NLN5: The First Year with Josh Brooks

josh brooks headshotIn this episode, Josh Brooks with Ensuring Charity Foundation shares about the first year in the life of a nonprofit.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the podcast:


There some definite stereotypes for particular connotations associated with the word philanthropist. In my opinion, the word philanthropist describes a state of mind. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. What matters is you’re a person that wants to be of service, you’re a person that’s giving. I also think philanthropists are a little savvy. They have a little bit of business acumen. So, in some ways, I’m on a mission to convert donors into philanthropists.


The first group of people that we went to was the board. Julie, my wife, and I established an endowment. Dave and Debbie also established an endowment and then Wayne and his wife, Lanie established an endowment. So, the board put their money where their mouth is. I also had a couple of close associates who were wanting to be philanthropic and I described this vision to them and they were interested as well.


We’ve been reaching out to people through LinkedIn, through blogging, through Facebook and some of the other social media outlets to create awareness. So now, we’re actually being contacted by individuals outside of our own network who have come cross the website and asked questions or people who have made connections with us on LinkedIn and they said, you know what, this is something we need to talk about or maybe we can see if we can work together.


Something I read recommended ten touches a year. So we make a phone call to each of our endowment founders quarterly and we send happy holiday cards, we sent Christmas cards, we sent 4th of July cards which no one else does. So, that kind of gets a little bit extra attention. We’ll probably send Veterans Day cards out because a large part of our group so far is military folks. We are doing a semi-annual newsletter and then we’ve got the end of the year campaign which includes the thank you phone call, a thank you letter, an annual report on how the foundation is performing, and then of course toward the end of the holiday season, the annual solicitation. Last thing, we also do an annual gift. You know, paper weight or a key chain or something like that. So, if you’re and endowment founder, you’ll hear from the Enduring Charity Foundation at least ten times a year.


The great success for the first year is that we achieved and then went beyond our initial goals. The way that I describe the first year to people is it happened in thirds. The first third was establishing the organization, getting the bank accounts and ensuring that we’re following regulations and laws. The second third was getting our tax exempt status. And then the last third was we setting up seven endowments established totaling $25,000 endowed which will generate a thousand dollars or so of support to those designated charities year in and year out forever. So, a pretty darn good first year.


Sometimes it can be tough and challenging, but remember there’s a network out there. There’s a network of philanthropic individuals from LinkedIn, from the different blog sites. When you hit an obstacle, when you come up on a struggle, you’re not the first person to have encountered that challenge. Someone else has had that challenge and has overcome it. So, all you have to do is find that person and engage in professional development and fellowship with them. Not only do you get a solution to your problem, but you move your organization forward and you probably end up making a new friend and contact.

Listen to the podcast here:

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