My interview starts around 6:00- ends around minute 49
Start at the 5:26 mark
6:29: How I can support you
10:46: Why now is the best time to do a virtual event
12:42: How we need to change our energy and approach during COVID-19
20:50: Why you’re not raising enough money right now and what to do about it
20:50: Why the Mormons are more successful than you are at fundraising
23:24: 5 Fundraising innovation ideas during COVID-19
25:57: Why we are stuck with quick fixes
29:14: Ask this one question in your next staff meeting to get incredible results
30:28: MORE resources for you
32:40: Why making mistakes should be celebrated at your nonprofit
37:35: How to Build Truly Meaningful Donor relationships
39:02: What are the 3 pillars of white supremacy?
43:38: How to connect to donors virtually aka true leadership
46:20: Who are the most generous people? And a story about Jakarta, Indonesia
D: David Peck, Face2Face host
M: Mazarine Treyz, Founder & CEO of Wild Woman Fundraising
M (05:26) Yes. Thank you so much for having me.
D (05:30) Thanks for your time today. So, tell us a little bit about the work you do and for folks that are listening it’s mazarinetreyz.com. I guess that’s z for you being in America.
M (05:49) Correct!
D (05:50) Were you smiling when I said that?
M (05:53) I was!
D (05:55) There you go! “Great this guy doesn’t even speak English! This is fantastic! What’s going on here?”. So, tell us a little bit about the work that you do and why we’re having a chat today. I mean, I certainly have lots of questions for you. We’re in a really challenging time from a non-profit / fundraising perspective. As you mentioned just before we hit record: 36% of the Canadian non-profit sector has been laid off at least temporarily. We’ve got so much to talk about, but let’s hear a little bit about you before we step into some of that.
How I can support you
M (06:29) Oh sure, yeah. I started my business ten years ago. I’m actually Canadian by heritage. My dad’s dad was born in Quebec, but I’ve been living in Portland Oregon for a while now. And what I do with non-profits and primarily with non-faithbased non-profits is I help people expand and grow their fundraising capacity.
M (06:58) That can include everything from working one-on-one with executive directors. Working with development directors to training your board how to fundraise. I’ve put together a series of trainings, courses, and webinars, and online conferences for the sector in the last four years that has had people coming from all over the world not just North America. It’s been really exciting to be able to offer online trainings now in this time of COVID-19 to people because the messaging and virtual events are where I really love helping people. I’m also be working with a community foundation in the next few weeks here to offer this training to their grantees. So, if you are a nonprofit leader feel free to get in touch and you can reach me through my website, or my email address is email@example.com.
D (07:53) Yeah. What’s with the wild women?
M (07:56) Wild Woman Fundraising for me doesn’t mean dyeing your hair blue and putting in a nose ring because anyone can become a commodified rebel. Right?
D (08:05) Right. Oh absolutely, yes. Love that phrase by the way. That should be the title of a book you write.
M (08:10) Commodified rebel.
D (08:12) Yes.
M (08:13) It’s kind of like spiritual materialism. It’s like well I bought the cushion. So aren’t I a Buddhist now? No.
D (08:20) Where’s the incense?
M (08:23) Yeah I’m all set, I’ve got the incense. So, for me I feel like I’d like to quote one of my favorite poets right now, Jack Spicer, and he says “poetry is what sticks to the real”. He’s a fantastic poet and he talks about how the most important thing to do is to surprise yourself and that people’s main problem is trying to be happy. Anyway, separate note. What Wild Woman Fundraising means to me is specifically helping our sector and our world overcome the way we don’t say what is the most important thing we think. We cannot say it. For me being wild means speaking your truth even if your voice shakes
D (09:19) So for you then it really is about being authentic and being transparent. I would love to dig a little bit more into that about speaking your truth and (how) poetics stick to the real, that’s really great because it seems to me that there are connections there.
D (09:34) Let’s for sure circle back to that. I’m a magician as most of my listeners will know and so I’ve been doing sleight of hand card magic and coin magic and entertaining people for a long time. And last night a friend of mine who is living in Niagara Falls Ontario who’s worked the cruise ship market in Vegas and so on, won many awards, today staged a magic show 90-minute magic show online and had visiting guests. And it was on behalf of the Humane Society in the area. No audience of course. And there were about two thousand people watching the live show last night. And about I think 18 or twenty thousand people have now watched it. Not even 24 hours later.
D (10:21) So you’re thinking how did Greg do that? Greg Frewin if you want to check him out on YouTube. But how did he do that? I don’t mean from a technical perspective, but how did he turn this into a fundraiser? And I heard you mention virtual events. Are you, as a pro, seeing this as a new opportunity and new kind of vertical to raise awareness and raise funds?
Why now is the best time to do a virtual event
M (10:46) Gosh it is! It’s the perfect opportunity and for non-profits that are hesitating right now and saying ok I’m in a fight flight freeze or fawn mode, which is how our brains will get if we are put under extreme stress as we are now. We’re probably all operating about 50 percent capacity. Some nonprofits and charities are saying, “we can’t fundraise because we don’t do direct service health care”, or “we don’t serve the homeless”, or “we don’t have as deep a connection to COVID-19 as we should”.
M (11:18) And that is not stopping many people from making lots and lots of money right now and building those donor relationships online and offline and having donors fundraise for them. So, a client of mine in Los Angeles, they help homeless people get jobs and all their people out of work because they were in service industry jobs. They are asking their donors to give and they in the last three weeks raised over one hundred thousand dollars US, and they did that through a combination of really good emails and then a donor deciding to run a go fund me on their behalf. So it’s really working for them.
It’s interesting you say that I’ve heard people say for years and I’ve been working in the sector for many years, again as most of my listeners will know, and I’ve raised a fair bit of money over the years but I’ve never specifically raised the money. I’ve never said, “Hey Mazarine can I count on you for your five-thousand-dollar donation today”, or, “can you sign on this dotted line”. I’ve raised it through proposals and events, and you know crowdfunding and that kind of thing. But what I do hear people say is, well the money is there. You just need to know how to ask for it. Is that really true?
How we need to change our energy and approach to fundraising during COVID-19
Well, you know, this is a time that none of us have lived through before and it is still true. And people are very much in the mode of… trying super hard to make a difference. They’re stuck at home. They’re just as frustrated as you are and they’re really tearing their hair out over their investments, their jobs, their kids, their lives, their relatives. A friend of mine just lost her father and I’m seeing people say this on Twitter all the time and so people are thinking about, “how can I make my life mean something?” and what really matters right now. Because so many people are not going to be here anymore. And so it’s the perfect time for you to find ways to engage your donors and to connect with them because a lot of them may even be scared that they’ll die and never see their family again. You know?
That’s where I was heading with the question. I read an article just recently and it was American based saying the nonprofit sector is going to get hit pretty hard. We’re probably going to see a lot of little mom and pop tiny charities you know fade away or a better case scenario would be to be picked up by larger NGOs. I’ve always thought that could happen and I’ve hoped actually that could happen. I don’t think the world needs anymore nonprofits. I think we need a few more dots connected. I think we need more collaboration and co-creation and so on and not just from a buzzword perspective. But it seems to me this phase we’re in. Aren’t people going to go inward?
Yes. But what we have to do before we are able to reach people is we have to connect with them. We have to check in. We have to acknowledge where they are. That it’s safe for them to go in because what I’m seeing now is people are attacking each other. People are angry. People are so scared. I’m seeing people crying, videos of people crying on Twitter and on Instagram. Everyone’s inner child is coming out right now. So first we have to help people recognize what they’re feeling, regulate their emotions, and then help them take action whether it’s learning from us connecting with us in a call or just feeling like they can donate.
Is the nonprofit going to have to get better about that targeted type of fundraising versus the direct mail like approach? You know I was going to use the phrase and I apologize for it, carpet bombing sort of approach where you just a mile wide and an inch deep you go run that. The junk mail approach basically. (Should nonprofits) Get away from that and be way more specific and way more relational and way more focused. Is that what we’re going to walk into now is that the future?
M (16:08) Well you know what I hope so.
D (16:10) It’s a really great way to put it. It might be the future but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen right. The ‘hope so’ approach is great.
I mean, you see what works for you. If you can get results with direct mail. Go for it. But you know the carpet bombing approach, as you said, a lot of nonprofits aren’t going to have the money to buy lists right now and that’s kind of what that is usually the in-house list that you have people already given or shown that they care about you is better than trying to buy something at this point.
M (16:40) But I would say this is a great time to experiment and really put money into new fundraising experimentation and that means going on Zoom or having that online conferencing platform to do your conference online or try to livestream some concerts if you’re an arts nonprofit.
D (16:59) Livestream magic show.
M (17:00) Right! Livestream magic show just like you said! People are getting really creative with this. I do think as you said some nonprofits will close or merge or have to put their programs under the auspices of another nonprofit. That is actually a good thing because what we do have is a proliferation of folks that are all going after the same philanthropic dollars and the last several years we’ve seen that stagnation is the new growth that they’re not actually getting new donors in and that is a problem.
Why You Are Not Raising Enough Money Right Now (and what to do about it)
And one of the reasons they are not getting new donors in is because they are treating their fundraising staff so poorly that people are leaving every six to twelve months. According to a Canadian recruiter that I know he said six to twelve months is normal in the nonprofit sector. So, imagine that you’re a salesperson and that you have six to twelve months to build relationships and then you’re off to the next organization. You don’t have enough time to build relationships. Or tell the story of the organization properly. So every time a nonprofit makes it impossible for a person to succeed they’ll just go or they’ll be fired. And a lot of us aren’t considering what does it take to be successful in a capacity building way. Are we investing enough in education for our fundraiser? Are we investing enough in board education and not just putting all the pressure on one person?
There’s a lot of things to consider and nonprofits on average waste over 117% percent of a fundraiser salary every time they leave. So you do the math, three years running if you pay them you know fifty thousand dollars and you have three of them leave. That’s lots and lots of money. And in America at least we found out that in three years you will waste about six hundred thousand dollars.
D (18:53) And Mazarine those are just the hard numbers what about the organizational? What about the tacit knowledge? What about the relationships?
M (18:57) Exactly! Those are just hard numbers, but if all they understand is money I’m trying to speak to them from that angle, but think about the lost relationships. I did a webinar series on major gifts a couple of years ago now and we had a major donor on with a webinar on how it feels to be asked for a major gift. And he said, “I talked to three different people from my alma mater three years in a row and I just got so tired of them asking me the same questions I just stopped giving to them.
D (19:30) That is so unfortunate. It’s kind of heartbreaking in a way. Right.
M (19:32) People are laying off their fundraising staff now. They need to stop that. You need to see fundraising staff as even more essential than program staff.
D (19:43) So a couple things, I want to go down this relational path here for a second because I think one of the greatest errors that the nonprofit sector has made for way too many years is treating me like a transaction. I’m an A.T.M.. I’m a bank machine, and I’m just going to pummel you with email, and going to pummel you with direct mail, and eventually you will give you will break.
M (20:04) Right. Exactly.
D (20:06) The numbers say that. I tend towards, I suppose, giving over not giving I think and that’s part of it that’s what I was raised in. My parents were some of the most hospitable people I know. But, I think a lot of us just look at it really (like) junk mail. Right? The organization isn’t treating me like a person. There isn’t a relationship there. Well, maybe there is and it’s one way. Right? And I’m just wondering, how do you get beyond that transaction? And, you know, what used to work isn’t necessarily going to still work. And yet, we acquiesce to what is easy sometimes.
Why the Mormons are more successful than you are
Well, we have to make sure that our program is properly resourced and what people fail to understand is that fundraising is not a money sink it’s a money maker. But only if it is properly resourced and that means 12 months after you hire someone then you can start thinking, “how much are they raising us?”. Don’t expect them to get a lot first the first three months, six months, even first nine months. One of the most successful organizations and I really feel like we have to look at this when we talk about what is really going to change and make a difference for people in terms of fundraising success; one of the most successful organizations in fundraising is LDS a.k.a. Latter Day Saints a.k.a. the frickin Mormons. Okay. So I’m not a Mormon.
D (21:38) I look for a soundbite every day by the way and I think “the frickin Mormons” may be my sound bite today just so you know. It’s like four thirty Eastern standard time, it’s taken me a long time today to get my sound bites.
M (21:56) Well they are in the city where I live and when I lived in Korea they were ubiquitous, they were everywhere. What they do is they have teams of people that go out and recruit and then they have tithing and then what they do in their fundraising office is they say in the first two years we don’t want you to raise any money. We just want you to learn who we are and get trained. I don’t know any other non-profit that gives people two years before they have to raise any money. And so that’s why they have such longevity in their fundraising office. And that’s why they’re so successful.
D (22:30) So, two years to get trained and build relationships? Right? That’s what it sounds like to me.
M (22:37) And you asked, how do people build these real relationships, and I went off on a tangent but I’m going to come back to that now.
D (22:43) Good.
M (22:44) You as a donor deserve respect and you deserve people to get to know you. And when people are under-resourced they feel like they don’t have time to treat you the way you deserve. We emphasize donor love and we should be emphasizing instead staff love first then donor love. Charity begins at home, right? So if that’s the case then if people were really getting treated well they would treat you differently but because they’re getting treated like work robots they’re gonna say, “I don’t have to care how David gets treated because no one cares how I get treated”.
D (23:15) So good staff love and then donor love? That’s fantastic. If you can’t get your own house in order, there is something to that.
5 Fundraising Innovation Ideas during COVID-19
M (23:24) If you want to have an innovative like tip from this particular section of the podcast then I’d say now is the time to
1. Start texting your donors.
2. Now is the time to start asking them to have virtual coffee with you on Zoom.
3. Now is the time to send them what’s called a personal video message you can use vidyard to do it. It’s free. You can also use what’s called bombbomb. That’s another one that’s paid. And with those tools you can see if somebody opened your email, if somebody watched your video. You can get a whiteboard and write their name on it and say, “hey just thinking of you. How are you doing? Would love a chat with you”.
If they give you a donation write their name on that whiteboard and say, “thank you so much” as well. And then by making a little video message from you that’s innovation. You know here’s some other innovation which I think more nonprofits need to try. Right now there’s no competitive sporting events. I’m not a sport person but in a lot of people are. And there is this platform called Twitch. Have you heard of it?
D (24:26) Twitch? Yeah maybe.
M (24:38) 4. Twitch is a platform for people to watch people do what they do so most of it is gaming. But there’s also people watching people.
D (24:36) Oh yeah of course! I know it.
M (24:42) So people are doing twitch fundraising like they say, “hey watch my channel and go subscribe to this other channel and donate. And if you donate you’re going to be in a chance to win a T-shirt” or whatever it is. People will just massively donate. So for example there’s this teeny tiny nonprofit called Transactive Gender Center here in Portland Oregon. A guy on Twitch said “I want to fundraise for you for one day”. He did that and he raised them five thousand US just like that.
D (25:08) Wow.
M (25:09) So, people are not even thinking about how to engage gamers right now and maybe it’s because they don’t understand the culture or they don’t respect it. But look at that and then
5. Whatsapp as well if you’re thinking about engaging immigrant communities specifically people who speak Spanish. People who speak an Asian language. Whatsapp is a huge place to engage people and more people who are from the dominant culture in North America should be thinking about that.
D (25:39) Yeah it’s interesting, it seems to me that we should have been thinking about these things several years ago and (been) a little more prepared for this fundraising situation we find ourselves in, right? I mean, is it because we kind of lean on what’s easy?
Why we are stuck with quick fixes
M (25:57) Well we have biases and we have unconscious ways of managing our time, right? So, we don’t necessarily think about what would be the best thing to do for the future. Not all of us are futurists. We are, “what is my job measured on right now and how can I do that and keep my job?”. And if you’re already in a job you’re staying for six to twelve months you’re probably just never getting out of that mindset. And of course, your boss isn’t necessarily trained in how to fundraise. Of course, your board isn’t necessarily trained in how to fundraise and all of that put together is just kind of like a confluence of things that keep you from being successful. And there’s not a lot you can do about that unless you come into a space where you’re encouraged to sit down and think about where you really want to be in five years have a manager that helps you get there and then broaden your perspective of, “in 18 to 24 months what’s going to be the most effective fundraising tool for us?”
M (26:55) And so I’m actually thinking about doing another online conference just on the future of fundraising and having lots of people who speak lots of different languages there saying, “here’s how you engage these different groups”, because I don’t know about Canada but in the US by 2030 people who are white are going to be in the minority. That means that 50% of the country needs to be engaged as potential donors and supporters and a lot of people are not prepared for that.
D (27:30) Risk mitigation.
M (27:33) Well and just getting with the program.
D (27:35) That’s right. Maybe being a little more present and spending a little less time in the past. You talked about the two years Latter Day Saints of getting to know the organization. I go to you know the relational side of that the intimate side of that. I remember a story of a major donor philanthropist here in Ontario and the story was something to the effect of; first donation five hundred dollars. Donation ten years later was eleven million dollars. But it took ten years to get there and each year the donation got progressively larger and it seems to me that the story really was being told to say, “this is this is a long ball”. And I think that a lot of nonprofits are looking for quick fixes. Do they exist? You spend all that money on that big fancy event, it doesn’t bring in the money. Oh, it failed. Did it really fail, or did you guys actually look at it through a strategic alliance? Maybe it’s a five-year approach rather than just a one off. And it seems to me that too many fundraising efforts are often just like one offs.
M (28:49) Well you’re quite right. We are stuck in short term thinking versus long term planning. For example the Community Foundation I chatted with today told me that in a survey of their grantees 60% of them said they had zero to three months of operating funding left. They could be lying. I’m not sure what that really means, but that means the vast majority of them could not be here in three months which is really scary.
Ask this one thing in your next staff meeting to get incredible results
So, if we’re stuck in short term thinking and we’re stuck demanding immediate results we’re going to be hostage to what hampers small businesses as well. Which is we don’t have the space to do a long-term strategic thinking and resourcing of our programs. One of the things that can help that is to create a culture where mistakes are celebrated and where experimentation is encouraged. Every week if you have a staff meeting or every month if you have a staff meeting say, “what experiments did we try this month? What mistakes did we make this month?”. And say, “yay, you made a mistake, now you know what can work!”.
You know what, we can look at all of the Bill Gates of the world that we want, we can look at all the Steve Jobs that we want, but looking at their success stories is not nearly as helpful as looking at what people have tried that hasn’t worked. And the guy who backs me up on this is Nassim Nicholas Taleb just FYI.
D (30:15) Sorry I don’t know who that is.
M (30:17) He wrote The Bed of Procrustes and The Black Swan. He’s pretty cool.
D (30:22) Okay. And you’ve written quite a few books as well, let’s get a little plug in there for you. Why don’t you toss that out there for us.
More Resources for You
I’ve written three books, ten e-courses, done a bunch of presentations. My most recent book is called Get The Job Your Fundraising Career Empowerment Guide. So, if you are job hunting right now whether you’re currently employed part time or furloughed or laid off you may like that one. It’s helped a lot of people get a lot of jobs they thought they couldn’t get near. I’m very happy to send you the e-book you’d have to pay for it but trust me it’s worth it. If you don’t feel like getting mail right now, if that feels tainted that’s ok. But the physical book is available on Amazon as well. And then I also have two other books one about social media and I talk about that anymore because it was from 2012 and everything’s changed. And then I had my first book (which) was called The Wild Woman’s Guide To Fundraising. So I like that one too, and happy to send the e-book to anybody as well.
Cool! Well we’ll have information for people to access that in your bio and on face to face life that’s here as well so that’s great. Thanks for that. So let’s get back to this. This culture of where hurray you made a mistake. Engineers Without Borders up here have become quite popular for this notion, this failure report. It’s becoming more of a thing. I mean what I find fascinating though and I’ve worked with over 60 nonprofits in about 20 years and a couple of them I’ve spent a two to three-year window with, I find… can I say status quo? Can I talk about mediocrity? Can I talk about the fact that you know we might have that meeting where we say we’re going to celebrate people’s mistakes but then once again we’ve been towards what’s easy. We say we want to be relational, but we hide behind our email and we stay seated at our desks. We sit 20 meters away from somebody and we won’t go and talk to them face to face. Right? So again this whole idea of getting your own house in order before you can actually, well, what was your line that should be a T-shirt?
M (32:26) Oh yeah, staff love before donor love.
D (32:28) Yeah that’s great. Is that yours by the way?
M (32:30) I’ve actually been featured on another Canadian podcast about saying that exact phrase. So that was easy for me to come up with. It’s original. You can totally put on a t shirt!
Why making mistakes should be celebrated in your nonprofit
D (32:40) Yeah let’s do that. There could be millions there. We can have some fun with this, but at the same time I mean you’re talking about a radically different culture for a lot of it seems to me for a lot of NGOs. We are going to celebrate the fact that you actually didn’t make us any money.
Yes. We’re going to celebrate that now you know what doesn’t work. So for example when I was doing my online conferences, two of them a year, I wasted so much money in LinkedIn ads in Google inbox ads in Facebook ads. I wasted money on a Facebook consultant, and all of that was really beneficial for me to say I know now what doesn’t work. I’m going to help other people not waste money. And I learned how all of those systems worked. And so that makes me a better consultant and a better resource because I can say I’ve tried everything and here’s what’s worked. And that’s just a strength that I bring. But that means we also have to rewrite people’s job descriptions and rewrite our missions and our systems to build in experimentation and risk taking as part of how someone is measured on their performance.
D (33:50) How long do you think a new approach should be experimented with before you say this isn’t working? Whether it’s the twitch gaming experience, the online magic show, the virtual coffee, or the virtual conference I should say before you go, “you know what we’re spending too much money here this isn’t working out”.
M (34:20) Sure, for Twitch for example, I would hire someone who specializes in Twitch fundraising. I don’t, but I’m thinking about having someone do that at my virtual conference. I would love to be able to be that resource for people to find the right consultant for them. I’d say hire somebody who can just give you exactly what I’m giving you right now. Here’s what doesn’t work and here’s what does work. And then you can just skip all the things that don’t work and go straight to what does and it’ll be worth your money.
Give them a month to help you raise ten thousand dollars. For COVID-19 messaging right now, give them a month to help you raise five thousand if you’ve never tried to raise it before. Under promise and over deliver is what I say to consultants generally. But if somebody says this is my specific area of expertise and here are my numbers to back it up you should absolutely trust them. And then to experiment with different messaging. In a month you’ll be able to get a lot because I don’t know about you, David, but every week feels like a year. Everything is happening it’s just coming at you and people are super impatient right now and also overwhelmed right.
The implications of all of this, I mean to say they’re far reaching is an understatement. We just have no idea what history is going to say about us even six to twelve months from now. Never mind sixty years from now. How did those people handle this and the lessons learned. And I just I hope we’re bending a little bit more towards the solution now but I think we’re still a ways away it seems to me.
But so this transactional approach, it’s so self-evident that it’s kind of that used car salesman like approach. I think a lot of non-profits fall into it. I think their language, I think their approach, their videos, the branding, if you can see it coming a mile away it’s kind of (like) you’re walking down the street, “oh I know that guys going to ask me for money. I’m going to cross over”.
Those third party fundraising agencies that do that kind of work and so on. How do we get away from that as a sector? How does an NGO say…you know you’ve touched on this in a variety of different ways in our conversations today. But how do we truly build relationships with potential donors and commit to this in a way that’s meaningful and that’s long term and that’s going to make sense not only for the organization but for the donor themselves? I’ve always believed, Mazarine, that if we build the relationships and really truly treated people like means and not ends sorry the other way around treat people like ends and not means that the money will follow. Am I being super idealistic there?
How to truly build meaningful donor relationships
No you are not. The thing that people are not doing is tracking how someone becomes a donor. And thanking people for bringing people into the organization and they’re not tracking the steps it takes to get someone to give a gift. And so they find themselves caught in endless meetings when in the end a person doesn’t have the capacity to give to them on a significant level. And then they’ve just wasted all that time. And so we have opportunity cost. We have logical fallacies. We have a lot of really interesting cognitive biases that prevent us from being successful.
So the important thing is to first know yourself. Know what your most prominent cognitive bias is and for me it’s the just world fallacy; the belief that our world should have better treatment of all of our workers. That we should all get universal basic income universal healthcare. You have it in Canada we don’t have it in the US. Right. But even in Canada you can have more. You could have better. And so for me, I believe that that is something worth fighting for. That’s a world worth fighting for. And that’s my bias that I think that the world should be just. And when it isn’t I get really angry. That’s how you drive as someone becomes a donor. You tap into what are their values and then you say, “I’m mad about that too”.
What are the 3 pillars of white supremacy?
If you told me right now, David, that you had a nonprofit that was helping nonprofit workers get paid better I’d be like… take my money. Because you’ve tapped into what I believe should exist in the world. The world I want to fight for. And the thing that we’re going to have to do in the next six to twelve months is get people from fighting against to fighting for. And reframing that doom and gloom into hope and optimism. So getting someone to stop being transactional with their fundraising means we actually have to stop going into what is called the three pillars of white supremacy which include and just let me digress here for five seconds. War and colonialism, capitalism/slavery, and orientalism/ genocide.
So how that looks is that that is the structure that our entire society in North America is based on. And that means that our nonprofits are reproducing the structure. The structure is also reproduced in our heads. What does that look like? It means that we treat people like things and I feel like that is where evil begins. When you treat people like things.
Wow that’s quite a point to bring up. You know at the 36-minute mark in our conversation. So, we treat people like things and just I didn’t quite hear it right. But did you say it’s the..
M (40:49) Three pillars of white supremacy, yeah.
D (40:49) The three pillars of white supremacy, so we’re going to look that up. Maybe even have a link.
There’s a chart around that as well I can show you. Here it is.
Yeah. Wow. But the notion again, that’s the means to an end right versus the end in itself.
I mean why are we fighting not just the structure of our society, but what’s inside of us because we create these structures inside ourselves inside our nonprofits and then in the larger world. When we try to break out of them, treating people like things, we rub up against all of these constructs that we have to then say, “this is what this is’. If we can name it, then we can start to do something about it. First we have to see it. And that’s the disease of capitalism. I mean I should say predatory capitalism.
Yeah. Well and that’s I think the ideological component there that you’re touching on that makes it so hard, and I think that’s where I was going with that question about we’re going to talk about becoming an organization that celebrates the mistakes you made. But boy oh boy there’s no way in hell we’re ever going to get there, right? Because we just can’t. Right? Because we’re pushing we’re like ____ we’re pushing the boulder up the hill and it just keeps slipping out of our hands.
Yeah. That’s why we have to start bringing up structural problems inside of our organizations. And then the fish rots from the head. That is a Russian saying but it is accurate. Even if somebody who’s a program worker or a development director thinks things should change, unless the board and senior leadership thinks things should change, they won’t. You can just choose where you want to spend your energy and a lot of new social change organizations, social justice organizations, have at their base, “we will acknowledge these systems before we get started”. You know whether it’s acknowledging a land that we’re on, whether it’s acknowledging the way that we treat each other, and just having really clear guidelines for the work. You know what I mean?
I do, and I mean it sounds tactical but yet it sounds deeply strategic. It sounds like a wakeup call to me. I mean there’s so much more. There’s way more going on here than meets the eye and I hate the fact that we’re getting close to wrapping up. Tell me a little bit more tips for people as they step into this potentially who knows another six, twelve, even eighteen months of isolation whatever that’s going to look like. Hopefully it’s small isolation and we are actually going to be sort of seeing people at least from a distance, but the virtual coffee thing the Zoom calls any thoughts there? Any tips on how to break that ice? Break down that fourth wall if you will?
How to connect with donors better virtually aka true leadership is…
Oh yeah. Right now, and I think always leadership is about the quality of your questions. You cannot be a good leader unless you’re asking really good questions because if you ask somebody “how are you?” they’re going say fine, right? But if you say, “how are you really doing right now. Just be really honest with me”. And you’re looking at them and the quality of your attention is right there with them, and no one else is paying attention to anything else they’re going to open up to you and they’re going to say, “this is how I really am”. That’s the quality of attention we need to bring right now. I have a whole blog post that I just posted that lists a series of questions that you can ask in group meetings with donors, fireside chats if you will, as well as one-on-one chats with donors just trying to get a sense of what legacy they want to leave.
M (44:31) The deeper questions. We can go from talking about trivialities, to talking about our opinions, to talking about our values, and as we go deeper and deeper into that onion, we’re able to get at, as we said from the beginning, what sticks to the real.
D (44:48) That’s so good. Well I think we’re going to wrap it up there, I so wanted to go deeper into the, again staff love and donor love because I think that leadership and asking the quality of the questions I think that applies organizationally as well right.
M (45:06) Oh yeah! It’s all over.
D (45:07) Yeah. It’s not just about donor specific but that’s organization specific as well. Mazarine what a wonderful time I’ve had today. For some it’s going to be a very specific conversation. But I think there’s all kinds of insights here that are that are connected way beyond the nonprofit sector and I just love that about having a good conversation with somebody so thanks for that. Hey how about one more plug for you and the work that you do. Tell us where we can find out more about you. The access to those books and so on.
Oh sure, yeah. Wildwomanfundraising.com, mazarinetreyz.com. We’ll have those links under the video or the recording I guess. And if you want to call me my number is 503-673-3863. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My areas of expertise where I can truly help you right now are in doing virtual meetings, virtual conferences, and COVID-19 messaging. So you do want to reach out, I am very happy to chat with you about all of that and if you want online fundraising training, I have tons of resources for you. So thank you for having me.
Who are the most generous people? And a story about Jakarta
Oh you’re welcome and you know what, I can’t let you go without asking you this last question. I’ve just got so many and I was going to wrap us up, and then I came to that 8020 I thought you know and the thought of generosity. Are people generous? You to me you sound very hopeful. And even in this time of crisis we find ourselves in. There’s not even one question here it’s really about, are we all capable of giving, I guess maybe is the question right? So often you hear the 80 20, it’s 20 percent of the people that are giving 80 percent of the money. So those are the ones you have to focus on. You know and I’m not asking for a yes or no or a right or wrong or black or white answer here, but I’m just wondering if you have any thoughts around that just as we wrap up?
When I lived in Indonesia and I was working at a baby orphanage in the poorest slums of Jakarta, what I witnessed was when I was sitting in a bus and two children got on playing music and they were maybe like 4 and 6. They were barefoot. They were dirty and then they came around with a hat to get money after singing on the bus. Every single person on that bus gave them something including me and my friend told me because you’re white you have to give something. So that’s the generosity piece that people overlook in times of stress and crisis the vast majority people on that bus were very poor people.
M (47:52) The people who make under fifty thousand dollars a year are the most generous people. I mean that’s just research. We are going to see an outpouring of generosity from people that have very little even now because a lot of us (are) even if we don’t have to be out, slowing down, thinking about what matters, and how to connect with others more deeply.
D (48:17) What a great story. I just posted an interview today with, you remember the Home Alone movies? I interviewed Daniel Stern and you may not know the name, but he was in City Slickers. Some big films. And so he’s starred in a Canadian American production that’s a time travel movie. And it’s kind of crazy but it’s also really thoughtful and existentially deep and our conversation focused on stepping back resetting being in the moment and being thoughtful. And that’s what I’m hearing from you as well that this time is going to give us this opportunity. How are we all going to step into it I guess will be the question.
D (49:07) Mazarine, thanks so much for your time today. We’ve been talking to Mazarine Treyz today about a whole lot of things. Thank you for joining us. And I look forward to chatting again with you in the not so distant future.