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Learn to Love the Donor…
They Will Love Your Cause with Their Wallet

Sending love out daily without regard for it coming back will build a fountain of giving that will last beyond your life.

Paul Zolman

Paul Zolman

Paul Zolman is the author of Love is God. In His wisdom, He placed us in various circumstances that require us to find our way back to His pure love. So, what qualifies Paul Zolman to speak about love? His childhood experience of the opposite of love. From that austere beginning, and the distaste it formed inside him, he searched for and eventually created a method that transformed his life from anger to loving everyone. Growing up in a family of abuse, physical touch became his preferred love style, only because of the regularity. He could almost count on it. It was consistent. He came to think that was the way to express love. But deep inside, he knew that was a twisted belief. He wanted a better life for himself, so he created a paradigm shift that works. In this book, you’ll find what helped Paul Zolman move from a childhood boot camp of abuse to being a person who loves everyone and can find good about anyone in any circumstance. This is truly the role of love.

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0:01 – Hugh Ballou This is Hugh Ballou. Welcome. We’re in – I don’t care when you listen to this. We just started in 2024. You might be listening at a later date. However, the content we have in the nonprofit exchange interviews is always relevant to leadership. A lot of things change in the world, but the fundamental principles, especially. The principles we’re talking about today are consistent. No matter how technology changes, the culture changes, there are some things that we need to focus on, some basic principles of relationships.

0:32 – Hugh Ballou So, Paul Zolman is my guest today. Paul, welcome to the Nonprofit Exchange. Please tell people a little bit about who you are, your background, and your passion for this work that you do.

0:44 – Paul Zolman Thank you, Hugh. It’s a pleasure to be with you today. I’m Paul Zolman. I have been on the board of directors of many nonprofit organizations, a lot of the Chamber of Commerce, and several community organizations, and I love the nonprofit sector, Hugh, and I appreciate you opening this venue up so that we could talk about something dear to my heart. I grew up in an abusive home and just did not want to pass that on to my children at age 17. I made that declaration that every 17 or 18-year-old makes, I’m not going to be like my parents.

1:23 – Paul Zolman I’m going to do things a lot better. I’m going to be better than they were. And then we end up doing things just like our parents did or close to it. Hopefully, we’ll do it just a little bit better. I wanted to do it a lot better. And I wanted to make it not an angry atmosphere like I grew up in. I wanted it to be more of a loving atmosphere within my own home. And there were several times that I had this epiphany throughout my life. One epiphany happened at age 35 when I made a declaration I didn’t want to be angry anymore.

2:04 – Paul Zolman It’s kind of a double negative, but you consider where I came from That just was the way we are raised. We’re raised in more of a critical atmosphere and double negatives work in math. And we’re talking about math today. We’re talking about raising funds. Do you multiply two negative numbers against each other and it makes a positive number? It wasn’t working for me in relationships. So I wanted the relationships to be better. And it really was just kind of a hard road for me. This anger that what was happening, Hugh, was I’d be annoyed at what somebody else did.

2:45 – Paul Zolman Annoyed, annoyed, annoyed, annoyed. I’d be stacking these annoyances until I got to the point that there was just a little annoyance, but it was enough that it was the straw that broke that camel’s back, and then I’d have this flash of anger. I’d go back down, and then I’d start the cycle over again. I wanted to stop that cyclic type of behavior, and so I decided I’ve got to learn more about love. And so I started studying the color code and then the five love languages. And I liked the principles of the five love languages because this was something that I could relate to.

3:22 – Paul Zolman I wanted them in my life. But I read the book four or five times, Hugh, and it just wasn’t resonating with me. I didn’t get it. Coming from where I came from, that angry atmosphere, I just did not understand what the five love languages were and how they could apply to my life. You mean Dr. Chapman, who wrote the book? Dr. Chapman, if I guess what Hugh’s love language is, and I cater to Hugh, we’re going to be buddies. And you’re calling that love? I didn’t come from a background of love.

3:56 – Paul Zolman That didn’t sound like love, and it wasn’t working, because I’m a bad guesser. It wasn’t working up until that point in my life, and it still wasn’t working. So, Dr. Chapman, in also his book, he’s got a survey. So, well, if you take this survey, Hugh, then you can find out what your love language is. What am I supposed to do with that? Advertise? Hello, Hugh. I’m GIFs. What do you have for me today? And GIFs would be perfect. You know, you could make a nonprofit badge that says, my love language is GIFs.

4:27 – Paul Zolman Here’s my Venmo account. And just have people scan your QR code. I mean, it would be awesome. Just make the badges and wear it all around. And people that do fundraising really ought to have something fun like that. Just something funny that they could raise funds with in that way. It wasn’t working for me in that way either. So I decided that I would contact Dr. Chapman. Because I remember as a child, that even as dysfunctional as our family was, we played games together, and that brought our family together.

5:00 – Paul Zolman Especially at Christmas time, between Christmas and New Year’s, we’d break out a puzzle, and we’d do puzzles together, or something like that, that would bring the family together. There was still all the smack talk. There were still all the put-downs. When you put somebody down, the thought was it would elevate you. Doesn’t work. It doesn’t help relationships at all. But that was the angry culture that I was raised in. And I like the games. So contacted Dr. Chapman and thought, Dr.

5:28 – Paul Zolman Chapman, are you licensing those little icons, those little pictures you have for each one of the love languages? And after a couple of weeks, his attorney wrote back, and said, no, we’re not doing that at this time. So I had an attorney, a copyright attorney, within my neighborhood that I knew was a friend. And I told him the idea. He said this. He said, the theory, like the love language theory, is not copyrightable. Application is. So they weren’t doing it as a game. So I decided I was going to make it a game.

5:58 – Paul Zolman And let’s review the five love languages. I made it into a cube. This first one is, that you’ll notice that each one of these icons that I created has a hand, and the hand is represented for giving. This is something you can give away, much like your donors would be giving to your nonprofit organization. So this one has an hourglass on it, and the hand holding an hourglass represents time. Giving your time would be a love language. Some people respond to that. The next one looks like a waiter holding a platter.

6:35 – Paul Zolman This would represent service, giving service away. The next icon I have is two hands together forming a heart. The heart has a little conversation fly out. These would be the words of the heart represented in the words. These are ways people like to be loved. There’s a preference. Dr. Chapman’s theory says there’s a preference. Everyone has a primary way that they like to be loved. This one looks like two hands holding each other. They’re holding hands, and that represents touch.

7:06 – Paul Zolman And then the last love language is a hand holding a gift, representing gifts. Five love languages, six sides on the cube. This side is a hand holding a question mark. That surprised me. So, Hugh, there are just two instructions. You roll the cube every day. Whatever it lands on, that’s the love language you practice giving away all day that day, all day to everybody. I created this when I was single, so Dr. Chapman suggests that you do this with your significant other. I didn’t have a significant other, so who in the heck am I supposed to love, Dr.

7:41 – Paul Zolman Chapman? Well, I just said, well, what if I loved everybody? Was perfect for me, Hugh, because I needed this behavior to be consistent. I needed, nobody I know, nobody I know is with their significant other 24 seven. Some people are really happy about that, but some people just like being with their significant other. I didn’t have one, but I thought, If I love everybody, that means all day long I’m sending out love or watching for opportunities to send out love in that genre all day that day.

8:20 – Paul Zolman And what I’m watching for, Hugh, is when people light up. When they light up, I’ve discovered their primary love language. No longer, Hugh, do you have to say, excuse me? Could we pause this relationship while I have you take this survey so I know how to love you? That’s awkward. You don’t have to do that anymore. I’ve solved the problem. So here we are. So that’s how what, that’s how I, I became versed in all five love languages by giving it away. The best part about that is now I can see it when it’s coming my way and I can respond appropriately.

8:58 – Paul Zolman Most people only respond to what they like, I can say, oh, they’re loving on me. It’s not my primary love language, but I can respond to that. You’re going to need the people that are soliciting donors and soliciting those funds, you’re going to need them to know all five love languages so that they can detect what love language that donor might be. That’s a button that you’ll want to push to help them understand how the cause that you’re representing is the cause that they should fund.

9:35 – Hugh Ballou Pat, that’s a whole lot of data, which is filling in a lot of the missing pieces. You know, it’s a reverse paradigm. Our title today for this interview is Learn to Love the Donor, dot, dot, dot. They will love your cause with their wallets. And I think the first paradigm that people practice is loving the money and just going through the donor to get to the money. And what you’re suggesting is a whole different paradigm, which is critical. We tend to push away money because we emphasize it.

10:08 – Hugh Ballou And we have this psychiatrist, psychologist calls it a shadow about money. You’re presenting a whole different paradigm for leaders to consider. So just give us the five words as a summary again. What are the five different identifying words?

10:28 – Paul Zolman Service. Service. Words. Touch.

10:32 – Hugh Ballou Words. Touch. And gifts. Love it. Love it. Just as I want to make sure we get that. Folks, you’ll find this interview on the Nonprofit Exchange Dot org, the video of, the audio, you can click and get it on your smartphone. The Nonprofit Exchange. You’ll also see the transcript. You’ll be able to get that summary in the transcript of the interview.

11:01 – Hugh Ballou We’re, we tend to, you talked about negatives, the word whole, and approaching things from a negative perspective. The whole thing of identifying ourselves in this sector about what we’re not is non-profit. We are a for-purpose business, not a for-profit business. So the paradigm shift is important. So what could we, and we say non-profit because it identifies the sector, but what could we expect by knowing the languages of a donor? You know, we want to categorize this to one person, but it would occur to me that everybody in the organization should understand.

11:36 – Hugh Ballou Oh, there’s a leadership paradigm here too. I think everybody understands their leadership role and understands these languages, but what you just surfaced is something that we underutilize as a leadership skill, which is listening, we want to talk. And you pointed out you listen with your ears, but you also listen with your eyes when you said people light up. So, talk about, you know, how do we benefit by knowing this language as an organization?

12:05 – Paul Zolman Great question, Hugh, and I think that the best way is to just understand these are basics, that the love languages are a basic foundation for getting to the higher laws of love that most foundations are based upon. You’ll get to the higher laws just the same way as I got, I started stacking this annoyance, annoyance, annoyance, annoyance to get to that flash of anger. You’ll start stacking this kindness on top of kindness, to get to these higher laws.

12:39 – Paul Zolman And the kindnesses I’m talking about are as you’re stacking these kindnesses and getting to know that donor, you’re going to understand what their passion is. And you’ll get to the You’ll start stacking this. You’ll be able to detect their love language by doing that. It’s just a conversation that you’ll have, and you’ll be able to understand what’s most important to you. That stacking effect from kindness to kindness to kindness to kindness gets you to compassion. It gets you to charity.

13:13 – Paul Zolman In loving relationships, it’ll get you to intimacy. It’ll get you to forgiveness. It’ll get you to that empathy or that sympathy or that mercy. These are the higher laws of love. Most nonprofit organizations that I’ve dealt with are based on those higher laws of love. They already practice those higher laws of love. And you want to bring that donor from those basics, the basic love languages, to that higher level of compassion. And that’s by the kindness. There was a time in my life, Hugh, that I used to knock on doors with my children, boys, that were selling they’d sell melt-away mints, or they’d sell coupon books, or they’d sell one thing or another as a fundraising event for Boy Scouts or for a nonprofit organization similar to that.

14:06 – Paul Zolman We’d knock door to door. And I found out that as I’m knocking on doors with my children, I would not give them the pitch. I’d tell them, I’d train them a little bit, and it was very simple, Hugh. It said, especially for the melt-away mints. I tell them, you need to state your name. I’m Paul Zolman. I’m with the Boy Scouts. I’m selling melt-away mints. The question had to be, how many would you like to buy? So you want your donors to decide for themselves and have that power to decide how much would you like to donate.

14:44 – Paul Zolman And then once you get that number in mind, say, how would you like to how would you like to. To do that? Would you like to wire? Do you need wiring instructions? Are you writing a check? Is it cash? How is it that they’re going to transfer those funds to you? And you get to that point that let the donor decide how much in that way. Or you can prompt them a little bit and say, this is what we’re looking for for this particular project. For example, I’m looking for funds to, corporate funds, to put these in school systems.

15:23 – Paul Zolman So in the school system, it’s not going to take much to put in a school system. You buy the die, each classroom needs a die, at least one, maybe several, but you buy the cube and then the corporation would fund the printing Process for the journal that the child would write in at the end of the day. So they, now the, the start of the day, they roll the die. There the teacher said class, we’re watching for this type of activity, these types of opportunities to love today. At the end of the day, the last 10 to 15 minutes is nonproductive time.

16:02 – Paul Zolman I’ve talked with teachers all over the world, and that last 10 to 15 minutes, the kids are tired, they’re antsy, they know the bell’s going to ring. And their minds are mush. They can’t learn one more thing. Why not provide them with a decompression activity, which is journal writing? Something that they could report, so how did I do today? In that love language that I rolled at the beginning of the day, how did I do today? You can have your nonprofit personnel do the same thing. Roll it at the beginning of the day.

16:34 – Paul Zolman How did I do at the end of the day? Have them report. Have them refine those skills so that they understand this was a great day. I helped several people, I saw several people light up. When they light up, you know you’ve got them because that’s their love language. Keep speaking that love language to the donor and that’s how you get into their wallet.

17:00 – Hugh Ballou You just highlighted something that nonprofits are not good at. As a category as a segment, I’m going to segue from what I said about under-utilizing listening skills and there’s a quote comes to mind by the famous Greek philosopher Anonymous. You know, the listening is so close to loving. You can hardly tell the difference. And so there’s a reciprocity in that. So what you’ve just surfaced here is brilliant. We don’t understand. Now, corporate sponsorships are not donations.

17:31 – Hugh Ballou That’s marketing money. So you want to tell the corporation you’ve got a good brand. They’ve got a good brand. What’s the value in associating with your brand? It’s a business discussion. It’s not a philanthropy discussion. By the way, you break down philanthropy into the root words. It’s the love of humankind. So it’s, you know, it’s in our DNA, but having, you’ve just alerted us, that’s a brilliant thing. You’ve got something that’s tangible in the cube. And the book, the company can put their brand on it.

18:04 – Hugh Ballou It’s good for them. It gets their brand out there in a very positive way. But it’s a win-win. They’re raising money. They’re teaching children about love. But there’s a whole lot of energy in the technical part of writing. Which benefits the learning system and benefits them a lot. So that’s a win win win for everybody and the nonprofit gets some funding and it’s funding this specifically to do that thing. And if we are good at reporting to the business, this is how we place your brand and strategic places.

18:37 – Hugh Ballou They’re likely to do it again because you’ve been very diligent. It’s like reporting on a grant. What’s happened as a result? So there’s a similarity. There’s a value proposition, and there’s an impact. And then here’s how it’s benefited you. So it’s the reporting back, like with any donor. And so it occurs to me, that you’ve talked about the love externally. Let’s talk about it internally. We have this V word. We have staff and volunteers. We like to call them servant leaders in my world because they are leaders in their own right doing something that we’ve designed a pathway, but internally, There’s gotta be a benefit for showing love for the people that we work together with, volunteers, board, committees, all of those people.

19:26 – Hugh Ballou So talk about that a minute, would you?

19:28 – Paul Zolman Absolutely. Hugh, before you and I were ever born, there are laws in the universe. And some of those laws of the universe are called the law of the harvest. Some people call it karma. Some people call it the law of attraction. Whatever it is, the whole law is that whatever you send out is going to come back to you someday. So be careful what you send out. What you’re doing is you’re sending out love daily with rolling the cube or however you want to do it, deciding that I’m going to love in that way all day today.

20:02 – Paul Zolman While you’re doing that and people light up, there’s great satisfaction there. This is how your volunteers get paid. There’s great satisfaction in that type of Making someone’s day. If you’ve made someone’s day a happier day, you’ve lifted them up where they weren’t before. You can walk down the street. It doesn’t work to sit at home and have your pity party. Said nobody loves me. It will never work like that. These volunteers are out there. They’re getting out there. They want to make a difference in the world, and they see this cause, and they want to be part of that cause.

20:38 – Paul Zolman They’re there for a purpose, and that purpose is to light people up. That purpose is to help people on their way. There’s a nonprofit in town that my wife found that we pack lunches for children for the weekends because they don’t have school lunches on the weekends. So we pack lunches for them and then they’re distributed through the school system. This is just, that we don’t even have contact with the recipients, but just the whole idea that this is going to a good cause, this is going to a person.

21:14 – Paul Zolman You may not be lighting anybody up, but you’re working together with like-minded people that have that same of same feelings, the same idea that they want to do that. Some people call it a dating experience too, that people that are maybe single get together and they do this together. And when they see someone giving of themselves, and another person sees them giving of themselves, that is a common bond that single people have that can make them become a couple. And it’s just a lot of ancillary things that could happen by that bonding experience of giving.

21:57 – Paul Zolman And I think that that’s another benefit that the volunteers have, is that bonding experience. These are like-minded people. It’s almost like a church, if you will, that you’re making them feel that bonded experience of, this is a great cause that we’re working together on. This is something that I can, I like these people that are doing this together. Find something that you like to do and volunteer. I love volunteering.

22:26 – Hugh Ballou Well, your website is, let me pull it up here. People watching can see it, but if you’re not, if you’re on the podcast, of course you can’t see it. It’s role of the role of love dot com so when people go out to a role of love dot com what will they find?

22:47 – Paul Zolman They’re gonna find more of the commercial side of this. They’re gonna find the dice. They’re gonna find the book. They’ll find several suggestions of what to do with the dice and what to do with the book. They’ll find suggestions of how they can practice that genre, so to speak, of love every single day. They’ll find comments, and blogs of other people that have used it. Eventually, they’ll have all the podcasts will be on there. I don’t have any. It doesn’t look like I have very many on there.

23:27 – Paul Zolman There are a few on there. But they’ll eventually have several podcasts on there that will explain what we’re talking about here. And it’s just the whole concept of loving everyone. No longer, Hugh, is it about me or about you? It’s about them. It’s always about them. And if we can make our lives a service life like that, that it’s always going to be about them, we’re going to get that feeling of satisfaction that we’ve uplifted someone, that we’ve made a difference in someone else’s life.

24:00 – Paul Zolman And I think that that’s the whole key to nonprofit organizations as I see it, that they want to make a difference in the lives of those that they’re planning to help.

24:10 – Hugh Ballou I think we go past thinking it’s I think we know it’s right. Isn’t it? So here’s the summary of the cube. The words is 1 side services. Another time is another touches. Another gifts is another. And As you said, surprise me. So, Paul, we, we’ve come to the Quickly, I might say, I did the end of this really informational, inspiring interview today. Thank you for giving us some important paradigm shifts that I’ve been doing this 35 years. This is a great paradigm shift for me, so I know others have a paradigm shift.

24:42 – Hugh Ballou So what do you want to leave people with? You said a lot of good things, but how do you want to wrap it up? Leave them with a thought or a challenge or whatever. How do you want to leave people today?

24:52 – Paul Zolman Great question, Hugh, and I love the words we get from other languages. And I want to, we’re talking about the love languages. Let’s set aside the love languages for one minute and just go to India for a minute. I wanted to go to the Sanskrit dialect, which is in actually Northern India. From the Sanskrit dialect, we get words like nirvana. We get karma. But the one I want to talk about is namaste. Putting your hands together like this, thumbs to the chest, eyes closed, say namaste.

25:29 – Paul Zolman Most of the time they’ll say it at the end of a yoga class, but it doesn’t mean, hey y’all, class is over, you can go now. It doesn’t mean that at all. The Hindu interpretation of it, which I love, means that the God in me sees the God in you. Or put another way, the divine in me sees the divine in you. I think that we need to get away from thinking and having have that paradigm shift that says that that I used to have that said what’s wrong with that person? Why don’t they do it this way to that paradigm shift?

26:07 – Paul Zolman Say what’s right with that person? What can I love about that person and what’s good about that person? Look for the good in other people and and refine the bad in yourself rather than look for the bad in other people and feel good about yourself. Doesn’t work that way.

26:26 – Hugh Ballou Paul Zolman, you’ve been a great guest today on the Nonprofit Exchange. You’ve certainly inspired me, and I’m sure others will too. So thank you so much for being here today to inspire us.

26:35 – Paul Zolman Thank you, Hugh. It’s been my pleasure.

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