#163 Fred and Sybil Discuss the Best and Worst of Philanthropy, with Special Guest David Secord

Jan 22, 2024

Sybil and Fred are back for Season 3 and joined by their good friend David Secord to discuss the best and worst of philanthropy. They share their personal stories and lessons learned from decades working in the philanthropic world.

 

Episode Highlights:

  • Personal lessons learned working in philanthropy.
  • Examples of donor behavior to emulate or avoid.

 

Fred Ackerman-Munson Bio:

Fred has spent the last 20 years as Executive Director of the 444S Foundation in Bellevue, WA. During that time the Foundation has granted over $50 million to organizations working to protect wildlands and wildlife in Western North America. 

For 7 years prior to that Fred was Deputy Director of Conservation Northwest where he led The Cascades Conservation Partnership and Loomis Forest Campaigns that together raised over $100 million dollars to purchase and protect over 70,000 acres of forest in Washington’s Cascades Mountains. 

During that same time Fred also consulted on campaign design, grantmaking and evaluation for numerous foundations including Pew, Oak, Brainerd and Ploughshares. For 12 years before that, Fred was Regional Campaign Director for Greenpeace, where he researched, developed, and implemented numerous successful campaigns on solid and toxic waste, energy, and fisheries issues. Fred has 4 kids in college and lives with the love of his life on a small horse farm in Damascus, Oregon.

 

David Secord Bio:

After 20 years in foundation and university leadership jobs, David established Barnacle Strategies as an independent consulting and volunteering platform. From a home base on an island in BC, David works with partners in Canada, the United States, and sometimes farther afield. 

David enjoys variety, so at a given time, consulting clients might include foundations and funder affinity groups, partnership-oriented academic and research institutions, Indigenous people's organizations, and big or small NGOs. Projects and advising tend toward the creative and relevant, often integrating environmental, socioeconomic, and biocultural strategies - especially place-based ones. 

David also helps organizations recruit outstanding talent by managing executive searches and keeping fresh by serving on several volunteer boards.

 

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

https://www.doyourgood.com/blog/14-david-secord

https://www.doyourgood.com/blog/137-David-Secord

https://www.doyourgood.com/blog/12-pam-fujita-yuhas-zoe-rothchild

 

Crack the Code: Sybil’s Successful Guide to Philanthropy

Become even better at what you do as Sybil teaches you the strategies and tools you’ll need to avoid mistakes and make a career out of philanthropy.

Sybil offers resources including free mini-course videos, templates, checklists, and words of advice summarized in easy to review pdfs.    

 

Check out Sybil’s website with all the latest opportunities to learn from Sybil at https://www.doyourgood.com

Connect with Do Your Good

Would you like to talk with Sybil directly?

 

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

FULL TRANSCRIPT: 

Sybil

Hey, everyone. Welcome to the first Fred and simple conversation for season three. 

It will be so much fun to hear this one because I had a ton of fun. We have a special guest, David Secord, who does similar things. He is a professional who supports philanthropists and gives grants away effectively; he's also super funny. So, we were having a great dinner conversation, and Fred and I had to do with Fred and Sybil's discussion for the podcast, and I was like, Oh my gosh, David. I roped him in. 

So, I think you have a ton of fun with this. I also managed to interview David early on in season one. Episode 14 is a 45-minute or so conversation with him. I value his advice, and his thoughts are so important, so please also check out that old episode. Episode 14: If you want to learn more about who David is and what he's all about, all right. Have a great time with this discussion because we sure did. 

First, what do we have to do… Cheers to good friends. 

All right, podcast listeners, here's the deal. You usually hear a Fred and Sybil episode every month, right, Fred? Yeah. Yeah. OK, so now what I've done is I am totally. Yeah. 

David

Yeah, that was a moment of deep insight right there.

Sybil

One of our friends, I've said this before, but one of our friends was right there.

David

Who's that guy? Ed McMahon

Fred

Totally. That's my role.

David

We're dating ourselves, though. Yeah. OK. Keep us focused, please. OK.

Sybil

Yes, focus. Oh, anyway, so that my podcast listeners know you all. If you were an avid listener to the podcast, you would have heard my interview with David Secord a long time ago, but David's over visiting us right now. He's one of our favorite people, and he's also freaking funny, so we can't help but laugh whenever he talks about anything. 

And David does pretty much the same kind of thing.

Fred

With you, David.

Sybil

In my job, we work with Philanthropists and help them give away money effectively. At least we try, right? And so, I thought I asked. I roped David in; we Have a Fred and Sybil episode for season 3 because we will like our kick-off episode, Fred and Sybil. The theme of season three is the biggest bloopers that funders have ever done to nonprofits.

David

We don't have enough time or pixels for that. We do. We have some. I was listening to Arsenal.

Sybil

Time like, what are the bloopers so that we don't make them in the future, maybe? I've made plenty of mistakes myself.

Fred

But we're going to say we're going to say.

Sybil

Few glasses of wine.

Fred

Good ones, too, though, right?

Sybil

Yes, I'll say good ones and where we people have done.

David

Good things, but if it's good, it's not a blooper. It's more like a hey look. At me here to talk about.

Sybil

I know it's better to deal with our bloopers.

Fred

There have been some really good ones, too.

David

Yeah. Many, many doubles.

Sybil

Guys, you guys, you guys, what I did was. I asked my nonprofit e-mail subscribers what their examples are—the nonprofit leaders of the biggest bloopers. And so I'm going to interview them this whole year about, what are the experiences they've had that maybe donors have made mistakes and so how can we like not make those mistakes in the future, which is, I think, a positive way. Think about it. Right. 

But we three have worked in the philanthropic world long, trying to give money away effectively and not make mistakes. But I know I've made—plenty of mistakes. Anyway, so I sort of roped you in, David, too. Our Fred and Sybil this time. Over dinner with some wine. And I didn't even give you a warning. And I want to hear, like, what are your thoughts? What are your good stories about some bloopers on your watch? Where you've messed up, David, as a funder.

Fred

Or a colleague has messed up.

David

Yeah, I have this friend's seat. Who has this crush seat? Yeah.

Sybil

You have a friend. Right.

David

Well, there's a lot of ways to define blooper. So we're going to think we were talking about that before. So, like, there are funder bloopers where the funder is doing a crappy job at picking grantees or doing due diligence, and then there's loot.

Sybil

Yes, you were talking about that before.

David

Behaviors can be really bad, like communicating badly and making promises you don't. Keep leading people on and creating unrealistic expectations. Having completely arbitrary policies that you make up as you go along relating to things like budgeting or narrowness of strategy or programmatic fit or whatever. 

Sybil

Who's never, ever happened? What are you talking about?

David

Things that drive grantees are crazy, very legitimately, especially when they relate to lots of bureaucracy and relatively small grants.

Sybil

Uh-huh. Uh, huh? You sort of nailed it there.

David

So, we've seen—all that stuff. I mean.

Fred

So, what's your favorite?

David

Well, I was telling. When Sybil first brought up the Blooper conversation, my first thought was when I was pretty new in a previous… deciding that I needed a grantee from a particular part of a particular rural region; I decided this because I thought it would be strategically relevant to engage folks in that region because of the region's politics and as it related to a big national conservation issue. And I'm being deliberately vague here to protect the innocent. But long story short, I found a guarantee, and it was a part of the world that was very sparse in potential grantees because it was not friendly to the environment or conservation, especially at the time. 

And so I found a grant for you. That was a small grassroots organization. I was excited about them because they simply existed in this geography. I didn't do sufficient due diligence because I was blinded by my brilliance at finding a grantee in this geography. There were some underrepresented, and I did the grant.

No, you're just so tired. And then, within three months, I got a Phone call that the police had raided the organization's office and arrested the executive director. Away all the financials. So that was a little bit of a lost grant that my trustees at the time were gracious about. 

But I learned a bit about asking a broader set of questions but doing it openly and respectfully, of course, not just getting thrilled that there was a guarantee that fit a certain description, almost like in a dating—profile, but without looking under the hood of what else was going on.

Sybil

Yeah, totally. But along those lines, there are different kinds of things. Think about mistakes. So this is sort of like a mistake you made because you didn't do due diligence, but you know, I've done grants sometimes where a similar thing has happened like a nonprofit has ended up. A person at the nonprofit end of embezzling money. But they did it by duplicating their finances if that makes sense. 

So essentially, the person who was embezzling had a separate set of books, and the only way, like in this one example I'm thinking of, the only way that it was discovered is as the executive director was walking by the copier and found the correct set of books. Because the person had made a mistake and left the correct set of books on the copier and said what the heck is this? As funders, we never saw those correct books until that all came to light.

And then That person I ended up letting go. But sometimes, as a funder, it's really hard to know. I mean, yeah, you're saying you didn't do your due diligence, but sometimes, I'm just trying to Be nice, David. Like. Always down; you don't always know that kind of thing, right?

David

You're just being nice. You're not as dumb as you look, but so that that is.

Fred

That is the definition of learning for a young philanthropist. Like, oh, I'm so. Brilliant. Look, I found the best thing. Oh, actually, no. I wish I had thought about that and maybe asked more people, right? Yeah.

Sybil

There's no silver bullet, no silver.

Fred

How are you going to know that someone is embezzling money, right? I mean.

David

Well, with this trend toward trust-based philanthropy, which is the buzzword, that's generally nice, right? You find leaders who know what they're doing, where they're working, and what they're working on, and you invest in them and don't mess around in their business.

Unless there's some reason to go down that path, some sort of probable cause, reason to worry, or reason to invoke the Reagan maximum trust but verify. But as long as folks are working within the wheelhouse of whatever the philanthropic interest is of the funder. I believe in staying out of their way and being helpful … if they ask but are not being helpful just because it makes me. It Feels good, right?

Sybil

Yeah. Yeah. Well, that's one thing, my friends that do. I interviewed one of the co-founders of trust-based philanthropy from the podcast. We talked a lot about others who were focused on this piece of it, which is important. Is it with trust-based philanthropy that philanthropists do much front-end research and due diligence on the nonprofit? It's just that they give the funding and don't micromanage. 

So, let's talk about one of the bloopers. It is the micromanagement of funders to nonprofits. This is something that nonprofits tell me they go crazy about… our micromanaging getting into their business All the time.

Fred

Yeah, well, so there's. OK, I know you want to talk. About that, but there are even worse examples, right? I mean, there's bad.

Sybil

Yeah, yeah.

Fred

Donor behavior like. Very bad.

David

Like, like hygiene, we're talking.

Sybil

People don't realize David is like a stand-up comic, even though he doesn't, so you'll get a little of this.

Fred

No, not hygiene, but OK, so when I worked at a nonprofit, there was a donor. We ran this big campaign cascades conservation partnership, raising millions of dollars in Seattle. This donor wanted us to go to the park near his beach house. And say how important it was to Washington Department official wildlife. To get this sizable donation to our effort. 

And first of all, that in and of itself is completely inappropriate, right? Like, well, yeah, it's self-serving. It's a quid pro quo. I'll give you money if you do this thing for me. And he did not have good intentions about it anyway.

David

Self-service.

Fred

The worst part was he never gave us the donation. Yeah, I mean, that is just like, so there are really bad things that you can do when you have money and power because. You have money.

David

Yeah, right.

Fred

We live in a world where we work with very professional foundations. Yeah, and if we? Do something like that. We're kicked out of the Club, right? But a host of donors just do bad things, so just to start, I'd say don't do bad things.

David

I think you're right, Fred. And you know I don't say lightly that you're right. So, I just chatted with a friend, colleague, and grantee this morning. Alaska and I were just talking about this bad behavior, and I think one of the venial sins you alluded to is wasting people's time. Even if the motivations are good, it's even worse if they are bad. 

But I've seen some examples of funder behavior in the last month where a funder was brand new to an issue area and asked grantees to give them all sorts of information. All sorts of counsel, tutoring, and background that they had done 100 times are exhausting and, in some cases, emotional labor. 

And in one of those cases, all of that work led to an arbitrary decision not to give what would be a pretty small grant. This ****** people off. It does not make friends, and it does not get conservation done. 

But the other example that is unfolding currently is that a founder is pretty new to the region. Another Funder was brokering the relationship with a different funder but was talking to a grantee and hoping they were correct. You should probably talk to these folks because it might do some good. OK. 

Long story short, a handful of meetings and document exchanges over a relatively short period. Like a month at the end of a calendar year, I ended up with a half-million dollar grant with very few strings attached to do a body of public policy work that was important to communities, was otherwise unfunded, and has already started to create momentum. 

So that was the case where people were also taking a leap, trusting a funder, and not wasting their time. And it paid off, yeah.

Sybil

So that's the balance, too. It is like I've been in situations. We were just talking about this earlier where you work so hard at something, and suddenly, the funders thank you very much for all your time. And then you're—ghosted. The Grantee has no idea they spend all this time hoping for what's happening and funding, and then they don't understand why. Why? Why didn't they get the funding, and they've spent all this time?

David

And that's the embedded arrogance.

Sybil

And money. It can create a lot of resentment. From the nonprofits that's what nonprofits have told me. About those pieces, I was on the phone today with a grantee. And I was channeling myself.

I was trying to say OK.

David

Yeah, that's a little navel gazing symbol.

Sybil

I have to be real. That's scary. I don't know what's scary, but this one organization didn't get a grant from one of the folks I worked for. They did, from a few others, but not from this place. And I was like, OK, I'm going just to live my talk and be completely blunt. 

I said, here's the challenge. Your organization is great. You're doing good work. You didn't get the grant because the specific client didn't give you the grant funds campaigns, and you are treating us like we are just generally I'm not interested in the issue, and you're treating us like a transaction, pretty much like a bank transaction. You're just pretty much coming to us saying. OK, here's the date when the LOI is due. Here are the forms we're filling out, and you're not telling us about your cool work. 

She said well, I'm going to be meeting with the White House tomorrow, and I'm going to do it like. Well, that's the kind of stuff. You can tell us about it. And so I feel like even though she didn't get the grant, I was hoping I could by being blunt. 

But I have to tell you, forcing myself to do that, though, I also felt worried about doing that as a funder because I'm thinking, am I doing too much, you know, leaning in too much, forcing her to, you know, getting her to have to do something. Maybe others don't care about it, so there's always the question. Right. But I tried to be as one as possible rather than leave her wondering why she didn't get money.

Fred

Well, that example you just had, Dave. I was talking to my trustee today, and I'm not going to a meeting where we don't fund to raise expectations. I could learn some. Cool stuff, and it would be. It was a great trip, but. We both agreed. We're like. We're not going to grant it. So you shouldn't go. Why pretend, right?

Sybil

Yeah, but then how do you navigate? Many times, I think one of my clients is a philanthropist. They're like, we're interested in ex issues. They don't quite know.  Where they want to go yet, and they could potentially give a lot of money to the cause. It is a bit of a tough, tight tightrope because it's what I want to learn about. Issue so that cause but then in. The end they the. The groups might not get funding, but if I don't lean in, they definitely won't. So that is a little bit of a tough thing.

David

Yeah, yeah, I see. I see the point of your story, Fred, and I feel the problem there.

It is sometimes true that going to a meeting or a trip teaches you things that can lead your foundation to change its behavior, geography, approach, issues, or whatever. And it might be what we would call in. In science, a low probability but high impact event, right, like let's say. You go to a completely different part of the Arctic than you've ever funded, but you learn so much and get excited to meet such good people. You can convince your funder to do it; maybe it's a 10% chance. But if you're transparent about that while you're there. 

This isn't likely, but I'm going to try. I will go to bat, especially if you believe it now. Then it may well be worth your being there as long as it meets that principle we discussed earlier. Are you wasting people's time, right? And if you think you might be, are you being straight up with them?

Fred

Yeah, that was the thing. We have a pretty defined geography. And so for us. It was clear. And where our foundation is switching anyway. But I agree. I have gone on those trips and been. Like Holy cow, you guys, we're going to. I Found this site, and it's been great, but I also don't want to waste people's time.

Sybil

Yeah, it's tough. More bloopers. What are some other bloopers? You can think about David.

David

Hmm, let me contemplate. You can edit out the.

Sybil

Maybe I don't know. I don't know. I might keep the awkward silence.

David

Operate silent.

Sybil

If you never. Know might segue to some ads. See you know.

David

Said hello. Oh, this is your Exxon Mobil sponsorship. 

Sybil

Yeah, and on that note, we will segue into some ads.

Fred

OK, I can share a blooper, but. No. How about I have a good one?

Sybil

A good one.

Fred

Can I do good?

Sybil

One. OK, I guess you could do a good one.

Fred

  1. Because we try to be positive here.

Sybil

I'm always positive.

Fred

I know, I know.

Sybil

Bloopers are just about also being positive. OK.

Fred

  1. So here. Is a good donor? When I was again a grantee, and at the end of that campaign one. Of our donors. Who gave us? Executive Director $10,000 as a bonus. And our executive. The director used that money to take the staff to Mexico for a week's vacation.

We had all worked Hard. It was an amazing campaign, and what a wonderful thing, both for the donor to have done and then for the executive director, too. He turned around and did to his staff. I mean, I I. Still, to this day, think about it. That is the way that you can thank people as donors. It can be about supporting the organization, but it can be about supporting the people. Recognizing when they do a good job and celebrating that was one of those that none of us expected. None of us thought that. It was even a possibility. We were in a very, rent a kind of environmental group.

Sybil

You wouldn't you. I wouldn't have thought you could even think about going to Mexico.

Fred

And so anyway. Sure, there are bloopers, there are bad things, but. Then there's like. Wonderful things that donors have done.

Sybil

Friend yeah.

David

That's very sweet. You know, you're reminding me of, you know, spontaneous acts of kindness that can be budgeted for in philanthropy. I would still have to be spontaneous, so I remember a foundation I used to work for, and we had a little budget right for that kind of thing. 

And so a grantee of ours based in Washington, DC, had been working hard on campaigns and had a bunch of victories. All the staff were stressed out. They needed to cut loose. And our executive director used that little budget to send them a foosball table for their office. And that foosball table existed in the office of that organization a few blocks from the capitol in DC for years and years and years. And it's what all the staff there probably consider the fill-in-the-blank name of that executive director memorial football table to this day. However, that person is still alive. 

And it's just, you know, it's just a nice gesture. It's a random act of kindness. This is not about doing strategic philanthropy. It's not about how you do the grants, the budgets, any of that. But it's like being a nice human occasionally and using the money for good in ways that are not in a strategic plan.

Fred

Yeah, that's excellent. Yeah. Foosball table.

Sybil

Yeah. I mean, sometimes, if we think about it. You can't see this in some areas, 

We're laughing because there's one microphone, so we keep pushing each other toward the microphone. That's why we're laughing. 

I don't know. I feel like in terms of, I mean again, I want to think positively, but I also want to think about the bloopers. 

So that we can think about how to think positively again; it's been an interesting journey where, you know, we all have been in the nonprofit world. Then, we also gave money to nonprofits and supported our clients in doing that. Foundations we work with and for, and the disconnect, I think. 

The thing that Does Your Good and others like these conversations you're trying to do to stop this disconnect. It is when you come from a world where you're living, where you have a lot of resources and a lot of money to support your life, and so you're not worrying about that paycheck, you're not worrying about having to make ends meet. 

So you're donating to an institution, a nonprofit, where often, not all the time, but often, especially if you're giving to a smaller nonprofit. The people working there are not making very much money. OK, now, of course, some nonprofits are, you know, pay large salaries and all that kind of thing. And they should. 

And whatever they're doing right, I'm not denigrating that at all. But I'm saying that some nonprofits are in no way, anywhere in any shape, way, or form, if that's even the right sequence of that saying and paying their staff in the way a for-profit corporate institution would be. 

A lot of folks that are giving money to these institutions. It's not even in their vocabulary to make $30,000 a year. The person giving the money may not even remember when they made that much a year. They were making millions and millions, right?

Fred

Where they were born with wealth.

Sybil

Or they were born with wealth. 

And again, I'm not saying that in a negative way. It's just a different life experience. And so I feel like fundamentally the bloopers are what I'm trying to make light of so that we. I can talk about things, too. Pull out is there's this. The fundamental challenge is a person with wealth who wants to do good, and if I think they feel like they're good people, they want to do. Good in the world. They don't understand what it means to bounce a paycheck or a check and not make enough money to pay the mortgage or rent. 

Think again, it's. I don't mean that in a bad—way in any way. 

But it's so hard to make those connections now. Some folks I've worked with as donors came from poverty and worked their way up to be billionaires and did. But at the same time, they still. It's been a while since they've been in that place. 

And so what I find is that there can be serious challenges. I think for nonprofits to explain. Also, nonprofits aren't seeking a profit. They're seeking outcomes based on a societal issue that's hard to put benchmarks on all the time and have a clear silver bullet. 

Yet, people often give money away from the corporate world, which is very much focused on how you can monetize some of the outcomes and the ROI return on investment and some of those things that are sometimes really hard to invest in. 

I want to dig into this season to sort of Think through these things with me. Positive feelings like I don't want negative—feelings on either side. When I say bloopers, I'm sort. Of saying it is like. Let's just open it up. Talk about those mistakes as challenges anyway.

David

Yeah. You know, you're triggering some thoughts for me about the positive side of bloopers and it. Yeah. If that's not complete. 

Sybil

I see you nodding about that, David. Oh, positive-sided bloopers are like that.

David

So, like I'm thinking about Honesty. Right. 

And the power dynamic between funders with dough and others who need dough is a thing that interferes with honesty. And some of the best grants and grantee relationships, more importantly. Since I've been doing this, we've had the direct result of honest conversations where somehow a dynamic emerged where I could put away in my head for a moment the privilege that comes with working for funders, and the grantee could put away. The power dynamic feared they were talking to a funder, and people could just talk like people and colleagues. 

I can think of several examples where those conversations happened, and pretty much, as a direct result, grant money flowed in ways that it really kind of wasn't supposed to. In other words, it was offside. Programmatically, a little bit, but because of the honesty of the conversation, and yes, the relationship and the strategic partnership that emerged in those conversations, grants really good results. It's not.

Sybil

Yeah, I want to honor your confidentiality. But can you talk more about that? Looks like, what is it? Can you give more examples of it? Like it, flesh it out a little more.

David

I can think of two examples that go way back in time, so no animals will probably be harmed.

Fred

So, in the making of this podcast, No animals, no animals.

David

It says on the shampoo bottle. OK, fine. So one was... I was sitting at my desk at a foundation I used to work at, and the phone rang. And it was some—total cold call pitch to fund something completely obvious that we didn't fund, and it was on the website. We didn't fund that, and an hour later, I was like…

Sybil

An hour later.

David

An hour later, instead of just blowing the person off, I was intrigued by what was happening. I learned some things; I did some internal checking when we got off the phone and discovered I could get away with doing a grant. Within two weeks, I had done a grant for this—a cold person I called, who was completely ineligible for funding for me.

Sybil

Now for an ad, but don't go away because David, Fred, and I have much more to discuss.

David

Another example is that I was at one of those meetings that funders and others participate in that involve real-world strategy, not just funder navel gazing and bloviating, which some meetings are about. And no, I know. So, it was a real-world meeting. The beauty of any meeting is there are breaks, and sometimes, during breaks, people get coffee, a beer, and a walk, even if it's pouring rain, often in certain places I found. 

And again, I had a conversation with this woman about a bundle of ideas that she had that involved being informed about a particular body of public policy that no one else was talking about. But what I became convinced could be breakthrough stuff, right?

Sybil

Don't you love that feeling when you're talking to? Somebody. And you're like that, literally like I.

David

I loved it, and I'm like you… You're….

Sybil

Get the hair on the back of My neck Up. I'm like, oh My gosh, this is perfect.

David

And I'm like. You're super smart. You've made a really good case. This could be useful. Let's take a risk on this. And so, again, I could move a grant to her organization. Neither that organization nor that type of work was part of our foundations. Wheelhouse particularly. But I could make a case that was a. Fit; in that case, it was wonderful, and the work blossomed and made a difference.

Sybil

That's great. Yeah, so.

Fred

Honesty has to do with the relationship.

David

She had not. If she had just sat around and checked her phone during that meeting instead of taking a risk to walk with me, who was the dorky funder standing in the corner with a paper cup full of coffee? Right. I would never have learned that. None of that would have ever happened. 

So, I appreciated a kind of fearlessness there, and it was more fruitful. And no, it wasn't guaranteed to. But it did, and I've seen that type of thing happen multiple times.

Fred

Multiple also and the broken part right the part for me is really about relationships. There are several long-term grantees at the foundation I work for.

Am I close enough yet? And The thing is, to be in a relationship with them, you have to get beyond just the one-hour phone call. You need to attend meetings with them, participate in those meetings, and then have dinner, a glass of wine, and become friends. 

To the extent you can, there's always a power dynamic, but to the extent that you can create a situation where they can be honest with you and you, you might all day be talking about this idea, and then finally, at the end of the night, they can go, you know. That won't happen; here's what we need to do to make that work.

Sybil

Yeah, but you guys, I need to interject here. We are now talking about how we have dinner and all this. Kind of things, but like. Then we were also talking about how. You know how the nonprofits get frustrated with us in the funder world, taking all this extra time out of their busy.

Fred

Well, yeah, but.

Sybil

How do we navigate that?

Fred

I'm talking about doing that once or twice a year. If you do that for a few years and invite people to your house and see them in their natural habitat, you can become colleagues and friends and break down some of those power dynamic barriers so they can be honest with you, which is—all a good Funder.

David

Once, and that's the holy, I think that's the Holy Grail for. It is but the test of it. Isn't that the funder thinks they have those relationships? The test is whether it is privately, a nonprofit grantee, an indigenous organization, or whatever it was asked. OK, tell me what you think about these people, right?

Fred

Which they're never going to tell us.

David

Right. No. But I mean, if they would answer the question, is it a real relationship, is it reciprocal in terms of exchanging ideas, right, etcetera? If they would answer yes, that's the measure of success. It's not a fund or feeling good because they think they've established a certain relationship.

Sybil

So, I guess that's everything. Now, it is like we have to keep on with our night because, David, we only get to hang out. With you once every once in a while. Are there any last words for my listeners?

David

Oh, no, Sybil, you're the last word.

Sybil

No, no. You no, no, no.

David

No, no, after you after. You. No, no, but don't. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Sybil

How about you, friend? It's useless over here.

Fred

Oh, he's not useless. It might be funny, but he's not useless.

Sybil

I don't know. Suppose you were that funny, actually, during this podcast. I have to say you were very serious.

David

Well, that's because of all the things I said earlier you considered too obscene for this black test idea.

Sybil

No, no, man. My listeners missed out on your jokes, but whatever. OK, Fred, anything else, any last words?

Fred

No, I can't wait for this year of podcasting, though.

Sybil

I know it's going to be great. I mean, I, oh, my gosh, I loved it, and I hope more people who are listening sign up. Submit their stories and their funder stories from the. The nonprofit world is about the good and the bad.

Fred

And the ugly.

Sybil

Yes, exactly. And I've gotten a lot of them, so. I am interviewing. Nonprofit leaders are asking them about this question that we've debated tonight, and I just cheer. Let's do another little plank before.

David

Well, and Sybil? I want to congratulate you because when you first started this podcasting exercise, I thought, oh my goodness, this is just another podcast. It's going to go into the ether. Who will listen to this? There are—too many podcasts.

Sybil

You did. You thought that you didn't. Say that out loud.

David

But I thought, yeah, I thought. Sybil Sybil's brilliant. We know this, but is she? Is she wasting her time? Right on this exercise of philanthropy, navel gazing. But what it's turned into is a kind of exercise in philanthropy.

Sybil

Oh yeah, right. Great. I love it. Apology.

David

You are helping everybody understand this bizarre ecosystem we are all—wrapped up in.

Sybil

Yeah, it is ours.

David

And I was teasing out nuances, difficulties, and behavior. Beers that can hopefully make all of us do better, and that is a real service and a real gift. So thank you.

Sybil

David, thank you. That made me blush.

David

Then the radio was never that thrilling, right? Yeah.

Sybil

I know it doesn't. Work right? All right. All right. Everybody has a great night.

David

Goodnight, goodnight.

Sybil

Cheers, Frank.