One of the key ingredients to the success of NextDor’s Accelerators is our All Star team of mentors. Week after week, our social entrepreneurs meet industry leaders from the non-profit and for-profit sectors who come prepared to share the wisdom they’ve gleaned from decades of personal experience and success.
Marketing maven Estie Rand was the latest mentor to speak to the group. Her focus? Marketing strategy, of course.
~Master of Doing More with Less
The founder of Strand Consulting, Estie Rand has been helping businesses improve on minimal budgets for over 15 years. A graduate of Baruch College Zicklin School of Business in New York, Estie is also a Certified Professional Coach. After spending many years finding fulfillment in the non-profit industry, Estie founded Strand Consulting to bring her skills of doing more with less to small business owners as well. Estie now enjoys every minute of her work helping others reach their earning potential, maximizing themselves, their time and their profits. In addition to running Strand Consulting, Estie has taken on the role of CMO of NextDor.
One on One with Estie Rand
We sat down with Estie to learn what motivated her to join the NextDor team.
Can you tell us about your background in the non-profit world?
After majoring in marketing in college, I moved into the Jewish non-profit world immediately. I began with working for Aish Hatorah in marketing and PR and went on to work for Ner LeEleph as CIO, managing all of their data systems and complex budgets. In total, I spent about a decade in the non-profit world, gleaning the skills that enable me to help businesses (and non-profits) today do more for less.
How did you come to join the NextDor team?
NextDor Founder Chanan Kaufman and I met at a NY business conference, where he approached me about becoming a NextDor mentor. He shared more about the NextDor mission and it immediately caught my attention. Interested in empowering NextDor to reach the next level, I helped them take their business plan and create a concrete action plan, program and curriculum. In addition to running Strand Consulting, I have adopted the role of CMO of NextDor and am so happy to be on board.
What are your responsibilities as CMO of NextDor?
Like everyone on the NextDor team, I have diverse responsibilities. My main role is devising a marketing and branding strategy. This includes making decisions about how we present ourselves, who we target, what strategies we use to reach our various markets and more. I oversee a team to ensure all marketing and logistics are expertly executed, from social media to copywriting and beyond. I designed the NextDor educational curriculum as well.
Do you personally relate to NextDor’s mission?
Tremendously! That’s why I was eager to get on board. I believe strongly in creating self sustaining non-profits and the idea that a non-profit has to run like a business. A
non profit is a business; it just happens to be a non-profit business. A business engages in a set of activities in order to earn money, while a non-profits earns money to engage in a set of activities. Both have money and activities. You can’t sustain yourself long-term without this understanding. I believe you can do tremendous good in the world and sustain yourself; it shouldn’t be one or the other. A role in non-profit management can be your day job and source of parnassah if the non-profit and its goals are structured correctly.
What top three entrepreneurial skills do you think are invaluable to building a successful non-profit?
First, marketing is a critical skill. This means ensuring that whatever services you offer target a specific group or “market”. It also involves ensuring that there are donors who want to support those services for that target market. You have to learn to communicate effectively with various audiences to achieve your goals.
Second, being light on your feet is key to success todays business and non-profit world. The needs of your target market are always changing, as are financial realities and market shifts. You need to be able to adapt and evolve to meet constantly changing needs and circumstances.
Third, it’s important to know how to deal well with people and build strong relationships. Non-profit management involves a lot of “people management”, from your staff, to donors, to the people you want to help.
Reflecting on your experience in the non-profit world, what common challenges do many social entrepreneurs face?
Money, money and more money. So many social entrepreneurs don’t structure their non- profits in a sustainable way and wind up losing more money with each individual they service. You need to have a sustainable operating budget.
Another thing many non-profits lack is professionalism. When you do great work, you need to present yourself professionally rather than sloppily.
What is the key to overcoming those challenges?
To overcome those challenges, you have to set your non-profit up like a business and look at your non-profit like a professional enterprise, financially and structurally. It’s also important to get help and mentorship where you need it.
What advice would you give to aspiring Jewish leaders just starting out with a new concept, initiative or young organization?
The best advice I can give is to think big but start small. Big dreams and ideas are great, and they can come true, but you can’t start with all of them. Pick the smallest, easiest, cheapest idea, make it strong and build from there.
Who do you think would benefit from NextDor?
Anyone who has ever thought about running a non-profit or is currently running a non-profit and wants it to be sustainable long-term without the tremendous headaches most non-profit managers face!