Ryan Reger

Unleashed: Strategies for Building Community Locally for Impact

Jun 19, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

In this episode, Ryan chats with Chris Bankus, Director of Impact First Giving about his unique strategy for creating networks locally.
If you’re looking to grow your ministry or business in your local area, Chris’ insights will be a game changer.

Consider joining us on Thursday, September 12 at our Kingdom Ecosystems Workshop to learn why we should scale deep for greater Kingdom impact.


[Ryan]
All right, Chris, welcome to Unleashed, man. Good to see you.

[Chris]
Good to be here.

[Ryan]
So Have you been on a podcast before?

[Chris]
No, first time.

[Ryan]
First time. I keep telling. So I said right before I hit record that we probably wouldn’t mention Dallas, but I am for this reason, because Chris is like the master of like, he knows more information about that city than anybody I’ve ever known.

And I was telling him he could have a podcast on all the topic of Dallas and be like the official tour guide in the podcast world for the city.

[Chris]
One day I could go on for hours.

[Ryan]
That’s right. When you have time, free time to launch that podcast, I want to help you, because it’s fascinating. Just all the stuff that you know.

All right. So let’s just I love having people on and hearing their story. So let’s unpack yours.

Tell me about who you are and how you got to where you are now.

[Chris]
Sure. Well, I’m Chris Bankas. My motivation is pretty much faith based.

My entire life I’ve been volunteering and working with Cross City Church in Ulis, working with the youth there, but everything that I do typically revolves around the nonprofit or church world. I’ve worked for the city of Grapevine, which led me to work for the Boy Scouts of America.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
I led the North Texas territory. So picture the Dallas County line down through about Temple, Texas, and jumping around with all the new city leaders, communities, building faith based groups for all the different nations to come together and build scouting up in each of those communities. How many counties was that?

Oh, okay. The primary amount of my effort has gone into Tarrant County. I’ve gone through Wise up into Denton.

And forgive me, I forgot the county’s name down there. But Temple, Texas, Waco, and then the Fort Hood area.

[Ryan]
Oh, my gosh. For I mean, guys that aren’t Texans, that’s a huge territory. Because Waco, from us, we can get in the car, Chris and I, he lives in Grapevine over in South Lake.

It’d be about an hour and a half, we’d be down in Waco. So do you have any idea? It’d be fun to look up how many square miles you covered.

[Chris]
So Google tracks, like where you go, and I can find mileage reports. And on average, I was going about 2000 miles a month.

[Ryan]
Oh, my goodness. That’s incredible.

[Chris]
The vast majority of my time was still Tarrant County out through Wise County.

[Ryan]
Yeah. So you were doing you were working with the boys. What exactly what was your role there?

[Chris]
Picture like a little CEO of the own district focused around money, manpower and membership. To have a program, you have to have kids. To have kids in a program, you have to have the adult structures there.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
And I never really worked with the kids per se. But the adult structures going up from the local level to the like, picture like a small subsection of a county level, then the county and the council. And I focused on building those adult boards up so every kid could get the best program they could.

[Ryan]
That’s incredible. You did when you are so guys, you’ll learn that Chris is our data guy, and dives deep in data. And I, you know, people, Chris, listen to this podcast for several years know that my eyes kind of glaze over when I see data, but I understand the importance of it.

Was all that stuff built out like all the work that you’re doing was all that build out before you got there? Did you create that?

[Chris]
Parts of it were. So the Boy Scouts has been going on for over 100 years. So they’ve got it down.

As far as like, my expertise in scouting soon became strategic planning and mapping. After my first year there, they noticed my talent. And I started taking national trainings and how to like information gather about communities, how to map them work together with advanced like district administration roles.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
And that led to me going around the nation to teach in large hotspots of scouting like North Carolina, Austin, Texas, San Antonio, and then up here in Dallas and Tarrant.

[Ryan]
Wow, wow. If you were just like to make it simplify that, what would you say to an entrepreneur or just anybody listening? Like, what, what does that look like?

What maybe the title, like the strategic mapping? Was that, you know, that role?

[Chris]
So that was a subsection of my role that mapped out where to go and how to go further from there. Yeah. In scouting, picture all the units, the packs, troops, teams, crews as a business.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
All of those are cold starts. Eventually, you have an interest, someone wants to join scouting. So you go into that community and figure out who’s the best opportunity to host, who can help fund, who can help influence and leadership, private school and homeschool groups to help bring kids to that group.

But beyond that, there’s the exploring component. Scouting has a lot of different umbrellas and one of them is exploring. And they have groups as far as police departments, fire departments, hospitals.

And when you have an interest, you start seeing like career aptitude surveys from schools. You see the, the interests there, so you know who to start targeting. And then you create a map, you figure out where all those kids are.

You don’t have their addresses, but you have their rough area.

[Ryan]
Yeah. Yeah.

[Chris]
But it’s the same thing as like, if you picture those as a franchise, franchises starting up or businesses, that information can be very well pulled over and used to start a business in an area.

[Ryan]
That’s incredible. Okay. So I want to like, for somebody listening, like, okay, I don’t know what the heck he’s just talking about.

Um, let’s make this practical. So I feel like, um, this is with the clients that we’re working with, like you’re, you’re doing things behind the scenes that I’m starting to understand. Uh, but I, I, I think very practically.

And so imagine if I’m a public speaker and I, um, I’m, I’m talking to school kids, I talk to school kids, I have a program I come and maybe I talk about, you know, anti drugs or alcohol or whatever the program is. Um, your skillset is super applicable. So, um, or even if I’m just trying to get well, more well-known in the community, uh, I’m trying to build a business in a certain community.

Uh, my skillset comes more from the online world. Like let’s, let’s, um, let’s build an email list. Let’s do Facebook ads.

I completely never even got into like, who’s around me locally that I could connect with just not what I was taught or that wasn’t, I didn’t really necessarily need to probably could have grown my business if I had. So just walk me through if I’m a public speaker and I’m, um, I want to get into the school systems. I have a program for kids.

Um, what does your process look like at you and I teamed up? Um, or like, if you were going to teach me your process, what does that even look like? Step-by-step?

Like what would we, what would we be doing?

[Chris]
I think the first step and whether it’s online or in person, most of this stuff can be transferred to the online market as well. It’s you find the air, the people that are most connected, the ones with an interest in things like what you’re doing and who actively wants to bring you in.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
First groups that come to mind are like the Kiwanis. They’re the largest picture, like a rotary or a lion club that focused specifically on kids. And you’ve got those in each segment.

You’ve got their online versions and their, their like global community, um, by just speaking briefly or bringing out to them, or even just like that ribbon cutting of I’m Ryan Rieger. I’m new to this. Um, you’re going to start making those connections and figure out which schools approach you immediately.

So you can start that base.

[Ryan]
So you would like, um, if I’m Brent, let’s say I’ve been in the community for a while, but not really connected very locally. Um, you would say like, would I just literally like go to the Kiwanis meeting as a new person or do you have to be invited to those groups?

[Chris]
You don’t necessarily have to be invited. You’ve got to become invited to become a member, but almost all of those groups, you can call in and say, I’m interested. You’ll show up for a day and they’ll just kind of bring you in.

[Ryan]
Yeah. Now you probably couldn’t show up and say, Hey, do you, can you like literally like most groups, you probably don’t want to show up first day and say, Hey, I’m a speaker. I want to speak in front of you guys.

Is it take some time to be able to be on their stage essentially? Like, do you have to attend some meetings or, or do they, are they looking for speakers and be like, Oh my gosh, that’s awesome that you want to speak on this topic. We need you right away.

And can you speak two months from now?

[Chris]
It depends on the group, like the Kiwanis group, you could easily go in and be like, this is what I’m doing. And they’re going to want it. If you go into like a Rotary, that’s not great, exactly specific on that.

You’re not the individuals who are exactly interested specifically for that engagement. But with the Kiwanis or with going around to PTAs, or even just reaching out to school ISDs, you’re going to quickly figure out the people who are interested.

[Ryan]
Wow. That’s awesome. What would you do for, so you kind of have like a whole process.

Can we dig into that? Like with the school systems, like you were telling me about now here in North Texas, there’s a software that all a lot of the schools use. Do you feel like if I’m in Indianapolis, Indiana, that there’s something very similar, like the process is probably really close to what it would be here?

[Chris]
Yes. So there’s really only one application that hits all the market. There might be a few little ones around, but the one program is called Peach Jar.

And its alternative would be going to schools and handing out flyers. You give it to the school secretary, or you ask the school secretary to put it in each teacher’s binder. So at the end of the day, one of those goes home to each kid.

But Peach Jar takes that and does it digitally. The difference with digitally is you can’t necessarily guarantee parents are going to see it the same way they see paper flyers. You can see that over 50, 60% of parents click on your individual ad to see what’s going on.

[Ryan]
Wow.

[Chris]
You can redirect people to pages, you can link those with a thing called geofencing with Meta, Facebook, Instagram, and it’ll start targeting ads towards certain groups or demographics.

[Ryan]
Okay. So literally, if I’ve been in the area for a while, let’s say I’m from Dallas-Fort Worth area, but I’ve never been connected to the schools, maybe I don’t have kids or my kids are older, and it’s been so long since they’ve been there at that school. And even if I called them up, the people aren’t there that were there when he was younger, for example, just throwing something out here.

Callan is in kindergarten, so I know the principal and I know the secretary. But literally, do you just like, this is super valuable information here. And I’ve never had anybody talk about this strategy.

So if I’m trying to get into school systems, I literally can call up a local elementary school. Hey, I’m Ryan Rieger. I have a program for kids.

I want to do a flyer. I want to host an event. And I want you to put my flyer into Peach Jar.

And they’ll be like, cool. Yes, 100%. We’ll do it.

Or what’s that? I mean, I’m sure there’s got to be some resistance, right? Because they don’t know me.

This is a cold call. So how does that process usually play out?

[Chris]
The technical process is you’ll submit it online. It costs about like $20 to $50 a school for a nonprofit. For a for profit, it’s a little bit more expensive, but not by too much.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
You wait a few days, the average is three, and the school will either approve it or deny it. Profits like the scouting program or Girl Scouts of America or Trail Life, those groups are established and they’re well known. But at the same time, you’ve got groups like auto body shops, library, bookstores, and those Balfour, like the ring companies for graduating.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
They’re all on Peach Jar all the time.

[Ryan]
Wow.

[Chris]
An example, relatively where near where you are, there’s an elementary school called Old Dominion. And it’s a fantastic elementary school. And I remember reaching out to them for the first time, I was like, Hey, I’m Chris Bankis.

And they’re like, awesome. But it took a few meetings to pull together exactly what we were doing with the scouting program that it’s in the community. And we’re there for their after school programs for those kids to have an additional thing to do that’s in a good environment.

They still host Cub Scout Pack today. But it’s all about making those first connections. If you want to talk about like, if you’re wanting to go be a speaker at a school, you’re going to have some type of platform already that is going to help those students.

[Ryan]
Yes.

[Chris]
It an alternative is be if you’re a political person, and you want to talk to elementary school students, they might not exactly jump.

[Ryan]
Right.

[Chris]
Sure. But they’ll see the value in it. And as long as it’s their school policies, they’ll approve it.

[Ryan]
That’s incredible. So I would like my first touch would not be to call the secretary would literally be go to Peach Jar, submit something and then it’ll be approved I don’t even have to like, I wouldn’t call the secretary first at the elementary school I was interested in.

[Chris]
The groups, Peach Jar has an assigned person in each school. And typically, for the smaller schools, it’s the principal or the vice principal. But almost every time the secretary will have some type of role in it.

All the large schools will have the secretary really do that. Okay, so it’s not a bad idea to reach out and say, Hey, I’m doing this. I’m thinking of putting this Peach Jar flyer is technically they could deny your flyer.

In the hundreds of schools I’ve worked with, I’ve had like two or three flyers denied. And it’s because of wording on it. It’s like the school proudly supports this.

Yeah, they don’t necessarily want that association with anything. But if you say, Hey, this is going on at the school. And at the very bottom, most schools want that little.

How do they phrase it? We do not necessarily. This is not a program offering of ours kind of statement.

Yeah, so they might support you, they might love the program or what you have to do, but you want to that division.

[Ryan]
Wow. So I literally go into Peach Jar, try to get into and I may then pick up the phone, hey, I just I’m thinking about doing this or I just submitted it just wanted to get to know you guys that would go a long way, you think?

[Chris]
I think so. And there’s schools like the largest ISD I can think of in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that does not use Peach Jar is Eagle Mountain Saginaw. They’re one of the fastest growing ISDs in the nation right now.

They’re growing like another school a year. Though they might eventually switch to Peach Jar. You want to make sure that ISDs like that aren’t lost because they’re not showing up on the Peach Jar drop down menu and looking for it.

[Ryan]
Right, right.

[Chris]
But bringing out flyers for being a presenter that would be equally as good. And then schools are very quick to allow flyers to go home with kids, but they’re resource strapped. So if you volunteered to go in there and be like, hey, if you let me into your file room for 20 minutes, I will put flyers for each amount of kids with the TAY numbers in each of the teacher’s folders.

[Ryan]
Is that something that is like after you’ve gotten to know them a little bit that they’ll allow you to do that?

[Chris]
Speaking frank, it’s just something they don’t want to do and they don’t have time for it. So if you offer to do that, even if you even if they don’t know you, the file room isn’t really a room. It’s usually in the area.

You can’t really do anything nefarious, nefarious.

[Ryan]
Yeah, where it is there. Yeah.

[Chris]
But it goes a long way to offer.

[Ryan]
Interesting. That’s very fascinating. Just thinking about how to build relationships to get into the school districts.

Is that if I was trying to get into the school center to talk to the kids, would it would this be the same if I’m trying to also use their facility for this event? Or is that a whole different process? Like I want to speak to kids and let’s do it at the gym.

Is that the exact same process we described? Or do I have to say, hey, I’m going to submit it on Peace Jar. And if you guys say yes, I’d like to host it in the gym.

[Chris]
If you want to host something at the school, I would go about it as first trying to approve the room in that conversation. Starting means you won’t have to deal with any of the flack later down the line. So these are a lot different for things like scouts.

We go and talk at their present, their openings, their lunches and those and there’s an approval process to be in there. And that’s more difficult for a non state approved organization. Yeah, I’m just with safety and legality of it.

But if you wanted facilities, anyone can. After school hours, if there’s no school event going on, the school is public property. You still have to pay a little fee.

It’s around $100 and $150 per district for an hour or two of using their cafeteria or like a gathering space. I like gym. If we wanted to use like their theater or something like that, it’s going to be more expensive.

[Ryan]
Okay.

[Chris]
But it’s way easier to get a space rental than trying to become part of a school’s program.

[Ryan]
Sure. That makes sense. Yeah.

And you also, you’ve helped us map out churches and stuff. So let’s say I’m trying to get into churches and like one of our clients that has the marriage conferences and the family conferences that do. What’s that process for?

Hey, I go to one church and I don’t know the other churches. What does that look like for somebody who’s trying to get into those types of work? It doesn’t have to be just churches, but I know that you’ve got a lot of experience mapping those out.

Just trying to think from a person perspective that is like wants to build relationships locally and you have a very unique way of doing it. So we’ve covered the schools. I know there’s so much more you could offer and talk about.

We could go really deep and I feel like there’s a whole course here where you could like literally walk somebody through it. Do this, do this, do this. If they’re trying to get into the school system, but what is the church atmosphere?

What does that look like? If I was trying to get in, get in with churches, speak at churches, work with them in some way.

[Chris]
There’s a lot of things to impact there, but community speaking, churches are typically at center of those communities. There’s kind of two ways to go about it. If you’ve got a great program, you believe in it, and it doesn’t interfere with any of a specific church’s rules, regulations, or beliefs in general, you’re going to have an easy time connecting with those churches and having them recommend you.

To become a program of a church or inside of a church, that’s going to be difficult really wherever you go and that’s going to require some time and effort. Starting at the groups and organizations that like a hierarchy over a church, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, those groups with a hierarchy that is easy to see is a lot easier for those churches to connect to as opposed to it’s not necessarily better or worse, but you’ve got the Baptists and Bible churches that are their own entity. They have their own little connection groups, but you’re not going to be able to find or track those online.

[Ryan]
You’ve mentioned before this type of church or this church in particular is the easiest to get into and that’s because you have experience. Are there certain denominations that are way easier than others? I know you just mentioned the Methodists and the Catholics.

You can see the hierarchy online. That’s easier than a Baptist or a Bible church. Is that across the board?

Would you say that’s pretty much the whole country is like that?

[Chris]
It’s pretty much the country, yeah. Individual Bible churches, specifically Bible, the smaller ones are very open and they want that more of a connection piece into the community. Same thing with Assemblies of God.

They have that hunger, that desire to have more programs and to have more people come into their doors. The typical Methodist and Catholic mindset, a similarity is they want as many people through their doors as possible. They want people to use their space.

They want to see people. They want to engage people. As far as hosting something, those two typically are the most welcoming because it’s part of their principles.

[Ryan]
What’s that first touch point even look like? I’m a public speaker and I want to get into the churches and you are my marketing guy. Maybe you would have me do the work, but you’re advising me.

Tell me exactly what I’m going to be doing. I want to get into churches. What’s that even going to look like practically?

[Chris]
I think the best starting point and really a necessity is churches are so community focused and word of mouth focused, no matter how digital a church may seem. If you have one church backing, even one, they don’t have to be the biggest church or the wealthiest church, but you need to have someone who backs you in a community. Then once you’re there, you can get anywhere.

It helps a lot.

[Ryan]
Does that look like me going to my pastor and saying, hey, pastor, I’ve been at the church for a few years now. I feel called to go out and speak more. I really feel a call to get into churches or I feel like my message is going to resonate with Christians.

Where can you find Christians? Well, at churches. I want to get and do more speaking around the area.

Is that like, hey, will you endorse me or what does that look like? What is that conversation like?

[Chris]
A public endorsement from a pastor is a little bit harder to get, but what’s really easy to get is to ask a church mentor or church leader to reach out on your behalf. To have those connection pieces that don’t hold them liable for anything. Churches have that fear of liability as a staple.

I guess my experience comes from scouting. There’s the aspects on both angles. As an example, one of the coolest Christian bodies is the missionary baptists.

It feels like if you go to one missionary Baptist church, they know every other missionary Baptist church on planet earth. They’re an incredibly well-connected group amongst themselves in their communities. It might take you a while to build trust, but it is the best place you could ever build trust as an outsider.

Once you’re in one, they trust you. Their word of mouth is incredible and it’ll spread like wildfire.

[Ryan]
I go to somebody in my church and I pray that they connect me with somebody else. That’s my first in. Then from there, I totally believe that relational, that’s going to be the best.

Who do you know? Chris, I’m starting this new business. Who do you know that I can talk to, that I can serve?

Your recommendation is going to be way, way better than me picking up that phone and doing a cold call to that person because they already trust me because you told them that I’m a great guy. That obviously works across the board and what you just described. That may be all you ever need.

If you get somebody that’s willing to make those connections for you, you’re in. What is the process? You got a very detailed and you explained, if we were going to go into this community, we’d reach out to this church because of this bishop.

That’s more of the cold side of things. Let’s say you’ve tapped out all the warm connections that you have. You feel like you’ve made all those connections.

You’ve got some momentum going, but you want to grow a little bit more and you’re starting to reach out to some of these places that you don’t know. What are some of those secret tips that you would want to share?

[Chris]
Specifically the faith community, I would never come in as a salesman. If you go in saying, hey, I’m Chris, I have an interest in this community. I want to connect people.

What are your greatest needs? What are you best at? What are your staple products?

Then they’ll answer those simple questions. Then over a very short amount of time, they’ll see when you’re relaying that to other people. The eventual time that you’re like, oh, you have this need.

We have that. You want to check it out? They’ll take it seriously.

On that same front, whether it’s more of a cold call, even though you’re starting to have a relationship there, or it’s something locally, the best sales advice I can have, even if it’s not a sales mention, is people are really open to their own friend groups, their peers, and other people in the community they already have a relationship with. Let’s say me or you are going to a church we’ve never seen before. We want to advertise their program.

I’m sure both of us could find a connection piece, a friend, a congregation member, a community leader to go along with us to set that appointment. They don’t have to necessarily endorse. They’ve got to be with you and endorse you as a human.

The time that you’re going to speak, you’re going to be taken really seriously. The best way in is to bring someone along to make that introduction.

[Ryan]
Yeah. You were talking earlier, it was yesterday when we were together, about it would be so much better if you were in that geographical, we’re talking about the Phoenix area, how it’s just a little bit more challenging for you because you don’t actually live there. You were saying that you would, if you were trying to build a business here, advise the client locally, you would actually request a meeting, correct?

You’d pick up, even if it’s a cold call, pick up the phone, try to get in front of that person that’s on. Is this as like a church secretary? I think you remember you were saying that they would typically connect you with an outreach pastor.

Is that right?

[Chris]
Typically. If you called in, most churches are of a welcoming state. Not that you want to lie or anything about an intention of meeting, but if you tell them I’m interested in your community, I want to talk to you a little bit.

Typically there’s an outreach pastor or they’ll put you with the pastor of the age category you’re in. Not necessarily age, but if you’re in like a young singles or an adult or an older adults class, they’re going to pair you with the pastor that goes with that.

[Ryan]
That’s awesome. What does that script look like? If I’m a public speaker and I want to, I help Christians become free financially, let’s say, obviously you’re not going to lead with a, Hey, I’m Ryan Rieger and I can help your family.

I’ll help all of your congregation get free financially. You need to have me come speak next Sunday. That probably doesn’t work.

What is the, it may, maybe they’re, they’re suddenly their pastor just had an accident and they need a 99.9% of the time that’s not going to work. But what does that even, how that common, this is why I feel like a course would be so valuable or even just some, you know, on more ongoing training, because there are people right now that I know that are public speakers that would love to be in more churches and schools. And this is just a kind of a unique approach that I’ve never heard before of what you’re doing.

But it’s, I mean, it’s all building relationships. It’s just a different way to do it. What is, what does that script look like?

You know, you, you call them and you’re, they pick up the phone. Hey thank you for calling you know, the Irving Bible Church. How may I help you?

[Chris]
I think there’s two parts to that. One is knowing your market. You have to know what the program is of the church you’re about to reach out to.

Most churches are going to publish that. And if it’s not published, it’s okay going into a phone call, but doing the research, the area like in my head, there’s Financial Peace University and Financial Peace University that are really common in a lot of the Baptist churches, the Bible churches and those. So if you’re coming in with a different program that they had, you either have to prove that it’s either better, cheaper and better for their budget.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
And that changed it.

[Ryan]
Would you even, so let’s say that you, you could see on their website that they have Financial Peace University and it appears that, you know, they’ve been doing it for a while. Would you just skip that connection altogether? Or would you go ahead and still call them and try to build some relationship and see if they have a need?

[Chris]
It depends on the church and the area. If you have a few key targets in an area that you know are probably going to say yes, and this group already has this program and you know it’s large and established, it wouldn’t make sense for that individual category to reach out to that church. But if you see the info, there’s nothing ever wrong about calling a church to ask them about a program.

I can name you at least two or three parent conferences, not the client we have, not the partner, but another one here that looks really big, but only about two or three people show up. So I know those churches would be a good opportunity to reach out to for groups like that. It’s about doing the research and figuring out if it’s, if it’s, if it would be valued and taken well there.

[Ryan]
Yeah. So you’re doing research behind the scenes that inform you even what to say, how to approach the conversations. It’s not, it’s not just going through the phone book and calling each church and saying, hey, I’m the, you know, the best thing out there for this.

Let me come serve you. You got that data behind that informs you of what to say, don’t you?

[Chris]
The starting point’s always like, I mean, it’s not a place you want to get all your info from, but start with like a Wikipedia of an area. There’s always going to be a section about a church or a city data website. Those that site is awesome.

You start there, you see a good connection to the churches, and then you can select a few based on the demographics there. You can also do a search. It’s different by state, but Texas makes it easily available.

You can find the churches and school listings. You can find what their needs are as far as education goes. Okay.

Or churches, you can see their congregation members, not the individuals, but the relative list of people there.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
So you know, the ability of a congregation, you can start going in there and see what they’re all about.

[Ryan]
That’s incredible. Was all that like, did you, when you were doing this for the Boy Scouts was, did the Boy Scouts say, here’s your playbook, do it this way? Or did you just take what was already there and add your own methodology to this?

[Chris]
They had a playbook at that point. It was a pretty old playbook. I had, I had a part to play in their new one.

And the same people that built that are also the mentors that helped me become and have these abilities I have today. But if we jump back in time, about eight years, nine years, something like that, the resource material for reaching out to churches was from 1981. It wasn’t quite the most relevant.

I mean, I still say things like the, what I said earlier about when you’re going into a church, bring a congregation member with you, have them make that introduction, have them be the ones to be the cheerleaders of the program, right. And then me or whoever that salesperson would be, not sales, that, that owner of the program would be, you can start telling your program, it’s going to be received way better.

[Ryan]
Yeah, for sure.

[Chris]
So those, those categories, those haven’t changed by the time. But doing mailings to churches to try to see an interest is probably not something that is, would work today.

[Ryan]
Right. I know you and I were talking probably a couple months ago now that like just how valuable this would be to nonprofits and for profits too. But you have a heart for nonprofits.

So do I. Are most nonprofits doing this type of thing at all? Or is this like, if you, if you had 10 nonprofit leaders, you know, all in a room and you were talking to them about this would be like, Oh my gosh, this is genius.

Or do you think they’re doing some of it, but not all of it? What, when you talk to people about this type of methodology, how do you go about it? What are their thoughts?

[Chris]
Let’s assume that everyone in the room is doing their due diligence. They’re, they’re trying to make connections in the community. I would assume that each of them are connected to some type of Lions Club or Rotary, Awanas or any type of community event.

And they’re going to have one that’s a staple. They’re going to want, they’re more associated with than others. They’re the biggest point is going from there being connected to being able to utilize those networks to expand.

One thing a lot of nonprofits don’t do is utilize their volunteers and their support structures as a way to duplicate your own abilities. People find volunteers, they have them for one purpose and they don’t do anything else. But that next step would be to reach out those communities, be able to build those networks out of that instead of just that.

But it’s all about that connection piece.

[Ryan]
Wow. Yeah, that’s another, we need to dive into that. Let’s talk about that just for a minute before we close.

The volunteer, I remember you were talking about how you, what you did with the Boy Scouts with volunteers. What was that? There was a stat there that you mentioned one time about what you did with the increase in the number of volunteers.

[Chris]
Yeah. Okay. The largest volunteer organization in the world is the Boy Scouts of America.

They’ve been around since 1910 in the United States and well before that in Britain. The connection piece of that community, Scouts was originally built to, war was going on. A lot of the fathers were out to war.

How do we instill those types of values in the young men of those communities? The same thing with the United States, the president of the United States at the time with the Rockefeller Corporation, noticed that missing link in America, that there was something missing. They found the scouting program and they brought it over.

Since then, expanding all of the adult networks for boys and girls since 1960, I think the girls have been in the program in 1962. But for those programs, that’s the area. Let me rephrase this.

Every community has leaders, every community has jobs, every community has banks and churches and schools. Each area is going to be individualistic. They’re going to be part of a greater picture.

But if you have community boards at each level, you’re going to be able to immediately have those connections in the community. If you’re doing the nonprofit role, duplicating yourself or finding people with talents that you don’t have with a passion to push that, the programs will grow. I know when girls were allowed, or the girl program was built into the Boy Scout troop aged kids, so they could get all the awards and go to Eagle.

Our area worked for about a year before that, because we knew it was coming to build up that network. So we could grow and expand and give those girls the opportunity to get an Eagle Scout award. Yeah.

So we were the fastest growing we let’s see. We were the top in the nation for girls added to the program. Okay.

Groups, the scouting troops and Cub Scout packs designated just for single gender, we were able to bring those all in make those goals.

[Ryan]
Wow.

[Chris]
But it’s knowing the community and knowing how to address something. Yeah, there’s always going to be more news in the world to look at. But if you own your community, none of the negative stuff will affect you.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
Scouting being a political football, right thrown around. But being in that community, being able to show and express what you’re doing, who it helps and who it does not hinder. Yeah, that’s how to you’re already you’re already gonna have that prestige and that ability to expand.

[Ryan]
Do you feel like if I was a nonprofit leader, and I needed more volunteers, which I imagine most do, you could come into my organization and give me some step by step practical things to find more volunteers that I wouldn’t even under rocks that I didn’t even know existed.

[Chris]
It would be all about the value proposition, right?

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
Volunteers either volunteer for cause or a person.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
If you found a family member, you wanted to volunteer for you probably wouldn’t be that difficult. Or if you’re working on public speaking, and you want to reach out to a ton of different groups, Rotaries, Lions clubs, and all that you could quickly find a non non nefarious person who’s like a realtor, right? They’re going to want to be in communities, they want to show that what they do and how personable they are and build that trust.

You’re going to quickly find a realtor who has an interest in helping kids and an interest in helping their careers they match up. Well, yeah, that’s volunteer.

[Ryan]
Wow, that’s awesome. I’m so much not I feel like there’s so much more we could talk about because every time I talk to you and learn something new. That’s why I feel like there’s, there’s totally some, you know, some course or even I could see some coaching, where you’re coming into an organization and like, here’s, you know, here’s where you can, you know, if I was in your shoes, this is what I would do, I would reach out to this school.

And I know this school system. And I know that because you know, the people in the school system too, because you built those relationships. But you just kind of I feel like it’s a data driven way to build relationships.

Is that a is that a simplified way to, to do that to say what you some of what you do?

[Chris]
It’s a good way to do it. Data is a necessary thing for growth.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
If we only wanted to focus on grapevine, Colleyville, two cities, two government structures, one ISD, that we probably wouldn’t need a spreadsheet, we would have all that data on our heads. And the the intention would be real, knowing you and knowing me, we would have a purpose, we would believe that that purpose and it’d be good for the community.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
Once you start to grow that you’re going to keep track of where you’re at for each community.

[Ryan]
Yeah.

[Chris]
Because that same desire, that same wanting to help the communities there, but you don’t want to lose that personal aspect or that ability to you don’t want to miss an opportunity or ruin a relationship because of some data or communication.

[Ryan]
Yeah. Well, very fascinating. I love it.

Well, thanks for what you do. It’s like literally, like I told you, like it didn’t even know kind of what you did existed, you know, and especially the way you do it and the mapping and it’s it’s very methodical and scientific. I understand building relationships.

That’s how I’ve built my business. And but yours is just almost like, you know, a different way or even what I’ve done on steroids, especially if you’re trying to go local, which is awesome. Any other things you want to share?

Anything else on your heart or parting advice for somebody wanting to build relationships in their community?

[Chris]
I think the first part is just be engaged. Even if someone doesn’t know exactly the direction they want to go in, I would recommend starting to attend city functions. Chambers of Commerce is probably the best place to start.

Each city, it varies on how well connected or beneficial it will be for your organization. But at the starting point, regardless, it is one of the best places to start. That’s good to just show up, get to meet some interesting people.

Listen and learn.

[Ryan]
Listen and learn. That’s good. Awesome.

I love it. Chris, thank you so much. Very fascinating.

Next time we can talk about the city of Dallas and go deep on it, right? Anytime. All right.

Thank you, sir.