Shift Your Money Relationship: Finding Your Money Leaks with Chella Diaz

Chella DiazChella Diaz knew at a very young age how to manage money, at 9 years old she would go to the Farmer’s market and knew the vendors that had the best product at the lowest price. She purchased her car at 17 and her first home at 23. Chella was married for 17 years and has two sons.
For over 15 years, Chella has been on her spiritual journey.

Chella has been hosting workshops to empower people to master their money skills. Her simple approach to creating a spending plan that will serve you today and for many years to come will allow you to reach your financial goals with joy and grace.

Chella has worked with many coaches and mentors and created a program that meets each client where they are and provides them with the tools they need to unpack their emotional baggage around money.


Read the Interview

Hugh Ballou: It’s 2pm on the Eastern Coast time zone. We are hosting The Nonprofit Exchange yet again. Every week, it’s special. We have a guest who shares some really good stuff. We are talking about money today, but it will be different. It’s one of those things everyone talks about.

*Sponsored by EZCard*

My guest today is Chella Diaz. Long-time friend, but we finally connected, and I understand why she needed to be on this show and tell you things that she knows. Chella, tell people a little bit about yourself and why you’re doing this thing that you’re doing.

Chella Diaz: It would be my pleasure. It’s an honor to be here. It’s all about timing. We have known each other for several years, and I’m glad we’re here. The timing is absolutely prefect.

I have been good with money since I was nine. I was just one of those little interesting kids. I purchased my first car when I was 17 and my first house when I was 23. Before some of you start jumping, I have been speaking for a long time. My dad was a baker, and my mom was a housewife. Some of you may think I got lots of help. I did, but not financial. When I went to purchase my first house, I was short $1,600. My dad did lend me the money at that point in time, but up until then, it was just one of those things that made sense. I have two amazing boys, young men now.

I spent many years in the corporate world. I was a real estate underwriter. Along with my being good with money, I got the opportunity to review over 20,000 real estate loans. I got to see this black and white stuff. This is me reviewing tax returns and seeing how the wealthy save their money and the folks that don’t have money. I saw a pattern.

After my divorce, and after the company I worked for shut down, I knew that I didn’t want to go back to that. I knew there was something bigger I wanted to do. That was when I published my first book Money Bootcamp. My idea was to empower high school and college students. That was when my business idea began. The first business idea doesn’t always take off.

Then I was asked to speak at various women’s groups. For me, that was when the light went on. Watching and teaching women not only how to manage money but also how to set themselves apart so they always have enough money to do what they want to do, and watching the lights go on. I do work with some men, but my main audience is women and high school students and college students.

To me, I feel that this is my way of giving back. This is my mission. I get to have so much fun doing it. People always say, “Find something that you like, and you will never work a day in my life.” I feel very fortunate because that is what I am doing right now: having an amazing time.

Hugh: Yeah, you gotta have fun. I am still doing what I do in my senior years and enjoying it more than ever before. There is a lot more to do and more to learn. My area is leadership and organizational development. It’s a big area. Money is another big area.

We start out in the nonprofit world with this word “nonprofit.” We immediately set the tone that is negative. We have profitability. It’s not profit in the sense of a business where we look out for our shareholders and have this big salary for the top person. It’s a for-purpose enterprise, where we are doing charitable work, but watching money. We have this negative thing about money from the start.

When we minimize things and we cut pennies, we are really hurting ourselves in terms of how we manage money. We’re in an era where women leaders are stepping up. This is a good time for you to talk about how women bring unique skills to the marketplace as entrepreneurs running a social enterprise or business. My wife is a clergy in the Methodist church. There are new opportunities for women to bring fresh perspectives and ideas.

Let’s talk about how we see money. What are the biggest problems in how people think about money?

Chella: I believe it goes back to when we are five years old, and we begin to hear, “We can’t afford it. You have to work hard for your money. Money does not grow on trees.” These are three of the most popular phrases I come across. When we think about that story we hear, how it travels and grows with us, so that we can’t afford it. Now we are here in a purpose, where we want to help people, but we are still having this, “I can’t afford it. You have to struggle for money.” That interferes with our mission and purpose. It prevents us from asking, going after, and showing up. Whether we are working on our passion project, it doesn’t matter. We tend not to show up for our business. We tend not to share. Most importantly, we do not ask for what we need.

Hugh: In the case of nonprofits, we are sharing our vision and our mission and the impact that we’re having on people’s lives. In a way, we’re asking, but we’re inviting people to participate in that work. We start these habits. If I hear you right, we have been spoonfed these from the beginning. We were told things about leadership that don’t work, and we have been told things about money that don’t help us at all. What is the antidote to this?

Chella: It’s going and identifying what that story was and connecting to how that is currently affecting your financial picture. It sounds simplistic, but every single one of my clients who has done this- Once you have identified and shed some light on this, then you are no longer subject to that story. It’s giving a voice.

Hugh: Don’t give the voice to the story. It’s like we download software in our computer, but we have to learn how to use it correctly. We only use the templates.

We have Ryad here from Algeria, part of Bob Hopkin’s class in Dallas. He has a special interest in inspiring young leaders to think about philanthropy in a new way. To be a philanthropist, we don’t need to be afraid of money. Philanthropy is not all about the money. We do make financial contributions. As we welcome new people into the Methodist church, we say to participate with your time, talent, and money. There is a triple invitation, but there is an opportunity for young people to understand.

I had Ivan Misner on the show last week. The motto for BNI is Givers Gain. It’s a different mindset.

How do we get an awareness of some of these negative things we have been taught? You are in who we have been taught. How do we have an awareness to gain a mindset?

Chella: By simply beginning to write. As we are sitting here, I am a huge note-taker. As you are saying wisdoms, write down. Sit down for 10 minutes, for seven days, silent, and think about those money conversations you listened to. That will bring them up to awareness.

Everybody has a conversation. There are a few of you out there who are not going to have it because adults do not talk about money. Go back. 10 minutes. Seven days. I would love to hear from you what your feedback is. These things, the minute you begin to give the mind a task, it will do it for you.

But if you don’t remember, that is also very telling because that means as a little child, what stories did you make up about the fact that adults were not talking about money? That is also very powerful. You make up a story as a kid as to what that meant. I wish I was making this up.

As an adult, it’s possible you are in a relationship, and you don’t talk about money. But you have this white elephant in the room that nobody is talking about. Not hearing a conversation is also incredibly telling. What did that little child make up as a story?

Hugh: We know that we give energy to what we think about. If you think about debt, we are in a panic time. The media wants to scare us so that we read their newspaper or watch their show. We don’t need to buy into these narratives that have penalized us. Dan Pallotta has this keynote where he talks about the way we think about charity is dead wrong. Nonprofit is a good starting point. It’s a bad word; it’s a lie. But it’s the word we know. It’s a genre of operating. It’s a tax-exempt business.

Part of the headline here is, “Money Leaks.” What do you mean? Do you carry it in a bucket, and it leaks out?

Chella: I am going to make that a picture. As we go through life, and we get services, and we don’t realize that some of these, are we using them? The most traditional one would be a membership to the gym and we don’t use it. There are so many other things that we go out and purchase, and we don’t use. Those are the money leaks. Those are the ones.

But also, how are you choosing to spend your money? This is the $100,000 question. If you are able to sit down and track your finances for 30 days, whether you go back and do it or start fresh from here moving forward, if you are able to track any time you spend over a dollar on a notepad or a Word document or an app, at the end of the four weeks, you are going to divide that list into how much you spend on wants and how much on needs. I prefer to do it every week, so it doesn’t seem like such an overwhelming task. For four weeks, how much did you spend on wants versus needs? At the end of the four weeks, you will find your money leaks.

One of my favorite examples is a young lady was spending $750 a month for lunch. You don’t realize how much you’re spending. You go to the bank and get the money. You’re on automatic pilot. You don’t realize where the money is going. By taking the time to do this one task for four weeks, whether it’s lunch or dinner or snacks- One of my clients, $125 in snacks. He would stop at the corner store before getting to work to pick up snacks. $125 for snacks? Imagine what you could do with $125 a month extra.

By doing this one task, you are going to find where your money leaks are. I don’t believe in giving up everything. After you find the money leaks, my lunch person, she decided to put away $500 toward a down payment of a house, but she still went out to lunch. She still had $250 to work with for lunch. You will find what other choices you can make with your money. How are you choosing to spend your money? That’s where the magic happens, folks.

Hugh: You start buying a $5 latte every day. That adds up to a lot of money. That is a lot of money over the terms of a week, a year. You add all those wants up, not needs. You can get an app like Mint, which shows you every day where your money went. It’s free. Is something like that helpful?

Chella: Absolutely. It’s doing the work for you. The only thing with some of those apps. If you are able to track everything, fabulous. Sometimes you may not be able to track stopping at the store and picking up flowers. When you pay with cash, that is where Mint may not be great. But it is a great start. I like Mint.

Hugh: I try to do everything on a credit card. I don’t care what the interest rate is. A high interest rate encourages me to pay it off. To me, the interest rate, the higher the better. I can’t pay interest, so it encourages me to pay the thing off. My particular card gives me a summary by category in addition to the Mint, and it also gives me hotel points. I go to a lot of hotels I don’t pay any money for. There is a liability in a credit card where you just use credit without the cash to pay it at the end of the month. There is an accountability process here. If you are struggling to make ends meet, you have to be aware of your own spending. We go out and have drinks with friends, and we spend money. We don’t have to do all that. We can drink water and have a good time and have a wine at home. Pay for a bottle instead of one glass at a restaurant. Or give it up all together. How do you stay on track? Do you have an accountability partner idea? Maybe we encourage each other.

Chella: Hugh just brought up a big idea. If you know anybody who has credit cards, ask them to add up three months’ worth of interest. How much did they pay in three months? When you see that, let’s say it’s $500 for three months. That is going to be $2,000 for the year. This is the game-changer. When you start thinking not only am I making the credit card company rich, but what could I be doing with $2,000 at the end of the year? Imagine what that looks like in your bank account. I find that when people do this task, they are able to go out and work maybe a little bit harder for the short term to pay off that debt, be it selling something or doing something extra so that money can flow into their account.

The accountability is one of my favorite things to do. I still have two accountability partners. I suggest they cannot be a spouse or significant other. This is something you’re working on yourself first. Then you can come together. It’s not that you can’t tell them what you’re doing. Once upon a time, purchasing personal development courses was a weakness for me. Any time I saw it on TV or an event, any time I went to spend over $100, I needed to call my accountability partner and share that I wanted to buy this thing I could not live without. You tell each other what your goals are, what your weaknesses are, and then you call each other during that time. After I started talking about it, justifying why I needed to buy this, it was so silly. I really didn’t need it. An accountability partner helps you to stay on track on whatever financial goals you are. It helps you stay away from the shiny objects, and they are there to celebrate any time you achieve a milestone.

Hugh: These are all good personal growth habits. I wanted you on the show because we all bring our good and bad habits into the workplace. Many of our audience has a vision for changing people’s lives through a nonprofit they founded; sometimes they run it, or they get other people to run it. We want to identify these because the personal problems become systemic problems and a problem for the organization.

In the nonprofit world, we are required to have a board of directors, and they oversee the money part. The same issues that you just talked about do exist in organizations. I have seen organizations who are broke, but there is no discipline or system or accountability or awareness of living beyond our means. We don’t have the money coming in, but we have to do these programs because they are compelling. You have to take care of home first. How do leaders bring these shortcomings into the business? How does that hurt everybody?

Chella: That’s why I think you have to start at home. Find your money leaks, fix them. Once you start to do that, what happens is you begin to see other opportunities, whether it’s the saving $500 a month. Other opportunities begin to present themselves. Debt creates overwhelm and stress. When you are stressed and have to think about how you make those payments, there is that “Another payment, I have to write out ten checks.” I know people don’t do that anymore. Automatic pay, whatever that is. I need to pay ten bills versus three bills. That takes stress. When you are able to get that under control at home, those skillsets will transfer to your organization.

You are able to come up with different ideas for a fundraiser. You are able to share about your project to that person you haven’t thought about sharing. It opens up more space for you to be able to be more productive and bring in more money to your nonprofit, or what I call a passion project.

Hugh: Your passion project. What is your passion project?

Chella: My passion project is to do workshops for high school students and college students. It’s interesting because I hear a lot from them about how they don’t care about the money, but they want to make a difference. I say, “In order to make a difference, you need the money.”

Hugh: Ryad, as a young person facing the life ahead, does this stimulate any questions for you, or do you want to comment on what you’re hearing?

Ryad Benabdelkader: Yes. By the way, I like the use of the credit card. Where I live, it’s not used very much. People love cash. They never use a credit card. Starting with my family and my parents, they just use cash in Algeria. But I like the idea of the credit card because you have to think about how to use the money twice. You won’t just buy it with cash. Each time my parents are just spending, spending, spending. If it was with a credit card, it would be better, and they know where to spend the money. I love the idea of credit cards. I hope we will apply it one day.

Hugh: You’re in Algeria.

Ryad: Yes.

Hugh: How do you pay for things? Physical cash or digital payments.

Ryad: Physical cash.

Hugh: I understand you were admitted to a college in France, so you will be going to France. How will this kind of information help you think about managing your expenses in college?

Ryad: I love the idea of credit cards because like this, I will manage and optimize how and where to spend the money without carrying cash. I would just be buying this and this. With a credit card, I will only buy things I need with limits. Each time you see the card, you think about money.

Hugh: Before I go to Professor Hopkins, let’s talk about philanthropy. In order to be a philanthropist, you want to manage your time because we give time and talent, but we also give money. Why do you think it’s important to manage our own finances? Why do you think it’s important to have our house in order to be a better philanthropist? I will give you some time to think about it. Bob, what kinds of questions do you have today?

Bob Hopkins: Thank you very much. Unfortunately, I hate this topic. I hate this topic for me personally. I hate the words, “I can’t afford it.” In respect to you, I think your topic and what you tell the students is what they need because people need to manage money. I have never been able to do that unfortunately. Because of my elderly age, what you see on the horse is what I look like today. I am 50 years older than that person on that horse.

I try to teach students to think positively instead of thinking, “I can’t have, and I don’t have.” I think that God gives us everything we need, and you just have to have a positive attitude about it. Unfortunately, I don’t manage money very well. For some reason, there always seems to be money when I need it. But I do understand, and it’s a good thing I don’t have children. I was thinking of you when you said, “What did I think of money when I was five years old?” I could always have what I needed. When I became an adult, my parents divorced, and I think one reason that happened is because of money. It’s not been one of my best topics.

Hugh: Let me introduce you to my friend Chella. Bob is a colleague in Texas. Sandy, do you have any questions here?

Sandy Birkenmaier: My parents didn’t have a whole lot of money when I was growing up. When I was 10, they bought their first brand new car. They had no credit whatsoever because they’d always paid cash for everything. I learned pretty early that it was important to have a credit record at least. My dad died when I was 13, and we had even less money. I never had money when I was growing up unless there was something special I needed to buy. I had to justify then why it was that I needed money. I raised my kids that you do need to establish a credit record, but you need to not be using a credit card unless you are able to pay that credit card off. I pretty much managed to do that through adulthood. There have been times where things have gotten rough, and the credit cards have stacked up, but I got them paid off as quickly as possible. I think I have a pretty good relationship with money.

Hugh: Great. Sandy, thank you. Chella, that triggered a couple of interesting topics. Thank you for allowing me to have you comment. When you start an enterprise and apply for a credit card, they will check your personal credit. You are the founder of this and want to apply for a credit card. This is one area that is important for having your act together. Do you want to comment on that?

Bob’s relationship with money, he’s a mover and shaker. He is an energy field. I am sure in his career with nonprofits, he has seen a challenge with money. It’s an attitude that comes from the top. Those are two areas for you to bounce off of.

Chella: Actually, Hugh, you mentioned earlier. When it comes to money and credit, people think about it as a negative thing. But you are proof that that’s not the case. You are able to get things for free. It’s about learning how to use the system. I have a friend who got a 32-inch flat-screen TV for free. She was a business owner, and she charged a lot, and she paid a lot. She accumulated so many points. That’s the thing about credit cards. We can use them to our advantage. We can use them just like Sandy, thank you for sharing, and Bob. We are going to come back to you. But you can use these credit cards to your advantage. They don’t have to be the bad word. This is a tool you can use to get free stuff. I personally have gotten gift cards. You can give them away for gifts. It can definitely work to your advantage.

Know that the magic is you only need three types of credit that is being reported. All you need is three lines in order to build a credit score.

Hugh: Three lines? Three credit cards?

Chella: It could be a credit card. A car loan. Anything that reports. It cannot be paying rent. That is not reported. Utility bills, those are not reported. Those do not count. Three, be it two credit cards, a car loan. Three of them in order to build credit. That’s it.

Hugh: It’s all back to what you were talking about. It’s a matter of discipline or attitude and an awareness. I see a lot of people start a business or nonprofit, and they say, “We will make money and do these things.” How important is it to put a budget line item on there to mark our discipline for spending?

Chella: I love that. I don’t like to use the b-word. The budget. If we start thinking about, “This is how I am creating a spending plan” instead. It sounds softer and not quite so rigid. But if you create a spending plan, then you have choice. You are spending this. This is how much we allocated for this and that. Create a spending plan, and stick to it. Sometimes, we want to do, and we want to serve. But if we don’t have the money coming in, it’s going to stop sooner or later. There is only so much you can do. Right now, I do know quite a few nonprofits where the money is just not coming in, and they may need to shut down.

Hugh: It’s a challenge for the whole sector. Small businesses, churches, restaurants, nonprofits: we are challenged to how we do things. My wife and I have gone through a personal discipline of looking at expenses, and we spend a lot less than we used to. We eat really well, and we do pretty much anything we want to do, but we stay under budget every single month. Even though I have a number of credit cards, and a lot of credit lines, we primarily use one, so I don’t have to remember to pay the others. Everything comes on the 1st of the month, so there is a ritual in paying it all. 100% on-time payments, no interest charges. It’s been a good discipline that has energized us, and we have more money to support the charities we want to support. It feels good to be able to give some to other people.

When you build your budget, let’s talk about the giving part of this. Part of philanthropy is money. Part of it is showing up. You talked about showing up earlier. It’s not just physically present, but it’s emotionally present. Where does giving come into our financial system?

Chella: Giving should be up here with paying yourself, giving, then meeting your obligations, then down the line should be your wants. Not to deprive yourself. But I am saying if you put it in that order, I guarantee you that you will always have money for everything. It just shows up. The money always showed up for Bob.

I agree with you. I think that God gives you all that you need. I am delighted, and I believe in thinking positive. Where I see the struggle is we want to think positive, and your students are saying that. It’s the monkey chatter behind the scenes from the money conversations we heard as children. We have that conflict. It’s about identifying it so that it’s minimized. I haven’t been able to make it go away entirely, but it is minimized, so the voice is softer and not as loud. It’s about making the voice softer.

Hugh: That annoying voice that lies to us. A while back, we had Dr. David Gruder talking about the psychologist’s view of money shadow. Say more about how those negative scripts hurt us.

Chella: Because we believe them, right? I’ll share mine. My dad was a baker. He definitely shared that you have to work hard for your money. He did. He worked very hard. One time, he took two jobs. One paycheck went toward a down payment for the house. After we bought the house, he quit the job. So he did work hard for his money. He was incredibly successful and bought lots of great properties. I grew up that you have to work hard with money because my dad did physical work. He was a baker.

When I did my very first paid speaking gig, I went through it. Here I am getting paid for something I love doing and for talking. I went through that psychology. It’s about what that five-year-old identifies with, and how we carry that along with us. Which is why I think identifying it and releasing it is where the key comes in. You’re no longer subject to it.

Hugh: You started talking about the lies we hear about money. What were those?

Chella: You have to work hard. You have to struggle. Money does not grow on trees. And we can’t afford it. Those are the ones that keep coming up, no matter what income you’re in. We go back to whatever those adults have. The key here is that this is something- Think of it as a gift. These stories we have been told are a gift. Sometimes I think it comes from good intention. The adults want to prepare us for the future. They want to set us up for success. The stories they are giving you are a gift. Now give them back. It was a gift that you don’t have to take. It’s okay to give the gift back.

Hugh: Wow. I was formulating another question, but I got into what you were talking about. I can’t afford it. That’s code for, “I don’t like it,” or “I don’t understand what you’re asking me.” Isn’t it?

Chella: it is. It also could be simply that the adults didn’t understand. We go back to the adults. We go back. Even if you now look at the grocery store and see a mom and kids, if you hear the mom saying, “No, we can’t afford it,” what is that child’s interpretation of money? It’s not about the fact you said you can’t afford it, because maybe you can’t, or you don’t want to. Telling them you can’t afford it is about the interpretation the kid is walking away with.

Hugh: You’re choosing to spend money on something else. It ceases to be a reason and becomes an excuse. There is no reason to pay for anything you want. Back to your list of wants and needs. Do you do this on a monthly basis, a weekly basis, in hindsight or forecast?

Chella: I like the moving forward because you become more aware. We’re sure nothing slipped through the cracks. Keep track of your money for seven days. Any time you spend a dollar, you write it down. I like to divide the seven days into wants and needs. That’s it. I don’t analyze it or judge it. We just do a black and white list. You do this for four weeks. You will find some of the things that you are ready to let go from that list. What are some of the things, like my lunch person? Along with going out for lunch, she is putting $500 toward a down payment of a house, which was important to her. Once you find something you can replace it with, I take it Bob likes horses. Can we buy new toys for the horse? Does that work? Once you are able to find where the money is going and you choose something else to do with it, that is where you begin to shift and accumulate to have money for those things.

You’re a perfect example, Hugh. You have a spending plan, but you are always able to do the things you want to do. It’s about having the choice to do what we want to do.

Hugh: A spending plan doesn’t mean you can’t do fun things. A whole lot of things don’t cost money, or very little money. Sometimes the free things are healthier anyway.

What I see often is, especially in early-stage organizations, we make bad decisions on spending. We put wants ahead of the needs, like hiring staff prematurely until we have enough money in the bank to pay for that person for at least a year. We get out ahead of it. We assume the product will sell. We assume the donors will donate. We will assume we will get grants. So we hire in preparation for that. That is a bad habit we bring over with our personal life. We bully our way through here. Really, we need to have a foundation of revenue becoming revenue until we can get an executive director or a funding specialist on our staff. It’s good to get someone on staff who knows how to handle money.

So it needs to be the right choice at the right stage, and we need to have a plan that can work, and an accounting system to track it. We can’t keep it in our head. We have a lot of systems that interface with our credit cards and bank accounts. It’s automatically kept up to date for us. It’s a good era to manage that.

We get a chunk of money. A donor writes us a large check. Whoopee. We can go to work. We can hire people and buy equipment and rent space, and we run out of money. We haven’t looked at our forecast. A budget is a spending plan, but really what’s our cash flow projection? In business, we call it a burn rate. You are spending money and not selling things enough to offset the cost of doing business.

It’s still a burn rate in the nonprofit world. We’re not offsetting the old revenue with new revenue. We are spending the money without creating new money. There is a relationship to money that comes from our personal life, that brings in good discipline and running an organization. I am not perfect in all of this. I am not here saying I am the model; I am here to say we are all struggling and need to improve.

Do you want to comment on any of that? Talk a little bit about that. After that piece, we have a relationship with money, but our relationships with people impact our cash as well.

Chella: I could not have asked for a better set-up. That is why if you do the 30 days for your personal life and your business, you will know exactly what it takes to run your business on a monthly basis. When you get that $100,000 check, what if you are able to put away one to two years of monthly revenue on your business and spend the rest on projects? At least you know you’re covered for however many months. We don’t know when the next money will come in. That’s magical. You know that you at least will be able to continue to do that work for the amount of time. The more money that comes in, the better. But cover that base first.

It’s a work in progress. Sometimes we will fall off track a little bit, and then you get back. But keeping track or finding out what it is you need on a monthly basis is magical because then you will always be prepared. It’s the ideal situation. Also, that peace of mind will come with it.

Prematurely hiring someone. What if you are able to ask them to volunteer five hours, ten hours a week? Then you will get to know each other, see each other’s skillsets. When you are ready to hire them, they will be able to step in. It’s that intern, if you will. Then you know if they are a fit for your company. Asking for that volunteer is a great way to help you until you can get the money ready, but also find out if they are a fit for your company. If not, you will spend a lot of time and money investing in something that may not work. A volunteer is a great way to help you, and do what you want to do, which is help. You want to give back. But you don’t have to spend the money.

Hugh: Yes. Relationships. We have mental capital, a product or service, and the work we do, and we want financial capital. But there is this relationship capital in between those.

Chella: I want you to think about money and relationship the same way you would do a business partner, a donor, or whatever. How you’re talking to that donor is the same way you should be talking to money. If you are telling money, “I don’t have enough. You’re never enough,” if that was a partner, and this is where the money relationship shifts. If you are in a relationship, because you are, we are in a relationship with money, whether we are readily able to admit it or not. Talk to money the same way you would talk about a potential donor. How you would treat that person is the same way. Treat the donor the same way as money and treat money the same way as the donor. This is a win-win for all. There is something for the donor to contribute to your organization. Think about money. Start dating money. Get to that point where you are ready to make a commitment and get married.

Hugh: Find your money leaks. Develop a plan. Get an accountability partner. Don’t bleed yourself dry. Don’t deprive yourself of fun things. But be responsible.

Your analogy with the person who was spending $750 and they cut it down to $250 on lunches, they can now save money for a house. In the world of nonprofits, we want to put away money to build an endowment fund. People do give to it specifically, but we can build it in more than one way. Having an endowment fund allows you to build interest that could pay for your operations expenses if it was large enough. That is a discipline for nonprofits.

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Chella, this has been useful stuff. This is not just theory, but applicable information. This is what we like to do: help leaders be better leaders. What closing thought would you like to leave people with?

Chella: I truly encourage you to do the four-week challenge. It’s just four weeks to finding your money leaks and get your money journey on track. Love to hear from you. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to be here today. Every single person who has done this, their money conversation and relationship has shifted. Highly encourage you. It’s only four weeks.  

Hugh: Only four weeks. Your life is a downer if you don’t do it. Chella has been building her website. Chella Diaz, thank you for being our guest today on The Nonprofit Exchange.

Chella: It’s been an honor, thank you.


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