m learning from you. I’m learning from you. And I love it.

Kay  02:20

I’ve actually done the same thing with you. I’ve been through your podcast episode. You know, I

David  02:27

get a lot of emails and I don’t open them all. But I open all of yours. And and because it’s just it’s good stuff. It’s good stuff and aligned to what we’re doing here. So

David  02:38

 I need people like you as partners in my life to help me because I just write whatever comes to my gut, whatever I face. And I don’t know if it’s worth anything. I’m really, as they say, throwing a lot of stuff against the wall, trying to find out what what sticks and what actually helps people everything that goes through my mind and all my musings are not helpful. Okay, trust me when I tell you that.

Kay  03:06

I don’t think I don’t think you’re alone in that I sometimes it’s funny, isn’t it? How that sometimes the things that you think are the best, at least with me, sometimes the things I’ve worked the hardest on that home, shaped and spent the time on. And I’m really proud of it. Those things like they’re just, like duds. And then the things that you just kind of did off the cuff or got surprised by, or you just kind of threw something out there and it sticks.

David  03:36

There was a few months ago that I was getting contribution statements in the mail. And I got one and I ripped it open. And it was the statement and it showed my monthly giving, because I had given not largely- I don’t have a lot of money to give. But I gave consistently. And there was just that statement. And it just struck me as wrong. It looked like somebody would have just, at least wrote on the sheet, put a sticky note or printed a form letter and said, Hey, thank you for all you did this year, an off the cuff just off the cuff. I just sat down and wrote just out of the top of my head. Don’t like never I don’t remember the title but it was ‘never send out a naked contribution statement’. And remember, that’s been one of my most the people speak back to me about that. And I think gosh, I’ve sat down and honed and written and I’ve got I’ve hired a coach to help me to write great post. Nobody’s much responded and this little thing that was 10 minutes off the cuff and before I knew better, I’ll press in and send it out to everybody. That’s been something that more people have responded to. Hey, I heard that I heard that you know, so we don’t know. We don’t know is what

Kay  05:00

I you know, and and, and and I want to say this early because I don’t want people to bail out on this episode because we’re going to talk about fundraising, that fundraising is not a bad word.

Kay  05:15

You know, because I know I know a lot of folks that go Okay, it’s like a necessary evil like we say that about fundraising and marketing. And and actually, I have to tell you, I’ve enjoyed both. And I know you, I know you enjoy fundraising, and raising

David  05:30

is fun. I say that fundraising is fun. And if people just look back at me, and there it’s

Kay  05:37

It’s right – is right in the word.

David  05:42

I gotta use that. Thank you. It’s got a little one liner there. Thank you. Okay. But yes, I say it’s fun. We both are great friends with Mary Vallone. And I can never forget, forget the landing pain of her website. I don’t know if it’s still the same, because she just changed it. But it was fundraising just got easy. And I just think I’m gonna love you, Mary. But I’m stealing that I’m gonna change it a little. I want my picture to be on my website. And I wanted to say, fundraising just got fun. It’s the most fun thing in the world. I don’t know why everybody is not standing in line going. Would you please let me would you teach me it’s it’s one of the most fun things in the world. It is. It’s not hard. It’s not. It’s not hard. It’s just fun. I don’t know what else to say. That’s probably why I have a job. Right.

Kay  06:34

There you go. Yeah. And I mean, we all have, right, our strengths and our weaknesses, I think but I think a lot of times we avoid the fundraising part. And a lot of us, you know, we’ve got I had I was sharing my story. And one day I’ll, I’ll share it on the whole podcast, but just kind of the short story of getting thrown into this ministry. And I had to learn fundraising, because it was necessary for us to see the vision fulfilled. And in our case, we had kids that we needed to provide food for. And so there was just such a factor of this absolutely has to be done, that it drove me to learn as much as I could about this kind of fundraising and nonprofit,

David  07:18

You know, the good thing like she said, Don’t tune out. The wonderful, amazing thing about fundraising is the same as marketing. You and our close friends, again with Mike Kim. And I know you’re helping him with his book. But Mike is famous to me what I always I can hear Mike’s in my head, lots of times I hear, you know, when I make doesn’t try to do my marketing, but he says, “Marketing is not about making a sale. Marketing is about opening and nurturing a relationship.”

David  07:49

And so fundraising, all that you learned about fundraising that works really was not about getting dollars. It taught you how to have better relationships. And so what I learned from Mike about opening relationships, it I just think, Oh my gosh, this is fun. Raising, it is not about getting dollars. It’s not about getting money. It’s about nurturing relationships. And that makes it easier. It also makes it fun, because I love people most of us do. And when you have great relationships, it makes every day just a joy to live. If it weren’t for great relationships, why would we get up every day and keep going? this world hurts, it will hurt you. Life is tough life will hurt you. The one thing that makes it all worthwhile, and they’re eternal. I’m a man of faith, and you get to take my relationships with me to the next life. Oh my God. So we’re not just friends for now, girl, you’ll have your own planet one day, and I’ll have my own planet one day and the kingdom that never quits expanding. And I’ll be popping over to Kay’s planet today, you know, and I get to keep you forever. That’s what fundraising is. It’s not about making $1 from you. It’s about the relationship that we’re going to celebrate eternally. And when I look at it that way, and not hard is not tough. It’s fun because it’s about how I get to enjoy you and you get to enjoy me. Okay, that’s it. Oh, my God, I don’t know what’s good. I don’t know what else in life is worth that much. It’s It’s wonderful.

Kay  09:40

You know, we were talking about marketing a little bit before we hit record too. And and for me, that’s the whole marketing and like, like Mike says, he has built a relationship, but it’s for me, it’s sharing the stories. You know, I’m kind of stories. And it’s, it’s I love to let me tell you what happened. Easy actually fun? Yeah, hold on. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, so job, we’re doing stuff over in, you know, with our ministry, we’re doing stuff and you know, West Africa and Asia and different places where a lot of the folks that are giving have never been or will never go themselves. And and sometimes we forget that. And and we think it, we make it only about just the the things we’re doing, and not about the people we’re working with and about the stories that come out of it. And it’s time to broaden that out and say, How can I bring? How can I bring my friends who are giving and help them meet my friends? Who are on the other end of this training? And who are a part of us? Because we’re all part of this thing together. And how can I kind of bring us all together? And just

David  10:58

make a part? Yes. And that’s the power of stories. I teach and say that stories are the currency that nonprofit leaders collect in order to pay their donors. And if you see yourself as a collector of stories, and you’ve got donors that are waiting for to be paid, then you work hard to get the stories and then not just getting the stories, but there is an art and there’s a skill to storytelling. And that’s why I’m pulling you into my life because I again, I teach it and I believe it, I know it, the more the better you get at being a storyteller, the more money you’re going to raise the greatest fundraisers are wonderful storytellers. And Kay, we’re not telling stories about the carpet we laid in the back of our mission house, or the new van that we bought. I know that matters. I know it matters.

David  12:01

But honestly, a story about a constituent that gets to ride in that van. And the joy on their face or the pain that we take away from them having to ride in an old jalopy. That story is much more powerful than my story. Hey. We got a new van. So I’ve made I’ve been on the mission field. I go, I’m on the mission field. And I flew in, I flown for 18 hours. And I’ve got in an old jalopy of a van that beat me half to death for another four or five hours. I’m telling you, there are great stories there. If they can be mined. So anyway, how in the world did I go there? I don’t Okay, I’m full of hot air. And you just get me excited about fundraising. But storytelling and stories that his stories are fun, stories are easy. Once we started sort of go into it and learn the craft, and you are an expert.

David  13:13

That’s why we all need you, Kay, because you are an expert in the craft of storytelling. And if we become better storytellers, and I think I think that’s why fundraising feels so dirty because we think fundraising is about me asking you for dollars. Fundraising is about me telling better stories. What are you kidding me? That’s easy as pie! if you didn’t explained it to me that way. I hadn’t been doing that lots earlier. Fun, right? The better you better storyteller you become, the more money you raise. It’s that simple. That easy. Now, you have a craft Kay, and people pay you and pay you well to help them with that. So as nonprofit leaders as fun writer raisers, we Raiders, fun writers on funding your bank account from my mission, as fund raisers. When we understand the strategy, and the power of great stories, and not just stories, we’ve got to understand the technique and the craft of storytelling.

David  14:27

Once we understand that we can give our heart and loves to it as I have begun to I’m not an expert storyteller, but I’m making friends who can teach me and you and Mike Kim and your expert, you’ve learned that craft of storytelling so of course I pulled you ma I’m just a stock storyteller than doing my best to get them in my life. Your one. I want and I need you. Fun-raising the fun in fundraising comes when we understand that it’s a big gushing river to cross, we look at the river and think, Oh, dear God, how can I cross that river? Well, when a guide shows up and says, Look, do you see that rock? Yes. You see the second rock about halfway through? Yes. Do you see that next rock? Yes, jump on the first one, you get on that one, hop to the second hop to the third, hop over, you’re done, then suddenly, with a Oh my God. Now, instead of looking at this horrible raging river, you know what I’m looking at? I’m just looking at this three easy rocks that I’m about to jump off, jump on. You know why? Because now I have a guide who’s shown me that. So anyway, I think fundraising once somebody shows up, and gods are focused to those three rocks that we can, maybe with just a little effort, maybe they’re not so easy, but with a little effort, I can jump to that first rock. And with some effort, and with some guidance, I can an anger that other than that becomes my focus. There’s a raging river there, but I’m not looking at that. That raging river is scary. Yeah, know what, those three rocks, somewhat scary, I could miss somewhat. But with help, I’m going to focus on those and I’m going to do it. And then it becomes fun. And somebody says, what would you hate fundraising? What are you talking about? Fundraising is jumping on that rock jumping on that rock, jumping on that rock hitting the shore on the other side, which is, you know, I’m focused on those rocks. And the the other side we’re being fully funded is and when you get fully funded, oh, my goodness, you.

David  16:45

Those are, that’s a set of glasses, that you begin to look at the whole world, you start looking at the kingdom in a whole different way. And when you live with a poverty mindset, I don’t know it just sort of we we see poverty, we see lack. And we see that there’s not enough and then we begin to act that way. And we just attract people who are struggling also. And it becomes hard. So I don’t know, focusing, having a strategy, and then focus on abundance. There’s enough money in this world to fund all of our missions dozens of times over Yes, I can double what I’m doing. There’s enough money in the world, trust me, there’s more money than we need. But there’s few of us who understand how to get to where it’s at. And I think that’s why there are so like, they say it’s not crowded at the top that 1% there are a few people who have way more money than they’ll ever need to eat tomorrow on or to pay the rent. I think if we can understand how to get to that, then we move on up the hierarchy where there is no lack. We don’t see it, and we don’t have it. So fundraising is about relationships, seeing a path, and then just enjoying it along the way. enjoying it along the way. I’m a person of faith, the God I serve. He’s not sitting up in heaven fretting over how I’m going to meet my budget. Nope, nope. And if I can see the world of the kingdom like he does, I will be going, no problem. They’re not a problem there.

Kay  18:33

That’s right. That’s right. I you know, before we started, I was gonna say I was gonna ask you if if what is one other word that you could use instead of fundraising? And my guess is you would say,

David  18:45

you know, it can be friend raising and raising a relationship maximizing, you know, aka just how to have more friends in this world. How to give people is this a fundraising, aka this, these are some good blog posts, Kay, you’re helping me aka, I’m giving people amazing opportunities to go places all over the world. And to kick history in its side. And never leave your easy chair. You can do it by just interacting with our mission. And that’s awesome.

David  19:32

I have my own nonprofit and we’re starting a school with Palestinians who don’t speak our language, don’t know our faith and don’t hold our faith in the Middle East. And I just think oh my gosh. How often do people in my part of the world in South Georgia, how often to people in South Georgia. Get to Kick history in its sides, how often do we get to impact history in the Middle East? That’s pretty rare. That’s the opportunity I’m bringing into my donors. It’s historic. You want to make history. Come go with me and bring your checkbook and bring your checkbook. This is You and I are going to impact history together. This thing’s historic. If it was a historic, I wouldn’t be doing it. If it wasn’t changing the world as we found it. You and I are about to correct some injustice. How often do we get to do that? I didn’t get to march with Martin Luther King, I want to hope that I would have if I had the opportunity, I want to believe I would have I don’t know. But I’m telling you, I’m not going to miss my chance today, to march with history. I’m marching with history. I’m kickin history and at sides. I’m making history. fundraising is me bringing you the opportunity to make history. You and I are going to take this world. And together, we’re going to leave it a better place than we found it. Oh my God, okay. I’m telling you, it makes me want to get my checkbook out right now. That’s all I can think of is I bring these opportunities to donors, you know, they say after they write their check, thank you. And if you need more, they’ll always wink wink and go, here’s what I’m doing. But if you don’t meet your goal, when you start getting to the deadline, come back and talk to me calls. This is got to be done. This is important is it, isn’t it? And I’ll just say absolutely important. And I’m yeah, rarely, rarely have to go back to them. I never do. Because other people jumped in line and took that chance for Oh,

Kay  22:02

I love it. Yeah, it’s it’s, you know, because it’s that’s the difference between coming and kind of feeling because I’ve heard people equate fundraising to begging feeling like they were begging and things like that. And I’ve felt that way. And but but if it’s if if we only come to people, when we’re kind of at the end of our rope, and

David  22:24

poverty mindset, yeah, you’re just at the end. I’m not bleeding. I’m not begging. I am bringing you an opportunity to partner with Providence. If you don’t, if you’re not a person of faith, I’ll still take your money. I’m giving you an opportunity to partner with the universe. I don’t care how you see it. This is important. This is massive. It’s awesome. And you know what, I think we probably got a hold of the smallest end of the biggest thing go and come on, join us. I love to Oh, my God, I’d love to have you a part of our team. fundraising,

Kay  23:01

see a lot of people I mean, we all want to be part of a winning team. Yes, we do. So okay, I’m a hockey fan. So the trade deadline went went past and everybody’s you know, and, and one of the big things is, superstar player over here is looking for a team that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup, because they’ve been over here for six or seven years. And it ain’t happening. Because this team is just not at that point. But they’re seeing their own arc where they’re in maybe the end of their career. Maybe I got one or two seasons left, I need to get over here to this team. And people do that with their money. They go okay, I don’t know. I’m kind of getting in a sinking ship feeling all the time over here. So we don’t want to be I don’t wanna

David  23:49

I don’t want to be on that ship. I don’t want to be on that ship. Give me a ship that pops out on top of the water and skips across the top. Invite me onto that ship. I want one that’s just popping over the top of the water. Yeah, give me that ship. Everybody loves a winner. Yeah, everybody wants to be on a winning team. And so we when when we offer donors that opportunity, I got a team and we are kicking history in it side. And I have a few opportunities here that you could take advantage of. It’s not hard, and people were dying for significance yet we are we’re, it’s part of, I don’t know, we were put here to make a difference. I do believe that. And when someone offers us that opportunity, I don’t turn it down. I don’t turn it down. might not be able to be as large a part as I want to be. But I’m going to be apart. I’m going to be apart. I promise you. I’m going to be on a winning team. We’re going to pretend in front of me. I’m jumping on that thing.


 So we We’ve sat, we’ve we’ve told the story to the donor, we, they are like, get me on that boat that’s skipping across the water because I want to be on the winning team. And they’ve written the check, they handed it to you. You know, wink, wink, and then you get that back. And then you say their two words that can make sure that you’re never run out of money with your mission.

David  25:23

Or those two words. You’ll, if you will live it, maximize it, learn the power of it, there are two words that will change your life, there are two words that you cannot have great relationships without. And those two words are Thank you, Kay. You cannot remain married successfully. without learning the power of Thank you. You cannot raise children that don’t hate your guts. Unless you learn how to maximize the power of Thank you. Thank you is the magic word, thank you. lets people know they’re significant. And they matter and their contributions matter. Saying thank you excellently, will get you all the money that you need.

David  26:21

Now, people hear me say that and they’re like, Oh, my God, if I just go around, I’ll do okay. So I’ll write my donors a thank you every day. Thank you. Thank you. You’ve got to hear what I’m saying. Yeah. saying thank you. Excellently, and saying thank you excellently. Kay, there are so many masterful ways to say thank you. And that’s what we want to become. Just overdose on that. We want to become experts. And that’s what it must often start out to be the thank you guy, but somehow that is now becoming our Thank you. Nobody knows David Oaks. But they’re like that’s thank you guy. Oh, yeah, yeah. But I didn’t start out with that. But it seems to be that’s just, it must be a part of my DNA.

David  27:07

But, you know, I was having a conversation with I was on somebody else’s show. And he was analyzing my superpower. Apparently, there’s a book I haven’t read yet, because it’s called a Big Leap. I haven’t read it yet. But I don’t know if that’s what he was coming from. But he said, uh, David, I was telling him first of all, that when I go to eat in a restaurant, it’s important to make, I don’t know where I got this from, but it matters and it gets me great service, largely, largely. But when I go in, if I always look for the server’s name, if they don’t have it identified, I ask them their name. And I do I know I repeat their name 10 times before I leave. Um, my name is Kay, and I’m your server today. Hi, Kay. Thank you for serving us today. kay, kay, what would you recommend? Okay, what do most people who come in here brag about? Okay, thanks for service, do what would you like to do? Here’s what I want. Okay, what do they, I’m going to call your your name as many times as I can. Now, listen, this is how I view it. And this is the first time I’ve really and I haven’t written or this is brand new, putting it on your show. So now the world’s gonna know. But when I call your name, it’s one of the ways of me acknowledging you and saying, Thank you for being alive. And thank you for occupying my space right now. Just by me calling your name. Now for me, Kay. For me, that’s a way that I can say thank you for being you. Thank you for being Kay now. Where people of faith, study the Scriptures and see how important names are. Everybody. Not everybody, but it was a common thing. When Jesus met people, he just gave him a new name. I do that a lot too. He gave him his little pet names. You know, my name is Peter. No, you’re the rock Hey, rock, come over here. You know. So calling people by their name is and it’s a high, high, high form of saying thank you, not for what you’ve done for me. But for you being you.

David  29:48

Okay, I’m getting intoxicated on that thought. Few people understand the power of that. Go study how to make friends and when you know, they are We know this, but we don’t work on it to maximize it. But saying thank you excellent play. And I remember sharing this on a on one of our you and I work together with Mary Valloni on on a team meeting that we were in, I remember her saying, I got a card today and yesterday and then I got another card today, it almost feels like, you know, as Lego too. Can you go too far? You can’t go too far in saying thank you excellently. Can I stalk you? Well, goodness gracious, yes. I don’t call that saying thank you. But there are systems and strategies that we can learn that maximize the power of thank you and I often talk about, and it’s one of the main things that I teach is, what do you do when someone gives to your organization for the first time, and I just had a missionary because I was I was on a show with Mary Valloni. You and I both were just the other day. So I’m getting responses from missionaries all over the world. And they’re saying, how often should I write my daughter’s and say, Thank you, should I write a personal note every month? And I just said, You know, I don’t think they’re expecting that. But choose special moments, when someone does gives a gift to you for the first time. Are you kidding me?

David  31:25

Again, go study first things in the scripture where people have faith, every time something was done for the first time. Go study that thing. There’s some principles there that you can learn. It’s called the principles of first things and scriptures. So anyway, you don’t want to write them every day. And I’m sure that if that would work, missionaries that just do that. And they’d be fully funded, but fun, strategic opportunity to say thank you excellently. My kids had, Joe operates children, when they did their chores, I didn’t every single day, say thank you and write them a thank you note, thank you for doing your chores. I did find some strategic times to pull them aside for things that they had to do. They were their responsibility and their chore. And I said, Here, you clean your room, you do this, you do that you take out the garbage you here’s what you do in the yard and pine cones is a big deal down here in the south. You gave in mo hit wall for pine cones everywhere, here to do and I just want to say, you do it without me asking you. You also do a good job. You make me feel great. I’m proud. I just want to say I notice it. Thank you. And I think a lot of pastors think pastors are the worst K, I can talk about them because I’ve been one all my life. pastors are the worst people at recognizing financial contributions because, well, you know, money, God, I let the deacons do that. You’re hurting yourself. You’re passing up an awesome opportunity to strengthen some relationships with people who have spiritual gifts giving to spiritual gifts, according to Scripture says that, yeah, you’re you’re passing up a wonderful opportunity to interact people with spirits, right to get your passing up an opportunity to maximize a relationship that could prove to be strategic, if I can tell you the truth. You’re passing up these opportunities. And also years ago, John Maxwell, I remember, this is one of my first eye opening experiences. I used to go wherever John Maxwell was he was a pastor in San Diego. And he just said, If you don’t, if you are not a key player and funding the vision pastor, you don’t have the right to direct and to write that vision. Pastors all day long, go to churches and say, here’s what we’re gonna do. And the deacon boards are like, No, we’re not. No, we’re not. I want to tell you who gets to set the vision, whoever funds it. And John Maxwell said, I go out and I’ll meet with 10 donors and finance what I want to do, then I go to the deacon boards, tell him what I don’t want to do. And they’ll say, that’s gonna cost too much money. And he said, then I say, I’ve already got the money for it. Then what do they say? They shut their mouth.

David  34:30

So pastors are that worst at fundraising pastors? Don’t say thank you. Excellently. Does it mean stalking people? No. It just means finding ways, instituting systems, just learning to say thank you and it goes all the way back to I consider calling person a person by their name. Consider that one of the single highest forms of saying thank you on this earth. I do believe that and I try to practice it. That was a lot of hot air a soul popped and I can’t hide. You need to close out the podcast is okay, I’m just full on. Did you start talking about fundraising? Thank you and it being fun and relationships. I can’t stop. I can’t. I can’t hush Forgive me, please.


That’s That’s why  I wanted to have you on. This will be the easiest interview I’ve ever done. I’ll just throw one question out there.

David  35:35

I’ll talk for 20 minutes, and you’ll say will he ever hush?


This is awesome. And it’s good stuff. I you know, when you talk about saying people’s names, and I think about the number of letters and thank yous even that I’ve gotten addressed to dear donor,

David  35:57

oh, my God,

Kay  35:58

or dear friend,

David  35:59

I got a form letter that was all written out and copied, one spot was left blank, and it was dear. And there was a spot there. And the precious nonprofit person wrote in with an ink pen, David, so I get we used to call it mimeograph. Copy the letter that was just made for everybody. I don’t know whether he did it. I don’t know whether he just got a teenager to say, I’ll give you $5 if you’ll take all of these letters, here’s a list of names. Right, David? Sam, Mark. I don’t know, just chumped it in the garbage. And did not give, because it didn’t call me by name.

Kay  36:48

Yeah, and there are systems that will do that for us. And, and you know, we get we get busy. We get or we’re not maybe tech savvy. But that’s a great opportunity to pull somebody into your ministry for 10 minutes to set that up for you. You know,

David  37:07

the money yeah, in the budget and pay someone to set up. If you don’t know how to do it. It’s worth paying someone. And it used to be Word documents, it was a mail merge. I don’t know that the new things do add on No, today, but you can do a mail merge, you can, I don’t know what it’s called, and all of the and MailChimp and all of this CRM, but it’s too easy for it to be done for you not to use, it’s kind of a low bar now. So


if you’re not personalizing

David  37:44

either you do or salon, you can do no one a greater honor than to call them by name. And when you don’t, you’ve hurt yourself, yeah, you’ve hurt yourself and you are hurting yourself. And then the work that you were put here on this earth to do, it doesn’t get done. And you know, I’ve worked in church all my life. And the old timers used to say, you know, if you don’t get if you don’t do what God’s called you to do, he’ll just raise up somebody else to do it. I found that not to be true. If you don’t do what you were put here ordained by God to do if you don’t do what you’re put here to do, here’s what I found. It doesn’t get done. It doesn’t get done. Because there’s only one of you. And only you can do what you’re put here and so gifted to do everything you’ve been put here to do. You got the gifts. They’re in there. Yes, they are. Yeah, they’re there. Yeah. Yeah. So

Kay  38:47

we’re developing, you know, one of those things is, is doing those little things that we know to do. And like I said, we were talking before we hit record that, you know, there are those things, we all have things that we know we’re supposed to do, and then we do them. But what what is one small thing somebody can put into practice today, to get those thank yous out it just if they could just change one thing, and that one thing was going to be to make sure I’m thinking people excellently, what’s that first step they could take now.

David  39:22

you know, I make a big deal out of that first gift. So just make it a law. for you as a missionary for you in an organization. This can even be practice in business. You’re not going to write a thank you note to every customer you have, but I can tell you that likely 80% of your income is coming from 20% of your customers. You ought to know those people by name. So anyway, number one, make it a rule. We call this a system right when someone gives for the first time It’s always acknowledged in special ways. And that can be with you, given a phone call you sending a text, you having an interaction with that donor, it can be with you involving your board. Your you have a fundraising team, get a couple or three people who, who will help you. And then teach them how to write that note, the note artist say I serve on the boat board, I serve on a team with Kay Helm, and she was bragging on you today. Welcome to the Welcome to the giving community, we’re a close family and having you here makes it special, I can’t wait to get to know you more.

David  40:49

So celebrate a first gift. That’s a, celebrate it now whatever that means to you do it, just do it. And then I don’t know, mark it on your calendar one year out, put a task on your CRM, put it on your Google Calendar, put it on somehow in one year. But a task that pops up and tell you one year ago, David oaks gave his first gift and then spend the time to work on that letter, send me a letter and say David Harvey hard to believe it was one year ago, you gave your first gift, happy birthday dude. And then maybe give me a story since the time you gave your first gift. And the last year, here’s how many people you touched. Here’s what you accomplished. Here’s why you’re giving matters my crazy. And having you come on board meant the world to us. And that’s why you know, we went nuts. But that’s two things that you could do as a first time donor and then mark it one year out. Those are two dates that you can make special. I don’t know, those are two easy things to do. Maybe they gave that first time and they didn’t give again.

David  42:25

Only 19 out of 100 donors to nonprofits here in this country ever give a second gift. One year is not too late for me to get that letter from you to treat me like I was amazing. And for you to brag on my generosity. You know what I might do in a year? If I haven’t done it, you might get my second gift in one year, after you got my first one. And you know what if someone else is studies tell us this is science K, studies tell us that if you can get me to give that second gift, the chances are through the roof, that I’ll give a third or fourth and that I will even include you in must state plan for the big dollars are if you can get that second gift. So there’s two practical things to practical ways that you can do immediately. If I have a download that you can give to the people who listen to your show from me, and it’s my most downloaded asset. And all it is I don’t say all it is I’ve put some some hot air in there for me. But it’s just copies of some notes that I’ve written. Yeah. So it’s good


because I’ve been to your website and I’ve downloaded

David  43:51

your people that are listening. I’m gonna tell you, Marissa Nelson had Nielson Nelson had me on her show. And she’s like, you know, the financial guru. She hasn’t. She’s not a nonprofit. She actually does have a nonprofit, but that’s not what she’s that’s not that’s how she hung out. But Maria says, like, David, I took your stuff. And I went right to my team. And I said, she said Do you know that my people have to sign up and study your stuff now? It’s part of working for her so I’m like, Oh my goodness. So this is helpful. Just knowing I don’t know I I’ve collected again, I don’t know why it mattered to me, but it did. But I have a file over there in my cabinet. Where I keep thank yous that mean something to me. I don’t know. You send me a thank you and it moved my heart. You know, tell me the hardest thing for me to do is to throw that thing away. I save them. Now you send me Thank you The didn’t touch my heart. Okay, thank you. And it’s right in the garbage. But I’ve collected great thank you notes. And I’ve sort of studied, why does one impact me and the other one does not. So that download, I do give some strategic corners and how to make your thank you more effective. And you want to give the kind of note that your donor, make it hard for people to throw your notes away, I’m telling you make them feel guilty like crazy for throwing your cards away, give them something that moves them. So I’ll give you that link, and you can offer it to the listeners of your show. I love for them to have it and I get people responded to me because of that one free thing that I give away, I get more response from that, than any other thing that I’ve put out there is just writing a great thank you note. And it’s not just nonprofits. As I said, business people have grabbed it. And for that, you know, your 8020 rule for those that top 20%. If there’s any customers, you don’t want to lose, it’s the 20% of people that bring in 80% of your revenue. And for missionaries. And for nonprofits. Usually the Pareto principle that 8020 rule is, is usually it’s still true. There, you got your top 20%, you want to make sure you write great notes you want to notice you want to catch them doing good. And make sure you notice them and call them by name. Yeah, gift,

Kay  46:48

you know, in that one year letter that one year, thank you that you just talked about one of the things that you did when because you you just spoke out kind of a text that you might use in that letter. And and this is another reason you need to grab this download from David is,

Kay  47:07

is he does this, you do this, you kind of naturally do it. And I teach it to people all the time, is now what you’ve done, instead of sending them a letter and saying, dear donor, thank you for your gift of blah, blah, blah, blah, yeah, here’s what we did. You’ve your instead, you’re including them, you’re you’re saying your gift, and I don’t care if it was $5 or $5


I can

Kay  47:39

accomplish this thing. You’re $5 fed children. I mean, I used to do this $5 can go a long way. And and it’s it’s important, and you are a part of it. And it’s including the people in the story. And so always tell us get that get the we’re doing this, I’m doing this, kind of get that language out of the letter and make it all about that donor. And one of the

David  48:05

things that yes, I’ve taught was taught to me and it just revolutionized my, my, my letters, after you write your letter printed out, and then set it on the table in front of you and take a red little red marker. And everywhere you’ve got I circle it. Everywhere you have, we circle it there where you have us circle, everywhere you have the name of your organization, circle it, then just on your word processor, it won’t make sense. But everywhere you’ve got I put you print it out and then make it rearrange that sentence and make it fit instead of because of you know thank you for your money with your money. We preached we ministered we fed we housed we educated take we out with this gift. You fed homeless people. Thank you for your gift. You educated you brought girls out of the six, six trade my god and if you can give them some another thing a teaches to give people a problem, they can solve it if you can give them some piece of the puzzle that they actually did with that amount of money. It helps them to see a clearer picture of what they did. Let’s just say with my organization, I can feed the homeless and it cost me 99 cents per meal. Then, if I can help you to see that every 99 sense that a male What do I feel like when I give $5 per day? Good? Yeah, that is made of motivates me to want to give 100 how many people in feeding this is awesome. So if you help them to see this calculate some sense of, you know, we help 1000 kids come out of the industry and a year’s time and we estimate the cost to be, give them something that is small enough that they can say, ah, did that, if you say there’s a million homeless on the streets of our city? And could you just give some small thing to help us? That’s a problem I cannot solve. It’s overwhelming fix that. Let me buy a meal. Let me pay for a class. Let me if you’re buying, I don’t know.

David  51:06

Give me some piece of the puzzle that I can personally accomplish. And give me the good feelings that come with accomplishing that, I’m more likely to give even larger, and sometimes organizations, they don’t want to do that. Because they’re like, I don’t, if I tell them, it only cost us $99.99. To feed someone a male, they’re liable to give less. Actually, it has the opposite effect. It makes them want to do more. So somehow find a way to calculate a part of the problem that you solve, and allow the donor the opportunity to totally fix it. Give me a 99 cent meal. I’m leveled, feed your people for a month. I mean, I might have the capacity to do that. And if I do, I’ll be motivated to do it. That’s a big deal. So that’s a big deal.


Yeah, that’s good. That’s huge.

David  52:09

Wow, let’s just get out of here and go raise some money for some amazing.


Yeah. Yeah,

David  52:16

I’m like, what are we doing sit here we can be out. Changing the world right now.

Kay  52:23

Exactly. Well, we’ll have to have you back and talk some more. We’ll go into more details on things but really do that. Check the show notes. I’ll have the download there. We’ll we’ll get you connected with David. David real quick, though. How what’s the best way that people can connect with you?

David  52:39

You know what the easiest way right now is becoming Instagram. I never did social media before, but I kinda, I mean, I’m doing Instagram. I’m trying to document what I do just because it’s like, how do you how do you create stuff to put on social media? Oh, my God, I’m tired even thinking about that. I’m just every day I’m just gonna give you a snippet of something I’m doing in my day. I’m on Instagram. Now. You can also find me on Facebook. And if you connect with me there, I do check Facebook. And you can even connect with me there on messenger. You can find me on LinkedIn To be honest, I forget to even go there and check it for weeks at a time but Instagram and Facebook are probably the easiest way to connect with me. You want to get some downloads then you can go to my website, it’s w s that’s short for a world stage. I just what I called my company when I started, you can go there. But anyway, you can start on Instagram, you can find out what I’m doing I’m always putting it on there and I think that’s the that’s what I’m telling people who just go to find me on Instagram


 We’ll have the links in the show notes so people can can pick that up really easily and connect.


Well there you have it as promised, all of the show notes will be at life and forward slash six three because this is Episode 63 so life and mission comm forward slash six, three. do connect with David get his download his thank you note swipe file to get you started on how to write really nice, effective and just beautiful. thank you notes. I mean, they don’t have to be really extravagant, but they do have to be excellent. We will be back next two weeks from now with a new episode where every two weeks we have a new episode out and follow on life and mission on Instagram On Facebook. And we’re doing things during the week there with community on Facebook and love to have you join the conversation. What have you found that that really helps to build relationships with donors. What do you, as a donor like, when nonprofits and ministries are talking to you about the missions? What are we missing? What are we not telling you in our stories? We want to hear that, too. So So jump into that conversation over the life and mission community. And one other thing I will ask you to do, somebody you know, needs to hear this. Somebody you know, needs to hear what David has to say in this episode, would you share it with them? Most of your podcast apps have a little Share button. You just push that and it’ll send that link right on over to text message to your buddies. I would really appreciate it. David would really appreciate it and most of all, your friend is gonna really thank you. This has been the Life and Mission Podcast. I’m Kay Helm, Find your voice. Tell your story. Change the world.

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About David

David Oaks believes raising money for your nonprofit is not about asking people for money, it is about inviting them into a quality relationship. This quality relationship consisting of minor touches results in major gifts. This minor touch, major gift approach has made him a sought after consultant, online educator and thought leader. Before running his own business, David was a successful Christian pastor who maximized relationship and organizational growth strategies to build large organizations. Nowadays you’ll find him coaching nonprofit leaders, leading capital campaigns and making new friends on the international stage – all while mentoring young men and women at home and abroad through his own nonprofit, Bethlehem International School Foundation.

Instagram: @davidLoaks12
Twitter: @davidoaks

Let’s Connect

I help missionaries and organizations tell powerful and effective stories so they can be fully funded. Find out more at

How to Beat Imposter Syndrome, with Jennifer Harshman

How to Beat Imposter Syndrome, with Jennifer Harshman

Jennifer Harshman works with writers and entrepreneurs, and she sees imposter syndrome on a regular basis. But how do we get past it?

Jennifer Harshman's tips to beat imposter syndrome

Transcript available

Imposter syndrome is that feeling many of us get when we start something new, where we question our qualifications, our abilities, or even our right to be involved at all. Jennifer Harshman works with people who want to make a difference, mostly writers and entrepreneurs. She says imposter syndrome is something we can all struggle with, but there are ways to overcome it.

Here are some ways to tackle imposter syndrome:

  • Talk back to your inner critic
  • Strike a power pose
  • Take a small step every day
  • Celebrate taking that small step, no matter how it goes

When you’re faced with a new challenge, break it down into the smallest steps you can and take some small action on it. Do this quickly, and don’t get pulled into the trap of overthinking it or over-researching (which can be a form of procrastination), just get started as soon as you possibly can. It doesn’t have to be a big step. A small step will do. Small steps keep inertia from setting in, and you can make a surprising amount of progress with small steps carried out consistently over time.

What’s your strategy to beat imposter syndrome?


Jennifer Harshman shows people who want to make a difference exactly what to put in their books and blog posts and where, so they get the clarity and confidence they need to start writing immediately.

Connect with Jennifer at

Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk

Let’s Connect

Replay: Fundraising Freedom, with Mary Valloni

Replay: Fundraising Freedom, with Mary Valloni

What’s keeping your nonprofit or ministry from being fully funded?
Mary Valloni lays down some truth to help us overcome the lies we believe about money and fundraising. Plus, simple things you can do today to start your journey to Fully Funded.

Mary Valloni - Episode 59

Mary Valloni has helped thousands of individuals and organizations overcome the lack and scarcity mindset to fund and fulfill their missions. Her award-winning book is Fundraising Freedom: 7 Steps to Build & Sustain Your Next Campaign.

This is a replay of an interview we recorded in May 2020. It’s one of the most popular episodes of Life & Mission, and I hope it helps you!

Talking about money

While many of us shy away from conversations about money, Mary tackles the money issue straight-on. How does she know the money problem can be overcome? She’s done it. In a recession.

“Let’s just start dreaming, because there’s no reason why money should ever stop anyone from fulfilling the vision that God has given to them… If money is your biggest problem right now, I’ve got something to tell you. That can be overcome. We can tackle that. That is easy on the scale of what to overcome.”

Mary Valloni

Mary’s enthusiasm and her joy are contagious. We need more people like her. One of the big problems for fundraisers, especially in ministry, is that we do it alone. So, Mary teamed up with Mike Kim, a top personal brand and marketing expert. They created Fully Funded Academy, which helps missionaries get – you guessed it – fully funded.

The process for missionaries or nonprofits of any size is similar, following the seven-step framework laid out in Mary’s Fundraising Freedom book. This process can help you get clear on your mission and message, and pull together a team of volunteers (an important step often overlooked in fundraising).

Our focus in this interview is on mindset, because during a crisis it’s easy to assume people aren’t going to give. But that’s not the case!

“This is not the time to freeze and to slow down. This is absolutely the time to innovate and to  figure out what is what, go back to the foundation of why you created this thing in the first place, and realize that your vision has not changed one bit. We are just going to do this a little bit differently.”

Mary Valloni

What can we do right now?

Mary’s top advice right now? Communicate frequently, “because that’s what friends do.” Now is the time to check in on our supporters, to see how they’re doing, and to ask for their advice. Share the wins, even the little wins. There is a lot of bad news these days, so your good news will get noticed. “We all need each other. Some people are going to have the finances; some people are going to have the passion, the time commitment to go and do the physical work. But we are all in this together.”


Connect with Mary at and at

Need a Certified Fully Funded Coach?

Get the book: Fundraising Freedom: 7 Steps to Build and Sustain Your Next Campaign

Start with these Fundraising Resources

Start with these Fundraising Resources

Here are eight of my favorite fundraising resources.

In 2006, I helped start two new ministries. We didn’t have a clue how to set up a nonprofit, but we did it. What I typically do, when I face a new challenge, is I try to learn as much as I can about the topic. I dive in deep, and try to identify the most important concepts. And I do this for everything. Probably too much, but if you listen to this podcast as we move into the new year, you’ll benefit from this. 

As an example, I have a friend who told me she was starting to write her memoir. What did I do? I asked friends in the writing world the best books were to read on memoirs. I read three books about memoir writing, and almost every post on Marion Roach Smith’s blog, all so I could help when my friend asked. 

I love to learn, and I have a knack for taking information, distilling it down, and breaking complex things down and simplifying them. That’s one of the things I hope to do going forward with the Life and Mission podcast.

Podcast Update

Our tagline is “Find your voice. Tell your story. Change the world.” But how? I’m going to break those down, and we’ll explore different aspects of each one.

How do you find your voice, anyway? We’re going to look at that from different angles, sometimes looking at practical steps, and at other times, we’ll hear from people sharing their own stories. So we’ll have a combination of solo episodes and interviews. And what I hope to do is to be more focused on really helping you do those three things: Find your voice, your unique voice. Tell your story, whether that’s through media or in the way you live. And what about changing the world? It’s all about impact.  

That’s what we’re doing on this podcast, moving forward. 

My Top 8 Fundraising Resources

Today I’d like to take my 14 years experience managing a nonprofits and offer help for leaders in this area. If you’re in the nonprofit world, or in the ministry world, you are in the business of changing the world. And you’re doing that under a specific set of rules, and usually, a lot of mindset issues!

When we started our organization back in 2006, I dove in. I took a nonprofit management course at the local community college. I bought dozens of books, subscribed to blogs and magazines, and all that stuff. 

So many voices! So many people telling what to do! And over the years, I’ve culled that list down to about a dozen resources that I STILL go back to over and over, because they actually work! They actually help me. I am the wearer of all the hats, like so many of you are. You’re doing the programs; you’re doing the marketing; you’re doing the fundraising.

So this list is to help you with mindset, and strategy for programs, fundraising, and marketing, so you can focus on the activities that can actually move you toward the outcomes you want and need.

If you’re like me, you’re driving while you listen and it’s a little hard to take notes. So I’ve put everything I’m about to talk about here into a PDF you can download from my website (also available at the bottom of this post).

In fact, the download has more resources than the ones I mention here. But for the ones I talk about in this episode, I’ll tell you why they’re on this list and how I use them.

So many people start because of passion, but then run into a wall because fundraising feels like begging.

Kay Helm

Let’s start with the top books. If you only read 2 books, these are the ones.

1) A Spirituality of Fundraising, by Henri J.M. Nouwen

You can read this through in one sitting. It’s only 50-60 pages. And it deals with the most important part of your fundraising–your mind. So many people start because of passion, but then run into a wall because fundraising feels like begging. So we’ve got to change our mindset. This book gives a biblical understanding of the role money and raising money plays in ministry.  We don’t want to miss opportunities for deep and meaningful relationships that make fundraising so rewarding. Most of us need a mindset shift as we examine our relationships with success, comfort, and money.  This is a book that invites us to examine our hearts, motives, and methods and align these with God’s word. 

If you come to me for fundraising coaching, Session One homework is to read this book. 

2) Fundraising Freedom: 7 Steps to Build and Sustain Your Next Campaign, by Mary Valloni

This book outlines Mary’s FREEDOM Fundraising Framework. Raising funds successfully and consistently requires strategy! The Freedom framework gives you that strategy, from clarifying your mission and message to building and deploying your teams and making your difference! You don’t need to chase after everybody’s tips and tricks – build on this effective framework to engage more donors and volunteers. 

Bonus: I interviewed Mary in episode 42, and Mary has a podcast called Fundraising Freedom.

3) Fully Funded Academy

This resource is specifically for missionaries raising support. Fully Funded Academy is a monthly membership training program that gives you the clarity and confidence to launch, grow, and scale your financial support base. Mike Kim is a marketing genius; Mary Valloni has the fundraising strategy. Put those two together, along with a library of teaching, two monthly live calls, templates for letters and blog posts, all kinds of training for developing your website, emails, and print assets, and an amazing community – you will never be alone and never not know what to do next in your fundraising. The fund-raising strategy is based on Mary’s FREEDOM Fundraising framework. 

There is also a Fully Funded Academy podcast! I’ve been a part of this community now for two years, and I am a Fully Funded Certified Coach, so if you want 1:1 attention as you put this into practice I can help you with that

4) Cairification, from Claire Axelrad

There are really only two blogs you need to follow. The first one is “Clairification” from Claire Axelrad. This blog is a tremendous source of knowledge on all things fundraising and philanthropy. Claire  teaches the CFRE course that certifies professional fundraisers, and her posts are packed with useful, practical how-to’s and why’s for key aspects of fundraising and donor communication.

5) The Storytelling Nonprofit

The next blog is the Storytelling Nonprofit, from Vanessa Chase Lockshin. I interviewed Vanessa in episode 27, and Claire put that interview in her weekly list oof favorite resources – so, there ya go! As the   Storytelling Nonprofit, Vanessa’s focus is on recognizing, collecting and telling stories that help donors connect with our cause. She’s got the blog, YouTube channels and regular, really helpful emails with storytelling techniques you can use immediately. Stories are powerful! You absolutely have to tell stories effectively to raise funds. The Storytelling Nonprofit will help you do that.

I want to include these next resources because I’ve been surprised at how many smaller nonprofits don’t know about them. 

6) GuideStar (now part of Candid)

You need to be sure your organization is listed on GuideStar, and that you keep your listing updated each year. We make sure to update our profile, and put the GuideStar seal on our website to help build trust and confidence with donors. Here’s the thing you need need to know. Listing on GuideStar is free. You need to have all your nonprofit paperwork in order, and take the time to complete your profile with all the details. GuideStar will actually pull your 990s in from the IRS, so funders can see what you’re doing with finances. This is the place where most foundations and funders will look to verify your information, got make sure you are a legit 501c3. So when you apply for a grant, and when you apply to get listed on other nonprofit sites like GlobalGiving, they need to find you here. 

7) TechSoup

This next one will save you TONS of money. Once you’re listed on GuideStar, apply with TechSoup so you can get discounts on software and hardware for your nonprofit. So, no. you do not need to pay $500 for Quickbooks Nonprofit. I think it’s something like $60 through TechSoup. Do NOT go to sketchy discount software stores where you could end up with pirated software, or malware. Get the real deal. Top software packages including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, anti virus software, and all kinds of tech deals. These are real, licensed agreements for great deals.


For Christian nonprofit organizations, I want to mention ECFA. Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. You’ve seen the blue ECFA seal on materials from Christian organizations. This means they’re accredited by the ECFA, and that they adhere to the ECFA’s  Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. If you’re a smaller organization, you might think you can’t afford to pursue ECFA accreditation, but take heart! Once you apply, they have people to help walk you through the process. In addition, they produce some of the best resources (books, guides, webinars, and more) to guide your organization in areas of good governance and financial accountability. If you are just beginning the process of starting a nonprofit, start here! Use their resources for building a strong board and organizational structure that will serve you well for many years. You’ll save yourself so much hassle by starting off right!

Those are my eight top nonprofit fundraising resources. I have 11 more in my nonprofit fundraising guide (sign up for emails and I’ll send it to you for free. You can always unsubscribe later).

As always, we’re talking about all of these and more in the Life and Mission Podcast community over on Facebook.

Thanks for listening to the Life and Mission podcast – Find your Voice, Tell your story. Change the world! 

Get the resource list as a PDF download – with more resources and helpful tips!

Speaking to Connect with Your Audience – Interview with Aurora Gregory

Speaking to Connect with Your Audience – Interview with Aurora Gregory

Public speaking is one of the best marketing tools you could ever hope to employ. Aurora Gregory coaches speakers on every aspect of the speaker life. In this interview, she shares tips for virtual speaking opportunities, and more.

Ep. 43 Aurora Gregory

Key Takeaways

  • Public speaking is one of the best marketing tools.
  • You can have an audience any time you want.
  • This new season creates opportunities.
  • There are ways to translate the live experience to a virtual one.
  • Tell stories.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Create a meaningful experience for your audience.

Get Picked: Tips, Tricks and Tools for Creating An Irresistible Speaker Proposal

by Aurora Gregory & David Pitlik (Amazon Link)

Here’s an earlier interview with Aurora, about public speaking and the fears every entrepreneur has to face –

Tap the “+” below to open the transcript


[00:00:00] Kay: Hey Aurora, thank you so much for joining us again on the podcast. How have you been.
[00:00:06] Aurora: Okay, it’s great to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me back. And I’ve been really good. It’s been, a busy season,  an exciting season, certainly there’s lots going on in the world, but, it’s also created a lot of opportunity to go for things to, you know,  to bloom and prosper in my own life.
[00:00:21] So I’m, I’m, I’m very doing very well.
[00:00:23] Kay: Oh, that’s good to hear. Very good. Now, Aurora, you, you coach people with public speaking and you, I mean, you’re like one of the go to people. Well in the industry, you know, people from corporations kind of leaders are coming to you for advice to how to present their ideas on, on stage. But the stages recently have been a little hard to come by haven’t they?
[00:00:49] Aurora: They, you know, they have, and I they’ve been hard to come by. Some of them have. I’ve slipped away and some of them are just changing venues. So,   obviously we’re,   at this recording where, you know, in the middle of,   kind of all managing this kind of pandemic and COVID-19, and it’s changed a lot of, a lot of things for speakers.
[00:01:08] And so  what I’ve really noticed is that,  Most of the events, lots of events are at least in the immediate future have moved themselves to a virtual platform,  which I’m very encouraged by,  in a season like this, a situation like this, it would be so natural to just want to just cancel and just everyone kind of throw up their hands and say, you know what?
[00:01:27] We can’t do it. We’re just going to let it go.  other events,  that have been scheduled for where we are in this, in the calendar and the spring season have moved to the fall. And I’m again, encouraged by that, because that means people are hopeful that things are going to get better and we’ll be able to gather,   again, and then others are also, you know, contemplating hybrid events.
[00:01:46] And I think that is really going to be something that we’re probably going to see more of in the future is events that. Perhaps limit the number of registrations number of people that can attend, but then they’ll make a virtual ticket available. So while it on the face of it, and certainly when everything first started to change.
[00:02:06] I think it was a very scary time for a lot of speakers.  certainly on the corporate side, things were changing rapidly, but for individuals, speakers,  authors who were speakers,  even pastors churches, you know, there was a lot of change immediately and it was, and it was scary and then slowly, but, you know, very progressively, everyone seemed to get their footing.
[00:02:27] And one of the things that. I adopted for myself at the beginning. All of this is well, what does the season make possible? And I think a lot of speakers have really what I’ve been able to see is speakers that have leaned in and look for were possibilities and opportunities to continue to serve the audiences that they really believe they’re called to serve.
[00:02:51] And that’s been. That’s been just super encouraging to me. And it’s been wonderful to come alongside speakers and coach them and encourage them,  help them kind of sort out ideas,  validate the things that they want to do. So,  lots of opportunity, even, even during times of great change, there’s always lots of opportunity.
[00:03:08]Kay: Yeah. I always love to hear people say that because I think that’s where a lot of times these, these are the places in history where we make big leaps. You know, somebody discovers something, somebody changes the way they do something. And sometimes that’s just a, seems like a small change or it might seem like a big change at first.
[00:03:26] And then it kind of seems small. And then you look back years later and you go, wow. That’s when everything shifted.
[00:03:33] Aurora: It’s very, very true.  I have a,  a dear friend who has been a,  corporates. Presentation skills trainer for probably close to 30 years. All of his, all of his offerings have been live and in person. So when everything started to change,   his calendar cleared quickly. And, I had talked to him about trying to, adjust his, his offering to offer things that were either virtual or to, put together digital trainings that.
[00:04:01]could be done through a video course and he was really resistant to it. But then when all of this happened,  you know, it took a couple of weeks to kind of like absorb the shock and then saw that this created opportunity because his calendar had cleared, he had plenty of time to lean into.
[00:04:19] Okay, well, what would my virtual offerings look like? What do my trainings now? How would I deliver them virtually.  how do I, how, how would I translate my materials that way? And he’s been able to do that and has been able to rebook some of his business,  through a virtual channel and that wouldn’t, he wouldn’t have ever considered it, had this situation, not, not arisen.
[00:04:40] And so that’s exciting that it’s exciting to see people like him do things like that.
[00:04:44] Kay: absolutely. How, how has it changed what you do in the way that you do your work?
[00:04:49] Aurora: So for me, it’s really been about,  coaching speakers,  to pitch themselves differently is one of the things that I, one of my strengths is helping people form and shape their pitches so that they can pitch themselves for speaking gigs and land those stages. And so while the pitches for the most part, the same, what you now have to try to communicate as a speaker is.
[00:05:15] How do you, how are you going to be able to connect with that virtual audience that you would have maybe had a meet and greet after your presentation at a meet and greet table or how the live Q and a, like, how are you going to translate that and how are you there to help. The event planner, the event, presenter,  manage that digital experience so that the audience really gets something that’s deep and meaningful.
[00:05:42] it is, it is absolutely possible to create a meaningful,  engaging experience online it’s possible. But you have to think about that. And so that has to get kind of translated into your presentation, your pitch materials, so that they understand what you’re there to bring. And then the other part of what’s really changed.
[00:06:00] For me is how to help clients understand the, the differences, the nuances that they have to be sensitive to when they’re presenting in a virtual environment is very different. So kind of present in a room.  you can’t really see your audience all the time.  you feel a little lonely in a room. And so how do you bring that same energy that you would have brought to this from the stage,  to your, to that virtual experience?
[00:06:26] So that the audience is just as nourished by what you have to offer?
[00:06:31] Kay: Right. That’s good. Yeah. It’s hard. It’s hard on both sides of that. I think it’s hard for the presenters and it’s also hard for people, especially if, you know, if your zoom meeting number four of the day, or, you know, if your speaker number. three or four or five or seven or whatever in your virtual event, it’s just so hard to keep people focused on that screen.
[00:06:54] And it’s, I mean, it’s physically hard on the eyes. It’s, you’re sitting, you’re in so many things working against you.
[00:07:02] Aurora: There, you know, are things that work against you there, you know, the things that you can do to engage people, but you’re so right. And the whole idea of, perhaps in,  in your live presentation, you might not have used slides. In your presentation a lot, especially maybe motivational speakers, you maybe use slides or you didn’t use very many and they may not have had as much,  you know, much to them visually as a virtual presenter.
[00:07:28] One of the things that is you have to be super sensitive to is your audiences. You’ve gotta be able to give them something to see on the screen and it’s got to change, or you do end up with what we call the glaze factor. They just kind of glaze over.  you’ve gotta be able to change the slide.  anything you can do to ask questions, to engage them, maybe even during your presentation, if you’ve got a polling feature, say you’re doing a webinar for someone and they’ve got a polling option.
[00:07:56] That’s available to you ask your audience questions,  as you go, as opposed to waiting until the end, those types of things are really, really important.  because you know, your audience can drift. It’s so easy to get distracted by whatever’s on your desk and feel like you’re multitasking, almost like listening to listening to some radio program while you work.
[00:08:16] And, as a speaker, you want to be able to. To lock them in. And so that’s really something that we talk about,  when I’m coaching folks and helping them manage that virtual experience.
[00:08:27]Kay: but I love that you’re talking about opportunities. I mean, what even. Yeah. We mentioned that all these events getting counseled and everything, and then a lot of them getting pushed and, and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of calendar acrobatics still to come as, as we
[00:08:44] start
[00:08:44] Aurora: way to put it. Yes. Calendar acrobatics
[00:08:46] Kay: That’s a, you might as well make it sound fun.
[00:08:48] Right. You know, so we’ll just, you know, as all these dates are getting, getting moved around,  but you you’ve, you’ve used the word opportunity so much. And that’s one of the things I love about you is, is that you are a bright side kind of person, you know, but, do you think that there might even be more opportunities for people to break into speaking these days?
[00:09:12] Aurora: you know, I, I, that’s a, that’s an interesting question. And I, and I really do think that there, that that’s true,  because live events are either going to be either, either not possible or they’re going to be limited.  and we can talk a little bit about some of the limitations that I’m hearing from, you know, kind of the event industry.
[00:09:31] More and more is going to be shifted to the virtual experience. And so,  I think you’re going to see a lot more,  opportunities and calls for speakers, for things like speaker for, summits on various topics. people who,  have member communities or. You know, we’re hosting live events.
[00:09:48] I know I was supposed to be a speaker at a live event in Orlando.  this week I was actually supposed to be in Orlando this week. And if, you know, obviously it was canceled. And so the event planner made the decision. He decided that,  he had 25 speakers that were supposed to be presenting this week.
[00:10:04] And he asked us all for kind of a five to seven minute, little snatch of what we might be offering.  At the conference and he put it all together and it became this five and a half hour live summit that he ran on Facebook and it was awesome. And, you know, I enjoy putting together, something special for his audience and it was great to be part of that group.
[00:10:28] I think we’re going to see a lot more of that and that, that creates opportunity.  you know, some of us have speakers. Might not ever have considered a virtual event, we might not ever have considered pitching ourselves for,  for a summit type event or, or even considered, offering our own, you know, our own training, our own mini events.
[00:10:47] We might not ever have considered that we might, some of us have made, been resistant to doing Facebook live because we just liked the live experience so much more. And so what the situation, the audience can’t see that vacay just pointed at hers.
[00:11:03] Kay: Yeah, I did. That was
[00:11:04] Aurora: we’re recording this over zoom so we can see each other and she just kind of pointed at herself.
[00:11:08] And so, you know, for those of you who have been resistant to zoom, one of my, one of my spirit courage moments, Is that as a speaker, you can have an audience anytime you want, and that’s called live streaming. So, you know, this situation, this season creates opportunities that are not just, you know, I don’t want anyone to think that the, the opportunities that present themselves are just kind of stop gaps for right now.
[00:11:34] They’re just what you do right now, until things get back to normal, these could be very meaningful.  Additions to your speaking business, to your author business, to your entrepreneurial efforts.  I’m, I’m a big believer that public speaking is probably one of the best marketing tools you could ever hope to employ because it gives you the opportunity to.
[00:11:58] Navigate or to,  expose your business and your, what you have to offer to the greatest number of people. At one time you can network from a stage and now we’re losing, using the word stage very loosely. You can, now you can network from the stage.  In a way that you couldn’t edit at a live event, if you went to a conference or even, I always use this example.
[00:12:19] If you went to a chamber of commerce mixer in your local town or local city, and say there were 125 people at that event, it’s. It’s virtually impossible for you to have a meaningful conversation with even half of the people that are there with 75 people, you can’t do it. It’s, it’s, it’s physically impossible in the, in the amount of time that you have there, but from the stage, you can share who you are and what you offer in a meaningful way.
[00:12:49] With countless people and they get a chance to know you and the ones that are very interested in what you have to share. They kind of separate themselves right after that presentation and come up and engage with you. And now you have a great set of folks that are interested and that you are interested in knowing, and that you can now begin cultivating a relationship with, and that happens on the stage.
[00:13:11] It doesn’t, there’s just not a,  a more,  You know, better be great bang for your buck type of marketing tool than public speaking.
[00:13:22]Kay: I think what we do a lot of times, you know, like when I pointed to myself, when you started talking about,  you guys should have seen that one day, I’ll start to EnVideo recording of the podcast. But because of this, I, you know, I’m not used to being on camera. I’m actually used to being behind the camera.
[00:13:39] Part of my background is as a camera operator. And so it’s just strange for me to be on the other end, but. doing the Facebook lives and stepping out. I think one of the things that people think is besides the whole mechanics of it, or how do I look? And all of that is what qualifies me to be a speaker.
[00:14:01] Aurora: that’s right. That’s right. And you know, one of those, I think we all get nagged by that question. What qualifies me to fill in that blank? What qualifies me to be a trainer? What qualifies me to make designer cookies? Like what? Qualified, like whatever your entrepreneurial life, what qualifies me to be an author?
[00:14:21] Whatever your, your, your thing is whatever has been pressed on your heart or whatever your gift and talent is that you want to put into the world. We all get nagged by that question. I deal with it. And I know that, you know, the,  the mindset folks call it imposter syndrome and all of those, all kinds of things.
[00:14:38] Great things that you can Google about it. And I know for me is, you know, when I was, you know, struggling with that question and when it, and when it crops up for me and it, it never fully goes away, it just kind of comes in in a different way, because it takes a different form. I always have to ask myself, my, my, my retort is always, well, why not?
[00:14:56] You. Why not you, and there’s really not an answer to that. There’s no reason why it can’t be me. And I would encourage all of us to really lean into that question, especially, those of us who were people of faith and, believe that the Lord has a calling on our lives to,  put the things that he’s gifted us with, the talents that he’s allowed us to develop and cultivate to put those into the world, to help people.
[00:15:25] Why not? You,  you can’t let the nagging,  insecurity, keep you from moving forward. be willing to lean and skip past that, to push past that trusting and believing that if the, if the vision for that was, was placed on your heart and mind to do that, God has gone before you, and that he has cleared your path and the path may not be, you know, may not be completely clear as to how it’s going to go, but he’s cleared it.
[00:15:54] He’s gone before you, and he has something for you and he wants to use you to deliver something to others. So. I, without going too deep into that, on the VAT trail, I just want to encourage you. Don’t, you know, don’t, don’t be discouraged by that nagging voice, just, you know, kick it to the side and keep it moving.
[00:16:14] Kay: Yeah. There you go. and anybody that’s listening to this podcast, I think you know that you have a calling, you have a purpose; you have a message. So this is part of it.
[00:16:27] I think anybody with a message sooner or later, you’re going to be in front of a group, whether it’s five people on a zoom call or 10 people in a Bible study. Or thousands of people, my first ever Sunday sermon that I ever preached, what’s the 3000 people.
[00:16:44] Aurora: Oh my goodness. Doesn’t Jesus. Have a great sense of humor. He says, like he says, come on. Can I got something for you to do?
[00:16:53] Kay: I had like two days to prepare for that, because I was traveling with a group of people who were all very talented and experienced speakers and Bible teachers. And we were in Uganda and  they said, Oh, kale, speak this Sunday. And I was like, looking around for like another K or something. And it’s not that I didn’t.
[00:17:15] I knew at some point I was going to be on a platform. I just didn’t think it was going to start like that.
[00:17:21] Aurora: right.
[00:17:21] Kay: You know, I needed, I need to pay my dues. Y’all don’t be throwing me in front of all these people right now, but it was wonderful.
[00:17:31] And, and, uh, you know, it’s, I always tell people I have more trouble probably speaking to a dozen people than I do to a thousand.
[00:17:38] So I don’t know. We’re all different.
[00:17:41] Aurora: Well, I think, you know, and I think in this season, and as people try to approach,  you know, this kind of virtual experience that I think is probably the, You know, one of the great challenges is when you’re in front of an audience,  you feel like you can develop a kind of a quick rapport with them and, and kind of draw some energy from them in the virtual experience.
[00:18:04] you kind of have to come with that energy,  or figure out a way some other creative ways to develop it.  I think this is one of the groups that I have. I have, I have prayed for deeply and have really seen grow in this season is pastors because they, you know, live off of the live audience, speaking experience them as speakers.
[00:18:26] And so now they don’t have that, or they have very few people in the room. And so they’ve had to really kind of lean in, you know, one of the, one of the tips that I give speakers who are struggling with that is. As you get ready to approach your, your presentation is to really have some clarity around a person.
[00:18:45] It may be someone, you know, it may be someone that is commenting as part of the marketing of the event that you’re going to be speaking at, or if it’s a professional development experience that you’re going to deliver, but to think about. A person or, or, or a few people get them locked in your mind and even perhaps see them and see them at the camera as you get started so that you can get into your routine, get into a rhythm of speaking.
[00:19:14] That’s really, I think for all speakers, the hardest part is the start and getting into that rhythm. And I think if you can do that, It’s important. And then I’m going to, you know, tell a little bit about the tip that you gave me before we got started, which is to remember to smile. And Kay showed me, took a picture of her camp of her computers that up, and she’s got a little sticky note near her camera with a, she just took a magic marker and drew a happy face on a yellow sticky, and put it right there to remind herself to smile and to come with some energy.
[00:19:46] And I think that’s great because, smiling. inspires energy and enthusiasm. So, do that and, and, and look for that, but, but see your audience, see the people that you’re serving and speak to them, you know, speak to them and it will help you so much in trying to get past, as you develop a comfort level with speaking in the virtual world.
[00:20:11] Kay: I think we’ve seen that. I’ve seen on social media, some pictures, you know, from pastors and churches that they’ve, I think one of them had puppets sitting in the seats and, you know, they brought in the props from the kids’ ministry and preaching to the puppets and then another one had,  had printed out photographs of people.
[00:20:28] From the congregation, you know, and put them in the chair, as I thought. That’s awesome to think that out ahead of time now I need my end to be thinking specifically.
[00:20:39] Aurora: about these people. Yeah. It’s so true. And that what’s great for them is that, you know, generally they’re seeing the same people weekly, maybe twice a week or more so that they can, they, they probably even have an idea of like, Oh, okay. Ken and Aurora, they sit over here on Sunday. So let’s put their pictures over here cause that’s where I’m used to seeing them.
[00:21:00] but I think, I think that’s, that’s such a great idea. And you know, even if you could, if, if you, as a speaker are able to do that, if you have,  Any kind of insight into the audience that’s coming. You know, if there’s been a Facebook group, for instance, that’s been created for your events, grab those, you know, those little thumbnail everybody’s profile shot tape, some of them up around you so that you can see them and, and engage with them.
[00:21:23] There’s there’s so there are ways to translate the live experience to a virtual. You’re just going to have to think about it. You’re gonna have to be creative, get all the, what is it? My cousin of mine says, get all of your frustrations about the situation, get it all out your system and then lean in, but you know, allow yourself to feel all those things are feelings are real and genuine, but get it all out.
[00:21:47] And then say, Oh, and then ask yourself, okay. Now what am I going to do? What does this make possible? What can I do to create a meaningful experience? Because you’re still a speaker and that’s still the foundational goal of what it is that you want to do is to create a meaningful experience for your audience.
[00:22:05] Kay: Well, let’s lean into that a little bit. Just I’m whether it’s, you know, in the new situation or, or just, you know, there, there are. Timeless truths to what it takes to connect with an audience as a speaker. What are some of those that we can keep in mind? No matter the situation.
[00:22:23] Aurora: Yeah. Whether it doesn’t matter what kind of speaking experience I don’t care if, and I certainly count this as a speaking experience. I don’t care if you’re updating your manager across a table, across the desk. One of the best ways to engage an audience and draw them in quickly is with a story is to start your presentation with a story.
[00:22:45] everyone loves a story. Everyone loves to know. You know, well, what’s going to happen. There’s a particular speech that I give,  related to my personal testimony. And I, I start that presentation with,  with the story, even before I even introduce myself, I kind of let the audience kind of settle in and I realize I’ve got their attention.
[00:23:07] And without any introduction of who I am, I start the story and I talked for about two minutes and then I pause. And then I introduce myself and then I take them into my presentation. Every, every topic that we have to talk about should have a story that we can offer our audience so that they can see themselves.
[00:23:31] In the context of the topic,  there might be characters or people that you can speak to that allows them to see. Okay, who am I in this story? And I think that’s what you really want to be able to do. And I, it it’s, it’s certainly powerful. In a live presentation. One could make the argument that it’s almost essential in a virtual experience because as we talked about trying to engage that audience and hold them, everyone always wants to know how the story ends.
[00:23:58] And if you’re holding them and weaving your story in with your content, you can get them to the end and wanting to, you know, and bring them to the end of the story, whatever it is that you’re wanting them to come away with, that’s going to be that masterful ending.
[00:24:12]Kay: So we’re using story. We’re using eye contact work. We’re connecting with the audience in all kinds of ways, every kind of way that we can think of.
[00:24:21]And we’ve said earlier that public speaking is powerful, powerful marketing tool. What makes it so powerful?
[00:24:30]Aurora: you know, it’s a couple of things.  One is. Kind of the, the, the volume of one to many that ratio of being able to communicate one to many,  two is the impact that you can make,  in, from a stage. You know, when you take the stage, your goal is either to train or teach,  motivate or encourage. Those are essentially the things that you are going to be trying to do from the stage.
[00:25:03] You’re a motivational speaker. You’re probably more of a motivator or encourager. If you were offering a service or something that you teach people to do, obviously you’re training or educating people and what makes it so powerful is that people come to hear a speaker because they want those things.
[00:25:22] They want to be trained. They want to learn something. They want to be encouraged. They want to be motivated to do something. And as a speaker one, because you’re on the stage and you have the microphone you’re immediately viewedd as someone who has knowledge and authority. Everyone believes everybody who believes the person who’s at the microphone and, and that’s a good thing.
[00:25:44] so you have that powerful position of being able to. To to offer that from the stage you have the power to make,  to make a life changing deposits into someone’s life. Even if you’re talking about your business, even if, you know, I love to, you know, that the example of, of even just a cookie designer and someone who creates beautiful cookies,  when someone has the problem of, gosh, what am I going to do for my five-year-old’s birthday to make it special?
[00:26:08] That’s a problem. And they’re looking for a solution and you’re here to educate them on how a cookie can do that.
[00:26:15] Kay: That’s right.
[00:26:16] Aurora: So the power of public speaking is that you are able to bring what people are desperately looking for a solution to a problem that they have.  you’re able to bring that to them from the stage.
[00:26:31] You’re able to either give them something in that immediate moment that they can take and apply and solve their problem, at least in the short term, or you’re able to, to show them. I know what I’m talking about, and you can do this thing and make a difference, or we can work together and we can make a magical difference, a meaningful difference, but you’re letting them know they’re not alone.
[00:26:54] The solution exists to their problem and they can have it. They don’t have to stay in the place that they are. And there is nothing, I don’t think more wonderful than being able to offer that to people, to make a life changing difference. And then to hear later, Hey, I did what you said and it made all the difference.
[00:27:12] I know that one of my greatest joys is when I hear that someone either heard me or picked up a copy of my book, get picked, used the tools. Created a great speaker proposal and got picked to speak. And I get a message from them saying, Hey, I did what you said. And I got picked, I got the speaking gig.
[00:27:33] There’s nothing like that.
[00:27:35] Kay: Yeah. Yeah, it really is. I, I recently asked on my Facebook page, what if I were to teach a class? What, what should I teach? And it’s funny because I used to, I taught for one year and a little private school, and one of my former students was the first person to respond to that question. And she, she, it was kind of, you know, with a wink she’s like geography, because that was the topic.
[00:27:59] That was what I taught.
[00:28:03] Aurora: but what a meaningful, what a meaningful impression that you made on her that she’s still not only remembered you, but remembered the, the topic that you taught.
[00:28:13] Kay: Yeah.
[00:28:14] Aurora: think that’s fabulous.
[00:28:15] Kay: Oh, it made me feel great. I mean, it just totally made my day. That was actually this morning. It just, I was,  you know, I had to run out and tell everybody in the house.
[00:28:28] Aurora: That’s awesome. And we can have those same experiences as a speaker. When we use that as a marketing tool in our business, you know, marketing is not, it’s not a bad word. It’s about building relationships with people who are already looking for what it is that you offer. That’s it. That’s what marketing is.
[00:28:45] It’s not there. Doesn’t have to be a sleaze factor. You don’t have to be smarmy. You don’t have to be constantly selling, selling, selling. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about building your relationships with people who are already looking for what it is that you have to offer them.
[00:28:59] Kay: Yeah, you’re just delivering what people need
[00:29:01] Aurora: That’s right.
[00:29:02] And your help making it easy for them to find it.  They’re already looking, you’re just wanting to make it easy for them. And, you know, public speaking as a part of that, there are certainly lots of other tools that are out there that, you know, we all use and deploy and I’m okay. I know you’ve got some, had some great guests and we’ll continue to have people who talk about all of those other things, but, you know, that’s, that’s what you do.
[00:29:23] When you, when you decided to get up on a stage is, is get out there and help people find what they’re already looking
[00:29:29] Kay: Yeah. Aurora. That’s awesome. You’re always so encouraging. And I love that we’ve talked a lot about opportunity, but there’s a previous interview that I did, gee, almost two years ago that you and I talked about the fears that people have about public speaking. So I will link to that in the show notes. I’ll link to,  Aurora’s book.
[00:29:53] I will,  Put the link to connect. You can connect directly with Aurora and see all the wonderful things that she’s doing and in her business. And do you have some just parting words of encouragement for us? I know we’ve all, you know, everybody’s still trying to figure things out. And,  I think that public speaking world is kind of, it’s, it’s a great place of opportunity and I just.
[00:30:21] You know, you’ve, you’ve got so much good to say.
[00:30:25] Aurora: You know, the public speaking world is,  is, is not falling off a cliff. If anything, it is sprouting new opportunities. It’s sprouting new ways for,  for expansion it’s, it’s, it’s providing new ways for all of us to connect with our audiences. And you know, right now, obviously we’re all living, you know, at the time of this recording, we’re living a shared experience, but the truth is.
[00:30:50] We have experiences. We have a change of circumstances in our personal lives that affect our plans.
[00:30:56] Kay: Wow.
[00:30:57] Aurora: For all of us, we need to recognize that just because something has changed the course, it doesn’t mean that the destination has changed. We still have a plan. We still have that calling that we need to fulfill the message that we have to give the ability to use public speaking as a way to, to draw others to us,  to draw those that were meant to help.
[00:31:22] Into our world, it still exists. So I just really want to encourage everyone to look for what the season makes possible. There’s, there’s always an opportunity within.  within the challenge,  I finished a Bible study,  just a few weeks ago. We studied the book of acts and the epistles that kind of run parallel to, to the church in its early years.
[00:31:45] And the theme of the of the Bible study was unstoppable and how a God’s unstoppable message was, um, was sent around the world by his unstoppable people. For me, that was such a meaningful message to embrace at the beginning of the study, which was last September. And then as we came into the end and all the world was changing,  it was just such a reminder that what God has for our lives is unstoppable. We may have to change. Course. We may have to adjust. We may have to deal with, you know, being on a boat that feels like it’s about to be shipwrecked, but if this is the message and the calling that you have on your life, then it is unstoppable. And so lean into that. Look for creative ways,  use your community, develop new relationships,  but don’t be stopped because that would be the greatest tragedy is that you would somehow be stopped from what it is that you feel you’re called to do.
[00:32:42] So that all leave us all with that, that encouragement. I know I have to encourage myself with that sometimes. And, um, and, and I think it’s important whether it’s a global issue or whether it’s something in your personal life, do not allow yourself to be stopped.
[00:32:57] Kay: Truth. Thank you so much, Aurora.
[00:33:00] Aurora: thanks. Kay. It’s great to be here.



UPDATE: At the time of this recording, the show was called The Your Voice Podcast. Since this recording, Kay has has rebranded to Life and Mission.

Rachel Goble is the CEO at The Freedom Story, and Heidi Burkey is a documentarian and director. We’re talking about the Ethical Storytelling community and what it means to tell stories ethically.

[00:01:04] How the Ethical Storytelling community began.

[00:05:50] Heidi began to ask, “What is the human experience in this person’s story that someone on the other side of the world can understand?”

Human connection is the strongest bond

[00:08:04] It’s not only about making the person feel at ease, but also about explaining how the story will be used. This can include explaining what “online” means. The person to whom the story belongs should always have a voice in the process. We talked about how that process works and what it means.

[00:13:48] Rachel: “The goal is not to create pity stories that involve donors, but the goal is to create stories that show our youth or constituents how strong they are.”

[00:14:09] Constituent first, donors second stories

[00:16:31] The Ethical Storytelling framework and pledge

[00:20:10] There are several powerful words we hear a lot in non-profit storytelling. I asked Rachel and Heidi for their thoughts on a few of these.

[00:28:15] Heidi “The only stories we own are our own.”

[00:29:43] Rachel: “We’ve geared most of our content towards nonprofit practitioners and storytellers. And the more that I’m having these conversations, the more I’m seeing a desire from donors and foundations to really understand how they too can participate in supporting organizations to these higher ethical standards of storytelling. Through the questions that they ask, or how they consume the media that might be given to them. And so we’re starting to develop a webinar and podcast series and some training material for donors, which I’m really excited about, and it’ll be kind of a new realm for us to enter into.”


Ethical Storytelling

Be sure to visit the web site for the latest webinar! And check out the Ethical Storytelling podcast for more!

Rachel Goble is the CEO at The Freedom Story, and Heidi Burkey is a documentarian and director.