Max Friedman on Making Giving Fun for Today's Changemakers - Chief Influencer - Episode # 054

Max Friedman on Making Giving Fun for Today's Changemakers - Chief Influencer - Episode # 054

Max Friedman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Givebutter, an all-in-one nonprofit fundraising and CRM platform that has powered nearly $2 billion in donations. Having started the company in his college dorm room, Max's journey highlights the blend of self-taught technical skills and a mission-driven approach to make online giving fun, social, and transparent. 

In this episode, you’ll learn how Givebutter's unique branding and commitment to transparency have contributed to its success and how Max's leadership strategies, especially in a remote work environment, emphasize values and culture to drive impact and growth. 

Additionally, Max shares insightful advice on engaging the next generation of donors, adapting nonprofits to modern fundraising techniques, and the importance of building a strong team culture even when remote. Tune in to discover how Givebutter is revolutionizing the fundraising landscape and inspiring change across the nonprofit sector.

  • Transparency should be a throughline in everything you do, from your mission to your operational policies. Ensure your team and customers have a clear view of your pricing, product roadmap, and internal guidelines. Implement transparent pricing models and make your company's mission and vision public. Consider making internal documents like handbooks and guides accessible to everyone, including potential new hires and the public.
  • Even in a fully remote environment, creating a strong and cohesive culture is possible by establishing clear values, vision, and operational guidelines that everyone understands and adheres to. Develop a comprehensive handbook that includes your company’s mission, vision, values, and operational rules. Use this as a cornerstone to onboard new employees and to maintain cultural consistency.
  • Personal connections can significantly enhance your fundraising efforts. Utilize peer-to-peer fundraising to tap into personal networks, making it easy for individuals to share your cause within their communities. Develop programs that encourage your supporters to become ambassadors for your nonprofit. Provide them with easy-to-use tools to share their experiences and solicit donations from their networks.
  • Create a feedback loop where customer inputs are regularly collected, analyzed, and acted upon. Ensure they are communicated back to the customers once improvements are made. Implement a system to aggregate customer feedback and make it publicly accessible so that users can see the status of requested features or reported issues. Notify customers when their feedback has led to concrete changes or new features.
  • Recognize that remote work requires flexibility and autonomy. Understand that employees value the ability to manage their schedules and workflows in a way that suits them best. Encourage flexible working hours and remote work options. Set clear expectations upfront about what remote work entails and provide support for employees to adapt to this mode of working.
  • Utilize platforms like Slack to create interactive channels that mimic the social aspects of an in-person office. These channels can include common interests like pets, sports, and hobbies to foster connections. Create multiple Slack channels around different topics and encourage employees to join. Introduce standing social meetings where employees can connect informally.
  • Building and maintaining personal relationships is critical in fundraising. A simple thank you call soon after a donation can significantly increase the likelihood of future donations. Implement a process where donors receive a personalized thank you call or message within 24 hours of their donation. Use this as an opportunity to build a genuine relationship rather than just an impersonal transaction.

Quote of the Show:
“Break through the noise and get the next generation of modern changemakers involved.”


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Creators and Guests

Anthony Shop
Anthony Shop
Anthony Shop believes in the power of people-centered branding and marketing to create a bright future. He chairs the National Digital Roundtable, the premier convener of digital innovators, leaders and policy shapers. Anthony also is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Social Driver, a digital services firm that helps companies and non-profits establish winning strategies with social media, websites, creative, and advertising. An enthusiastic presenter and teacher, he has led executive-level training for Amazon, PepsiCo, NASA, The British Embassy and the Bipartisan Policy Center. He has been recognized as an “OUTstanding LGBT Role Model” by The Financial Times, “40 Under 40” by The Washington Business Journal, and Business Leader of the Year by the DC Chamber of Commerce. A former newspaper reporter, Anthony was the first new media professional elected to the National Press Club’s Board of Governors. He currently serves on the boards of Leadership Greater Washington and LearnServe International. He earned his MBA from The George Washington University School of Business, where he teaches as an adjunct lecturer.
Robert Krueger
Robert Krueger
Robert is an Executive Director for The Communications Board, an organization with the mission of providing high-quality professional development for every communicator in every location. He is also the Global Lead for Partnership Communications at Gensler, the world’s largest architecture and design firm. Prior to his current role, he performed executive and CEO communications for Gensler, and was the senior director of public relations and social media at the Urban Land Institute. He obtained an MA in Communications and an MA in History from George Mason University. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In addition, Robert has taught communications at universities including George Mason University, West Virginia University, and the University of Florida. Robert currently serves as Immediate-Past President for the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC) -- the nonprofit’s largest chapter.