The Nonprofit Entrepreneur: How to 10x Your Impact

by | Nov 4, 2021

“Your time and your talents and your energy should be able to be spent with the people you serve.” -Molly Ola Pinney

If you feel like you can’t be replaced or don’t “have enough time” to set up systems…

Then don’t miss this episode of A Modern Nonprofit, where Molly Ola Pinney joins us to show you how growing a nonprofit entrepreneur mindset helps you have a much bigger impact on the world.

Molly Ola Pinney is the Founder/CEO at the Global Autism Project. The Global Autism Project is an international community of entrepreneurs, educators, Autistic Self-Advocates, and leaders working together to co-create content, resources, and spaces that inspire an accepting, empowering world for everyone.

But more than anything, she’s a strong self-built nonprofit entrepreneur. And she’s passionate about sharing the innovations and mindset shifts you MUST embrace to make your nonprofit organization successful in 2022 and beyond! 

In this episode, you’ll discover…

1:54 How nonprofit leaders be more like entrepreneurs (and why they should do it)

10:34 How Molly keeps up with latest tools and tech solutions for booting her efficiency

14:32 Molly’s favorite hacks for running an entrepreneurial nonprofit

24:02 Her best advice for leaders shifting from the program side to the business side of their organization

Thanks for joining us! For more nonprofit accounting resources check out www.thecharitycfo.com

If you’d like to reach out to Molly:

Instagram @GlobalAutismProject

www.globalautismproject.org

🎥 Click the video below to watch the episode on YouTube.

🎧 Click here to listen to the Podcast on AnchorFM or Apple Podcasts

👇 Or scroll below the video to read the full transcript of our conversation

 

 


A Modern Nonprofit Podcast

How to be a nonprofit entrepreneur and 10x your impact on the world!

11/4/2021

Tosha Anderson:

Hey, everyone welcome back to another episode of a Modern Nonprofit Podcast. I am here today with
my friend, Molly. Molly, you and I have known each other for a few years and I feel like we immediately
clicked and I feel like the reason why we immediately clicked number one, we’re both founders and
CEOs of our organizations and number two, we immediately jibbed on the entrepreneur mindset. You’re
just a hustler and you think outside of the box, you’re creative. You’re always interested in making the
biggest impact in ways that are just completely thinking outside of the box and I absolutely love that.
You’ve kind of been an unofficial mentor to me personally, as I started my business as well and that’s
exactly why I wanted to have you onto day. So Molly, today, we’re going to talk about entrepreneurship
and kind of thinking about entrepreneurship in the way of nonprofit. So Molly, first and foremost,
thanks so much for being on, and I’m really excited to have this conversation with you.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. When I saw you at a podcast, I was like, I need to reach out to
Tasha and then I never did. So I’m glad you reached out to me. So yeah, it’s one of my favorite topics. I
think if I were to sort of sum up what is one of the challenges in the nonprofit sector is that there’s not
enough outside of the box. There’s not enough thinking in an entrepreneurial spirit. We often hear in
this industry that we’re going to do it that way, because we’ve always done it that way. In the world of
entrepreneurship, that’s a kiss of death for a company. Yet in the nonprofit world, we keep doing what
we’ve always done over and over again, because that’s how we’ve always done it. So as a founder of my
organization that I started 18 years ago now, I decided early on this was never going to be a we’re going
to do it because we always done that. So, yeah.

Tosha Anderson:

So let’s just go ahead and get started in my mind, like the most obvious question. You started a
nonprofit and you’ve started many other kind of movements, initiatives, businesses, those sort of things.
How do you think nonprofit leaders could be more entrepreneurial as they start to grow their
organization coming from a fellow founder.

Molly Ola Pinney:

You know, entrepreneurship by definition, right, is a willingness to take on new risks. I like to think
about entrepreneurship as always thinking about how to scale, how to grow, how to really just make
your impact exponential. One of the things that has helped me along the way was just recognizing that
as a founder of a nonprofit, that is an entrepreneur role, that is somebody who started something from
nothing and has a responsibility and often an urgency to grow it, to scale it, and to do it in the most
productive, efficient way possible. I think that is the part to take from entrepreneurship. It’s that
productivity, it’s that efficiency. It’s the systems. The reason that I have an organization today and my
sanity are the systems early on, we put systems in place and we’ve continued to refine and build and
look at those systems. It’s really gotten to the point when COVID happened and we had to go virtual
overnight, we had the systems and the processes in place that we were able to just keep doing what we
were doing.

Tosha Anderson:

I like how you talk about systems, because I think so many organizations, they operate in silos, right?
They have one individual that does the main function, right? So and I say this out of my own experience,
accounting and finance specifically, or program leadership specifically, or fundraising specifically, or memberships, or the list goes on and on and on. Volunteer coordination or whatever it might be and so
many times I see organizations, I know because I get these conversations. I had a woman yesterday,
reach out absolutely frantic because her director business and finance has decided to resign and give
two weeks notice. But because there are no systems, we rely on humans and there are human abilities
to retain information in their brain and never getting it out of the system or out of their brains into some
sort of system or document in any sort of meaningful way, no systems to cross train that these
organizations become crippled and paralyzed.

Tosha Anderson:

Because we’re operat in such siloed ways, there’s no kind of critical thinking problem solving amongst
the group. How can we overall look at these things? Like, for example, I had another call yesterday
where I have an organization that keeps getting all of these new government grants and that’s an
amazing thing, but at this point, how does those writing the grants communicate it to the program
team, this is a new funding source that we need to be tagging to those individuals that we’re surveying
seen to make sure they get billed. Then how is the finance department even aware that these contracts
exist so that we can make sure, yes, we got the census from the program team so that we can then bill
and it’s just all of this communication and collaboration that frankly I had seen not work so well in the
nonprofit space and it’s probably true for for-profit businesses, but it’s just absolutely important.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Yeah, it is alarming to me how many companies run with the idea that if someone were to get hit by a
bus or as we say in our organization, go on an incredible exotic vacation tomorrow, perpetuate this idea
of getting hit by a bus for my team, but the things with Brian to a screeching halt. I think the common
criticism of creating systems and documenting everything is, “I’m already so busy with everything that
I’m doing. I couldn’t possibly now take time to document systems to write down what I do.” What ends
up happening is that again, that person leaves and now you’re spending a whole bunch of time
scrambling doing rework, etc. So a few years ago, I guess now maybe closer to six or seven years ago in
our organization, we actually decided as a team that there’s got to be a way to be more efficient.

Molly Ola Pinney:

There’s got to be a way to shift responsibilities so that our days actually really could end at 5:00 PM. So
we worked nine, we actually worked eight thirty to five and had 30 minutes for lunch, and I was really
committed again about seven years ago that if your day ends at five, you go home at five. You’re not
emailing after five. You’re not emailing before you come in. That’s just, we’re just not doing that
anymore because I saw that the way that we were doing things, which was the way we’ve always done
them and the way that other organizations I’ve watched and worked and done is that you work all day,
you go home, you do a bunch of work at night, you get up in the morning, you work all morning, you and
it just doesn’t work. It’s not sustainable. It’s not healthy. We are the people in this world who are
ostensibly improving the lives of those around us.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Meanwhile, we’re overworked, underpaid, and not just not being efficient is to me, feels like you’re
stealing from your clients who need you. I think that’s kind of the easiest way. So we audited the entire
organization and we’ve since done it on a quarterly basis where we write down, what do we write down
work? Work I love to do, I always want to make sure people are doing work they love to do. So work I
love to do, we write in the next column, work only I can do. What is the work in your organization right
now that only you can do? And listen, no judgment here It’s a long list when you start. Then the other
column is other work I do. So it’s not stuff that only I can do, and it’s not stuff that I love to do, it’s just
other stuff I do.

Molly Ola Pinney:

So we took all of those responsibilities and we were able to shift things around so that people could be
doing work they love to do. So the column of work only I can do, was looked at all the time because
here’s the thing, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget this moment. I had been at the UN, we were planning
for world Autism Awareness day, that’s the space I work in. I had like four missed calls. I was like, oh no,
what happened? What had happened was that the office, the garbage hadn’t gotten picked up. As it
turns out, nobody knew the number for the garbage company. The system was, you call Molly, or you
text Molly CEO of the organization and you say the garbage hasn’t been picked up. Then I call the
garbage company and that’s how the garbage gets picked up.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Now we’re at Brooklyn, New York. So the garbage not getting picked up is a huge deal and it’s a huge
ticket. So it’s not just inconvineant and messy you get a huge ticket from the city. So it’s kind of an
important thing. So we were able to fix that. You know what we did? We took a piece of paper and we
took a Sharpie and we wrote, garbage not picked up question mark? Call this number, tell them this
address. Please ask them to be here before 10. Ta Da!

Molly Ola Pinney:

We just don’t realize how many of those things. Okay somebody came in the garbage wasn’t picked up.
Well, that’s not the person who generally calls me. So then my assistant gets a message to call me, to let
me know that the garbage had been picked up. Then they hadn’t heard back from me. So then someone
else called me. It’s like, when you actually look at all that time and when you start to value your time,
you can’t help, but put systems in place and start to find those places where there’s any friction where
anything, or whenever you say, does anyone know where? Does anyone know where? It’s like, that’s not
good.

Tosha Anderson:

No it’s not good and I love how you talk about the things that you love because one of my big takeaways
over the last, I’d say 18 months is figuring out all the things I love and this would be true for everyone,
figuring out how to spend most of my time into that camp and anything that’s just other things that I do
once that other things that I do starts to consume, 20, 30% of your time, let’s create another position
that someone else that loves to do that and we’ve just been focused on being laser focused on each
individual person’s role and hopefully the majority of their time is, is that they love are things that only
they can do. And just delegating and figuring out and reassigning who does all those other things.
Speaking of time, though, I do have a question, because this is a, I know this is something I’ve asked you
privately, and I’m going to ask you again publicly, people have told me this and they certainly feel like
this is true for you.

Tosha Anderson:

The companies that we run seem very, almost like a tech startup vibe, because I think we’re very
creative and we find creative ways of running our businesses. So you’ve always stayed on the cutting
edge of this, cutting edge of creating a way of running your business, whether it’s the latest technology or the latest processes and systems. You’ve talked about time and I know certainly we can talk to people
about you’re going to spend the time eventually you might as well spend it now, but truly Molly, where
do you get the time to know all of the latest workflow softwares and the latest tech solutions and the
latest, because you are just such a fountain of information when it comes to, oh, there’s an app for that
or, oh, there’s this, there’s that. I mean, how do you know these things?

Molly Ola Pinney:

That’s a good question.

Tosha Anderson:

How do you find time for all of it? [crosstalk 00:10:57]

Molly Ola Pinney:

One I’m very interested in it. Two, whenever I see a business that might just even be an online
entrepreneur solopreneur, whenever I see any kind of tool or system that they’re using, I immediately
think how can we use that? Can we use that? Does that make sense for us? A few years back, I decided
that as an organization, it was time to really scale our impact. I realized that the idea of managing
hundreds of people was overwhelming. The idea of having thousands of people involved with our work
was overwhelming. So I committed to creating systems so that if we serve five people or 5,000 people,
there would be no interruption, there would be no stress there would be no, like we can’t do it. Right?
So we looked at every single place in our organization where anything was a bottleneck. What could we
automate?

Molly Ola Pinney:

When I knew I wanted to scale the organization, I looked at a number of nonprofits. I worked with a
number of very large nonprofits and I was very fortunate to be in New York. There’s a lot of very large,
very successful nonprofits and what I found is that they had sort of grown by accident. They had scaled
by accident. There hadn’t actually been systems and processes in place that had gotten them there. So
then I looked entirely outside of the nonprofit world and I actually mentored with a tech company, a
software company in California, and I traveled out there four times a year to learn from them and be in
that community and be that space. I just actively put myself into those environments where that’s just
the normal everyday conversation. When my friends and I get together, we talk about Asana versus
Trello. Asana all the way, by the way. You know I built Asana?

Molly Ola Pinney:

I’ll tell anyone who will listen about Asana. I think that is, that’s kind of part of it. It’s just sort of become
who I am and what I’m doing. I think the biggest part is, there are many people who have figured this
out already. There’s this tendency, especially as a founder to go, I’m the only one I have to figure this
out. I remember years ago we started the using Asana probably 11 or 12 years ago, and I remember just
testing them all by myself. It was like, we’re going to test this one, and we’re going to test this one. Then
I discovered, there’s this thing called a blog and there are people who have written about their
experiences and there are comparison charts and you don’t have to do it all. You can, you can rethink a
lot. So, yeah.

Tosha Anderson:

Yeah. I think that sometimes people get so bogged down into being busy, that it’s always surprising to
me how much more nonprofit leaders don’t kind of put themselves out there to immerse themselves in
the information available like you. I essentially started an online business with the charity CFO, and I had
to figure all of the things out. I had to figure out how do I build my clients? How do I do the work? How
do I deal with emails? I’m constantly figuring out because when it’s only just one person and many
nonprofit leaders have the same way, but I think we kind of default into, and I think this is human nature
in general, we tend to default into what we are good at. Since I know so many founders that come more
through the programmatic side, they tend to focus more on programmatic, which is absolutely
important not to dismiss the importance of that, but not realizing how efficient and streamlined we can
really get the administrative side of the business up and running.

Tosha Anderson:

So on that note then, so whether it’s related to marketing, programming, staffing, hiring technology, I
know you have all so many different ideas. What are some other hacks that you might recommend to
people that you’ve learned through the growing pains of scaling that you might advise people on?
Maybe just a handful of them. I know you’ve got several. So what, what would you say your top hacks
for running a modern nonprofit specifically?

Molly Ola Pinney:

Yeah, I’m trying to think. So one thing is that in general, in your organization, you want to figure out how
to do fewer things better. So to figure out what is it that you do? What is it that you don’t do? Once you
get really clear on the program and you know what you provide and you know sort of your place in the
world in that way, you need to focus on the administrative pieces. for me, the administrative pieces was
really about creating systems, creating processes, streamlining things, and outsourcing as much as
possible. Part One of the things that we also DO on a quarterly basis is in the office and now remotely,
we write down what we did every 15 minutes. This is not to micromanage. This is to look at like, what
are the little things that are pulling me in different directions?

Molly Ola Pinney:

What are the little things? Then we also time block at the global autism project. So everything we do is
in time blocks. So one of the questions you asked about where do I find time? There’s actually an hour
and a half block in all of our weeks, that is learning block. In learning block, you watch that webinar that
you haven’t watched yet. You read that article you haven’t read yet, rather than reading it, getting
distracted then going back to email. We only check our email three times a day at the global autism
project for 30 minutes at a time. It’s plenty. It doesn’t seem like it is, but you know what helps with that?
We have no internal email. You do not email your colleagues. We use Asana for communication. We’re
looking at other communication tools now that we’re of course fully remote, but that makes a huge
difference to have zero internal email.

Molly Ola Pinney:

That’s probably the biggest question I get after a podcast, by the way. You’re welcome to reach out and
ask how we do that but yeah, zero internal email and then outsourcing. So we use Justworks and we
love Justworks as our HR platform. So in that 15 minutes, I realized that I was spending time every week
calling the payroll administration company calling them back and then asking them if they made a
mistake then looking at a mistake they made and all that adds up.
This transcript was exported on Nov 04, 2021 – view latest version here.

Tosha Anderson:

Yeah.

Molly Ola Pinney:

So, it is now a priority to not work with this payroll company, because we’re actually sending hours of
the CEO’s time on the phone with the payroll company, because they’re not willing to talk to the
assistant and they’re not willing to talk to the finance as person or they are, but I still have to get on the
phone and say, yes, you can talk. I mean, it was just, that became a priority for us. As I said, Asana is like
the brain of our organization. Once you have our Asana password, you’re in. It’s like there is a section in
Asana for all of our process docs. How do we onboard a new partner? How do we… everything? How do
we replace the ink cartridge in the printer?

Molly Ola Pinney:

For a lot of the things that we do online, we upload a video. So whenever anybody asks us how to do
anything. So if you worked here and I said, “Hey Tasha. Do you know how to download contacts who
have traveled to Kenya?” And you go, “Yeah I know how to do that.” What you might do is go, “Oh yeah,
I’ll do it for you real quick.” Then you don’t get it done and then what we do here is you do it, and you
record a screenshot of you doing it and you upload it to the process doc.

Tosha Anderson:

Yep.

Molly Ola Pinney:

It’s all with naming conventions. So it’s CRM software, download contacts by group, you’re able to find
it. So I think that’s really been the biggest thing and then of course now we’re fully remote before we
were, our office was on one point, organized, every single thing had a place. There was a place for
everything.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Inventory was instead of waiting until we ran out to do something or get something, or end up now
having to go to a bodega or store or whatever, there’s a line drawn on the dishwash soap that says when
it gets to here order a new one. In some ways I can really see and hear this as like, wow, that’s intense
like, what’s it like to work there? Obviously you need to ask my team and people tend to appreciate it.
It’s like so clear. It’s so obvious, we’re not running out of stuff. Anytime we are, anytime there’s a
breakdown in that system, it’s handled as just that it’s a breakdown. How to make sure it doesn’t
happen again.

Tosha Anderson:

Absolutely. I will echo a, a couple things that you’ve said from the get go I think the single handed best
decision I ever made when I started this business was no internal emails and it’s been about five and a
half years now. It’s really mind blowing for people, but it’s really interesting because I get reports. So we
certainly get a lot of client emails. Right? Just to put it in perspective for some of you listening, if you
don’t understand how big your email problem is, wait till some of the numbers that I throw out. I have
clients, my average client, we’ve got a little over a hundred a month. On average, I get 54 emails a month from my clients, right on average. Some of the largest offenders, I get clients who send, one of
them is 354 emails I think a month that I get from them.

Tosha Anderson:

Another one is upwards of 700 emails a month just to me, just to me. So when I went back to the CEO, I
said, listen, I’m not going to tell you how to do your business, but do you realize that your team is
emailing me that many times? So imagine how many times we’re emailing each other. A lot of it is just
CC’ing copy everybody on everything. I thought, I don’t know if you realize this, but we have a system
that’s very easy for me to run these reports and it might be good information for you. I just think
everyone on the team is just so relieved and appreciative of the fact that we don’t have a culture where
carbon copy everybody and instead of everything there, because to your point, Molly, we have most of
our communication that is work related rather than just water cooler, chit chat, is all housed into a
workflow software.

Tosha Anderson:

So if somebody is like wondering what’s going on with this specific task, they can just go to the workflow
software and they see the communication there rather than it just be. So it’s more fetching the
information when they need it, rather than pushing all of the information in front of people’s face and
it’s just complete information and overload. So if you haven’t thought about this idea of completely
eliminating your internal email, there is a way Molly and I are here to speak to that. Absolutely. And
there’s just so many good administrative hacks out there that I think we could just talk all day about the
different ideas.

Molly Ola Pinney:

I know I was like, where do I start and physical office space? I mentioned the thing about our physical
office space, because I know a lot of your listeners probably do things like run group homes or run
programs. You don’t necessarily realize how much time is taken away from your clients into doing
something like reorganizing something, right? This idea of re-work it’s already been done and now we
have to do it again and it steals from your clients. That’s what it comes down to. Your time and your
talent and your energy should be able to be spent with your clients, with the people that you serve. At
the end of the day, I think for us as a organization is like, hey, why does it matter that we label where
the stapler goes? Oh, because we care about that kid we work with.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Just really making those connections. I walked into an organization that I gave to monthly in New York
city in 2005 and never been to their office. I imagined it was probably very amazing. It was a disaster,
the desks were a mess. There were boxes of things, everywhere file cabinet drawers were open and
listen full disclosure, I’m a Capricorn. I like my stuff in my space to be organized, but I stopped giving
money that day. I stopped giving money that day. I just imagine it was back in the day when you mailed
a check. I just imagined what do they do with the check when it comes in? I was legit worried that check
was going to get lost and like screw up my banking, you know? But I just felt like, no, sorry, I support
what you do, but this is a giant New York city based organization and there’s no financial reason that
things have been…

Tosha Anderson:

More organized.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Yeah and just any system. So.

Tosha Anderson:

Right. So let’s talk a little bit more about that. So we kind of mentioned earlier that a lot of people that
are in leadership roles or those that decide to start nonprofits usually come through the programmatic
side. I mean, certainly you’ve been more working with children with autism for many years. You started
an organization to continue working with children with autism or I guess adults too, maybe older
children. What would you say to someone that did come through the programmatic side, but needs to
brush up on the business side of things? Because I will say, and certainly correct me if I’m wrong here,
but you have eliminated as much off your plate as humanly possible so you can focus on enriching your
programs and revenue generation, right? Growing the organization, scaling the organization, continue to
grow the salaries for your staff and the benefits for your staff and all these thing. So when I talk to you,
your primary focus is increasing impact for program, but also revenue generation, which will then also
fuel the impact that you can have with your programs.

Tosha Anderson:

So what would you say to someone that came through this programmatic side and they have no idea
how to really run the business and focusing on primarily the revenue generation side in increasing the
impact of the organization what types would you have maybe for those individuals?

Molly Ola Pinney:

Well, having been there, I think the important thing to get is that you are talking to me nearly 20 years
after I started the organization and very much sort of on the other side. I remember about 13 years ago,
I was looking for this file the other day. I remember just like hitting record on my computer and being
like, this is really hard. I promise if I ever figure this out, I will share this information freely. Just being in
that place of just total exhaustion, burnout overwhelm, I’d just gotten back from Kenya and I was
dealing of course, with jet lag and the trip hadn’t even been fun cause I’d been so stressed out and so
overwhelmed. Not that it’s meant to just be fun, but usually you enjoy your work. Now suddenly… I also
had shingles.

Molly Ola Pinney:

So it was really this moment where I was like, oh my gosh, this can’t be how it is. So I think the most
important thing is if you’re in that place, two things, one know that it is absolutely not sustainable and
two, do not judge yourself for being in that place. I think one of the things that kept me from really
stepping into the leadership of this organization is I had this thought in the back of my head that I can’t
do this. I’m not the person like who, how, I remember also realizing that maybe I could learn about
business, and maybe I could learn about administration, and maybe I could even like it. I was going to
create that possibility, try that. I knew full well that if I did not like it, if I did not like learning about the
finance side of stuff, if I did not like learning about the system side of stuff, that I would back off and hire
someone for that role and my role would be programmatic.

Molly Ola Pinney:

I think some people enjoy it and some people don’t, and just because you come from the program side
and you don’t enjoy it right now doesn’t mean you can’t. So for me, what I loved about the program side
was the problem solving and the thinking outside the box, the creating new possibilities and all that. So I
was able to just bring that into the business management side. So the problem solving, like there’s so
much problem solving, really solution finding, you know? So I think that is the most important thing I
want people to get though. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I started this nearly pre-internet,
certainly the internet didn’t have all the resources it has today, but even you and your company didn’t
exist that would’ve been a great thing to find 20 years ago.

Tosha Anderson:

True. That’s true. Yeah and it’s funny how much has changed even in the last five years, right? The last
10 years. That’s where I think it’s so important that we stay on top of emerging trends on how to run the
businesses because you’re going to be constantly finding new ways to do things as MI new software
becomes available. New process improvement becomes available, new positions, new professionals,
new abilities to outsource things that you never thought outsourcing was even an option. At one point
accounting outsourcing your accounting was just unheard of, outsourcing your HR was unheard of,
outsourcing your facilities management was unheard of, right?

Molly Ola Pinney:

Yeah.

Tosha Anderson:

There’s just going to be so many more things and now with so many contractors out there today, shoot
there’s so many things you can outsource nowadays. It’s amazing to me, how many businesses can run
very, very lean, but yet have such an impact. So Molly, thank you.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Yeah. [crosstalk 00:28:11] Outsource a lot. I mean, I think there’s such an opportunity out there to just..
again you do fewer things better. You do what you are good at. You do what you enjoy. Otherwise,
you’re not going to be in this, you’re not. I can tell you right now, I almost wasn’t.

Tosha Anderson:

It brings up an interesting point for me, because I think that this is going to be a very controversial thing
that I think an accountant will say, but in the nonprofit world, we hyper focus on expenses. I think Molly,
where you and I are, I think very similar in the sense, we look at getting the right people into the right
positions, focusing on the things that they really, really enjoy and oftentimes, yes, that means that you
have more people, right? That means you have more expenses. So many times I see nonprofits so hyper
focused on, we need to cut office supplies by 10%. We need to not give raises for these staff for this
particular reason, because we just don’t have budget and you, and I kind of have a little bit of a different
mindset that rather than hyper focusing on how can we just slash all expenses immediately?

Tosha Anderson:

How can we create more revenue? How can we expand our footprint to get more supporters? How can
we be creative about how we earn revenue rather than relying on donations. Right? Having a little bit of
a different mindset on, we need these people, we need these roles, we need these functions. We need
these expenses in order to run and all have our sanity at the end of the day. What does that mean then?
That’s kind of going back to the entrepreneurial spirit. Most entrepreneurs don’t say, well, how can I
keep my expenses really low and that’s the bare minimum of revenue that I’m willing to, or able to get.
Right? That’s a lot of times the tone that I hear from many of my clients and kind of flipping the script a
little bit, I think about, I’ve kind of done this over the last 18 months, what roles as I start figuring out,
what do I love, what do I do the only I could do?

Tosha Anderson:

What is just all of the other things that I do? All of those other things I do, I start carving out different
positions and certainly nonprofits should be doing the same thing. Then I figure out, well, now that I’ve
made the commitment to get that off of my plate, I need to figure out as the CEO, how the heck to pay
for it. Right? So then it goes into kind of the more, the creative side of things on how to, how to
generate the revenue to do that. I think that’s sometimes unique to the for-profit world, but I don’t
think it should be and I don’t think it needs to be. So I love that part.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Yeah, absolutely. I think it brings up a really good point too and something that I’m very passionate
about is that our team has great benefits. They have competitive salary. Everybody gets their birthday
off, with our fully remote team, we’re sort of working that out but we had a few things that were really
great. One of them was, of course, everybody gets their birthday off. They get three holidays of their
choosing off. We were in New York city working with people from all different cultures and so in
addition to our regular time off, they have that time off.

Molly Ola Pinney:

They took a week off between Christmas and new year’s, even though it’s a huge busy week in the
nonprofit world, we have the systems and the processes and the automation in place that they could
just really be with their families. Same way the summer, we have a big event that we’ve run in the
summer. Now, granted, this is pre-COVID it. Now things are remote. Now things are a little, we’re
working it out still, a year and a half into it going, oh, okay. I guess we are, I guess we are staying like
this. This is another conversation we’re having now that we thought we were having last April.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Just really making sure that, that your team is taking care of and that becomes really an important piece
of what it is that you’re doing. I think that is often overlooked. That’s often overlooked as, oh, we can’t
afford it. Well, what I can’t afford is to have somebody working three or four jobs to make ends, try to
put themselves so that they can do this. That’s one thing, another thing I can’t afford is one of my staff
members gets sick and they don’t have the coverage to take care of that. So now they cannot take care
of themselves properly or they’re not just not going to the doctors because they don’t have the
coverage.

Molly Ola Pinney:

We have a generous health benefits program just because we just don’t want to be in a place where
people are having to make those sort of decisions to do this work.

Tosha Anderson:

Absolutely.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Yeah. As you know, I can talk about this like all day, every day, if people have questions, you’re welcome
to reach out to me as you can well imagine, I have a calendar link with the times that people are able to
book with me and I’m happy to set that up and share that with people as well, that you can put in the
show notes if you’d like, so

Tosha Anderson:

Perfect. Well, Molly, thank you again so much for joining us. I’m going to go ahead and drop the link to
Global Autism Project, right in our show notes and Molly, is there any other ways that people can find
you or just to follow your story and follow your impact? Is there any other ways that people can do
maybe in a more passive way rather than scheduling time with you?

Molly Ola Pinney:

Yeah. The organization is on Instagram at Global Autism Project on Facebook. I’m on Instagram, but I’m
terrible about posting there so you probably won’t find me as much there, but I would say follow the
Global Autism Project on Instagram, you can kind of see what we’re up to. You’ll see some of the
entrepreneurial innovations allowed us to continue. I think one thing that we just kind of skipped over
Tosha, which is hilarious is, there was a day last year where I called you up and said, our revenue is zero.

Tosha Anderson:

Yeah.

Molly Ola Pinney:

You said I’m sorry and I said, it’s zero for 2020. I was like, all of our trips are canceled. That’s where we
get our money, millions of dollars and our revenue is going to be zero. It was kind of like, all right, now
we have some information. What are we going to do? So we went from our revenue zero to creating an
online program that we sold to people and we were able to continue to exist and our team is still here
and not as many positions, just the nature of our work. We didn’t have the opportunity to keep all of the
positions, but the people who were here in March of 2020 are still here.

Tosha Anderson:

Yeah.

Molly Ola Pinney:

We were, we’ve been able to figure that out. So.

Tosha Anderson:

Yeah it’s a very interesting story. We could do a whole nother episode about the kind of the journey, but
I remember when we started working together a couple years ago, you almost like tripled the size of the
organization in a year and we’re not talking going from 10,000 to 30,000, we’re talking millions. Right?
And then we went O overnight, hence as the name would suggest Global Autism Project, we are a global
organization that travels all over the world, and as soon as COVID 19 prevented anyone from traveling
anywhere, all of our operations and programming came to a screeching halt, and you’ve been able to
weather that storm pivot online. Hopefully we’ll get back to traveling again, soon fingers crossed, but
you’ve certainly had some good lessons. It’s almost like, how do you survive that we could do a whole
other episode, but it’s certainly some of these lessons learned, but I think it’s a testament to all of the
things that you’ve done the first 20 years. Right? Helped you survive this last two years, year and a half
or so.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Well, if nothing else, a mindset for it, right? You go, I’m not doing this for 17 years to have some global
pandemic shut it down.

Tosha Anderson:

Absolutely. Well, Molly, thanks again so much for joining us. This has been such a good conversation. I
appreciate you.

Molly Ola Pinney:

Thank you so much. It’s good to see you again.

Tosha Anderson:

Bye now.

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