The Masters of Edutainment and Lessons for Non-Profits with Brian Dunning of Skeptoid
Today on the show we have Brian Dunning, the creator of the Skeptoid podcast, join us to talk about their non-profit mission and, more specifically, the evolution of their podcast. What started in 2006 as a hobby soon developed into a serious source of information that quickly gained considerable traction from teachers. Brian started hearing how educators were using their podcast to facilitate learning in the classroom, which inspired him to get more scientific and formal in his approach.
Their aim over at Skeptoid is to provide quality edutainment that is based on facts and science and that people of any age can enjoy and learn a great deal from. In addition to providing interesting content for the classroom, they also reach the general public with their podcast, covering popular topics such as UFO stories, global warming, and electric cars. But Skeptoid is not only about the podcast; they also do speaker series, produce documentary films and other educational content, and have a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline for 2020.
Tuning in to this episode, you will also hear great advice regarding the setting up of a nonprofit. Brian shares how he managed to convert their organization to a 501(c)(3) and the criteria for meeting the requirements of a non-profit.
We transition to talking more about the podcasting process, with Brian explaining why podcasts are not necessarily the best platform for everybody. If you are an individual who has no organizational backup or an established audience, it might not be advisable to go this route as very few people manage to build a large following in this way. Brian also gives potential podcasters loads to consider in terms of sponsors and adds, warning them about the restrictions on the type of content allowed in sponsored messages. Not adhering to the regulations for non-profits might result in financial penalties from the IRS.
Before starting a podcast, Brian advises listeners to think carefully about the motivation for wanting to do so. While anyone can start a podcast, you want to make sure that is will be worth the time and effort. He wraps up the episode by sharing the other exciting projects Skeptoid is working on and releasing later in the year, including a full-length feature documentary film.
• The origins of the Skeptoid podcast and non-profit, and the interesting topics covered. (01:47)
• Ranting about pet peeves and other reasons why Brian started the podcast. (03:15)
• Why the podcast soon became more formal and scientific in approach. (03:36)
• How the podcast branched out into other activities and what their main mission is. (04:36)
• The process of converting to a 501(c)(3), and the criteria for qualifying as a non-profit. (06:17)
• Advice for non-profits whose podcasts have sponsored messages and are sources of revenue. (10:27)
• Common misconceptions about the reach of podcasts. (17:08)
• Why Brian chose podcasting and the importance of knowing what your motivation is. (18:38)
• Other projects that Brian and his team are working on, including a documentary film. (21:06)