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Quality of life initiatives are essential in defining a community's sense of place and attracting and retaining residents. They are also crucial for attracting business investment - a key goal for any economic development organization. Convergent recently partnered with economic development marketing agency Golden Shovel on a whitepaper titled Strengthening Your Community's Competitive Potential By Improving Quality of Life. This episode dives further into this topic with Convergent Principal Andy Coe and Golden Shovel CEO Aaron Brossoit. We discuss successful examples of quality-of-life improvements, their importance, measuring their impact, and proving their ROI to investors.
Two former nonprofit and chamber of commerce leaders who are currently in the field fundraising for major organizations join Jay to discuss the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that so many are feeling today and how it is (or is not) affecting their funding efforts. Dan Rogers and Doug Croft provided excellent insights in this episode on what investors and stakeholders want to know about a nonprofit in order to fund its future. We  talk "worry fatigue" and close with a great analogy on how a nonprofit can weather this economic storm.
From steel to a gallon of paint or even the tires for your car, supply chain disruption is being felt all over the country. We welcomed Chris Gullickson, Director of Development and Transportation Policy for the Port of Virginia, and Dennis Fraise, CEO of Lee County Economic Development Group and host of the popular DevelopThis! podcast, to discuss this issue in this episode. Chris and Dennis offer their viewpoints on how communities and businesses are dealing with the friction points in the supply chain. How did we get here? What went wrong and what will help bring about change?
We are joined in this episode by Tina Winner, CEO and Founder of Winner Partners, an executive search and recruitment firm in the economic development, chamber, and nonprofit space. Tina and Jay discuss the importance of being a "super collaborator" and activating relationships as a leader in your community. Tina also shares her experience with the changing face of public-private funding and how that is affecting leadership today. And, of course, we had to dig in to Tina's favorite recruiting questions and how she would answer them!
Tim Kachuriak joins us in this episode for an interesting discussion on Why People Give. Tim is the Founder and Chief Innovation and Optimization Officer for NextAfter, a fundraising research lab consultancy and nonprofit training institute. He has spent his entire professional career digging into this question. Hint: he thinks it's an irrational decision that doesn't make sense. Tim is adamant in his belief that human connections are at the core of philanthropic donations, and there is ONE thing that leads to more donors and higher levels of investment.
Antony Bell started his consulting firm, Leadership Development, Inc. after noticing that there were more than 64,000 books on leadership and yet still so many of the CEOs and leaders he was working with were struggling. He has consulted for Nike, Bank of America, the Girl Scouts, March of Dimes, the US Treasury, and more. In this episode, he tells us about his leadership framework that applies systems thinking to help drive success at any level, in any environment.  It starts with two buckets that encompass everything about being a good leader: Competence and Character. Listen to Tony tell us more!
Bethany Quinn, VP of Content and Strategy from Golden Shovel Agency, joins us to unpack the topic that is on everyone's mind these days: workforce shortages. Golden Shovel has helped hundreds of EDOs and Chambers shape and tell their stories through services including branding, marketing, strategy, web development, and online communications. Workforce shortages are a primary concern for their clients today. Bethany talks about some new solutions she's seeing in tackling this issue from mobile learning labs and virtual reality to using local ambassadors to spread the word about your community.
Tom Berquist, CMO of one of the largest financial institutions in the Northwest, joined our podcast for an interesting conversation from a funder's point of view. Tom discusses how he developed Boeing Employee Credit Union's philanthropic strategy over the last 20 years—and especially in the last 18 months—aligning their giving with their area of expertise and interest in impacting social justice. Who Tom meets with, who they decide to fund, how much support (and what kind) is offered. All of this is predicated on the goals of the economic development, education, or general nonprofit organization aligning with the intersection of financial wellbeing and equity.  Tom walks us through the evolution of this strategy, how collaboration factors in, and how it has shaped their support for today and the future. 
An expert in community growth, author, and respected chamber leader, Casey Steinbacher was a guest on this episode of our podcast.  Casey's book, From Relevant to Essential, talks about how chambers, EDOs, and nonprofits can ensure the critical status they achieved during COVID and work to combine their mission and model for success. Casey shared a few of her mantras on the symbiotic relationship of businesses and communities plus her thoughts on what's on every community leader's mind today—workforce development, livable wages, affordable housing, and more. She offers current examples, interesting trends she's noticed, and thoughtful insights on these topics and more in this episode. 
Bonnie Lowe, CEO of The Chamber of Lawrence, Kansas, joins us in this episode to talk about Rising Together, their five-year, $2.5 million economic development plan with the EDC of Lawrence. The feasibility study paving the way for stakeholder input, leadership from Bonnie and key community partners, campaign management expertise from Convergent--all of these ingredients led to an extremely successful capital campaign with strong commitments from investors. Bonnie discusses timing, solicitations, partnerships, and ensuring her Chamber's transformational role in the future growth of her community.
Sheree Anne Kelly, CEO of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, joins our podcast to discuss the three pillars of success for chambers today and the "chamber renaissance" emerging as so many chambers of commerce rise to align their mission with the needs of their community, provide courageous leadership, and discover sustainable business models to ensure their future. Sheree Anne discusses the importance of having a vision for community impact and utilizing the funding models that will help an organization become transformational versus transactional.
Former Nonprofit CEO Rich Trickel and Development Consultant Amy Sexton join our podcast to discuss outcomes and their importance in fostering a "culture of philanthropy" at your organization. These two seasoned experts offer some key virtual fundraising tips, discuss how to identify philanthropic intent with an investor, and walk through changing the conversation within a nonprofit to focus more on outcomes than activity or outputs.
Are you frustrated with your board's involvement (or lack of) in your funding? Are you looking for more donors to give at an "investor" level? Have you considered using a fundraising consultant for your campaign? Former Nonprofit CEO and Convergent Funding Strategist Len Romano offers a unique perspective with insight from both sides of the table. He knows it's getting harder and harder to raise money. In this 18-minute episode, Len discusses the trends he's seeing in fundraising today to improve board support, raise more money, and fully realize the fundraising skills needed to run a successful campaign.
A successful fundraising campaign won't happen by just asking those closest to you for money. Credibility helps your organization build a foundation and open the door for new donors as well as additional investments from current donors. Convergent Principal and Best-Selling Author Tom Ralser discusses the critical elements of credibility and common mistakes made by many nonprofits in the early stages of a capital campaign.
As nonprofits work to make sure DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) are a part of their organization, many struggle with where to start and how to measure progress. DEI Champion and Certified Diversity Professional Antoinetta Mosley joins us in this episode to provide real-world advice and examples on how to move your nonprofit along "the diversity continuum."
After completing nine feasibility studies for fundraising campaigns in the past six months, Jay Werth and Brian Abernathy wrote a blog titled "Studies Show Now is the Time for Capital Campaign Fundraising Efforts." This episode dives into that assertion to learn exactly what community leaders, business owners, and nonprofits across the nation are telling us about fundraising now. We discuss the two most valuable attributes of a successful funding effort, and what the outlook is for fundraising in 2021.
What if raising more money to fuel your mission isn't about who you know or how big your marketing budget is? Convergent Principal, author, and fundraising expert Tom Ralser joins our podcast to discuss his newest book, The Five-Minute Fundraiser. The book provides a straightforward story about how your organization can focus on the things that are important to nonprofit funders and raise more money.
Growing Your Nonprofit

Growing Your Nonprofit


We're joined by a panel of experts in this episode: Convergent's Pam Reid, Stephen Halasnik from Financing Solutions Now, and Jeff Cochran from Exclamations Communications. All three have vast and unique experience helping nonprofits grow. They provide their perspective on leadership, marketing, finances, and operations for growing nonprofits. Their stories and specific tips provide guidance for nonprofit leaders looking to reach the next level.
In this episode, Convergent's Paul Santiago, Carlotta Ungaro, and Jay Werth discuss their experiences managing virtual and hybrid feasibility studies and capital campaigns today. They provide practical advice and real-life stories of how they have overcome challenges (a public campaign kick-off now?!).
This episode tackles the important question of how and what to market now for your community. We're joined by Colleen Walton from Brand Acceleration, an economic-development focused marketing firm. Colleen shares some stories, tips, and advice for communities looking to "build a new boat", as you're thinking about recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
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