Latest Episodes

Episode 23 - An Interview with Jeff Cosgrove - Director of Nonprofits at Conversant - Success With Online Advertising

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This week on The Philanthropy Podcast, we're joined by Jeff Cosgrove, Director of Politics, Advocacy, and Nonprofits at Conversant. Jeff and I discuss online advertising and cover a broad range of topics including: how nonprofits can cut through the noise in online advertising, what messaging is leading to increased fundraising success, how to help boards and directors believe in and invest in online advertising, segmenting and oversegmenting, how gift attribution policies need to be redefined to catch up with an online and social platform, how organizations can make the leap from being good in this area to great, and more. To hear all that and to see this week's links, click here for more...


Episode 22 - Data & Marketing Association Conference Review and Critically Consuming Conferences


This week on The Philanthropy Podcast we discuss how to be a critical consumer of conferences you attend and I review the Data and Marketing Association NonProfit Federation's Conference. This is the first of a series of conferences reviews I plan to share throughout the year. I hope these conference reviews will help you plan your own professional development wisely and make informed decisions about how to plot your own professional growth to continue to grow as a respected leader in your field. That and more inside...


Episode 21 - Fifteen Tips and Tools to Improve Your Networking At Conferences


This week on The Philanthropy Podcast we discuss how to make the most of a professional development conference through networking and marketing yourself. This episode idea came up while I attended a conference last week and heard numerous attendees discuss the challenges that social anxiety created in networking and presenting yourself at a conference. I don't claim any clinical expertise for helping with social anxiety, but what I wanted to create was an episode to help people who cover the spectrum of comfort in these situations. That and more inside...


Episode 20 - New Fundraising Ideas, Upcoming Conferences, Social Ventures, And Show Update


This week on The Philanthropy Podcast we discuss new and successful ideas in philanthropy, an upcoming conference with the Data and Marketing Association's Nonprofit Federation that I'll be attending, social ventures that I plan to have on the show in the near future, and an update on the state of The Philanthropy Podcast as of this, our 20th episode, including a request for you to complete some polls I hope I can use to improve the show. That and more inside...


Episode 19 - An Interview with Karen Osborne, Senior Strategist at The Osborne Group - Investing In Great Management

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Our guest on The Philanthropy Podcast is Karen Osborne, Senior Strategist at The Osborne Group, newly published author, and philanthropy veteran. Karen shares her advice from a career in the field as we discuss the topic of managers and how to better identify, hire, train, and support them. 

Karen offers great examples of how to use scenarios in interviews, how to ask questions that give insights into strategic thinking and other skills you hope to find in managers, the pressures of managing in development, finding a deeper applicant pool, professional development opportunities, when it's important to say no, and how managers can be fully present to their work and families. This is one of my favorite interviews for our podcast so far and I think you'll enjoy all that and more inside...


Episode 18 - An Interview with Todd Bol, Creator and Executive Director of Little Free Library - Growing Your Organization, Collecting Stories and Sharing Your Organization's Story

Our guest on The Philanthropy Podcast is Todd Bol, creator and executive director of Little Free Library. Todd shares his advice from the growth of Little Free Library, how they collect and share stories from partners across the globe, and his advice for anyone who feels like they're close to quitting on a non-profit they've helped create or grow. Learning about Little Free Library is a great way to celebrate National Book Lover's Day today! Make sure to listen for how Todd uses stories to share the mission of Little Free Library and illustrate their impact. There's a great lesson for our organizations in his approach, that and more inside...


Episode 17 - An Interview with Patrick Landry, President of Notre Dame School of Milwaukee - The Joy of The Story

Our guest on The Philanthropy Podcast is Patrick Landry, President of Notre Dame School of Milwaukee. Patrick provides great insights on how fundraisers can find joy in our work by appreciating the craft of storytelling. Patrick shares his ideas on both telling your story as well as your organization's story and the importance of listening and understanding how to connect your benefactors' stories to your cause. Click here for that, our episode's links, and more...


This week's episode is a solo episode where I take a look at a recent experience that reminded me of the importance of finding what it is that not only motivates us in our work, but what provides us with the energy to do so enthusiastically. For that and information on how to connect with The Philanthropy Podcast on social media and how to support the show on Patreon, click here...


Episode 15 - An Interview with Andrew Means, Data Analysts for Social Good & Beyond Uptake - Using Data to Improve Nonprofits

Our guest on The Philanthropy Podcast is Andrew Means, Head of the Uptake Foundation and Beyond Uptake as well as founder of Data Analysts for Social Good. Andrew provides an incredible interview on data use in nonprofits, how we can move beyond using data only for final evaluations, and how to start building a culture of using evidence within your organization, and more. Andrew's conversation will be useful to nonprofits just starting to think about using data better as well as organizations with robust data programs considering how to improve and continue to lead.


Our show features Andrew sharing examples of multiple organizations that started using data and have made dramatic gains in their effectiveness because of it. While Andrew sings the praises of others, he humbly tells the story about how Data Analysts for Social Good began as a happy hour he organized in an attempt to build a community of like-minded people and has now grown into an international movement with over 900 members and a robust conference in the Do Good Data conference and a partnership with Stanford's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society to put on the Worldwide Digital Impact Tour. All that plus links to examples Andrew shares, Beyond Uptake's Data Fellowship Program, and more inside...


Episode 14 - An Interview with Cody Switzer, Chronicle of Philanthropy - PhilanthropyNEXT - Engaging Diverse Donors, Building a Diverse Staff, & Women's Philanthropy

Our guest on The Philanthropy Podcast is Cody Switzer, Assistant Managing Editor and Director of Digital Products for The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Cody explores with us the upcoming PhilanthropyNEXT Conference and why it is increasingly important to engage diverse donors in support of our organization, the value a diverse staff brings to an organization's fundraising, and more. 

Our discussion with Cody reveals the way the Chronicle of Philanthropy approaches organizing the PhilanthropyNEXT conference, what attendees can expect to gain from attending, how to make the most of any conference you attend, and how nonprofits can improve our efforts in order to better engage and authentically appeal to diverse benefactors and staff members. The conference also features a special session on women's philanthropy and Cody discusses how attendees will be able to review their organization for implicit biases that might create obstacles to engaging women and their philanthropy. All that, a great podcast recommendation for fundraisers, and a 10% discount code for PhilanthropyNEXT can be found here...


Episode 13 - 30 More High Impact Questions And 5 Stewardship On A Shoestring Ideas

Today, our episode of The Philanthropy Podcast is a solo episode where I'll share 30 additional high impact questions to ask benefactors and prospects and 5 ways to say thank you at a very low cost. Also, learn about two causes to follow, one on Facebook and one on LinkedIn, to see great examples of social media use from patrons of the show. Hear this, how you can support the show, a book recommendation, and more...


Episode 12 - Giving USA 2017 Analysis - Trends in Philanthropy

Today, our episode of The Philanthropy Podcast is a solo episode where I'll share some analysis on the Giving USA 2017 Report. Every year The Giving Institute, in conjunction with the Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, produce a report on trends in giving in the United States. I'll share my insights from the parts of the report I've seen and a seminar I attended which reviewed this data. Click here for that and more, including the launch of our new Philanthropy Podcast Linkedin Group.


Episode 11 - A list of 70 high impact questions covering the giving cycle stages of identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship

Today's episode of The Philanthropy Podcast provides seventy high impact questions to cover each phase of the giving cycle: identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. With 70 questions you will better know your benefactors, what their values are in life, what they hope to accomplish in their philanthropy, and how your organization's needs align with their hopes.

Also, we launch our Patreon page with a limited time giveaway of an mp3 version of these questions without commentary to allow for you to prepare on the way to your future donor visits. Whether you're flying, driving, taking a taxi or a bus, or walking, you'll be able to listen to these questions and be better prepared to have a meaningful conversation with your benefactor that helps them make a more meaningful gift that has a greater impact on your organization. All this and a chance to contribute your high impact questions and receive a thank you on episode 13's show! For that and today's links click here for more...


Today, our episode of The Philanthropy Podcast is a solo episode where I'll be exploring high impact questions as a tool in a questionning strategy. The ability to ask the right questions and guide someone’s exploration of their philanthropic goals and intentions is a great skill to develop in major gift work, corporate relationships, planned giving, alumni relations, or any other fundraising role where it's important that you connect with people. So I’ll share a few high impact questions, but also we’ll explore why and how you want to use them, some lessons I’ve learned from finding guests for the show, and more…


Episode 9 - Interview with Aly Hall, Foundation for Endodontics - Peer to Peer Fundraising, Board and Volunteer Training, Goal Setting, and more

Today, our guest on The Philanthropy Podcast is Aly Hall, Director of Development at The Foundation for Endodontics. Aly helps us dive into a great discussion on Peer to Peer fundraising, goal setting, providing training and mentoring for volunteers and board members, and more. 

Our discussion with Aly provides information about the advantages and disadvantages of a peer to peer fundraising model, the challenges of acknowledging and thanking volunteers who are spread out across the country, how to train volunteers in a way that isn't overwhelming and sets them up for success, and more...



Episode 8 - Interview with Patrick Van Der Tuin, Executive Director, St. Louis Bicycle Works – Retail In Support of Nonprofits, Staffing Issues, Nonprofit Turnarounds, And More

Today, on The Philanthropy Podcast Patrick Van Der Tuin, Executive Director of St. Louis Bicycle Works shares his insights on running a nonprofit and how having a retail operation shapes organizational funding. Patrick discusses the pros and cons of having a retail side of the house, staffing issues that arise, board oversight, benchmarking, volunteer recruitment, and how Bicycle Works is able to generate unrestricted revenue from their retail effort. I think this is a great dive into a nonprofit model that makes a lot of sense for many nonprofits but might not be utilized as widely as it could be. 

Our discussion with Patrick also shows how Bicycle Works and the other BWorks efforts help St. Louis’ youth learn valuable skills and take ownership in the mission of a nonprofit. Patrick also touches on the importance of self-care when you’re a nonprofit executive director and gives his advice for nonprofits thinking of dipping their toes into this space and those looking to dive into the deep end of launching a retail operation and much more...

Artwork lining the Misericordia Halls

Artwork lining the Misericordia Halls

Today, our guest on The Philanthropy Podcast is Pete Cullen Conway, Director of Major Gifts at Misericordia in Chicago. Pete shares with us some great major gift advice including how he utilizes introduction letters to open doors with benefactors, how he handles first visits, when and how to close the file on reaching out to a donor, and how he uses twitter to get supporters to start rowing the boat in the same direction. 

Our discussion with Pete reveals a lot about how Misericordia, an organization with some of the most diverse ways of reaching out to the community, utilizes relationships to explore these avenues. Pete's ideas are great for putting into practice right away and also for simply keeping in mind as we go about our work. Pete shares a sentiment that I believe many of us share "I'm in the development office, but I work for the families" (Click to Tweet) and much more...


Episode 6 - Interview with Kara Buffardi, Craveity Marketing - Digital Marketing including Social Media, Email, and Websites

Have you wondered where the right place is to begin your digital marketing efforts? Do you feel overwhelmed when trying to maintain a presence online? Have you ever felt like your digital marketing could be more engaging and more personal? Then today's show with Kara Buffardi of Craveity Marketing will provide some advice you can put to use right away.


Our discussion with Kara offers some great advice on what you need to do before launching your social media and email efforts, how to create content that tells the story of your organization and the people who make its mission come to life, and how to be sure you're putting content out on each medium that is appropriate and reaches your audience in the way you want to engage with more and find out how to download Kara's free guide to avoiding social media burnout


Episode 5 - Interview with Kelly Klein, Greater Chicago Food Depository - Corporate and Foundation Relations

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Today, our guest on The Philanthropy Podcast is Kelly Klein, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Kelly shares with us some of the questions she asks to determine how to be a good partner with corporations and foundations, what the GCFD can offer to further engage partners with their missions, and much more. 

Our discussion with Kelly really reveals a lot of great concrete things an organization can do to be a better partner with funding organizations and other nonprofits with whom we collaborate. Kelly's way of viewing their partnership is also important to note as you'll hear her refer to the idea of being peers. This mentality is one that I think will serve nonprofits well and one that challenges us to be sure we're up to a high standard before we claim that more


Episode 4 - Interview with John Chandler, St. Ignatius College prep - The Joy of this Vocation

I'm excited to share with you an interview with John Chandler Vice President of Development at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago which you can find at This is part of a set of interviews which will cover not only perspectives on work in philanthropy, but specifically the question of where do you find joy in your work and joy in making an ask. 

John touches on a number of topics, but I think the thread to listen for is the idea of a man who has found his vocation as he'll put in his own words. John goes into ideas around retention of employees, the joy of gifting, educating board members, and you'll also hear him express an idea about involving people beyond alumni and families which I think has been vital to his success... read more.

Episode 3 - Interview with Katy (Hall) Orenchuk, Newberry Library - The Joy Of Making An Ask

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Today's episode is an interview with Katy (Hall) Orenchuk, Vice President of Development at the Newberry Library, Chicago's independent research library. This is the first of a series of interviews which covers not only perspectives on work in philanthropy, but specifically the question of where do you find joy in your work and joy in making an ask.

Katy shares amazing her thoughts about marketing yourself when looking for new job opportunities, growing into a skill set which might not be natural, taking good notes out of respect for donors, and more and find links here

Episode 2 - My background and philosophy of philanthropy

In today's episode I provide a bit of background about who I am and my philosophy of philanthropy. This episode will provide some context for you about my experiences, beliefs, and biases. The next few episodes will be interviews but I felt that knowing my background will help you not only understand me, but also suggest better show topics, guests for interviews, and provide better feedback for the more and find links here


Episode 1 - Welcome to The Philanthropy Podcast

Welcome to the first episode of The Philanthropy Podcast! Today, we have a brief introduction to me, some of the concerning things I kept hearing from schools leaders and non-profit directors that spurred me to launch a podcast, my vision for The Philanthropy more and find links here