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Money Management Matters - An Interview with Karen Houghton

In this episode, Andrew interviews Karen Houghton, founder and CEO of Infinite Giving.  Together, Andrew and Karen discuss Infinite Giving’s mission as an investment adviser for nonprofit organizations.  Karen shares her expertise in nonprofit financial management, and she and Andrew discuss ways that organizations can leverage modern, financial technology to open up more program funding and attract high capacity donors.    

Listen to "126 - Money Management Matters (Nonprofit Investment Advisor, Reserve Funds, Endowments, Asset Giving): Karen Houghton (Infinite Giving)" on Spreaker.

Show Notes


Karen has a long history in nonprofit management prior to her founding of Infinite Giving.  When she experienced burnout from the scarcity mindset that often accompanies nonprofit work. Karen made the jump to a position in the technology sector.  After 10 years in the tech industry, Karen took advantage of all of the finance and business skills she acquired, and she took the leap and founded Infinite Giving.  


Infinite Giving

Infinite Giving is a nonprofit investment adviser, and its mission is to leverage modern financial technology as a means to help nonprofits grow their giving.  Infinite Giving partners with tax-exempt entities to evaluate the organization’s finances and financial practices, offering advice on best practices and sustainability.  Karen outlines the three primary areas in which Infinite Giving offers advice and accompanying services:  reserve funds, endowments, and asset giving.


Reserve Funds

Andrew and Karen spend a lot of time chatting about reserve funds.  Karen shares that the industry standard for a healthy reserve fund is 6 to 12 months of operating expenses, and Infinite Giving works with clients to build a healthy reserve.  Karen stresses that the existence of a reserve fund is only part of the discussion.  Infinite Giving helps clients decide where to hold their reserve funds, and Karen describes how reserve funds need to be in a place that allows for easy access while maintaining buying power.   



Karen shares her expertise on endowments with Andrew, and she notes that while endowments are not for everyone, they might be a better fit than many organizations realize.  An organization should have a healthy reserve before considering an endowment.  Karen outlines different types of endowments, and she highlights the fact that high capacity donors love to give to endowments.  She also notes that endowments more easily allow for asset giving (e.g. non-cash gifts of stocks, property, crypto, etc.), and many donors are able to make much larger gifts from their assets than from their cash reserves.  Accepting asset gifts pleases donors and allows an organization to ask for much larger gifts from its donors.  


Financial Management

Andrew and Karen discuss the need for nonprofits to review and improve their financial management practices.  Infinite Giving conducted an analysis of current nonprofit financial practices, and they estimate that U.S. nonprofits lose 5 billion dollars a year to suboptimal financial practices.  For example, organizations can have more money for programming if they reduce financial fees and move money out of low interest savings accounts.  To close, Karen and Andrew agree that raising money is only one part of nonprofit finances.  After you raise the money, you have to manage it well!


Lightning Round

  1. If you could fundraise for any organization or cause at any time in history, what would it be?
    • Young Life:  Young Life is a nondenominational youth ministry that changed my life in high school.  It’s how I found my faith, and I've loved supporting Young Life in a variety of ways throughout the years.          
  2. If you could get a donor meeting with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
    • Melinda Gates:  Melinda is very inspirational.  I love her intentionality and her vision for how she wants her money to have an impact.  
  3. Is there enough money out there for every organization that's doing good work?
    • Yes, but with asterisks.  Looking at the way the nonprofit sector currently operates, there’s probably not enough money.  That said, if the sector consolidates efforts, avoids  duplication of services, implements good financial practices, and offers strategic opportunities for asset giving, then my answer is yes!   
  4. What is one piece of advice that you would give your past self?
    • Be patient.  You don’t have to have it all figured out.  If you are patient and remain open to God’s call, you will end up where you are meant to be.   
  5. Who are 3 people who have most influenced you professionally?
    • David Cummings:  David gave me the opportunity to shift from nonprofit work to the tech industry.  He gave me the opportunity to acquire finance and business acumen, and he taught me a lot about good leadership.  
    • My husband:  He’s my tried and true steady guide.  He allows me to take more risks and do more things.    
    • Andy Stanley:  He’s the pastor of my church, and though I don’t know him personally, he has influenced me through his books, podcasts, and talks.  He offers advice on how business leaders can make sure their faith and their work are clearly aligned.    
  6. What is one fact about you that most people don’t know?
    • I hate guacamole.
  7. What is a book that you would recommend?
    • Be Our Guest by Theodore Kinni.  It’s the story of how Disney curates their guest experience, and it offers a framework for other businesses to use to do the same.   


If you would like to connect with Karen, you can email her at [email protected].


Andrew's Takeaways:

As I chatted with Karen, I was so impressed with her financial and technical expertise.  She knows so much about things that are just not my area of expertise - endowment types, crypto wallets, tax advantages, and more.  My first takeaway is simply about the need for ministries to seek and hire experts.  Many of our smaller nonprofits see companies like Infinite Giving as an unnecessary or unaffordable expense.  My discussion with Karen, however, highlights how priceless the advice of experts like Karen really is.  When Karen shared Infinite Giving’s research about how the $5 billion that nonprofits give up annually in fees and lost interest, I was shocked and frustrated. There’s so much additional funding out there that could be used for programs and services, and yet, most of us don’t have the skills to avoid fees, increase asset giving opportunities, or improve our investments. Long story short, organizations need to start prioritizing and budgeting for expert advice.  In the long run, there’s a good chance that this expert wisdom will pay for itself.  


Along similar lines, my second takeaway also comes from the discussion we had about the estimated $5 billion dollars that organizations leave on the table each year.  Karen often speaks about how a fear-driven scarcity mindset limits growth.  So often we are scared to change things up from the way they’ve always been done, and that fear can affect decisions of all shapes and sizes, including financial management decisions.  Karen astutely reminded us that fundraising isn’t just about collecting money - it’s also about managing it well.  Our donors trust us to use their funds responsibly in service of our organization’s mission, and to best do that, we have to place it wisely in accounts with limited fees and reasonable interest earnings.  The decision of where an organization holds its money might seem like a minor one, but as Karen told us, it’s far from insignificant.  I encourage you all to do some research about your financial institutions and about the other options you could consider instead.  Make sure that your money management is as smart as all other aspects of your fundraising!


My final takeaway centers on one of Karen’s areas of expertise - asset giving.  As Karen shares, many organizations miss out on large gifts because they only accept cash donations.  It’s so important for fundraisers to remember Karen’s example of a high capacity donor’s wealth buckets.  Karen noted that a vast majority of a high capacity donor’s wealth is in assets, not cash.  By not having ways to accept stocks, properties, and crypto, organizations are limited to a very small percentage, 10 percent maybe, of a donor’s assets. If a high capacity donor is asked for a million dollars from his cash bucket, she may not be able to make it happen.  If, however, she can donate from her stock portfolio, the gift becomes much more feasible.  Asset gifts are often the most tax efficient way to give, and so asset gifts can be a win for both the donor and the organization.  Thus, if you’re a ministry leader or a fundraiser, put that on your to-do list for the coming months.  Start researching ways that your ministry can open the doors to asset giving.  



02:54.58 Aggie Robison: Great! Howdy, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of the PetrUs Development Show. I'm thrilled that you're with us here today. Today, I have Karen Houghton, CEO and founder of Infinite Giving with me. Karen is calling in from Atlanta, Georgia, and we met on a panel, gosh, about technology and faith, fundraising a couple of months ago and just had a really great experience on that panel. So I invited her to come back and be a guest on the podcast, and she graciously agreed. I'm very grateful, and we're going to have a good conversation about her career, about technology, about fundraising, and I'm excited. So Karen, thanks so much for being with us.

Karen Houghton: Good! So tell us a little bit about your background. How did you come to be the founder and CEO of Infinite Giving?

03:36.18 Karen Houghton: Absolutely, thanks for having me. Great question. I actually have a bit of a journey to get where I am today, as many of us do. But in my previous life, I was the founder of a nonprofit and so have been an executive director, have been fundraising, operated out of a scarcity mindset, and got really burnt out. So after about 6 to 7 years, I got really burnt out, and I had the opportunity to kind of pass the work that we were doing to another organization that had entered kind of the scene and was doing similar work, and I made the very bizarre leap to technology.

Aggie Robison: In.

Karen Houghton: And there's a long story there, but essentially I was hired to create a corporate social responsibility program for a big tech company, and any good nonprofit person is usually not graded technology, so there was irony there where I was like, "marketing automation, what does that mean, and how do I do this?" and long story short is I ended up taking a little bit of a career path, and I spent about a 10-year career in technology and started to build my way up and started advising technology startups. I started to get into venture capital, so we were investing in startups, started serving on boards because when you help run technology companies, you start to get asked to sit on a lot more boards. And really ultimately as I was doing this entire tech and finance career,

05:00.95 Aggie Robison: Wow. So.

Karen Houghton: And still sitting on boards with nonprofits, I always felt like I wish I had known back then what I know now. I wish when I was running a nonprofit that I'd had the same resources to the financial and business acumen that I was living day in and day out. So Infinite Giving is really, I believe, like God has for me. It's what I'm meant to build. It's the business that I've been called to build, and it has a really unique blend of my financial experience, my technology experience, and of course, my fundraising and nonprofit and board experience.

Aggie Robison: Yeah, that's fantastic, and I love a good career story that goes through all the different sectors, and I think you've got it.

Karen Houghton: Along right? A long time ago, I read a book by Sheryl Sandberg. She wrote a book called Lean In. She's the CEO of Facebook or was, and one of the things she talks about in her book is that career trajectories used to be ladders. Right? You would go rung by rung by rung, and if you were lucky in 30-40 years you would retire now that's still true for some verticals in some industries but generally speaking she was like ladder are out jungle gyms are in.

06:42.10 Aggierobison: Jungle gyms.

06:42.96 Karen Houghton: And I love that because my career has absolutely been a jungle gym and probably a lot of the people listening can relate to that too. It's the idea of like, hey, we don't always know exactly what we're supposed to be doing. You know when we're 18 and going to college or you're graduating college and getting your first job or 10 years in, you want to make a career pivot. Um, I always think of the jungle gym and I'm like, yeah, what doors are being opened and what opportunities and ideas can we explore? And it all makes sense if you think about it in that analogy.

07:10.77 Aggierobison: Oh yeah, completely. And I mean, to your point a minute ago, you know, you don't know what you don't know while you're in it. But you learn while you're in it, and then you move on, and then you think, gosh, I wish I would have known that when I was, you know, and, ah, so now being able to come back and be an advisor and be a support for people that are doing what you did years ago just must be really fulfilling. So tell us a little bit about Infinite Giving. What is it? What do you do? And what problem are you trying to solve?

07:41.21 Karen Houghton: Yeah, Infinite Giving is a nonprofit investment advisor, so we partner with any tax-exempt entities, like religious organizations, churches, charities. You name it, if you have a tax-exempt entity status that we can serve, we do that just by partnering with you as a fiduciary, as an outsourced CIO, and start by looking at your finances. So we're partnering with the teams and boards, and we're looking at it from a financial aspect and how can we help you build sustainability as an organization? And what does that look like for you? So those conversations usually kind of fall into three buckets. So I always think of like three legs to a stool. The first one is reserve funds. You know, when you want to be sustainable, and you're small or you're starting, or maybe you've been around ten years, but you've stayed in this small place, that's okay. But how do you, if you want to be around the next ten years, you want to start getting bigger? You know, gifts and financial support, you have to prove that you're going to be around. Um, so healthy reserves are the way to do that. It's like your emergency savings, right? It's like, where do you go if that grant doesn't come through? Where do you spend if say a crazy thing like a pandemic happened, or the Ukraine, or, you know, there are all these different things in life that we can't always predict, so you need to be able to make sure that if something happens, you can support your mission and your team, and you're not at a place where you don't exist and can't support the mission or the people that you're supporting. And then once we kind of help establish what, for them, is a healthy reserve, there are industry standards, then kind of is the question of where do those funds go? How do we protect them? How do we hedge against inflation?

09:15.10 Aggierobison: Um, right.

09:27.76 Karen Houghton: So the first leg of the stool is reserve funds. The second one is endowments. We're an endowment specialist, but we actually serve small to mid-size organizations. That's kind of our sweet spot. So we're looking at folks who maybe have, you know, a $500,000 endowment or maybe they have a $5,000,000 endowment, but how do we help them create their very first one, create the policies that go with that, and then serve them in a way that, again, they can fundraise for, and they have a really beautiful kind of opportunity to be sustained through those disbursements of an endowment, you know, for decades to come. And of course, the third leg of the stool is asset giving. I'm really passionate about that. I talk about it a lot. But it's that idea, and it's becoming a little more mainstream, thankfully. But this idea of how do we make it really easy for our donors to give us high-capacity gifts? What do we have to look like? What do we have to have in place? How do we allow them and have those avenues open, other than cash gifting, right? Like 90% of nonprofits don't even have a brokerage account, if you will. Have a brokerage account, and you're not going to receive stock gifts. An average online cash gift is $128. An average stock gift is $8,000.

10:29.15 Aggierobison: All right.

10:36.90 Aggierobison: Oh.

10:43.75 Karen Houghton: So for a little bit of change in perspective and an opportunity in opening pathways for alternative giving for your high-capacity donors. You're saving them on taxes, you're making it really efficient for them, and you're bringing in higher gifts for yourself and your organization. So, crypto gifts average $10,000, average donor-advised fund grants $12,000, average endowment gift is $25,000, so we have an entire white-label platform instead of just being, I know when nonprofits hear tech companies, it's like, "Oh, one more thing."

11:08.41 Aggierobison: Um, well.

11:18.47 Aggierobison: E.

11:19.77 Karen Houghton: I don't need one more thing, one more monthly subscription, and we get that, right? And again, remember, like, I come from that world originally in that scarcity mindset, and I serve on boards, and so I understand that, and so we were like, what if we could create one place that would automate all of this for them? One place for stocks, one place for crypto, one place for donor-advised funds, one place for endowment gifting, and cash gifting, all in one place, for a really low fee, with again, just the mission of our mission at Infinite Giving is how do we leverage modern financial technology to help nonprofits grow their giving? And because we're an investment advisor on that piece of that, we're opening up your entity brokerage wallet. We're opening up your crypto wallet. We're doing all of these accounts and wallet opening and financial transactions so you don't have to worry about that, and you can just focus on building those relationships and moving your mission forward.

12:18.80 aggierobison: Well, I love that, and I appreciate you sharing the background, and you know the three-legged stool for what infinite giving is, and I'd love to kind of dive into a couple of those components. One, the reserve fund. I think that you hit it on the head, right? You want to be able to protect yourself against any organization, protect yourself against downtimes, against problems. The flip side, another powerful case that can be made for a reserve fund. Have you ever read the book "Good for the Money" by Bob Bimoshe? It's phenomenal, it's amazing. Yep, it is probably PG-13 rated, so just prepare yourself for that. He was a colorful man. The example that I'll use illustrates that.

12:51.13 Karen Houghton: I have not, should I write it down?

13:07.79 aggierobison: But he always says everybody and then every company should have "forget you" money, and he doesn't use "forget you" money, but the point is that you want to be able to put yourself in a position that you can say no.

13:14.10 Karen Houghton: Um.

13:22.64 aggierobison: If you don't want to be forced to do something, right? You don't want to be forced to take on a role at your company. You can leave because you have "forget you" money. With an organization, you don't have to, with a business or even a nonprofit, you don't have to take on a client. You don't have to be so reliant on a particular donor or a revenue chain. If you have that reserve, because you can make strategic decisions that are based on what's best for your company and not what's going to generate income for you right now. And I think that's a really powerful way to think about a reserve fund, not just for stability, but also for freedom.

13:50.51 Karen Houghton: Promise that.

13:57.65 Karen Houghton: I love that. It's a really interesting thought too because when you talk to nonprofits, it's always, you know, we have to seek money. It's like we've got to raise money, we've got to raise money. It's so much of it. Yes, it's the mission, but it's the money. And then it's like, well, you can't just raise the money, you have to manage it. And when you're managing it, you actually, when you talk about freedom, that's something that is like we all naturally, and I say we when I'm putting my nonprofit hat on too, right? It's like we all operate from that scarcity mindset. But if you can move into an abundance mindset, which is kind of what you're talking about with this "forget you" money, it's this idea of can we operate from a place of abundance? And if we can, how do we get there? And ultimately, that still meets the need of fundraising more money, and the way that makes sense to me is I'm looking at, all right, reserve funds, right?

14:44.29 aggierobison: Totally.

14:51.95 Karen Houghton: Right now, I talk to people day in and day out, and they're like, yeah, we have some reserve funds, they're sitting in our savings account, and I'm like, do you know what the inflation rate is right now? Like, do you know what your savings account-- we have 1 client right now and they have millions of dollars sitting in a savings account.

15:09.20 Karen Houghton: And right now, we're working with our clients to move reserve funds. Like for us, right now, in the current market, treasury bills are highly attractive. Right now, they're 4.7% yields, and they're fully backed by the US government. It's like you can make it really easy. We're like, "Alright."

15:17.16 aggierobison: Wow, I had no idea.

15:25.35 Karen Houghton: You know this capital is backed by the US government, your loss is minimal. You're locking in the interest rate, like you're getting these yields. So there's this great opportunity for treasury, and they're just like scared, and I'm like, "Why are you scared? It's not putting it at risk."

15:40.41 aggierobison: Right.

15:42.86 Karen Houghton: And it's just changing, and they're like, "We want to change, but we don't know how to change," and I'm like, "You're an organization that's been around for 50 years. Let's, yeah, right?" And so change, and so, and any of that, I'm like, "But if we want to operate for an abundance mindset."

15:47.87 aggierobison: Well, that's part of the problem, right? They've been around for 50 years, and so why should we do anything different than we've done for 50 years, yeah.

16:01.40 Karen Houghton: Then all of a sudden, you know, like I love your freedom word because it allows us to be like, "Okay, actually, if we have the freedom because we, they do have reserve funds. What can we do with this?" and then I'm like, "All right, let's do the math. If you're getting 4 to 5% on these reserves in twelve months, how much have you created?" And we're talking like $100,000. I'm like, "Okay, just simply by moving the money you already have from this place to this place, if it gives you another hundred grand per year, what does that mean to you? Is that valuable? Is that worth making a little bit of shift in how you're currently managing your money?" Right? And all of a sudden, you're like, "Oh, at a hundred k, that could give people raises, that could move this program forward, that could do this or hey, that could roll into an endowment or something else." So from an abundance mindset, you have the opportunity to, yes, seek freedom and sustainability and kind of find that place where, if your goal is to raise money, hey, you have opportunities to create money for money, and it also allows you to take some other risks where you're like, "Hey, if I have reserves and a donor comes to me with a larger gift, but I have reserved, some people are like, "But if I have money in the bank, I can't."

17:02.61 aggierobison: Yep.

17:14.83 Karen Houghton: I can't ask for someone else to give me a big gift, and I'm like, "Oh, scarcity mindset. Like, let's put on an abundance mindset, how to step out in faith and be like, actually, what that means, you gotta reframe it because the reality is what it means is your organization can get through hard times. You're sustainable."

 17:48.00 Karen Houghton Maybe you and God can do all sorts of things, but the likelihood is much smaller. When you agree this is your world, your fundraiser. I'm a financial manager, so you tell me.

17:52.96 aggierobison Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah, no, 100% people do not want to support a sinking ship. You know, like think about if the Titanic was going down, and they did a GoFundMe to save their ship, like nobody's going to give to that because they know what's going to happen. When it's gone and people don't want to support that. But that's the mentality, right? It's the mentality of many nonprofit leaders and nonprofit boards as well. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's a.

18:19.77 Karen Houghton Yeah, I find that sometimes the leaders I talk to are much more willing to live in that vision than the boards.

18:30.39 aggierobison That's a reality, and I get it, right? But you know, when you can get them to understand that when we show that we are strong, we show that we are stable, and we show that we have a vision for the future, then you will generate far more funds, certainly long term, than you will if you are constantly saying, "We're in crisis, and we need your money, or we're going to shut down." Crisis fundraising is effective, but only for a very limited amount of time, right? Like, you see hurricanes, and then there's a big surge in giving, but those are not repeat givers, right? They will give to that crisis, and then they're done. If you can show strength and you can show sustainability, that's how you build sustaining, which is what you're going for, advocating for sustaining giving, and that is ultimately what will build an enduring fundraising program and an enduring nonprofit as well.

19:13.95 Karen Houghton With you.

19:23.33 Karen Houghton Absolutely. And just to go really tactical because whenever this subject comes up, I almost always get the question of like, "But, so what are you all talking about healthy reserves? Like, what does that mean?" And so just for an industry standard.

19:32.66 aggierobison Yeah, yeah.

19:37.74 Karen Houghton You're looking at your operational expenses that are above and beyond. So, whatever your twelve-month operational expenses are, put that to the side. So, you want to take whatever that is, and you're going to say, "All right, I want at least 6 to twelve months of operational expenses in addition to what you already have, right?" If you can plan out that 12 months, that 1 year of financial covering all of your expenses, your reserves are above and beyond that. And post-COVID, six to twelve months. Pre-COVID, you would hear 3 to 6 months.

20:03.27 aggierobison Okay.

20:10.92 aggierobison Yeah.

20:11.47 Karen Houghton That's a massive variable, right? I'm essentially saying between three and twelve months, every organization is different. Some are like, "Hey, no, we've got a 5-year rolling grant. We know it's coming in." So, you have to figure out where you fall. I think post-COVID is 6 to 12 months just because we all felt it. 


20:27.26 aggierobison: Yeah, yeah.

20:29.86 Karen Houghton: Oh, this is why we have reserves, right? It's like, oh, you know there are expenses or things coming through. What if something were to happen? You know, hopefully that doesn't, but it's not very likely that something else will happen in our life that causes some of these hardships. So that's why you have them.

20:39.55 aggierobison: Yeah.

20:46.22 Karen Houghton: Um, and then you know, the goal is to put them in a place where they work for you and then it's really liquid but the moment you need them, they have the same buying power that you worked really hard to save for and raise for and put aside if you just put it in a savings or checking account.

20:57.86 aggierobison: Um, yeah.

21:04.11 Karen Houghton: I talk to people all the time who think they have an endowment, I mean not respectfully, but they call it an endowment, but it's sitting in a checking account, and I'm like, that's not an endowment. That's a conversation for another time, but it's like, hey, we gotta put that there so that moment when you need it, it has as much buying power as it did before because a lot of people, especially if you did a capital campaign five years ago and you're trying to build now, you're doing fundraising again, right? There's some of that you can't help, some of that you know you could have hedged with different financial stewardship. It's...

21:28.81 aggierobison: Oh yeah, completely. Yep.

21:38.68 Karen Houghton: It's hard all around. But I think that's those scenarios that we try to prevent.

21:41.18 aggierobison: Great. So let's talk about that second stool. You kind of teased it out there a minute ago with endowment, and I love that you guys focus on that small to mid-size, right? So half a million dollars, five million, and I'm sure you go up from there, right? But being able to...

21:54.31 Karen Houghton: Yeah, we're kind of defining small to mid-sizes as under $25,000,000.

21:59.13 aggierobison: Under 25, okay, great. So the question would be, is there any nonprofit that is too small to have an endowment, and then the follow-up to that is at what point do you start saying, "All right, now it's time to start having those endowment conversations"?

22:18.98 Karen Houghton: Endowments are not for everybody, but I am a proponent for [them]. They're more likely to be a fit for you than you probably think. And so, if you are in a scarcity mindset...

22:25.48 aggierobison: Yeah, yeah.

22:32.59 Karen Houghton: And you don't have healthy reserves, then I would not set up an endowment. Endowment requires some longer-term thinking. So those goals of like, hey, if you're month to month and you're like, "we think we know where we'll be in 2 years"...

22:48.57 aggierobison: Right.

22:48.99 Karen Houghton: Then don't think about it. But if you're at a place where you're like, "all right, we know we've got six months of reserves. We're starting to look at five-year, ten-year goals," um, I wish more nonprofits thought about endowments because the endowments of today are not what they were five, ten years ago. Most of us think higher education, we think hospitals because they have capitalized on endowments, right? Those tend to be true endowments, restricted endowments. Harvard's got, I think, $53 billion endowments, Stanford's like thirty-five billion. And now, if you're a small to mid-sized nonprofit, you may be thinking like me because y'all are who I advocate for where I'm like, "I think they're good. Can we not give them more money? That is so much money," right? And education is important, right? We work with schools all over the US. But what that shows us is that...

23:34.51 aggierobison: Ah, yeah.

23:44.11 Karen Houghton: Really strategic, high-capacity donors love to give to endowments. It's a legacy gift. It is the easiest story to tell of a gift that you can give one time that can live for decades or generations to come. Small to midsize nonprofits have not always had the capacity to be like, "Well, I don't know how to create endowment. They're really complicated, and, you know, we don't always know what we need x amount of years down the road," and so to enter into that conversation, what we focus on is quasi-endowments, unrestricted endowments, micro endowments, term endowments, named endowments. Lots of words around endowments. But ultimately, knowing that a quasi-endowment is essentially an organizationally created endowment usually seated with an excess of reserve funds, right? So I could be like, "Hey, we have a giving endowment. For-profit, not nonprofit, but say we had an endowment, um, and we had some reserves. I'm like, "I'm going to seed it with 100k," and then now I am able to fundraise for that. We can say we have an endowment, which speaks to high-capacity donors, which allows us to talk about sustainability and long-term vision. Um, but as a quasi-endowment, the kind of regulations and around that is essentially that down the road, if the needs of the organization change and the board votes and the team, you know, votes the leadership to access those funds and use them for a different way.

25:12.66 Karen Houghton: "Five years, twenty years, a hundred dear years down the road, you can do that and all of a sudden, knowing that you're like, oh, there's not a lot of negatives for that. Especially if you're coming from an abundance mindset, right? It's like it allows you to think long term, and it gives you flexibility and so."

25:21.74 aggierobison: "Um, yeah."

25:29.68 Karen Houghton: "Even micro-endowments. Like, I was talking to somebody the other day, and their goal is a $10,000,000 endowment, but for their school because they want to be able to pull half a million dollars off every year that they don't have to fundraise. Every fundraiser loves endowments because you're like really like steady, sustainable income that we don't have to fundraise for."

25:40.76 aggierobison: "Okay, yep. I love it, yep."

25:49.44 Karen Houghton: "And they were starting with a million dollars, and they were just like, 'Oh, I don't know, it's not enough.' And I'm like, 'No, no, this is still a beautiful story.' Or like, you can think about... I think I was telling that story. I lost my train of thought a little bit, but you're looking at, well, with a $10,000,000 endowment or half a million a year, which was their goal, will that support the entire organization or not? But they were doing it for scholarships and to supplement teachers' income. And when you look at that bite-size stuff, then it becomes like, 'Oh, this is kind of a really cool story. It's still unrestricted. Ultimately, the organization can use it wherever it's needed most.'"

26:09.68 aggierobison: "Yeah, right."

26:28.59 Karen Houghton: "But you can find, you know, $100,000 could fund X amount of scholarships every year. So, there's a lot of bite-size ways where you can think smaller and think about what's the story you can tell that allows the donor a really meaningful opportunity. And again, you may not even be like, 'Well, that's fine and great, but I don't want an endowment.'"

26:31.19 aggierobison: "Yeah, totally right."

26:47.72 Karen Houghton: "What does your donor want? And that's like, do you have high-capacity donors who would want to be able to be a part of legacy giving, but you're not giving them that opportunity because you don't want it?"

27:01.44 aggierobison: "And also, kind of to your third leg of the stool, but it aligns with this one, right, is that in my experience, a lot of endowment gifts are given through assets, right? They're given through planned gifts, you know, through an estate. They're given through stocks or..."

27:10.38 Karen Houghton: "Yes."

27:18.75 aggierobison: "They're given through property. That's, you know, I worked at the university for close to 8 years, and that's all we raised money for was endowment. To your point, universities have figured it out, right? That's all that, and our gift minimum in order to book a gift agreement..."

27:31.22 Karen Houghton: Yep.

27:36.29 aggierobison: It was $25,000, and they were even talking about... There are some universities that have a minimum of $100,000 restricted endowment, and it's to your point of high-capacity donors. What to give assets to organizations that they care about, that they know will support them for a long time into the future. And that's an endowment, right? And so, whether it's a quasi-... Whether it's a... I'm interested to hear what you meant by term endowment, because I don't know that I've heard that before. But if you are giving your donors a chance to support an endowment, you're going to see asset-based gifts more often than not.

28:15.10 Karen Houghton: Absolutely. I can't quote it direct because I don't have the source, but I actually did a panel this week, and someone on there was saying that, I think upwards of 90% of endowment funding is from assets these days, which I thought is a really interesting stat.

28:26.43 aggierobison: I believe it.

28:30.64 Karen Houghton: So, again, I can't give you a source on that. Google it if you're listening. But it is really interesting to think about what that means, and if you're like, "Okay, I want to get into an abundance mindset." We're talking about this shift into the language of the storytelling, the opportunities and the pathways for alternative methods of giving. And they don't have to be as difficult as you fear that they are, and so it can be much more streamlined. But I often think about when you're thinking about a high-capacity donor...

28:58.15 aggierobison: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

29:08.59 Karen Houghton: Think about bucket sizes. So, if 90% of the wealth held in America by individuals is held in assets, not cash. So first, a scenario will say someone has a net worth of $10,000,000, maybe a million of it's in cash, but the others in assets, right?

29:27.10 aggierobison: Um, yeah.

29:27.60 Karen Houghton: Do that because it works, which is why we all have 401(k)s, four one k's like you're all in the market, if you have those, whether you realize it or not. So, they're holding 90% of their wealth in assets. You're only asking for cash. So, if you're only asking for cash, in their minds, they're going to that $1,000,000 bucket, and they're thinking, "Oh, well, how much of this $1,000,000 can I give?" And all of a sudden, that percentage goes down because you're asking from a smaller bucket of funds. Whereas if you're going to asset giving, all of a sudden, that donor is like, "Well, actually, altogether, I've got $10,000,000."

30:03.34 aggierobison: Um, right.

30:03.36 Karen Houghton: So, that amount of money that you're asking for seems much smaller. In addition, it's the most tax-efficient way to give all day long. I think it's hard for us to sometimes understand that kind of mindset if we haven't experienced that. I've never had $10,000,000, so it's hard for me to pretend like let's put my mindset there.

30:14.94 aggierobison: All right.

30:21.94 Karen Houghton: But at the same time, like when we ask for cash, we're asking that donor to go liquidate their assets, which takes time, right? And work. They have to go liquidate that, decide what to do. Then they're going to pay taxes on that, so they're paying capital gains taxes. Um...

30:34.10 aggierobison: Oh.

30:39.91 Karen Houghton: And which is often like 20% plus of that. So say they had $100. Now, all of a sudden, they have like seventy-five or eighty dollars left. They had to go through a ton of work, and then they're going to go give you that $75 instead of the hundred dollars. And then they're only going to get a tax deduction for $75. So you've created more work for them, and you've gotten less money, whereas if you're able to receive stock gifts directly, they're avoiding paying taxes. So, they're just able to send the stocks right over to you. You get that full hundred dollars' worth. They get the full credit of $100. It's easier for them. And then if you use, you know, different platforms, other one like infinite giving, we're liquidating it immediately for you. We're automatically doing that. We're putting it directly as cash in your bank account. All you have to do is thank them. There are a lot of these programs where all of a sudden you're like, oh, actually, that was really simple.

31:23.22 aggierobison: Right.

31:35.49 Karen Houghton: There was transparency. We do real-time reporting on what the donor's intending to give, you know, and there's a lot of um, kind of beauty to our process in that. But when you're asking from a bigger bucket, you're going to essentially work smarter, not harder, right? That is that important mindset to just be like, oh yeah, if we're in an abundance mindset. That works for donors as well as your organization.

31:58.82 aggierobison: I got a text from a client just this week, and they said they have a donor that they've been working with about donating a piece of property to them for a capital campaign, and you know it's been going along, and then he sent me this text this week, and he said um, he said hey this. Now the donor is getting some advice from somebody else that they may maybe they should sell the property and then give the cash to us, and I was like no, no, like think about it, or you know, and this was land property or or I don't remember that these either the property, but it was like no, first of all, stop, think about what that's going to mean for them. Who's giving them that advice, and let's figure out what's best for them because ultimately, what's best for them is actually going to benefit you guys more? Yeah, so um, here's our question as we kind of wrap this up. What do you wish more people knew about philanthropy and about generosity?

32:40.26 Karen Houghton: Yes, yes.

32:51.32 aggierobison: More people knew about philanthropy and about generosity.

32:56.73 Karen Houghton: Oh, good question. Um, I mean, most people listening to this probably know more than me. Um, but I would say one of the things when we were looking at creating infinite giving. Um...

33:12.72 Karen Houghton: We did a lot of analysis of current financial practices for nonprofits, especially small to mid-size nonprofits, and when we looked at the amount of money sitting in savings accounts and not in treasury bills or even in the market for long-term growth, and when we were looking at the amount of third-party fees people were paying, like to investment advisors and big banks and other things, we estimated that by simply changing current financial practices for small to mid-size nonprofits, an additional $5 billion would be created each year in the United States. And that's by reducing fees, that's by earning growth, that's not fundraising more. That's literally taking all these small to mid-size organizations which we're defining as $25 million in assets or less.

33:50.46 Aggie Robison: Wow.

34:01.61 Aggie Robison: Um, yeah.

34:06.76 Karen Houghton: And changing how they manage their money, and we were like, man, because we're for-profit, but we're very mission-minded, right? We exist to serve, and so we're looking at this opportunity, and I'm like, simply by changing what they do, $5 billion every single year in the US has a significant ripple effect, and I'm like, the impact that can have on our communities, the impact that has on society and ultimately the world, that's the world I want to live in. And so if we can help people do that, it's just switching. Those practices have a more meaningful impact than I think most people realize, and I wish that they would prioritize it differently.

34:43.97 Aggie Robison: Yeah, I think that's very well said, and that's a point that we don't talk a lot about. We talk about how to generate more funds, but sometimes what you're doing is costing your organization funds that are unnecessarily being spent.

34:58.65 Karen Houghton: Yes, and sometimes that just comes from lack of scarcity mindset. It comes from fear. I always say we cannot. You can't look at money and have it be emotionally driven decisions. Almost impossible to not do that.

35:10.52 Aggie Robison: Um, yeah.

35:14.13 Karen Houghton: Humans, it's donor money. Like, I get that. But as much as we can divide emotions away from the data, and just being able to come from an abundance mindset, it just allows so much more growth and impact. And so, kind of our job and what I love being able to speak with fundraisers and folks like you is, it's like, hey, you guys help them raise that. But then the other big important piece of that, you fundraise the money, you have to manage the money. And if you manage it well, imagine the impact that can have for your organization.

35:45.27 Aggie Robison: Yeah, and you know we're good stewards of our donors by saying thank you, by being appreciative, and being good stewards of the investments that they make in our nonprofits is just the logical next step to that stewardship process. Yeah.

35:57.91 Karen Houghton: Absolutely.

36:01.53 Aggie Robison: Great, well Karen, this has been fascinating. I have loved you sharing just some eye-opening numbers and insights, and I really do appreciate the work that you're doing and certainly appreciate you sharing it with our audience. Great. So what do you say we...

36:15.59 Karen Houghton: Absolutely, thank you so much. Oh, I'm so ready list. Let's do it. Hopefully, I have good answers, but you said lightning is like how fast I respond or just these questions.

36:20.56 aggierobison: Switch over our lightning round now.

36:24.97 aggierobison: Get that just the questions you don't have to respond fast at all. I really should rename it, but 5 years in it's kind of like what's the point? Yeah, that's it. All right, question number 1: if you could fundraise for any organization or cause at any point in history, what would it be?

36:35.27 Karen Houghton: Hey, it's your thing you do. I'm here for it.

36:49.17 Karen Houghton: Ah, Young Life. It is a non-denominational youth ministry, and it changed my life in high school. That's how I was exposed to my faith, and then I was a volunteer leader for 12 years. It's how I met my husband. We've served on the board and committee, and we give faithfully, so it is near and dear to my heart.

37:11.26 aggierobison: That's awesome. I worked for many summers at a camp in Buena Vista, Colorado, and almost everybody that I would say, you know, I work at this camp during the summer, they would say, "Oh, is it the Young Life camp?" and I was so, no, it's not. That's a great camp too. Ah.

37:14.17 Karen Houghton: Yeah.

37:22.86 Karen Houghton: Yeah, Frontier Ranch, Crooked Creek, where actually they have a family camp that we're taking my daughter. She will be seven this summer, and my husband and daughter and I are all doing Young Life family camp this summer. Yeah.

37:28.76 aggierobison: Awesome. Yeah, where is that camp?

37:40.40 Karen Houghton: It's Colorado. It's um, I don't even know. Yeah, it's like 2 hours from the airport.

37:42.70 aggierobison: Somewhere in the mountains. Yeah, yeah, beautiful, whatever it is. It's beautiful. It's beautiful. Colorado, right? Question number 2: if you could get a donor meeting with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be with? Why do you say that?

37:58.21 Karen Houghton: Melinda Gates. Ah, she's super inspirational. I've heard her speak a few times, I've read some things she's written, and I think I love her intentionality and her vision for how she wants her money to have an impact, and she goes after it. So whether people agree with her focus or not, like, I think how intentional she is with what she wants her money to do is really inspiring.

38:22.77 Aggierobison: Yeah, and I think that the work that you're doing with Infinity Giving is about giving people the option, giving donors, and then giving charities the option to be intentional about their giving and strategic about their giving, which I think is how many more, certainly high-capacity donors are moving in that direction. And so, I agree, more people, like Melinda Gates, like others that are intentional, that have strategies behind their giving, are going to be modeling that behavior for others as well.

38:51.40 Karen Houghton: Yeah, absolutely.

38:55.32 Aggierobison: Question number 3, is there enough money out there for every organization that's doing good work? Tell me why.

38:59.48 Karen Houghton: Yes.

39:05.80 Karen Houghton: I mean, am I allowed to say yes, but with an asterisk, right? Like is there, the way we are currently operating, probably not. But I think if we were to, sometimes too many organizations in the same areas are trying to do the same thing.

39:10.32 Aggierobison: You're allowed to say whatever you want. Yep.

39:25.21 Karen Houghton: So, I think if we were really intentional about, hey, I know it's something you may want to start, but like how could we help somebody else who's already doing it, right? And some redundancies. Okay, right. Not one organization can solve all the problems for everybody, but I think if we were a little more strategic in what kind of nonprofits we started and I think if a lot of nonprofits that at least we speak to are trying to find sustainable revenue opportunities, right? Where it's like, hey, you know, I'm on the board for the Kula Project and they train entrepreneurs in Rwanda, they also did Rwanda makes great coffee. And so, as part of, you know, training these women on how to make businesses, they're now doing coffee, and now they're selling coffee. And so, all of a sudden, having this revenue stream of selling coffee allows them to not be 100% dependent on donations. And then again, it speaks to sustainability, which allows her to then go after and get high-capacity donors. They're also a client of ours, right? And so, there's this element of, I think if we were to focus on consolidating a little bit, having really strategic opportunities for asset giving, and also potential other revenue opportunities in partnership with the giving, and if they were tapping into that potential $5 billion every year left on the table from a lack of good stewardship and financial management, or just a lack of access or opportunity to that, then my answer is yes. That's a big, yeah, but ultimately, like, I'm a glass half-full kind of person, and so I'm like, yes, can we? Ultimately, if everyone did the right thing and gave, and you know, ultimately, I think humans are generous creatures. And so, if we were kind of to do what we were called to do, I think we are capable of that.

41:03.34 Aggierobison: That's a lot of asterisks. But yeah.

41:12.83 Karen Houghton: The right thing, and gave, and you know, ultimately, I think humans are generous creatures. And so, if we were kind of to do what we were called to do, I think we are capable of that.

41:25.30 aggierobison Great. Well, I will let you know that about 90% of their responses to that are "yes" with an asterisk. So yeah.

41:33.57 Karen Houghton How really? You get like? No, no one can see that the video, but I saw you give me an eyebrow raise. Um, I better explain.

41:42.52 aggierobison Ah, that's a funny question number 4. If you could go back in time and offer yourself one piece of advice. What would it be?

41:50.53 Karen Houghton Oh, that's a good question. Um, to be patient, I think, you know, because you said to our younger selves. Um, you don't have to have it all figured out. I think there's a lot of pressure, whether we want to save the world and make an impact or just trying to figure out what we want to do for our jobs. Um, you know, I think there's just a lot of pressure that we're supposed to know, and sometimes I think in my prayer life, I'd be like, yeah, God had showed me neon signs that would have been really helpful.

42:25.88 Karen Houghton That's not how it really works, right? So that kind of opportunity of just being patient and enjoying the journey a little more and trusting that. Ultimately, if we keep our hearts and hands open and make good choices along the way, that hopefully we will end up right where we were meant to be.

42:43.22 aggierobison That's right. What do they say? The journey makes the story. I might that yep question number 5 who are 3 people who have most influenced your professional development.

42:44.52 Karen Houghton Interest.

42:59.35 Karen Houghton Oh, good question. I'm gonna say David Cummings, um, so he is the person who essentially came alongside when I was trying to shift out of nonprofit work and into tech and gave me that opportunity. Um, it was okay that I didn't know about marketing automation because he wanted a corporate social responsibility program and I'm like I don't know how to operate in a hundred-person tech company. What are you all spending money on? Like, I came out of like a deep scarcity mindset of like running a nonprofit and spending half my year in East Africa and Rwanda and um. So yeah, I would say he gave me a lot of opportunities that exposed me to the finance and business acumen that I've been able to develop over a 10-year career, so he gave me the opportunity. He's also one of our investors, so has just been really good at I think one of the things I like about good leaders is that they. Don't tell you what to do, but they're really good about asking the right questions and encouraging you to explore the opportunities in front of you. Um, I'm gonna list my husband on there. I do not work with him, and I know you said professional, but I think he is the tried and true steady guy that allows me to take more risks. And do different things. You know when we first got married fourteen years ago, I was spending half the year sometimes in East Africa, and I was like all right come see me a couple of times but like I got work to do here and then I was coming back all the way to he's seen me make the changes and even you know.

44:21.10 aggierobison Wow.

44:31.99 Karen Houghton Quitting the current work I was doing to start Infinite Giving. He allows me to do that by being kind of that steady encourager, and then the third one, I'm gonna go way back and I'm gonna say...

44:54.13 Karen Houghton What am I gonna say? You're gonna have to edit this pause out, Andrew. Ah, who's my third one?

44:58.20 aggierobison Fine.

45:13.40 Karen Houghton Okay, because wait, you... You can edit this part out. You have mostly a faith-based audience, right? Or no? Okay, good. I've been a little freer than it, you know, you got to know your audience a little bit. Um, okay.

45:13.87 aggierobison Oh, yeah. I will clean it all up. It won't even know. Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure.

45:29.26 Karen Houghton Ah, my third, my third one actually would probably... I'm gonna go with my pastor who's never met me because I go to North Point Church here in Atlanta. It's a megachurch, and the pastor is Andy Stanley. And he does a lot of leadership, kind of he has great books. He does a lot of different talking kind of opportunities, um, podcasts. His podcast is excellent on leadership, and I think always being able to come back for me personally that kind of faith-based grounding of like, "Hey, yeah, you can be faith-based and be a good business leader and be ambitious, and like, how does all of this work together?" So that you make sure that you know, my faith and my work are clearly aligned, at least internally, and also, you know, in culture and values and how we're doing. So I think I've learned some of the greatest mentors can be people that you have never met in person, right? It's like, what have you listened to? What do you read? And I think those are just as influential as the personal relationships you have sometimes.

46:29.23 aggierobison Ah, hundred percent agree. And it's funny, you mentioned Andy Stanley. I read his book Communicating for a Change or Communicate for a Change. Um, this last year, and just the framework that he gave around public speaking was just amazing, and I love that.

46:34.85 Karen Houghton Yep.

46:40.59 Karen Houghton So good.

46:44.60 aggierobison Um, really have gotten a lot out of that. So super cool.

46:45.17 Karen Houghton Yeah, he is such a gifted communicator that makes it really easy to kind of understand and apply, and I love that. I love practicality.

46:56.84 aggierobison: One of my favorite, when I answer this question, I almost always say Eric Ries who wrote "The Lean Startup" just because I read that at a period of my life when I was really interested in startups. My friend and I started a business couple of years ago, and it was very much an MVP, and we went with that. And now even in work today with Petrus, no program that we roll out doesn't start with a minimal viable product, right? It always starts with that.

47:26.10 Karen Houghton: Yes.

47:29.60 aggierobison: Then we test, then we iterate, then we make changes or make improvements, and then we roll it out bigger. And so, I'm with you. I think that the people in our lives influence us, but also some of the people that we will never meet can make an impact on our lives just as well.

47:46.72 Karen Houghton: Yeah, and I love "The Lean Startup." That's like the basic 101. Anyone starting anything should read it because it's like, make sure that you're starting with an MVP, iterate, give yourself permission to pivot from that, make sure that it's educated in that. But yeah, great book.

48:05.19 aggierobison: Great question number 6: What is something interesting about you that people may not know?

48:15.79 Karen Houghton: I should have read these ahead of time. Let's see, something interesting about me...

48:23.78 aggierobison: Favorite food, favorite place to travel, favorite board game, weird hobby, you only wear black shoes.

48:35.40 Karen Houghton: Um...

48:41.10 Karen Houghton: I know, wait, hold on, I have things. Oh gosh, no, I mean that...

48:42.47 aggierobison: You've got 400 parking tickets unpaid. Ah yeah, we wouldn't want to share that with the air for sure.

48:55.46 Karen Houghton: Okay, yeah, so something interesting that people may not know: I hate guacamole. I don't know how interesting that is. We're gonna go with light and funny, and I say that because I actually love Mexican skin food. I love a good margarita.

49:05.15 aggierobison: "That that is totally random. Okay, okay."

49:13.62 Karen Houghton: "I am a white suburban blonde woman who does not eat guacamole, and I get judged for it all the time, and I'm like, it's a texture thing. It's just not something I'm into, no."

49:22.50 aggierobison: "That's alright. Do you like avocados now? Do you like salsa?"

49:29.25 Karen Houghton: "I love salsa. Give me some Caso and salsa all day long. I'm happy as a clam. I'm going out for Mexican tonight, actually. No, yes, it is."

49:31.59 aggierobison: "You do you like grits, is that a texture thing as well because that because grits are like they were like born in Georgia, and I don't know the perfect. But yeah, yeah."

49:43.40 Karen Houghton: "I know, and I'm from the South, and people think I'm crazy. I do love some Waffle House. I like give me some hatch and scrambled eggs and cheese at Waho late at night. I take my daughter, my husband travels for work a lot, and I'm like anytime it's a mommy daughter night, we get a Waffle House."

49:57.15 aggierobison: "Ah, yeah."

50:02.50 aggierobison: "That's hilarious. Yes, there will."

50:02.20 Karen Houghton: "Ah, it's more than anybody wanted to know about my food habits. I should have said something really meaningful like, okay, here we go. You, I'll let you cut and splice. So I love travel. I've traveled all over the world. Um, and I love to do adventurous things. And so I've gone..."

50:10.60 aggierobison: "Ah, yeah, okay, we're getting a bonus."

50:21.91 Karen Houghton: "Scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, I lived in Australia for a while, and I've done like hang gliding in Rio. I literally called some guy named Paulo, now as an older and adult, I'm like this is insane. But I found this guy's number, and I just knew Paulo in this number. And my girlfriend and I were over there, and we were in Rio, and if you've ever been to Rio, beautiful, right? Mountainside, it's Ocean City Mountainside, and you go up into this national park, and you literally just jump off this platform, and you go from the rainforest. Over the city, over the ocean, but you land on the beach. It was terrifying, but it was still to this day one of like the coolest experiences that and like climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. I love those moments of like creating experiences and creating memories by doing those kind of peak moments."

51:13.95 AggieRobison: That's super cool, real quick. My wife and I went on a trip to California, this is 17015 somewhere in there. Oh no, two and thirteen. It was for her thirtieth birthday and one of the things that I had lined up to do was to go to do trapeze lessons. We were out in like, you know, um, Indio, kind of that Palm Springs area. And so, you know, we drove for like an hour where we got a group on for this, you know, trapeze lessons. We're going down all these crazy roads and turns. And then we hit this little t and we have to turn right, and there's this sign, and I swear to you, it is like ah, I mean, if it was wood, it was what, but I suspect it was cardboard, and it just said trapeze arrow that way, and we're like what are we do? We turned. And we saw, and it was like in the backyard of, you know, this kind of double wides on either side, and you saw the trapeze, and you saw the nets, and we just kept moving stop, and so now even today, you know, this is 10 years later, even today we're like is this going to be another trapeze moment like.

52:21.90 Karen Houghton: I Love it. But you know, by seeking an experience, you're like do we want to die like I don't know how do we want to go out is it on a trapeze that looks sketchy? We don't know. Yeah.

52:27.99 AggieRobison: Yep, yeah, yeah, exactly yeah yeah, in the desert in California, I don't know about that. Yeah.

52:38.11 Karen Houghton: And I had that moment like in Brazil I'm like um how what do we know about Paulo do nothing really? Do we think he knows what he's doing and we went for it, but I don't know if a decision I would make now in my forties would be the same as what I did in my twenties, ha.

52:45.27 AggieRobison: Ah, yeah, really, yeah, hey worked out there you go? Ah yeah, now there's a thing they right? What do they say? Ah youth is wasted on the young something like that.

52:58.73 Karen Houghton: Yeah, yeah.

53:02.14 AggieRobison: Last question, the bonus round. What is one book you think everyone should read?

53:06.66 Karen Houghton: There are so many good business books, and then we talked about lean startup, I love like Jim Collins, all those basics like good to great. Um, kind of one of the things that I think I'm on a kick for these days, be our guest.

53:23.82 AggieRobison: Okay, no yeah.

53:25.53 Karen Houghton: Have you read about the Disney experience? It's called "Be Our Guest". And it may be just because I have a 6-year-old daughter and we've gone to Disney World a couple of times now, but the story of how they curate the guest experience and the intentionality behind it and how it is an experience, it's not just a service, it's not just like, ah. And as the founder and CEO of Infinite Giving, and like, what culture do we want to have, how do we want people to feel, right? Even on this financial side, it's so important that we're because we are relationship-driven. It's like, what kind of experience do we want to create for our clients, right? And so "Be Our Guest", I think Disney has just done it very exceptionally well on a global scale. And so just learning from that and kind of their thought process, essentially, they give business leaders a framework for how to apply that to our own businesses. And I think for the season I'm in right now, that was very helpful, visionary but also tactical too.

54:31.16 aggierobison: I love it. I'm gonna put it on my list, "Be Our Guest". Well, I would hope so, yeah. It's named after a children's song and ah and beauty in the vs, right? Yeah, have good kids good well. Karen, this has been amazing, fascinating, fun, enjoyable.

54:33.43 Karen Houghton: It's very easy to read. It's not really long either. But yeah.

54:48.22 aggierobison: If people want to learn more or get in touch with you, how can they reach out?

54:50.33 Karen Houghton: Yeah, you can find us at If you're listening to this and you want to email me, it's just Karen, actually the most unfortunate name in all of 2020, but it is Karen at I promise I'm a good one. But feel free to reach out. You can, of course, check us out on our website as well. But we'd love to see how we can help. Yes, yes. I wish I did more. I need to prioritize it a little bit better, but there's so much good content on there. You're so good at it. There's a lot of really solid voices that I feel like I can learn from.

55:11.48 aggierobison: And you're also pretty active on LinkedIn, which is how we initially connected.

55:27.58 Karen Houghton: And then of course, I like to contribute as well.

55:29.81 aggierobison: Absolutely great. Well, Karen, it's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for taking the time. Um, and for those listening, thanks for joining us. Hopefully, you enjoyed this as much as I did. If you have any questions, you can holler artist us at [email protected]. Otherwise, God bless you, God bless your work, and we'll see you next time. Alright, cool. So.





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