How Design, Creativity, and Relationships Intersect with Budget Transparency, Interview with Sherry Quam Taylor, Grant Writing Simplified with Teresa Huff, Episode 133

How Design, Creativity and Relationships Intersect With Budget Transparency [Episode 133]

“The business changed…we looked better, we acted better, we responded quicker. We were giving great donor experiences; we put our systems in place.”

How to Shake Up the Status Quo and Raise Funds for Your Nonprofit

I talk with a lot of nonprofits each week, and of course they all have one thing in common they need: more funding! That’s why I like to bring in experts in other types of fundraising too. We need to understand the bigger picture of how the strategies fit together. 

Today I’m talking with another nonprofit expert who is fantastic at what she does. Sherry Quam Taylor is good at shaking up the status quo and challenging people to think bigger, better, and with excellence to raise funds to serve your nonprofit fully.  

Sherry’s way of challenging nonprofits to think bigger really resonated with me. She works with business-minded nonprofit CEOs to help scale their budget significantly, sometimes by as much as 2-5 times. She does this by helping nonprofits reduce their dependence on government or earned funds, and increase their unrestricted revenue from investment-size donors. Sherry walks her clients through this process step by step. 

Listen as Sherry and I do some myth-busting about fundraising. We also discuss advice on scaling nonprofits.

Transparency and the Gift of Asking, “Why?”

Sherry and I discuss the importance of bringing creativity to work. Design and creativity not only help us take care of ourselves, but they also help our organizations grow and build. This can insulate us from becoming stagnant.

The experience Sherry brought from the for-profit world to the nonprofit world helped her tremendously, and that transition helped her learn a lot by simply asking, “Why?” “Why can’t we say that?” Why can’t we spend that?” These questions challenged Sherry and the teams she worked with to look at “why” they were doing things a certain way, and build toward securing donors’ best gifts.

We also discuss the definition of a give/get expectation for board members and how that might leave money on the table. Sherry walks us through multiple tips for building a mutually beneficial team with board members and donors, while also showing us where we might be leaving money on the table regarding investment-level donations.

Giving the Gift of Time in Nonprofit Relationship Building

Relationships take time. Rushing relationships does not build strong foundations. As board members, development teams, or even grant writers, relationships are at our heart.

Sherry also shares tools we can use to build those relationships, specifically with investment-level donors. First of all, we need to ask questions and listen with interest. Sherry suggests this gem, “How did you become so generous?

As I share in my TEDx Talk, building relationships means being conversational and getting to know the person, not just the dollar. Slowing down and being relational with donors can lead them to their best gift. That process can take 12-24 months or more, and that’s okay.

Sherry and I also talk about how we can build more longevity and stability with those in the non-profit space with things like:

  • A shared portfolio of engagement from the team to donors.
  • Invest in your people and give them the tools to grow the nonprofit

I really appreciate what Sherry said about how a scarcity mindset hinders growth. “91% of organizations never reach a million dollars because they are not spending money to build teams that take them to that level. We will be handcuffed by this overhead myth and scarcity model.”

We leave so much money on the table when we don’t know how to tell the story of what donating to a nonprofit will accomplish. It is so important to educate our team on the budget so they can clearly communicate the financial need to others. Budget transparency builds trust. Confidence and excitement in talking about financials helps break ceilings and attracts other donors.

I asked Sherry, “What are the starting points you recommend to smaller nonprofits that are just starting to gain traction?” I love her two easy tips to get started:

  1. Make sure you are telling your donors the true financial story.
  2. Start building relationships with five people.

Challenge Question:

What five people can you start building relationships with now? Make that list today.

Meet Sherry Quam Taylor:

Sherry Quam Taylor works with business-minded Nonprofit CEOs who want to scale their organizations’ budgets by 2-5X but need larger amounts of general-operating revenue to do so. The organizations Sherry works with want to reduce dependence on government, earned, or contracted revenue and increase unrestricted revenue from investment-level donors.

To achieve this, Sherry helps leaders align their organization’s charitable revenue initiatives with their business, programmatic, and strategic growth opportunities. This is the step that most skip! It ensures the funding challenges are solved at the root of the issue and attracts investment-level donors that get this!

As a result of learning her methodology, Sherry’s clients know how to fund their Strategic Plans and add 7-figures of gen-ops revenue to their bottom line. But, mostly, her CEOs can confidently know their development departments and board have transformed into high-ROI revenue generators, aligned their hours with dollars, and broken free from the limitations of transactional fundraising.

Sherry attributes the success of her business to her passion for modeling radical confidence to the future CEOs in her house – her two teenage daughters.

Connect with Sherry Quam Taylor:

Other Resources Mentioned:

Free Audit: How Grant-Ready Is Your Nonprofit?

If you need support in your journey to excellence as a grant writer, I’d like to invite you to join me on the Fast Track to Grant Writer. Go to teresahuff.com/vip and start learning today.

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Grant Writer? Take the Quiz:

If you’re ready to explore a career in grant writing, take my free quiz, “Do you have what it takes to be a grant writer?” People are always surprised at how many skills they already have. The distance isn’t as far as they thought. Let’s figure out how you can use your skills to help change your world.

If you’re ready to step up your nonprofit game, join me on the Fast Track to Grant Writer. The world needs you.

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