26. Transform23 because what got us here, won’t get us there.



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About this episode

I'm so excited to talk with you about Transform23 – our Fundraising Transformation Virtual Summit on January 25, 2023! 

It's free to attend for fundraisers and nonprofit leaders everywhere!

This is where we'll be laser-focused on bringing you world-renowned experts on giving and donor behavior, researchers, best-selling authors, technology leaders, and innovators. All for one purpose: equipping you to take your fundraising to the next, next level. We believe innovation is the best path forward.

You've probably heard the saying, "What got us here won't get us there." That's why we created Transform23. Nonprofit organizations play a vital role in our communities and around the world. 

We bridge critical gaps. We advocate for social justice and equitable access to basic human resources: health care, education, housing, food, and clean drinking water. We help fund medical research and cure diseases. 

We enrich our communities through the arts and provide access to libraries and youth leadership development programs to ensure the quality of life for our senior friends and homebound neighbors. 




Together in community, we help turn trauma into triumph for courageous refugees, for good people marginalized by poverty, by racism, by addiction, by mental and behavioral health disorders. 

We respond to disasters. Protect the environment and precious land. We work to preserve wildlife. And domestic animals, like sweet puppies, cats, farm animals, and pot-bellied pigs.

Our work (for, with, and by community) is largely designed so that people can become the amazing individuals they were born to be. So that there's equitable access to resources and experiences needed to succeed in life. So that we can ALL live well and sustainably in harmony with our communities, in the world, and with nature. 

That's pretty important stuff. Imagine our world without nonprofit organizations doing the work we do. That's a sad and dark vision.


"We want this transformational content to be available to fundraisers and nonprofit leaders everywhere. Equal, ungated access to take your fundraising to the next, next level. To help you transform your fundraising in 2023 and beyond!"

- Tammy Zonker, Founder & President, Fundraising Transformed 


The point being — we are sooo needed. And yet, we're faced with the constant reality of doing MORE, often with less. Less staff, whether you have a hiring freeze or your organization is choosing not to replace open positions right now. Or maybe you can't find the right fundraising or marketing talent for your open positions.

Unfortunately, many organizations are investing less in training and development for staff. We've even had a few of our Fundraising Transformer community members downgrade from their Growth level paid membership to our free Mentor Membership level. I'm happy they see the value of staying connected to us.

But that's a huge difference in value and access to live and on-demand training every month to save less than $3 a day. And it breaks my heart because I know the extraordinary results our amazing Growth Members are achieving when they apply the learning. But they have no choice.

Doing more with less is why we need to use technology wisely while deepening the human connection with our supporters at the same time. 

That's why insights into behavioral science and philanthropic psychology are key to understanding our donors and appealing to them in the right way, at the right time, for the right gift amount, for the right impact — based on their values, interests, capacity, and commitment level.

So many organizations are still using side spreadsheets and manually calculating donor retention. Making the idea of leveraging artificial intelligence or machine learning seem galaxies away. But it doesn't have to be that way.

With our growing awareness and awakening of what it means to tell stories ethically through a lens of respecting and honoring diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility — we must retool. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, "When you know better, do better." It is time to do better, my friends!

And that's not just true for our storytelling and communications. It's true for our Boards too. Diversity and inclusion at the board table cannot just be a check box for the number of women on your board. Or the number of people of color on your board. Or the number of young professionals, or even having board members with lived experiences similar to people who participate in your programs. 

While those things are good — really, really good — we must listen to our diverse colleagues in those board and committee meetings. They bring a unique perspective that will strengthen our organizations and guide our governance in ways many of us can't even yet imagine. 

We don't know what we don't know. 

But we can listen. 

We can have conversations. 

We can learn. 

We can allow ourselves to expand through the views of others who are different from us. But who share a similar love for your mission.  

For ALL of these reasons and more, we created Transform23. And thanks to our incredible sponsors, it's FREE for 1,000 fundraisers and nonprofit leaders around the world. 

Our sponsors didn't need much convincing. Once we shared why we created Transform23 and the line-up of world-class speakers, they were in.

I'm deeply grateful to our Transformation Sponsor, The Giving Block.

Our Official Texting Sponsor is Tatango.

Our Presenting Sponsors are Arjuna Solutions, Donor Perfect, and Community Boost.

Our Premier Sponsor is Bloomerang (who also generously sponsors this podcast).

And all eight of our Principal Sponsors:

  • DAFinitive 
  • The Institute for Charitable Giving
  • Capital Campaign Toolkit
  • BombBomb
  • The Common Good 
  • The Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy
  • Endowment Partners
  • Beard & Bowler (an incredible video storytelling company based in NYC)

At Fundraising Transformed, we're deeply aligned with JFK's sentiment when he said, "A high tide lifts all boats." 

We want this transformational content to be available to fundraisers and nonprofit leaders everywhere. Equal, ungated access to take your fundraising to the next, next level. To help you transform your fundraising in 2023 and beyond! 

A little about our agenda.

We have ten incredible forward-thinking experts speaking, starting at 9 AM ET through 8:15 PM ET. I know, it's a marathon. But we have a global audience and want to accommodate as many time zones as possible. 

We invite you to pick and choose the sessions you want to attend or stay all day.  

Generally, speakers present for 50 minutes, plus 10 minutes for questions and answers. 

We'll have 10-minute breaks between speakers. During those breaks, you'll enjoy live music from an emerging Detroit Artist named Dileonte'. He's an urban violinist, and his energy is fabulous. 

We'll also have a few random drawings for prizes throughout the day. Fun, right?

So let me talk about our amazing speakers and what you'll learn. 

Our first speaker of the day will be Professor Adrian Sargeant. A man who really needs no introduction. A prolific author, researcher, speaker, and co-founder of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy. He'll be talking about Donor Centricity 3.0: The Philanthropic Psychology Way.

He'll share what we can learn from the science of how human beings form relationships to inform how we might build stronger, more loving, and more fulfilling relationships with our supporters. 

In this session, Adrian will unpack relationship fundraising and the concept of donor-centricity, drawing on the latest science from philanthropic psychology. He'll walk us through the concepts of identity, well-being, and love — and how they can be leveraged to quite literally double your income. 

Boom! Who doesn't want to double your fundraising income and deepen donor relationships?

This session will be followed by brilliant Professor Jen Shang. Jen is the world's first Ph.D. in Philanthropy. She is also the world's only philanthropic psychologist. Her research has been covered in the New York Times, BBC, The Guardian, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Advancing Philanthropy, and the Nonprofit Times and has been published in many academic journals.

She is also co-founder of The Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy alongside Adrian Sargeant. She'll be talking about Meaningful Philanthropy. 

In this session, Jen will explore the psychological theories of meaning and meaningfulness in the philanthropic context based on new research conducted with high-net-worth individuals. They're unveiling this incredible new research in London on the same day as Transform23. You'll be hearing it at our summit second!

Drawing on the study's findings, Jen will discuss the psychological challenges and opportunities posed by engaging in meaningful philanthropy and focus on the identity and 'self' behind the gift, as opposed to the motives and processes that lead to giving.  

This is what we mean by next-level thinking!

Next in the line-up of brilliant speakers is Una Osili. Una is Efroymson Chair in Philanthropy and Economics and Associate Dean for Research and International Programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She also serves as Dean's Fellow for the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy.   

She'll be talking about The Factors Shaping Philanthropy Now.

As we consider trends in research a full two years after the pandemic shutdown began, one thing is clear: the philanthropic landscape continues to be both complex and rapidly changing. 

Economic factors, social values, the impact of the racial justice movement, and the rapid rise in the use of technology have all influenced changes in giving.

What are the key factors shaping philanthropy now, and how do they impact nonprofits? What are donor motivations, and what are the most effective strategies to build relationships with donors? What's the impact of technology? Who is giving, and who is getting? 

Juicy, right?

Next, we have Michael Gorriarán, President of Arjuna Solutions, An Artificial Intelligence Services provider. 

He'll be talking about Applying Behavioral Economics Modeling & Artificial Intelligence Services to Reveal New Levels of Donor Insight.

It's important that we nonprofit fundraisers receive real-time insights into donor sentiment — especially in a challenging economy. 

Michael will discuss the principles and applications of AI in nonprofit fundraising. He'll share case studies to illustrate the success many nonprofits are having using AI to develop greater insights into donor sentiment — and in return, improve giving, reduce cost-per-dollar raised, and increase donor retention. 

By the end of the session, you will know:

  • How AI can deepen your understanding of donor sentiment 
  • Where to implement AI in your fundraising process
  • How to ensure the integrity of your fundraising data and AI processes
  • How to protect donor privacy and ensure that the AI does not inject bias into your fundraising
  • How to select an AI services vendor

Alex Wilson, Co-Founder of The Giving Block Alex, is the Co-Founder of The Giving Block, the leading Crypto Philanthropy platform that connects nonprofits with crypto donors. 

Alex will be schooling us on Crypto Philanthropy 101: How to Incorporate Cryptocurrency into Your Fundraising Strategy.

Crypto Philanthropy programs are now the fastest-growing revenue channel for hundreds of nonprofits, including United Way Worldwide, Save the Children, and the American Cancer Society. 

In this session, Alex explains:

  • What crypto is and the size of the potential donor base 
  • How to incorporate cryptocurrency into your fundraising strategy
  • How to decide which crypto philanthropy platform is best for you

Next, a real treat, Ethan Beute. Ethan is Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, the Wall Street Journal bestselling co-author of Human-Centered Communication and Rehumanize Your Business, and host of Chief Evangelist and The Customer Experience Podcast. He'll be talking to us about Creating Human Connection Across The Digital Divide.

The process of building trust and maintaining relationships with all of our stakeholders is so much more digitally distant today than even a few years ago. Ethan will talk about how and why simple video messages in place of some of our faceless emails, voicemails, and text messages can help overcome the challenges of this digital distance. As well as some other challenges of which you may not even be aware.

In his session, you'll learn the following: 

  • What are the two criteria at the root of every social judgment are
  • Why attention is not the currency of the digital economy (and what is)
  • How a human-centered approach to your communication improves results
  • When, how, and why to mix video messages into your donor, volunteer, partner, and employee outreach

Next in the speaker line-up is Caliopy Glaros. Caliopy is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Philanthropy Without Borders. A firm with expertise in ethical storytelling, donor engagement, and strategic planning. Her work is informed by her experience as a front-line fundraiser, intercultural trainer, and former recipient of nonprofit services. 

Her session is so important. It's titled, From Exploitation to Empathy: Ethical Storytelling for Nonprofit Communications.

Since the term "poverty porn" first appeared in 1981, much has been said about the exploitation of human suffering to inspire charitable giving. Yet many organizations still struggle to communicate their impact in a way that authentically represents the issue and preserves the dignity of those affected by it. 

How do we portray our program participants as their own agents of change while admitting that they also need our help? In a refreshing take on this provocative issue, Caliopy invites us to move beyond shifts in lexicon and imagery to embrace methods that challenge assumptions and inspire empathy. You will leave this session with an applicable strategy and concrete process you can take back to their organizations and begin utilizing immediately.

By the end of this wow-packed session, you will:

  • Understand how exploitive storytelling impacts our organizations, clients, and communities
  • Distinguish between exploitation, sympathy, and empathy in storytelling
  • Identify ethical storytelling practices and principles that work that could be applied at their organizations
  • Explore several approaches to tell more ethical and equitable stories

Next, my good friend, Cherian Koshy. He's a rockstar. Especially if you define rockstar as a really heady, semi-nerdy fundraiser turned consultant (affectionately). He's a CFRE, AFP Master Trainer, Chartered Advisor of Philanthropy (CAP®), Certified Scale Architect, a Certified Mind Genomics Advisor, and holds certifications in Behavioral Economics from Dan Ariely's Irrational Labs as well as Harvard University. See what I mean?

With 20+ years of fundraising experience in annual funds, major gifts, planned giving, and capital campaigns, Cherian Koshy, is one of the most sought-after trainers and speakers in the nonprofit sector. As the head of fundraising for various nonprofits, he's personally raised more than $100M.

His session is about The Unexpected Forces that Influence Your Donors.

As behavioral science continues to gain popularity, more attention is being directed toward "nudges" that impact donors and their giving behavior. Understanding the influences on donor behavior can significantly impact the activities and outcomes for fundraising.

By attending this session, you'll be able to:

  • Differentiate rational choice theory and behavioral science approaches to understanding donor psychology and reasons for giving.
  • Explain how heuristics (mental shortcuts) can lead to biases in donor behavior.
  • Critically evaluate giving strategies through the lens of behavioral science to improve the predictive power of appeals.
  • Develop a contextual framework for testing, describing, and evaluating donor engagement and choices.

Next, let me talk about my friend, Christal Cherry. She's President & Executive Consultant with The Board Pro.

At The Board Pro, they believe that the most successful organizations understand that who's at the top matters. 

She's a champion for fundraisers and effective board leadership and has a special gift for helping individuals and organizations understand and embrace diversity, inclusion, equity, and access.

Christal coaches and trains governing and working boards to harness and optimize their individual and collective talents and resources to truly make an impact in their organizations.

She'll be talking to us about Recruiting Diverse Members to Your Nonprofit Board.

In this session, you'll learn how to work to ground organizational values and recruitment practices so that they are inclusive. How to redefine board roles by accepting accountability for setting the tone with deliberate and strategic action to increase the presence of people of color on your board.

As stewards of the public good, our boards must act to alter and eliminate beliefs, practices, and policies that perpetuate structural and institutional racism and exclusion. 

This means being intentional about changing the racial composition of its members and eliminating practices that alienate and exclude others from feeling welcomed.

By the end of Christal's session, you'll:

  • Understand why board diversity matters
  • Identify the characteristics of an inclusive-ready Board
  • Build a pipeline for diverse members
  • Locate sources to recruit diverse members
  • Embrace the value of a board-inclusive culture

And finally, we'll wrap up the day together. You and me, unpacking the key differences between donor centricity and community centricity. Answering the hot-topic question, "Who is the hero?" in the nonprofit sector.

Consider this my personal invitation to you to join me at Tranform23 on January 25, 2023.

If you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your fundraising goals.

If you want to innovate and take your fundraising to the next, next level but aren't sure what to do next or where to start.

If you've ever wished you had more hours in the day.

If you know you need to elevate your fundraising strategy and just need a little inspiration and a few more tools in your toolbox.

Register now at fundraisingtransformed.com/transform23. It's free!

If you're not able to attend, still register free for this summit. That way, you'll receive an email notification when access to the collection of Transform23 recordings is available for purchase for just $23 USD.

Join me and this incredible team of visionary speakers and the best sponsors evah to learn how to transform your fundraising in 2023 and beyond!

Register now. It's free for fundraisers and nonprofit leaders everywhere. 


Thank you to our sponsor

Thank you to our friends at Bloomerang for sponsoring this episode of The Intentional Fundraiser.


Learn why Fundraisers love using Bloomerang and grab your copy of the 13 Lucky Year-End Fundraising Tips ebook.

It's not too early to start developing a strategy for the end of 2022. Give yourself ample time to plan all the elements of your year-end campaign. Campaigns take time. Early planning can benefit your organization and set you up for year-end success.

Grab your free copy of 13 Lucky Year-End Fundraising Tips now.


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We can help you take your fundraising results to the next level

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61. Fundraising for Introverts

60. Mastering the Art of Telefundraising

59. Elevate Your Nonprofit: Building a Next Level Organization

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