Cover image of Sarah Olivieri

Sarah Olivieri

25 Podcast Episodes

Latest 1 May 2021 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Episode artwork

Episode 178 | How to Pivot with Sarah Olivieri

Fundraising Freedom Podcast with Mary Valloni

My guest today is Sarah, Olivieri. Sarah is the founder and the heart behind the company Pivot Ground. She's a nonprofit business strategist, an author, and a former executive director. I think she's going to bring just a huge wealth of information to you on how to pivot during this season.  Tell us a little bit more about you and the work that you do.  Well, I come from a nonprofit background and I've worn so many hats from secretly fixing the toilet after everybody left so nobody knew and that didn't become my job officially, to Program Director, conference coordinator, graphic designer, teacher, you name it, I probably did it at some point. I've been executive director and founder. I was once the first executive director of a foundation. And then I actually shifted over into marketing and I built a marketing agency for nonprofits. That led me right back into the heart of what makes nonprofits tick - how they're organized and how they bring their people together so they can really make the biggest impact possible.  Tell us about your “impact method” and how affected the lives of the nonprofit leaders you work with.  The impact method is really based on three things that I think every nonprofit needs, and every for-profit to be successful, which is a process of improvement. That's how we deal and adapt to change in an ongoing way. And also, how we root out the issues that are getting in our way in a proactive manner. So many nonprofits are stuck in reactive mode and they're running to put out fires all the time. When you dig out your own issues proactively and address them, you don't have to be in that firefighting mode all the time. Then, your issues become opportunities instead of challenges. The second thing is an actionable strategy. Strategic planning is one teeny piece of making your organization run properly. It's actually making that plan actionable, where a lot of work comes in. And the third thing is, I call it your modus operandi. It's how your organization is structured, what glues everybody together. What is the core belief that your organization holds? What are your values or guiding principles? How is your team organized? What are your systems and processes? How is everybody collaborating and coordinating to work together, and there are some traditional ways of doing this that actually aren't that effective. And yet, they're very prevalent. There are other ways to organize your people that are much more enjoyable and much more effective. Based on your own personal experience, what do you think is working in the organizations that you see?  The ones who are doing it really well who are following the things that they should be doing, and letting go of the things that aren't really making a difference. This can be hard because sometimes the things that don't make a difference for our nonprofit are still really impactful. But the organizations who are doing it well, right now, in the middle of the pandemic, they're raising more money than ever before. They're hiring people not firing people, they are growing, they're expanding their impact their reach, and their base of supporters. So all of this is really possible right now. And they're also they're not overwhelmed. They're not burnt out, they're taking time to address the pandemic, one of the things we do in the impact method is every month, we assess how much time we are spending on each area of our organization on routine things. And we're monitoring our total capacity as human beings. What advice would you give to someone who's just getting started or someone who's trying to raise more funds, trying to get to that next stage of their organization?  Well, staying focused is one thing that I'd really recommend. A lot of people ask me, well, Sarah, if I'm the only one, how do I get out of being overwhelmed? How do I stay focused, and the first step is to take things off your plate and throw them in the fireproof garbage can that I am now virtually handing you because their fires will burn themselves out. That is the best way to get some more time and focus back in your day is to just stop doing some things, eliminate them. And that works even if you don't have anybody to delegate to. After that, do get somebody to delegate to or at least get a machine as a stopgap to delegate to some get some automation tools in place. You can't do it alone. That's probably my second tip; you have to plan to get another person on board whose job it is to do the work as soon as possible. So, for most startups, this means probably you are the executive director, and you need to hire an assistant as soon as humanly possible. They don't have to be full time, but 10 hours a week, it'll be huge, what you can do you full time and an assistant 10 hours will be incredible. My third piece of advice is, think of your startup, just like a for-profit startup would be you're going to go through a planning phase and a funding phase, and then a planning/doing phase and then a funding phase.  You're not going to be both fundraising and doing at the same time until you're really big enough to do those two activities, because you're really starting two businesses at once. When you start a nonprofit, you've got your impact business, and you've got your fundraising business. And so related to that, the biggest mistake I see new nonprofits make is they get a little money in, and then they just start their programs as though they're going to keep going. And sure enough, before too long, they've run out of money, they have to cut back on their programs, and then they don't have any capacity left to fundraise.  So here's what I tell people. Create your initial first plan, get your vision on paper, maybe you reach out to one or two major donors who are going to give you enough money to turn your plan into an actual let's call it an alpha experiment, or a beta test. You're going to flesh out everything that your program should look like initially, maybe there are two versions, you're going to test simultaneously, and then stop and fundraise for however much that plan costs. Make sure your plan includes the cost of evaluation. And then here's the really hard part for you heart-driven people, do not start your plan, until you have raised enough money to execute the entire experiment. Then, once you execute that entire experiment of a plan, you're going to plan to stop your first version of your plan. And then you're going to ask, are we doing more of this? Or are we do we have to experiment again, and then depending on which thing you're going to do, you're going to go and fundraise for that all along, keeping in mind that at some point, you're also fundraising for your ability to fundraise more, because you have to always be growing that side of your business as well. What your thoughts are on what is fundraising freedom? What does that mean to you when you hear that?  I love that question. It kind of has two meanings to me. One is that your fundraising gives you the freedom to make the impact that you really want to make to run experiments. I think, unfortunately, the nonprofit culture we're locked into is we don't take risks, and it's a world of best practices. That couldn't be further from what we need to be doing. Most nonprofits, I say they have a mission impossible. They're trying to solve the world's most complex never solved before problems. That means you have to innovate, and you innovate by taking risks and running experiments. There is no best practice for solving the unsolved other than maybe the scientific method. And so we really need to change that culture. I think freedom and fundraising partly mean that your fundraising is empowering you to be an innovator as a nonprofit. Then the other thing I think of is that, that you find joy in fundraising, that fundraising doesn't feel like this side chore, but that it feels like you're building a tribe of supporters, you could call them investors, people who are trying to achieve the same mission that you're trying to achieve, but you're doing it through your programs, and they're doing it with their money, and you're excited to talk to them and think of them as partners.  Any parting advice from you for these organizations and individuals to really tackle this season and moving forward?  My standard advice is that good advice is easy to find, especially if you pay for it, because a lot of the best advice and doesn't cost very much. But people who give good advice are usually committed to seeing results, and they at least want you to have some skin in the game. But the hard part is not finding good advice. The hard part is following it. And so I encourage you to be brave when things are tough. Resist the urge to just throw it all up in the air and go by your gut. Keep following that good advice just and return to it. It's kind of like meditation, you're not going to be 100% focused or following the advice all the time, but just keep coming back to it. It's never too late to try following good advice again. Connect with Sarah: Pivot Ground Sarah’s Micro-Trainings Connect with Mary: Mary Valloni Fundraising Freedom Academy Fully Funded Academy Facebook LinkedIn


18 Nov 2020

Episode artwork

How to Create More Time for Yourself as You Run A Business with Sarah Olivieri

Balance Boldly for Ambitious Women in Business

A nonprofit business strategist and the number one international bestselling author Sarah Olivieri sits with Moi Naketa Ren Thigpen to talk about her passion for working with special needs persons.Listen in to learn the importance of having a method of running a business where you make time to do other things in your life. You will also learn tips on how you can lessen the burden of doing everything in the said business.“After getting separated, I came up with my super morning routine that could be done with my 3-year-old on very little time.”- Sarah Olivieri [28:28]What you will learn:She explains how her love for people led her to work with people that are gifted differently.How she came into the nonprofit world to help them make a significantly bigger impact without draining themselves.Why it should be a win-win to give into the world. Rewarding yourself as a nonprofit leader.She talks about the reasons why she became an entrepreneur and started her current business PivotGround. How she got intentional with how she runs her business while prioritizing time with her son as a way to have work-life balance.The power of delegating tasks when running a business to stay sane and efficient.  How she takes her own advice to take breaks and meditate as a way to give herself permission to pause.More about Sarah OlivieriSarah Olivieri is a nonprofit business strategist, #1 International Best Selling Author, and former Executive Director. She has been featured on over 30 podcasts and is the creator of the Impact Method™ - a framework that helps nonprofits simplify their operations, build aligned teams and make a bigger impact without getting overwhelmed or burning out.Contact Sarah OlivierWebsite: https://www.pivotground.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-olivieri/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahfolivieri/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/pivotgroundIf you are willing and ready, let’s shake the shame and spread healing & hope to women ready to get more of what they want. Order a copy of my survivor memoir and personal transformational story for yourself or a friend. Selfish: Permission to Pause, Live, Love and Laugh Your Way to Joy at Amazon or anywhere books are found.  Subscribe, REVIEW, Share & Balance BoldlyRecently Rated #8 by Feedspot on The Top 35 Women in Business Podcast to Follow in 2020! On the Balance Boldly Podcast, host Naketa R. Thigpen talks with ambitious women in business (and a few brave men) from a wide array of industries about their pursuit of success, how they face business burnout and what work/life balance looks like for them. Not your conventional self-help podcast, Balance Boldly uncovers real solutions to real problems afflicting real people at home and in the workplace, daily.If you enjoyed this episode, head over to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio, or Google Play to subscribe to the show and leave your honest review.Connect with me, Naketa R. Thigpen @asknaketa on IG, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.Now Go. Create Your Balance. Create Your Joy. But remember, do it, BOLDLY!Thank you for listening!


29 Jul 2020

Similar People

Episode artwork

Episode 33: Strategy for Small Nonprofits, with Sarah Olivieri

Planet Leadership

Sarah Olivieri is a nonprofit business strategist, #1 International Best Selling Author, and former Executive Director. She has been featured on over 30 podcasts and is the creator of the Impact Method™ – a framework that helps nonprofits simplify their operations, build aligned teams, and make a bigger impact without getting overwhelmed or burning out. Sarah received her BA from the University of Chicago with a focus on globalization and its effect on marginalized cultures and holds a master’s degree in Humanistic and Multicultural Education from SUNY New Paltz. As the founder and heart behind PivotGround, Sarah helps nonprofits make a big impact with relative ease. What you’ll learn about in this episode: How a lot of nonprofit organizations are coming to Sarah for assistance with strategic planning to better adapt to the realities of the pandemic Why many of the pieces of fundraising advice don’t typically apply to smaller organizations just starting out, and why building a circle of major donors is key How engaging your employees to encourage small Facebook fundraisers on their birthdays can be a powerful way to get many small donations at once Why the for-profit industry has set an excellent example of how to create membership programs that are creative and offer value Why you should begin streamlining and systematizing your processes, including delegating or using smart automation Why limiting yourself to certain demographics and social groups only holds you back, and why authenticity is the key to speaking to all age groups Why creating new opportunities for members to engage with and get involved with your organization is the secret to attracting millennials Why it is important to get away from the events fundraising model, and why donation shouldn’t be a transactional event but should be about participation Why agility and robustness are the most important factors for organizations navigating the increasingly frequent world-changing challenges Why nonprofits should not be averse to taking risks, and why a willingness to take risks is the cornerstone of innovation Additional resources: Website: www.pivotground.com LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-olivieri/ Additional resources from Wild Apricot: Website: www.wildapricot.com Episode Host, Alexandra Morgan’s LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alexandramorganca/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/wildapricot Twitter: @WildApricot


15 Jul 2020

Episode artwork

052: Pivoting Your Services and Staying Focused On Your Strengths With Sarah Olivieri

Say it Online

If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the power of being flexible and adaptable as an agency owner. But it’s just as important to focus on your strengths as you pivot.  That’s why Sarah Olivieri, from PivotGround, revamped her entire agency by automating processes, mastering the powerful skill of delegation, and focusing on one goal at a time.  Sarah is a nonprofit business strategist, #1 International Best Selling author, and former Executive Director. She has been featured on over 30 podcasts and is the creator of the Impact Method™ — a framework that helps nonprofits simplify their operations, build aligned teams, and make a bigger impact without getting overwhelmed or burning out. Sarah has over 15 years of nonprofit leadership experience. She was the co-founder of the Open Center for Autism, the Executive Director of the Helping of War Foundation, and co-author of Lesson Plan a la Carte: Integrated Planning for Students with Special Needs. In this episode, Sarah and I dive into why scaling your organization doesn’t always mean growing your team, the importance of sticking with a goal for a longer period of time, and why you should always have a partner to work with to keep you organized and accountable.  Tune in to learn: How to break those big goals down into bite sized chunks Why you should always assume that you are miscommunication — and how to be intentional with your communication The value of saying “no” during your sales process Connect with Sarah at pivotground.com and on Facebook and LinkedIn.For sales books mentioned by Sarah, check out The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.


7 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Episode artwork

507 Profiting from Nonprofits: Entrepreneur Sarah Olivieri on How to Prosper Without Burnout

Wings of Inspired Business

Sarah Olivieri is a nonprofit business strategist, #1 international bestselling author, and a former nonprofit Executive Director who now helps nonprofit teams as CEO and Founder of the for-profit PivotGround. Her Impact Method™ is a framework that helps nonprofits simplify their operations, build aligned teams, and make a bigger impact without overwhelm. Today she shares why a social impact mission does not necessarily translate into nonprofit status, why money mindset issues can cause women to gravitate to the nonprofit world, and how to succeed with nonprofit status without burnout.


9 Jun 2020

Episode artwork

Borrow When You Don’t Need It, with Sarah Olivieri

Nonprofit SnapCast

SPECIAL EPISODE: Nonprofit SnapCast welcomes Sarah Olivieri back to the table to talk about the SBA loans that are available to nonprofits, and how nonprofits might or might not choose to take advantage of what's available to them at the moment. Among the topics we cover: Where to find information on EIDL and PPP loan availability and how to apply. You’re approved, now what? Interest rates are currently less than inflation. Where to spend the money and where not to spend the money. Income Generating Expenses vs Impact Generating Expenses vs Flushed Expenses. Listeners will find more valuable knowledge on these topics on the Pivot Ground website. We welcome your questions and feedback via The Nonprofit Snapshot website.

4 Jun 2020

Episode artwork

117: Learn How To Pivot Your Nonprofit's Operations with Sarah Olivieri

Grant Writing & Funding

✨✨ Visit www.grantwritingandfunding.com to get the proven G.R.A.N.T.S. formula to write winning grants ✨✨Sarah Olivieri is here to discuss how to increase your productivity via operations within the framework, and through the lens of, Covid-19.Sarah and I discuss:— Should non-profits apply for the CARES Act?— Planning your spending to survive (and thrive!) during this time— Different ways to expand your donor base— Building strategies for your nonprofit— What does it mean to pivot your operations?— The 8 different areas of nonprofit operations— Networking and developing relationships during coronavirus— Why taking risks is crucial for nonprofits— Sarah’s services that are currently availableIf you have any questions, feel free to emailholly@grantwritingandfunding.com I’d love to connect with you!YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWzIfwJt0az9KKwKz1Uc8vgInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/hollyrustickLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wego-grants/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/grantwritingandfunding/Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/grantwritingandfunding/Thanks for listening!Holly Rustick


23 Apr 2020

Episode artwork

What Kind Of Boat Are You Driving? Sarah Olivieri, Part 1

Nonprofit SnapCast

This is the first of three conversations we had with Sarah Olivieri, Founder of PivotGround, author of The Impact Method. The Impact Method hinges on three guiding principles: Having a process for improvement. Having plan in place for implementation, instead of a stand-alone strategic plan. Building the right leadership / organizational structure. We discuss the notion that the vast majority of nonprofits don't actually have money problems--that they really have people problems, not knowing how to organize and leverage their people. We welcome your questions and feedback via The Nonprofit Snapshot website or the Wellspring Nonprofit Resource website. The Nonprofit SnapCast records at Strongbox West, in Atlanta.

21 Apr 2020

Episode artwork

Strategic Planning in a Digital Age with Sarah Olivieri

Top Nonprofits

Sarah Olivieri has worked for and with nonprofit organizations in practically every possible capacity. When she began her work as a consultant, she realized that many of the nonprofits that she worked with really couldn't handle great marketing because they just didn't have the internal structures in place to move effectively and consistently at the speed that you need to move in the digital age to take advantage of digital marketing. Listen and find out what steps you can  take to align your strategic plan in the digital age.


13 Apr 2020

Episode artwork

Sarah Olivieri On Vulnerability & Process To Thrive Through Change

Responsive Fundraising

Sarah Olivieri joins us to share lessons learned from over 15 years of nonprofit leadership, how vulnerability and respite help nonprofits thrive, and a simple, yet effective framework that prioritizes process and two-week sprint cycles to laborious strategic planning as fuel for improvement and growth. Sarah Olivieri is a nonprofit business strategist, #1 International Best Selling author, and former Executive Director. She has been featured on over 30 podcasts and is the creator of the Impact Method™ - a framework that helps nonprofits simplify their operations, build aligned teams, and make a bigger impact without getting overwhelmed or burning out. ----- Learn more about the tools Virtuous provides leading nonprofits to grow giving at: https://www.virtuouscrm.com/.  Get an in-depth guide to responsive fundraising to help your organization grow generosity from the modern donor at: https://www.virtuouscrm.com/responsive/.


31 Mar 2020