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The Nonprofit Reformation…a Leader Has Emerged


RE-IMAGINING NONPROFITS Louis Fawcett & Jimmy LaRoseLouis Fawcett’s RE-IMAGINING NONPROFITS…Turning Your Mess Into a Masterpiece is taking our industry by storm. Louis is leading a Nonprofit Reformation to change the way charities do business.

Clemson University’s Dr. Kathleen Robinson has declared, “Louis Fawcett’s RE-IMAGINING NONPROFITS has captured the hearts and minds of the charitable sector. He’s lit the fire we so desperately need.”

National Development Institute’s Jimmy LaRose says, “Louis takes an ’emperor has no clothes’ approach to the piety and crazymaking rampant throughout our sector. RE-IMAGINING NONPROFITS is a page-turner that will have you saying to yourself, ‘YES’, ‘THANK YOU’, ‘FINALLY’, ‘OF COURSE’, ‘WHY NOT?'”

Fawcett is the President of National Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Executives (NANOE).

Here’s a first look at what’s sure to be a bestseller:

Jimmy LaRose: I wrote the industry bestseller, RE-IMAGINING PHILANTHROPY to challenge donors to give differently, to give them a new set of expectations when they share a financial gift. But Louis Fawcett said, “That’s not enough! Jimmy! You go ahead and work with the donors, I’ll work to change nonprofits so donors will more gladly invest!” And out of that effort came Louis’ new book, RE-IMAGINING NONPROFITS.

Louis, It’s always good to be with you. We’ve been here a thousand times. I can’t wait to hear what’s new. Go ahead Pal!


Louis Fawcett: Jimmy, thanks so much. You’re exactly right. You wrote REIMAGINING PHILANTHROPY to donors and. What we continue to confront in the nonprofit sector is brokenness within nonprofits, brokenness with the way the staff is structured, brokenness with boards, brokenness with the way donors want to be involved with nonprofits, the entire way the nonprofit sector has been set up and has been handed to us is broken, and it needs to be fixed. That is the passion and motivation behind REIMAGINING NONPROFITS. What I do in the beginning of the book is lay out the brokenness. I describe how bad things are. It’s a look in the mirror. And then in the next ten chapters, I lay out solutions that can be implemented by any nonprofit of any size, anywhere in the country.

Jimmy LaRose: Louis, how do nonprofits TURN THEIR MESS INTO A MASTERPIECE?

Louis Fawcett: Why don’t we review the TABLE OF CONTENTS? Here we go:


Chapter 1 – The Mess We’ve Inherited
• Truth Never Fears a Challenge
• More Than Thirty Million People Already Mad at Me

Chapter 2 – The Mess: Why Your Nonprofit is Broken
• Nonprofits Are About Changed and Saved Lives
• Nonprofits Are No Different from Corporations or Families
• Why Does Our Culture Value Lattes over Orphans?

Chapter 3 – Nonprofit Piety and Scams
• The Nonprofit Sector Is Broken
• Nonprofits Bottom Feed on Talent
• Nonprofit Workers Are Expected to Be Poor
• Tesla versus Ford
• The Scam of Donor Advised Funds

Chapter 4 – Nonprofits are Businesses, Not Hobbies
• Gifts to Charities Are Investments, Not Donations
• The ROI of Nonprofits Is Impact
• If You Can’t Run a Business, You Can’t Run a Nonprofit

Chapter 5 – Founder’s Syndrome
• The Story of Mr. Love Thyself
• Founders Can’t Let Go
• Combating Founder’s Syndrome

Chapter 6 – Where Do We Go Now? To the Money!
• The Nonprofit Exodus
• Being Determined to Change
• Appreciate Your Donors
• Think Positively, Every Day
• Investments, Not Donations
• Focus on the Money

Chapter 7 – Solution #1: Treat Your Donors as Your Customers
• Create an Excellent Experience for Your Donors
• Why Philanthropists Give
• Love Your Donors
• Don’t Project Your Feelings
• Nonprofit Product, Marketing, and Sales
• Philanthropists Give to Masterpieces, Not Messes
• Get Rid of Your Desk and Pick Up the Phone!
• Acquire Customers and Upsell Them
• Treat Your Donors as Valued Investors
• Use the Magic Questions

Chapter 8 – Solution #2: Know Your Numbers
• Understand Your Revenue and Expenses in Detail
• Know the Cost of Your Impact, Per Person
• Comprehending Your Numbers Leads to More Revenue

Chapter 9 – Solution #3: The Strong CEO
• Servant Leaders
• Setting Goals to Grow Revenue and Impact
• The Board Hires and Fires the CEO
• The Board Supports the CEO’s Vision
• The Board Evaluates the CEO’s Performance

Chapter 10 – Solution #4: Proper Staff Compensation
• Nonprofits Bottom Feed on Talent
• Nonprofits Can, Without Apology, Pay for Talent
• Nonprofits Should Offer Four Weeks of Vacation
• Nonprofits Can Offer Bonuses for Performance
• Keep Your Employees Happy with Money
• Starbucks Joan versus Nonprofit Suzy

Chapter 11 – Solution #5: Getting Boards Out of the Way
• The Better Board Member Myth
• Stop Relying on Your Boards
• The Consultant on the Jamaican Beach
• Consider a Smaller Board
• The Board Only Offers Advice and Accountability
• Cultivate Your Board Members as Customers
• Consensus Is the Enemy of Progress
• Make Your Board Meetings Fun!

Chapter 12 – Solution #6: Eliminate Piety
• Piety Is a Form of Control
• Piety Is About Feelings; Results Are About Facts
• Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Few People Mad

Chapter 13 – Solution #7: Monetize Every Hour
• The Secret to Success
• Don’t Be a People Pleaser
• Proactively Plan Your Day
• Calculate How Much You Need to Raise Every Hour
• Eliminate Office Time
• Stop Checking Email
• Celebrate Major Gifts!
• Stop Attending Staff Meetings
• Know Your Numbers

Chapter 14 – Solution #8: The Event Live Tally
• Brash Like Ric Flair
• Red Pill or Blue Pill?
• Determine Event Details
• Recruit Table Hosts
• Outline the Run of Show
• Commitment Cards and Live Tally
• Another Excuse to Be Face to Face with Major Donors

Chapter 15 – Solution #9: Your Mission Has a Price Tag
• Three Car Buying Stories
• Serve Your Donors and They Will See the Value
• There is No Overhead
• Don’t Apologize for Including Everything in the Price

Chapter 16 – Solution #10: Face to Face
• Laziness Has Never Saved a Life
• There Is No Substitute for Face-to-Face Asking
• Set the Appointment
• Prepare a Written Proposal
• Listen Genuinely
• Review Case for Support
• Ask Permission to Ask
• Review the Gift Range Chart
• Ask for the Gift
• No Excuses
• Negotiate the Terms
• Determine Clear Next Steps
• Follow Up Relentlessly
• Genuine Thanks and One More Thing

Chapter 17 – Your Masterpiece: Changed and Saved Lives
• Falling Asleep at the Wheel
• We Are Created with a Purpose
• Climb without Ropes
• Seize Your Nonprofit’s Future
• NANOE’s Research on Growing Nonprofits
• Major Gifts Ramp-Up
• Time to Get to Work!

Afterword: The NANOE Reformation

Jimmy LaRose: Louis, why don’t share some of the big ideas readers will discover when they jump into RE-IMAGINING NONPROFITS:

Donors Are Your Customers

If you look at the best corporations in the world, they provide an experience for their customer, and they devote millions and millions of dollars on retaining existing customers and upselling them. And if we can learn to create an experience for our donors and understand that donors will invest more when we invest more in them, then our time priorities begin to shift. Instead of spending 95 to 99% of our time on program service delivery, what if we spent at least half of our time on the needs of our customers, i.e. our donors? So I describe methods for doing that.

Know Your Numbers

Um, then we have to know our numbers. Jimmy, you would be astonished. I talked to nonprofit leaders every day and I’ll say, well, what was your revenue last year? And they don’t know. I’ll say, well, how many, how many people did you help last year? Well, I’m not sure I’ll have to look that up. A corporate executive is expected to know her numbers backward and forward. And so too should a nonprofit executive and staff member know our numbers. Because if we don’t know our numbers, we can’t grow them. Then we need the strong CEO. We’ve talked a lot about that. That’s really important. We need proper staff compensation. Just mention that a few minutes earlier.

Get Your Board Out of The Way

Boards don’t need to be micromanaging the day to day operations of the organizations. Boards need to be there for advice and accountability. We need to eliminate piety. We’ve got to stop thinking about the nonprofit sector as somehow different than another business. It occupies a different tax status.


Run Your Charity Like a Business

Your nonprofit has to be run like a business, not a hobby. It’s not about how we feel, it’s about how the numbers are generated. In order to generate those numbers, we have to monetize every hour. We don’t have time to waste on the same old staff meetings, the same old events, the same old tired board meetings. How many nonprofits, Jimmy, uh, the CEO comes out of a board meeting and has got 4 or 5 things to do, and by the time she gets those 4 or 5 things done to report back to the board has to start preparing for the next board meeting. Um, how many nonprofits are spending two hours, three hours a week on staff meetings instead of being out doing their job and focusing on their donors?

Monetize Every Hour

Jimmy LaRose: Louis, let me put you on the spot. We do this from a chair in front of large audiences. What you just talked about was monetizing every hour. Are you able to get your phone? Let’s say it’s a $3 million organization. Do you mind going through that exercise really quick?

Louis Fawcett: Sure, if you have a 3 million, $3 million organization, you’ve got 48 weeks to raise $3 million, which means I want you to have four weeks off. You should have time with your family. You should have time to have fun. Within those 48 weeks, you got 40 hours. It’s not healthy to work 50, 60, 70 hours a week. We should have a normal 40 hour workweek. So if you’re going to raise $3 million over 48 weeks at 40 hours a week, it means that you need to raise $1,562.50 every hour. So if we’re doing anything that’s not worth at least $1,562, Jimmy, then we shouldn’t be doing it.

Quit Doing Fundraising Events

Louis Fawcett: So then we go into events. Events are the bane of most nonprofits existences, right. Because our staff spends hours and hours and hours planning and pulling off these events, and then they’re exhausted and burned out, and then we’re not monetizing them. I mean, how many events have we heard of where we’re only generating 28,000, 45,000, and yet we’re spending hundreds of staff hours. So we have a solution in the book where you have A12 hour event every year, that’s a dinner and a few speakers talking about how lives have been changed and saved by the organization. And then we make an ask and we do a live tally. Jimmy, we’ve done hundreds of these events, and we always raise at least 3 or $400,000, sometimes over $1 million in one evening. The staff is not burned out. The donors are happy that we’ve respected their time with two hours on a Thursday night and people leave feeling great about what they’ve done to help their community.

Show Donors The Price Tag

Then we’ve got to, without apology, put a price tag on our mission. Instead of saying, well, just give what’s on your heart or just give what makes sense to you. By the way, we would never do that with any other product or service in our world, right? The car dealer never says to you, oh, you want to drive off the lot in this Hyundai? We’ll just give what’s on your heart. No, there’s a price tag. If you want a product or a service, you have to assess the value of that product or service. And it’s no different in the nonprofit sector. And so we have to start asking people for concrete amounts. Uh, Jimmy, if you’d like to help 300 kids in our after school program, we thought you’d like to consider an investment of $25,000 that would enable us to serve those 300 kids for six months of this year. See, that puts a price tag for you as the donor. Now you’ve got a place to start. You may decide to give more. You may decide to give less. But now you know what the impact cost. And we’ve got to do that without apology. And that number has to include everything. Not just would it cost for the books or the pencils or the curriculum, but everything that it costs to run the organization has to be included in your mission’s price tag.

Meet With Donors Face-To-Face

And finally, Jimmy, we’ve got to spend time with people one on one. And I know it’s a lot of work, and it’s a lot of work to call people to schedule meetings, to reschedule meetings. But we find over and over again, Jimmy, that when we sit down with our donors, when we sit down with our board members, when we sit down with our staff members, when we sit down with our volunteers one on one and have a conversation about getting to know each other and then transition that conversation to, I’d like to run some ideas by you. I’d like to get your advice on what we’re facing with this nonprofit. We find over and over again. Those conversation conversations lead significantly to growing revenue and growing impact. Contrast that to the CEO, who wants to go into a staff meeting or a board meeting or an event and cast this wonderful vision and expect everyone to get behind it, it just doesn’t work that way. We have to start one-on-one.

RE-IMAGINING NONPROFITS…Turning Your Mess Into a Masterpiece, authored by Louis Fawcett, was published by National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives (NANOE)

RE-IMAGINING NONPROFITS…Turning Your Mess Into a Masterpiece was first posted at Inside Charity

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When asked what motivates him, Louis Fawcett says, “I wake up every day trying to figure out how to change and save more lives.  That is my agenda.  In this world, the only way to maximize impact to change and save lives for generations is with money.  The more money we raise, the more children and families we can help.  Email and social media don’t count; the way to raise millions of dollars is to pick up the phone, meaningfully engage a donor and meet them where they are – spiritually, mentally and geographically.”

Louis is President of National Association of Nonprofits & Executives (NANOE)


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Jimmy LaRose
Jimmy LaRose
Jimmy LaRose’s passion for “people who give” has inspired philanthropists around the world to change the way they invest in nonprofits. His belief that donors are uniquely positioned to give charities what they truly need – leadership rather than money – is the basis for his work with individuals, governments, corporations and foundations, in the U.S., Europe, Asia & Middle East. Jimmy, in his role as author, speaker, corporate CEO & nonprofit CEO champions all of civil society’s vital causes by facilitating acts of benevolence that bring healing to humanity and advance our common good. He and his beautiful wife Kristi are citizens of the Palmetto State where they make their home in Lexington, South Carolina.

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