We met with Jamie Umble at the end of the StartUp Mendocino business management program, and were excited to hear about her progress pitching her business, which focuses on nonprofit capacity building.
Hi! Please introduce us to you, your business, and what you offer!
My name is Jamie Umble, and my business is Hope Multiplied LLC. It is a nonprofit consulting business designed to help nonprofits with grant writing, administrative support, strategic planning, and board organization, plus any other administrative tasks that help nonprofits build capacity.
It was born out of work with several nonprofits that I helped when I lived near Colusa and Glenn County previously — other rural counties where startup nonprofits needed capacity building.
That is great to hear. What’s something you’re most known for in this work?
I would say my grant writing skills and strategic planning. We use Strengthsfinder in my organization and in organizations I work with — and my strength is in the strategic realm.
You’ve now had several months of training in StartUp Mendocino. What was one training that inspired you?
We worked on a pitch for our businesses. It was fantastic. We really learned how to show what our brand is about and how we’re giving value to our customers — what our customers’ needs are and what kind of solutions that we can offer.
Excellent! What was one TOP TAKE AWAY from it and something that you’ll do now because of it?
I would say learning how to share with potential customers in a concise way — exactly what makes me different or sets me apart from other organizations offering similar services.
Ok great. What’s starting to change for you as a result of the startup Mendocino Business Management Program?
I went into this looking to provide a service, something that I was already doing. And this program has helped me to go from just being a worker to thinking about being a business owner and how to really build a business so that I can serve more clients.
What’s your single biggest challenge in building your business right now? What do you see as the single biggest challenge that the organizations you serve need to solve?
I would say it’s breaking the old mindset — going from being an employee to being a business owner.
The biggest challenge my client organizations face is assessing where they need help and then finding the right talent to come in.
Do they tend to have enough budget to do so, or is funding also key to figure out?
It’s always a challenge. There is funding out there but a lot of times the struggle is getting connected to the right funding or finding funding that’s not going to be overly burdensome for them to manage. And also making sure that they’re pursuing multiple revenue streams.
Another challenge for a lot of the smaller start up nonprofits is to recognize that they are in fact a business. A lot of times it’s people going out to do something they’re passionate about, and they want to serve, but they don’t necessarily realize that they need to treat it just like a revenue producing business.
Thanks for that insight that nonprofits are actually a business. In your own business, how does creativity play a role in your process? Like is there anything fun or creative that you do to help it flow?
Journaling and writing. I use the Mural app a lot because it’s a virtual format of a whiteboard and that we can actually place words and ideas up on the board and try to draw connections. It is great for working with remote teams. And that uses another strength that I have — figuring out connectedness and how all the different pieces work together.
That’s wonderful. Mural is a great tip. Is there something that I wouldn’t otherwise know about you if I weren’t asking you right now?
So I focus a lot on working with rural nonprofits and I really do live in a rural situation — we live on a ranch and I help run an Airbnb for the ranch. And something else: I’m a homeschooling mom. So I’m starting a business AND homeschooling my kids at the same time.
In homeschooling, is there a curriculum that you love?
Yes several. One is the Good and the Beautiful. We love nature study and the Charlotte Mason method and we love studying history as well.
What’s a question I should ask you?
“Why am I passionate about doing what I’m doing?”
Okay, I’m gonna ask you that! Why are you passionate about what you’re doing?
So most of my work is around human services and really helping people who are having a hard time. It’s really about building wellness: like mental, spiritual, financial, physical wellness. A lot of the nonprofits that I serve build hope in the community, and I want to help them multiply their efforts. Obviously it’s where the name came from 🙂
It’s just really about coming alongside other people and giving them that support and the encouragement that they need to improve their lives.
Where would you hope to be one year from now, in 2023, in your business? What specific things will you hope to have accomplished one year from now?
I would like to have a team of grant writers to support several organizations in our area that are experiencing a lot of growth right now. I think it would be a team with grant writers, analysts and facilitators.
And really, I’m hoping to support some other moms that want to develop a flexible work environment where they can be more present for their kids and still continue to pursue their careers.
Getting back to an earlier point … What would be helpful to know around the need for having multiple revenue streams, and realizing that you’re in fact a business and need to treat it like a revenue producing business?
Yes, the nonprofit sector is a social enterprise. Being creative and willing to look at not just grants, but also building up donor bases and even looking at business opportunities helps them.
These business opportunities could be coffee shops and other entities that can do workforce development such as thrift stores, consignment shops, furniture rehabbing … You know, all those things that give opportunities to people who are trying to build skills and take those skills with them into the workforce.
What would this look like?
There are several nonprofits we’ve been working with, such as a domestic violence program. We have clients that come in, who may not have a lot of work experience or they were isolated for a while, and they don’t know how to create a checking account or other skills needed to support themselves. And so, one of the ideas that we’ve been really looking at is “social entrepreneurship,” where we build a business.
It could be a coffee shop or it could be a thrift store, and you bring in clients and you teach them how to do merchandising, how to do customer service, how to run a register, and then ultimately even teach them how to run a business and the business skills that come along with that empower them to eventually be able to have a business themselves.
Yes, hands-on experience 🙂
Exactly. And so it builds confidence for the clients, as well as brings in income for the organization. A lot of this comes from actually networking with other nonprofits and learning what other models work. I think it’s just fascinating.
A big thank you to our sponsors of the StartUp Mendocino program.