Keys to Creating a Successful Non-Profit

Keys to Creating a Successful Non-Profit

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: Keys to Creating a Successful Non-Profit

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz Radio! Biz Talk for Biz Owners. During the next half hour, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth, a leading business advisor, and two-time best-selling author will cover topics that'll help business owners run their companies more profitably and more efficiently. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward. This show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right. Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz radio with me, your good old buddy, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth. And this week we're going to I, I won't be the official title of the show, but I'm gonna mention do it for the doggies. Okay. And I'm gonna explain that in, in a minute here, but we're gonna talk about a, a, a nonprofit that is has a mission that is near and dear to my heart. And I'm sure with a whole bunch of you that are watching and listening. We're gonna learn about that nonprofit, but we're also going to learn about our guests this week is going to tell us because he started this this nonprofit and it's been massively successful. So any of you out there that have ever had the dream or the idea of someday, I'd like to have a nonprofit, maybe you'd like to run a foundation or something like that.


At some point I, that, that's one of my goals. We want to have a Mr. Biz Foundation where we help lots of people. And so we're still on the, on the, in the very early formation stages of that, but that's a goal of mine. So kind of selfishly, I'm gonna learn from this episode as well, because you know, I wanna make sure we learn how to create a successful nonprofit. What are some of the things that we need to look, look at doing? Maybe some of the things that we have to avoid and our guest this week is gonna help us with that. Our guest this week is Mr. Jeff Allen. He's the co-founder of, as I mentioned, successful nonprofit monkeys house, a dog, hospice, and sanctuary when he is not saving dogs, he's helping improve people's lives as a technology leader for a global biopharmaceutical company, Jeff's and old award winning and bestselling author of where dogs go to live. So Jeff Allen, welcome to Mr. Biz Radio.


Ken, thank you for having me on.


Yeah, absolutely. So gosh, it's been a, a few months ago. Gosh, I guess probably about maybe four months or so. Was it that long ago? I can't remember about


Four months.


Yeah. When we first connected did, and we finally getting Joe on the show, we, we had a backlog of guests and, and all that kinda stuff. So but I'm, I'm excited to have you on the show, Jeff, because I wanna talk about Monkey's House. I want to talk about some of the trials and tribulations you've had and the successes you had in creating monkey's house. But first let's talk about your entrepre journey. What sort of brought you to creating this nonprofit Monkeys House?


So like you said, Ken, I've been in corporate America, my whole life worked for a few different major companies. And my wife was a nurse and she retired. She retired because we actually started a, a brick and mortar business. It was a equestrian store selling you know, horse goods, riding equipment. We had that for about five or six years. It it did well, but it, it was just a lot of work. And in the, you know, with it was right around 2008, 2010, when the economy kind of tanked and the, the com industry was coming out. And we, so we kind of gave that up because it just wasn't working for us. And then we, we did, we were animal lovers. Obviously we started to foster a lot of dogs and okay. We realized that because my wife was a nurse, they were giving us all the sick dogs. We take them in. And I think like anything else, even with the business, when you see the need for something, that's when you take action. And we saw that there was no resources for these sick dogs. And we said, and we, we were spending a lot of our own money to get, we had, at one time we had nine dogs that we were fostering or adopted, oh, wow. All sick dogs. So we said, you know, we have to do something. And we looked into starting a nonprofit.


Well, so I gotta ask Jeff, so equestrian to dogs, like, do you have like lizards and birds and everything else in the mix too? Or


We have chickens, we have ducks. We have goats. Yeah. We have quite a few animals. Yes.


Yeah. So, so, so you have like a little bit of a, an Allen mini farm. Is that, what is that what


I'm hearing? We actually have six acres here in in Southern New Jersey. Yes. We're in farm country.


Okay. All right. So I guess what I, I presume that you've, you guys have always had dogs probably. Right. Is that, is that right?


Yes. We've, we've always had dogs. I grew up with dogs and, and actually, and so did my wife and then our first animal we got as ma we've been married for 30 something years. And the first, first animal we got was a dog.


Gotcha. No, I was just trying to think of the transition. Obviously the equestrian store, not, it was a business, it for profit, but you know, you're helping, you're helping horses indirectly. You're helping horse owners, et cetera, to moving to the dogs. Was it just, you know, horses are too darn big, like


Yeah. Horses, horses take too much room. And, and probably not as much, probably the same amount of work cuz these, these dogs do take a lot of work. But what I found very interesting is when, when I first started the, the nonprofit you know, a lot of the material you'll get is, and even from the government it's we started a business and, and I didn't even, you know, at first it's like this isn't a business, it's a nonprofit. I even said that the first year, and now going through this for now, we're going on our seventh year. It definitely is a business. And you have to work it like a business. You know, basically you have to, you obviously have passion, especially when you wanna start a nonprofit. I think you have passion for a business as well. Maybe not quite as much wanting to do good. But you do have to treat a business or you won't be successful.


Well, it's interesting. And, and right off the bat, I'll tell you guys, when I, when I first met and talked with Jeff, you know in the past I've rescued dogs and, and adopted them several of them in the past as well. And you know, when you do that, it's very, I mean, honestly, it's, it's, it's, it's a really good experience. And I, I almost felt a little bit selfish because the, the, what am I, what I guess the intrinsic heartwarming aspect of it that I felt now, obviously we're helping the dog and everything, but I, it just made me feel really good that I'm helping a dog out of a bad situation and, and not be stuck in a shelter or, or, or worse. And so, you know, that right away, Jeff resonated with me. And it was funny when we first talked, if you remember Jeff, I'm sure you, maybe you don't, but you know, Jeff was like, ah, I don't know if it'd be good for the show or not like we have this thing. And I'm like, no, this would be great. You know, this would be great to talk about. And nine dogs, nine sick dogs, I can't even imagine.


Well, and today we have 25 dogs here with a nonprofit, right? At one time we were up to 31 and I'm like, oh God, this is too much because I have to tell people that these dogs are in our home, on our farm. So they, they are not in kennels. These dogs are living on little couches, so they're all over the place. So it, it is quite quite amazing of, of how it goes. And, you know, Ken, one thing that started years and years ago, if you talk about how I got started in nonprofit, I was a big cyclist. So I would do these cancer rides and raise money. And it was a, I always was able to raise a lot of money. And at one time I said, you know, I should be able to raise 10 X. Like I was close to a thousand dollars. I, I should be able to raise 10,000 and I raised 10,000 and then I started Monkey's House. And actually I've been involved in raising over a million dollars now. So I think everybody has the capability of raising or helping out more than they think they can. Like now I'm going on? My, my future thought is now 10 million right. In the future.


Well, no, Jeff and that's exactly I wanted to get to that is and that's what I think will resonate with folks because anyone who's considered like myself, like I mentioned starting a foundation, any sort of nonprofit, but their, their main concern is, gosh, how am I gonna raise the money? That's one of the things that I definitely wanna make sure that if not, if not, before we talk about, and segment is the success you had and, and your ability to do that. And the fact that, you know, it's not like you have Elon Musk as your uncle, and you just ask Elon for like some big fat check. You know, you've gone through a lot of processes to do that. And so I think that's a great message for anyone who's considering a nonprofit, but is intimidated by raise money and things like that. And how the heck can I do it? I think you'll be able to share a lot for it. And, and again, selfishly for me, it's gonna help me out too. And I'll probably be taking a lot of notes. But nonetheless, we're talking again this week with Mr. Jeff Allen, who's a co-founder of monkey's house, a dog hospice in sanctuary. You can find out more at Come back after the break on Mr. Biz Radio


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All right. Welcome back to the show on it's time. As we always share it to being in the second segment, the Mr. Biz tip of the weekend, this week's tip is a really important one. One of my favorites, I have a lot of favorites, but this is one of my favorites. And the tip this week is to start with yes, with customers, with employees, with ideas, all those things. And what do I mean by that? What I mean by that is, and this I'm sure you'll, you'll pick up on this. You you'll, this will resonate with you at some point, when you think about it a little bit, when someone comes up with a new idea, let's say, for example, let's say an employee comes to you or a customer comes to you and says, what about is your first thought the negative is that your first thought that we can't do that because of fill the blank or is your first thought that might be challenging, but let's think about how we might be able to make that work.


The latter is what you want to do because you've shut down a lot of ideas right off the bat that could end up with a lot of, you know, success with employees, again, with all these different ideas and things like that. Super, super important. You gotta start with, yes, you could have that, right. Mental attitude don't automatically say no automatically say yes. Now you may figure out the steps and actions and execution necessary to achieve whatever that is to make whatever it is happen. You may figure out like that's just not gonna work, but at least explore it. And what I mean by that is it could be, oh my gosh, in order to do this, this it's gonna take an investment of a hundred thousand dollars. We don't have that now, but wait a minute, what can we do to come up with that a hundred thousand dollars?


And then you may put together a plan to come up with that at excess a hundred thousand dollars. So you've got an eight month plan, let's say to come up with a hundred thousand dollars and then you can execute that plan if you start with no, and you go, that won't work, that's gonna take money and we don't have it. You just shut down on idea automatically. So start with yes, because that can lead to awesome, awesome things in your business, in your life. So that is the Mr. Biz tip of the week, this week. So Jeff, let's talk about Monkey's House. So the first thing I gotta ask you is, is we talked a little bit about it, but I wanted to give you a chance to maybe even talk about it a little bit more is the why,uyou know, you guys were, you mentioned you were fostering and, and taking care of eight, nine dogs at the time and decided Jesus is costing us a lot of money. Is, was that sort of the Genesis of everything?


Yeah. Well it really, because there's lack of resources. Yes. We, we had a dog that we were fostering. The dog was a beautiful golden retriever. Her name was Goldie and Goldie. She was emaciated. She was probably about 12 years old and they said, look, what we know, Michelle, you're Italian. You should be able to get this dog to eat. You know, you're, you were retired nurse. So, but we couldn't get her to eat. And she had a tumor on her side and Michelle said, there's something going on more than this dog than we're not gonna be able to get food. I don't think she should have surgery. So she actually took the dog to our vet under our name. Like, you know, you're not supposed to do that when you're foster. Right. But she said, no, we, we feel very strongly about the, we fostered.


And the, the vet said, no, this dog is only has a, a short time to live. So we adopted Goldie and and a few weeks later she went to the rainbow bridge. But at that point we realized that there's definitely a lack of funds and that's what got us really thinking about it. And then you laugh and say, how do, how do we come up with a name like monkey for, for a dog hospice? Well, monkey was same thing. He was a little dog, a little Heines 57 mixed that the shelter gave us the shelter. Vet said, just take him home and let him pass, keep him comfortable. He probably has a month or two to live. That doesn't work for us again. We said, we, my, my wife said to the vet, I know he has cardiac problems. He probably can use some very inexpensive meds, the, the shelter vet wouldn't budge. And I know they're lacking funds. So we adopted him, took him to our vet, saw a cardiologist. We got him very inexpensive meds. He lived a wonderful life for 17 months instead of those there's, you know, two months. And that was it when he passed we started, we started monkey's house.


Well, that was my next question. I was gonna ask you like how how's a dog, hospice and sanctuary called monkey's house. So I'm glad you, I'm glad you kind of fill us in on that. Well, so, and, and one, the other thing I want to touch on Jeff is I hear your entrepreneurial spirit and, and, and a lot of different things you said, but one in particular is with, with Goldie that, that, you're not like you said, well, you're not supposed to take the, a, a rescue to or some, sorry, a dog you're fostering to, to your own vet. That's, that's an entrepreneurial way. And, and the way I hear the entrepreneurialism is you're gonna ask for forgiveness, not permission. You're like, look, this needs to be done. I'm gonna go do it. I don't have to ask someone permission for this. I'm gonna freaking go do it because it's the right thing to do. And there's, there's definitely an element of entrepreneurialism in that.


Definitely we, my, and, and my wife, even more than me, she, she, you know, she is the medical expert and we end up doing a lot of things. She's become such an expert that other rescues reach out to her. Even if they're taking a dog to the vet, they reach out to her and ask her first. And usually they come back and say, yeah, that's you said the same thing the vet with was gonna say, cuz they, they just wanna confirm with us. And you know, we've done that taking dogs in here. The key is that these dogs, we get 'em as healthy as possible. We feed 'em holistic foods. They eat better than I eat. They they get the vitamins, they need, they get nutrients, they'll get the on medicines as well. But we look, we, we also do the nontraditional modalities too, for dogs that need it whatever they need, they get. I think it's, it's a approach that has resonated very well with our our base of followers. So I think so, whatever, even a business or a nonprofit, I think that's very important that you always are telling stories. Like we're always telling stories about these dogs about how we don't look at in the past, because a lot of these dogs are mistreated, but from when they get here to the future, that's their life. That's their story.


Yeah, absolutely. So, so let's, let's talk about that a little bit. So, so how many dogs have you had through over the years through Monkey's House?


You know, the, the, I think we've had over 130 dogs. I know we've had over 130. I can't give you the exact number off the top of my head.


Yeah. That's amazing. That is absolutely amazing. I, I can't even imagine. So how difficult, gosh, this is a tough question to even how difficult is it for you guys? I mean, I guess you, you know, you, you know, the role you're fulfilling in this dog's life if it has a, you know, if, if it's terminal, but how difficult is that? I can't even imagine. I mean, I, I, I know when, when our dogs have passed in the past how devastating it's been for our family, for me even personally, how, how do you guys wrestle with that? How do you deal with that?


You know, you know, I can, it's, it's actually no different than you or anybody else, each dog that we bring in here, even if we've had 'em for a few weeks we it breaks our hearts, right? My wife said one time and the day that ha the day that stops is the day we stop having Monkey's House because they deserve all the love that we can give them. Like I said, even for a few weeks. But we, but we understand that that is our mission and we'll, we're willing to take that pain to give them a good month, three months, sometimes three years.


Yeah. Jeff, I gotta tell you, like, especially having gone through a, you know, losing dogs in the past in our family and everything and, and seeing the, the devastation that, that, that has, and the long lasting impacts that even has me, that is the biggest sacrifice you and your wife are making, because I just can't imagine the emotional toll. I mean, again, you know, you're, that's the role you're fulfilling, but my gosh, I mean, hats off to you guys for being able to have the emotional strength, to be able to, to do that and, and give these dogs a, a, a fit well end to their lives. Oh man. I, I just, I couldn't


Imagine we're we're with every one of them when they pass to the rainbow bridge, they're on our lap. Usually we try to do it at the house. So vets will come out. But they're with us or they're with one of their favorite volunteers here.


Yeah. Well, that's incredible. It's incredible. Find out, out more at that's Come back after the break. Jeff's gonna talk us through some of how he created this nonprofit and it's been so successful.


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All right. Welcome back to this show. And again, this week we're talking with Mr. Jeff Allen, who's the co-founder of Monkey's House, a dog, hospice, and sanctuary. And I'm glad I'm glad that the, the, the end of the segment was the end of the segment last one again, it was conjuring up some of my memories of, of some of the dogs that we've lost and like guess said, I, I'm not a super emotional person or, or anything like that, but man, it's, you know, it, it really hits you. I mean, they've become part of your family, just like anyone else. So it was just kind of hit me there to, towards the end. I'm glad, like I said, I'm glad it wasn't the beginning of the segment. But moving past that on the positive notes and again, that's positive as well.


Like I said, I'm, I'm not trying to put a negative spin on it. It's, it's definitely positive because what you guys are doing for these dogs and giving them, like I said, a fitting end and, and is as kicking them as comfortable as they can be at the end of their, our lives. I mean, that's, it's, it's amazing. And so let's talk a little bit about that. So you obviously you've, you created Monkey's House in order to do that, walk us through some of the things you've done that, you know, have helped make it successful. Maybe talk about some of the things that you've been able to accomplish with Monkey's House and things like that. Jeff,


I, I, you know, no, it's when we started this, it was all about the dogs and it still is all about the dogs, but one of the biggest things we found out, it's also about the people and, and it, that could obviously it's volunteers, but I think more so is your followers, your , if you're business your customers, right, your supporters, it's a about them. And I think I said in the last segment, it's all about stories. So you need to, whatever kind of nonprofit you have, you have to be able to tell that in stories, in heartwarming stories, if you can, right. And social media is the big thing today. You know, when, when I'm thinking about, well, how do we get our message out? Because everybody wants to get their message out. It's social media. We, when we first started Monkey's House, we opened up a Facebook page and that's our main platform.


Although we use Instagram as some of the others, you should use many of them, if you can. But Facebook ended up being this community of more than even just Monkey's House. People will get on there. Like you said, it ended, someone will lose your dog. They get on there. We have over 80,000 followers now on, on Facebook. So, and like I said, as a community, we didn't expect that. But that's what you need to succeed. I think with that you have to have the right technology. So we, and I think what you said earlier, sometimes people are like, oh, I don't wanna invest, especially nonprofit. You you're really strict on the money because you want to use, we wanna use the money for the dogs for vet care for food, but, you know, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. And I went, I remember when I first got my first donor management and, and fundraising campaign software, you know, it was a few thousand dollars and this, when we just started out and I'm like, I can't do this on spreadsheets anymore.


It's I have to have something. And I had to convince the board to do it. And like I said, and now it, you know, we're bringing in, you know, you know, a couple hundred thousand dollars plus a year because that's basically, we're basically bringing in for our budget and that's needed. So you need the proper technology, the tools you need a great website. That's always critical is the base website, which I'm always trying to, I think everybody's always trying to improve their websites. So I think those are some of the things that you really have to think about.


So has there been any things Jeff, that you've, you've found that you've come across as, as you were starting Monkey's House you've maybe done that you're like, oh, crap, I'd never do that again. Or, gosh, I wish I wouldn't have done that.


So one of the things was it in like you have to spend money to make things, right? You, you, you get what you pay for. Sometimes we had a great friend, a great friend who helped us, who was a, who was a legal advice lawyer who helped us set it up. But some things weren't set up exactly. Right. So we're still to this day kind of struggling through that, cuz the official name is, I think it's Monkey's House, an animal sanctuary. So it's not really doesn't even have dog in it. So it's the way it was set up. So now we do business ad as,uwhich you said monkey's house. So all those things are very critical. Uthey're they seem like little things, but in the long run, they're not that little.


Yeah. Yeah. So, so I guess what are some, some ways that you guys raise funds? What, what are some different types of campaigns that have been successful for you?


Well I think the the, the biggest one really is just every once a day we tell our story on Facebook. Ah, and we have someone else that puts it on Instagram, but really it's on Facebook. And these people from a around the world literally fall in love with dogs. They've never met and, and they wanna see the same dog or they wanna hear their stories. If the dog's getting surgery, I think you have to that resonates with our supporters, our followers and you have to keep them engaged. Sometimes I'll do surveys. I do newsletter and then I have some so we have an annual campaign at the end of the year where we raise probably 40% of our funds. And then we do have a monthly campaign. I mean a monthly donation based as well. So people say, Hey, I wanna donate every month.


And then some basic things like a t-shirt one once a year, we do calendars. Both of those. They don't raise a ton of money, but their, their publicity and they do raise some money. But I, one thing I would say is we don't focus on asking for money all the time. There's certain things that we ask money for because we really wanna get our story out. We want people to be part of our family. You don't want, don't want your relatives asking you for money for all the time. And that's kind of how we think too. What is key to us is in 2019, Michelle was a CNN hero and that brought a lot of followers. And we were at about 10,000 followers on Facebook, overnight with that. And some other media attention, we were at 50,000. So the media is big to be able to get, you need to get that base up. You need that donor management. You need to, I, I don't wanna say coddle the donors, but you wanna keep them engaged and keep them involved.


Yeah, no, it makes perfect sense, Jeff. I mean, you think about it, you you've created a community and people, people want to hear about those things. That there's a, you know, I'm based in Columbus, Ohio, and there's a rescued Ohio organization. That's based here in Columbus, but they have sort of branches all over the, the state and it's, you know, obviously to get dogs rescued, it's a little bit of a different situation you're in, but it's interesting. They have sort of a similar model. It sounds like from what I see is, you know, I'm part of their Facebook group and things like that. And they'll, they'll bring in a new dog that maybe has a health ailment, not a terminal ailment, but something that's wrong with him or her. And they'll, they'll post a picture of the dog and they'll tell the story and they'll say, this is Sadie.


And Sadie came to us and she has this growth and we've gone to the vet and it's gonna be blah, blah, blah. And we're really trying to raise some funds for her. And they'll create a little bit of a campaign for Sadie in this example. And it's amazing to me, right? I'll see that, you know, they're looking for $1,500 for surgery for Sadie and, you know, two days later I'll see an update and they raise $2,500. You know, it 10 bucks at a clip or 20 bucks or, you know, someone give 50 bucks. I mean, there's so many people, like you said, you, you establish that base. And if everyone gives 10 bucks or, you know, not even large sum, it really starts to add up quickly.


Can, can you imagine, I, I was sticking this myself, Betty White, when she passed, there was this big campaign for Betty White, for people to donate to their local shelters or rescues. Yeah. Now I just came through, well, I just came out of the annual campaign, so I didn't really wanna push it. Right. I, I mean, like I said, I don't wanna ask people for money all the time. I, I was going back and forth with my wife. Should we just say something? So we, it, we said, look, if you want to in her honor donate great, but I really appreciate everybody that did the annual campaign. We met our goals. We raised $15,000 and wow, I, I can't Imagine and, and other rescues around here, they raised 20,000, they raised 25. So I think across the globe, across the us millions for were raised for Betty in honor of Betty White. And it just shows that, that people have really big hearts. And I think no matter what nonprofit you have, it could be animal related child related, you know, maybe food, seniors, whatever it is. I think you will get. If you tell those stories, you will be able to be successful.


Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Jeff, I really appreciate you coming on. Go guys, go out and check out Jeff, thank you for so much for coming on, sharing the story of Monkeys House and sharing some of your tips as well.


Thank you, Mr. Biz greatly appreciate you having me on.


Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well guys, thanks for watching and listening as always. And don't forget cash is king.


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