S. 2 Ep. 17 – How Philanthropy Can Boost Your Business

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Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 2 Ep 17 - How Philanthropy Can Boost Your Business with SpeakerFlow and Jeff Civillico

Back in season 1, we brought in Jeff Civillico to share his wisdom around building engagement in our audiences.

Jeff has headlined in Vegas for the better part of two decades. And with that experience, came mastering the craft of moving and deeply engaging with an audience.

We had such a good conversation about what it takes to truly engage an audience and we ran out of time to talk about something near and dear to Jeff’s heart.

So, we decided to bring him back for season 2. That something?

Philanthropy! Jeff shares with us how rewarding, beneficial, and impactful philanthropy can be for you and your business.

Not only that, he shares with us a simple path forward for any of those looking to do more charity, start a non-profit, or simply give back.

Don’t sleep on this episode. If you’ve at all thought about how to start giving back, this is the episode for you.

See you in there!

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Show Notes 📓

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Read the Transcription 🤓

Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking. We’re your host, Taylorr and Austin and in today’s episode, we brought back a special guest. Back in season one, we brought in Jeff Civillico to share his wisdom around building engagement in our audiences. If you haven’t listened to that episode, definitely go and do that. Jeff is headlined in Vegas for the better part of two decades, and with that experience came mastering the craft of moving and deeply engaging with an audience. We had such a good conversation about what it takes to truly engage an audience that we ran out of time to talk about something near and dear to Jeff’s heart. So we decided to bring him back for season two. That something? Well, philanthropy. Jeff shares with us how rewarding, beneficial, and impactful philanthropy can be for you and your business. Not only that, he shares with us a simple path forward for any of us looking to do more charity, start a non-profit, or simply give back. As always stick around until the end for some awesome resources. We hope you enjoy this one and we’ll see you in there. And we are live. Jeff, you decided to come back for round two.

Jeff: Couldn’t get enough fellas. 

Austin: My question was going to be why? Like why?

Taylorr: Yeah. Are you okay?

Jeff: I’m back for some philanthropy. That doesn’t sound as…

Taylorr: Philanthropy. 

Jeff: It’s hardcore. I’m here to talk about giving back. [Cross-talk 01:36]

Austin: There needs to be more people out there making that statement proudly.

Jeff: Yeah. Getting fired up.

Austin: You’re one of what, two Taylorr? Guests that we’ve…

Taylorr: Yeah, two so far that we brought back, yeah.

Austin: Brought back for a second time too so boom.

Taylorr: One, two.

Austin: I mean…

Jeff: Who’s the other?

Austin: You’re in the elite class. Rich Mulholland.

Taylorr: Rich Mulholland.

Jeff: Okay.

Taylorr: Out of South Africa. Very cool individual.

Jeff: Awesome. Wow, I am honoured gentlemen. Thank you so much.

Austin: No man, we’re honoured, it good to have you here.

Jeff: It’s because of all the serious content I bring.

Taylorr: Yeah. We were just going to bring that up. 

Austin: You know, we have this thing with mugs at Speaker flow. We were just on Sally Z’s podcast recently.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Taylorr had the most Minnesotan mug I have ever seen…

Taylorr: This is legit all I use use. Everyone who’s seen [ cross-talk 02:16] so far…

Austin: There you go. It’s hilarious.

Taylorr: It’s just this Buffalo plaid. It has a moose on it, because of course and it’s the same one.

Jeff: Everything in my house is either Philadelphia Eagles or Mike Wasowski. Huge Mike Wasowski fan kindergarten, best three years of my life. Of my life.

Austin: It’s a great show.

Jeff: Oh it’s so good. Put that thing back where it came from or so help me and cut. I can go on and on.

Austin: Wow man. I think someday we’re going have to do one more episode together where it’s just, you dialoguing…

Jeff: It’s just that.

Austin: Through the entire…

Jeff: The Mike Wasowski Special.

Taylorr: Yeah. It won’t even be with Jeff Civillico. It’ll be with Mike Wasowski…

Jeff: Oh, absolutely.

Taylorr: You can just the hear impression the entire time.

Austin: Featuring Jeff Civillico. 

Jeff: I don’t know if you’ve ever been at Disney World and seen the Monsters Inc Experience where Mike Wasowski host it from the [cross-talk 03:05]

Taylorr: Oh, I haven’t seen that, no.

Jeff: Oh. Literally the jokes, kids are dying and me I’m in the back like, ah. It’s clearly intended for children and I’m a grown man just like doubled over laughing. He’s just silly. He’ll say, alright, like great to be here. Everybody’s having a great time except for that guy. And then like a spotlight will just go on this one person in the audience and it’ll show a camera of just this random dude. And I’m just like some dad there right? And I’m just like, that’s brilliant. We have the same sense of humour.

Austin: Oh man, I respect that. That’s awesome. I think that it’s a good thing that you’re secure in your adulthood…

Jeff: Oh yeah,

Austin: But you still like your childlike wonder, right?

Taylorr: That’s right. Love that…

Austin: We don’t have enough [cross-talk 03:52].

 Taylorr: These days.

Jeff: Absolutely, amen.

Austin: Hope you’re inspiring some people out there to go watch Monsters Inc. Go do it folks. Not sponsored but should.

Jeff: Go watch Monsters Inc again.

Austin: Sponsored by SpeakerFlow.

Taylorr: Yeah. Oh man. Well Jeff, last time we had you, we ran out of time to talk about something highly important in your business, which is this idea of philanthropy. So we want to unpack that today and why it’s so important to you where it kind of all stemmed from. Why don’t you kick that story off? Why? What got you started on the whole thing?

Jeff: It’s funny because it’s always kind of the last thing to come up whenever you do an interview or…

Taylorr: It is yeah.

Jeff: You talk with someone. And I understand that you don’t want to lead with like, well let me tell you about how great I am and all the nice things I do. It’s always like this is my career, this is who I am and also this is how I give back or this is how I volunteer and I totally understand that and get that. But in my situation, the philanthropy actually came first. It came before the performing, before the speaking.

Taylorr: Wow, no kidding.

Jeff: Yeah, a lot of people don’t realize this. The first show I ever did was a charity show. So I owe my performing career or my speaking career to my charity work because I was a charity performer first. So it was high school. I was 14 years old and I met with my guidance counsellor at the time and we had a service project to do and the task was to do something that takes you outside of your comfort zone and write a reflection on it. So you’re supposed to talk to your counsellor, think, okay, well what you like to do? What resonates with you? How would you like to give back? And my friends were volunteering at senior care facilities or giving help to soup kitchens, helping out a habitat for humanity, working with the homeless. It was actually my dad who had the idea, he said, well you like to do these shows in the kitchen for grandma and the family after dinner, these magic and juggling kind of variety shows, why don’t you do a show for the special needs school down the street? Now my dad is a dentist and he would give free dental care to all the kids and all the workers there as a way.

So we had this relationship. Thought, oh, that’s really cool. That’s kind of fun. Because I’ve never actually shown up somewhere outside of my kitchen and said, I am your entertainer and I’m here to entertain you. And so I thought that sounds fun and challenging and certainly would take me outside of my comfort zone. And that’s what I did, and it sounds a little cheesy, but that show changed my life. Doing that show for that special needs school was the first time I ever showed up and said, I’m here to entertain and I learned quite a bit. So that’s how it all started for me. I kept doing charity shows for that special needs school, and then you know the for-profit world, everybody talks. So pretty soon I was doing shows at other special needs facilities and I was doing shows at local hospitals, and then I was doing shows at nursing homes. And in high school, I actually started a juggling club where I taught some of my friends to juggle and we performed, we did the charity circuit.

That’s all we did. We did like nursing homes and hospitals and all sorts of pro bono events. And that’s how I started performing. So for me, it wasn’t like something I added on later. It’s baked into the fabric of who I am as a performer. And I always tell performers how do you get your gigs? Where do I start? I’m like start with charity shows…

Taylorr: Charity. Yeah.

Jeff: With free shows. Yeah, because they’re super grateful. So it’s a pretty easy audience, you’re there to entertain at a children’s hospital. It’s a lot different than at a corporate event or something where they’re paying you five figures so the pressure isn’t there as much, but in a sense it’s even more challenging, which is great for your formation and great for your development. Because if you can go and into a playroom at a children’s hospital and make all those kids and parents and staff laugh, win them over, think about what they’re going through, all the challenging circumstances or going door-to-door. We go into room-to-room, hospital bedside visits, show up and a kid, understandably is in a bad mood or they’re tired or maybe they’re stressed out about a surgery or they’ve just come from something, a treatment. And you can win that room over, like one kid in the hospital bed with his mom there and a nurse kind of coming in, then you’re an entertainer. If you can bring that child some happiness and make that child smile and that’s just a great feeling. So I always tell performers, there’s no excuse, you can’t get gigs, you’re just starting out, there’s a whole lot of people that would love for you to visit and entertain. Nursing homes, special needs facilities, foster homes, orphanages, even like title one schools, all sorts. Just get on the phone, get online and offer to do a show and they’re not going to turn you down. They are so grateful for the support, they’re grateful for  you reaching out.

Austin: Man. Okay, so this prompted two things for me. First of all, I find myself inspired by young people that just really want to change the world. I saw a news article recently of this group of two or three or four teenagers really that had a river or creek that was near their house and it was just absolute, covered in trash and junk and stuff. And so they made it their mission. They sacrificed, but as a teenager…

Jeff: Yeah.

Austin: You have to give up your time.

Jeff: Time, yeah.

Austin: They gave up their time to go and spend time cleaning that thing up and it took them months and months, but now it’s like this beautiful area and I’ve always wondered what happens to those people? Do they keep doing that for the rest of their lives? So you’ve now inspired me that you can in fact take those really cool things that happen in the form of years and continue to develop that over time until you have something like Win-Win, which I’m excited to unpack.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, I appreciate that. I really think that you kind of fall in love with that feeling. And I this is kind of controversial at times, too because it’s like if you’re still getting that fulfilment of doing something good, is it still as beneficial? And I would say yes. I don’t care that I feel good about myself after I’ve done a show for a children’s hospital, like who cares? You did the good work. It was well intentioned. If you feel good about that, That gives you a little like dopamine hit and that feeling of giving back and it inspires you, spurs you on to do more, great. So I don’t care about that at all. And performers will come to me and say, oh gosh, I felt so good. I want to feel like that again. And then I kind of unpack it because I know. I’m like, well, yeah, no wonder why it feels, because you’ve just spent the last 10 years promoting yourself and talking about yourself on social media…

Taylorr: Yeah.

Jeff: And promo videos and look at me and all this stuff. And for the first time, probably in a while, you weren’t thinking about anybody else.. You might have thought as you’re going, oh, this will be good or I’m going to post this online. But when you’re in that moment, and you’re in the zone, in a hospital room with a kid, entertaining, everything else goes out the window, you don’t care at all. And I have performers who will say, yeah, I can do a visit, but I’m really busy today. I can only stop by for like 20 minutes. They’re there for like four hours. Because they realize this is super important and something happens to them when they’re performing. You realize this is more important than anything else I had planned today, is like making this kid’s day. 

And I’ve had performers will say, hey, you know, I dropped off some magic tricks for this kid, any chance I can come back maybe next week and check in on him and see how he’s doing. I’m like, absolutely. So it is kind of funny to see the difference of mindset. That flip between people who are, again, nothing wrong with it, but naturally focused on promoting themselves as the product when you flip the script like that. And it’s not about you, it just opens your mind up to crazy perspective changes, which I think has a real lasting effect on you. Especially if you get involved doing it early.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Jeff: Then, something like Win-Win happens where you kind of get other people involved and it just grows and builds organically.

Taylorr: Yeah. I was actually going ask about that. So when did it segue for you from just doing pro bono work because it felt good to now, I’m going to create a non-profit. What happened for you where that that switch happened?

Jeff: Yeah. It’s a great question. So as I mentioned, I started off, it was in high school doing these shows. So all through high school, it was just fun. I was doing shows at hospitals and nursing homes. And then I went to college in DC at Georgetown and same kind of thing. I got involved in like DC kids, Hoya kids, DC Reads, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Boys and Girls clubs. A lot of these groups that were affiliated with Georgetown in some way. They would have a Boys and Girls club chapter of Georgetown kids. And then they would see me doing a show somewhere or they would hear about me doing shows at DC improv or elsewhere. And so I would perform for these charity groups that were kind of affiliated through Georgetown. So I loved doing that. So I kind of kept that going. And then as I turned pro as, a professional juggler at the time, after college, I was working on cruise ships but I was based out of Orlando. I lived right next to Florida hospital. And so I was working for Disney doing a lot of work on Disney cruise line, so when I was off, I would go do shows at Florida hospital. 

And then I started doing shows like Give Kids the World which is an amazing organization in Orlando that sponsors trips for kids with terminal diseases. You’re nodding your head, so you’re familiar with them? Awesome organization. So I would do shows for them, so it was all just kind of for fun because I enjoyed it, this and that. When I got to Vegas that’s when the red bull and gasoline kind of pew, made things explode. So a couple things happened then. I came to Vegas and I naturally just got involved with giving back like UMC children’s hospital because that was the local non-profit hospital. But now I had my Vegas show and also social media, like Instagram, this is now, I’m dating myself but this is keep in mind when I started doing this there wasn’t social media.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Jeff: And so now. Instagram, Facebook, everything’s kind of blowing up and I had a bigger platform of the Vegas show. And so now when I would do these visits, I would post about them and performers would say, oh, that’s awesome. They would say like, oh, I didn’t know something like that existed. I was like, well, I mean it doesn’t exist. You just call the hospital, email the hospital and arrange it, you can do that too. But sure, I’ll arrange it for you. So I started arranging these shows for my friends and for performers in Vegas. There’s so many here and most of them have their days free, even if they’re doing their show at night. And so very organically, all of a sudden I realized I’m kind of serving like a charity agent. There’s no money being exchanged, but I’m matching time and talent with hospitals that want it.

So again, everybody talks and things spread. So if I do a show at a hospital performers say, wow, that’s cool, I’d like to do that. But then hospitals say, oh, hey, you know, so and so was a child life specialist came over here and said that you know some performers that would come visit. Can you arrange a visit for this day? And so all of a sudden I realized, alright, I’ve got like all the hospitals in Vegas and all these performers. And then it moved on from hospitals to senior care facilities and the USO air force bases. And it was when a guy named Charles Burau, who’s still on our advisory board, he was the head of PR for the residential shows in Vegas for Cirque du Soleil at the time. And he connected with me. We went for coffee and he said, hey, I think you really have something here. Much bigger than you just texting your buddies and calling. Like Vegas needs this. Vegas needs a home for entertainers that can help connect them with all these causes in the community. 

So with his help and another board member, Matt Malone who is a friend, a lawyer from Georgetown who lives in Vegas, we formed our 501C3 and we got going. I owe it to Charles to really say, hey, I think this is bigger than what you might think. And then I can turbo through we’ve refocused a few times to focus on just children’s hospitals exclusively now, direct service to children’s hospitals and we’ve just multiplied from there. So then other cities started calling. In Orlando is next because I came from Orlando. So the Florida hospital contacts I had were like, oh, this is great. I knew a ton of performers in Orlando. And now we’re up to 15 plus cities.

Taylorr: Wow.

Jeff: Yeah. Doing all these shows right up until COVID we were of course in person visits, but with COVID we turned everything virtual. So now we do all of our visits virtually as well. Hopefully we’ll be adding back in person visits in 2022. But the virtual option has really expanded our reach because now we can hit all these smaller market hospitals where performers don’t live or they’re not traveling through. So now we have programs at Burlington Vermont, UVM, at Charleston, South Carolina, Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. All these smaller market hospitals, as well as performers all over the country. So we’ll have a performer from Columbus, Ohio zooming in to perform for kids at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. So now it’s just completely blown up in the best possible way.

Austin: Man. That is so cool. And I think what I love about this and what I hope some of our listeners are hearing amongst all of the other good things, but what you just described was an evolution into something that’s substantial at this point. I’m sure there’s [cross-talk17:57] a lot of logistics to make all this happen, but if somebody feels called to give back in anyway, you just described a scenario where it does not have to start like this complex thing. One of the questions as we were ideating what this episode would look like was when is the right time to get into philanthropy? And I think it’s because…

Taylorr: That’s right.

Austin: Philanthropy, just as a word, has this connotation to large sums of money being given to people. I really think that’s the thing that most people associate with it. But it doesn’t have to be that. Like you started by just giving little bits of your time, trying to make a difference and improve people’s lives and there was no structure to it because it didn’t need that. It doesn’t need that necessarily for somebody to get started and then it can become whatever it needs to become. I just love that.

Jeff: Yeah man. You are preaching it brother. People all the time say to me, I want to start a non-profit. And I’m always like, eh hold on a second.

Taylorr: Hold on, yeah.

Jeff: Yeah. When it’s like, just do what you want to do now. Starting a non-profit is  paperwork and this-that. What do you actually like to do? Well I want to work with kids who are Autistic and help them. I want to do like a sports league for kids with Autism. I’m like, cool, that exists. It’s called Miracle League. It’s a national organization. There’s special needs Autism. Instead of trying to start a non-profit, you should start volunteering with Miracle League. Because one, two points I’m getting at here. One is like only start non-profit after you’re in and doing the work for a while to understand the space, because there’s a really good chance what you need to do is not start another non-profit, but help an existing non-profit, because there are thousands and thousands of non-profits in every city. I literally thousands and thousands and if you just pick an area like animals, or whatever, there’s like thousands within that subset of whatever. Oh, I want to help animals. Great, learn what’s going on in the space first, because you really might be duplicating your efforts and diluting volunteer efforts and donor efforts and everything else. 

So, one, I would say you might not necessarily need to start a non-profit, although that could be well intended, what they really need is help. But also to your point, just start doing whatever it is that you’re doing. If it turns into a non-profit, great. But there’s nothing holding you back from starting to work on your mission, whatever that is now. People ask me all the time, how do you start a non-profit? I’m like by just starting to do the work. So again, look at Win-Win. If you were to say, I want to start a non-profit where I send performers to hospitals all over the country. Okay, awesome. You know how much I learned by actually doing it myself? Like I was the guinea pig. 

I learned, I got the experience so that now when I talk to other hospitals, I’m like, here’s the way this works best. Now, when I talk to performers about getting involved, I can say here’s some tips and tricks and dos and don’ts. Even just basic stuff. Like don’t ask a kid how he’s feeling and what happened and things that sound obvious that now are like no-no but then if we have these toolkits that we send to the performers, as well as the hospitals to show we’re legit, we understand where you’re coming from. We understand what you’re looking for so when a hospital is checking us out, they see all this social proof from all these hospitals. But more than that, they see, okay, they’ve got like dos and don’ts, they understand HIPAA violations, they know what insurance requirements are needed, they do background checks on all their performers. All of that would be totally daunting and inundating if you were starting off, like oh, I want to start this non-profit. Doesn’t work like that. Start, get in there, build some relationships, get the experience and you learn so much more about what’s really needed and where and how you can make an impact.

Taylorr: So simple. It’s like that crawl, walk, run. You don’t just dive in. It just doesn’t happen. It’s just a lot of baby steps to get there and it obviously makes sense to start by just giving making it as simple as possible. You’re going feel fulfilment from that almost right away. I would anticipate.

Jeff: Well you’re talking about full circle moment here. The word philanthropy, you’re saying has this kind of big connotation, a little scary, lots of sums of money. It’s something that I do after I’m established after…

Taylorr: Right. One day, right.

Jeff: I’ve made my mark and now let’s build my legacy with some philanthropy. Putting your name on a building and donating something is like, sure, that’s one small piece of philanthropy, but that’s honestly why I do love my story because the giving came first, which is like how I believe it should be with everybody. I feel like it should be part of who you are. And a lot of that’s how I was raised, it’s just kind of part of the deal. When you think about your life, you think about your health, relationships, education and giving back, volunteering. That was always one of those big buckets about whether or not I was living a good and fulfilling life. 

And sure, some of that is upbringing and family and schooling, but as I think about my formation, I’m like, yeah, that was always kind of a piece that if it wasn’t there, I would think my life isn’t as rich and fulfilling as it could be. And starting early at with whatever you can do is just awesome. And you mentioned the kids cleaning up the river. I see some of that now on social media and it’s awesome. It’s just great. You see like, there’s a kid who he’s really good with tech and so his dad has him volunteer at the local senior care facility and help them with tech. Help them do FaceTimes with their grandkids or help them with Iphoto and organize their photos and things. And the kid’s like 13 or something. It’s just cool. It’s like, Hey, he’s a tech whiz. His dad wants him to kind of learn about getting giving back. And then he started playing games with the seniors because he became known. So he started like hosting like bingo and fun games and stuff. And it’s just so awesome when you see it start early like that.

Yeah. This is organic, it’s like the definition of something that happens organically. What better way to do it? And honestly business owners are scroll chasers, like to kind of just go back to your point of don’t start the non-profit right away. Maybe you have an idea of what you want to do, but that’s not guaranteed that that’s the thing you really find enjoyment in. Give yourself permission to explore and figure out all of the ways you can be most impactful in the ways you’re giving back. That’s the part of the piece of the puzzle here. Yeah and there’s so many creative way you were…

Taylorr: Yeah, it’s true.

Austin: Just outlining that kid that went to the nursing home or whatever, and they helped them better use technology. That’s super creative. There’s probably not a lot of people that could do that because he…

Jeff: Exactly.

Austin: Had the right balance.

Taylorr: Yeah. That’s right.

Jeff: When you think about real life, what people need, what a great way to volunteer and to donate your time? 

Taylorr: He’s making the most of what he knows too. What I love about that story is like it’s not he, I’m just making some hasty generalizations here, but what I’m hearing from the story really is that he just took what he was already good at and applied it to a way that he could give back. You didn’t have to kind of go out of your own box, you search within to find that thing that you’re just inherently good at, that you can provide value in.

Jeff: Yeah. And I do think there’s kind of a rep. Like, oh, if I speak for free, you’re like an amateur, this or that.

Austin: Yeah. I want touch on that. That free versus philanthropy label.

Jeff: Yeah. It’s funny. Like the people at the top always give back because they’re not threatened by what other people think. And I’ve seen that with Win-Win as well. There’s some entertainers who are like, well, I don’t want to do children’s hospital because I don’t want people to think I’m a kid’s performer. It’s like, okay, but there’s also…

Austin: [Inaudible audio 26:08].

Jeff: Yeah. I’m like, sure but that’s lame, you know what I mean? Because I don’t think anyone is going to be potentially hiring you for some large contract and then see, oh he also donates time to children’s hospitals so pass. Yeah in what world are you living in? But, whatever that kind of line of thinking is out there and I think it just comes down to being good at what you do. When you’re really good at what you do nobody thinks that. They think like, oh man, this guy, this girl’s awesome because they do this on the side. And I think it’s everywhere. The idea of that you can perform or speak for free. There’s a difference between a paying company that is not paying you to speak and you speaking for a children’s hospital organization. That’s a little different when you’re doing a pro bono type of organization, charity organization, that’s very different than IBM who’s like, well we don’t have much of a budget for you. Would you do it for free? Kind of thing.

Austin: Yeah, we got to check our intentions a little bit too, I think. Because it’s easy to get ego tied up in this. And again, I’m making some assumptions here, I could totally be mischaracterizing this person that you just referenced here or I don’t want to become known as the person that speaks for children or whatever. But are you doing the work because you want to see an impact and a change made?

Taylorr: Are you doing it for yourself?

Austin: Or are you doing the work so you can promote it and you can look like…

Taylorr: Exactly.

Austin: Somebody who’s philanthropic? And to your point earlier, there’s nothing wrong with promoting the good things that you do. And I think it’s easy to see philanthropy as something where we have to be selfless about it, where there’s no intentions of us benefiting from it. And to your point earlier, you feel good after you do that. And that’s perfectly okay. So I’m not saying that the ego has to be entirely removed from the situation, but I think if you’re asking yourself like, oh, well, I don’t want to become known as the person that just speaks for free or whatever. Well, why are you really doing it? Why even promote it then? Maybe just don’t tell anybody about it. Just go do it because you’re good at it and then don’t make a bunch of noise around it and then nobody will ever even know. And you’ve still been able to make the impact.

Jeff: Yeah. And another one that drives me crazy with entertainers especially is, say, hey, here’s the schedule of free charity shows that we do, free events. We’d love to have you and keep in mind Win-Win we always know paid bookings come first. And that’s why we exist is to protect you from that. So when you commit to us to do a free event, we are not telling the hospital until the morning of you out who’s coming. And that means if you get a paid booking, take it. We’re not telling you to turn down work. But that’s the benefit of working through us so that if you do have a booking, we can fire off to our database in Orlando or Minneapolis, whatever, and saying, hey, we have a last minute, looking for a fill in for this Saturday or this Thursday at the hospital. So of course, I’m not asking you to turn down paid work, that’s again, that’s a big part of why Win-Win is there is to protect the performers from that. And the hospitals know, we don’t know who it’s going be, but we’re going to get a flyer the morning of, and every week, Monday at 11:00 AM, there’s an awesome show brought to us by Win-Win. So it works. But this happens all the time where someone say, ah man, I can’t do free shows. Like I’m dying. It hasn’t been a good year and this-that I’m like, well, that’s totally backwards thinking…

Taylorr: Yeah, right?

Jeff: Scarcity kind of mindset. I’ve tried to talk people out of that and I realize you can’t really. If people say like, oh man, no, it hasn’t been good or this or that. I’m like, well, if anything, this will show you performing being active, it’s like giving you some kind of buzz that you can go with. So I see performers all the time. They’ll put our shows on their calendar. I think that’s great. I’m doing a show for this children’s hospital and doing a Win-Win live a virtual show. And I love that because they really bake us into their performing calendar in a way, again, that protects them. If they have to bail on us, it’s not a problem. We have the network to be able to cover that. But again, I just think it’s like a total misunderstanding. I feel like, ah it’s such a missed opportunity when I see some of these performers who don’t want to do the free shows because they’re like afraid of it, like how it’s going to look. I’m like, I think you’re backwards there.

Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.

Austin: It’s probably going to look good actually.

Jeff: Yeah, exactly.

Taylorr: It really has a benefit. And speaking of like, let’s take a minute because let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. This will certainly help your business. There’s no doubt about it. There’s nothing that we should feel bad for about that. you’re creating impact. Good promotes good. That’s just how the world works. It’s a beautiful thing. So, that being said and we talked about it creates buzz for you, which is nice. It’s one business benefit. But from your experience, what have you found to be the benefits of also running a non-profit in addition to your for-profit business?

Jeff: Yeah. Well, I think at the end of the day, people want to do business with people they like. People they like, people they trust, and I think it tells a story of a little more about you than the guy who shows up and does the magic show, or the guy who shows up and speaks on customer service. It’s like you kind of get to pull a curtain back on that person and see a different side of them, and I think that exposure, that vulnerability, there’s certain authenticity and rawness that comes when you see someone in those situations. And I think it naturally just makes you kind of a more attractive option. I’ve been backstage at events where I’ll be just kind of talking to somebody before, somebody, high executive in the company and they’ll say, oh yeah, you know, it was down to you and this other guy, but we started poking around and we saw all the charity work you do and we thought, hey, this guy really reflects our values. Or we’re a family owned business, and the Ridley family is really interested and has always put a high priority on giving back and so that kind of pushed us over the top and I’m like, oh, cool, that’s nice. I wouldn’t even think that but people poke around. And social media people kind of know…

Taylorr: Buzz.

Jeff: I think, especially with social media, they want to know that you’re the same type of person offstage that you are on stage. And I think just again, it helps with building a connection and a relationship with your clients. So there’s never been like a direct benefit it really is more of that peripheral, indirect. People like us do business with people like you. It’s back to like Seth Godin talks about it all the time. People like us buy things like that, kind of building that brand. And I think you’re able to endear yourself to clients and to potentially align values with brands and with clients through the non-profit work. And again it just shows a little more. People like to help people who are doing well and doing good in the world as well. So I do it all the time. I try to book performers, if I have somebody’s like, oh yeah you’re booked, you can recommend somebody? 

I’m like, I’m going recommend one of the performers I know. Like this guy, John Rotellini. John Rotellini and Taylor Mason, these two performers, one’s a comedy magician one’s a comedy ventriloquist. They’ve both done over a hundred shows for Win-Win in the past, during COVID. And both Taylor and John said Win-Win really helped them get through quarantine because I could still do my thing, almost every day they were performing for children’s hospitals, with their home studio set up and they were able to engage with people. And as performers, we need that man. It’s like a drug we need that. And so of course I’m going to recommend John or Taylor first because I’m like, they’re great guys. They’ve done so my much good. They put so much good in the world. It’s not really intentional my part. It’s just like I think of them top of mind. I’m like oh I want to help this guy like this. This guy’s great.

Taylorr: Yeah, totally. Well Jeff, this has been an awesome episode. I’m so glad we got to unpack this. This is a unique episode. We haven’t had any subject matter on this yet. So thank you for sharing your experience and giving some people insight on how they can get started. Of course though, everyone that’s listening to this is an entertainer of sort. Speaker, so on, emcee perhaps. So if they’re interested in potentially working with Win-Win, what’s the best way for them to learn more?

Jeff: Yeah, for sure. We’re online at winwinentertainment.org, on social media at Win-Win Charity and I would encourage anybody to get involved. We have a lot of speakers who they’ll host games, board games, OR they’ll be a speaker predominantly in one area, but they have another talent let’s say they do some magic or something, right? They don’t really do much anymore. It gives them a chance, like have some fun or of a musical acts, we will put together some fun songs or do like a sing along or things like that. So yeah, entertainers of course, but also speakers have gotten involved with Win-Win, which has been great.

Taylorr: Yeah, awesome. Well, we’ll make sure all of those links are in the show notes. So Hey, if you’re interested in joining, definitely go check that out. And you know, hey, if you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it. If you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources. Thank you so much for chiming in. I just wanted to take a second to thank our sponsor Auxbus. Auxbus is the all- in-one suite of tools. You need to run your podcast. And it’s actually what we run here at Speaker Flow for Technically Speaking. It makes planning podcasts simple, it makes recording podcasts simple; it even makes publishing podcasts to the masses simple and quite honestly, Technically Speaking, wouldn’t be up as soon as it is without Auxbus. Thank you so much Auxbus and if you are interested in checking Auxbus out, whether you’re starting a podcast or you have one currently get our special offer Auxbus.com/speaker flow, or click the link below in our show notes.

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