American Heart Association Shows the Importance of Innovation on Impact

American Heart Association Shows the Importance of Innovation on Impact

July 29, 2021
38 minutes

Brooke Codney · National Director, Development Innovation, American Heart Association | Why is innovation important to your nonprofit's impact? Today, Brooke Codney discusses how AHA, a worldwide leader in the nonprofit sector, relies on creative zero-gravity thinking from its global team.


Innovation. What does innovation mean? Where does it come from? Why is innovation important to your nonprofit's impact? Today, we're talking to Brooke Codney, American Heart Association's National Director of Development Innovation, about how AHA, a worldwide leader in the nonprofit sector, relies on creative zero-gravity thinking from its global team.

From finding her job through a pretty traditional (and now kind of outdated) method—a newspaper listing, to being a leading innovator at American Heart Association, Brooke has guided AHA's culture of innovation, culminating in an Innovation Center—a dedicated function within AHA that has led to transformational growth for the organization.

But she hasn't done it alone.

American Heart Association's secret is its staff. They've got a collaborative collection of fresh eyes within the organization and rather than being intimidated by all the different perspectives and ideas, American Heart Association is tapping into it, from the CEO on through their boots on the ground.

American Heart Association is almost 100 years old. And there's a reason why they're not just a leader in coming up with new fundraisers and cool ways to engage with donors, they've made an art of changing the way we view something as fundamental as health.

Listen in to my conversation with Brooke and you'll see why Funraise and American Heart Association make the perfect pair when it comes to cultivating a culture of innovation.


Hello, I'm Justin Wheeler, and welcome to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit!  

Innovation. What does innovation mean? Where does it come from? Why is innovation important to your nonprofit’s impact? Today, I’m talking to Brooke Codney, American Heart Association’s National Director of Development Innovation, about how AHA, a worldwide leader in the nonprofit sector, relies on creative zero-gravity thinking from its global team.

From finding her job through a pretty traditional (and now kind of outdated) method—a newspaper listing, to being a leading innovator at American Heart Association, Brooke has guided AHA’s culture of innovation, culminating in an Innovation Center—a dedicated function within AHA that has led to transformational growth for the organization.

But she hasn’t done it alone.

American Heart Association’s secret is its staff. They’ve got a collaborative collection of fresh eyes within the organization and rather than being intimidated by all the different perspectives and ideas, American Heart Association is tapping into it, from the CEO on through their boots on the ground.

American Heart Association is almost 100 years old. And there’s a reason why they’re not just a leader in coming up with new fundraisers and cool ways to engage with donors, they’ve made an art of changing the way we view something as fundamental as health.

Listen in to my conversation with Brooke and you’ll see why Funraise and American Heart Association make the perfect pair when it comes to cultivating a culture of innovation.

Justin Wheeler Brooke, thank you so much for joining the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast today. How are you doing?

Brooke Codney Oh, I'm great. Thanks so much for having me, Justin.

Justin Wheeler Absolutely. I'm really excited today to talk about just the broad concept of innovation as you are no stranger to this concept. Before we jump into today's topic, I'd love it if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in the nonprofit industry and where you're at today.

Brooke Codney Yeah, happy to. So like many folks within the nonprofit space, this wasn't exactly what I went to school for. Most people find their way to the nonprofit that they're at through that lot of different routes, but actually went to school for communications and really thought I'd end up more in the marketing or PR space and certainly spent some time, doing that and had a couple of jobs right out of college that helped me to really understand that whatever it was that I'm going to be doing for a living needed to be something that I was truly passionate about. I learned really quickly that just a paycheck at the end of the day wasn't quite enough to really inspire me. And so I had an opportunity to really take a look at what was fulfilling me and what I wanted from sort of my broader career when my husband and I made the decision to pick up and move our lives from Michigan to Ohio. And not everybody gets that chance to really just take a pause and really refocus. But throughout a few months period, I found my way to the American Heart Association. I knew from the very first interview that I had with the staff there that this was such a great fit for me, an opportunity to take that desire to have more of an impact through my work to the next level. And like most nonprofits, most people that work there, have some sort of a mission connection to the work that's being done. And it just was sort of fortuitous that the same time that I was interviewing, my husband's cousin, who was young at the time, was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. And just sort of the timing, it really came together. We had an experienced too much heart disease or stroke in my family. But seeing a young child being diagnosed with something like that and he's doing amazing now, he had a couple of surgeries, but it just it sort of really proved that this was a mission that was no pun intended, closer to my heart than I had ever expected. So I found my way to heart. And the last thing I'll say about it is I always sort of joke that this was a while ago, but I found it in the newspaper when nobody else was looking for jobs in the paper. I circled it in the newspaper and so sometimes those opportunities come your way when you're least expecting it.

Justin Wheeler So, Brooke, that's super fascinating in terms of how you got involved, especially finding your job at American Heart Association in the newspaper. I feel like there's not too many of those types of advertisments anymore. So that definitely is a fun story. And with that said, you've been working at American Heart for over a decade. I love it if you could unpack a little bit more about your career in fundraising and what you've enjoyed about working at the American Heart Association in the fundraising department.

Brooke Codney Yeah, sure. Happy to share a little bit more. One of the things that I feel most lucky about with the opportunities that I've had with the Heart Association and what I see honestly the association does really well is to open up paths for development for individuals. So I started at a local office in Cleveland, Ohio, work in boots on the ground, fundraising with individuals and companies around walk's a really good way to start to understand how fundraising works, at its most grassroots level. And I truly enjoyed that opportunity to work directly with survivors and volunteers who are so passionate about the mission. It really helped me to understand the day-to-day work that goes into really putting on events and raising money and working with organizations at that most grassroots level. And then throughout the years, I've had the opportunity to work in new and emerging business lines for the organization as we continue to evolve at both the regional level. The American Heart Association, like many large non-profits, has broken down the country into specific regions for management and for the ability to really leverage the programs that we've put together. And they're in the best possible way. And so we've had the opportunity to work at both the regional level and then now the current role I'm in is aligned with our national center. But sort of the same theme across everything that I have done has been that the organization is constantly looking at how do we continue to grow our staff? In their role and with new opportunities, but also how do we continue to evolve the work that we're doing so that we can truly meet people where they are and help fund the mission? And so you'll see folks who've worked at the organization for 20 years, 30 years, it's not abnormal to celebrate those types of anniversaries. And I know that's the same in a lot of other nonprofits, but not the same in some other parts and other different types of industries. And I think that connection to the mission and the focus on supporting employees really pays off.

Justin Wheeler Yeah, I mean, I read a stat somewhere, and don't quote me on this to the actual date, but I read that the average tenure of a fundraiser, in a nonprofit space, is just under three years. And to see, I remember when we were engaging with your team on the sales side of working alongside American Heart Association, there was an individual that we were talking with, had been there over 20 years. They've been there for I think 12, coming on 12, or over 12 years. And so it speaks to, I think, what American Heart, the culture it's created for its team and employees to see that type of tenure at a nonprofit and so whatever you guys are doing, it's working. And so so keep it up. So one of the interesting things I thought and one of the things I'm really excited to talk to you about was just the concept of innovation, which is really kind of the focus of the conversation today. And I noticed that I think it was about five years ago, American Heart basically created a new function, a new sort of business within the organization, all-around innovation. And so could you talk to us a little bit more about this new business function, what it does and what types of goals it has to help push the organization forward?

Brooke Codney Yeah, love you. Super passionate about this part. Yeah. So, you know, one of the things that our organization does is we set decade-long goals, health impact goals. We're going to accomplish this thing over the course of the next decade. A decade is a really long time to set goals for, especially when you're trying to do things like drive human behavior and change health outcomes. And so the approach that we take in order to set ourselves up to help reach those goals is that we have a three-year strategic planning process. And that three-year strategic planning process really takes a look at every part of our business, from fundraising to the science side to even new and emerging things and says, how are we doing? How is each piece of the work that we're doing helping us get to that decade long goal? And what do we need to do over the course of the next three years to make sure that we're tracking towards those large, big impact goals that we've set as an organization? So if you roll the clock back a couple of strategic planning, cycles ago, we realized as an organization that from a revenue generation perspective, we were not set up to reach the goals that we needed to from a revenue perspective to fund the work that we do that helps drive the research and the programming and everything we need to really make those health impact goals and ultimately end heart disease and stroke. Which is what we're all trying to do, work ourselves out of a job. But as we looked at currently how we were doing business as a nonprofit organization, from revenue generation standpoint, we understood that we needed to be more disruptive. We don't want to get rid of the things that we're doing that are working so well for us, like our Heart Walk program, which was the top peer-to-peer fundraising program this past year, and some of our other longstanding programs like our youth markets programs. But at the same time, we knew we needed to push ourselves and that in order to continue to do what we were doing and hold on to those things that work really well for us as an organization and innovate, we couldn't ask the people who are driving what was going really well to also think about innovation, because we all know how that works. You know you focus on the things you know how to do and you feel really comfortable doing and continue to be successful. And the other stuff that can sometimes be hard challenging kind of gets pushed down to the list. And so as part of that strategic planning process, they carved out this innovation team, very small team for a little bit. It was just me but carved out this innovation function within the organization specifically focused on the fundraising volunteer engagement, that sort of engine of driving the revenue within the organization. And so the goals you asked about those have certainly evolved over time. But if you look at what has remained the same is that we've always said this innovation function needs to do two things. Really look at what we're doing now, those core. Special events those core fundraising programs and find ways within their structure to continue to innovate within a program, so bringing new technology and a new focus here, they're not completely changing the program, but allowing it to continue to grow but still stay sort of true to itself. And then the second part of the role and this function of innovation within our organization is to be paying attention to what's happening outside the American Heart Association bubble right? So what are the trends both within the nonprofit space, but within the world, like what's happening? How are people connecting, how are people engaging and what are the new technology platforms and allow this function to be able to pay attention to that and then figure out ways to apply that to how we can be developing new fundraising and new engagement opportunities for the organization. So it's sort of a dual role. And there certainly points in time where there's more focus put on how do we evolve our current programs. And then there's other times where the focus is really on how do we develop that new next program that the organization needs.

Justin Wheeler I wonder, too, if jumping into this exercise of looking at new opportunities for engaging individuals and new ways to raise revenue and ways to optimize kind of existing channels, my bet would be, and perhaps I'm wrong, is that as you kind of went through this evaluation, you also realized that your donor demographic was an older demographic. And in order to, with the goals that you have to cure heart disease and whatnot, like it might outlive the age of your key donor demographic in terms of the work that needs to be done. And so how much of the focus around your innovation has been to also look at acquiring this new demographic of donors, millennials and so forth, to be a part of the new type of donors and supporters? How much of your focus is on that side of innovating as well?

Brooke Codney That's a great question. Incredibly important. Again, as part of that strategic planning process, we really look at who is the donor today. And, you know, we've always been relatively diversified, meaning programs, Go Red for Women, Focused on Women. Heart Falls certainly focused on a different demographic than what is now Heart Challenge but what was just Heart Walk for a while, which is very corporate. But you are right, we tended to our are very and still today. But where things are changing. But our very core demographic is a woman between the ages of about 40 and 55. Right. That's really still the sweet spot. And we age up on some programs and we age down on some programs like our youth market. But we did identify this gap that we had as an organization. When I first started in this role five, six years ago, it was how do we really engage millennials more deeply? And that still certainly a focus for us. But as the millennial's lifestyles have changed over the past five years, I would say that we've even doubled down on how do we engage GenZ or Zoomers, depending on who you're talking to, what you want to call this group. But, yeah, we approach innovation from sort of a design thinking approach. And so we really look at what are we solving for not what's the solution, but what are we really trying to solve for as an organization? And the engagement of younger audiences has certainly been an area of focus for us, especially understanding how differently GenZ or Zoomers want to interact with charity and just with the world in general, even from millennials, let alone boomers, right? There's really vast differences in how to best approach these audiences and engage them. That we have over the past couple of years really put a significant focus on developing our programs to really meet that key, important audience.

Justin Wheeler Yeah, and that's great. And one of the other things you said that stuck out to me was you talked about creating sort of strategic planning over a three-year period, which focuses on are we getting close to what we're trying to accomplish in the next decade? How is that set up? Like how does your team know if you're getting closer, if the targets are being hit, whether it's revenue, whether it's impact, what sort of processor programs are in place internally to help the team track towards that decade-long goal and vision decades?

Brooke Codney A decade is a really long time! Being a health-based organization, we truly rely, for the decade-long goals and sort of like health impact goals that we're all sort of focused on, we rely on the National Institutes of Health. They track all of these really important metrics and the thing that's sometimes tricky about it is because it's such an in-depth process to track health metrics, they're always they're not real-time. It's that we live in a world where we expect you to order stuff on Amazon. You expect it to or if not that day, the next day. But some of this health data can be a little sort of delayed because of what it takes. But we really look at that health data around not only how many people are dying from heart attacks or stroke, but all of the underlying components that we know lead to that from US health, how youth obesity rates are trending. Even hypertension rates are really important for the work that we do. So we have a function within our organization that really focuses on that, the strategic planning process for every part of the organization. And so they are the ones who are focused on really looking at how is the data like, what's the data look like? And then sort of applying our work that we're doing that we know or we have said is going to target specific parts of that data, that we're trying to move in a positive direction for overall health impact. And then how that works then is we look at, from a development and a fundraising standpoint, that cross the intersection, to your point, how are we engaging certain generations, certain demographics? What's the percentage of Americans that are involved in the programs that we are currently doing? How does that split across really important things like where people live and sort of because there's such a direct connection between zip code and life expectancy, because of so many systemic barriers that are in place for people who might be in more of an underserved community. And so we really look at how is our fundraising work matching up to those key demographics that we need to engage and not all the time as the fundraising program going to engage the person that might need the health impact messaging. But it all sort of plays together. So we have a specific function within the organization that looks at the data and then works directly with the fundraising teams again on that three-year process and then check-ins in between to say, OK, how are we tracking, what are the areas of concern that we might need to develop a program for? A really good example of this is specifically around stroke. So historically, we've had a number of different fundraising programs that are really targeted or focused on engaging individuals who have either been affected by stroke or caregivers for individuals who have had a stroke. And it became really apparent in one of our planning processes that as programs have changed and what people wanted to get involved in has evolved over time. We were really heavy on things that focused on heart disease. And so we went to the drawing board and said, OK, great, how can we establish a fundraising and education program that really would speak to the stroke audience? That also is something that people want to do or feels like relevant right now. And those were a couple of the nuggets, among many other factors that led to us developing our Cycle Nation program, which is a cycling program. And there's a direct connection between cycling and rehabilitation from stroke as well as cycling as a preventative factor to reduce hypertension, which is one of the major sort of risk factors for folks who happen to have a stroke. And so we really look at the health data and the engagement and then develop programs based off of that sort of circle.

Justin Wheeler Got it. That's super interesting. I talk a lot about the concept of like relevancy is efficiency and fundraising. It sounds like the way that your programing works on the fundraising side, it's incredibly relevant to the topic or the program that you're raising for which obviously connects the donor a bit more. And so it's super interesting. And something else you said, which kind of transitions to us to kind of like talking a little more tactically here, as you mentioned, that about five years ago, the organization realized that it wasn't going to have the funding it needed to achieve this decade long sort of goal, which kind of leads to this question of why do nonprofits need to be strategic about innovation. It sounds like for you it was we're not going to have the funding that we need in the next 10 years. We've got to really put the brakes on and rethink the way we approach fundraising and innovation and so forth. So maybe from that perspective, if you could share the importance of innovation and how it actually impacts the organization.

Brooke Codney Yeah, it's a great question. You know, we set big, bold goals. That's the type of organization that we are. I mean, we're tracking down the number one killer of Americans. And when you've got that in your sights, you have to set really big, bold goals, both from the mission side. But. Then for the revenue generation to support that mission, right, the revenue drives all of the mission work that we do. And so when you look and say, gosh, if we really want to move the needle and these health impact areas, we need to think about how we do business differently. I think Covid-19 is another great example of this. In many organizations, we're required to innovate very quickly in order to continue to do the great work that we were all focused on doing with really crazy circumstances. But the innovation is crucial because if we just continue to do things the way that we're doing them today and expect a different outcome, a different health outcome, we're going to be in pretty big trouble, right? And so when we look at if we are going to truly do what we're set out to do, end heart disease and stroke. Create longer, healthier lives for all, then we have to think differently about how we're doing, what it is that we're doing. And so innovation has always been a core tenet of the organization. And that shift five-ish years ago to really carving out an area that sits within our national development team to focus on innovation just shows the commitment that we as an organization have to continuing to grow and develop and change. I mean, we're about to celebrate one hundred years. If we kept doing things like we did one hundred years ago as an organization, we'd be where we were a hundred years ago where when someone had a heart attack, they were, you know, might really not likely to make it or would be bedridden for an extremely long period of time. Now we have people who are able to go in and get a stent and be an outpatient. I mean, it's incredible to see how really focusing on innovation from the fundraising side, the revenue generation side just aligns perfectly with more of the research side of what's so important to driving our mission forward. So it is incredibly important for us as an organization, and I feel very lucky to work at a place like the American Heart Association where from the top down, our leadership, our CEO down to across leadership, across the organization, embrace innovation. They find ways when you bring forward a concept or an idea, they find ways for us to be able to try and stretch ourselves and really put ourselves out there sometimes where you don't know what's going to happen. But if you don't really take a concerted effort and an approach that is different, I think, than innovation and a for-profit organization where you maybe have a lot of R&D budget to support, to support the work that you're doing with innovation, we approach a little bit differently in the nonprofit organization, but we do really say how can we innovate like for-profit companies do in order to ensure that we are growing at the rate that we need to grow as an organization again to reach those mission goals, those lifesaving mission goals.

Justin Wheeler It sounds like there's this concept around failure, fail fast. It sounds like you have that flexibility within this innovation team is to like to try and experiment new things. And if it fails, that's fine. But obviously, the faster that you can get to the either, the failures, the success, the better. But so many people don't even have that opportunity to even go outside of the box and to try new things and to experiment. And so I wonder, like and for some listeners, it could be somewhat opaque in regards to, OK, well, where do I even get started? And innovation, like, do I start with my programs or start with my fundraising. And so when you started the innovation function at American Heart, where did you get started? Like, how did you grow into what it is today? What what are some of maybe key things for people can be thinking about as they get started with creating some sort of innovation function at their nonprofit?

Brooke Codney That's a great question. We started with some of those highlighted areas that we knew we needed to address based off of the strategic planning process, right? So we needed to reach at that point in time. We were pretty focused on millennials. And so one of the things that we did right away, because one of our greatest assets are our employees. We have fundraising staff all across the country and programmatic staff and really, really, really smart people. And so one of the first things that we did was we developed sort of this, again, in this design thinking problem statement, like what if statement and put it out there to say, how would you guys solve for this? What would it look like if the American Heart Association was able to engage a certain percentage of millennials across the country? And the ideas that people came up with were amazing, inspirational. They certainly led us to some of the things that we're doing today. Nonprofit organizations generally have people who are focused on a very specific job function. But when given the. Opportunity to think about a problem or something and innovation challenge outside of what they do every day, I imagine there's some really great ideas to be mined just through sort of tapping into such a great resource. So we certainly started there. That also really allowed for us to help talk about innovation differently as an organization to say we've always done innovation, but now we have a focus, a real laser focus on it and we have a function. So if you have ideas, here's where you come. Here's how you raise these things up. It also allowed us to identify those individuals who would be interested in helping us test. You mentioned fail, fail fast, iterate scale. So when you are working in a nonprofit organization, you don't have years to develop products. You have shorter periods of time to test either new strategies or new approaches. And we certainly had individuals through that initial asking for ideas, innovation, challenge process that came to the top as the ones who were thinking differently, who are really interested and in innovation. And so they were the ones that also we went to say, hey, we want to test this thing. We want to try this thing. Can we do this over the course of two months within your market? Let's set all of the KPIs together so we all really know whether it works or it doesn't work and start small. A pilot can be really, really manageable for anybody to do as long as, again, you're focused on before you even start, what is success actually mean? What are the things you want to track and how are you going to track those so that you can if you fail or succeed, you can identify it really quickly and you can also sort of course, correct if need be. But then it allows you to hone in and say, OK, well, this clearly didn't work. We gave ourselves a specific period of time with very specific KPIs to track against. Maybe we need to tweak it or let's scale it and start to build and see if the initial pilot holds up as we add in sort of additional markets or additional programs to try whatever the innovation is. But I think the key factor is, is to truly understand before you even test something, what success is. We got caught up a few times when we were not as clear as we needed to be. And that became really clear really quickly that we needed to make sure everybody was aligned with what success looked like before we started.

Justin Wheeler Yeah, that's a great point. And I think oftentimes it typically when you launch something new, when you're trialing something, it's not usually a failure or a success. It's usually somewhere in the middle. And like mentioned, iterating on top of it, understanding, alright, like if we pull this one lever, it might get us twenty percent closer to what we're trying to accomplish. And so really, really iterating on top of your go-to market is important. Something else you mentioned, which I really want to underscore, because I think this is so important, it sounds like it was pretty pivotal in the early stages for the creation of your innovation team is this concept that's referred to often as zero gravity thinking, which basically is when you have a problem, yet you have a problem that you've identified. The best way to solve it is to bring people in that don't have the domain expertize for that specific problem. Right. And so it just thinking about fundraising. Right. If you just talk to a bunch of fundraisers, we're going to get a lot of the same sort of tactics and advice and strategies. But if you bring in program people or operations people or people outside of the normal fundraising function, you're going to get all sorts of ideas that allow you to go outside of the box, outside of the guidelines, you know, our minds get so molded to. And so it sounds like there was a real collaborative effort in a match and still is today. But in the early stages of developing this innovation team of to bring in the company to bring in everyone who would be interested in helping ideate and innovate on the future of American Heart. And so I wanted to underscore that because as you were talking through, that reminded me of the zero-gravity thinking concept. When tackling big problems, it often requires people from other domains to be a part of to have the most effective results. And so it sounds like I don't know if I want to speak for you, but it sounds like that's what you did as you brought in all sorts of different types of backgrounds to solve the problems that you guys were going after.

Brooke Codney Yeah, you're absolutely correct. It was amazing what some of the ideas that came out of individuals who had nothing to do with, you know, even like even our marketing team who, you know, sits close to fundraising, but it's certainly not focused on fundraising. There is someone that I was like, they should be a fundraiser. But, yes, the diversity of thought, the diversity of experience is such an incredibly important thing when you're trying to solve, right, solve a problem. And, you know, it's like when you proofread a paper 10 times, you miss the same mistakes and then give it to someone else to look at and it's like, oh, gosh, there's ten mistakes right here. Incredibly important.

Justin Wheeler Awesome. Well, I want to end with this final question, and it's kind of leads up to everything you've been talking about. But how has American Heart created a culture in innovation? Because if what I found is on a team, if there's one incredibly innovative person, if the culture doesn't think that way, or if the culture doesn't allow for it, for innovation, that can quickly get snuffed out. And so how have you been a part of just creating this culture of innovation where people are excited to try new things, excited to really push the envelope, whether it's on the program fundraising side? So how do you create this type of culture?

Brooke Codney Oh, gosh, yeah. It's interesting, too, because I have certainly seen it evolve, in the time that I've been here at the organization. I would say currently our CEO from the top down just supports innovation at every single level, even just when we have our live stream events where they bring the company together to talk about what's happening. That's called innovation at heart. Right. So everything is really focused on how we as an organization are really looking at innovation to help continue to drive us forward. So I would say it certainly starts from the top down. But if it were just at the top when it worked right, that it really does have to be embedded in how we as an organization interact, I think some of it is truly just through leadership being supportive. When someone has an idea to the point where if there are ideas that come up, we will encourage people to go and put together a small group to figure them out. And I, and the innovation team, are certainly there to help support them. But innovation doesn't just live in Brooke's world, right? It's that it truly is embedded throughout everything that we do. It's also something that I think we when we did have the ability to bring people together, we sort of set up these ongoing workshops where we would present another problem, right, that we were trying to solve for as an organization and bring different people together in person for a day of really figuring out and spending the time to focus on that problem that we're trying to solve. And then we shared that very widely across the organization. Hey, we brought the think tank together. This is what we were working on. So people understood that, again, innovation didn't just live in this little innovation bubble. It was something that many people were called to be a part of and many people were sort of held up as being innovators. We also give people some sort of leeway to try things within their role that I don't have to be involved in and say, hey, if it works, bring it back. We'll look at how do we really operationalize or put together a more formalized pilot. I'd love for us to get to the point of like a 3M, right? A very innovative company where they gave people a certain specific time of their overall work time to work on any type of innovation projects that they have. You know, maybe not as far as formalized as 3M, but it is certainly encouraged for everyone to look for what is the next thing that they can be doing within the role that they're currently and to expand, to engage new audiences, to take their program to the next level. And then we celebrate those widely as an organization. When somebody tries something, we really do make sure to spread that loud and wide. So, yeah, it's certainly growing.

Justin Wheeler Yeah. Now that's awesome to here. I truly believe that all people, everyone, inherently wants to solve problems. And so when you're able to clearly depict the problem, you're trying to solve and create space and opportunity for people to be a part of solving that problem, that's where innovation happens. You know, it reminds me of even like a story from Google where they would give their team, very similar to 3M just time in their workday to work on something completely different than their normal project, right? And this is how Gmail got created. It was some random engineer who saw this communication problem across the company and created Gmail. And it was because this person had space to think about a specific problem. Think about a solution for that problem and then to actually execute on it. And so, yeah, totally aligned with the philosophy that you've created to promote what the problem is that you're trying to solve and give people the ability to have a voice in solving it. And so thank you so much for all of this, just the wisdom. I feel like this is a thirty-five-minute packed full of super practical things for nonprofit leaders and fundraisers and really anyone in the space to really think through how to help take the organization to the next level. And, Brooke, thank you for joining the podcast today. Thank you for being a guest. And we're excited to continue partnering with American Heart for the foreseeable future.

Brooke Codney Well, thank you, Justin. Pleasure.

Justin Wheeler Awesome. Have a great day.

Brooke Codney Thanks. You, too.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit!

This podcast is brought to you by your friends at Funraise. Nonprofit fundraising software, built by nonprofit people. Don't forget to get your next episode the second it hits the internets. Go to and sign up for email notifications today.

See you next time!