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The Buckeye Flame

Building a board to turbocharge LBGTQ+ publisher’s growth

How The Buckeye Flame built a plan for revenue by leveraging their supporters

The challenge

As the leader of Ohio’s only statewide LGBTQ+ organization, founder Ken Schneck knew it was time for The Buckeye Flame to begin “acting like a nonprofit,” as he put it, and design a revenue blueprint to grow the news outlet. The Buckeye Flame had previously secured a $100,000 grant to hire a staff writer on a two-year contract. But Ken, as executive director, was still working 40-50 hours per week without pay while continuing his full-time career as a professor.

Ken was paired with Coach Maria Archangelo, who impressed him not only with her background in higher education, but also her ability to translate his lofty ambitions into checklists and workflows he could create.

“I’M Not Just Hoping That The Incredible People Around Me Are Going To Support The Organization, I’M Actively Empowering Them To Do So. I Think That As Much As I Was Sitting With Those Hopes, I Wasn'T Enabling And Empowering My Unbelievable Board To Help The Organization – And How Could They Possibly Help If They Didn'T Have The Tools To Do So?”

Ken Schneck
Founder, The Buckeye Flame

The results

That accountability led to big results. With Maria’s help, The Buckeye Flame launched its first NewsMatch campaign. Hoping for $500, they raised an eye-popping $25,000 – a clear demonstration of how The Flame has become essential to Ohioans. The influx in revenue allowed Ken to hire a part-time grant writer and begin compensating himself as executive director.

Participating in the GNI Startups Lab also led to a mindset change for Ken and The Flame. He is now empowering The Flame’s board to become involved in running the nonprofit. Using his learnings from the Startups Lab, Ken and the board created a strategic plan and set aggressive revenue goals for 2023. Working alongside the board gives Ken more capacity to focus on developing the identity for The Flame, and building out the newsroom and makes him feel like he’s part of a larger team.

Successes:

Transitioned executive director from volunteer to paid staff member

Exceeded NewsMatch goal

Created strategic plan for 2023

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