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Fundraising Secrets of an International Nonprofit With Wendi Huestis


In this episode of the Nonprofit Thrive podcast, Ben Freda sits down with Wendi Huestis, an experienced fundraising professional, to talk about fundraising in an international nonprofit organization. Wendi discusses the value of annual funds, setting fundraising goals, and how she got into the fundraising world.

Today's Guest
Wendi Huestis

Wendi Huestis

Wendi Huestis is the Chief Advancement Officer at Worldreader, an international edtech organization focused on promoting literacy through reading. With a diverse background spanning climate action, education, international development, mental health, human rights, and social entrepreneurship, Wendi excels in devising strategies that align with organizational goals. Leveraging her extensive network, she fosters collaboration among stakeholders to drive conversations on global issues like climate change and SDGs.

Wendi’s academic achievements include an MBA and BA from Cornell, complementing her multicultural perspective gained from living, working, and traveling in over 65 countries. Equipped with skills in social networking, institutional giving, and communication, Wendi is committed to advancing the missions of organizations and effecting positive change worldwide.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [2:27] Wendi Huestis explains the value of an annual fund when working with nonprofits
  • [5:07] What is an annual fund?
  • [11:43] Wendi talks about Worldreader’s annual reports and impact reports
  • [12:44] How nonprofits set fundraising goals and distribute funds
  • [28:32] What is the purpose of Worldreader’s BookSmart app?
  • [30:58] How Wendi established herself in fundraising

In this episode…

Raising funds is the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations, ensuring their ability to fulfill their missions and make a meaningful impact in society. Without adequate funding, nonprofits face significant challenges in delivering essential services and driving positive change. How can these organizations strategize and innovate to effectively secure the resources they need to thrive in the dynamic landscape of philanthropy and social impact?

Expert marketer and fundraiser Wendi Huestis shares her insights on nonprofit management, donor cultivation, and the impact of effective communication strategies in a podcast interview. She emphasizes the importance of developing strong relationships with donors, operational efficiency, and aligning fundraising efforts with organizational goals. Nonprofits need strategic planning, clear communication, and donor stewardship to nurture long-term relationships to maximize fundraising outcomes. Wendi also highlights the role of marketing and communications in amplifying nonprofit missions, engaging stakeholders, and fostering community collaborations. To unlock your full potential, embrace a growth mindset, foster resilience, and seek opportunities for continuous learning.

In this episode of the Nonprofit Thrive podcast, Ben Freda sits down with Wendi Huestis, the Chief Advancement Officer at Worldreader, to talk about fundraising in an international nonprofit organization. Wendi discusses the value of annual funds, setting fundraising goals, and how she got into the fundraising business.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by BFC Digital.

At BFC Digital, we help nonprofit organizations thrive on the web so they can improve the world.

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:06  

Welcome to Nonprofit Thrive, a podcast where we learn from the humans who are helping nonprofits succeed in the digital world. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Ben Freda  0:23  

Welcome, I’m Ben Freda, host of the show, where we share the stories of leaders in the nonprofit space. So the people behind the organizations, the foundations, the companies that help nonprofits change the world. past guests on the show, we’ve had Eric Larnick from People for Animals, who’s been doing fundraising for animal welfare organizations. Since the early days. He talked about some great insights about voice and storytelling for animal rights organizations. We also interviewed another example, Matt Schwartz, who is an ex-punk rocker, or at least punk rock aficionado, and current designer for social change runs Constructive, which is a social change design and branding agency in Hoboken, New York, and discussed the importance of brand consistency for a nonprofit in the nonprofit context. So check those out if you’d like. Today, we have another excellent guest. someone I’ve known for a long time very psyched to bring on the show. But before I tell you who it is, I’m gonna keep you in suspense, I have to share that this podcast is brought to you by BFC Digital, where we help nonprofits thrive on the web. If you work at a nonprofit or foundation or another type of social change organization. Sure you know how important it is to have a working well-branded effective web presence to help you accomplish your mission. Probably also know how tricky difficult, buggy weird jargony web tech can be and how tricky it can be to find a reputable, you know, web developer or web designer to help you at BFC Digital, we help our clients succeed on the web. Without all that pain, we can handle everything from small bugs and tiny fixes all the way up to strategizing designing, building out large web projects. So go to to learn. So today, I’m very excited, because I have somebody on who I’ve known for a long time actually met her I believe on the playground and New York City playground. Her name is Wendi, Wendi Heustis. She has been working on fundraising and marketing for nonprofits for more than 20 years. She has helped nonprofits and social enterprises with initiatives including literacy, gender equality, climate change, refugees, DEI, mental illness. She loves her field and claims that she’s never had an existential crisis regarding the impact she’s making the world which I feel like as a sarcastic comments.

Wendi Heustis  2:57  

It’s actually true. But I’m shocked that you remember that I even said that. Even if I may not be in love with the organization that I’m fundraising for, like when I had my own consulting company for four years, I had all these nonprofit social enterprise clients. So I could be a little more judgy about like getting the steam and the engine running on time. Like, it’s unusual for a fundraiser to be to be someone like me, because I love talking to people and getting to know them, I can be very gregarious, but at the same time, like you have to operationalize your things and not just operationalize you have to execute on them. So whenever I come up with these innovative ideas, which are not innovative, because now I’m working with Worldreader, which has been around 12 years, and so I always think of it as guys, this is an innovative, I’m not smart at all, I’m just telling you that that we need for our organs. Right, because yeah, I just needed to come in and do a quick fixes and then still getting to know the organization Worldreader are based in Seattle. And so I am the head of the New York City Division, so I bought them help me. Yeah, sorry,

Ben Freda  4:28  

I this is part of my training as a podcast person because this is episode number five or something, not cutting people off is something I’ve worked. So, so if I do I apologise in advance. But what I was gonna say is that might be a good place to start is like, what are those things that you do jump in and you say, I’m not I’m not, by the way, you are very smart, but I’m not smart. I’m just sort of doing the obvious. What are those obvious things? I mean, I’m one of those people is totally neophyte in this. What are those obvious things you would jump in and do

Wendi Heustis  4:57  

So when I started there? was no annual fund programme. And an annual fund could be a monthly donor, they can be like a quarterly donor. But an annual fund is really for your mid net worth to lower level donors. And the the numbers are different for each organization. Because there’s 1.4 million nonprofits in the US. And so of course, every everything functions differently. So having an annual fund is a really big deal. Because when you are working in the group of annual funds, those then go up into the high net worth group, because you’ve been stewarding them along via phone via zoom via email, and then text as well. And this was in place. So gearing up again for that. And I head up Marketing and Communications and business development as well. And part of my team is in San Francisco, and the other part is in Spain. So that’s one pain point is not being able to see my colleagues as frequently as I would like, because I love working from home, and it would be nice to have the option of going in. But back to your question. So but what I did for Worldreader is come in, and then we had Not we but a prior, someone who worked in our organization kept buying these, like nonprofit gimmicks. So when was called classy, which is really well known really well.

Ben Freda  6:36  

Yeah, a lot of I’ve seen classy, yeah.

Wendi Heustis  6:38  

And it’s $10,000 a year and it wasn’t implemented. And that drives me crazy.

Ben Freda  6:43  

I didn’t know so expensive.

Wendi Heustis  6:47  

It’s totally Oh, yeah. And then they had another book with them, which describes something completely different. And I was just like, again, like Worldreader, it can impact everybody on any level. And that’s really because so our age group that we work with is ages three to 12. And we work in Asia, we work in we have been working in South America, but now our focus is going to be on the US and, and South world. Excuse me. And we’re focusing on Ghana, which we are first bloomed, blossomed. And then South Africa as well. Interesting. Yeah, so I think and also, I’m very big into metrics. And I had wrongly assumed that Worldreader was also into, you know, trying to, and whatnot, because do other aside from our BookSmart app, which is our educational programme that helps kids do brain building and whatnot. They didn’t have in place like the calendar of when things go out at what time the MarComm would do things appropriately, like, on the holidays. And but it’s because for a global organization, you have to be especially sensitive because some people say Merry Christmas, some people say Happy Christmas. City. I’m like, we don’t say Christmas. No, right? We say happy holidays.

Ben Freda  8:17  

Yeah. Right. Yeah, totally.

Wendi Heustis  8:20  

I’ve worked at global organizations, most of my life just because of all the traveling I’ve done for work and for personal reasons. And so I can appreciate when someone says, you know, that, especially in our European team, they’re very private, it doesn’t mean it’s not fun to have a conversation with them. That type of way that Americans are versus Yeah. Any other country or entity?

Ben Freda  8:48  

Totally. Totally. That makes sense. That makes total sense. So so help me Okay, so this is all new to me, an annual fund means that the donors are giving every year?

Wendi Heustis  8:57  

Exactly their donors are giving money every year, or they’re giving a little money, like $100 or $50 every month. So we want to build up those relationships through zoom calls, or just going to their house and talking with them. And so with that, I go in with what are called sell sheets. And for example, I had a sell sheet on our content. So with Worldreader, we have big, big opportunities, and we tackle some big issues. And some of those are mental health, physical health, of race at diversity, social justice, climate change, girls education, so a lot of my donors had no idea about that. And I just approach it with what I know donors will like this because that’s what you should do and I like to work with the entire family as they’re making their financial contribution because, again, this is what I did previously is that the parents would decide and then talk to the kids to see where they want their money to go. And so,

Ben Freda  10:13  

Interesting, interesting because it goes Worldreader is about getting kids, we should probably say, the organization is really about getting kids reading, right? That’s your thing, getting kids reading, and you just want them to read, and you don’t want them to read something they’re interested in. So so it makes sense. You go to families, and you get the kids involved, what is it that you guys want to read? What kind of things do you want to see? And that will really help the parents kind of connect with the mission, I would imagine.

Wendi Heustis  10:37  

And so we’re innovative in the sense that we’ve been an edtech organization for 14 years. And just like people were a little anxious about putting Sesame Street on in a store, like, people are also anxious when we say that these are only digital books, but in Africa and other countries, they’re able to listen to audiobooks that are on our Suraj. Yeah, gotcha. And there’s five different languages that we write books about. And honestly, we’re just very culturally relevant and sensitive to that. And that brings over even working with Americans having to remind them that we have to be sensitive to other people’s schedules and belief systems.

Ben Freda  11:29  

For sure. Yeah, that’s interesting. So so the so the annual the annual fund is sort of like, I mean, in your mind, do you have like a ladder for donors like, you start them off? Okay. All right. And so it’s like, you start with a small donation, and then you try to encourage people to increase over time. And then that’s how it kind of works. Okay.

Wendi Heustis  11:43  

Exactly. So I will send you a copy of our annual report was due to come out in a few weeks. So that way, it’s called our yearly annual report, we do two different reports that are called impact reports. Gotcha. So those happen in once in the winter, and then once in the spring. So donors are getting sometimes physical elements, but most most truly is it has to come through technology just based on being an Ed Tech email. And that’s been, that’s been great, too. So just like all these sell sheets, about all the verticals in which we work, that really helps guide them. So I just enjoy it.

Ben Freda  12:28  

And you as an organization haven’t thought about this from the nonprofit side? Again, fundraising is a new thing to me. But are you basically setting like yearly goals for fundraising? Or are you sort of just going with the flow? How does that work?

Wendi Heustis  12:41  

So the board has to approve the budget that we put together, and then they don’t have to approve our plan. We do have a plan, of course, and break it out into quarters in terms of this is what we need, like we have to raise $3 million on the last day of March, because that’s Q1, like 2.6 million.

Ben Freda  13:05  

And you’re doing great. You’re doing great. You’re almost like take the rest of March off, right?

Wendi Heustis  13:10  

I don’t think so. Me and my CEO get along really well. And she’s a workaholic, as well. So I always have to take a step back. And I’m like, Oh, interesting, like, because we just get right into it when we have a one on one meeting. And I love it just because I talk to her more anyway. And so I like these organizations that are really, people want to get to know each other. They’re very friendly and very sad. And that’s the culture of the organization. Whereas most organizations, you may not feel that sense of culture or their identity, but a Worldreader, you really can.

Ben Freda  13:51  

What do you attribute that to? Why do you think that’s true of Worldreader in particular?

Wendi Heustis  13:54  

I think because we have a lot of international staff. And it was based, well, it was registered in Seattle, but that started being based in San Francisco. And we have a lot of top heavy donors who will give a million, another million and then someone who gives 750,000, someone who gets 500,000. So the average range for what a, an annual fund gift would be, would probably be around like $115. But because you’re so top heavy, which is very dangerous. Our footprint is 90 90% of our of our work is going to the programmes. But you also have to look at operational efficiency, like how many hours are we all working, trying to get all of our goals done? And what is the return on that investment? So that’s that I’ve been working with the team on as well is like deficiency ratios and decision trees and all these more analytical things.

Ben Freda  15:06  

Is there like a standard for what percentage of the funds a nonprofit is meant to use to get more funds versus do the mission? Yeah. So

Wendi Heustis  15:16  

for all organizations that are for nonprofits, I mean, nonprofit, what nonprofits really want to do for moving on, is you want your company to close because that means you’ve solved that problem.

Ben Freda  15:30  

Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Climate change, right. No more climate change. Yeah, totally.

Wendi Heustis  15:35  

Right. Because Exactly. And so with reading, right now, there’s 54% of kids who are 10 years old, who can’t understand a simple sentence.

Ben Freda  15:46  

Oh, my God, and worse because of COVID as well, in United States, at least, right?

Wendi Heustis  15:49  

Exactly, and we actually started our BookSmart programme application, right during COVID. Uh huh. Yeah, it looks very old school now. But it’s an app that’s available for free. And all those articles that I talked about, like climate change, but we also talk about depression and anxiety. And so stories and I find this amazing, it’s a, it’s an Indian girl and her sister, her older sister, and her older sister goes through this big depressive period. And the younger one like talks to her about it, and like, brings up with the mom and the mom talks to, so we push the boundaries of some cultures somewhat. But we don’t go into it like, disrespectfully, because,

Ben Freda  16:38  

hmm. So you’re, you’re basically providing free sort of books, eBooks and audiobooks to get kids reading across the world. And so you’re kind of saying the books that might be possible to publish in certain parts of the world might be different than in other words, if not, you could publish them, I guess, but with the you know, in terms of the impact, yeah, change. It’s interesting.

Wendi Heustis  17:01  

Yeah. It’s all our annual reports and impact reports are about like, Kenya, India, in India, we work with an organization called Barefoot College. And these are nighttime schools where the girls can finally leave their house and go to school in the dark, because it’s a little safer that way. Do but it’s one of our most beautiful programmes as well, just because these girls are getting educated in a community that doesn’t want to further their education, because they believe, you know, once you educate a girl, then she’s going to keep rising. And yes, that’s what we want. Right? So starting from a little girl and her interests in whatever philanthropy she is interested in. So for example, I’ve had one interested in food justice, because this is becoming this new thing too. And I looked, we only had one or two books about food justice. So I shared it with him. But then he came into the next meeting, because we I also started at a merchandising store where you can buy for Worldreader like shirts and hats and not and he was really he was had on a t-shirt that says, like, we had so many sarcastic ones. Like I’d rather be with my book instead of with you guys. Like making them witty, so people would buy them. Yeah, but his says bookworm but also but always a nerd. is funny, I mean, a lot of humor into the organization. Yeah. And we have what else we did surging digital currency that so we can accept Bitcoin? Litecoin. And all of those. We’re seeing if that is going to be a game changer for us. And we just started a couple of months ago, or if it’s something that we need to forego, because people just have lost their Bitcoin numbers, right? Yeah. So are stuck without that million dollars? Or what kind of situation can we put together where these kids are still getting educated, but they don’t feel like the victim, right? And so I always say, like, you need to have a cross pollination. And it’s a symbiotic relationship, because I’m going to meet with a student to help him or her read and understand the vocabulary, the cadence of sentences, and then how your experience with the book is in life, like has that touch in terms of your own life because a lot of our books have brain building educational activities, and big on social emotional activities, which is huge, because you know, mental health has taken quite a ride. Yeah, with everybody since COVID. So and now, and now I feel like even though everybody’s going out, you still, you still see that fear in people’s eyes? Yeah. So I don’t know how long that will go on

Ben Freda  20:08  

Do you guys do in-person events for a Worldreader? Or and did you do it during COVID? And how did that change? Have you started to do it? Again? I agree with you, though I think people are still reluctant. The numbers aren’t really where they were right? And how is that affecting things?

Wendi Heustis  20:25  

Okay, so we did not, I’m very against events. And I’ll just tell you really, okay, this is why so with the efficiency ratio, what you’re looking at, is what the net income was. And that means usually the expenses far exceed these these inbound gifts that are happening. And then when you add on each fundraisers, time spent, and putting it in that calculation. Yeah, the efficiency scores are like 16%. So

Ben Freda  20:57  

Or big events like gala has an annual dinners and things like that.

Wendi Heustis  21:01  

I could probably look at all of those nonprofits, and assure you that that event did not make money because of all their expenses or unless in their expenses, other places.

Ben Freda  21:12  

And even if even if it did make a net money, if that percentage is so low compared to other avenues of

Wendi Heustis  21:19  

Exactly, exactly. So

Ben Freda  21:22  

I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that. I didn’t thought every thought of that. Okay,

Wendi Heustis  21:25  

I know. And it’s different, because not everybody will share this philosophy, right? Of course, you’ve just have to be malleable at as a fundraiser in order to navigate those types of conversations. I think what’s great about being a fundraiser is I actually started fundraising in middle school. There’s a picture of me, and I’m around a desk and apparently I started fundraising. Then I sorted. And then my senior year in college, I started fundraising just because I wanted money, and I needed a part time job. And then I moved to Prague for a year came back to New York, because that’s where all my friends were, they went from upstate New York down to the city. And so like what I needed to do right away, aside from like, just giving myself a one hour shower, is I just got to get the grub off.

Ben Freda  22:28  

But this is good, because I meant to really start this interview, just knowing what your history was and why you got into fundraising in the first place. So So let’s, let’s get back to that. So you, you went to Prague came back to New York, you were fundraising just as a part time job because you needed to do it in? No.

Wendi Heustis  22:43  

So when I got back from teaching business classes in the Czech Republic in Prague, I were talking about this was 2000 2001, things were really good things were really good, interest wise, and just salary wise and whatnot. Yeah. A recruiting firm called me and so I went out and spoke to them. And I’m like, I was a government major with a law minor and a friend, you’re, I’m not really sure what I should do, and said, You should go into fundraising. And I’m like, huh, and I go, That sounds like the worst idea I’ve ever heard. I’m like, I don’t want to be at skateable. This is what I thought fundraising was, I thought it was like meeting with people every single day and making a solicitation. It’s like, oftentimes, I’ll just say, Hi, Ben, I’m so happy that you’re supporting us, and, and then be on my way to walk out of the room, and then you hand me a check for $25,000. So a lot of times they like, especially the high net worth individuals, they know how fundraisers work, and that there’s that cultivation period, then you give a gift, and then a set stewardship period to get them ready for their next gift next year.

Ben Freda  24:03  

Hmm, interesting. So you’re not I to also assumed it would be like a lot of cold calling and stuff. But it’s really it’s not that

Wendi Heustis  24:09  

No, no, it’s not cold calling. Because in the literacy and education space in gender and gender equality space, like we’re all kind of brothers and sisters when it comes to this stuff. So we make sure that it’s someone that someone on our board knows or that I know, and a couple of other people from the organization. But even if we don’t know someone like a lot of these corporations, because corporate funders have never had a large chunk of the money that we bring in, so I’m trying to launch a corporate programme, and I’m not afraid of making a cold call just because it’s their philanthropy, right. And plus, a lot of them may have money that they’re looking to get rid of, but they don’t know how to spend it. And it’s also working with this wealth manager, who, who works with his clients to decide how to spend their money regarding philanthropy, we’re all going to meet up in early, early June, I believe for a coffee because I’d really liked the organization to go into to impact fundraising, and impact fundraising. It’s like, so if you’re a social enterprise, and or you’re an SME, or SG, which is social, middle enterprise, and the higher level BCGs, you, you do take on a different personality every time you’re talking to a certain group of people. But what this will be is an event where Rebecca can go up, her CEO can go up and speak. And then all of the high net worth people, the one who have like advisors and their Chase, or Morgan Stanley, or whatever, they can come in here about the nonprofits that they’d never heard of, and, and like, we have all the backup data in terms of like, yes, we’re trying to drive innovation and education, and we want to build communities and collaborations. We’re fostering lifelong learning. Because the thing is, when you know how to read, it gives you more academic success, or it sets you on the path for academic success. But furthermore, you can then get a job. So then you have more of an economic sense things. And that then goes into the fiscal cow category. Yeah, my my recruiter, again, she was like, go into fundraising, I’m like, Nope, I’m not going to do that. And she, I met these three women at a school that I was fundraising for, for seven and a half, eight years. And now I tell every woman that I that I meet, or mentor, or they want for advice, I just say go into fundraising, because it’s not one of those jobs that’s ever gonna be dismissed, even with AI and machine learning it just because some jobs require relationships. And this is why my job is to not make friends but just to have a respectful collaboration, and get to know the family’s interests and whatnot.

Ben Freda  27:24  

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So is did you use, like, how is your I guess, emotional connection to the work like changed? Has it become easier over time? Has there things? Or are the things that have surprised you with how difficult they are? How okay, they are or what’s the was that change?

Wendi Heustis  27:42  

Yeah, it’s a great question. Because one organization, like I mentioned before, was into serious mental illness. And that was, it was just awesome to see. We never called them patients, we call nurse and worked alongside of us like, this was a job that I was supposed to scrub their toilets. And you never said that in the interview.

Ben Freda  28:08  

I take custodial work as part of

Wendi Heustis  28:11  

Yeah, no, no. So everybody would be like, wiping, wiping down their tables and your seats, and this was pre COVID. So how being but so that had an impact on me. Because what really helps people with serious mental illness is to get jobs and feel like you have a purpose and whatnot. So we would be able to do that. We also work with refugee communities, like in Syria along the border. And in, let’s see, where else are we in Jordan as well. So we go into crisis communities, those vulnerable LMI, low middle income, ordinary people, and we talk with them, and give them the tools because they will not necessarily have an iPad, right? Someone from your country that doesn’t have what the US has. And so because we’re offering a free app to them, and you don’t need data, that they can read the books all of the time. And we’re really looking for that parent engagement. Because when I was at the UNGA, its cert stands for United Nations General Assembly. I’ve been to a couple of roundtables the days before that. And it was fascinating to me, because I expected the conversation to have that logical model. And the logic model for fundraising in terms of metrics is you’ve got your inputs. So for example, you have your teachers, and then output would be okay, you have students who are ready and willing to learn and then their outcomes where you say, Okay, this many kids were read this many books, now he feels better. So really hard to be able to measure change in an environment like that. Maybe the they don’t feel comfortable talking about it with their parents. But so we provide. That’s why are some of our books are really pushing boundaries. And seeing is because I was looking this up in our data system the other day that most pop, our most popular books are on social emotional learning, and ah, yeah, depression and whatnot. So…

Ben Freda  30:35  

Wow, wow, that’s interesting. So, so you’re so you’re really kind of able to do two things. One is to help the kids learn to read and get them reading number two is sort of through what they’re reading. So help them otherwise.

Wendi Heustis  30:48  

Yeah. And we do it in the US and Appalachia. And then in California, we’re trying to get into Alaska. So yeah, it’s, it’s a lot of work. Because, you know, because we’re not working directly in the schools, like we used to, we still need the school to be the vector to get into the parents and teaching family. We had a guy get up at a at a conference. And we said, okay, choose a book, any book, and he’s like, You’re gonna make me read this whole thing aloud? And we’re like, yeah, read it. Or it took four sentences. That was it, right? Because we level the books. And so that they’re child friendly. Like, I would never say, Hey, kids, there’s lots of books about DEI and this and etc. But when you look at the app, it then shows you poetry, or audiobooks or picture books, and that attracts them. So I love my love the children and how much they adore our project or programme.

Ben Freda  31:58  

Yeah, sure, sure. And you probably feel connected to the job because of that to the fund, like your fundraising for our purpose. Have you ever had to do any fundraising where you didn’t necessarily connect with the Oh, yeah. And we can we can absolutely cut this question if we need to the podcast, but I’m just curious how that feels, or how you get through that?

Wendi Heustis  32:17  

Um, well, now that I’m older, I just, you know, if I were in my 20s, I get upset and likely cry. But in my forties, I just don’t take that. Right. Like, I’d rather Allah head on. Over, not a confrontation, but have a conversation about like, this is about the organization and our mission, this is not about us, because fundraisers can get very competitive about who brings in the most money, who’s of the most value? Because anytime you do a call, it’s tracked in your CRM, your customer relationship management system, which we use Salesforce, gotcha. It’s, it’s tracked there, and any phone calls you do we track them there. Yeah, we’re really into building cognitive skills and multiple dimensions of a learner’s development and the ideal ideology positions at home as a primary primarily function of learning. So that, you know, that has been tested time and time again, and we see it be true.

Ben Freda  33:26  

Yeah, interesting. Interesting. I’m gonna get kicked out of my room here six minutes ago. So I do need, I do need to do better. Before I let you go. I want to ask you one last thing, which is more about and this is just something I was curious about. More rather than the fundraising part of the marketing part, you also do marketing and stuff. What is your this is another big area of, of sort of unknown for me is what what are you doing on social and what works and what doesn’t?

Wendi Heustis  33:57  

So that’s a really good question. Because our social has not, I think it’s been targeted too much to donors and what they think, and this is just a marketing team, you know, they’re always trying to now we’re in collaboration. That’s why I took over Devo and MarComm and put them into one team, because

Ben Freda  34:17  

all means development. And marketing means marketing communications. Okay, gotcha. That’s right.

Wendi Heustis  34:21  

And so there was a lot of conflict between these two groups, and just had to come in and say, I’ve done both of your jobs for 24 years. And we can get on the same page about I just need to work through what the business strategy is, and what’s the objectives of this and what’s going to be the outcome and impact. So yeah, I’ve I’ve gone through it all in fundraising. So

Ben Freda  34:47  

So this was for the social stuff. What do you feel like works well, and what doesn’t for you,

Wendi Heustis  34:52  

and your experience is that our best social media is actually on LinkedIn.

Ben Freda  34:57  

Oh, really? Okay. Yeah.

Wendi Heustis  34:59  

You would to Instagram or Facebook or X, I mean, but but one thing I said I wanted to have is lots of videos because I think something like 70% of US citizens take time just playing on their phone and talking TV and not out and about having a life or a life that’s that you want. So, yeah, with MarComm, we just had to cut down a lot of the monthly emails that were being sent out and look at the copy. We’re hiring for a new graphic designer. So that will be good, because we’ve got a lot of work to do.

Ben Freda  35:41  

But LinkedIn, that’s interesting. I wouldn’t have thought that either. That’s cool. So this has been great. Thank you so much for coming on. If people need to know or want to find out more about Worldreader or about about you, can you tell them where to go?

Wendi Heustis  35:57  

So thank you so much. I really appreciate you bringing me in to do this interview us great questions. So if people want to reach out and find out more about Worldreader or some boards I sit on my phone number is 646-662-4422 or you can email me at Wendi but then I saw

Ben Freda  36:23  

Cool. Okay, thank you so much. Yeah, it was it’s been wonderful. Thank you.

Outro  36:30  

Thanks for listening to the Nonprofit Thrive podcast. We’ll see you next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.

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