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July Teleseminars: Make Your Story Awesome and How to Ask

Teleseminars are a way for us to offer valuable training to our For Impact Community – in a short, ‘call in from anywhere’ format. Join us this Tuesday and Wednesday for two of our most popular topics:

Teleseminar: How to Make Your Story Awesome
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 1:00-1:45ET
Free for first 50 registrants

Description:
The story you use to maximize funding…
The story that brings rockstar talent to your doorstep and fully engages your team…
The story that you tell yourself every day to stay focused and fulfilled.

Story adds passion, purpose and urgency to your message, plan and every day actions.

  • Is your story about needing more money? Or changing lives?
  • Do you have a good story that helps get to the ask?
  • Do we have a story that engages the board? Engaging them as passionate champions and advocates?

This 45 minute teleseminar will:

  • Share examples of stories used at organizations to help them with these questions.
  • Address common challenges to funding, action and engagement.
  • Give you several actionable tools use can use to DISCOVER your story and make it AWESOME.
Teleseminar: How to Ask – The Language of the Ask, the Close and Follow-Up 
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 1:00-1:45ET
Free for first 50 registrants

Description:

“Would it be possible for you to consider taking the LEAD on this initiative?” [pointing to $1M]

“Where do you see yourself?”

This seminar covers over 20 PHRASES and QUESTIONS we use to JUST ASK.  It’s intended to provide very practical nuts-and-bolts examples to help you visualize HOW to ask:

  • New prospects
  • Board members
  • Long time supporters to step up

Stories and closes will include:

  • How to close like Steve Jobs
  • How to ask when you have no idea about capacity
  • How to ask AFTER the visit — dealing with ‘what I should’ve said was….’
  • Three ways to ask your very best prospect to take the lead and how to follow-up when you can’t afford a ‘no’
  • Questions to help you qualify on a discovery visit
  • How to make sure gifts close by a date / time
  • How to address the most common objections when they come up
  • How to predispose the prospect to a really really big ask

 

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Fall 2016 Workshops in Ireland, NYC, Los Angeles and Colorado

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a For Impact workshop in a city near you!

Join us in Dublin, Ireland and NYC for the For Impact Funding Boot Camp; and in Colorado Springs, Denver and Los Angeles for Fundraising on a Napkin.

For Impact Funding Boot Camp Dates & Locations:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (IST)
Dublin Zoo
Phoenix Park
Haughton House
Dublin 8
Ireland
Info & Registration (Super Early Bird Pricing still available)

Tuesday, September 28, 2016 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM – Wednesday, September 29, 2016 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM (EST)
810 Seventh Avenue
52nd & 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
Info & Registration (Early Bird Pricing still available)

Fundraising on a Napkin Dates & Locations:

Thursday, September 8, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM (MT)
Tim Gill Center for Public Media
315 E. Costilla Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Info & Registration | Overview

Thursday, September 15, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM (MT)
Colorado Collaborative for Nonprofits
789 N Sherman St, Ste. 100
Denver, CO 80203
Info & Registration | Overview

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM (PT)
St. Anne’s
155 N. Occidental Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Info & Registration | Overview
Save as a For Impact Community Member: You can save $100 (full price $145) using discount
code:
ficommunity

More dates and cities to be announced soon! Contact Kerry Suddes kerry@forimpact.org | 614-554-7525 with questions.

 

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Do the Simple Things to Avoid Team Complexity

In his book The Checklist Manifesto, author Atul Gawande calls attention to 3 different kinds of problems: the simple, the complicated, and the complex.  

From The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right:

“Two professors who study the science of complexity—Brenda Zimmerman of York University and Sholom Glouberman of the University of Toronto—have proposed a distinction among three different kinds of problems in the world: the simple, the complicated, and the complex.

Simple problems, they note, are ones like baking a cake from a mix. There is a recipe. Sometimes there are a few basic techniques to learn. But once these are mastered, following the recipe brings a high likelihood of success.

Complicated problems are ones like sending a rocket to the moon. They can sometimes be broken down into a series of simple problems. But there is no straightforward recipe. Success frequently requires multiple people, often multiple teams, and specialized expertise. Unanticipated difficulties are frequent. Timing and coordination become serious concerns.

Complex problems are ones like raising a child. Once you learn how to send a rocket to the moon, you can repeat the process with other rockets and perfect it. One rocket is like another rocket. But not so with raising a child, the professors point out. Every child is unique. Although raising one child may provide experience, it does not guarantee success with the next child. Expertise is valuable but most certainly not sufficient. Indeed, the next child may require an entirely different approach from the previous one. And this brings up another feature of complex problems: their outcomes remain highly uncertain. Yet we all know that it is possible to raise a child well. It’s complex, that’s all.”

I want to relate this framing to teams and dysfunction. Building and leading a team is a complex problem. Like raising a child well – “It’s complex, that’s all.”  In our work at The Suddes Group, we’re often building or reconfiguring teams to create greater funding results. One of the things we’ve observed is the relationship between the simple and complex problems. When teams don’t execute on the simple problems, the complex problems are amplified.

Any funding effort is largely a function of simple problems: (more…)

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How To Write A Call Memo

The Call Memo is an important mechanic in our Sales Process – It’s an internal memo-for-the-record. I would encourage you to write-up these notes IMMEDIATELY following the visit. Don’t wait!

(I carry a dictation device and transcribe the call memo in my car – minutes after the visit ends.)

Download sample call memo: I’ve altered a real call memo and included training notes to help you learn. You can also download a call-memo-template if you want more structure.

Objectives of the Call Memo:

  • Record what happened on the visit. Someone on your team should be able to pick-up the memo and continue the conversation. In most cases, you can have a sheet of paper out to take notes during the visit. I’m amazed at how often sales people don’t take notes!
  • Use quotes. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!! The best message in the world is the one that comes from the prospect’s mouth. Capture words and exact phrases used by the prospect(s); put them in quotes.
    • Bad: Prospect seemed to like our program.
    • Good: “Of everything you’re doing, I honestly don’t really care about the after-school program but I think the summer program has mountains of potential.”

    This will:

    • Help you LISTEN. (Read Vocabulary Wars.)
    • Help others on your team LISTEN (even though they weren’t there).
    • Make life so much easier when you pull out the call report in six months…
  • Use bullets. Easier to read. Easier (faster) for you to download.
  • No rule on length. Should capture all the key points that you would need to remember in six months, but shouldn’t take you all afternoon to compose.
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The #1 Measurement for a Successful Development Operation

Reposting one of our most popular nuggets from Tom about how to measure success and productivity in your Development Operation.

RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT: What every Investor wants from their investment and what every For Impact organization should want from its development/advancement/fundraising effort.

I feel this concept is completely absent or totally misunderstood from our sector – Something I want to help change.

With all due respect to the industry, I just don’t get it. An organization invests money and resources in their development/fundraising operation (whether it’s a one-person shop or 50 people in the college advancement division) but doesn’t measure that RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT. I’m not sure how else you would measure productivity or success without making ROI the #1 barometer.

ROI is very simple to calculate. It’s a numerator/denominator math problem:

  • Here’s how much money we Raised (the numerator).
  • Here’s how much money we spent/Total Expenses (denominator).
R – TE = NET, NET, NET CHECK/FUNDS to support IMPACT!

In the For Impact approach, the development function ‘write checks’ to the IMPACT.

R ÷ TE = ROI and COST OF FUNDRAISING.

For example, if you are a hospital foundation raising $2M a year in ‘fundraising Revenue and your total expenses are $1M then your ROI is 2X or 100%; and your cost of fundraising is 50%.

There are two ways to increase your ROI and decrease your cost of fundraising:

  • Increase the Numerator (Revenue)
  • Decrease the Denominator (Expenses)

In our For Impact world, our own benchmarks are as follows:

  • 3X is minimum model/benchmark.
  • 4X is great.
  • 5X is something you should be very proud of.

If you’re running a Campaign within an existing development operation or as a separate initiative, I believe the cost of fundraising should be a nickel (five cents on the dollar.) That would give you a 20X ROI.

If you are a For Impact leader, senior staff, executive director or a board member, I hope the above gives you some sense of comparison.

Note: One last example of why ROI is a completely different level of thinking than simply “This is how much money we raised this year.” I can guarantee a small not-for-profit organization an additional $100,000 this year – Hire two ‘major gifts officers’ at $50,000 apiece. Send them to For Impact Boot Camp. I guarantee that they can go out and raise $100,000 in the next year (combined.)Same thing would be true with a larger organization at $1M. Hire five major gift officers at $200,000 each. I’m fairly confident if they followed any sales process they would each be able to raise $200,000 in the next year for a total of $1M.

Ok, I think you get the point.

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“Can You Get Me A Proposal?”

Have you ever finished a great visit and had the prospect say, “This is great – Can you get me a proposal?”

If someone asks this we need to simplify on the spot – “Sure thing. Are you an email person?” (Everyone is.) “Would it be okay if I summarized our conversation in bullet point form and shot that back by email?”

Save yourself HOURS by converting ‘proposals’ to ‘bullet points.’

Read more on Follow Up.

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The Vision Must Live In One Person’s Head

The vision for your organization must live in one person’s head.

The vision can’t sit with a committee. Many can contribute to the building of a clear vision but, there must be one person that holds that vision. This ultimate vision keeper could be the CEO or it could be the Board Chair.

We use this nugget often as the first step toward strategic clarity – many leaders don’t realize they’re trying to juggle or navigate 3-4 visions.

The ultimate vision keeper is often trying to make room for others – inviting them to contribute to the vision. This can be great, so long as it’s clear that there will be one person that ultimately owns the vision.

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Optimism. Pessimism. Skepticism.

So much of Being For Impact is about having a positive attitude and optimism.

I was asked recently about about being too positive and it was then suggested that maybe a little pessimism keeps balance. I don’t believe this.

But I do believe in the rigor of SKEPTICISM.

Skepticism is not the opposite of optimism. Pessimism is the opposite of optimism.  Skepticism is something different – entirely. It represents the work you do to give your optimism a solid foundation.  

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

516TXpkm6+L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_This week’s W.O.W. is a book – Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

His core message: Do less, but better. You can unlock quality and make your highest contribution toward the things that really matter by doing only what is essential.

He dubs this ‘Essentialism.’

In some ways this isn’t a new idea, and yet, I found myself underlining nuggets on every page:

  • If you don’t prioritize your life, somebody else will.
  • To embrace the essence of Essentialism requires we replace false assumptions with three core truths: “I choose to,” “Only a few things really matter,” and “I can do anything but not everything.”
  • Once we accept the reality of trade-offs we stop asking, “How can I make it all work?” and start asking the more honest question “Which problem do I want to solve?”
  • Essentialists spend as much time as possible exploring, listening, debating, questioning, and thinking… Almost everything is noise, and a very few things are exceptionally valuable. This is the justification for taking time to figure out what is most important.

This makes a lot of sense. Recent discoveries in neuroscience tell us that the decision-making function in our brains does not prioritize!

Essentialism is applicable to any human endeavor:

  • Sales/Major Gifts. Spend more time with better prospects. Just Visit. Just Ask. The  discipline of the Sales Process (e.g., strategy, predisposition, follow-up.) These are the essentials; almost everything else is noise and nonessential. 
  • Life. An Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last twelve weeks of their lives, recorded their most often discussed regrets. At the top of the list: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” McKeown argues for LIFE DESIGN, “This requires, not just haphazardly saying no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically eliminating the nonessentials.”

I agree with McKeown’s notion that Essentialism is an idea whose time has come. We are in an age-of-noise. Discern. Focus. Do less. Have more IMPACT.

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We Spend 95% of the Time Thinking About Ourselves and Our Own Story

“When we are not engaged in thinking about some definite problem, we usually spend about 95 percent of our time thinking about ourselves.” – How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

I’m not sure how to tell you to use this nugget – I just know it’s very insightful.

Related: In The Power of Story, Jim Loehr writes:

“The human brain, according to a recent New York Times article about scientists investigating why we think the way we do, has evolved into a narrative-creating machine that takes ‘whatever it encounters, no matter how apparently random’ and imposes on it ‘chronology and cause-and-effect logic.

Stories impose meaning on the chaos. They organize and give context to our sensory experiences, which otherwise might seem like no more than a fairly colorless sequence of facts. Facts are meaningless until you create a story around them.”

Here are some ways I’ve processed and coached around this recently:

  • As a speaker or leader.  I promise you no one else is over analyzing your work or your presentation to the degree you are – especially when things go bad.  You’re spending 95% of your whitespace-thinking trying to align your world in your head… how you did with a presentation or how you are doing in your role.  Other people have reactions to your work but they don’t dwell on it — they dwell on themselves. They can ‘let it go’; you should too.
  • As a human being.  Now that you’ve read this, take note of how often you’re making sense of your own life, your own narrative.  What if we can shift it to something more like 50/50!?  I believe we can! Or, at least, we can direct our 95% toward more empathetic thinking.
  • On a visit.  Whomever I’m sitting with is spending 95% of their time working on their own narrative!  What’s the narrative!? (Discovery! Discovery! Discovery!) I want to listen and then tie to that!

 

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General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis on Professional Reading

You’re never too busy to read.

This eloquent letter from Marine General Mattis is wise, direct and incontrovertible – I’ve never read anything better on reading:

The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men.
 Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.
Going forward, I will print and share this letter with every graduate as ‘some of the best life advice I can give.’

I’m reminded also of Charlie Munger’s observation, “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero.”

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