Kaitlin Cashwell On How To Take An Analytical Approach To Growth And Development

kaitlin cashwell fundraising superheroes
 
 
In order to grow your nonprofit, you need to know what resources you have available to you and understand the best way to activate your staff. In our interview, Kaitlin Cashwell explains how nonprofits can use resource maps and logic models to grow their organizations and become better leaders. 

Kaitlin has nearly 15 years of experience in project business and nonprofit management. Her unique approach combines project management skills, business principles, and nonprofit frameworks to effectively drive individuals toward bold organizational outcomes. She is a mathematics enthusiast and joins us today to discuss how you can utilize data and analytical problem-solving skills to maximize your organizational activity. 
 

Kaitlin’s Top 3 Takeaways 


  1. Lead with a collaborative mindset. People are more motivated to work towards a goal if they feel invested in it. That also means finding ways to relate to each one of your team members, as there is no one size fits all approach to leadership. 
  2. Take note of the resources you have within your nonprofit. This includes your staff! Create a resource map of the talent you have within your nonprofit and ask your employees if they’d like to leverage any of those skills within your organization.
  3. Don’t be afraid to revisit your logic model. As your team and nonprofit begin to grow and change, make sure to set time aside to update your logic model.                                                                                   

Our Favourite Quotes 

 
(06:26) I think we're far from the previous management structure of I am doing this for, say, a leader, or I am doing this for an organization, and it's more of we are doing this together because we both believe in it. And I think that's something that leaders can do to drive their team to that success that they want to see that's a self motivated success because together we can achieve so much more when we have the same heart and the same initiative.

(19:26) People can get into a rut and you want to make sure that they're still embedded and passionate about the mission that you're driving towards. And if you don't ask them where they want to go as well, then you're going to miss out on the opportunity to really get them to that next level.

Transcript


Sabrina
Today we're talking with Kaitlin Cashwell on how to use analytics to grow your organization.

Hello and welcome to Driven's Fundraising Superheroes Podcast. I am your host, Sabrina Sciscente, and as an innovator in nonprofit technology, our team at Driven is determined to help you unlock your true fundraising potential. We specialize in donor member and volunteer management software, and we would love to get in touch with you to help you work towards your goals. So make sure to give us a visit at trustdriven.com if you'd want to learn more.

If you're looking for a new way to approach your nonprofit growth and development, Kaitlin Cashwell is here to help. Kaitlin has nearly 15 years of experience in project business and nonprofit management. Her unique approach combines project management skills, business principles, and nonprofit frameworks to effectively drive individuals toward bold organization outcomes. She is a mathematics enthusiast and joins us today to discuss how you can utilize data and analytical problem solving skills to maximize your organizational activity. So thanks, Kaitlin, for coming on the show with me today.

Kaitlin
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

Sabrina
So you have a really unique background in mathematics, which allows you to have such an interesting perspective on problem solving. How does this more analytical approach help you within the nonprofit industry?

Kaitlin
Yes. So a little bit about my background. I have a math degree. I've been in the space for going on nine years now of the nonprofit space. And I've been able to utilize my mathematical skills to not only efficiently operate my team, but also to externally grow what it is that we're trying to achieve, whether it's through partnerships or recruiting funds for us to do what we need to do. And then I also have an MBA, so that helps with my partnership growth and just strategizing overall for us to get to achieving what we need to achieve. The background of the mathematics piece is important, I feel, because I've been able to kind of break down things into their little pieces, so to speak, like thinking about a math problem. We all know we studied two plus two equals four. So looking at in the nonprofit space, that two. And the two getting us to some sort of activity to then achieve the impact that we do want to achieve. And then with just that mathematical kind of analogy, adding in more and growing it exponentially. So I think that that main piece of breaking down things to pieces and then adding them back together to just make that impact that you want to do, I think has been invaluable.

Sabrina
Yeah. It definitely helps if you're able to take a bigger problem and really break it down and understand how each part is contributing to the result and how to use that to then get a different result that you want. I'm curious to know, was there ever a time in your career where this has been really helpful? Maybe it's with a fundraiser or an event. Is there a specific example that comes to mind that you can share with the audience?

Kaitlin
Recently we've been growing. We've implemented three new community based programs just within this year alone. And being in a nonprofit world, we don't have that much funding. So it's really going to how can I take what I have and still get to where I need to go? So is it something that's going to happen internally, or is it something that's going to happen externally? So my team right now is focusing heavily on that creating of infrastructure for the community based program. How can I take part of my team to still continue operations? And then how can I take part of my team to set up for where we need to go in 2022 and 2023? So that's the building blocks of putting people together and moving them around based on where it is that we really need to go, given we have this box of resources and we can sometimes grab more in depending on the availability, with covet being a challenge of how we can get fundraising up and running because everybody's having some financial struggles with that. So we do know that resources are limited and nonprofit are growing, and so we're all fighting over the same sort of funding to promote our initiatives.

So I'm trying to continue to work smarter with my team on how we can still get to that big impact.

Sabrina
And team management is really the key, I think, to getting the results that you want, being a good leader, being really motivating all are very important. Is there a specific strategy that you take when it comes to working with your team? How do you approach leadership in your position?

Kaitlin
Yeah, I think understanding them, understanding what value they bring and what drives them to where they want to go is important. I think that we have a growing number of millennial population becoming leaders in the workforce. They are very diverse in their backgrounds and skills, and understanding where they're coming from and how they want to be led is important. I drink too much coffee, but that is one piece and then two. There is still the other generations also in the workforce. So if you take a one size, one approach, I think with the individual and creating an environment for them to know what they're responsible for and to know where they want to go is a great way to maximize achieving goals with them. So I think we're far from the previous management structure of I am doing this for, say, a leader, or I am doing this for an organization, and it's more of we are doing this together because we both believe in it. And I think that's something that leaders can do to drive their team to that success that they want to see that's a self motivated success because together we can achieve so much more when we have the same heart and the same initiative.

Sabrina
Yeah. It all has to come from the same place. And when you are shifting their motivation, it definitely helps. I'm curious to know how when we're delegating tasks to our staff, can we become more efficient as an organization? Are there ways that we can think outside the box, especially when we are afraid to kind of trust and just let our staff take lead?

Kaitlin
Yes. I think the best way is to have those sort of let's go back to the math analogy, the equation. So what is their portion of the equation? What are the resources and tools that they have? And this sort of model can replicate nonprofit space is very familiar with logic models. Some people love them and some people do not so much because they are a little bit challenging to understand. I do encourage listeners to get around the background of it and have a stronger grasp on logic models because that almost is a mathematical or analytical model. So you can take it very small and you can make it very big. It can be for your whole organization. It could be all the way down to what one individual is responsible for. So that's kind of like the best tactic for aligning your teammates. They are resource within your organization. They have responsibilities and aligning them with the logic models, whether it's within your programs or within your organization as a whole, so that they know this is what I got available to me. This is where I need to go. And then giving them the freedom to create that activity of how it is achieved because they are very smart, everybody has their own values, that they bring in their own skill sets.

And so working with them to figure out the best way, I think, to get to where you want to go is something that I value. And I meet with my team regularly, at least once a week for one on one to help them build that structure. I feel like everybody's in the mindset of they want to do what's right for the organization, especially in the nonprofit space. And so it's just a matter of how you get there. And it's sometimes when you're working with staff members and leading them that you're almost building your own little partnership with them. And so we emphasize partnerships externally to nonprofits, like nonprofit and nonprofit. But what partnerships are you building within your organization? Sometimes it's departments building relationships together, and then it's even staff members as well as to some extent, you have the control to tell them what to do, but it needs to come in from within as well so that they can do it what meets their skills.

Sabrina
It's so important. We had a conversation a few months ago on Siloing, and one of the aspects of Siloing we talked about were within the organization. And the guest that I had on was talking about how when the fundraising and the marketing team finally began to work together that they saw such better results.

Kaitlin
Yeah.

Sabrina
Because it's all about sharing information. And when you start to kind of put blind spots within your own organization, it's really hard to move forward and do your best work.

Kaitlin
100%. And the siloing piece is important as well, which is with your team. So like being an open communicator of where it is that we need to go because all these people do have some amazing skill sets and particularly the millennial generation that's growing and becoming those leaders. They have diverse backgrounds. And so what is it that you're doing to empower them and communicate with them about where they need to go so that you can absorb from them ways that they can help you?

Sabrina
Exactly what better way to learn than from each other, right?

Kaitlin
Yeah, 100%.

Sabrina
I would love to know how important it would be for organizations to create a resource map of their talent, kind of understanding each individual's skills, strengths, because like you're saying, a lot of millennials and even I'm noticing with Gen Z, people are really hungry for knowledge and they actually know a lot more than what their job description may say about them. So how can creating a resource map and using that as a tool within your organization really help your progress?

Kaitlin
So you're bringing back to just me. I have a lot of staff members that have side hustles, and they just like to learn. Like, some of them have podcasts of their own. They just do fun and they don't want to create any monetary value from that. So, yes, it's growing. People love to seek out their own credentials and their own training. And so with nonprofit space, I see kind of tool or a mindset of what I used in project management when I studied that before I started in the nonprofit space. And that's that resource tool. So internally, you might have somebody that wrote a book and you're trying to publish a book within your organization and actually happens with my nonprofit. So how are we leveraging that skill set that we already have? And maybe that person isn't on the project team to write the book, but they know how to publish it. So having that information when you hire and as you continue to grow your staff and they grow on their own understanding what it is that they have, the skill sets that they have, and then how you can utilize that helps nonprofit with that limited amount of resources, it's always going to be an issue.

And so empowering your own staff and leadership to take advantage of what it is that you have internally is something that I feel like is super important. And in the technology space, startups do some of that really well. And so how do we adopt that from other industries, I think is an important thing to think about as well.

Sabrina
Startups. It's always really busy when you start with a startup. But those are the kind of environments that I find people grow the most because you're really having to get creative with how you use your resources. Your staff is part of your resources. Has there ever been a time maybe within your own organization or with your own experiences that you found going outside and having people try new things has really helped?

Kaitlin
We all can kind of get in a rut sometimes. And we talked about the start up kind of have that natural tendency to be a startup environment because you have generalists, especially when I started with the organization, we had five people, maybe four people, and I've had so many different roles in the organization. I actually started as the CEO's executive assistant and doing all the board management and doing some of the budgeting and the comparison of the actual versus the future sort of budgeting and stuff like that. And I'm so far from the finance world right now just with my new position, excuse my words, but I have realized just like as we're growing, we're moving more into that specialized structure because now we have around 30 employees. And so how do you keep your team motivated and energized? And they all want to try new things and they all want to be a part of this growth and success. And so I think just that piece of letting people have some flexibility when the project is challenging or hard and you need to dig within is another kind of reason to have that resource pool.

But as far as the other part of the question, which was when was this beneficial? On my team, for example, I have somebody with a background in training. I have somebody with a background in a lawyer actually in a marine, and I have a background in development and then a social worker. So I manage a team of very crazy different, diverse backgrounds. And it works though because I have the development person hyper focused on that growth in communities. Right now I have the lawyer marine. He is focusing on just building networks and helping us grow our outreach into corporate space specifically. And then we've seen that blend into growth in the communities to impact more veterans. And then the training manager is an extrovert sales background in education, but she did education and conferences to sell an education tool. And so I'm leveraging her for that growth in the community, in the community context to get more people interested in our model and learning our model. So blending that and then the social services background, she is solely focusing on the impact on the lives of veterans and she is taking her team with other social services backgrounds and really helping and nurturing that.

And so that's just an example of how I'm taking the best of these people and plugging them in to where they can make the most impact based on the goals that we have to achieve. And so that growth of the communities that we've recently started with is able to happen. And I'm not changing their job descriptions or their titles. It's just re emphasizing their positioning and their focus. And that's just something that I feel like me figuring out where the best background is the best support and where they want to go aligns with my goals and objectives as a team to help continue to grow that impact and serve more veterans.

Sabrina
Fantastic. I'd love to know before we go today, what advice would you give to organizations who want to begin to take a more analytical approach with their management style? Where should they begin?

Kaitlin
I did touch on this earlier with the logic model. I do think that getting a firm grasp on your logic model, it can change. It's always scary to commit to things, but that is a living, breathing document, but it helps you understand what it is. You have the resources and where you need to go, and then relying on your leadership and your team and your experts to figure out how that operationalizes. So sometimes in the nonprofit space, especially if we've been around for a while doing the same thing, you might be doing things that you don't need to do to get there. And so let's maybe stop those or refine those, because why have somebody do something that isn't driving you to what it is a nonprofit obligated to achieve? And then you might find new ways of doing things. So that logic model, and like I said, too, it's layers. You can make it big, you can make it small, you can focus on an individual. That is, I think, the best way to be empowered to be a more analytical, efficiently driven organization. And then also that resource map. So getting to know what it is that your employee not just has as a background, but to where their interest lies.

So people can get into a rut and you want to make sure that they're still embedded and passionate about the mission that you're driving towards. And if you don't ask them where they want to go as well, then you're going to miss out on the opportunity to really get them to that next level. And I do have to give the nonprofit I work for some major props for being understanding of that, that people grow, and sometimes people grow in their career. And that doesn't mean internally to the organization. And we are here to empower veterans and power communities, to empower veterans, which is our mission in America's Warrior Partnership. But if we have a veteran that wants to go do something that doesn't align with our organization, that happens sometimes. And so we need to think about how we are empowering them as well, because they are veterans too. And sometimes we forget about that. But that's just a piece of that. We do a great job to align where it is you want to go, what it is that you want to do and then where the organization wants to go and where we need to make a big impact, that's fantastic.

Sabrina
Well, I think that's the perfect place for the episode. I would love to take a minute for you to use the space and let our listeners know how they can get in touch with you. Where would you like them to go and explore? Maybe donate to your organization?

Kaitlin
Okay. Thank you, Sabrina. So I am Kaitlin Cashwell. You can visit me on LinkedIn. The organization I work for is America's Warrior Partnership. We empower communities to empower veterans and you can visit the website AmericasWarriorPartnership.org. I'm happy to talk more about business with you. That is my background operations nonprofit success. And if you are a nonprofit organization, I would love to meet you and learn more about what it is that you do. We can work together to empower communities to empower better.

Sabrina
Well, thank you, Kaitlin, for joining the show. If you'd like to connect with Caitlin, you can find her at AmericasWarriorPartnership.org or on LinkedIn, both of which I have linked in the description box below.

And for those listening, we love having you be a part of the Fundraising Superheroes family. And if you'd love to get access to more content I strongly encourage you go to trustdriven.com there you can listen to past podcast episodes or sign up for our newsletter to get content delivered straight to your inbox. As always, thank you so much for listening and we'll see you next time on the Fundraising Superheroes podcast.



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By Trust Driven on

Podcast Mar 30, 2022, 12:00 AM

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