Top 5 Things I’ve Learned Hosting 200 Podcasts with Nonprofit Leaders

Today is a pretty neat milestone – as we release our 200th episode of The Official Do Good Better Podcast!


For the last 2 and a half years, we’ve spoken to nonprofit leaders, experts in marketing, fundraising, board development and even crypto currency to help give advice, tips and tricks on making philanthropy a little less overwhelming for those who are running organizations in communities across the globe!


Some of the best “ah ha” moments I’ve had over the past three years has been from conversations with super smart and passionate people who have dedicated their lives to helping others or doing good things.


Along the way, we’ve also ended up at the top of the iTunes charts in 7 different countries, have been downloaded tens of thousands of times across a bunch of platforms, and have been lucky enough to have amazing sponsors and supporters of the show!


Who knew that a random idea to help facilitate some enthusiasm and motivation for the nonprofit realm, curated out of necessity at the onset of a pandemic, would turn out to be one of the most fun and rewarding things I’ve ever done!


From interviewing individuals directly working with humanitarian relief at the UN, to start-up organizations in their infancy, the amount of STUFF I’ve gotten to learn about, cheerlead for, and challenge my thoughts on is unreal.


So I thought I’d share some fun insights on what I’ve learned over these past 200 podcast episodes, and hopefully encourage you to start your own show, be a guest on someone else’s, or help share the cool things on this podcast with those who are working at or with organizations in your own community!


1. There is a LOT of good out there


With all the horrific news in the world – or at least what is blasted out via the media every day – you’d think that everything is falling apart at the seams. War, mass shootings, political unrest, economic disasters and countless other “if it bleeds it leads” headlines make social media and news outlets impossible to read without feeling depressed.


But if you peel your eyes away from the news, and connect with those in the community that are helping make the world a better place that aren’t flashy, boisterous, or personally motivated, you’ll find a whole helluva lot of good being done by people who are the most genuine and wonderful humans on earth.


“Look for the helpers,” Mr. Rogers once said. And on our podcast, we found a bunch of them.


They come in all shapes and sizes. Some run nonprofits. Some write books. Some run businesses. Some speak in front of thousands of people. But the interviews I’ve done, and the folks that I’ve met on the other side of a microphone and camera, give me all the positive hope I need that regardless of what chaos going on, there is more good than evil.


Sometimes you just have to dig a bit deeper than the For You page of your social media.


2. You are NOT alone as a nonprofit leader


One of the most common themes I hear as an unlicensed fundraising therapist for my day job, is that nonprofit leaders feel alone and on a philanthropic island when it comes running organizations. There isn’t a playbook for the 10,000 hats you have to wear as an executive director or fundraising professional (unless you count THIS book! I’m totally fine with a shameless promotion! HA!), and certainly no group you are initiated into that doles out free advice for those in a leadership role.


Guess what? You’re not alone.


Not by a longshot.


Nearly every single nonprofit leader I’ve interviewed has either experienced what you are experiencing – the frustration of board leadership, communication and fundraising stresses – or is currently stressed about all the expectations that comes with the gig of running an organization of changemakers.


In fact, the one overwhelming theme of the countless interviews I’ve had with incredible individuals who are doing good in their communities is that they wished they reached out to other leaders earlier in their career to help navigate these uncharted waters of being the head of a nonprofit.


The lesson here, is don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for advice or perspective. Trust me. The person on the other end of that call or email is just as worried and anxiety ridden as you are. And it’s a lot easier to grow the good you do knowing you’re not alone.


3. Your best collaborator or cheerleader is an interview away


For years I’ve said YES to every meeting, coffee date or phone conversation ever asked of me.


It’s hell on my calendar and stress levels, but has been one of the biggest sources of joy in my professional career.


Sometimes, we’ll schedule a guest on our podcast that, on the surface, doesn’t make sense. A business owner or a book author that isn’t geared towards the nonprofit world we work in.


But 9 out of 10 times, they are the PERFECT guest.


We get so in our heads about what we should and shouldn’t discuss, think about, or involve ourselves in and that outside-the-box-perspective might be just the spark to take your organization to the next level.


I’ve found over the past 200 interviews, that no conversation has ever been a waste of time if your intention is simply to be genuinely curious, open minded, and actively seek out things that are relatable.


And they have developed into some of my best collaborators on webinars or informative materials to give to nonprofits, or have generated some of this podcast’s biggest cheerleaders and supporters.


As a nonprofit leader, make sure you ask great questions of those in your community to see if folks you meet align with your values, mission or goals. Turns out, folks who you might not see as immediate benefits to your organization are the BEST people to associate with your nonprofit.


4. Nonprofits should start a podcast…or be on as many as possible


One of your 2022 goals as a nonprofit should be to start a podcast.


“But Patrick, this sounds complicated and time consuming and not at all beneficial to what we are doing currently in our community.”


Sadly, you’re wrong.


- This medium is one of the best places to exert your authority on the subject matter you are an expert at. There are countless folks searching for niche concepts, ideas and topics like the one your organization is providing. They are looking for advice from those who know what they are talking about. What better way to be that expert…than being that expert on a podcast!


- This process of recording, uploading and promoting your ideas helps with ensuring consistent marketing that increases your organic reach to audiences that are seeking your thoughts, programs and services. Think about it. You are constantly talking about stuff that is interesting to your audience…and then posting it. It’s like a marketing plan wrapped in a promotion plan wrapped in a brand building plan!


- This podcast idea will help your organization be positioned better online, in social media, and for your own internal communications. Think about how your employees and stakeholders will be able to keep up, in real time, with your updates, impact and needs. They log on, listen and react to your calls to action. Boom. Amazing.


A podcast is really easy and inexpensive to start. All it takes is a microphone, to record on a computer, and a relatively cheep hosting stuff. Oh…we have a podcast about that too. Just saying.


5. Enthusiasm is more important than ever


You know who makes the best guests?


Folks who are as passionate about their expertise. And it makes the conversation so much more awesome for everyone.


I was once told by a former boss that “your enthusiasm will never raise the kind of money we need.” I wholeheartedly disagreed then, and after 200 episodes of this podcast, that fact is, enthusiasm is what you need MOST.


Whether you are hosting your own show, or a guest on someone else’s podcast, they way you conduct yourself with passion (not fake passion mind you – that’s so easy to spot and hard to deal with) about your organization, mission or impact in the community will dictate how folks listen to you and take action on what you need to do more good.


It’s ok to tear up when talking about those you serve! It’s ok to raise your voice in praise of those you work with who are doing amazing things! It’s ok to be angry about an archaic system that your nonprofit is trying to change!


It’s ok to be enthusiastic!


THANK YOU to everyone who has listened to the show, subscribed to the podcast, and especially who have helped promote or give us 5 star ratings on whatever channel you listen to! It has been a wild ride…and we’re just getting started!


Here’s to another 200 episodes of The Official Do Good Better Podcast!


-Patrick