Interview with Sabrina Walker Hernandez

Monday November 22, 2021 comments Tags: nonprofit, board, nonprofit resources, people

Any accounting business and tax advice contained in this podcast is not intended as a thorough in depth analysis of specific issues. Nor is it a substitute for format information. Nor is it sufficient to avoid tax related penalties. If you have specific questions that you need advice for, be sure to schedule a strategy session and not solely rely on information in this podcast. All right, back to the episode. 

Today I am with nonprofit leader, Sabrina Walker Hernandez and I'm super excited for you to hear our conversation. All right, listen up. 

Hey, welcome to another episode of The Nonprofit Ace Podcast. I'm your host Chyla Graham, CNRG Accounting Advisory. We are a virtual accounting firm helping more nonprofits get comfortable talking about money and today, we're talking with Sabrina Walker Hernandez of Supporting World Hope. 

I'm so, so excited to talk to Sabrina. We've been on her live recording. So we've done a session with her. And now it's our turn to ask her some questions. So super excited about that. Sabrina, welcome. What are you celebrating? 

Sabrina Walker Hernandez

Well, I'm actually celebrating that I am here right now with you. I just finished up a strategic planning session in Columbus, Ohio, my first flight since the pandemic and I'm doing this interview from the airport. So I'm celebrating the fact that I just had enough courage to get on the airplane, do the strategic planning session and now from here I'm going to go and do another session in Dallas. So I feel pretty good, I feel pretty proud of myself


Chyla Graham

So the people now know you do strategic planning. Tell us some more about you. 


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

So a little bit about myself. You know, I've been in the nonprofit industry for over 25 years. I have worked in direct services, I've worked in operations, I worked as a CEO for the last past 15 years before I retired, I have a certification in Nonprofit Management from Harvard Business School. 

So I've kind of looked at all of the spectrums of nonprofit, I do actually happen to love working with the Board of Directors, most people think that's strange. But I like working with boards of directors, if you get that synergy, right. Everything, you know, is critical for the organization. 


Chyla Graham

Definitely. Oh, before we get too far in, where should people follow you if you're on social media? What are your handles? 


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

Yes, so I am on social media, on Instagram, the_nonprofitexpert. And then everywhere else you can find me at Supporting World Hope. That's Facebook, and on LinkedIn, just my name, Sabrina Walker Hernandez. I do have a Facebook group that's really good and I'm not just saying it because I'm the administrator. I really try to go in and cater to people and ask  and answer their questions. So that's Nonprofit Professionals Exchange. 


Chyla Graham

Got it. We will link those in the show notes. One of the things I like to cover are the pillars. At CNRG we talk about mission, we talk about priorities, tools, and storytelling and I want to know about your mission and what led you to this work, like, how does it connect with your work with nonprofits. 


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

So as far as my work with nonprofits and starting my company, in 2018, I was diagnosed with cancer lymphoma and multiple myeloma and I started this company because those cancers are brought on by stress. I started the company to support those nonprofit leaders who are often overworked, stressed out or overwhelmed, and I just wanted to give them a place where they can go get resources where they don't have to reinvent the wheel. I have 25 years of experience, 25 years of sample documents, 25 years of all of that and I thought I want to help someone because I don't want them to go down the same road that I did


Chyla Graham

Yeah, I think we underestimate how much stress. However, I also have a cancer diagnosis and they were like, you're so young and I'm just like, I don't have any answers for you. 


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

Yeah, it is, this is what happened and here's what I have to deal with. But stress can impact your health and it's very stressful when you're running a nonprofit. 


Chyla Graham

Yeah. So, you've got 25 years of experience, you now provide these resources? What is the thing that you wish more organizations prioritize? 


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

One of the things that I wish for is that they will prioritize their boards more. I hear a lot of nonprofit professionals go, why do I even need a board or my board doesn't do anything. 

And so, I started pushing back and I said, Okay, how did you select your board members? How did you educate your board members? Have you told them what they need to do? Do you have a job description? Do they understand their role in fundraising, any of that, and usually, I get crickets, because they haven't done anything. They just think that Oh, I got these people on my board, and they’re supposed to know what to do and they don't. 


Chyla Graham

Like, thank you for selecting me. What am I? 


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

What am I supposed to do now? 


Chyla Graham

My mom served on the board of an organization and she was like, it wasn't until her second term that she felt like she knew what to do. So you have to give them that time to learn the role. And then it’s like Oh, got it. 


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

Yeah, education, bring them on, do orientation, that will eliminate some of that frustration, because like you said, you get on a board and you don't have an orientation, you don't know what's going on. You sit back for a year, trying to figure out what is going on and that's a waste of time, that’s time that good people could be helping you fundraise, good people could be helping you making connections because they got on the board to help but when you don't give them a path and tell them, this is what I need, or this is how you help. 

This is what fundraising is, this is what capacity building is, this is what governance is, then they’re kind of just sitting there waiting to discover, and make themselves a role. Basically, they're creating themselves a role and you have the nerve to get upset with them, they should be upset with you.


Chyla Graham

Like, I volunteered to give myself more work. 


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

So yes, you need a board. And I wish people understood that better. 


Chyla Graham

Well, do you have any tools or resources that you think might help them better manage that? 


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

Yeah, I do. In my group, in my resource library. I provide sample board education plans, the recruitment process, who do you recruit? How do you recruit them? And once you recruit them, how do you bring them on board? How do you orientate them? You know, what's their job description? When do you talk to them about fundraising? A lot of people don't even talk to them about fundraising. You need to talk to them about fundraising in the recruitment process. 

You don't need to glaze over that, because oh, I might lose a good board member because I'm talking about money. No, they need to understand that it's a fundraising board. And not only that, they also need to understand I have this whole philosophy around fundraising. When you say fundraising, people automatically assume you're focusing on asking for money and for me, that's only 5% of the fundraising process. So they need to understand that it'll help them, make them better. So job descriptions, again, agreement, understanding that personal giving is a part of it. 

Understanding fundraising is a part of it, understanding that we're on this board, and we have to develop policies, it’s all of those things. So, in my resource library, I have the job description. People want to know how much time am | committing to being a board member? So I broke it down, you know, 120 hours, this many hours is meeting time, this many hours advocacy, this many hours is fundraising. So to give people a clear idea about what they're getting into. So check out my resource library.


Chyla Graham

So clearly, you know, I usually ask about resources, but you've given them all to us. So my last question, though, before you go, you've been so gracious...are there any last tidbits or anything that you're like, people should ask about this more, or get more information about this other topic?


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

I want people to stop asking about grants. I'm like, that's what I want them to stop asking about, especially if you're a new organization one to three years, you know, in your accounting business, they ain’t ready. They're just not ready. But I see people like I got my 501c3, where can I get grants now? And I'm like, you can't. 

You’re not ready, you got to give it a minute. So to go back to the original question, I wish people would focus on building relationships, prioritizing building relationships with the individuals in their community because that's going to be your first round of fundraising, that's going to be your first round of resources, you know, your board, going to your rotary club, your civic clubs, and speaking and getting money through there, that's going to be the first round and the only way you're going to get those funds is if you are building relationships. 

You know, there's those people that start nonprofits, and they're the founders or this or they hire the CEOs and they think they can run the organization from their desk, and you can't, you have to get out. You have to network, you have to build relationships. So to your original question, focus on building relationships, that's 60% of the fundraising process. 


Chyla Graham

Like you said, People underestimate that, they think it's easy. And I remember one organization called me they're like, you know, I think we need an accountant. And I was like, Okay, what’s going on and they're like, we're having our first fundraiser. I was like, Oh, all right. So I called them a week after the fundraiser and I asked, how’d it go? And, of course, I knew what I was expecting as a response and I didn't call them because I was like, haha...but I think it's helpful for organizations to feel what it's like to have your first fundraiser. Because no one can tell you what to expect and fully comprehend until you go through it. 

So it's like, okay, you're having the fundraiser we can talk after because I need to see how you feel now. They were like, we're not gonna do it, because no one showed up. And I'm like, well you’re new, it's hard for people to give. How many organizations do you give to the first time you hear about them? You don't. You need to learn about them, you need to know who are the people I'm supporting, what's the work that they're doing? And so remembering it's not just, we feed all the hungry children. Don’t you want to feed them? Yeah, I want to feed them. Tell me why I should give you the money though.


Sabrina Walker Hernandez

Yeah, to help you feed them. Building that relationship and making people understand and know I can trust you. It's as simple as that. 


Chyla Graham

Thank you so much, Sabrina. I know I can trust you and I’m so excited we got a chance to talk. So everyone, be sure to check the show notes for the links for Sabrina's resources, Sabrina, Have a safe flight. 

Thanks for listening to another episode of The Nonprofit Ace Podcast. Until next time, bye.


Visit Us On The Web

Join Our Newsletter

Schedule a Strategy Call

Sign-up for Six Week Course: Impact Basics

Follow us on Instagram

Like us on FaceBook

Follow us on Twitter

Connect with us on LinkedIn

Sabrina’s Links:

Supporting World Hope - website: 





Nonprofit Professionals Exchange: 

My Facebook Live session with her: