#138 When to Hire an Expert and Intermediary to Increase Effectiveness with Sybil & Fred Ackerman-Munson

Jul 24, 2023

Fred and Sybil explain the benefits of hiring an intermediary. An intermediary is a staff person, consulting firm, or individual who acts as a fiduciary for donors to give away donations to worthy causes.

Intermediaries are hired or contracted by the donor to carry out their vision of a successful giving strategy and must be an expert in their area of work. Having an intermediary can be helpful in navigating red tape, ensuring nonprofit pitches align with values, and navigating red tape.

Intermediaries can also help with professionalization, tracking money, and managing finances. However, there are downsides to avoid. Sybil and Fred talk about the benefits and the downsides in this episode.


Episode Highlights:

  • When you may need an intermediary
  • The benefits of an intermediary
  • The challenges that might arise when you have an intermediary.
  • Advice for people thinking about using an intermediary.


Sybil Ackerman-Munson Bio:

With over 20 years of experience as a nonprofit professional and foundation advisor, I work with philanthropic institutions and foundations interested in successful, high-impact grant making, so you can make a real and lasting positive contribution to the world on your terms.


If you enjoyed this episode, listen to these as well:

·        https://www.doyourgood.com/blog/136-Dory-Timble

·        https://www.doyourgood.com/blog/135-Sybil-Speaks

·        https://www.doyourgood.com/blog/133-rebecca-darwent


Crack the Code: Sybil’s Successful Guide to Philanthropy

Become even better at what you do as Sybil teaches you the strategies as well as the tools you’ll need to avoid mistakes and make a career out of philanthropy through my new course, Crack the Code!

In this new course you'll gain access to beautifully animated and engaging videos, along with many other resources.


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Send in your inquiries through her website https://www.doyourgood.com/ or you can email her directly at [email protected]!

Full Transcript: 

Honey, we're here in San Francisco.

Alameda technically at the Moment.

That's a good point.

but we're in San Francisco.

Right. We're about to go to the final series of Dead and Company with my stepdaughter, your daughter, Sammy. So, I'm very excited.

And our other daughter, Maura.

Yes, of course.

Yeah. Put more on.

We tend to start adopting our kid’s friends, which we love. 

But yeah, so today we're talking specifically about intermediaries, which are folks like us who help donors give money away effectively. And this month I've just focused on this issue because I think a lot of times, we do such a weird job, right when you say it's a little weird. 

Like when I first started working. For nonprofits, I didn't know something like this existed where there would be people like us who work with donors and provide support. To connect their interests with nonprofits, I thought, oh, if you're a donor and you want to give money away, you just go straight to the nonprofit. And that does happen Quite a lot, but people like us—you know, this is a profession, and it's not easy to give money away effectively.

And so, we network with other people who are intermediaries. We work closely with donors, and sort of leverage their dollars. Others were experts in particular areas of work that the donors may not have known about. 

In my Civil Speak episode at the beginning of this month, I went through all of my thoughts, and I'm looking forward to doing this podcast with you because, you know, together, we both have… How many years of experience as intermediaries have you had?

I'm almost 20 years old now.

You’ve been an executive director at 444 S for 20 years. Almost. And I've worked in this field now for over 13 years, I think because I started in 2008 as my math, right?

Oh geez, yeah, you'll be like 15 years old.

It's been a while. Oh my gosh.

Yeah, yeah. 

Time goes by so fast. Yeah, so this is just one of my favorite topics to talk about, and let me just remind us of the definition of an intermediary. OK. And then let's get into it. 

The definition of an intermediary specifically, an intermediary is a staff person, consulting firm, or individual like me who acts essentially as your fiduciary in advising you to give away your donations to worthy causes. The intermediary is hired or contracted by you, the donor to carry out your vision of a successful giving strategy, this person must be an expert in the area of work you care about, and that's important, right? If you don't have an intermediary, you get pitched by nonprofits that may have a similar vision to yours. But their number one interest is in raising money for their nonprofit, which is fine.

And if you have a natural allegiance to a nonprofit, then you don't need an intermediary. But if you care about a problem in the world, a societal problem, and you're trying to solve that problem, sometimes it can be helpful to have an intermediary help you because the nonprofits are all addressing solving that problem in a slightly different way. 

And so sometimes it's better to have an intermediary. Who really has your interests at heart and knows how to give those funds away to like 5–7 different non-profits working together on that issue because the nonprofits don't always agree or get along, and so this intermediary can essentially be like a translator?

So, I'm talking about some of the benefits. Of course, we should talk about some of the downsides to hiring an intermediary and why a donor should go in alone, but I just wanted to start there, and I hope that got your thoughts rolling there, Fred. In terms of thinking about, you know, what we do as intermediaries, and then some of the benefits, some of the challenges, let's get into It. 

Sure. So, one of the first things that You didn't mention is that I think it's really important for some groups of donors. That, besides the expert role and the role of actually professionally managing, say a foundation or a portfolio of donations, the other thing you are as an intermediary is someone who Allows the donor to live a normal life with… 

Good point, because if you're busy as a donor, you don't have… This is an important profession, right?

Right to give away a significant amount of money every year. 

Well, you know, right?

Well, and meet all of the legal requirements, not to mention campaigning or trying to work with the nonprofits to do the best job you can. The other thing is that some people just don't want to be defined by the fact that they're wealthy. They want to live a normal life, so if you have a professional, 

And sometimes they're anonymous, like a donor. You, as a donor, might want to remain anonymous. 

Yeah, for any number of reasons.  

Some of the people I know, and their friends don't even know they have any wealth. They just really don't. Have that define them. 

And other people are scared of being targeted by scam artists or even whatever. I mean, it's a real thing. 


So, I think, first and foremost, that the thing about an intermediary is that you are standing in between the people asking for money and the person who has the money. So, you are sheltering them to some degree. A lot of extra work, scrutiny, and all of that—well, scrutiny might not be the right word.  

But it helps them live the lifestyle they want to live, whatever that may be. Maybe they want to be normal people, or maybe they want to be jetting around the Caribbean.

And also, we can cut through the red tape in terms of a lot of times, a donor will get hit up if somebody knows that they're giving their funds away directly. They'll get hit up over and over and over, and it starts getting hard to determine fact from fiction because if you're the donor directly, it's harder for you to navigate some of those conversations versus us as intermediaries. We can a lot of times, since we're not you, the donor, directly, but we have your number one interest in mind. We can sort of navigate the scene a little more effectively. Especially since a lot of times, we Have an in-depth background in the issue area that you care about.

I spend a lot of time talking to experts who aren't trying to raise money.  It's like scientists, decision-makers, or others aren't asking my donors for money. But I asked them about their expertise, and then I asked them which nonprofits were working in this field. What are the ones that are most effective in the area that I know the donor I work for cares about?

And so, what you were saying, like if a donor wants, if you as a donor want to live a regular life and you don't want to have to, to call all the different experts that it's necessary to understand if what the nonprofits are pitching you is aligning with your values, you know you need someone in the middle there helping.

The other challenge for a donor who wants to give away their own money and again, plenty of people do. So, it's not like it's impossible.

Yeah, exactly.

But the other challenge for a donor, besides getting hit up all the time, is the classic: are people being friendly to you because they like you, or are they being friendly because they hope you'll give them money, and that's why some people like having that intermediary? Because of the friends they have, they don't have anything to worry about.

Genuine relationships. 

Yeah, they don't have to worry about whether they're going to ask them for money. Just their Friends, right? And so, there's a second thing that intermediaries can do, depending on how it's set up, but usually, there's some. There's professionalization, and there is a process that we run. We invite proposals, or we review proposals that were invited; we ask questions; we do write-ups for the donor; and we track all the money coming in and going out.

You are the executive director, so you also look at all the finances and support the family, making sure that, at least on the private Family Foundation side, you're looking at all those pieces too.

And you can have their smaller foundations and their bigger foundations. Bigger foundations will have a CFO and all that kind of stuff. So, if you are a family that has massive wealth, you need a team to do that stuff for you. Again, it depends on who you are and what you want, but many different versions of intermediaries can be really important and helpful to your giving money away.

So, let's just talk about something else. But there are a couple of downsides to having an intermediary as a donor. I'm going to articulate some of them, and then maybe you can add on. The downsides… If you're a donor, you have an intermediary. You do if you decide you want somebody to help you who's an expert on the issue, you have to have a conversation with yourself about stepping back a little bit.

So if there's somebody who wants to get into it all the time and have your relationships with nonprofits be direct, and you don't want to have someone who is an expert in the field there, then it's going to create conflict for you because even though you'll still have genuine relationships with nonprofits, If you have an intermediary, all of my clients have great relationships with their nonprofits. The thing is, for the clients that I have, I manage their dockets, they are very effective at standing back when the “ask” comes.

So, what they do is have great relationships with so many nonprofits, and the nonprofits pitch them. And they say that's great. I'm glad you're pitching me… talk to Sybil, and then she has a process that I work with her on, and then it is always what happens there. And so that is something that, if you have an intermediary, can be a downside if you're someone who wants to be hands-on. And so that is something, yeah, please talk about that a little more.

Yeah, well, so do I.

What I was going to say is that there is a solution. That too. 

Yeah, yeah, I know that.

So, OK. 

I was thinking that too.

You told me you saw that.

Yeah, so. You could be the kind of donor who wants to be hands-on, and maybe you enjoy it. And you're passionate about the issue, as long as you remember to be kind and not a jerk. And throw your money around.

And we have seen that before.

But yeah, as long as you Can listen and do a good job or not. I mean, there are dos and don'ts, and you can list the don'ts.

But give me, give us. Yeah. What's the solution?

But so, one of the solutions is that you can be somebody who does a lot of your grant-making, or you can hire an administrator. Good point. Someone who's not an expert but someone who is going to.

Helps you with the process.

Well, yeah. Helping you with the process is going to watch the books and

But that's important, too. You need to be clear on what kind of intermediary you want then. If you are somebody who is a campaigner type of donor who has a problem you want to solve and you happen to have a lot of expertise in that issue, like maybe you worked in the area and that's how you got your wealth, and you have this problem you want to solve, like climate change or something, and you have expertise there, then You might not need an intermediary who has that expertise because you have it and instead you want an administrator.

But you have to be clear that that's the kind of person you want to hire an administrator because I've seen challenges where donors have hired administrators. Years, but the administrator has wanted to do more than that. 

And now for an ad. But don't go away, because Fred and I have lots more to talk about related to intermediaries. 

And then it's been tough, really tough, for both sides of the equation.

So, the other thing I want to say about that is that if you are a campaigner type of donor, you have a problem you want to solve. So you don't have It's like you have You care about the issue of climate change, for example.

So, it's not really about funding specific nonprofits in general. It's about funding nonprofits so that they can solve the problem of, let's say, climate change. And you likely earned your wealth by not working in the nonprofit sector. In the climate change arena, most people who work in the nonprofit sector do not have a lot of money. There are always exceptions. I know some folks who may have come from wealth who did come from wealth, and no one knew it. And they worked side by side with me in the nonprofit sector, and now they're running. Their foundation so that that can work right. Right. But that doesn't happen very often.

So oftentimes, if you don't have that expertise in the problem you're trying to solve, you do need an intermediary who knows something about the work. And that does mean stepping back, which can be a downside for you. Oh, but I thought you were to talk about another solution on this as well, but you can keep going, and then I'll...

Well, no. Well, so the one solution I had was, you know, hiring an administrator if you still wanted to do that work yourself. The other challenge is doing the work yourself versus hiring a professional. Functionality is for professionals, hopefully.

Who has years of experience on that issue that you care about?

Who had whom? Yes, right. And also experience giving away money; that's right.

Yes, the two things.

So, there is a whole professional practice of how to give away money well, and it includes things like not stringing along potential grantees. Not promising money and not giving it away. I mean, we've…

The long list, I mean, that's what part of my I have that whole crack the code series to sort of start at least with that conversation.

Yeah. So, they're so.

But it is a profession.

Right. So that's the thing. Even if you're a well-meaning donor who's well-versed in the issue, you still need some people to help you understand the professional way to do it. So, you aren't a jerk.

And I think that there's a lot of that. One of the reasons there's so much pushback from the nonprofits, where they say just give us multi-year grants and stop meddling, is in part because there haven't been professional intermediaries supporting donors in helping move forward, and so there have been enough examples of where there haven't been. There hasn't been that sort of standard of practice in this field, and that's where I'm hoping we can go.

There are a lot of organizations. Now that we are trying to do that, a chronicle of philanthropy is doing work. There are just a lot of really good organizations trying to have folks think about this as a standard in practice, but it still can happen, and I think people forget about the benefit of an intermediary sometimes in that field in this area. I also think, as you know, nonprofits get nervous about intermediaries, so there is a downside on that side, too. 

Like if you're a donor, I think a nonprofit Sometimes they can get nervous because they're like, well, we want direct access to the donor. What are you doing in the middle of this? And you know, I feel like, you know, of course, I might. Be in a little bit of an intermediary bubble.

Right. No, no. 

Because I doubt people will tell me this, I know we're definitely in our bubble too, right?

Do we have a bubble? Do we have our bubbles?

We've got to be careful about being too self-important here.

And probably if I were in the shoes of a nonprofit and I used to work in nonprofits. So, I know that this felt this way sometimes when there would be an intermediary who'd be sort of telling me what's what, and I'd be like, I want to just talk to the donor directly. Actually, as an intermediary, I love it when the nonprofits that my clients fund have good relationships directly with the donors that I work with. It's fabulous. The difference is that the donor, as I said before, steps back when the pitch happens. That's when I'm engaging. And I'm engaging separately with those nonprofit leaders as well so that I can help cook up ideas. The thing is, I don't.

The one thing I don't think nonprofits fully see Is how much work we do as intermediaries to support them in honing the pitch that they're giving us to fit the bill for what we know the donor wants, and if the nonprofit is pitching something that we know. The donor doesn't want We can save them a heck of a lot of time because sometimes the donors themselves are hard to reach. It’s just not working. Doesn't work as well.

So that's just my one little thing: I think sometimes a donor, if you're a donor, might worry, well, the nonprofits appreciate this. And I have seen examples where nonprofits have gone after some of my friends and colleagues because they've wanted direct access, and they've been frustrated. I understand that perspective, but I think that sometimes folks don't realize how streamlined we can make it, so I just thought I'd say that out loud because it just provoked me when you were talking about that other stuff.

Yeah. Well, we do a lot of work. We try to put together a package that our trustees will support. I mean, that's our job. So, we're doing that for the trustees. But we're also doing it for the effectiveness of the issue in our case, right?

Rent, and as fiduciaries, we are fiduciaries first and foremost to the donors and the trustees we serve, not to the nonprofits, but to that issue. But we also care very much about supporting the nonprofit's goals. The vision is so great that we are their allies as well.

And I think we've talked about this in another podcast way back in the day, but there are also other things that intermediaries can do by working with other intermediaries. By work, by establishing relationships with other foundation program officers, for instance.

We spent a lot of time with her. Our friends and colleagues

and we learn from them. They learn from us, but then we can combine resources; we can say, hey, here's a problem or a tactic or whatever that is bigger than my foundation or your foundation. But if we get together, we can fund these different pieces. It might work. 

You're just doing You do that all the time, honey. Watch you. You're stuck. 

Good working with folks.

I know. 

Well, that's one of my favorite things to do.

Yeah, because they're all great.

The thing about that, though, is that without doing that, odds are those grantees wouldn't get the grants because I would have to tell my trustee. Oh, well, we've only got this amount of money to give. That's not going to move the needle.

I know I get that. I mean, and understandably, a lot of folks I work with are like, we don't have a lot of money, and the problems are so huge; how are we going to make a difference? Being able to collaborate with our friends and colleagues is essential. And the thing I want to say about that, too, is that I've found it. A donor or a trustee of a foundation themselves are rarely in those rooms when we're talking about the nuances of collaborating around a particular campaign and funding. It's what happens. It's us who are experts in that field on behalf of our trustees and donors, rolling up our sleeves and figuring out who is who. Which key thing needs to move forward, and then, of the donors and Foundation folks, which of those foundations will be interested in particular things?

So, it's like we were just in a room talking about an issue, and there's a scientific component. There is a component of the conversation that's super important: supporting indigenous communities. There's a component of the conversation to support. Communications and media and there were, like, 15 donors in the room and staff or intermediaries in the room that were representing those donors. None of the actual donors were in the room, but we were able to see them, and all of us are experts in that field.

So, we were able to roll up our sleeves, and certain people were like, oh, I know that the folks I work with will want to fund the science. I know that the folks that I work with will want to fund the communications, so we could have so much more impact that way. And because we know the issues so well and the people we represent so well, we're able to move them forward. In a way that I don't think it would be possible otherwise, and that's another benefit of the intermediaries.

Can I jump back to one thing that you said before? Just to reemphasize, my trustees were there when I first started in 2005. Back when they had paper and pencils. My trustees had been active donors themselves and knew a number of the grantees pretty well and personally. And my main lead trustee did an amazing thing. She did a tour with me, where she told everyone.

Oh, Fred is the guy now that you talked to, and He'll talk to me and everything, and I think you're wonderful. But this is now how it works. And so that stepping back that you're talking about is the donor allowing their intermediary to represent them fully and to be empowered to go out. And creating things is what's given me the freedom to do that now, at the same time I check in.

Oh yeah, we never have.

Every month, right? Yeah. 

And to be clear, we don't have It's not our money. Yeah, we go back, and we make recommendations, but we know the folks who work for us well enough that when we do the recommendations, we can pretty much expect that they'll say no to everything, but we can make sure that you know at the same time that we're able to go out and…

We're in touch with them. Yeah, and we're in regular touch so that we can also, I can say.

Think through those things, right?

Hey, here's what I'm thinking. How does this sound? And sometimes they'll have really important feedback too. That helps me because they're not in the middle of it, and they step back and say, well, have you thought about this? And I'm like, Oh, good point. OK, I'll get on.

Right, exactly. 

That you know. So, that relationship between the intermediary and the donor can be really important, but it gets lost in some of the bigger foundations because they have so many staff that they can't have relationships with the donors.

Although what happens there when it works feels effective with our colleagues in the larger foundation, it essentially feels to me that what our friends and colleagues in those worlds do is create a strategic plan for their particular program, and then that's approved by the board and the trustees, and then that empowers the staff to go out and then implement their plan. And then the board approved.

So, they're approving the plan, but they're not micromanaging. The board does not make or manage individual grants. That gives, yeah. So, the foundations that aren't healthy, that are big, don’t.

That's exactly the key.

Happen that way, right?

Yeah, there have been examples where we could. Anyway, I should let...

Well, say no.

You probably have something else.

No, no, you go. You go. I wanted to just talk about a couple of other things that could be a challenge for a donor that I've seen when they hire an intermediary. One is the cost. 

So, hiring staff or a consultant like me costs sometimes I see donors get concerned about that cost because it's not inexpensive. I mean, we are professionals, and to recruit and retain staff or consultants, you need to pay. And that is money that might otherwise go to grants. Because you can pay, you can. It goes towards your payout if you have an official foundation. You know, some of the folks I've worked with have some of the donors I've worked with. Look at that and say, oh, we don't need the intermediary.  

We can just do it ourselves because we could otherwise put all that money into the nonprofits, and I have to say, like, if you are a sustainer kind of donor where you want to give year after year grants, you have like 5 to 6 nonprofits that you love. Or 20, but you know them well. Well, hats off to you, then. Yeah, I don't think you need an intermediary; that's an extra cost. You may not need it unless you know you still might want to. If you're busy, you have a life you don't want to be tracking all the time. You know, there might be reasons still, or you might want to hire an administrator or something.

Yeah, there's paperwork.

Like that. 

And you want to have people who Are doing the work.

But I'm just saying, but I want to back up, because the thing is, some people are not worried about that cost, and they feel like it's not worth it.

And now for an ad. But don't go away, Fred. And I have lots more to talk about related to intermediaries. 

And I disagree with that assumption. Usually, if you're like me, I think that you can make huge mistakes as a donor, and you need to have somebody who's able to watch your back. And sort of see, you know, and also someone who's your consultant or intermediary can push back on you in a way that nonprofits just can't. So anyway, all those reasons—we already talked about some of them. But it is.

Can I add one more?

The cost thing, though, is tough, I think. And as a consultant, I negotiate with folks all the time about what I'm worth up there. And a lot of times, there's pushback there. So that's another thing that can be seen as a negative. 

One thing I'd like to say about that, and it's kind of funny to me, is that there are several foundations that I've known over the years, not the ones that I work for. Others have felt fine about spending 1% of their profits on hiring money managers because they don't know the stock market. They don't know how to invest, ensure a return, and all that kind of stuff, so they have no problem paying money managers what they're worth, which is a significant amount of money, they get paid more than you and I do. And because they can see the dollar return, right?

So, the challenge for our field is to put the return in terms of OK if you are paying this much for a professional, you are going to get results on the issues that you care about more than if you just give away your money. As an amateur, right? And it's just like investing your money in the stock market as an amateur can go badly.

 Yes, it really can.

Right. Think of intermediaries as professionals who are trying to move issues that you care about and support nonprofits that you care about. They are helping you do a really good job. And get results.

Right. And so that's the other thing: we're as intermediaries, we're trying to get results based on you, the donor. And so, like right now, I was just working on a project, for example, where I put forward a proposal to essentially have this Client use an intermediary to help them give grants to local organizations. And the question is still out there: will they end up using the intermediary model or will they d make a very, very large grant to a larger NGO nonprofit that would then maybe serve as a re-grantor or essentially just implement the program all on their own?  

And you know, I think that there are pluses and minuses. Instead of having an intermediary who's your fiduciary, put the money that you want to get the problem solved into one big NGO or two big NGOs. But the only thing is that you'd have to be sure as the donor that you were very well aligned with those bigger nonprofits or even the small, whatever nonprofit that you're going to put most of your money into. Because let's just talk about the pros and cons of essentially having the non-profit be the one implementing your entire vision now. If the nonprofit, like I said, is 100% there with you, no problem. But I very rarely see a combination of nonprofits trying to work on a solution to a problem. That all should usually deserve support.

But anyway, I can also see, like I like talking about this, a pathway where you say, OK, well, let's just let me instead of having an intermediary, let's put it all into one or two nonprofits. 

Well, sure. So, there I am. I think I mean; I'm not telling you anything. Don't know and...

No, but I love talking about this.

And the same is true for the donors who are listening.

There are no clear lines, you know.

There are all sorts of different kinds of donors and situations. Some people decide to give money when they die in a quest. I mean, some people are giving. There are more modest-sized donations there. There are people with foundations.

Some people Don’t care about tax deductions, and then they go for the more active political model where they just give their money away and don't care that they're getting a tax deduction for it. There are all sorts of different kinds of people. And donors. And so there is no one-size-fits-all. I think what you and I are saying is that Intermediaries can be one of them. One important piece of the puzzle for certain types of donors, right? Who wants that and how it works for them? I don't think we're trying to shove this down anybody's throat. You know, if you don't need it or you have a different idea, and it works for you, that's great.

I just really want to remind people that it's out there, that, you know, a lot of times I think folks can forget or they don't forget, but they can think of it as an add-on that they might not need, that they can do this all on their own.

Oh yeah. 

And sometimes that answer is yes. But more often than not, you'd be missing out on a lot of pieces. I think the other thing we forgot to mention as an alternative is, let's say you're a donor and you're listening to this conversation and you're like, I would love to have an intermediary help me with a specific problem I'm trying to Solve, but I don't. Know if I want the intermediary to run everything I'm doing.

So, a lot of the folks I work with feel that way. They're like Sybil. Will you help us with a specific piece of the issue? Like a specific problem we're trying to solve, and then we also want to reserve some funds that are special for trustee-initiated work or donations. You know, there's a piece that says, we want to have some flexibility with a different pot of money that we're doing. And that works well too. You know, you don't have to put all of the funds into the problem you're trying to solve with an intermediary. So, you know, there are a lot of options.

Right. And that's especially the case with families where people have different interests. And so, you may have some family members doing one thing and other family members doing other things. One other quick optional intermediary can be short-term. You can hire a consultant and say, hey, I need to figure out what's the most effective thing I can do on climate change. 

To help you in a short time

Can you spend 3 months with me writing a report?

Yeah, I've done that.

Yeah, yeah. So, have I.

And then No, you know I'm and then you're done. Then I'm like, here. Here you are. Here's the idea. Here's the thing, and a lot of times it's with a spend-down strategy, like when a donor came to me a few years ago and just said, Sybil, I've got X dollars. And I care about climate change, and we worked together for about a year, and I did a ton of interviews and tons of research on their behalf to figure out what you know and how. Would be a good fit for them. And they were rolling. I mean, they then knew what they wanted. To do over a Three-year strategy, and they didn't have to pay me anymore. You know, it was just a short-term piece. 

Other clients I have, though I've worked with them since 2008, you know, like a long, long time, and I managed their dockets. I know them well. I serve as their intermediary, and because I worked with them for so long and cared about them so much, I know now how to support them.

So, it just depends on who. But even with those folks, almost all of the intermediates and all of the clients I work with have been with me for a long, long time. They do still have a piece of their donation strategy is theirs, so they still do things like trustee-initiated grants and things like that.

So, they have some freedom. They figured out how to find that balance. All right before we go, although I wanted to say one last word before we go. But do you have a last word for us on this issue before we go? Thank you for talking to me about it.

Oh, sure, I would end with what we were just talking about as an intermediary. You, the donor gets to decide and design what role you want that person to play. And it can be short-term. Long-term, it can be administrative, it can be issue-oriented expertise, or it can be a foundation for an entire process. There are all sorts of models.

So, the thing is, don't be afraid of it because you're in control. You design what you want, you ask for and pay for what you want, and then that's what you get.


And if you want more, you can pay. You can get more help if you want it. You're good. We've helped you. We'll be on our way to help someone else.

This is the one thing that I want to say. OK, I'm going to make a Friendly but slightly strong pushback statement.

I love when you do put something back.

OK, I don't want to be rude but don't make the mistake of thinking that if you are successful in life and your business, you also know how to give money away effectively. It's extremely different from the nonprofit world and the for-profit corporate world. And so, I just wanted to say that as a friendly reminder: I see you smiling.

Yes, we've told stories in the past about that. Can I add one more thing?

Yeah, please do.

I know you. I want to kind of wrap this up, but

No, no, no, I love this conversation.

The other thing that is Interesting about giving away money. Well, is that an aspect of trust? Yeah, and as a donor, you have to decide who you're going to trust, and that goes with a nonprofit that you're looking at, an executive at a nonprofit, or your staff. And so, the thing is, a consultant is a consultant.

So, if you have someone you have hired, you get to know them over some time and work with them. You really can develop a level of trust with them. That puts your mind at ease, and that's the difference between having a consultant or staff be your intermediary and having honestly dozens and dozens of people come up to you, asking from the nonprofit world, asking you for money because you have to, then make individual decisions about.

From the nonprofit role? Yeah. 

Every one of those people does trust them. They're just people.

Nonprofit inside, then, yeah.

Yeah, the nonprofit itself. And then. Are you going to do it? That is on the fly. Or how do you spend the time to get to know them? I mean, there is. So, there's a personal aspect to giving away money that has to do with trust, and an intermediary can provide that for you without you being stressed out about, oh, God, I just met another person. 

I guess they seem nice, but I don't know what they're like.

And then you end up getting a long, long, long laundry list of nonprofits. If you're a donor and you get less inspired by what you're doing, then what I've seen happen there you stop giving altogether, which we don't want to have happen. Giving back is one of the most joyous things ever. If it's done well, Fred, this was so fun, and I'm just looking forward to this weekend too, to see Dead and Company.

I know, and we're going to see Sammy.

Yeah, she's driving up soon, so Well, I just want to thank you so much again.

I love you.

Love you.