Chuck Hammond Podcast Interview with Matt Dery

Matt Dery  0:02

This is The Empowering Futures Podcast Network.

Alright, here we are everybody it is indeed another edition of Living the Life Method. Matt Dery with you. Episode number two if you missed the first podcast with the light methods, Dinette Bell, of course the co-founder and Life Method Coach, please check us out.

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Our guest today on living the life method is my new good buddy, the great Chuck Hammond. He is the owner and founder of Hammond and Associates, focusing on fundraising and nonprofit board development and Chuck is with me now. What’s up, buddy? How are you?


Chuck Hammond  1:09
Good morning, Matt. It’s great to be with you to talk today.

Matt Dery  1:12
It is, you’re such a professional. Maybe we should switch roles. You got the radio voice going, Mr. Hammond, but welcome. It’s good to have you here. Your company is amazing in what you’re doing in the community. And you and I were talking off air about, would this be more of a Life Method Podcast Show, or our Insight Financial Architect Show? You’re right there in the middle. But tell the folks a little bit about Hammond and Associates and what you do.

Chuck Hammond  1:40
Well, Hammond and Associates is a fundraising consulting firm. That’s how most people refer to us. Although we do other things. We’re really nonprofit management specialists or experts. Because we help organizations raise more money, specifically nonprofits raise more money. Every nonprofit at one time or another needs to raise more money. But we also help them with strategic planning so they can chart their course into the future. We also do executive searches; they need staff people from time to time and we help them with that. We provide a whole range of services under the heading of nonprofit management consulting.

Matt Dery  2:22
How does it work? So, you and I were talking about this the other day. Just about how people get in touch with you, but it is probably a referral-heavy industry, I would assume. But let’s say an athlete wants to start a foundation, would he call you?

Chuck Hammond  2:38
Absolutely, we can help them set up a foundation and structure it properly. We’re not lawyers, there’s a legal aspect to that needs to be taken care of. But we don’t do that. It’s not our bread and butter as our firm. Our bread and butter is hardcore fundraising organizations that want to raise serious money. And they usually do it under the heading of a capital campaign. Such as an organization will have a vision for a new building or they’ll have a vision for strengthening four or five programs at their organization. Whatever the case may be, they’ll need to mount a campaign. Campaigns range anywhere from $500,000 as high as $300 million in a campaign such as what we worked on in California about 10 years ago.

Matt Dery  3:29
Wow! And so obviously, those are a little bit more fun for you at the end of the day. But how rewarding is this? Because it seems like yes, you obviously made a business out of it. You told me you’ve even been working 40 years in fundraising. But to kind of have your own shop and pick and choose where you want to go and navigate it must be pretty rewarding for you.

Chuck Hammond  3:52
It’s rewarding. And when you work on a campaign that leads to a new facility or a renovated facility for an organization. You know, let’s say it’s a YMCA, and you have the ground breaking ceremony, the campaign’s done and you’ve built the facility and you watch the kids come in, or you’re working on an affordable housing facility in downtown Detroit as we did some years ago. And you go two years later, and you see all the seniors that are being served who had nowhere else to go, for not only care, but also the residential component and the social component.  That part of it is very rewarding.

Unknown Speaker  4:37
Chuck Hammond is our guest on Living The Life Methods today. He is the founder say President and CEO of Hammond & Associates. I don’t have your business card.

Unknown Speaker  4:47
That’s all right. That’s close enough. I don’t want too many titles.

Unknown Speaker  4:52
Alright, so you’re down in Detroit. How much business, because this is sort of a southeast Michigan-centric show, but how much business are you doing down there? What are you seeing that kind of puts a smile on your face with where we were 10 years ago in the city?

Chuck Hammond  5:07
Well, I think the nonprofit community does not get enough credit for the role that it has played in Detroit’s resurgence.

You can drive up and down Woodward Avenue right now in Detroit from say, West Grand Boulevard, all the way down to the river. And you can see evidence of nonprofit investments on every single block.  Practically including the M-1 Rail Project, which we worked on several years ago. So, you know people call it a public-private partnership. Obviously, with the Dan Gilberts of the world and other leaders of that ilk in our community. They have done a tremendous amount to spur investment in downtown Detroit. But the point I’m trying to make is that the nonprofit sector has stepped up as well. And I’m not sure there’s another city in the country frankly, where the nonprofit sector has played the role that it’s played in our inner city’s resurgence.

Unknown Speaker  6:04
Why does it not get enough love? Why is that a media thing? Is that it? Why do you think that it’s not kind of pointed out more?

Unknown Speaker  6:12
I think the nonprofit sector is something that a lot of people don’t understand. People understand business, they understand law to an extent, and they understand medical care to an extent. But there’s this huge sector of the American economy that produces billions of dollars a year, the nonprofit sector.  And it consists of colleges and universities, and nonprofit hospitals and The Red Cross. A whole slew of agencies that are part of the nonprofit sector. And it’s interesting because years ago I worked at the zoo. I worked at the zoo for 13 years when I was younger. And people would come up to me at the zoo. Maybe at an event or I’d give them a tour. And they would say to me, “Do you do this full time?” And I’d say, “Yes, it’s a profession. Yeah.” Sure, you know, but that’s an example

Matt Dery  7:15
Chuck Hammond is with me from Hammond and Associates, there’s five key elements that you have to add to a campaign. Yeah, tell me about those and how you must stick almost to that plan.

Chuck Hammond  7:35
We call them The 5 Key Elements of Fundraising Success. So, if you want to raise money, you’re a nonprofit executive, or maybe you sit on a board of a nonprofit, and you want to raise more money.

The first thing that you need is a strong case for support. A compelling case for support.  You need to really work that case. We go through an exercise for clients where we help them produce four to five pages where they distill their vision. And it’s a difficult exercise to go through because the case has to be emotionally compelling to the reader, or the potential donor. It also has to be intellectually compelling. Meaning it has to make sense from a business investment perspective. So that’s one of The 5 Key Elements of Fundraising Success.

The second thing is having a strong board of directors. You need a board of directors that’s willing to step up to the plate and help the organization raise money.

The third key element is having specific fundraising leadership. So if you have a 30-person board of directors, a 30-person group is too big of a group to raise money. You need a smaller steering committee. Kind of a SWAT team if you will.  Have 5-6, maybe up to 7 or 8 people who will go out there and help the nonprofit do the heavy lifting to raise money.

And that is a tremendous investment of time. Because fundraising is all about relationship building. And when you approach a donor prospect, frequently the first time you sit down with them, it’s just a conversation. It’s not the time to ask for the money. You may have to have five or six meetings with a prospect over an 18 month period before you get them comfortably to the point where you can ask them for a serious gift. So that having that fundraising leadership cadre, if you will, is one of the key elements.

And another key element is having staffing. The kind of staffing in place to support a campaign. There’s a lot of work as I said, and you got to be able to support the volunteers who are out there raising the money on the one hand and you need to be able to perform simple tasks of getting a nice thank you letter out to a donor after they’ve made a gift. It sounds easy. Some organizations struggle with it. If you go to a foundation, and they’ve invited a proposal for funding, somebody’s got to write that proposal. And those can be very complicated. So that infrastructure staffing piece is one of the five key elements.

And the final thing is what we call we call “Gift Potential”. If I’m embarking upon a $5 million fundraising campaign or initiative, I need to have sufficient prospects to cover that number. And I need to have sufficient prospects, donor prospects at the high end of the giving pyramid. In other words, if I’m out there soliciting $10,000 and $25,000 gifts toward a $5 million goal, it’s going to take me forever to get there.

Matt Dery  10:54
Right, right you need a couple of home-run hitters.

Chuck Hammond  10:57
Absolutely, I’m going to need some six-figure gifts to get to that level.

Matt Dery  11:01
Well, let me ask you this. You seem like you have patience. Because you’re telling me, and it’s very similar to what we do at financial architects a little bit with, you know, it’s going to take a few meetings to decide if we’re going to have the next meeting. I think the same goes for you, like you said. You know you’ve got some donors here. And some people would say, look, this isn’t about just money. This is about doing something in the community or starting this foundation. And you must stay patient because, you know let’s be honest, you have to feed your family that’s got to be tough. Sometimes the patient part is needed.

Chuck Hammond  11:35
The patience part as a consultant or as a non-profit?

Matt Dery  11:38
As the consultant. You being Chuck Hammond sitting across the table from somebody.

Chuck Hammond  11:42
Oh, yes absolutely true. In consulting you’ve got to be very entrepreneurial. There’s an ebb and flow to the business. Some days, you got more work than you can handle and you’re saying to yourself, “My God, I’m overwhelmed. How am I going to serve all these clients?” And then you have other times where you go through fallow periods. Times where you need more business, and you got to really get out there and do some serious marketing to generate it. So, I guess it’s not unlike any other small business in that respect. Although this is a very narrow niche. This is a real niche, no question, so to speak.

Matt Dery  12:23
When we come back, I want to ask you about your staff. How that works and how you must delegate. This is Living the Life Method. You went through a significant life event recently, that we’ll talk about as well. This is Chuck Hammond. I’m Matt Dery. This is Living the Life Method – episode 2. We’ll be right back.

Unknown Speaker  12:46
Hi everybody. This is Christopher Cousins, a shareholder at Financial Architects. I have a question for you. Are you concluding a successful career? What about looking to transition out of your business? Maybe you’ve experienced a life event such as a divorce, or the death of a spouse. At Financial Architects we help to bring order to all of this chaos.

It starts with the foundation of clear financial decision-making, and our team has the resources to help you create clarity in your direction. The truth is you do have a big future. One that is likely bigger than your past. We want to help you bring it into focus. Give us a call today. (248) 482-3600 or email me,

Matt Dery  13:33
Welcome back to Living the Life Method Podcast. You’re listening right here on The Empowering Futures Podcast Network. My name is Matt Dery. You may know me from Financial Architects and other places. Next to me is Chuck Hammond. Our guest today Chuck Hammond of Hammond & Associates. They do it all with a focus on fundraising, board development and strategic planning tools for nonprofits.

Alright Chuck. So before the break, we talked about patience and getting the right people in front of you. You can’t do everything. You were talking about making sure that staff was sending out the proper thank you notes after maybe an event was done or a campaign was completed. So how many people are on the team and how do you delegate all the authority and everything else?

Chuck Hammond  14:20
Well, we tend to be a little on the small side. And there’s a reason for that. I learned years ago working for a large national fundraising consulting firm, that they would get so much business on occasion, and then they would ramp up the staffing to serve all those clients. And then those client engagements would end and they’d have a lot of staff on their hands and not enough work for them.

So, there are really four players in Hammond and Associates, myself included. Our principal consultant is a tremendous professional named Virginia Fallis, who distinguished herself years ago working on the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher campaign at the Detroit Symphony. She, in my view, is the best major gifts fundraiser in Detroit that I’ve ever come across.

My wife, Colleen does all the infrastructure for the firm, she does all the billing, all the computer work, and all this stuff behind the scenes that you don’t see. So, she doesn’t have a public face in the firm per se.

And then we rely heavily on the services of an outstanding prospect researcher and proposal writer named Ann Rock from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, who is a steady contractor for us. And we use other contractors as well, depending on the specialty that we need.

Matt Dery  15:46
That’s great. You’re all over the place. Yeah. And I know you and I were talking today and you’re heading up to Flint after this. A great client that you have is the Rose Hill Center up in Holly.

How did you get hooked up with them, and why when you and I were talking, did you make sure to kind of highlight those folks?

Chuck Hammond  16:03
Well our relationship with Rose Hill Center is very special. And part of it is because of Dan and Rosemary Kelly, who are the people that founded Rose Hill Center 27 years ago.

It’s a remarkable success story that too few people know about. They were inspired by their late son, John Kelly, who suffered from schizophrenia some years ago. And they really couldn’t find a satisfactory treatment facility nationally for John. So being incredibly successful people, they said, let’s create our own psychiatric campus. And they did it on several 100 acres of property at a beautiful spot out in Holly, Michigan.

So, they’re wonderful people. They treat us like family. We’ve been working with them for nine years now on multiple fundraising ventures. And it’s just a very special and rewarding relationship for us. Rose Hill Center is now nationally renowned. They treat all forms of mental illness. And as you know, Matt, mental illness is a significant issue in our society today.

Matt Dery  17:14
It really is. And when it comes to giving in what you’re dealing with in fundraising, there’s that personal touch, like you mentioned, with the Kellys that maybe makes that project more fulfilling for you and your staff than maybe others. Right?

Chuck Hammond  17:29
Absolutely. It’s a great relationship. I love talking about it. Every time I talk about it, it makes me feel good.

Matt Dery  17:37
Yeah, no question. I think, too, with some of these nonprofits that you’re working with, that’s probably the hope, isn’t it? Yes, of course, you’re running a business. And like I said, you’ve got to make a paycheck and everything else, but that you got into this because there is that fulfillment at the end of the day, right?

Chuck Hammond  17:57
Oh, absolutely. No question about it. You know, fundraising is not brain surgery. And at times it can be definitely tedious. And as you and I have talked about offline, it can be challenging working with boards of directors. It takes a real level of experience and a good touch to work with. The boards are very complicated to work with. But again, when you see the people that are served. We always say, going back to my comment about a case for support earlier. It’s one of The 5 Key Elements to Fundraising Success.

We always say that the strongest cases are about saving and transforming lives. And you know, nonprofit organizations do transform lives. They take a child in an inner-city neighborhood, and I mean, take for example Cornerstone Schools. Clark Durant’s operation.  It just comes to mind quickly. If you were to ever tour Cornerstone schools, you would see all the kids in the city whose lives have been changed permanently by virtue of that educational opportunity. It’s so impressive. It’s the stuff that makes life worth living.

Matt Dery  19:20
Oh, yeah. It is rewarding. And I think, you know, you were at a recent Life Method Workshop that we did. And it just comes down to the fact, there are going to be life events. And in your case, I think everybody, there’s some sort of life event that takes place where they pick up the phone, or they go on the web and find you to say, “Hey, we need to take that next step. And giving and some sort of fundraising is needed.” And so, you’re dealing with people that serve these events all the time. So, it’s kind of, it’s not me saying it, it’s kind of like a cloud above you Chuck, but it’s there every day, right?

Chuck Hammond  19:58
Absolutely. And that’s the special one thing that the nonprofit sector can do. And the nonprofit sector in the United States is very, very special. There is not another country in the world that has a nonprofit sector like we do. It’s cool. So, it’s really an American virtue and trait if you will.

Matt Dery  20:17 is your website. Speaking of life events, you had a big one significant one in your life just a few years ago, that probably was an eye opener for you. And I appreciate it that I asked him like, you know, he’s like, I’ll talk about it. But tell the folks a little bit about what you went through and, and how that sort of changed your everyday life.

Chuck Hammond  20:43
Well, I like many people in your listening audience and many people in society, I had a bout of cancer in 2016. And fortunately, I’ve come through it successfully. I had to have some surgery to have a significant tumor removed. And going through that experience, you know, in the early part of it, it was kind of nip and tuck, you know, I didn’t know what was going to happen.

But if I can plug Henry Ford Health System, I had phenomenal doctors at Henry Ford Health System. And I could not have gotten through it without them. And you know, I think I’m out of the woods and I have tests like a lot of cancer survivors do. Yeah. There’s always anxiety associated with those tests when you have them. Yeah, but knock on wood. So far, so good.

And from a personal perspective, I appreciate the simple things in life now. Much more than I used to. I was always a go-go-go. You got to get the next thing done kind of a guy. And I still am to an extent, but I love nature now much more than I used to. I love taking a walk outside and just admiring the beauty of simple things. It’s changed me that way. It really did.

And, I have to say that it’s also strengthened my spiritual perspective on life. Like a lot of people growing up, I went to church. My mother made me go to church. And, and when you’re younger, you know, you’re not sure what or why you’re attending. But the foundation that I had, from those early days, really served me well when I went through that challenge and test of being diagnosed with cancer.

Matt Dery  22:49
For sure, for sure. And the other night, being at The Life Method Workshop, I’m sure you can kind of totally relate to the whole, you know, The 4 Foundations: personal, professional, financial, and for you spiritual, right, I mean, that probably hit home for you.

Chuck Hammond  23:04
Absolutely. I work on the spiritual side of my life in a way that I as I said, I took for granted before.

And, you know, being a whole person. I know you know. People have different perspectives on organized religion, but I think we can all agree that to be a whole integrated human being. Part of that is having a spiritual component.

Matt Dery  23:30
No question about it Chuck. Experienced counsel on philanthropy, the man Chuck Hammond. From Hammond and Associates. So, if people are interested in getting a hold of you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Chuck Hammond  23:43
Well, my cell phone number is always on 248-310-4560. At the firm I can be reached on email

Matt Dery  24:02
There’s a few Hammonds out there. That’s right.

Chuck Hammond  24:06
So, you can find us on the web. And, you know, I talked to people every day and facing challenges in the nonprofit world, and I always welcome those calls.

Matt Dery  24:19
For people that people understand Chuck is literally we are recording this on a Friday morning, Chuck is getting in his car here on a Friday. This isn’t just a three-day weekend with the Superbowl on Sunday. Chuck is here live and we’re recording here. Now, you’re going up to work. You’re going up to Flint on a Friday. Man, you’re still pounding the pavement. I love it.

Chuck Hammond  24:37
Right. The north side of Flint. I’m on my way shortly.

Matt Dery  24:41
There you go. Well, safe travels. Thanks so much for stopping by and being a part of the show today. What you’re doing is phenomenal. So, thanks so much.

Chuck Hammond  24:52
I appreciate it. Thank you.

Matt Dery  24:53
There is Chuck Hammond again., and his cell phone is 248-310-4560. Experienced council on philanthropy and certainly on fundraising. If you’re looking for the man to talk to you to get it all organized, it is Chuck Hammond.

This has been another installment of Living the Life Method Podcast right here on the Empowering Futures Podcast Network.

Again, please subscribe to the podcast. You can find The Life Methods and Financial Architects on Facebook. Thanks, and we’ll talk again soon.


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