Daniel Ruke Shares His Wisdom On Clarifying Your Nonprofit Brand

Daniel Ruke

            Daniel Ruke

Daniel Ruke as he describes himself:

I’m a creative entrepreneur and artist who transforms visions into reality.

I’ve worked with intellectual properties of Disney, Marvel and Chico’s.

I started my first company, Ruke Illustrations, two decades ago and grew it into blink, a full-service
creative agency that gets results.

After great success, I upped the fun by jumping into the video game industry, first representing
them and then creating them.

In 2010, all the experience and talents were combined to create Game Nation, an experiential video
game theme park and resort concept.

I enjoy spending quality time with my family playing video games, legos or working on miniature
sets and worlds inspired by Star Wars.

Specialties: Able to transform visions to reality!

I was privately trained as an artist since the third grade.
I still have every Star Wars toy since childhood.
I married my wife three months after our 1st date. It’s been 20 years with four daughters.
We play video games as a family on a weekly basis.
I started my first company 22+ years ago and I’m still making money with it today.


Read the Interview

Daniel Ruke: We go so far back, and we know each other so well. You actually know my real name because you said my real name. Daniel’s my real name. Ruke is my last name. As a guy who loves branding, there is a lot of Daniels out there, but there is no Rukes. I attach my identity to my last name. If you’re confused, that’s why because he knows me more than most people.

I’m an artist privately trained since the third grade. I had a gift. I had really cool parents who supported that gift, and they said this kid has somethin’. They put money out there and invested in me to hone those skills. I graduated as an illustrator from the top illustration school in the United States at that time, Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. I jumped right out and created my own business. My passion really is I love to wow people. I love creating imagery that evokes emotions, that gains reactions in a storytelling setting. That is what I do today. I do that for my full-service agency, Blink. I actually teach and show up people, I love my fun brand. It’s World Dominating Brand. I think it’s very important that we can design our own world. We have the power to do that and define what that world is and dominate it in a great, positive way. That is a little bit about me.

I have been married 22 years. I have four beautiful children. I love to play. I am very- I feel I’m very successful because I play. I get to do my dreams for a living, and I love helping others, especially those who want to have huge impact in the nonprofit world. There is a mission behind everybody, there is a story behind everybody’s efforts, there is a heart and desire that is burning in their bones. That fire they want to get out there in the world. Showing up here today to give some of the tools that we use from a marketing and advertising perspective and from a world dominating perspective, I’m excited to share that with you to empower you and your audience to be awesome and effective in an amazing way.

Russell: Daniel, it’s great to see you. Really it is about a dream. When people step into a space where they want to make a positive difference in the lives of other people, the sky’s the limit. We are facing some huge problems out in society today. It takes big fakers, big dreamers. A lot of times in the grind of serving people, which so many nonprofits do every day, they often lose sight of that dream. That’s a terrible thing to have happen. One of the problems that I’ve seen is I see people doing phenomenal work out there but nobody knows about it. What do you think would be at the root of that?

Ruke: There’s a mentality of scarcity. There’s a mentality of not worthiness. There’s a mentality of insignificance. When I’m dealing with a leader who’s having that trouble, the trouble is really in their head. It’s what they feel internally. I like to bring them back to the passion of why they are doing what they are doing. They started this mission for a reason. They wanted to change something for a reason. They saw a problem and a solution. It wasn’t just from a business opportunity. It’s more from the heart space, where they want to be effective to solve a problem. When you start doing that, a lot of self-doubt comes into play. What you are trying to cure and solve is so big, how can you do it? That leads to that mentality.

Then of course trying to get people to rally behind you, to support you in doing that. While a lot of people will support your endeavor, I like that, that’s a good idea, and we encourage you, you have to jump through that like and love perspective and create them as brand partners or donors or supporters, whatever your nonprofit is made up of. That is a hard part. I’ll tell you some of it is because you are doing this out of the goodness of your heart, it’s sometimes hard to ask for the money. There is a guilt. You don’t want to be needy. You don’t want to beg. What I do, I hope that answer is why mentally some people are there.

What I love to do is I focus on their brand, their branding or brand culture, especially internally. Behind the scenes, they see the mountain here. That’s all they see. They think that you see that mountain with them. You don’t. That’s the mountain they created that they are trying to solve. You are looking at them and watching them take their steps up. When I say you, that’s the outside world. Articulating those steps is very vital in building that connection. When I say “succeeding and growing up in front of your audience,” we don’t always see the great things we’re doing. We only see what’s ahead of us. We’re only problem-solving. We’re empathizing with our cause. Sometimes we get mythically caught up in the cause and become so empathetic that we are sympathetic and we have the similar mentality that infects us, which is not necessarily good. You always have to be that knight in shining armor. While you feel like your steps might be insignificant, they’re not. When you really look at what you’re trying to reach, that jump, that leap, that bridge to get where you want to go is always big. You don’t always know how. That is where that insignificance comes into play and adequacy comes into play.

What I love to do, and I honestly think this is a good way to do this, is start a journal. Create a journal. Write down what your hopes and desires are for your cause, the recipients of your cause. Then write down some of the case study points of wins. Write down what you’re trying to achieve and what happened. Out of that, you will identify little stories of success. What’s going to help you is if you write that and review it every week, month, or quarter, you will realize that you made a big difference in Sally’s life. But we were so close we didn’t see it. That journal will help you do that. Wow, we helped this family get to the next level! Those are big wins sometimes, but you really don’t see the small steps. What you start doing is look and reflect on those steps. Look at those wins. It takes a lot of little wins. We are always waiting for the big win. Once we get here, then we will show up with our marketing now, then we will show up on social media, then we will start doing announcements, then we will start doing a newsletter when we have these big bragging rights and we put that goal so high. It’s here above the camera. You’re not going to reach it, and no one is going to hear it. You have to talk about the little steps and tell the little stories along the way.

Of course, in today’s world, with social media and everything that we have, there is no reason why you can’t do it. There is nothing stopping you from doing it except yourself. I can preach, baby. Welcome to the church of Ruke.

Russell: The mindset is where it’s at.

Ruke: It is.

Russell: As far s the organization goes and what we teach at SynerVision is to start from the beginning and build that system. It starts with that dream. You have that dream. You reverse-engineer everything essentially. It’s finding out, bringing the right people on the box, as Jim Collins says in From Good to Great. You don’t have to do everything. The leader gets into the trap where he/she feels like they have to do everything. Here’s the thing that complicates getting the message out there because you want to attract board members, you want to attract volunteers, you want to have donors, you want people that actually use your services. There are so many different people that you have to talk to. The challenge I see folks having is getting the right people on the bus. There is a different message for each type of person. Trying to reach these people is something that a lot of these leaders could use some assistance with. It is about people. It is about stories. People give to people. This is very important. In order for that nonprofit to be effective, they need to reach all of those multiple audiences with the message that resonates with each audience.

You have been successful. You have done lots of different types of enterprises. You can look at different types of nonprofits. I happen to be on the board of trustees for the church that I attend. While you have certain activities that are church-related, my church does work with homeless programs, with food banks, and a few other agencies in the area. When it comes to messaging and reaching out to these multiple audiences, how would you do it in a scenario with an organization such as a church that works with multiple nonprofits?

Ruke: You’re getting me to preach here. Let me get up on my pedestal. The challenge with the church specifically is it’s the balance. You’re not really a church. You’re not really a business. Church is sometimes too much of a church, or it’s sometimes too much of a business, and they’re neither. It’s difficult to walk the fine line. When you talk about rallying people behind you, we have to be able to say no. A lot of times we stumble is because we are taking all the Yeses in. You have to be able to say no.

The opposite side of that is we put so much criteria in front of them to vet them that we actually squash the fire in their bones. That is where a lot of nonprofits actually fail. As you bring people on, you’re building that brand culture. You need to understand what that brand culture stands for and it’s not you. You started it. It’s your vision. But it’s not your organization, right? It’s the donors’. It’s the receivers’ organization. Once you build a brand culture, understand how you are there to serve and to contribute. Now you are always talking about that. It’s never about you and me. You are able to say, “Here’s our brand. Here’s what I stand for. How do you fit into it?” Now all you have to judge is the commitment.

Here’s the hard part. When they want to do something on their own, oh, you get all scared. It’s your baby. It’s not your organization. You started it. You’re the visionary. But it’s the brand that matters. What you actually get to have a conversation with that person that has all the fire in their bones they want to do stuff. You want to judge if they are committed. That is a proper way to vet them. How much time? What can you do? How much money? What kind of effort? Great. To make sure they will be there. They will finish what they start. Generally, it’s us as leaders of those organizations that get in the way that don’t allow them to finish.

What your conversation is, how does that fit within the brand. That can be missions. That can be what your goals are. How does that fit within the brand? As long as it’s doing that, you can give them the freedom to go out there, trust their brand is being represented properly. Getting clear on that is important.

Russell: It is about the brand. The first step to building a high-performance nonprofit is to have a solid foundation. This is where that branding piece comes in because we look at the core values that drive what the leadership team thinks. Who are the people you serve? Who needs you? It’s not about you. The greater mission is where that focus is. You have to determine what are we about? Who do we serve? What is the problem we solve? Why do we do it in a way that nobody else can? That is what it becomes about. That becomes the engine. When you mentioned leaders, I see that leaders have a tough time. You know the ones that have the biggest struggle are the ones that start it, especially after it starts to take off. There is a really good book called The Founder’s Dilemma [by Noam Wasserman] This is something that happens not just in business. To a lot of people, branding is a business term. That’s not necessarily what branding is. Branding isn’t peculiar to business. It’s really who you are and what you’re about. Why do so many people miss the boat on branding? Why do you think that is so misunderstood?

Ruke: That’s right out there with the word “marketing.” The definition of branding is the activity of marketing. It’s confusing because you have a brand. Most people think that’s a logo. That’s a piece of it. We are building a brand. That’s kind of a company. That’s a piece of it. In my opinion, it really isn’t. The brand is again the exercise of marketing. How you show up. It’s an experience. When you nail down what your internal branding is, what your brand culture is, it’s a set of missions, experiences that you’re trying to achieve, that you stand for. The external branding is the activity of marketing. Once you understand that, I am going to answer your question, that conversation shifts always toward that. You as the founder can release a lot of that control because it’s now about the brand, not about me and my ideas. People who have the most trouble are the smartest people, are the most caring people because they care so much. You have to understand, identify what that brand is, what that stands for, what that experience is doing. Then you can focus on that, and it takes you out of the equation quite frankly.

But people get confused on branding because it’s an ethereal thing. It’s an emotion. A lot of that emotion is memories and promises of what that experience is. Since it’s ethereal, it’s hard to pinpoint. There are steps to identifying branding: just like what you said, what do we stand for? What are our goals? What is the logo? What are our colors? How is that spread to the world? How is that communicated to the world? How do we look at it internally? In brand words, what do we stand for?

I have an exercise that helps you discover what your brand words are. It takes all this big concept to three little words. I will tell you mine right now: creative, empowering, and entertaining. Every company that I own, every company that I start has to fit into those three things. If not, it will be out of sequence with me. I hope you see I’m creative. Empowering, I am giving you a lesson right now. Entertaining, I hope I’m making you laugh. So everything I do fits in that. It takes our brand and the essence of that brand and simplifies it. Sometimes that is the best help they can get. What are those three words? You can always go how does that communication fit within creative, empowering, and entertaining? It can fit maybe two, but not one. Your CFO. Don’t want creative. You don’t need every bit of it. If you really do your communications, you can always look at it and say, “That’s a great idea. How does it fit into those words?” If it doesn’t speak to all three, it’s not a good fit. Get rid of it. Or if it’s a communication, and you’re going to show up on Facebook, can we show up in a creative, empowering, and entertaining way? You guys are great at that. If you can, it’s great, that’s a great initiative. If you remember those three words and hone those three words in and own them, you can always point to that and challenge and judge everything you’re doing from what you wear, what you say, what medium you use, what kind of newsletters you put out there, what Facebook Lives you put out there. It really helps you stay on track.

And people can take the ethereal thing and judge themselves to see what they are doing. We rely so heavily upon them.

Russell: That’s great. It’s all about who we are. Boiling it down, in the book, why should I choose you, they boil it down to seven words that drive why you do your business. Doesn’t necessarily show up on the slogan. The idea you’re talking about is just the same. The definition of why you do what you do, and it directs everything you do. Some people are really good. They get this part down. Oh, great. Now we know what it’s about. Now, who are some of the people we want to reach? How do we find out who we want to reach? Well, I gotta recruit some more board members. I gotta find some volunteers. How do I find out where they are, and how do I get to them? Then what do I say when I get there?

Ruke: Yeah. That comes down to choosing the right people. I like to look at board members, and the reason why you bring board members is they are giving money or they are a point of credibility that allow you to get money. This is for nonprofits. That’s why they’re there. If they just want to give and they are not going to do that, they are more volunteers. Again, what I love to do is talk about the mission and the brand. This is what we stand for. This is how we’re applying ourselves to the world. Of course, this is what our goal is. This is what the cause is behind it. You have to see if they resonate with that and have the same passion. They have to have the same passion. What level of commitment are they willing to give? You might have a lot of people who want to commit a lot, but they aren’t in sync with that, so you have to say no, or vice versa.

Ho w to communicate that. Here’s the truth. If you go back to the first part of our conversation about the little stories of success, and you start talking about them, first of all, you the leader, whomever the voice is, the communicator, the marketing director, the founder, once you connect back to why you’re doing what you’re doing and focus in on those brand words, to get really centered, then look at those little successes. Forget about the big monster. It’s that cloud that hangs over you. Forget about that. Just the little successes right now. You start sharing those successes with your world. You will attract the right people, especially if you show up within your three brand words. My perspective. If you show up in an entertaining way, if you show up in an empowering way, if you show up in a creative way, you will attract people who are attracted to that. If you articulate what you are trying to do, they will walk beside you. But they also want to see success. The reason why those little stories. I am going to tell you how you apply some of those to help with the marketing part.

When you start articulating those stories of success, they see their investment of time, money, and energy grow. They are seeing tangibility to the efforts that they are doing. That is so important. Those little stories of success can show up with Facebook Lives. Hey, we’re here helping the kids today. Thank you donors because you have been able to put backpacks. We’re going back to school, right? We were able to give 50 backpacks to this grade school. You guys did it. Thank you. That’s a huge success. People feel good about that. It could be a newsletter. It could be your Facebook pictures and posts.

I focus on Facebook. I will tell you some tactics here as we get into this. I focus on that because it is the easiest, most successful media we have. It is the most visited website out there, so you might as well. Almost everybody is on there. I would also say there are other platforms, but make sure your audience is there. You want to reach the people you want to reach. There is definitely other platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Depends who your supporters really are. Quite frankly, you might have a platform where you speak to your supporters. Some of us are older, so that’s Facebook, but your recipients of your supports might be on Snapchat. You might want to separate the way you communicate. Here’s showing how we support. Here’s our actual support. But that might be a deeper dive.

Russell: Success leaves some clues. The important thing is really to be aware of where the people that you want to reach are at. Having a leadership that is committed to doing that is really important. Everybody you talk to may fall into a different category. You want three things from people. All three would be lovely: time, talent, and treasure. If you can get them all, beautiful. But everybody can serve in some capacity. What is important to some may not be important to others. There is an extra level of commitment that you need out of your board members. They have to be committed. Once you figure out what it is that you stand for and what that thing is that drives everything you do, it boils down to making sure everybody is singing off the same sheet of music. The guy who is sweeping the floor should be able to tell you the mission with as much skill as your executive director because everybody’s enthusiastic about it. Everybody has a way to serve in a way that matches their desires. It’s matching all of those desires.

When it comes to tactics, it’s really about getting into these different places. Stories matter. You got the CFO type that you mentioned before. They are all about the numbers. But when you translate the dollars you raise to the number of backpacks you purchase and the number of laptops that the school is going to have that the children have access to, you’re not only showing the impact with the dollars, but you’re impacting lives. That is the double bottom line that nonprofits- You are providing value out there. It’s important to talk about the difference you make and that you’re providing value. You don’t need to show up with a hat in hand. You are there to partner with people to make a real difference in your community. There are a lot of tools out there to do that and ways to talk about doing that. That is your wheelhouse. It’s painting a picture for people so that they understand how what they do matters. Every time we contact people, we don’t have to ask for something. We can tell them how what they have already done has made so much difference. Hey, you can do more. The more that you do, the more people that we help. It’s really getting in there and not being afraid to look at things like marketing because we have to create success systems as leaders. We have to give people tools to talk with, tools to go out and reach out to other people with, and make it personal because everything, whether your tax status is profit-making or nonprofit, it’s all about relationships. People work with others that they know, like, and trust.

Ruke: I agree. Let me share with you some tactics on how to do that. Is that cool?

Russell: That’s outstanding. I would like to see that.

Ruke: Ready to learn some cool stuff? First of all, I want to say this. If I go through this, you can ask me questions. I will tell you to go to WorldDominatorsUnite.com. That is our group. We can let you in. I will rattle some stuff off. You will probably go, I have to take notes. I want to give that to you because your mission is very important. What you have in your mind and your ideas and what you are trying to do is absolutely correct. I want you to be able to have the great impact you were born for.

That said, one of these is we might sometimes have a problem asking for support. We don’t want to constantly ask for money. Especially in the digital world, one thing we love to do is, “Hey, here are a couple ways to support us.” This is what we are trying to do. Here is how you can participate. One easy way is to like our fan page. That’s it. Right. That is small. Then you can build. Maybe volunteer, or donate. When you’re asking for support, it’s not always give me money. Like our fan page. Share what we’re doing. That’s awesome. What that does is that triggers people to go, Oh, I’m involved now. I’m invested. I do like your fan page. By the way, let me back this up. I am talking about your Facebook fan page, your business page. That said, or whatever social media you’re talking about. Join us here. Support us by liking us and subscribing. That’s huge because now you can build a relationship you’re talking about. When you make that request, there are three ways to support us: this, this, and this. You should always get a yes. If you don’t, they don’t resonate, so don’t waste your time. That allows you to grow in to the bigger question of donate. If you already have that relationship, you have built that cold relationship to a warm relationship to a hot relationship, then you can make that big request. Let it sit there.

Here are some technology tactics I would do. The reason why you want to like, and I am going to go through a journey. This will be a customer journey. The reason why you want them to like the Facebook fan page business page is so that you can retarget them. Now you are going what does that mean? That is talking about running ads. I will get to that last. Running ads on Facebook. That is what you want to do. A lot of people go, I want to see my likes. I want them high because it makes you feel good. I am not saying from vanity. It’s not that. The reason why you specifically want that is because you want to be able to retarget them. Get some likes. Then run ads that are just about how awesome the mission is. No request. It’s only a brand awareness. What you’re doing is saying, “Like us, love us.” What you can do within Facebook specifically, and it’s a deep dive, and we are doing this training so I am welcome to do it. It’s free training. WorldDominatorsUnite.com. Happy to show you some of these techniques.

What you are going to do is when you place an ad, and it could be a video of you talking about your mission, what you’re doing, some cool things, some stories, and you can spend dollars on that and get it out to the world. When you do that, there is data points that you can check off that are people who are highly likely to support other nonprofits. People who are interested in X, Y, and Z. Now you are specifically targeting people that have not only habits that might give to you, but also have interest. If you come out there with your story first, these stories of successes, you are creating brand awareness. As you have done that, you then can follow that up, so you have this brand awareness stuff, with the same group because they have liked your page. You can now follow up with requests for support. Support us. Then they hit that button, Yes, I want to support you. They can come to a landing page that has several ways to support us, and one can be donating.

The key to that is get people to like your business page/fan page on Facebook. Then run ads talking about how awesome the mission is. No requests. They’re just top of mind. A third would be here is a specific request to support us. That support is three different ways. They might have already liked it. Who cares? It looks like they have helped you. Volunteer, support us, give us money.

Russell: That’s what it’s all about.

Ruke: And that’s automated.

Russell: It’s making it easy. What you just illustrated is how making it easy for people to act actually increases that support. Make sure you visit WorldDominatorsUnited. Getting out there, making it easy to support you is really important. it’s like non-ask events when you do things live. But it’s all about building that relationship. That’s one way to do it. Tell us more, Daniel.

Ruke: Here’s another secret sauce. These are my little ninja tricks. Understand if you set what I did, it’s not complicated. Some people might think they have clarity now, and others aren’t sure. It’s not complicated. But once you understand that cycle of we are going to market our brand to the world, then we will retarget them with asks of support, all you have to show up with is your story. Now that’s working, all you show up with is, Here’s a small win. Here’s another small win. Here’s another small win. Or maybe your thoughts. I was reflecting with someone who we’re helping, and it meant a lot to him, so thank you. We have the small ones. Again, don’t get caught in the mindset of, I have to share big wins. It’s the small ones that matter. We’re usually too hard on ourselves.

Here’s another ninja trick. I know you, my friend. I know that we go to places together, right? We network in places. Most nonprofits have somewhere where you’re networking. Here’s what I would do. This is real ninja stuff. Are you ready? I do this. It’s so much fun. I’ll tell you inside of some things we have done because of this.

I would look for a place for you to network.

Russell: Okay.

*Technical difficulties*

Ruke: You missed my ninja trick!

Russell: Now you have to go to WorldDominatorsUnited and sign up to find out what the trick is.

Ruke: No, this is important. Where’d I leave you, baby?

Russell: I’m not exactly sure. It got stuck there.

Ruke: It did? Here we go. I’ll kinda start the technique over again. I saw your face freeze, and I wasn’t sure. You go to a networking event. They meet weekly, monthly, or quarterly. This technique really doesn’t work anything more than that. You go there. You collect business cards. Then you come home, and either you do this yourself, have a virtual assistant or assistant take those business cards in, and invite them to like your page. Some you will have to friend, which is cool. By the way, what you said, Russell, those who give, you give to people you know you like. They gotta be your friends. Does that make sense? There is a reason for that relationship. What you do is invite them to like your page. Now what you do then, imagine this, Russell. You go to a networking group. Say you meet 30 people. Now you may have 30 people who like your page. That doesn’t matter. Now you run ads a week before going to the event. It’s just brand awareness. Hey, look at my page. This is a great win. We helped this family out. Thank you for this support. No request. It’s just that.

Here’s what happens. All those people who liked the page are now giving all these ads. You can spend $100 on this. It doesn’t have to be exorbitant because you are only trying to reach a handful of people. You’re not trying to reach the masses at this point. What happens is when you show up, the buzz that you create is tremendous. You are going to have people walk up to you and say, “I see you all over Facebook. I see all the great stuff you’re doing.” “I appreciate that. Thank you so much. Have you ever thought of supporting? Do you want to help? You seem excited about this.” See how that works.

That’s how you can use social media online in an offline networking situation. You constantly do that. Every time you show up, you have your campaigns going, and then you have these people who see you. They get to know you more. What happens is their confidence in you and love and support for your endeavor goes up, and their barriers go down. That is when you can start making real requests. People will come to you and say, “How can I support you?”

When I started speaking, here’s proof of this, Russell. When I started speaking, I did this. There’s a networking group that you and I both love tremendously called CEO Space International. When I had the great honor of being asked to talk, I did this. I showed up, and everybody knew who I was. Why? Because I was targeting you.

Russell: Yeah. You seize control of Facebook. This is something that Daniel started several years ago to become more effective and to find ways to use this effectively. What a lot of agencies do, they look at everything as a cause. If nobody knows about what you’re doing, you’re not going to reach anybody. You have to invest on the front end more in the way of time is what you’ll have to invest. But you’ll have to, in order to stay top of mind and get out there, and I’ll be talking a little bit about that with one of our sponsors. It’s being top of mind, getting out there. Sometimes a nonprofit doesn’t have the resources, but these techniques that you have just learned are something you can start doing today.

Let’s look at an organization and say either one of two things is taking place. Maybe they got a little bit to invest, but they don’t have the skills or the knowledge to do it. Or they have gone out and thrown some money at Facebook ads. I have spent quite a bit. I don’t seem to be getting any traction. With those techniques, there is a logical sequence that you follow and you got loads of followers. What would be a logical sequence you would have somebody in that instance follow to ramp that up?

Ruke: 80% of your business is going to come from existing business and people you know. That is what I call warm and hot traffic, leads. What a lot of people come in the mindset of is that 20% is cold. That is the most expensive. You are going to spend 80% of your dollars getting that 20%, but you can see over time how that grows a business. There is not a silver bullet. A lot of people go, “I want to spend a couple hundred bucks and get brand new people in.” I showed you a scenario that doesn’t work. I am also saying that you want to use those tools and techniques to support your existing endeavors. We don’t want to throw everything away and start all new, unless you are trying to go big fast and you have the wherewithal to do so.

By asking people first to like your page and invite them on Facebook to do so, don’t go around giving them a card and saying to like your page. No one is going to do that. I am talking you go on it, and you type it out, and you invite them. Once you have done that, now you can spend very low dollars because you are only reaching a handful of people. That supports your existing endeavors. Does that make sense? That is one key to step into there.

As you want to grow, you don’t want to sit there and be stuck at a computer all day. There are automated systems for this. If you are talking about the smaller end, you have HootSuite, Sprowt Social, which helps you with social media stuff and getting it out there on platforms. You can level that up with automated marketing stuff called AutoPilotHQ.com, which I love. It helps build out customer journeys. Once someone comes in and opts in, they get an email or a text or whatever. Let that relationship work itself. One of the higher ends is HubSpot, which creates all your marketing and all your emails and your ads and all that fun stuff. You can go deep real fast.

But the little steps are be clear on your mission and what you are trying to do. I will tell you some of the stuff I like to do is education. I challenge nonprofits not just to sit there and tell their opinion and tell why they are doing it, but also offer some education on how what they are doing can make every person better by X, Y, and Z. That is one thing we do.

I’ll pull it right now. You have received this before. When we show up, this is our World Domination package. In it are these cheat sheets. That is what you were talking about. These things are obviously taking time to build out, but these are our handouts. We talk about it costing money. This is not inexpensive. When I talk, everybody in my talk gets a whole packet like this around the subject matter that they can implement. Creating some cheat sheet. All you have to do is talk about those cheat sheets, those white papers. There are a lot of words. The secret formula for how to accomplish something. Whatever the education platform. It might be a video series to help your audience. As you do that, a lot of people who are now recipients of your nonprofit could become donors on small levels because they felt it, they felt effective, they felt like they had gotten use out of it. The big deep dive to solve their problems. You are educating them to what I call symptoms.

I am pulling up a random one. How to Create Lead Generation. It’s what we talked about. Build out a persona. What you want to give to them for free. And a landing page. It tells you how to do it.

But when you have that kind of information, you could give it out to people. Yes, it takes time and money to do that. But when it is received, they get to know you. They become affected in a positive way of the intellectual property, the systems and processes, your knowledge, you’re preaching your teaching, and they become fans. Now the next conversation is you want to support this so others can have it. That is when you get them in. Some of these people might not have a lot of money, so you can support Facebook and like us on your social platforms, or donate $20. It’s easy. It’s not hard to accomplish that. Actually grows your fan base with great value. Does that make sense?

Russell: That’s what it’s all about. The word “value” is not used often in these circuits. Bringing value to people you serve, how they define it depends on how they relate to you. Those are parts of the stories you want to weave into the fabric of who you are and the difference you are making. What is the value? People will tell you what is valuable to them. You overdeliver and underpromise on that value. You demonstrate that impact. Those tools, I’ve sat through one of the early sessions you did when you first developed that system. It’s better now than it ever was. It’s remarkable. If you sit and take time to go through that and put a system together and find ways to give people value, and that’s talking about what you do and what’s important to them, using a system a lot like this one. It’s perfect. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. World Dominators Unite. They will walk you through those tools. This is where we put in the time. This is a great project.

If you’re looking at attracting support. One of the best kept secrets is pro bono. I don’t think a lot of nonprofits leverage pro bono talent. The reason that people will do pro bono work for your nonprofit varies as to whether it’s a professional firm or students. If you can find an intern and teach them the system he just showed you, they can go in there, and it would give them a project of substance. It would lay out a plan that would help you reach specific types of people. You can use this system whether you’re looking to find donors, board members. It will help you gather the information and put together the things that are important because what you’re doing as a nonprofit leader is something that everybody tries to do on one level or another.

My friend Danna Olivo for example talks a lot about creating an experience for donors. How do you get them to stay with you? You have to stay connected to them. These are the things that Daniel is talking about: staying connected to people so that they stay with you. Some of the statistics I have seen, Daniel, are that most people keep 55-60% of their donors. You are losing upwards of 40% of their donors annually. What are some of the ways that you think they can eliminate that, using these tools and getting more people?

Ruke: A lot of it is because they have- It’s twofold. One is what you were speaking to, is that they don’t know where you are with the story. They are not seeing the little wins. If you are not expressing that, they don’t feel like they are walking the journey with you. If they are supporting you, they want to walk that journey with you. If you allow them to keep up with you by communicating with what you’re up to and you get in front of them and use technology to do so, it makes your life easy, and all you have to do is show up as the cheerleader and ambassador that you are. That’s great. That helps.

The other part of that is the reason why they fall off is sometimes we actually choose too big of a goal. They go, Wow. I don’t know how. You know how sometimes when you are looking at what you are trying to achieve, and you feel insignificant to obtain that, they do, too. How is my support, my contribution, even if it’s $20, how is that going to solve that? They don’t see it. Sometimes you’re not expressing the little steps and little milestones and little goals along the way either so that you clearly tell them what the effect of their support is actually having and accomplishing for the company. That is how you keep them connected.

Russell: How many people do you see- I know that some organizations use Facebook Live. Have you come across any where you see a nonprofit doing the Live where they thank a donor by name as they have money rolling in?

Ruke: Yeah. I’m going to go way extreme on you, baby. All right. Twitch TV. What is that? Twitch TV is the YouTube channel for video gamers. While they are branching out, it was solely video games. What they did is created “Letsplays.” That’s a geeky word of Let’s Play Along. It’s letsplays. If you have ever seen a video where the video game is being played, and in the corner, we have our heads in the corner, on my screen I am over here, that’s letsplay. You see the person playing the video game in the corner, and you see the video game they are playing. What that person is doing is playing the video game, but they are actually entertainment value. They are making jokes or talking to the audience.

By the way, Russ, there is young people who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year playing video games and what they do is what you just said. They are playing and saying thanks for supporting me, Russ. A lot of people give just to hear their names being shouted out. Playing into the vanity of that.

You can do that with Facebook Live. Now Facebook Live has features that are experimental where you can actually buy stars. You know how we give hearts and thumbs up. You can give a star. But a star costs you money, real dollars. If it happens, give me a lot of stars. On their gaming platform, they are now doing that. They started rolling that out.

Russell: it’s really thinking about these things in terms of an investment in time. People that support you, remember the three T’s, time, talent, and treasure. Anybody that is engaged in what you’re doing can help you on some level. The more supporters you have, the easier it will be. More hands makes the work lighter. That’s the way it goes.

Let’s talk about the people who look at this and say, Well, you know, this all sounds very good, but I’m technologically challenged. It sounds like it’s going to take forever. I don’t know how easy this is. There may be folks with some genuine fears around trying to do some of this stuff. How would you address them, and how would you encourage them to move forward? What sort of suggestions do you have to help them do that?

Ruke: I am going to come up with a smart alecky answer. Do I have your permission?

Russell: Go for it.

Ruke: I listen to a lot of different things. You know a little bit about me. I don’t always talk about this. But one of the people I love listening to is Joel Osteen.

Russell: Okay.

Ruke: The message that I was listening to- I listen to a lot of talk radio because I can listen and talk. I can get in my zone and produce my- I can’t listen and talk. I can’t do that. I tell my wife that, but she will just tell you that I can talk. I can work and listen. It doesn’t require any hands.

If you want it bad enough, you will get over it. Do you want it bad enough? Do you really want to solve that problem? Do you really want to have the impact on the world that you want to have? If you want it bad enough, you will put the work in. You won’t use that excuse. You’ll learn. What really helps you get there is being very on fire and clear on what your mission is. What you’re doing and why. Constantly having that in mind. Constantly being mindful of that. As you’re doing this, learning Facebook. You know what the impact is going to be. I’m hoping today I bridge for those because I try to keep it- I can get real geeky. I am trying to keep it simple because we are talking about complex things that aren’t that hard for some people, and for others, there are challenges. I am trying to bridge the gap of if I do this, here are some benefits that will happen.

For very small steps, doing Facebook Live can be challenging for people. If you are watching this, you have some affinity for it, which is awesome. This is the easiest form of getting out there. Show up and tell the stories. If that doesn’t work, you could do that at your local rotary club or different churches. Talk about those stories, the mission, and events. If that’s too much, do it with your networking group. Start telling those little stories of what you’re doing. Instead of talking about what you’re up to, meaning from a brand perspective, what are you trying to cure, that’s important, but for framing. Stop talking about that. Start talking about the little impacts you’re having on your audience. Now people can relate to that. If you can have those conversations in a networking group one on one, from the stages at little events, or big stages, or this virtual stage, if you can talk about the impact you’re having, now people can meet you where you are. If you change that focus, you will be more effective. The conversation of support becomes natural.

You can get more technological. I do want to backtrack on something. You said, “I will always start with this scarcity mentality.” You said there are people who will tithe their time for you. You used a different word, but it’s the same thing. I challenge you to pay for it. If it’s that important, it should be a line item on your budget because if you do the marketing correctly, and that’s what marketing is. If you do your marketing at all, you’re a step forward to getting more exposure and more results. If you do it correctly, if you listen to what I said and apply what I told you today, you will be doing it correctly, and you will have great results. That’s important. I would actually invest in those things because sometimes what we do is this is where we hit the mentality.

I’m technically challenged, so I don’t want to look under the hood. I don’t want to have that conversation. Then you have a gap in your understanding. If you are a true leader, a true CEO, a true person that is marching down to solve the world, you owe it to yourself, you have an obligation to close that gap. Not that you have to run your social media every day. That’s not what you’re talking about. But your understanding of it. That’s one thing I train people on. From a CEO level, this is what you need to know as a leader. Not that you need to know all the buttons to hit. That’s okay. But to understand the effectiveness of it, and where your mind needs to be, and more importantly, your voice. You got me preaching again.

But what happens is I don’t know it, so it’s out of sight, out of mind. And also, I don’t understand it. Here’s a challenge. I don’t know how to get someone to do it, so I am going to find someone to do it for free. Because you don’t value it. Now you have someone working on your behalf, volunteer-wise, tithing their time, because we are pushing it off to someone. But if you’re actually investing in it and hiring someone to do it for you, that’s a better tactic because you will come close because you are paying for it. You will come closer with your gap because it’s their job to help walk you through some of that stuff.

That’s where that pitfall is. I don’t know anything about it. Do you know something about it? Will you help me do it? You see that delivery there. The relationship is already set off wrong because you are not getting up to speed on it, you are not closing that gap, so that is why a lot of people fail in that area. Those who understand marketing understand the value of it and understand spending a dollar on it, and they are getting the good quality stuff.

Russell: They key word that you used in that is “investment.” It’s not a cost. A lot of nonprofit leaders look at stuff as a cost. This is an investment of your relationships that are invaluable.

Speaking of valuable relationships, *sponsor message for Wordsprint*

Thanks to our sponsors, we get to have people like Daniel Ruke here. WorldDominatorsUnite.com. This is a place to go to get that basic training. He’s got remarkable tools there. Daniel, it’s been a real pleasure.

Ruke: Can I add one more thing?

Russell: I wanted to get your closing thoughts that you wanted to leave people with. What’s the biggest takeaway they should have?

Ruke: I gotta add something. I know the time right now. When you said “investment,” here is a misnomer I want people to understand. I am using my stuff as an example again. When I talk from stage, I hand this stuff out. These are for people who aren’t doing business with me. This is the kind of stuff we create and hand out. We have spent up to $25 per person in a seat. That is my cost. Not getting there, not travel, not the hours to pay me and my team that it takes to make these things and create these unique things. It’s the largest investment that I make.

Here is what you need to understand. When you are out there getting cold traffic to warm them up, that is the biggest expense you are going to have by far. When you talk about investment, a lot of people go, “Hey, no one bought off of this yet.” You have to build the relationship. It takes time. When you look at the ROI on this stuff, how does it get to the big stuff, too? Once you get the big traction, the big donors, the big numbers, that is where you can trickle it down and say it cost you nothing. It was well paid for and profitable. That is where a lot of people look at these little steps like the free giveaways and go, “How is that going to make us money?” It’s not going to make you money immediately. It’s on the path, on the journey.

What I’d like to leave you with is that it is a journey. You started out, and you’re doing what you’re doing because you have fire in your bones. I hope it’s still there. If it’s not, go center yourself, think of three words that inspire you to do this because the world needs what you’re doing. You are important. What you are trying to cure, solve, support, and help needs you. If you do not invest in you, with your money and your time, with your platforms, with your marketing, with your organization, if you don’t ask for the money, the support, yep, support liking, but if you don’t ask for the money, you won’t have the impact that you want. That’s a shame, and that’s sad.

I would say that you are doing the right thing. Keep at it. Take the words. Listen to this a couple times. Apply. If you really want it, you’ll do it. Those who get it done want it the most.

Russell: Daniel Ruke, you’re a wizard. It’s always a pleasure. Thank you so much for your time and preserving it at such a high level.

WorldDominatorsUnite.com is where you can get all these tools. ROI, it’s not just return on investment, but for you folks, it’s return on influence, return on impact. You can do that with the right tools.

Thank you again for joining us on The Nonprofit Exchange. This is Russ Dennis signing off until next week.

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