When you’re trying to scale and grow, it can be daunting to think about all the moving parts that need to fall into place for your organization to reach the next level.
Fundraising, messaging, outreach, hiring, infrastructure—all of these compound to create a lot of stress.
That is, if you haven’t mapped out a plan. On this week’s episode of Relish This, I spoke with Regeanie Corona, the Founder and CEO of Advancing the Seed.
Regeanie excels at helping organizations supercharge their revenue streams to enable predictable growth.
A lot of our conversation focused on mindset and how everyone—no matter whether they work for a non-profit or a for-profit—should have an entrepreneurial focus. After all, that focus is what allows you to look at alternative revenue streams, to seek investments instead of handouts, and to create a stronger donor base.
Regeanie has created a program called “10 in 30 Days,” a checklist and accountability program that shows you how to generate $10,000 worth of revenue in just a month. This is great for organizations who are just starting to build a strong financial foundation, as it really provides an understanding of how to generate revenue quickly.
This is a fascinating show with a LOT of information about how you can take your organization to the next level.
@regeanie on socials
Sit down and create a list of everything you can do to monetize your organization then make a commitment to do one of these in the next 90 days to bring more revenue to your organization.
Listen to the podcast here:
Rethink Your Nonprofit’s Revenue Streams With Regeanie Corona From Advancing The Seed
My guest is Regeanie Corona. She’s the Founder and CEO of Advancing The Seed, a great organization for nonprofits that everyone should look into, both nonprofits and for-profits. She does coaching to help people understand how to stay on track and how to fuel their growth and make sure that they are expanding their mission as much as possible and as quickly as possible. She has a cool program called 10 in 30 days, which is this checklist. You should go to 10In30Days.com to check this one out. It’s a checklist on how to generate $10,000 worth of revenue in the first 30 days. Read this episode. There are tons of great ideas here. I had a good time talking to Regeanie. I hope you enjoy the show.
Regeanie, how are you?
I’m great, Stu. How are you?
I am doing very well. I’m super excited to have you on the show.
Thank you for having me. I’m honored to be here. I wish I were in Colorado with you. I have friends and a business partner in Colorado. Every now and then, I get up there to Fort Collins.
I was in Loveland, which is South of Fort Collins. That Northern Colorado zone is changing a lot, but it’s a great place to be. Since I was fifteen, I’ve lived in Colorado and have been visiting here since I was two or something. It’s a great place to call home. It’s a glorious day here. Where are you located?
I am in Southern California, about 12 miles outside of downtown Los Angeles.
I had a friend. He still has a place in Playa Vista, which is by the airport out by the South of Venice.
It’s out toward that Malibu area.
I get to go out there and visit him every once in a while. SoCal is a fun place to be as well.
Usually, very warm weather, but we don’t get to experience seasons as much, which is sometimes a little disappointing for me.
I was there on a business trip in January one time. I was staying in Brentwood. There’s a boulevard there. I decided to quasi-trail run down to the beach and back. I want to say it was 55 degrees that day. It’s a fairly cool day by LA standards. I’m from Colorado and it’s wintertime here. I was like, “This is glorious.” I’m running along in my shorts and t-shirt. I saw a pack of cyclists coming up Brentwood Boulevard there or whatever that Boulevard is that runs East-West. They were in full winter gear. I was laughing. It’s all perspective and it’s so funny.
We didn’t hop on the show to listen to me talk about my fun weather experiences. I’m excited to have you on the show because I know that you specialize in helping nonprofits expand their mission and drive fundraising and thrive and survive. That’s what this show is all about. I’m very interested to hear about how you got started in this space and how you help nonprofits out.
I came out of an information technology career. I spent 25 years in the IT field. Seven of those years toward the end, we’re in cyber security and managing operations around a data center for Los Angeles county. It was pretty exciting. It was something that I thought I loved until one day, I woke up and felt like I was unfulfilled. Long story short, I came out of that career and went into, first of all, volunteering my time to help small nonprofits. I figured I wanted to help. I looked at how I could take my background, expertise and knowledge and apply it to the nonprofit space. I quickly started learning that for small and startup nonprofits, there were a lot of challenges that they were facing and I wanted to help.
I started providing pro bono services initially, which ultimately moved into the consulting space around how to become sustainable. One of the first things that I recognized was that people were always asking this question, “Can I have a profit if I’m a nonprofit?” It’s an interesting discussion. You’ve had one on your show before, but it’s such a huge discussion point because many nonprofits don’t think of themselves as businesses. One of the things that I preach constantly and others do as well is that you are a business, a tax-exempt business.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to have business models and strategies in place to help you drive revenue consistently. Otherwise, like other businesses, you will experience negative cashflow and you will fall into disarray. That was one of the things I got excited about. How can I help in this area and how can I use technology to help others drive towards revenue goals and automate some of the things that they’re doing? It was a mixed bag of things that I was able to do, but all with this end goal of helping small and startup nonprofits get closer to not the revenue but consistent revenue month after month.
I know a lot of the things that we talked about on the show are differentiation of revenue streams, trying to find ways to add a product to the mix of ways that you can bring money in, grants and corporate sponsorships and individual donations, either micro or macro. All of those things come into play and it’s assembling all of that stuff and doing what’s right for your organization that helps drive that revenue. I think that mindset shift is important. I’d love to hear more about how you’ve helped people overcome that profit is a dirty word mentality, which certainly is prevalent in the nonprofit space.
You have to shift your mindset and think about yourself as an entrepreneur.
It is prevalent in the nonprofit space and it’s interesting. When I work with leaders, part of the coaching that I have to do is mindset coaching. The first couple of sessions were focused on mindset versus the business aspect of running your nonprofit. As you’ve said a lot of times, leaders will think that profit is a bad word. It’s a dirty word. Somehow, you’re not supposed to go out and look for ways to bring in not the revenue that you need but to create reserves.
One of the things that I try to always do is to remind any leader that’s running a startup. I always call them to phase one nonprofit because they’re either starting out or they’ve been there for a while, but they haven’t figured out this piece of consistent revenue. Those phase one leaders, usually they’ve been somehow taught to believe that only donations and grants are the way that they can bring in revenue.
I usually start there. We talk about entrepreneurship, small business, how a small business runs and then we talk about social entrepreneurship. You’ll hear me say that I’m a social entrepreneur versus a nonprofit leader and that’s because I like to look at what I do in others as nonprofit leaders do. We’re coming into a business and we are innovating in a way where we’re bringing solutions to social problems. We still have to generate revenue to support the mission, the work. Regular businesses have to do that as well. If we don’t know who our market is and who we are serving. In the nonprofit space, we have two primary customers. We have those that we’re serving, but we also have those that are sponsors, donors and guarantors. They are part of our market as well.
Understanding that helps us to be able to speak to them in a way where they can determine whether they align with what our mission and cause is. I always work with leaders to help them understand that they are salespeople. I used to say, “I’m not a salesperson. I hate sales. I don’t do sales,” but that’s not true. We are selling all day long. The difference is we’re selling a social impact mission and everything that goes along with that, but we’re still selling. We have to understand what that language is, who we’re selling to, what markets we’re going to interact with, and what platforms or channels we are going to use to speak to them. That’s where it gets exciting for me because technology comes into play with that, so you can automate things.
Facilitating the ability to scale requires additional revenue above and beyond your employing team. It’s helping leaders figure that out. I love the idea of the mindset shifts and how you use different languages to reframe something that may have an itchy connotation to people. You reframe and rename it. I love how you’re doing that, particularly with the social entrepreneur. That’s a fantastic way to create a new relationship to what one is doing.
It’s interesting, Stu, because it’s almost like creating a bit of a paradigm shift in the way that we think about and look at nonprofits. When I would talk about nonprofits, there are certain reactions that I get. I am sometimes around multimillionaires and billionaires that are entrepreneurs. When I would talk about nonprofits, it was almost as though it was a dirty word. “Nonprofits always have their handout. They’re looking for charity.” That was the thing that helped me to start reframing how I spoke about nonprofits. Initially, I thought, “No one’s going to want to hear me in the nonprofit space. They’re going to shoo me away and tell me, ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about,’” but I’ve been an entrepreneur for years.
I realized very quickly that there isn’t much difference, but you have to be able to shift your mindset and think about yourself as an entrepreneur. You’re running a small business. Even when you look at multiple income streams, how can I not bring in donations and grants and sponsorships, but how can I bring in earned income? Earned income is an important part of the puzzle. Earned income, generally, you can apply that anywhere in your organization.
I usually recommend that you put in an earned income stream so that you can apply it to your operational budget because most grant funding opportunities want to support programs, not operations, not overhead. In order for us to function, we’ve got to pay for overhead, salaries and taxes. Those fixed costs may not be directly related to a program or project. Having earned income gives you the freedom to go out and do those things and pay for those things without worrying about it.
I’m on the board of a couple of different nonprofits and one of them seeks out grants regularly. Both of them do. One of them is a little bit more adept at securing grants than the other. The one that has had success with grants, you can’t use it for very many things. There’s a specific application that this grant can be used for. Being able to free up some of that revenue allows you to be more nimble and take advantage of opportunities when they arise and grow. If you’re barely covering your expenses and maybe dumping everything back into the program, it doesn’t afford you either that safety net that’s handy to have during certain times of our lives or be able to aggressively make capital investments or other moves that would benefit the nonprofit and the mission that you’re trying to fulfill.
In the nonprofit space, it’s called restricted funds. When those restricted funds come through, it is difficult for the organization to have flexibility in using the funds. I’ve had customers where they’ve gotten into trouble with those restricted funds because they needed the money badly in other areas of their operations and then they thought, “I’ll go back and replace it later with more income.” They didn’t get more income in order to replace it. They’re on the hook for reporting what they did with the funds to that grantor. I’ve seen some nonprofits get into trouble with that. Looking at how to diversify your revenue streams becomes important. When we are running for-profit businesses, those are the things that we’re looking at. How many streams of income can we have?
The other thing is looking at your skills and expertise in-house to create a program that you charge a fee for service? As long as it is related to the mission of your organization, then you can do that without getting taxed. If it’s unrelated, then you get into this area of unrelated income and the IRS will tax you. Even in those cases, sometimes it’s worth it to create that unrelated income business. When you get into that, you’re looking at possibly starting another business under the umbrella of the nonprofit.
I could see how that’d be beneficial to create that fee-for-service opportunity. There certainly have been some people on the show that had that as a component of their nonprofits. What are some of the other creative ways you’ve seen nonprofits add a revenue stream?
I have seen and have done this within my own organization. If you have any level of coaching within an organization where you’re coaching, let’s say, underserved kids or young adults. We work with young adults quite a bit. You can create coaching programs within your organization and those coaching programs can help other individuals who need those coaching services but have the ability to pay. I encourage this a lot. Other leaders to look at digital marketing options.
For example, if you create a leadership summit and you invite other nonprofit leaders in your specific area of expertise in to speak and there are individuals that will benefit from that, you can charge a fee for them to attend that summit. It can be a virtual summit or an in-person summit. That’s a great way to bring in funding, but it’s typically not something nonprofits look at but digital marketers and businesses online. That’s what they do all day long is to create those types of programs.
It’s funny now that I’m thinking about some of the things that I’ve participated in both through Relish Studio, my business and a couple of the nonprofits that I’m involved with. It’s like, “I can see how putting on that event.” For example, a 1% for the Planet Summit, which is something that we’ve attended several times. Putting on that event has a cost associated with it, but there’s also a revenue stream because you’re charging for people to come and listen to all the great speakers you’ve brought into the building. We’ve also done training with another nonprofit organization that does trail building work. There was a fee associated with that as well.
It was very small, but there was some revenue coming in there with them sharing that expertise. In fact, Relish Studio built a website for stepping up stewardship, which is a wing of the volunteers for outdoor Colorado. That’s all about expanding that mission of trail building by selling the IP that VOC had built up over the years in terms of how to successfully run and manage a team of volunteers on a trail project.
Looking at how to diversify revenue streams is really important.
Those are a few ways that I’ve seen this in action, which is cool. Now that you get me thinking about it, it’s neat to think back about other ways people can inject revenue streams. Selling merchandise is certainly one that I’m sure is very successful, particularly for larger nonprofits or nonprofits who have a strong following.
I do not remember the name of the organization, but there is an organization out of Colorado, I believe Denver. It’s called the Women’s Bean Project, which is amazing. Those are examples of social enterprise nonprofits where they are earning income and they’re also doing things like putting people to work with some of that income that they’re earning, which is amazing.
In fact, Tamra Ryan, the CEO of Women’s Bean Project, was on the show back in about December 2020. That was when we were able to chat. They have a cool program where they’re helping women who’ve been incarcerated come out of the prison system and be able to integrate effectively back into society. They did this through this amazing idea where I think the founder invested $5,000 in dried beans. She had this idea and was like, “I’ll go buy however many tons of dried beans.” She started this project back in the ‘80s. It’s a cool organization.
It is and it’s an amazing idea. You see more and more organizations that are starting like that. That is where I believe social entrepreneurship comes in because you’re looking at creative and innovative ways to disrupt the typical status quo of how nonprofits operate and what they do. You can also have a social enterprise as a for-profit business. We see that all the time with companies like TOMS shoes.
You can always commit to giving back like TOMS or any of the 1% for the planet people out there. I know you mentioned fee-for-service. I spoke with Ryan O’Donoghue from First Descents, an organization in the Denver area that had a particularly strong ability to put together adventure trips. They were doing it for young adults with cancer and expanded into any life-threatening illness. They recognize that they have the ability to put together these adventure trips. They spun up a for-profit business that dumps all of its profits back into First Descents that puts together adventure trips for people who want to go do some crazy ski adventure or sailing adventure or whatever. That’s another great example of out-of-the-box thinking around that fee-for-service piece.
I think that it opens up the opportunity to do much more as an entity that wants to transform lives make a difference on the planet and with people. When you have that flexibility of operating in the business world, I tend to lean towards having that social enterprise as a nonprofit. That allows you to straddle the fence because you can go after grants. You can continue to have your donor base and build your donor base, but then you also have that additional option of having the earned income, which can come in multiple forms.
I’m not sure why they chose to set things up the way that they did. These are very expensive adventure vacations. I’m sure that they’re very much talking about First Descents and getting additional donations to those programs during those vacations. It’s a neat way to approach it. I love the creative thinking that goes into some of these things. It’s fantastic.
I love it too. I can sit and listen to those kinds of stories and testimonials for hours. I get excited because there’s so much possibility. You have so many individuals out there who have these ideas and want to help others. They’re not sure how to do it and sometimes this is the answer. You can combine your passion and experience with wanting to make a difference in the world and have a greater impact on business and take it into the marketplace. You can do some amazing things.
Before we started recording, you were talking about your program that you have an approach to kickstart people’s immediate fundraising and enable them to turn that switch on and create recurring fundraising opportunities. What are some things that you take people through to discover how to start generating? I think you mentioned $10,000 in the first some period of time. What does that program look like?
We call it 10K in 30 days. It was something that was birthed out of my own challenge with my own organization. I started my organization Advancing The Seed, in 2015. We started serving individuals in January of 2016. I never intended to run the organization. It was my goal to sit on the board and support it, be a champion, and help fundraise for it. I hired other great individuals but they were the wrong individuals to help move the organization forward. My husband and I made an initial investment into the organization, and the burn rate each month was high with staff.
Before we knew it, the investment dwindled. I woke up one morning and I saw it happening, but I was also out doing other things. I was consulting and I kept thinking, “This is going to fix itself.” It was a huge mistake early on. Within the first twelve months, literally, all of the investment had dwindled down to about $1,000 and everyone that was working for us said, “We quit. There’s no more money. We can’t continue.” It was myself and my sister there helping. I found myself having to quickly figure out how do I raise money to keep things afloat and keep the doors open?
I came up with the strategy to raise funds in 30 days. It seems simple to me and we mapped it all out. We put it into play. In about two and a half weeks, maybe three, we had raised a little over $12,000. It was even a surprise to me, I admit, but there was a very strong key in the strategy that helped to exponentially grow the donations quickly. That’s what I teach in 10K in 30 Days. For your audience, anyone who might be interested. I have a checklist and I’d love to offer that to your audience.
I’m sure that’d be super helpful. There are a lot of people who, I think, the readers and have been on the show who are in that phase one, is what you called it. We would call it the build phase, probably of their growth. They’re burning through what cash they may have put into the program or they’re a little bit stuck. I know that I have a couple of people with whom I would love to share that link. Thank you.
The great thing about it is it’s also very repeatable and when you do it once, you realize, “First of all, this is not that difficult to do. Second of all, I can do it.” When you succeed at doing it, it gives you the confidence to put it on repeat and do it over again. You get a little more creative in how you do it because this is using donations and how to leverage other contributions with those donations to quickly get you to the goal.
We call it $10,000 in 30 days, but you can apply any number to it. You could make the number lower or you can increase the goal. Make it $20,000 in 30 days. It depends on how committed you are to following the steps and applying the strategies, but it’s been proven over again. The feedback that I always get is, “This is so easy. Now that you’ve said it, it almost seems like something I should have known and now I’ve done it and it worked. I can’t wait to do it again.” That’s what we want to hear. That’s what we want to see.
Is there a type of nonprofit that you’ve you find your work most effectively with in terms of a certain segment of the nonprofit space? Maybe it’s that phase of their growth that they’re in.
It opens up the opportunity to do so much more as an entity that wants to transform lives, make a difference in the on the planet and with people when you have that flexibility of operating.
I can tell you that I love to help those starting and small nonprofits get a jump on how to be successful and how to bring in consistent revenue. I am able to do that with my online programs and the coaching program that I have, which is a group coaching program. My goal is always to get them to the point where generating consistent revenue. They’re growing. They’re starting to look at scaling and positioned to work with me one-on-one through coaching and help build them as a leader.
In terms of industries, I have an affinity and a love for helping young adults and youth and anything related to training, knowledge and providing resources that will help those individuals get a leg up on how to go out. Either start a career that can be upwardly mobile for them or start a business where they create opportunity for themselves and begin to build something that can create jobs and opportunities for others.
My love is there for various reasons. I love to work with organizations that are doing that work, but I’ve worked in public health and economic development. I’ve worked with hospitals, local cities and county governments. I come from the government. That’s something that I tend to be able to help navigate very easily. I tend to be a little bit in multiple sectors because I tend to also believe very heavily in collective impact.
The collective impact model came out of Stanford University and their social innovation area. It’s this space where you have multiple businesses, multiple sectors and industries that come together. They look at the commonalities between the things they’re trying to do individually and how they can have a collective impact, which is usually much bigger than what any of them can do individually? Even if they’re a fairly big entity, they can generally draw more funding to support that. I come from that space of supporting collective impact, so I tend not to see myself working in one particular niche or industry as it relates to a type of organization.
That’s super helpful to know. I’ve done quite a bit of business-type coaching over the years in terms of working on my own business. It is interesting when you dive in. It’s like, “This is applicable to all sorts of different businesses.” Similarly, a lot of times, as entrepreneurs, I know one of the things that you tend to see in that space is that people feel like they’re the first person to come across this particular problem and all alone, knowing that there are solutions to this and other people have navigated these same waters in the past. That can be all that one needs to overcome those challenges. It’s good to know how systematic a lot of this stuff can be.
It can be and I think it’s important for nonprofit leaders to recognize, just like you have for-profit leaders who hire coaches to help them accelerate and get to a goal faster, that they need the same thing. I know that I’ve worked with coaches and I don’t always work with coaches that seem to fit the norm. If you’re a nonprofit leader, you think, “I need to hire a nonprofit coach.” A nonprofit coach is definitely good because they can help you get to the goals you would like to get to specific to your nonprofit faster.
If you bring into that mix someone who is a for-profit or maybe a digital marketing coach. You might think, “I don’t need that person,” but the reality is you do need that person because they can bring perspectives that you never thought of that can be applied to the nonprofit space. It goes back to what we talked about almost the entire time. It’s how do you get to consistent revenue month after month? It’s disrupting what has been the status quo or the norm for nonprofits and how they do business and look outside of the box. These are the ways that we begin to look outside of the box.
What are some of the most common opportunity gaps or challenges that you see nonprofits struggling with as they’re ramping things up and starting to get some traction? Are there things that a lot of people experienced that you are like, “I’ve seen that before and I know a way around that one?”
There are a few, but there’s a couple of big ones. One tends to be around finances and budgeting. I see a lot of startup nonprofits make the mistake of not being regimented with their financials. They are not making sure that from the very beginning, they’re creating the financial foundation that they need to show that they are fiscally responsible so that they can then bring in the grants and the donations that they’re looking for at higher levels.
That means understanding the financial reports. Make sure that you are generating financial reports, you’re reviewing them. Make sure that you understand how much it takes to run your business and its true cost. Even if you don’t have the funds to support the true cost, if you don’t understand the true cost of running your business, it’s very difficult to bring in the funds that you need so that you can pay the salaries and cover the operational costs and all of those things.
That’s one big area around budgeting and finance, which gets you closer to bringing in the revenue you need once you get that locked in. The other thing that I see quite frequently is this fear of bringing in technology either because you don’t understand it or because you feel like you have the time to run it. I understand that, but I think that it’s very important to start with some very basic things.
I had someone ask me, what do I think is one of the core items that you need? Besides something to manage your finances, people who are running nonprofits also need to make sure that they’ve got a CRM. A Customer Relationship Management tool gives them so much ability to look at who they’re interacting with, bringing more people into their mission and cause. How to segment their traffic and how to speak to each of those segments in the correct way that’s going to get the response and the action that you’re looking for because your call to action can be very specific to that segment but you can’t do any of that if you don’t have someplace to manage that. A CRM tool helps with that.
It’s half of a joke, but people ask about CRM tools or we ask them what they’re using and they aren’t using one. They’re trying to juggle multiple spreadsheets, etc. The not completely joke that I tell is the best CRM tool is the one that you’ll use. There are lots of opportunities and lots of options. We’ve had several people on the show who have CRM tools but ultimately commit to leveraging. Even the most rudimentary power of one of those tools can transform how you are able to stay on top of all of the moving parts that come with running any business, including a nonprofit organization.
It is important to capture those email addresses and when you understand that piece, you can begin to level up and graduate to things like getting the $10,000 Google Ads Grant, which you can then leverage. For my organization, I’ll be totally transparent and candid. When we first started, I thought, “I’m a tech person. I know how to do this.” I went out and got a Google Ads Grant. First of all, it was complicated trying to understand what to do with it.
Second, being able to formulate the right verbiage to bring in the traffic we were looking for didn’t know how to do it. Ultimately, we lost that grant. Fast forward, we ended up being able to get that grant reactivated, but now, we know what to do with it. We’ve outsourced that work so that someone who knows what they’re doing is on top of it and they’re doing it for us.
We’re bringing in traffic to the tune of 800 or 900 individuals a day on our website and we’re converting at 3.3%. It’s huge. I was shocked. I was sharing this with the team. I was looking at the conversion numbers and the norm. I was happy when we got to 1% because that’s the norm, 1% to 1.5%. When we moved to 3.3% something, I thought, “This is amazing.”
You can combine your passion and your experience with wanting to make a difference in the world and have a greater impact with business and take it into the marketplace.
Aside from the management piece, which certainly has either time or some investment, it’s a very beneficial program that I think many nonprofits fail to take advantage of. It can be a real game-changer, particularly in the early phases of one’s organization in terms of driving awareness and hopefully repeat revenue.
It goes back to any type of grant, even something like the Google Ads Grant, where it’s not cash in hand but it is equivalent to. It has about cash value. You have to be ready. If you’re not ready to go after those opportunities, if they fall in your lap, you’re not going to know what to do with them. That creates greater stress, greater problems and you feel like, “This doesn’t work. Everyone says it works but it doesn’t work.” It’s understanding the building blocks, where I start, and how I continue to build up on that so that I’m moving from startup to growth to scaling.
I think that every journey begins with one step mentality. In general, people tend to fall into the trap of looking at the entire thing at once instead of all of the small little pieces that need to happen. They are getting caught up in, “I have so much stuff to do. How am I going to get it all done?” It’s like, “Pick one piece of it and get that done, then move on to the next piece.” It’s challenging. I know that I find myself struggling with that all the time as well. It’s not uncommon.
There are always a thousand things to do or that you could be doing, but that’s where having a coach and planning and understanding where you’re trying to go and having someone hold you accountable to the most important things that you need to work on this week or month or quarter to get you there. It can be helpful for any entrepreneur out there, whether you’re a purpose-driven entrepreneur or trying to make as much money as you want or trying to do some real tangible good in the world. I have found coaching to be incredibly beneficial over, whether it’s a big athletic goal that I’m shooting for or a big or even a small business goal. Having someone hold me accountable for the things I’m attempting to accomplish can be super helpful.
It’s been extremely helpful for me and it has helped me to think on a grander scale. That’s what we should be able to do as leaders. We should be able to define what we’re good at, set goals, where we are operating in our genius zone. Delegate those things that we aren’t good at or we shouldn’t be spending our time on and lead others, whether it’s volunteers or outsourced vendors, come in and be the team to do those things for us so that we can operate in our genius zone. Also, we can move the vision forward because, at the end of the day, that’s what the leader of a nonprofit is there to do. A coach can help you sometimes see what you can’t yet see yourself.
It brings us full circle back to the revenue discussion at the start of our conversation. If you don’t have those reserves or the predictable capacity to know that revenue is going to be able to be generated, then you can’t take advantage of things as effectively, even like hiring a coach. It’s good to keep in mind and be constantly assessing ways to help bring in additional monetary resources to help run your organization. What move things on top for you? Is there anything exciting coming down the pike that you’ve seen changes in ways to run organizations or anything unique that people should be aware of?
Something that’s new for us at Advancing The Seed, we started out as an organization where we were doing training and development and coaching in-person, primarily for young adults. We partner with other entities that have workforce development programs. We bring in an element of training and coaching that they may not have internally. With the pandemic, like so many other businesses, we had to implement virtual solutions. Now, the benefit that we had was that we were already putting virtual solutions in place. We have a learning management platform called the Success Learning Academy.
We are now focusing our attention on taking quality training programs and democratizing education, if you will. Not everyone has access to the funds to pay for a $500, $600 training course that could help to accelerate them in a job that would allow them to become more marketable, more upwardly mobile. We’ve been shifting our focus around how do we build our virtual solutions in a way where they can be accessible by anyone around the globe, with the common denominator being a smartphone.
Anyone who is under-resourced, how can we make this available to them so that they have access to the same resources that someone like you or myself would have access to. At the same time, looking at how we partner with other businesses to make that same training available as a platform for employees or individuals they work with at a corporate level and they’re paying for access to the platform.
Part of that is when we discuss that with other corporations and we’re selling that solution, they are not buying a learning management system with corporate training material. They’re becoming part of a greater solution to help serve young adults. That is allowing us to partner with other companies and employ young adults as paid interns. It becomes this ecosystem where we’re now making money with the tool that we use to serve our demographic, our population, but then as a result of that, we’re also now able to bring in individuals and give them on-the-job training and pay them through internships.
I love the idea of ecosystems. I use that analogy a lot because we all live in an ever-expanding ecosystem within an ecosystem. Being able to facilitate that engagement that then escalates to other opportunities for people is a cool way of building that program so that you can have the widest impact.
It’s exciting for me, especially coming from a tech background and a training background and bringing those two things together, looking at how we can create learning paths in tech, business, and entrepreneurship and making those available to individuals. Looking at how we can build other programs around that, like accelerator programs, things that are a little more hands-on with an actual coach through group coaching. That’s the space that we’re beginning to operate in and we have a vision around and how do we build that out and make it available to everyone.
If there’s one thing interesting or good that’s come out of all of the challenges that we’ve all been facing, is this additional level of comfort with tech and being virtual because it has allowed a number of organizations to expand their reach dramatically where they initially ran very in-person type programs that required hands-on. A lot of people have gotten very creative about how to move that to a more virtual scenario or more virtual setting. It delocalizes their reach where before, they were either having to travel to physically be someplace to help bring information or outreach. Even nonprofits who have that teaching component as part of their mission can expand that almost worldwide if that is in service of that mission.
Also, almost instantaneously. I’ve talked to a number of small nonprofits that have now expanded their services internationally because the limitations that they had doing in-person have been lifted. There are different things that they’re dealing with and trying to make sure that they’re keeping those people that are in their programs engaged and that they are delivering programs in a way that still brings transformation. I don’t want to call it a challenge, but that’s the opportunity that you face with virtually delivering programs. Besides that, you open up a world of opportunity in who you can reach.
It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. I had a guest on the show earlier in 2020, BSCS. They are a science learning organization that does teaching to other educators. They come in and help provide teaching services to other educators. In the past, they were very limited because they had to travel to places. The ability to afford them was constrained to very large school districts. They were only able to reach urban areas, for example.
As they were forced to move to virtual, they recognized that that opened up pretty much any school district to be able to access their programs and help their science teachers expand on their ability to bring great services to the students. That move, that embrace of technology, enabled them to expand to basically anywhere in the country. I think that they serve the US. It’s been pretty cool to see that stuff take place and have people embrace that and run with it.
You have to be ready. If you’re not ready to go after those opportunities, if they fall in your lap, you’re not going to know what to do with them.
It’s awesome. It also brings to mind why we weren’t doing more of this before because it wasn’t that we couldn’t. It was that we had a social construct around how nonprofits were supposed to deliver services that limited our perspective of how we could deliver services.
Regeanie, I have had a great time talking with you. How can people find out more about you and your coaching services and how you help nonprofits supercharge their fundraising?
They can definitely go to my website at Regeanie.com. You can find me. My handle is Regeanie on all the social media platforms. For that free checklist, as a gift to your audience, they can go to 10In30Days.com.
I’m excited to hear how people can get in touch and help either kickstart or supercharge their growth. I like to end each show with an ask. It’s because I love having conversations, but I also love taking action and want to inspire people to do that. The question I ask is if you have finished this into the show and had a good time, what would you want people to do after reading the show to have a better day or fuel their growth or make the world a better place?
I would love to see nonprofit leaders sit down and create a list of everything that they can do to monetize either a product or a service and make a commitment over the next 90 days to put in the effort to monetize one of those things off of the list and to generate at least $1,000 from it.
I think that is a fantastic thing for anyone to do because we all have something that we could figure out how to sell instead of either giving away or keeping to ourselves. I would encourage everyone reading this to take that and go take some action. Regeanie, thanks again so much for being on the show. I had an amazing time talking with you and let’s stay in touch.
Thank you, Stu. I enjoyed it. I appreciate it.
It’s my pleasure. Talk to you soon.
There you have it. Thanks for reading. If you would like to learn more about how to apply the audience engagement cycle to expand your organization’s mission, there are two things you can do. Now, you can go to MissionUncomfortableBook.com to download a copy of my book. While you’re there, you can get your purpose-driven marketing score to see where you can unearth some gold for your organization. If you’d like to listen to back episodes of the show or sign up to be a guest, go to RelishStudio.com/podcast. That’s it for this episode. I’ll be back for another great episode
About Regeanie Corona
As a social entrepreneur and business strategist, Regeanie uses her technology background, business knowledge and experience in the nonprofit space to assist other entrepreneurs and professionals who want to multiply their impact in the world through businesses focused on social innovation and applying the 3P sustainability model focused on people, planet, and profit.
She is leading the way in demonstrating that it is possible to build businesses around social impact and not only make them sustainable, but profitable as well. Regeanie is leaving her mark on the world by making sure other leaders are equipped to build businesses that truly make a difference in this world.