Lisa Cotton on Funding Philanthropy: A Mission Bigger than Money

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Welcome to this week’s episode of Feminine Wealth TV.

This week’s guest is Lisa Cotton, the co-founder & CEO of The Funding Network Australia, an innovative, event-based collective giving model that connects social entrepreneurship and everyday Australians, businesses and funding philanthropy.  Lisa has spent the last 13 years working with philanthropists and non-profit leaders and is passionate about collaboration and how private resources can be channeled more effectively for the public good.

In this interview, Lisa talks about her journey from working for the government to establishing The Funding Network with a strong mission to democratize philanthropy. She shares some key tips for people who have a vision but don’t quite know how to live it out yet.  She tells us how significant it is to believe in yourself, to stay true to your vision, to never be afraid to take risks and that anyone can make a difference in their community regardless of financial status. Giving can be in the form of time, energy, ideas, mentoring and support. It doesn’t always have to be about money …… although that certainly helps ! Lisa has experienced first hand how giving will always energise you and give you that sense of fulfillment we are looking for.

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Barbara Turley: Hi, there. I’m Barbara Turley, and you’re watching another episode of Feminine Wealth TV, the show that uncovers the diamond tips on creating truly conscious wealth from change makers, world shakers, and wealth creators. Now, I’m joined today on the show by a total change maker, someone who’s bringing the resources of passion and money together to create massive philanthropic change in our world. Please welcome to the show the CEO of The Funding Network, Lisa Cotton. Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa Cotton: Good morning. You’re welcome.

Barbara Turley: When I first met you, I accidentally was invited to one of your funding nights. I was just so amazed by the model that you’ve built and really wanted to get you on the show. Just, first of all, tell us a little bit about The Funding Network and particularly, the mission and the philosophy behind it.

Lisa Cotton: Sure. Yeah. Well, look, the philosophy is that anybody can get involved in giving back. The Funding Network is a collective giving model. We run events where social entrepreneurs come and pitch for funding in front of an audience of around 100 people. The whole philosophy is really to democratize philanthropy, make it fun, make it informative, but make it really effective to enable people to make a difference in the community.

Barbara Turley: Yeah. When I went on to the event, I mean, this was an event, there was probably 200 people in the room, and it was a lot of fun. What I really noticed was the … I was actually happened to be sitting beside someone who was controlling quite a large charitable trust.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: On the other side, I was sitting beside somebody who just was actually giving their time.

Lisa Cotton: Yes.

Barbara Turley: I loved how you’ve molded that together. How did you bring all this together and come up with this idea?

Lisa Cotton: We saw the model, this is my co-founder in the UK, and TFN in the UK has been going for about 11 years. We thought it would really work here because there’s a lot of people who want to give, but they have no idea where to look, who to speak to, what charities to support.

Barbara Turley: How to do it without giving up your own … Blowing yourself up, if you know what I mean?

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Like blowing up your own energy or money or whatever. How do you give? Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Exactly. Within their capacity.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: As you said, that night at that particular event, you had high net worth individuals and you had ordinary Australians who together really signify, I think really demonstrate the power of this model to democratize philanthropy and that’s the lovely thing. It’s a very egalitarian model.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, you don’t have to be super wealthy to actually get involved in it.

Lisa Cotton: No.

Barbara Turley: Obviously, if you are, that’s a huge help.

Lisa Cotton: That’s right.

Barbara Turley: That’s massive.

Lisa Cotton: That’s right.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, but you can also give in other ways.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah. Look, even people that do have reasonable wealth just love this because it is like angel investing. It is coming along, seeing some really inspirational pictures, and having the ability to invest in those programs. It’s a great platform for them and conversely, for the pitching organizations, these small grassroots charities …

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: … the model provides a fantastic platform for them to have a voice, to accessing and be in front of an audience they would never ordinarily get to [inaudible 03:07] efficiently.

Barbara Turley: Yeah. You built a platform to actually bring these two, the organizations that create change …

Lisa Cotton: Yes.

Barbara Turley: … with the giving or whatever they’re doing in society …

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: … with people who have resources like money, energy, time, mentorship, whatever …

Lisa Cotton: Exactly.

Barbara Turley: … and bring them together in a forum and it’s a fun forum as well.

Lisa Cotton: It is. It is.

Barbara Turley: Reminds me of the TED Talks. It’s like the six-minute …

Lisa Cotton: It is.

Barbara Turley: The six-minute chance to pitch your idea for your charity for money.

Lisa Cotton: That’s right, that’s right. It’s a combination of TED Talks, a telethon, Dragon’s Den in the UK.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, that’s right, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: It’s a blend of those, but it’s done in such a way that it’s very gently facilitated. It’s facilitated with great care and the [projects 03:52] themselves are clearly very nervous [when they get up 03:54] and pitch.

Barbara Turley: Yes, yeah, but they do a good job. They’re very passionate.

Lisa Cotton: They do fantastic. It’s the passion and the authenticity that gets them through.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Some of them may not be brilliant presenters, but they’re so passionate and driven with purpose that you can’t help but want to support them.

Barbara Turley: Yeah. They walk away with the money and the resources at the end of the night as well …

Lisa Cotton: They do.

Barbara Turley: … to take things to the next level.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, exactly. It’s often not just about the money. The money is really important for them to get to the next stage of growth, but the resources that comes post those events are equally important.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Some of them have got additional board members, volunteers …

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: … in kind support, maybe financial services, could be [crosstalk 04:38] support.

Barbara Turley: Of course, the networks then that come from mentors or people sitting on boards are massive so it can open up a lot of doors so it’s …

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, yeah. It’s about building communities of interest …

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: … around areas of common interest. They do that often post the events …

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: … that we connect people who want to connect directly to those charities to offer them support. That’s the power of the model. It’s about creating these affinity groups. Because it’s a very social event …

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: … it’s important because people are supporting social change, but it’s also social so people network within the events themselves.

Barbara Turley: It has to be fun. Yeah, it is fun.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: It’s a fun event, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Tell me now, so how did you, your own journey and your own journey, did you start out in corporate or were you always entrepreneurial? How did you end up in this particular business or set up or whatever you want to call it?

Lisa Cotton: Yeah. Yeah. I actually I really started out in government [crosstalk 05:33], which you would argue could never be entrepreneurial, but the actual agencies that I worked for in government were entrepreneurial. I’m from Perth and I worked for an agency called Events Corp, which is the government’s major international events arm.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: We bid for major international events and hosted major international events so there is a …

Barbara Turley: You would have to be pretty entrepreneurial and commercial in that.

Lisa Cotton: Absolutely, absolutely. Then I worked for the Perth [inaudible 06:00] with the Sydney Olympic Licensing Program and again, we had to [inaudible 06:04] and be entrepreneurial with that which is what brought me to Sydney.

Barbara Turley: Right. Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: After the Olympics, I worked with DDB worldwide Communications, a large agency. It was at that time in 2002 that I was pretty restless. I wanted to really think about having a career path that’s more purposeful.

Barbara Turley: I think a lot of people are feeling that particularly right now.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: They have a vision or a want to fulfill in a different way.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: So many people are struggling with how to do that and …

Lisa Cotton: Very hard.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Very hard. There’s this notion of going from struggle to success and success to significance.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: When you work in this field, you meet … You are like a magnet for people who want to go from success to significance.

Barbara Turley: I know. Yeah, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: That purpose piece, it doesn’t happen to everyone, but it happens to a lot. That happened to me back in 2002 and I started doing some pro bono work for a couple that fed Sydney’s homeless.

Barbara Turley: Right.

Lisa Cotton: I was a little frustrated of the lack of accountability, etc., and then joined Social Ventures Australia, which is like a venture philanthropy.

Barbara Turley: Was that a big move? Was that an actual job move where you went to work for them?

Lisa Cotton: It was a job move. It was a job move.

Barbara Turley: It was a big career move.

Lisa Cotton: It was a career move, but SVA as it’s known has a very commercial orientation and it provides strategic funding, long-term funding and strategic support for midsize nonprofit organizations, many working in the high net worth market who support the ventures that SVA worked with. It’s towards the end of my time at SVA, I recognized that if philanthropy is done really thoughtfully, it can be so joyful.

Barbara Turley: And more powerful.

Lisa Cotton: Incredibly, profoundly.

Barbara Turley: More powerful. That’s why I think I really connected with you because I saw what you were doing and thought wow, that is the future of connecting the people who have with the people who have not …

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: … in a very, very fun and fulfilling way …

Lisa Cotton: That’s right.

Barbara Turley: … where both win.

Lisa Cotton: It is.

Barbara Turley: … without either feeling dis-empowered or funny about it, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s almost like this is alchemy that happens when you’re able to connect the right people with the right resources to the right projects.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: That idea of it being joyful really comes from the idea that they’re getting so much more back than they’re giving. Invariably, they do.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: The story you hear time and time again is, “God, I feel like I’ve given just a bit, but it was just … ”

Barbara Turley: I’ve, yeah, received so much, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah. It is interesting because when you listen to conversations about people who do this sort of stuff, they go very deep, very personal very quickly …

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: … about how it’s affected their lives and added another dimension to their existence.

Barbara Turley: It probably cracks them wide open.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: All of a sudden, they’re about to go that deep, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, exactly. I think the power of The Funding Network events is they meet social entrepreneurs, people who are [healing 09:09] the cracks of society that ordinarily don’t get any light shone on them at all.

Barbara Turley: You don’t get to meet them, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: You don’t get to meet them. They’re coming out of the western suburbs or deeper than the regional areas and they’re heroes. I’m not a big fan of the word heroes, but these guys are tackling persistent problems.

Barbara Turley: They’re the [crosstalk 09:29] actually, social entrepreneurs.

Lisa Cotton: They’re doing it on a smell of an oily rag and they’ve been very tenacious and very innovative about what they’re doing.

Barbara Turley: The hustle they have to have to do it, yeah, to make it work.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, yeah. They’re incredible human beings so when you get four of those lined up telling their stories and then an audience who has a propensity to give in some way, it’s a very powerful combination.

Barbara Turley: Talk to me about, because I’m always interested as well, the jump particularly from working for someone else because I’ve done this and I’ve had a few other women on the show. You were with the government and although it was entrepreneurial, how scary was it in that moment where you realized your vision was so much bigger than just working for someone else and you had to create this? Because I would imagine you went through that feeling of going, “I have to do this.” How did you get through that moment of … ? There would’ve been fear I’m sure around creating what you have created.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: How do you get through that? How do you make the step up to the plate and say [crosstalk 10:22]?

Lisa Cotton: I feel mine was a very long transition to be honest.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, yeah. That’s good to know though.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Because we think we see you now, we think she went from there to there, and what I want people to understand is the journey is never linear.

Lisa Cotton: It’s never linear, absolutely.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: I think when I first made the transition from corporate, government corporate into the philanthropic nonprofit sector, I was volunteering to begin with. That was the first step of the transition, to put my toe in the water and get a feel for what it was like. Once I actually got a feel and really got a sense of I just work with brilliant people …

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: The social entrepreneurs are amazing. The funders that are attracted to this sort of work are incredible. They’re just good people. It was relatively easy for me to slide into the nonprofit philanthropy sector as a career choice.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: It was also an organization like Social Ventures Australia, it is very innovative. It’s risk oriented. It tests and innovates all the time.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: That was really stimulating. When I finished at SVA and I heard about The Funding Network, it was very easy for me just to make that jump and say, “I think we should sit this up.”

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: I didn’t do it. I knew instinctively that it would work.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: I also knew that for this to really get traction, we need to be national.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: In order for us to be national, we can’t just put on an event and think people will come. We spent 18 months laying the foundations and building a network to begin with before we did the [crosstalk 12:01].

Barbara Turley: How did you do that? Because a lot of people say that. They say, “Oh, we lay the foundations and we build networks,” but the how of that. How did you get started with that and build the [crosstalk 12:11]?

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Was it an online thing or was it offline?

Lisa Cotton: No, no, no. It was all very offline, very face to face.

Barbara Turley: Yeah. Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: We did a whole lot of community … I set up a national steering committee and we did a whole lot of community consultations, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, spoke to business leaders, spoke to nonprofit organizations, philanthropic organizations, and we tested our vision.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Our vision was what if we had a model that unites people …

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: … around contributing back into community whether that’s a social, entrepreneur or a funder or a large corporate. We tested this vision. We ran some briefing sessions and then, we ran three pilot events in each of those markets last year to really show the model in action because we could talk about the philosophy and the vision, but until you participate there …

Barbara Turley: Yeah, but you need to actually show the [crosstalk 13:03], yeah.

Lisa Cotton: It was a lot of work. It was very collaborative. We did the pilot period and the consultation with the support of AMP and MacQuarie group, [inaudible 13:15] and a bunch of individual funders who bought into this idea that we should democratize giving in Australia. We’re an incredibly wealthy nation.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: We’re an incredibly generous nation despite people saying we don’t give like the Americans or the English. We don’t give as much as they do.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: But we volunteer a huge amount. The average Australian does give a lot per capita [crosstalk 13:41].

Barbara Turley: That should be counted for as well.

Lisa Cotton: Absolutely counted for.

Barbara Turley: The actual time that people give and the … Giving is about more than the money as we were talking about earlier, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, yeah. If we have more models like The Funding Network that can play the role as an enabler, as a catalyst to bring those two together, I think that would generate so much more funding into the sector.

Barbara Turley: Because what I love about this as well is I often see on forums that I’m on or places that people are asking, a lot of people who are social entrepreneurs are asking the question online maybe where I’m seeing, “How do I be a social entrepreneur and actually get the funding necessary to be that?” We all have to survive financially as well.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: In the early days of what you were doing, how did the financial end of the model work in terms of … ? You needed to obviously get paid.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: There’s money involved in setting up.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Did you raise capital for that?

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: All right. Because there was the money end as well [crosstalk 14:39], yeah.

Lisa Cotton: That’s right, exactly, yeah. Mainly through philanthropic grants, yeah.

Barbara Turley: Grants, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Both from individuals, corporates, and in WA from the WA government. We did a first round of raising the funds to cover both the consultation and the startup costs of The Funding Network.

Barbara Turley: It’s very much treated like, it is like a startup?

Lisa Cotton: It is.

Barbara Turley: It’s like any company that you start up. Anyone trying to do something like this anywhere in the world, they’ve got to think about it as an actual company.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, absolutely. You’ve got to have all of the governance and operation infrastructure that … Even more so, you’ve got to have much more compliance as a nonprofit organization.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, than the normal, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: You’ve got to have the same governance structures in place. In addition to raising the funds, we had to secure a board.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: We’ve got leadership councils in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. There’s a whole infrastructure that sits under this. We’re predominantly philanthropically funded in terms of covering our lean operational costs, but we also have self-generated revenue and we want to build up that self-generated revenue. The model’s more sustainable …

Barbara Turley: When you say self generated revenue, tell me a bit about that.

Lisa Cotton: Our membership. If you’re a member of TFN …

Barbara Turley: That’s right, yeah, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: … you can put forward charities to [inaudible 16:01] events.

Barbara Turley: That’s right, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: That’s part of this whole egalitarian …

Barbara Turley: It’s the community building and the whole …

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Somebody who’s just a member could say, “You know what, I came across this guy who’s doing this thing.”

Lisa Cotton: Exactly.

Barbara Turley: “I think it’s amazing. I’d like to put him forward for a pitch [crosstalk 16:14].

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, and we don’t have tentacles into the whole community.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: We don’t know where these great people reside. If we can empower up an army of people to go out into their local communities and put forward these people …

Barbara Turley: That’s even better.

Lisa Cotton: … it’s a fantastic way to do it. It really amplifies the impact. Getting back to the membership, it’s only $100. We wanted to keep that price point low because we want to build a movement. We want to get as many people as possible.

Barbara Turley: [Crosstalk 16:37], yeah, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: It’s $100 membership’s part of the revenue. We take a 10% contribution of funds raised [inaudible 16:46] towards our costs and it’s $30 to attend an event to cover the cost of …

Barbara Turley: That’s right, yeah, yeah. Of the event, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, yeah.

Barbara Turley: Any plans for other revenue lines that you can think of or do you foresee other revenue lines coming in to continue to expand the model?

Lisa Cotton: We do.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: We’re still strategizing around that.

Barbara Turley: About that, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: I think that there are a couple of other ways we can do that without going off mission.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, because that’s really …

Lisa Cotton: Because that’s really easy to do.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, really, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Very good. Tell me a little bit, obviously, you must be totally lit up inside that this has happened and your vision is you can see it coming to life.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: Because so many do have vision even if it’s hidden inside of them, but they never really get the chance to sit where you are right now.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: What would you say to anyone out there who feels totally on their own, has this burning thing inside of them, and doesn’t really know what to do with it.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: What would you say is the first step? Is it networking with people like you? Is it … ?

Lisa Cotton: I think if someone’s got a vision of something, they really need to be able to articulate it.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: They need to be able to articulate it in a way that people understand, they can understand what the potential of the model is, what the impact potentially can be there and then start testing it. This model …

Barbara Turley: Go out and talk to people and …

Lisa Cotton: Go and talk to people.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: The whole reason why this got up so quickly and is flourishing quite quickly is that we got buy-in from people two years ago and have continued those conversations …

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: … and continued to try and get them involved. I think you’ve got to one, really believe in it yourself. Have an ability to articulate it and stay true to that vision and really just give it a go. You don’t know and I think …

Barbara Turley: Yeah, just ask …

Lisa Cotton: Fear is a big issue.

Barbara Turley: Yes, of course, yeah, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: But I think that anyone can get involved in say with this model, anyone can get involved in making a tangible difference in their community. I think we’ve all got the capacity to do that. I think in this field, what you need is empathy.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: I think empathy is a really important quality in business.

Barbara Turley: Absolutely.

Lisa Cotton: It’s not just in the nonprofit sector.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: If you can walk in someone else’s shoes, you’ve got … I think that puts you in a really good position to be able to then to bring them on the journey with you.

Barbara Turley: What would you say, and we love the audience that watches the show are entrepreneurial women and I’m always saying, I think we talked off air that a lot of women would say to me, “Oh, I don’t really need to make that much money. I’m just happy doing this,” or whatever, but they also have … When I talk to them about the potential of what they could do …

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: … if their company’s were bigger assets or …

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: I say, “You could start contributing to greater causes.” This is obviously from a financial point of view.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: How would it make you feel if a whole movement of women started to think that way and actually started to get involved in this?

Lisa Cotton: Women …

Barbara Turley: Yeah, because we’re natural givers you see.

Lisa Cotton: Money’s a means to an end.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: It depends on what you want to do with it. I about five years ago started an angel investing network in Melbourne and in Sydney, made up of thereabout 48 women who each pooled their funds and contributed to about 12 charities.

Barbara Turley: [Crosstalk 20:12].

Lisa Cotton: Over the course of the year, they came together six times over the course of the year and talked about how they could support these organizations and then shared their stories, etc. Women collaborate so brilliantly.

Barbara Turley: They do.

Lisa Cotton: We all know that.

Barbara Turley: We do. They? We do, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: We all know that.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: They’re an incredibly powerful force. I think that it would be … We’ve got a lot of female members.

Barbara Turley: Yes.

Lisa Cotton: I think that you don’t need to think about I’m going to make money and then give back. There’s some really smart ways about integrating social change within their businesses as well.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, that’s another aspect to really think about, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, exactly.

Barbara Turley: Do you think some entrepreneurs though feel, because I know some of them feel, “You know what, I am pedaling so hard … ”

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: ” … just to make it myself.”

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: “I just can’t even think about how I can integrate this into my business,” or whatever.

Lisa Cotton: Absolutely.

Barbara Turley: What are some of the simple little ways that a small business can integrate some social ways of giving back you think?

Lisa Cotton: Yeah. Look, I think a lot of it is about reputation in terms of growth. People are attracted to organizations that have integrity that they can see [a genuine 21:23] about making contribution within their means, within their capacity. Some small ways is they can do matched giving. Any of their stuff, they could match that giving. They could host things on behalf of charities.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, that’s a good idea actually.

Lisa Cotton: They could do volunteering.

Barbara Turley: Just offer up their office space or something for a night or do volunteering, yeah …

Lisa Cotton: Exactly, exactly, or if they have a particular skill or their staff have a particular skill, contribute that. Mentor an organization. Often social entrepreneurs are really brilliant of coming with ideas so they can potentially …

Barbara Turley: Can offer you some help as well.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, that’s right.

Barbara Turley: Because they’re trying to get a lot of hustle like we said earlier.

Lisa Cotton: Absolutely.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, innovative thinking and hustle and …

Lisa Cotton: Absolutely and make small contributions, whatever’s within the means of the organization because it’s very fulfilling. It just adds to … I know if you’re pedaling a million miles an hour and starting up a new business, but it can also be incredibly energizing.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, it could take you away from the struggle a little bit, too, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Exactly, exactly.

Barbara Turley: Lisa, this is such a beautiful huge mission. Tell me, what’s the big vision like? Where do you really want to take this? It’s a year, a year or two in now. What’s the big vision? Where do you want to take it?

Lisa Cotton: Look, I think the long term, The Funding Network can be a hub, can be a hub where people can connect to each other. They can learn. We’re running in every state and we’re empowering people in each state to run and own The Funding Network model.

Barbara Turley: As a community.

Lisa Cotton: As a community in each state.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: I think that we will gather so much knowledge through the work that we do because through each event, we get up to 20 nominations, 20, 30 nominations for each event.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Through which we shortlist eight and we choose four.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: We have selection panels made up of members to choose those four. We’re getting a lot of intelligence about what’s happening in the community. All of them have to do an impact report 12 months later, which we send through to the donors from the night.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: We will start aggregating what are some of the really urgent issues, what are some of the themes. Our website can really be a fantastic portal for anyone who wants to start to get involved in the social change area, anyone who wants to invest in it. I think that in addition to doing the live crowd face to face funding event …

Barbara Turley: Yeah, you can do some online stuff.

Lisa Cotton: We can do a lot of stuff online.

Barbara Turley: Yeah, that’s going to be so powerful. I just love the whole concept that one … People always say, “What can I do?” You can come along to a funding night and you can just see what’s happening out there.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: You can just be part of the community.

Lisa Cotton: That’s right.

Barbara Turley: Even if people who aren’t giving anything yet …

Lisa Cotton: Yeah.

Barbara Turley: … you can still go and still be part of the community and start to see what you can do.

Lisa Cotton: Absolutely.

Barbara Turley: And meet people who are doing amazing things like you.

Lisa Cotton: That’s right, yeah.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: It’s a forum where you can just put a toe in the water.

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: It’s a very light touch way …

Barbara Turley: Yeah.

Lisa Cotton: … to see whether that’s something of interest.

Barbara Turley: That you would like to do more of, yeah, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Yeah, exactly.

Barbara Turley: Look, as I said, I was blown away by the night that I went along to. I was really keen to have you on the show and just show what one person really can do in this space and to inspire other people to really think about the space and what they can do.

Lisa Cotton: Thank you. It’s one person with a lot of help.

Barbara Turley: A lot of help, yeah. That’s the key to running any business I think, the team, the team, yeah.

Lisa Cotton: Absolutely, yeah, exactly.

Barbara Turley: Thanks so much for sharing those insights with us and I really appreciate you coming on the show.

Lisa Cotton: No. You’re absolutely welcome. It’s a pleasure.

Barbara Turley: Don’t forget that you can catch me later this week on my podcast, Wealth Unplugged where I’ll be giving you some key take outs from my chat with Lisa today. Until next week, have a great week and we’ll see you then.

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