Nonstop Nonprofit

Humanizing Nonprofit Technology

Episode Summary

Tim Lockie · CEO, The Human Stack | Today, we're talking to one of the nonprofitsphere’s true visionaries. As both a technology evangelist and a passionate nonprofiteer, Tim helps nonprofits understand the value of the data they collect and make decisions based on a solid digital culture.

Episode Notes

Everyone in the nonprofit space has a moment where it all just clicks; in fact, you’ve probably had one or two. Today’s guest had one such moment that changed his perspective on nonprofit technology forever.

Tim’s Jerry Maguire moment came when he saw a statistic at an event that said, “90% of nonprofits collect data. Only 5% of nonprofits use that data to make decisions.” In that moment, Tim knew he had to rewrite the tech stack playbook to teach nonprofits how to get the most from their tech investment.

Join me as Tim and I discuss the importance of being a good data steward, highlight critical elements of a starter tech stack, and explain how implementing technology is like learning to drive.

Episode Transcription

Hello and welcome to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit!

Everyone in the nonprofit space has a moment where it all just clicks; in fact, you’ve probably had one or two of your own. Today’s guest calls it a “Jerry Maguire Moment” and he joined us to talk about the one that changed his perspective on nonprofit technology entirely.

Tim Lockie, CEO of The Human Stack, is one of the nonprofitsphere’s true visionaries. As both a technology evangelist and a passionate nonprofiteer, Tim helps nonprofits understand the value of the data they collect and make decisions based on a solid digital culture.

Tim’s Jerry Maguire moment came when he saw a statistic at an event that said, “90% of nonprofits collect data. Only 5% of nonprofits use that data to make decisions.” In that moment, Tim knew he had to rewrite the tech stack playbook to teach nonprofits how to get the most from their tech investment.

Join me as Tim and I discuss the importance of being a good data steward, critical elements of a starter tech stack, and how implementing technology is like learning to drive.



David Schwab All right. Well, thank you all for joining us for another episode of the nonstop nonprofit podcast. Today, I am excited to introduce my guest, Tim Lackey. Tim is joining us from the human stack. He is a me proclaimed guru in all things nonprofit marketing technology, has years of experience in the space, has worked with some incredible organizations, and is doing some really interesting things. I've been following Tim on LinkedIn for a while now. I've had a couple of good conversations with him, really excited to bring his knowledge and wisdom and perspective here to the podcast. Tim, thank you for joining us today.


Tim Lockie Yeah, thanks. It's so, so great to be here. Really excited.


David Schwab Well, Tim, before we get going, would you mind just giving our audience an idea of your background, how you got involved in tech and then how you got plugged into the nonprofit sector from there, because it's quite a unique place to be as a tech consultant and unique tech place to play.


Tim Lockie Yeah, absolutely. So I've been working in nonprofits since I was 18, and that was in the past with faith based organizations and then went to I live here in Bozeman, Montana, which is where I'm from. I went to San Francisco and got a degree in economics, mostly to work with non-profits. And when I graduated, I took a job with a nonprofit that was a global a global nonprofit. And within weeks, I was doing all of the technology for this organization and loved it. And I use the term digital volun told. I didn't know that's what was going on, but that was exactly my journey and I really, really liked it. I did that for a while, implemented Salesforce a few years later, blew my mind. I spent nine months in basically just this this walking haze of learning this massive enterprise platform in 2009. And I, I liked it so much that I started a company helping other nonprofits use Salesforce as well. I called that company. Now it matters because especially back then in the late aughts, there is a a lot more than there is now. There's a. Okay. You're you're going to take over this technology and and people didn't really realize how important it was to do that. And so I just wanted to flag it didn't matter in the past. It didn't matter in the past. But now it matters a lot. And we need to start working towards that that end. But in 2019, I had a Jerry Maguire moment that really shifted my perspective and I can talk more about that if you want to. But I was I was at an event and somebody threw a slide up on a screen. You and I have been to a lot of these events, right? And there's all these statistics all the time. But this one said 90% of nonprofits collect data, but only 5% use that data to make decisions. And it just kind of brain wormed in and just made me wonder about all the work I'd been doing with nonprofits maybe questioned the efficacy of it, made me question the business model. What we are actually trying to do as tech consultants. And at that point, I think that was kind of when unofficially the human stack launched, which is what I'm doing now.


David Schwab I think it's so interesting you talked about that like Jerry Maguire moment. For those listening who don't know my background, I also come from a digital consulting, tech consulting in the nonprofit sector background, and almost everyone I know who is a nonprofit consultant, particularly in the digital or technology space, has that moment where it clicks and you go and there is so much more opportunity and so much more value to squeeze out of what you already have or what's available to you that you don't even know about. Why don't we unpack a little bit of that aha moment for you? Because I think that might be interesting for our audience to hear your thought process, what you went through when you saw that stat that it was, what, five only 5% of data is used or there are only 5% of organizations are using the data that they have. What was it in that moment that Yeah. What was it that was that aha trigger that made you go this? You know, we can't operate like this anymore?


Tim Lockie I think the first piece of it was integrity. Hey, if you know that, I mean there is no there was no client that I worked with that did not intend to use the data to make better decisions. None of them all of my clients intended that. And if I know that that is what their endpoint is and I know that they only have a 5% shot of getting there, that affects my sense of what I am doing or my sense of being genuine when I am making a sales deal. And I think the first thing that hit me on that was how can we do this? And the second thing that hit me was why is this happening? Like. What is the breakdown on what we are doing? Because tech consulting is really expensive. We are often the second largest purchase, you know, of of any capital purchase that an organization is making. So they're rolling the dice in a large way here. It's almost like, you know, the first the largest one is a building. This is almost like saying you're going to do a capital campaign and but you only have a 5% chance of that building actually getting built. Nobody would do that. And so I just I feel like that's the first thing that hit me. And then so what I did is I took half of 2019 and I took half of my time. And I just I just blocked it out. No client meetings. And I just for six months sat in the problem asking, why is this way what we could do, why? Why we do things the way we do them. I never really thought to question we're doing waterfall methodology. And that was developed in the eighties for systems where you could walk in with 30 people and go stay at a, you know, on site to build an on prem room of databases. Right. We're now in cloud computing still using waterfall and Agile is mostly just, you know, scope creep for waterfall, But there is a second, second methodology for that. I just wondered like, why? Why do we do it the way we do it? And when I really started to unpack that, what I found was everything that we do is to build the tech and the humans are left out. But if you and I were looking at you have to help humans understand it and you have to. So you have to configure humans and you have to configure the technology. And I said to you, Which one is easier to configure? The humans are the technology. I know as a consultant, you would probably say humans. Am I right? I'm hoping I'm right.


David Schwab But honestly, after nearly a decade as a consultant, I would say it's easier to find and implement and set up technology than it is to get the people using the technology to adopt it to its full potential.


Tim Lockie Exactly. Exactly. I may have asked the question wrong way, but that is that was exactly what I thought, too. And I so I said if we looked at budget allotment, then I would expect there to be more budget for the humans than for the tech. Mm hmm. But in every deal that I went into, the humans were the thing that got cut over and over, like training time got scaled back as the project went on. And, you know, Strategy Time was never, like, approved to begin with. And so what I realized is, as a consultant, there is no deal that I would walk into. I would I would never go in and say, you know, what kind of methodology do you want us to use when we're rolling this out and give the customer an option on that? Because they would say it's a methodology that sounds expensive. I don't want anything, I just want you to do it right. I think that that what hit me was we have there are areas in consulting where we say it's not up to the client. We do it this way because otherwise we know it won't work. And if we know that the humans are that way, why aren't we saying sorry, but this is what has to be included or you won't get to the endpoint that you're looking at. And and at that point then I built, I just assumed I could get clients to say that, and I built a methodology around that. And it turned out that I couldn't get clients to say that. And I spent the last two years learning how to talk about it because we really do need a seed. The way that this works, and I found that two years later, I finally got I got it to pass the mom test. You know, I don't know if you're similar, but until I can say it in a way that my mom gets that I was like, wow, we got to still we got to keep tweaking it.


David Schwab Yeah, I think that kind of reminds me. So it fundraise. When we're evaluating any new piece of technology, we always ask the question, Are we trying to solve a problem with a shiny new object, or have we established a strategy that we need a tool to execute? It seems to be a lot of very in line with what you're talking about here.


Tim Lockie Yeah, it absolutely is. And that is exactly the right question for a tech company to answer. What I found was that when I started digging into the consulting side of the same question, I found kind of a blank slate beyond like meet the requirements. And I was just uncomfortable with that, partly because I'm going to sound horrible for saying this, but most customers don't know what they want. And when you ask them, they tell you because they need to, because they need to have an answer. And they're also usually in the same room with their boss. So they can't tell you anything that reveals that they have not been doing what they're supposed to do. So you're, you know, from the beginning that you're getting flawed requirements and then your project managing all of those requirements, which has like a5x multiplier on time for every single one that you've listed. And so, yeah, I started to question like, what is the strategy here? And what I like. One of the first things that I found was, okay, where is. Is there an industry in which the, you know, you're responsible for someone else's transformation? And I think that right there is the issue because consultants are accountable usually to assess deliverables on the tech stack. And if the humans can't use it, we still get paid and we leave. And we got all of the money in payment and we technically did everything under contract and it still didn't work. And I started to be like that, like I understand why it's set up that way, but I'm not doing it that way anymore. And when we started to approach it that way, a completely different strategy started.


David Schwab To go, I want to I want to go in on that. But I think before we can talk about that and get the most value out of it, I think we need to go to some of the fundamentals of thinking about technology. And one of the ways I always start is when I'm thinking about technology, I ask, what are the critical pieces that that make up a tech stack? So let's let's think about getting the minds of a nonprofit leader, whether it's a fundraiser or an executive or an IT department. When you're working with organizations and you're having conversations like this, where should a nonprofit leader or a nonprofit person start when it comes to building their own tech stack?


Tim Lockie Great question. And I have been diving into this recently because there's a progression here. I think by the time an organization can afford a consultant, they're usually pretty far down the tracks on a tech stack. And so I started to wonder, okay, but what about the vast majority of organizations that are under, you know, half million in revenue per year? What does their tech stack look like? Even though they couldn't afford to pay me to work on their tech stack? And what I found is there's a great Canada helps article about this came out in 2021. That is absolutely fantastic. And and what I found was kind of what I would expect to find, which is the very base of every tech stack for almost every organization, nonprofit or otherwise, is going to be a communication layer of business suite, right? That's going to be either Google or Microsoft, right. Where your email, your tasks, all of that is. And that that's part of the tech stack. Right. And in fact, you kind of can't sign up for anything else these days until you get that set of emails and that suite. And then the second thing is the financial system. So almost all nonprofits start with your business suite and QuickBooks, right? You're like, that's kind of the comp. It doesn't have to be QuickBooks, but some general ledger, that's the beginning of it. And what they do next is that they add on online donations, right? And they probably don't even connect to QuickBooks. You just are doing manual transfers back and forth. And then after that, you start to look at events and event hosting because a lot of organizations are working on that. So need donations. You place to invite people to and then usually grants sorry, no, then emails, then they start sending emails, they get an e blast, then grants and major, major donors. And with the all of that right there, you can kind of manage it up until that point with just spreadsheets and a lot of manual back and forth. And that's the that's the breakpoint on a first CRM. And the idea there is to move away from managing all those things out of the system and managing them in something. And I think that that's kind of what's next, right? And with that CRM, then a lot of organizations start looking at, okay, what about a website suite? What about social media? That's kind of another big piece. And then the last one usually is in marketing, sorry, marketing, social media, all of that. And then a lot of times the next piece is program management, whether that is impact metrics or whether that's including volunteer management, case management. And that a lot of times that's the system. And then you have some kind of breakout pieces there as well, where you've got an AMS, which is an association management system for associations. Some nonprofits sell goods and services, and so they're looking for an ERP that can tie in. A lot of times the tension points on all of these things is how do they connect to each other? How do you create a unified set of data from which you can create information, which you can turn into insight and make decisions on? I think that that's where things get really tricky, is how do you make sure that you've got a unified set of one one system of data?


David Schwab I agree in in most cases that was that was kind of the layer people thought you get your base operational technology in place, your your email.


Tim Lockie Your.


David Schwab QuickBooks, your your CMS. So you have a website those those fundamental layers that really you can't operate without. And then the first thought was, okay, now how do I go make money? I need a need a way to accept donations online and I need a way to get people to donate online. And then, oh, well, now I'm growing and I need a way to manage all of my people that are supporting me and all the people that aren't supporting me financially. And then you're just kind of like you're you're I see the the point in time approach where you're solving the need right then and not necessarily stopping to ask the question of what is my need going to be six months from now if I keep at this pace or a year from now or three years from now. And that was that was the type of technology consulting I spent a lot of time is was more the the infrastructure and thinking through not just what do we need, but how does everything work together. Because that was my background started in the for profit space and it's just standard that anything you use works with everything you use. And when I came back to the nonprofit space, it was mind boggling to me that your content distribution platform didn't speak to your online conversion platform, didn't speak to your CRM. I remember a point in time I was working with an organization. They were doing a couple million dollars a year in fundraising and they had an email platform, a fundraising platform and a CRM. None of them spoke to each other. And for us to be able to do the type of fundraising that they needed, we had to basically break all of the systems to create manual communication processes between the platforms. So we weren't soliciting donors who'd already given for the exact same gifts they'd already given because there was a two week lag between the point of someone receiving a communication, making a gift, and that gift being reflected in their CRM. So I think you I mean, you're touching those exact right questions, but I would almost flip the script and say, if I like if I were an organization starting today, and I'll pose this question to you because I'm curious how you answer. If I was an organization starting today outside of the fundamental or the foundational software. So my professional email, my professional website, where would you start? Like what would be the first piece or platform that you would put in place?


Tim Lockie Yeah. Can you give me a little indication how large is my organization at the time that you're talking about? Are we talking 1 million? We're talking 500,000. How many stuff do I have? Just those two pieces. And I can. I can run with it.


David Schwab You have a dream. You have a dream of being $1,000,000 plus. But, like, it's literally like it's you. Yeah. You're the founder. You've got a couple backers, but yeah.


Tim Lockie Got that starting for us. Yeah. You would be looking at, you know, finance system and the email system. You're going to do online donations, right. Like that's your that those are three core at that size you're going to start to bring on staff pretty soon after that and we start to bring on staff. You're going to hit this marketing question pretty soon about, okay, I've got some small gifts coming in, I've got some larger gifts coming in. Right. This is the main marketing question, which is major gifts versus marketing as email and the usual, you know, marketing pipeline. And so I would say look at a solution that is going to give you coverage on both that you can grow into. There's a couple of them out there. But the really the most important decision is whether it's Slack or teams. And the reason I say that is that where most organizations go wrong is that they don't start thinking about digital culture early enough. And what I mean by that is that on the tech stack, you know, it's all zeros and ones, right? It's all accuracy based, true, false and all of that. But for humans, we're not built that way. It's not about right or wrong for us, or it's in or out for us. That's our binary. Are we in or are we out? Are we included or not? And so as soon as you can start creating belonging around the systems so that you can help people know, hey, to be part of the culture here, what we know here is the digital side of how we manage our relationships and create belonging together. That right there is more actually more critical than what CRM you choose, because what happens is if you don't create that sense of we're in this together and make it safe for for people to own, don't exactly know how to use this tool right now. When you make it safe to do that, they'll start to say what's not working for them? And as you know, as a tech consultant man, half the half of the time people are coming in with systems that were okay would have been fine if they just had their team, if they had just ask the right questions on why doesn't this work for you? I would have been like pretty minor things. But that list became so long that politically they couldn't stay in that system. They had to find something else. And and so I do think I think, yeah, digital culture is as important as the solutions that you're choosing next, Maybe, maybe even more.


David Schwab All right. It's a real hard hitting question here. Slacker teams.


Tim Lockie Oh, man, that's the I use teams personally or I use Slack, but teams, if you're especially if you're looking at I think here's how it mostly works. If you're in the Google suite, probably makes the most sense to work with Slack. If you're in the Microsoft Suite, definitely go with teams. And part of the reason for that is, I mean, there is no more ubiquitous system on the planet than Microsoft. And teams is architected beautifully with that. And then the Microsoft Tech for Social Impact team there. I've been in the room when they're talking about where they're headed with their their stock and it is amazing. And so I think they're defining line and that really is what is your business suite at the bottom layer. And I think you really need to make that decision in line with that. I do love Slack, though. I have to say I really enjoy using Slack. So.


David Schwab Yeah, I am I am a notorious GIF communicator and I it's why I love Slack more than teams is. I have access to Giphy at my fingertips. That's always kept me as a yeah.


Tim Lockie And you know, I said slacker teams but really it's slack and Zoom or teams, right? Like I mean the I mean Zoom and Slack together. It's really like, where are you going to hold your meetings? So yeah.


David Schwab Yeah, yeah. All right. I have something we had talked about together well before this episode, but something that you talked about that I want, I think is going to be really valuable for the audience. So that's where I'm going with this next question. But I want to preface it by bringing it back to something you talked about at the beginning of this episode is that less than 5% of organizations are able to act on the data that they have. The way you had presented it when we talked is organizations have access to data. Data is not the problem. More data is not the solution. It's the ability to knowledgeably and intentionally use the data. I may be using a different word for you, but you talk about being good stewards of the data that you have before you go seek more. Can you talk to us about how you've helped guide organizations to become more data informed? Or if there's someone listening today is like, Hey, I, I want to take the first step in becoming more data informed.


Tim Lockie Yeah, I love that. And I do think the core of information systems, the purpose of information systems is data informed decisions. So you're exactly right. When we think about the tech stack, what it should be doing is creating that space where we can do that. When I started looking at why most organizations aren't converting their data to decision making, one of the very first things that hit me was, of course they're not. They'd be crazy to do that because they've seen their data and they know how bad it is. So they they would not trade off like they know that it's not worth spending a lot of time working on creating insights and information from that from that data. So the very first step of anything is to identify where are their pockets of data that need to be cleaned up so that it's usable because there's a flow to this, right? So if you put decision making at one end and you have data at this end, there really are kind of two break points in that. So data turns into information and information turns into insight and data like is what you give a system, right? You type in stuff and it's like the numbers in the cells information is when it turns that into meeting and it gives it back to you. Right. And so what's really critical is that you don't skip a step and try and go straight from data over to decision making. You're not going to get there. You have to first make sure the data is quality data and then turn that into meaningful information. And then from that information, you can take those, you can aggregate them together and start to tell a story from that, from that information and use that insight. And so I think that that that is so fundamental. And I've just been thinking recently that there is a data quality procedure that happens in every organization invisibly, which is bank reconciliation. This is such a genius thing. The whole purpose of bank reconciliation is to ensure that the data is clean and have a way to check that off every month. There's almost nothing else like that. And it's one of the reasons that, for the most part, nonprofit nonprofits have somebody that has been like guarding the financial data and keeping that really, really clean for years. And they're doing these kinds of data processes. We just started to extend those data processes out to other areas and, you know, started to set goals for for our clients to say, you know, you're going to set three data goals every month and then you're going to work on on meeting those throughout the month. And when we did that, we started to see the perception of data change, not just the data was more accurate, but the perception that the data was usable started to shift. And that psychology's really, really critical because without that in place, people don't feel like they should use it for decision making.


David Schwab Yeah, that's great. It reminds me of when I was a consultant. I would. I did fundraising and we would often get to the. We're you know, we've kicked off a campaign. It's been running and now it's time for the first check in and we'll have a bunch of numbers and start talking. And this was something I learned to finesse as I got better at my craft. But I'd start with going, Here's the numbers, here's somebody else you got. Here's how many people came to your site. Here's all of the things, here's the revenue. But then you start getting close to the questions. Well, how do you know that? How do you know this is what happened? How do you know this means that? And so having it's not just about having data, but to be data and for people to be able to trust your data. And I also think there's a layer you mentioned in there that's so critical is not just having the numbers or having the numbers in a clean, presentable format. Yeah, but it's being able to tell the story of what the numbers say. And I'll if you'll let me, I'll add one thing to that is as you, as, as an organization and as a process, as you get more data informed, you're going to understand a what you want to see, be how to feed the information you want to see through your various platforms, whether it's the point of conversion, How did someone get to a donation page or what kind of answers did they give on the biannual engagement survey or whatever that data point is? Your understanding what data you're getting in, you understand what you want to do with it and how you want to see it. But something that a colleague of mine at a an agency I worked at before had talked about that is so critical in this piece is survivorship bias, where there's this study from World War Two where they were trying to figure out how to put the right armor on fighter planes and bombers. And so they'd put a bunch of armor in different places on planes, send them out. The planes that came back to be like, okay, this must be where we need to be. Like, These are the ones that survive. But what someone rightfully asked is, well, what's happening to the ones that aren't coming back? Because maybe those are the ones that we need to shore up. And so in the same place, when we're looking at our data, we need to not only one start gathering good data, to start trusting and knowing that the data we're getting is good and trustworthy. But three start asking ourselves, are we actually seeing the whole story? Or what's happening to those people who are not doing what we want them to do? How do we go get that data so that we can be.


Tim Lockie A force first? I love that story. I think that there's so much to learn by and especially in the marketing space, because it's you want to use the data that you've got, right, But it's actually the data that you don't have that may tell you the most. And what do you do with that? And I think that that's the challenge that I've seen marketers address in different ways. But it does start with the idea that, listen, we have to be cognizant of what the data cannot tell us, and that has to actually feed into what insights we're creating. The other thing that I think is, is really important to note is that when it comes to marketing, [00:27:59]most people in the organization just don't understand like how data-driven marketing is and end up thinking is about branding or communication, which it is. But when it comes down to really identifying metrics within marketing, it's a whole different level. And I think marketers underestimate the degree to which people don't know what they're doing and how much wizardry it just kind of seems like there is out there. I think that that's just an important factor to understand, partly because data is a team sport. There's no I in tech, right? We actually need to understand that when we're doing marketing, when we're doing fundraising, when we're doing programs, we're all working together. But there are different stacks that we're working with and they're very different digital experiences, which means that there actually, there's a different digital culture on almost every team in an organization. And that is really important to understand that teams will relate to that data. So if you're talking about digital transformation, you need to know what your team you're talking about. And what is the digital transformation for that team going to look like? What's their digital culture going to look like? Not just a unified version of it. Does that make sense? [73.3s]


David Schwab [00:29:13]Absolutely. And I think adding on to that point and not just knowing the data culture or how they use it, but their maturity because different departments and different systems within a nonprofit organization are going to have to interact with data totally differently. Like your fundraising department probably is very digitally literate. But in a lot of organizations, if you're a front-line nonprofiteer and you're delivering services, your focus is delivering service in the most efficient and most effective way possible. But oftentimes digital is not the way service is delivered. So you've got to be mindful of not just what they use or how they use it, but how comfortable are they with it and how mature, how frequently do they interact with digital. [42.9s] Before you even start having the conversation of, hey, by the way, this thing that you know and trust and love and rely on is changing to this totally far and totally different thing that I'm now going to do.


Tim Lockie Well, yeah, I mean, 1,000% and the emotions that people have around technology are really profound, whether those are shame, whether that's resistance, whether that's real excitement, because, you know, I'm sure you were part of projects where people moved to a different platform, like the new platform could do program, for example. And so people are moving off of a beloved fundraising platform into a new thing that felt completely foreign and had been working for them just fine. And so now they have a high amount of resistance because some other team forced the move for them. You know, it feels like a force there to them. And I think that right there is what consultants know is in the room and have had no methodology to address. They've had really no guidance and way of thinking about what's the what's an approach here that we can use with every client like we do with any methodology.


David Schwab Mm hmm. Yeah. So, Tim, as as we get ready to wind down our time, there's this context that we keep circling around, having had conversations like this countless times with countless different organizations and countless different scenarios. But many times tech change happens once or twice in a fundraiser's career. If that there is a human element to technology that is so often overlooked that getting to know you, you care so deeply about you call it the human stack. And I know you've got the human stack. You've got a company dedicated to the humanity of technology. Can you talk to us a little bit about the human stack, what you're doing? Anything our listeners or you are really excited about on the horizon?


Tim Lockie Yeah, absolutely. I think that when the dust settled and I started to see this methodology emerge, what emerged first and foremost was that we have we really have left the humans behind and consultants. We get together and commiserate about that a lot. And sometimes we, you know, are not respectful to the humans, which looking back, I feel a little bit ashamed of that. I didn't respect their journey a little bit more. One thing that was really helpful for me was just coming across the idea of change saturation and realizing that humans can only handle so much disruption. So I've been in the room where people said, If we do another CRM implementation, I'm leaving. I'd like I'll quit my job before I do that again. That's the level of anxiety, fear, overwhelm, frustration that comes with these kinds of digital with this kind of digital work. So here's how I explain it to my mom as say, if you think of Salesforce, if you think of fundraise, if you think of these software companies that are out there, they're like car manufacturers. And my old company was like a car dealership. And nonprofits would come to me and they would order their car, they'd order soft credit tow package and donor advised lighting, whatever, and we would configure it for them, get all ready for them, hand them the keys and watch and dismay as they wrecked it, driving off the lot, or if they'd paid us to get it to their lot, we would do that and then they would never use. They would just sit there rusting. And what finally clicked for me was, Wait a minute, we don't have driver's ed. The issue with this world here is that most organizations need driver's ed, but they buy new cars instead. And I think that that has had such a huge effect on my estimation of what organizations really need. And it's not just driver's ed for one driver's like driver's ed for, you know, the big fire trucks with the steering wheel in the front and the back, like because these you have to learn how to drive these these tools together. And so I think that that was really impactful. And then I talked about my mom already. But let me talk about my dad. My dad learned to drive when he was six years old and his driver's ed looks like my grandfather saying, there's the steering wheel, there's the gas pedal, there's the brake and the clutch and stick because this was an old beat up Willys jeep. And he would take this Jeep down and go get cows and bring them back to the barn for milking. And when they were done, he would go drive them back to the pasture. My dad did not need parallel parking. He did not need, you know, right of way at a four way stop. He didn't need, you know, car lengths or whatever. None of that mattered. None of the city stuff mattered because he was just on a ranch. When you look at the percent of nonprofits that are at 1 million and below is over 70% of them, almost all nonprofits are really small, 5 to 15 staff. And we, the tech world, has all of this best practice around governance, around adoption and continuous improvement and developers, this and that and all of its city driving. And none of it really fits small nonprofits where they're at, which is they just need to go get. The data to the barn and make up for information and get it back to the pasture. Right. And so when I started looking at the world through this lens, I felt like, okay, we need to create a product that's affordable and that is aimed at nonprofits that are that size 5 to 15 that they can can take digital volun told, which are the people that are doing this kind of work in those nonprofits and give them the tools that they need to do that work well so that they have the guidance so that they don't feel overwhelmed all the time. And the thing there isn't for their skills, it's not that they need to learn. They'll learn to do that on their own. I've seen them do it and then they'll go work for a consulting company. What they really need to do is help the people that are bad at tech. I am not saying that in any way to give people shame. They're just people that are bad at tech, mostly because they feel like they're bad at tech. And actually we're all just about attack. Like you put me in front of some tech that I don't understand. I'm bad at it, right? There's the shame around that. And so a lot of what we are trying to do is reduce the amount of shame and the isolation people feel from technology, instead trying to create a space fair. Even at small organizations, they can see, here's my place in the in the data stream. Here's here's how I contribute to digital culture here.


David Schwab Mm hmm. I love that. It's. It's all about fostering a secure digital culture and a culture in general. The ability to say, I don't know and have that be an okay answer, but always followed up with. But I'm going to go find out or help me figure out. Right. I think that's so cool.


Tim Lockie Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, you know this and I know this, but almost everybody that's good at tech is just actually good at Google. Right. Like that is the secret to people that are good at tech is that they just don't stop googling. And so in our methodology, we want to move people from resistant to comfortable, to engage to resilient, you know, a long, a long tech. If we just got everybody at an organization to not be resistant, that means that so many folks would come off the breaks. If we can get feet off the breaks, then yeah, then you can start to move forward in a completely different way.


David Schwab Absolutely. All right, Tim. Well, this has been an awesome conversation.


Tim Lockie It's so fun to talk with someone who has been a consultant and who knows what it's like to sit in in the room and feel the emotions of I want to help this person. I don't know how we get there. So thanks for. Thanks for bringing that to this conversation. It's really it's really nice to talk to you about that.


David Schwab I agree it's rare to share the passion for technology, but the purpose of bringing technology to people who are using it to solve the world's biggest problems. So we covered a lot of ground. We talked about some fun stuff, some heavy stuff. I've got just a handful of questions to wrap us. Hard hitting, Rapid fire first response when you when I when I asked these on you know, if you love it, hate it or you're not sure about it and why. So first one, there's a hot one right now I for the nonprofit sector chat GPT image generators video audio. What's your take.


Tim Lockie I. I use chat GPT all the time. There are some scary things about it, but it is my second brain. And if people with ADHD learned to use chat GPT, it can really help you organize your life.


David Schwab All right. I'm going to take that as a love it.


Tim Lockie It is a little bit of a love.


David Schwab It giving Tuesday.


Tim Lockie I love it. I think it's good for the sector, even if it's not just the amount that you raise, the fact that there is more awareness one day a year around this I think is a net benefit.


David Schwab Direct mail.


Tim Lockie I'm confused by how well it does. How is it still winning so hard in it? But yeah, I don't I don't understand how it's winning, but it still does every every.


David Schwab Year, every time. Every time I used to, I used to have competitions when I was a direct response firm and like, we would we would be celebrating on the digital side for a two to water, 3 to 1 program through AI. And then the the direct mail team would come in and be like, Here's our 10 to 1 ROI on acquisition. I'm like, You got it. Can you guys just let me have my win for 5 minutes?


Tim Lockie And that's the ones that they know about because how many just come in with no, you know, attribution tied to it correctly like, yeah, okay. Yeah.


David Schwab All right. This one's a very heated subject. Pineapple on pizza.


Tim Lockie Absolutely.


David Schwab Oh, good, man. This one is kind of a more Midwest question, but you're you're in Montana, Midwest adjacent. Your dad grew up on a dairy farm, milk with dinner as an adult.


Tim Lockie Yes, absolutely. Depending on the dinner, especially if it's breakfast for dinner and usually with dessert.


David Schwab All right. This is the last one.


Tim Lockie My dad will like. My dad will make me tell you that this was it wasn't a dairy farm as a ranch. So I like I feel like I'm channeling him right now.


David Schwab But but to to ranchers and dairy farmers, that is a very, very important differentiation.


Tim Lockie Oh, my gosh. Yes. Oh, it's huge. Huge. Yes.


David Schwab All right. This question is very relevant. So we're recording this the Monday after the Super Bowl. So if I don't know if you watch, but I was watching a couple of the commercials were movie trailers, so I need to know your opinion, what the world needed more, A fifth Indiana Jones or a 10th Fast and Furious.


Tim Lockie Oh, my gosh, this one's hard. Cause I love. I'm so embarrassed to admit that I love both of those series. And no matter what they make. I'll watch them both. It doesn't. I don't care. And it doesn't even need to be original actors. I will just watch them. I think I'm going to go with Indiana Jones. Like, let's see how many more of those we can get out of here.


David Schwab I think Harrison Ford deserved one more time to shine.


Tim Lockie Absolutely. I mean, if he could do three more, why not? Like Sean Connery nailed it as the dad, you know, in that like, say, get creative. Let's see it.


David Schwab All right, Tim. Well, that's all I have for you today. I really appreciate your time with us. I can't wait to share all of your wisdom and your thoughts with our audience. And I look forward to continuing to engage and follow and talk with you. LinkedIn online conferences and talk and more soon.


Tim Lockie David, thanks so much. It's great to be here. I've been looking forward to it and really appreciate the conversation.


David Schwab Thank you, Tim.



Thanks for listening to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit! This podcast is brought to you by your friends at Funraise - Nonprofit fundraising software, built for nonprofit people by nonprofit people. If you’d like to continue the conversation, find me on LinkedIn or text me at 714-717-2474. And don’t forget to get your next episode the second it hits the internets. Find us on your favorite podcast streaming service, hit that follow button and leave us a review to help us reach more nonprofit people like you! See you next time!