October 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the new format!

Our community is getting broader, and I want to make sure you can share these updates with anyone in your world. I want our community to be on display and attractive to potential new hires and I want to provide a sense of accountability to the alumni that have worked here and gone on to bigger and better things.

It’s on that note that I’d like to focus this monthly letter, on coming and going. But first, I want to share a few of the things on my plate.

As many of you know, I’m temporarily the Office Assistant as well as Chief of Staff. I am counting down the days to the end of October and eagerly await Zach’s return from sabbatical. In the meantime I’m working hard to make up for the absence of those two positions. I’ve asked Dave to up his hours, and I am ever so thankful for all of the leaders within Benifactor that have contributed their energy to making this busy time run smoothly.

It’s also times like these that I’m thankful for the hospitality jobs I worked when I was younger. In the last two weeks it’s been a joy to serve - from plunging toilets and mopping floors, to walking dogs and hunting for invoices. Whatever it takes to help organizations that do good, be great.

When I do get a moment to be CEO, my focus has been on culture and compensation. The beauty of the 5 Ps (our new management framework), and Dave’s excellent administration of our finances, is that I can look away from the Profit & Loss Statement and trust that our General Managers have taken responsibility for our year ahead so I can look further into the future.

On the note of culture, I had the task this last month of off-boarding two employees. It was nauseating. We have a checklist but I think we might have cribbed it from a local corrections facility. Do I ask for their keys or hope they remember to give them to me? Will they stay friends with me, or others here? How do we speak of them in the weeks ahead? How will our community adapt?

I’ve long emphasized the value of great client and employee on-boarding. A great courtship does wonders for sustaining a great relationship. But, there’s one fear I’ve avoided confronting in my personal life that has reared itself in Benifactor, saying good bye. I’m the worst with break ups, with losing loved ones, and with friends leaving.

Well folks, in the spirit of growth it’s time to change that pattern. What would it look like if we were really really good at off-boarding?

In the context of a client relationship, they’d be way more likely to remember their time fondly and recommend other clients to our organizations. Maybe when they found themselves needing our services again they’d come back instead of seeking out a competitor.

In the context of an employee relationship, not only would the time be remembered more fondly, a new bond could be formed. Maybe they’d become a great contractor as many of you have. Maybe a referrer of future clients and employees? Our community would grow stronger, wider, more valuable for every person that left.

So under the Process P I’ve added “establish excellent off-boarding”. If you’ve got any ideas how we can help people leave gracefully let me know. Should we send some Chimp credits their way? Let them throw a dodgeball at me with my arms tied? The more ideas the merrier.

Shifting gears, a small update on Glass Register. While we’ve continued to discern whether GR is best in the Benifactor family or not, Heath has agreed to be the interim GM, dedicating all but the tiniest portion of his hours to its needs. He’ll be doing so until the end of Q3 2019 at which point he’ll solely act as a Benifactor “B Team” adviser. If you or anyone you know want to lead Glass Register in the future let me know (job requirements: have a desire and vision to lead its growth and an understanding of how your skills contribute to that vision).

Another area of culture I’ve been mulling over is parties. Our parties, since we’ve moved to Pandora’s box, have been lame. The lighting feels like an office, the layout is awkward, and, aside from sipping alcohol, making small talk, and getting sick from small children, there isn’t much to do. It’s also very private like my letters have been. As great as it’s been to meet spouses, what about former and potential employees? We need to party with our community.

When Good Marketers Group hosted trivia night I noticed three things: the venue suited what we were doing, we were among friends, and a client got to benefit ($1k for Island Prostate Centre). Win, win, win.

This leads me to our next party - celebrating the 8th birthday of Frontier. The Frontier crew will soon be engaging in their 8th match campaign with Union Gospel Mission to raise like a million bucks, and that too is worth celebrating. Frontier culture is unique, and one area as marketers that’s even more unique is Thanksgiving! The Frontier team helps their clients raise millions over that campaign period. Added to that, the UGM Match campaign is during the week of US Thanksgiving. Americans do thanksgiving really well. Football on the TV, friends and family gathered. That sounds like a great time to party.

All that to say, save the date! November 30th will be an evening of celebrating - a Frontier Feast. There’ll be tickets for sale with 100% of the proceeds going towards a charity of Mariam’s choice. If you have any desires for that night let me know. I’m both incredibly nervous and excited for that night.

Finally, on the note of compensation, I’ve noticed that our Benifactor Human Resources Manual could use some love (it’s been in draft since May 2017). It’s now within my to-do’s to get that done. More importantly, I’ve asked the Senior Leadership of Benifactor to be the guiding group around compensation. Collectively I hope we can create more benefits for our people.

In the months ahead expect more updates around that HR resources manual but for now here’s one update - every 4 years at Benifactor you get another 4 days (our equivelant of a week) of vacation. I’ll be crossing 8 years next month and Nick, Sophie and Mariam will soon be turning 4. I can’t wait to celebrate these milestones ahead!


Benjamin Johnson, CEO

PS - next month is my quarterly update where I’ll be focusing on the Profitability P.

PPS - One day school I look forward to telling you about something in the works called B School.