overlay welcome a new Firefly Staffer

Say Hello to Zach Brooks!

It is exciting to announce the recent hire of Zach Brooks. Zach is joining the Client Services Team as a Project Manager. When interviewing him, what struck me (beyond his proven track record supporting nonprofits in the digital space) were his activities outside of work. Zach spends his free time working on projects to better others, such as Literally Homemade – a plant based healthy meal education site. He not only works for nonprofits, but lives up to those values.


zach brooks headshotName | Zach Brooks
Title | Project Manager
Pronouns | he/him/his

How would you describe your project manager style?

I’m very thorough and detail oriented. I love problem solving, so I’m usually looking for areas where I can tackle an issue and make our process more efficient.

I can work with any project management and communication tool that my teammates and clients prefer, but for my own internal processes, I rely on my calendar and email inbox a lot to stay on task.

With your strong nonprofit fundraising background, what advice would you offer young nonprofit fundraising professionals?

Make it easy for your donors!

I’ve seen fundraising campaigns that have too many steps to give and confusing language about why donors should give. I think it’s super important to make your language clear and concise with a direct call to action. Place your CTA (call to action) links early and often in email and social media messages. Once your donors are on your landing page, only ask for the necessary information to allow for donations in the fewest number of clicks.

Also, plan, plan, plan for your year-end campaigns! They’re a lot.

Podcasting has seen a steady growth in listeners and production over the last 5 years especially. As someone who consumes + produces, what advice do you have for people considering using their pandemic free time to start a podcast? Also, any podcasts you’d recommend?

The best podcasting advice I ever got was “don’t let perfect get in the way of good”. You’ll learn how to improve your podcast as you go, so if you have a podcast idea just give it a shot. It may take time to build up a listener base but the better defined your topic and podcast area is, the easier it will be to grow.

The first podcast I started tried to be a discussion about every topic for everyone. Since the topic was so general, it made it hard to define what made our podcast special. The more successful podcasts I’ve run have had clear and defined topics for a specific audience. Now I host the weekly Movie Ladder Podcast and I did a series on the Netflix show DARK with my brother.

There are a ton of technical tools to help you get started with a podcast now. You should buy a decent USB microphone. You can find one for $30 that will work well. I have found that iphone headphones don’t give you very good sound quality and the microphone will often make rustling noise rubbing on your shirt. You can record your discussion over Zoom or Skype and export the audio from that call. Audacity is a free audio editing program that you can use to balance your levels, edit and add intro and outro music. The easiest podcast hosting service I’ve found Is Anchor.fm, they offer free hosting and they will distribute your podcast to all the appropriate apps like Apple and Spotify. You can also host the podcast on your own website, but you’ll need to add it to an RSS feed to submit to different podcast apps yourself.

I subscribe to about 50 podcasts and they’re all pretty specific to my interest areas (movies, Michigan State Sports, current events). My all-time favorite podcast is Rob has a Podcast. Rob built a podcast empire talking mostly about reality competition shows (Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race) although he’s branched off into other areas. His interview style and technical production inspire my own podcasting. If you’re looking for something funny, I’d also recommend Doughboys where two comedians review a different chain restaurant each week. This Week In Tech is how I stay on top of technology news and Pod Save America helps me stay in perspective on political news. And of course, I have to recommend my Movie Ladder and Digesting Dark podcasts.

Clearly, I can talk about podcasts for days.

Outside of work, pardoning that we are in the middle of a pandemic, how do you spend your time?

I try to stay busy in my free time. I love working out (was an Orangetheory member pre-pandemic), cooking plant-based meals, keeping up on movies and TV and following Michigan State sports. I hope the days come back when I can tailgate and go to Michigan State football games in the fall.

How do you get inspired?

I try to have purpose in everything I do, both professionally and personally. Knowing I’m doing the right thing keeps me going every day.

What progressive causes are you plugged into?

I am on a ton of email lists to stay up to date on the communication techniques and issues. I closely follow gun violence prevention (specifically Brady Campaign), public health,and environmental causes.


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