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Welcome to the Fit Fundraising Podcast, where we bring you game-changing fundraising topics, direct from our meetings with major donors and nonprofits nationwide. While most consultants are busy giving advice, fit fundraising stays on the front lines with nonprofits and major donors. This podcast is a glimpse into our world of work with non profits, as we get on the field with them and successfully model fundraising. Get ready to get fit with the hottest show in fund development, Fit Fundraising.

Roy Jones: Welcome. Thank you for joining the Fit Fundraising Podcast. We’re so glad you joined us today. Today, we’re going to be talking about a very special issue and one that truly, it is on my heart today. And that is diversity, equity, inclusion, DEI. How does it impact your nonprofit? How does it impact your organization? And we’ve got two gentlemen here that are right in the middle of it with their own organizations.

And I am so honored that they’ve joined us today.

The first is Reverend Michael Woods. Michael first joined the Western Carolina Rescue Ministries team in 2007 and in 2010, he was promoted to CEO and executive director. Michael’s been an advocate for the homeless and underserved and is really viewed as somebody who is their voice offering hope and restoration, not only in Asheville, but all the Carolinas. Most recently, he even expanded his work to a satellite mission and his hometown of Shelby, North Carolina, the Cleveland County Rescue Mission.

Michael Woods has multiple degrees in finance and business, he left a career in finance and real estate to join the ministry. He lives in Asheville with his wife, two children, and two grandchildren. Thank you Michael, for joining us today. 

Reverend Michael Woods: Roy, thank you for having me back. I look forward to continuing our discussion. Appreciate it. 

Roy Jones: Thanks again. Next, I want to introduce Dr. Robert Loggins. Michael Woods introduced me to Robert. He is president and CEO of Loggins Ministries. He was born and raised in Mississippi where he came to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi, New Orleans Baptist theological seminary. The Pillsbury school, borough Bible college and seminary. He also studied at covenant theological seminary and Midwestern theological seminary, his wife, Cassandra or as he’s told me, his queen, our parents have two grown sons, four grandchildren, they serve the Lord together for more than 40 years through ministries and churches and organizations.

He’s the former minister at large at the city gate network and serves now as an advisor to Fit Fundraising. Dr. Loggins, thanks so much for joining us today. I am so excited to have each of you here today. The last time you were on our podcast, you talked a bit about your ministries and gave us a little bit of insight there.

I just want to jump right into this DEI issue. We’ve been really talking about it as a whole and how it impacts the entire nonprofit industry. I want to get into a little bit of I’d like to talk about hiring practices. I’d like to talk about staffing. I’d like to talk about how you deal with racial issues on staff when they come up.

But where do you start? How do you unpack this thing? Dr. Loggins, what do you see? I know that your work as not just a pastor, but as a mentor and coach to pastors. How does this come up and what are some specific things that advice that you give to pastors in wrestling with these issues.

Dr. Loggins: I think it starts right there to identify an individual, who have capacity, we have the gifts, the education, the abilities, and open the door and give them a chance.

And then not just simply give them a chance, but provide the tools for them to be successful. What I have seen Roy, conversely, on the other side of the equation, I’ve actually seen and I’ve sat in meetings where the twos were given to those of the white race and the twos were not given to those in the black race and people of color. I’ve actually seen that.

I’ve seen that the kind of training that those who get that has a lot of complexion. There’s a more nurturing, more opportunity, more growth, more modeling, more patient, more time for them to learn and to grow.

And then the other side of the equation that does not exist. What we have to do if we really going to make a difference in bridging this gap. Stop looking at the race of a color, and look at what’s inside of the person and if you discover what’s inside of the person and that is stuff that’s worthy of elevating provide a passageway, for them to go based upon their giftedness, based upon their capacity, based upon their passion, based upon their knowledge, their education, their training, and et cetera, and provide a way for them to go to the top and influence others and then you become an essence, a disciple maker.

You have helped an individual, eradicate racial issues by planting the work and the knowledge and the strength that you have in your particular business or organization or mission or ministry, whatever. And you end up without even being where that person is, you’ve ended up impacting that community. You’ve impacted a life.

I have two boys that I’m so proud of, and I’m just going to throw this in as an illustration. My oldest son, Robert works for Bush Beans and Robert Rob, we call him Bo. He has now been elevated to a director at Bush Beans.

He’s now just got back from D. C. dealing with policies and procedures. He’s an eloquent speaker, far better than his dad, brilliant young man, great businessman. God has blessed him so much. He’ll make more than I ever could make in my life. Doing an absolutely excellent job. I’m unbelievably excellent and just really passionate about doing what he do, and what Bush Beans did, they opened the gate and they call it diversity.

They don’t diversity, equity, and belonging. They don’t use inclusion, diversity, equity, belonging. And what Bo has done, he’s trained a person coming up underneath him in Bush Beans. Bush Beans, where that individual now has taken Bo’s position, and Bo bumped up to another position, and he’s trained this young man so well, who happens to be married, and have a family, and doing great, and have schooled him, trained him, tutored him.

And ironically, he has the same complexion that both has African American, but he blessed this young man to do great things. And now he’s excelling to the next level. My other son Jordan works now for Facebook and it’s unbelievable what God has done in this young man’s life. He is now moving to another level where he’s moving to the directorship.

What has just recently happened, and this is pretty powerful stuff, god has opened a gate for him that he is now able to take the technology in Facebook and literally move it to a level where they’re able to simplistically See everything, every dime and nickel and penny they spend in real time.

He has developed a dashboard in real time that they could actually keep up with every nickel, dime, quarter and penny. And by the grace of God, God has Raise them to another level. I won’t mention that right now that he’s going to another position and he’ll be able to more than likely.

I think he’s had a chance to meet Zuckerberg and God has just done a great work in his life. And the way he got there, is through people of all different races and colors who saw in him, the capacity, the gifts in him and walked alongside him, and guess what? Some of his best friends have like complexions and handsome, like raw Jones, that is what.

Roy Jones: You have to take the time. You have to invest in people. The other thing, and you touched on it and Michael, I’d like you to talk about I have, a little bit of inside information there because I work with your ministry, but, some, even the techniques that we have used the techniques that we use in fund development, whether it is a major gift research, whether it is how to call someone working on offer development, how to put things together.

One of the techniques that I used to and still do teach, is if a donor is not able to meet with you, drop by their home and leave a gift. And guess what? Usually they’ll call you back and say, thank you and they’ll meet with you the next time at a coffee shop or someplace. And I call that a drop by and Dr. Woods walked me through a fun illustration he had for whatever reason. He ended up getting pulled over by a policeman and just trying to drop by a thank you gift.

Michael, talk about that because it is interesting because I had never thought about what you said to me that day that listen, we have a unique ministry. I’m an African American executive director. And I don’t know what percentage, a large percentage of your donors, especially your major donors are not African American, and you’re having to go into those communities.

Talk to me about what you feel, what the experiences that you’ve had. And it’s probably gotten a little better from the time when this story happened but I think it would be good for our listeners to hear that story if you wouldn’t mind.

Reverend Michael Woods: Yeah, I’ve known Roy for a long time and Roy gave me this advice years ago. Hey, take a gift to your donors and everything so, I actually came up with this, or didn’t come up with it, but I found this recipe.

We made some candy, had it boxed really pretty. And so I went out to see some donors, and had driven into this area where very affluent area. And they have their own police force. It’s called Biltmore forest is what is there is. So I drive in, I pass an officer seeing, I got three or four stops within this and there was this one lady, Ms. Dorothy she’s no longer with us, she was a phenomenal donor and she was in her nineties and I talked to her multiple times over the phone.

But I realized that this officer is now following me. And so I pull up and miss Dorothy’s house and I actually, 

Roy Jones: For the record, I’ve been doing donor visits like this for 40 years. I’ve never had a policeman follow me to a donor visit. All right. And so there’s no doubt what’s going on here.

Reverend Michael Woods: So I go and I pull up in miss Dorothy’s driveway and I parked literally at some distance away from her house. I get out and I’m carrying a gift wrapped box. The policeman pulled at the bottom of her driveway at the bottom of her yard and sits in his car and he’s looking at me. I don’t turn around, I don’t acknowledge him, I go to the door.

I ring the doorbell, and Ms. Dorothy comes to the door, she’s on a walker, she comes to the door and she recognizes me immediately. My first time actually seeing her. I still introduce myself and I thank her for her support of the ministry and just and I have this gift for her and everything else and she looks down and she sees the officer down there and she says, what is he doing? And I said, I’m not sure. He’s been following me all the way through.

So she said why don’t you come on in? I said, no, ma’am. I have some other places to go. And she says, she leans out and out of the window, out of the door. And she says, he’s fine, this is my friend. The officer looks at her and just mosley’s off, but I know what he’s doing. He’s not going far. He’s not going far at all. So I get back in my car.

I’m driving through Biltmore forest. Now he’s back behind me. And by this time I’m going towards the gate or going actually towards the exit. And there’s another car waiting on me. Another officer’s car waiting. And I pull up and they’ve stopped me. And they want to know why am I there? And I said, I was visiting friends. And they want, and they kept going. And I said, have I done anything wrong? They wanted some ID.

I told them who I was. I gave them my card is what I did. And, it’s one of those things that I told Roy, I said, man, being in development and being black, male. Now, granted I’m six foot four, pretty good size. I’m gonna leave it at that. But.

Roy Jones: Former college basketball player, he can slam dunk on that officer, if he needed to. 

Reverend Michael Woods: Yeah. I look more like an offensive lineman now but we have to consider some of those things. That maybe you, Roy, didn’t have to consider.

Roy Jones: Michael, I’m telling you, I never, the thought never crossed my mind. I’ve been in this racket 40 years. Shame on me. 

Reverend Michael Woods: But you’ve never had an encounter to have to do that. And I recognize that, one of the things for if I was saying to my peers especially my white peers, and they say, okay, Mike, we want to be more inclusive and what do we need to do? How do we train people? One of the biggest things that a leader can do is a leader can lend his influence.

He can lend his influence for that person, because if he can validate, if I was there working for someone and you wanted me to do development, I need that leader, that white leader to champion me.

Roy Jones: That’s right. 

Reverend Michael Woods: To disarm the stereotypes out there. 

Roy Jones: Just like the employer did with Dr. Logan’s son that come alongside him. That’s right. 

Reverend Michael Woods: Come along and you want to be able to do that and the reason that you have to do that is because there’s cultural stereotypes out there, and when I started in financial planning, I was very good at what I did, but what ended up happening for me, because I was so good at what I did, the overwhelming majority of my clients, were white. But I almost became the anomaly.

I became the thing that everyone wanted. Everyone wanted the sharp dress, very smart black guy managing their money. We hear he’s like the best. Is that kind of thing?

Roy Jones: So you used it to your advantage.

Reverend Michael Woods: I did. I used it to my advantage. But there’s a skill set that many people who can do the job that are from a minority community, but they don’t get the same margin of error as someone from the majority community. And so with that, it’s going to take someone of influence, to actually pave the way and make it as if because I want people to recognize me not because I’m black. I want them to recognize me because I’m a man of God. And if they get to know me as a man of God not as a black man.

Not as a black man, I just happen to be black, there’s a little more melon that I have. But that’s the point of separation. So if we can do that in society and what I would encourage leaders, look, if you wanting to create a more diverse environment within your organization, it is always top down.

Roy Jones: Yes.

Reverend Michael Woods: It starts there. It’s never bottom up. It is always top down. And you have to embrace that. From that standpoint, you can’t take the standpoint and say everybody has the same opportunities as anybody else today. 

Roy Jones: I don’t think so.

Reverend Michael Woods: But that’s not true. Even though, I’ve gotten it so much where we had a black president. That’s great. I didn’t vote for him, but we did, because I’m not voting for him because, what does that say to me, what does that say?

And so my thing is that if we can understand that if I have the opportunity, to remove a stumbling block so that people can actually see the heart and the skill and the talent of someone else and not prejudge them based on something they saw on television, based on something that some political figure has said, based on even a past-experience that they may have experienced if I can lend my influence, my goodwill, and I can lend that to open that door, then that propels that forward. Then that’s where the training piece comes, then that’s where all those opportunities come. 

Roy Jones: And that’s the kicker, I do think that not only is it going to take their personal influence, but it’s also going to take, reaching for my wallet back here. It’s going to take some money. We got to train people. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take resources. It’s going to take a commitment, again going to, association of fundraising professionals has the top training schools for nonprofit leaders in the world. But if you don’t have the money to go to the school, guess what?

You’re not going to get the training and nonprofits are going to have to make resources available to get these young men and women, old men and women, middle aged men and women who are now moving into a development to the schools to get the training they need. It’s going to take a commitment.

I agree, that especially white executives need to reach out and do all the things you guys have talked about, listen, mentor, spend time.

Reverend Michael Woods: But they got to be trained, but.

Roy Jones: They got to put skin in the game. They got to put money in the game to make this thing, it won’t even be close to equal playing field, but if we’re going to have a chance at all, we’ve got to invest in training and development.

Reverend Michael Woods: Let me say this here’s the thing that leadership at nonprofits have to push against the grain. There’s a belief that because you’re black, it’s going to be harder for you to raise money.

Okay, it is an unspoken thing. So boards look at that when they’re hiring and they begin to wonder is he going to be able to fundraise? Is he going to be able to break? How are people going to be able to perceive him? And if we’re in the body of Christ, we need to arrest that thought immediately and toss it out. 

Roy Jones: That’s right. 

Reverend Michael Woods: We cannot allow that type of thinking, stinking thinking. To be a part of how we design our organization.

So if we’re cutting off people who are skilled or who have talent and we’re not willing to invest dollars so that they can get the skill sets needed in order to be great at what they can do, we are poor leaders if we don’t do it. And I’ll say this, and you should be fired.

Roy Jones: Yeah, that’s right. Here’s the thing, guys, we are talking to folks that know, they know there are people on their teams, people on their staff that need the training, that need the resources, that need the knowledge that we can bring to the table.

And we’ve got to continue to beat this drum. There are new techniques that have to be taught to new people who’ve not worked in this space before. And it really is about then making new investments and to make this happen. Michael you talked about this glass ceiling that truly is there. But I tell you what, we’re going to break that glass ceiling. We’re going to train up some people of color that are going to go out and raise not millions, they’re going to raise tens of millions.

They’re going to raise money and guess what? When you do that glass ceiling breaks the same thing happened with women, as I said, 30 or 40 years ago, a women can’t raise money, what are you talking about? They’ll never be able to raise money. The best fundraisers in America today are women. And guess what I’m telling you within a matter of months, it may be 36 months, but we can move the needle dramatically, and empower and train and really bring about by living it every day, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Roy Jones: Gentlemen, this has been so good.

I so appreciate the time you are investing into me. And I truly believe that we’re going to do something very special across America, I think it’s going to be much bigger, much broader than I think it’s going to start. In the rescue mission network, I think it’s going to start in the underserved community, but I really believe it’s going to roll out as we begin to break glass ceilings, and we began to train and equip and empower people of color to become great fundraisers in our industry. When that happens, as that happens, I’m telling you the paradigm is going to shift and we’re going to see big changes. I feel called to this and I so appreciate both of you.

Thank you so much for the time. Thank you so much for what you’re investing into me, into Fit Fundraising and into some wonderful new people that are plugged into nonprofit organizations today. I know that, and we’ve touched on the politics of DEI, set that aside. We just got to do the right thing. It’s outlined in the Bible, it is about us living together, listening to one another, loving one another, and leaning into the truth.

So again, thank you so much for being part of this. I so appreciate both of you and our listeners out there. I’m telling you, you’re getting some unique stuff here. I want you to embrace this. If you’re a young person of color and you’ve not got the training you need, you call me, maybe you’re looking for a job. You need a place to work.

You feel called to move into this nonprofit space where you’re ministering to donors. You call me, I want your resume. There are people out there that want to hire you and put you to work. We got places for you.

This is going to be an exciting time, again, if you have not on our newsletter list at Fit Fundraising, please go on our website, Fit Fundraising. com sign up to get a free copy of my book and our new monthly newsletter, because you’ve got to be part of this, we’re building a unique movement and if you need training, we can put you in front of it. So again, thank you so much for joining us today.

Once again, thank you. We’re so honored. We’re part of something very new and innovative here. And I am so excited about reaching out and working with people of color and really bringing about some powerful, empowered, successful, new people to our movement that are ready to take on the world and transform this place and make it a better place. Thanks for joining us today. We appreciate you. We’ll talk to you soon. 

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