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Transcript: 3rd Sector Funding & The Economy


“NOW MORE THAN EVER…”
3rd SECTOR FUNDING & THE ECONOMY

This is a transcript of an address by Tom delivered on Friday, October 3. To listen/download audio or view discussion & feedback click here.

I’m a scarred veteran of 35 years of funding visions, dreams and impact. I’m not a financial expert. I’m not an economist. I don’t know the difference between macro, micro or macaroni. I have nothing to offer on solutions to this economic mess. I’m just an OLD GUY who has been in the field for all these years and wanted to share some thoughts with other For Impact Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs.

For the last 25 years, The Suddes Group has been engaged in helping organizations and institutions raise over $1 billion. In the last five or six years, Nick Fellers and I have also been involved in coaching organizations towards another billion dollars.

‘GYA’. To grab your attention quickly, I would urge you to do the exact opposite of what most 3rd Sector Leaders and Development Staff are doing right now… which is hunkering down, hiding in the office, using “market turmoil” as another fabulous excuse for not getting out and visiting and presenting and asking your best prospects and your champions to continue to invest in what you do.

I was just with a wonderful group of dedicated development professionals, part of the Sales Team at a liberal arts college, and I used the phrase “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”…

“THIS TOO SHALL PASS…” is based on fact. The economy is cyclical. Always has been. Always will be. Full of ups and downs. You’ve just got to ride it out.

According to a recent article in Inc. magazine, I have survived 10 recessions in my life (if you count 1949 which was both a recession and the year I was born). This makes me both old and able to share some of these experiences with you.

  • I was Director of Development during The Campaign for Notre Dame. $130M Goal. $50M over goal. This was also during a “recession”. I just didn’t realize it because I didn’t pay any attention to it.
  • During an entrepreneurial stint in real estate, athletic clubs and other businesses, I had the joy in 1980 of going through Jimmy Carter’s gas shortages, high unemployment and interest rates that climbed from 11% to 22.5%!

    For perspective, I had loans totaling $6M… at 2.5% over prime… paying 25% interest. That’s $1.2M a year, $100,000 a month. (I did not have that factored into my ‘business plan’. The good news was that it allowed me to write the first 3 chapters of a book: Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13.)

  • I’ll never forget kicking off a $5M Economic Development Campaign in Orange County, California, the day after the county had declared bankruptcy! (I think we went 30% over goal.)
  • I remember going to Cleveland and working on their Economic Development marketing effort right after the mayor had also declared bankruptcy and the river had caught on fire. (Again, goal achieved.)
  • I remember, as we all do, September 11, 2001. And, I remember 9 days after those World Trade Center attacks giving a speech/talk/presentation in California with a large group of incredible staff and volunteers from the American Cancer Society. I wasn’t sure there was even going to be any flights nor that I wanted to get on one. But, I flew out and gave the talk. In essence, I said that nothing will change what happened; and that as horrible as we all felt, we had to march on… because the 6,000 plus people who had died on September 11th was the same number of people who die every single day from cancer. I told them that the work that American Cancer Society does was so important that, now more than ever, they needed to continue the Research, the Education, and the Service that ACS provides. (I’m sure you remember how the financial markets plummeted at this time as well.).

Every one wants to know WHAT TO DO. While not using these words, I think many of you also want to know how to stay positive in what are obviously negative times.

The first thing I’m going to encourage you to do is to:

THINK LIKE AN ENTREPRENEUR.

I was at Notre Dame the night before last speaking to a wonderful group of young, entrepreneurial ‘wannabes’ at the Entrepreneur’s Club. I shared with them the Entrepreneur’s Mantra, which is THINK BIG. BUILD SIMPLE. ACT NOW.

I believe that applies to all of us. Now, more than ever, it’s time to:

  • THINK BIG. Now is the time to talk about Vision, Transformation and B.H.A.G.’s. Time to stop asking 100 people to fund a $100,000 project, which is 1,000 times harder than finding the 1 person who loves the project and wants to see it happen.
  • BUILD SIMPLE. Now is the time to have a clear, concise, compelling MESSAGE around your Purpose, your Priorities and your Plan. That’s all it takes in good times or bad.
  • ACT NOW. To quote Andy Grove of Intel, now is the perfect time to “ENGAGE, THEN PLAN.” None of us can ‘plan’ on what’s going to happen in the next few weeks or few months or even in the next few years. We need to be acting now… ENGAGED with our best people… presenting opportunities.

When I say ‘THINK LIKE an ENTREPRENEUR’, I’d like to motivate or even inspire you with the definitions of entrepreneurship to help impact you at times like this.

The Godfather of Entrepreneurs was a 19th Century Economist named Jean-Baptiste Say, who said that “Entrepreneurs shift resources out of low productivity to higher productivity to create VALUE.”

One hundred years later, Joseph Schrumpter uttered his famous line about “Entrepreneurs are INNOVATORS who drive CREATIVE DESTRUCTION.”

And then, Peter Drucker, Über Management Guru, said it this way, “Entrepreneurs always search for CHANGE, respond to it and exploit it as an OPPORTUNITY to create VALUE.”

Drucker added that “A SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR… CHANGES the PERFORMANCE CAPACITY of SOCIETY.” (!!!)

What we do, what you all do, is way too important to use the economy as an excuse to not meet Drucker’s idea of “changing the performance capacity of society”.

Now, let me get specific.

Here are 3 ideas to help you in this obviously difficult time. In some ways, I hope it answers the question of “WHAT DO WE DO?”

1. FOCUS ON YOUR IMPACT.

If you’re a regular reader/listener, you’ll know this is our entire Point of View. IMPACT DRIVES INCOME, not the other way around.

Regardless of the vagarities of the Dow Jones, the S&P or NASDAQ…
the NEED doesn’t change.

  • It doesn’t change the fact that people are homeless. (It exacerbates it.)
  • It doesn’t change the fact that people are dying of cancer, AIDS, lung diseases and more.
  • It doesn’t change the fact that we have to stop domestic violence and child abuse.
  • It doesn’t change the fact that children need a better education… and that high school students without family role models and resources need access to college.
  • And on, and on, and on…

In many cases, these are the same people who are being dramatically affected by these events. The bottom line on IMPACT is that all of the people who are counting on your services still need your help. They may be ‘hunkering down’ and trying to survive, but they’re counting on you to keep delivering your services, solutions and products (so to speak) but actually hoping that you’re looking into the future and growing and scaling your IMPACT rather than cutting those services.

Note: If you’re focused on “fundraising” and “development” and your “campaign”, then you actually might be better off in your office reciting the “Woe is me” mantra.

If you believe in what you do, there’s no place and no reason to hide.

2. TRUST YOUR MESSAGE.

As Nicholson and Cruise said in A Few Good Men, “Let me make this crystal clear…”

If you have a clear, concise and compelling MESSAGE, then you are no longer a not-for-profit or a charity. You’re a For Impact Organization. You can make a business-like presentation, you can talk about investment and return-on-investment and you can talk about your solutions and your impact.

To repeat this 2nd idea: The POWER OF YOUR MESSAGE is what will drive success… not where Bernacke and the Treasury set interest rates or the size of the “bailout” package, or whatever.

Note Bene: Let me use this situation as a terrific example of the “Power of Your Message”. Is there a single person reading this that would like to “BAILOUT” greedy, Wall Street fat cats and manipulative, sub-prime lenders with bonuses based on stock price and huge golden parachutes?

Oh yeah. And, these ‘fat cats’ and the ‘bonus seekers’ basically ripped off Americans. If you think about it for a second, that’s actually the ‘message’. (I read one political pundit’s comments that said this was one of the worst ‘Product Marketing Jobs’ since ‘New Coke’. )

Bail out or rescue plan? Rescue plan or investment opportunity.

Note: Warren Buffett actually said, “This is an investment opportunity for the government [who is the only who has any cash right now] to buy up under-valued assets at pennies on the dollar and sell them later to return, and possibly even increase, the investment.”

Again, I don’t know squat about the ramifications of this government intervention. I just know the ‘message’ sucked.

Re: Your Message:

  • If your Vision is to Save Lives, Reduce Incidence and Improve Quality of Life (ACS), then share it.
  • If your Aspiration is to Provide the Finest Liberal Arts Education in the Country (Colorado College), then present it.
  • If your Purpose is to Build Strong Kids, Strong Families and Strong Communities (YMCA), then say it.

3. GET BACK TO FUNDAMENTALS.

Every single coach in America, at one time or another, has uttered these words. “We need to get back to fundamentals.” (Lou Holtz would call it ‘blocking and tackling’.)

For us, those fundamentals are not some academic, theoretic, philosophical B.S. on eleemosynary activities.

It’s the fundamental of getting out and ENGAGING with your best investors and best prospects.

It’s Sales Trainer Brian Tracy’s fundamental of SPENDING MORE TIME WITH BETTER PROSPECTS.

It’s the fundamental of JUST VISIT with your champions and your key leaders and investors.

It’s MAKING PRESENTATIONS and, again, trusting both your Message and your Presentation.

And, it’s JUST ASK… the fundamental of all fundamentals. It’s asking your best prospects and best investors for advice and counsel, for help, for transformation, for whatever.

Now, more than ever, we need to be out having CONVERSATIONS and DIALOGUE with our very best people. We need to be asking them to increase their investments to help impact those you serve.

Special Note: One of our fundamentals around prospects is the idea of defining your IDEAL PROFILE. There’s a lot more on that at ForImpact.org, but in its simplest form, an Ideal Profile creates a picture of the PERFECT PERSON… who could TRANSFORM YOUR ORGANIZATION… AT THIS GIVEN MOMENT.

Yes, it has to do with Capacity and with the Relationship to your cause and your case. But, these Ideal Prospects are usually smart and successful people who are actually looking to move from SUCCESS to SIGNIFICANCE. You’ve got to let them figure out the “mechanics” of how they’re going to do that. Your job is to JUST ASK and to PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.

SPECIAL, SPECIAL, SPECIAL NOTE: If you need it, here’s another great reason to be out there right now meeting with your best people. Every single banker will tell you, as mine did just two weeks ago, that the most important thing during difficult times, or workouts, is to COMMUNICATE with the bank. If you’re communicating, things will work. If you stop communicating, then notices are sent and legal processes begin.

I’ve been involved in start-ups at 19 companies, and I have put my knee pads on with a lot of banks. I’ve been through 3 pretty intense economic downturns and I know the only reason that I’ve survived was that I’ve always been willing to sit down, show a plan and communicate.

I believe this is particularly relevant to all of you. You actually need to do the opposite of what you’re thinking right now…

JUST VISIT. JUST PRESENT. JUST ASK.

3 CHALLENGES

I’d like to close with 3 challenges that I think will help you, today, go about your work of changing the world and impacting those whom you serve.

1. EMBRACE THIS OPPORTUNITY. Now, more than ever, you can Change the way you Think, Change the way you Operate and Change the way you Fund.

Now is the best time to make some of those hard but obvious decisions and changes. Re-allocate resources immediately to better deal with the reality and the brutal facts of the current situation… and your future impact. Re-design your Business Model and your Funding Model. Re-imagine your ‘talent’ requirements, both staff and board.

2. DON’T MAKE DECISIONS FOR YOUR BEST PROSPECTS! This is huge. Please pay attention. I truly believe one of the worst things you can do in this particular time is to MAKE DECISIONS for your best prospects and potential investors.

I’ve seen and heard way too many people sitting in their office or a strategy meeting “deciding” that now is not a good time to present or to ask. The only person who should make that decision is the person you’re with.

Nick and I have both been out making a lot of visits in the last week to 10 days while the world was collapsing. Very, very, very few of those people have even brought up the situation. And, if they do, you just deal with it authentically and empathetically.

P.S. If you are not actually out visiting and presenting opportunities to Qualified Prospects, you really can’t weigh in on this conversation with your ‘doom and gloom’ attitude.

3. POSITION FOR THE FUTURE. Yes, maybe the “TIMING” is not perfect. Maybe it’s not a good idea to go out this afternoon and ask your million dollar prospect for ‘THE’ gift.

However, THIS TOO SHALL PASS… and NOW, MORE THAN EVER…

Your responsibility is to your organization and to the people whom you serve.

You need to be thinking about the future, talking about your vision, presenting opportunities to scale and grow your impact.

Note Bene: America is the most giving society and the most giving people in the world. ($300 Billion last year alone.)

Yes, the market has lost an awful lot in the last week, but there’s still going to be a TRANSFER OF WEALTH in the next 30 to 50 years from boomers like me of over $100 TRILLION. Many of the wealthiest and most successful people of this generation have taken care of their families and now want to leave a legacy.

SO, WHAT NOW?

Your choice actually seems pretty clear, at least to me.

You can hunker down and use this as an excuse to not do anything. You can suffer from Apacophobia (fear of the Apocalypse) or Armegedophobia (fear of Armageddon).

FEAR, by the way, is False Expectations Appearing Real.

You can do your ‘chicken little dance’, but I can guarantee you it’s going to be a SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.

If you believe people won’t give and invest… they won’t.

If you believe that the time is not right to ask… then it isn’t.

If you believe there is no money available… then you’re right.

My encouragement, my perspective, my nature is to simply tell you to stop reading the newspaper and watching television… and go do the things that you know you need to do.

One final story. This reinforces my point or actually is a sign of the Apocalypse.

Last week, Sotheby’s auction house announced that the two-day sale of British artist Damien Hirst’s work raised $198 Million, a record for an auction of work by a single artist.

The article I read from London said, “The turmoil engulfing the global financial market did nothing to dampen prices as more than 600 prospective buyers packed the showroom and others bid by phone.”

The $198 Million bought a “tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde ($17M), an embalmed calf with golden hoofs and horns ($18.5M), and some stainless steel, glass and manufactured diamonds ($9.4M).”

To me, this is the same thing as one of the wealthiest people in the world putting $88 Million into what is, in effect, the Jimmy Hendrix Museum.

It’s the same as the ‘little old lady’ who leaves millions of dollars to her cats or dogs.

The point isn’t about Jimmy, cats and dogs or pickled sharks and butterfly paintings.

It’s about why that money didn’t go to your FOR IMPACT ORGANIZATION.

It’s almost always because we didn’t JUST ASK.

Q&A FROM THIS THIRD-SECTOR FUNDING TELESCONFERENCE

NJF: If we’re meeting with a prospect and they do bring up the economy, and that could happen, how do we respond? You and I have received phone calls about this. While it hasn’t happened to us, I think it’s a function of the presentation.

TJS: Great question. It’s a very fair question and it does happen to a number of people that you and I are coaching. Here’s what you’ve got to do. You’re on these visits. If you’ve followed any For Impact stuff, if you’ve been to training, if you look online at our FLOW and FRAMEWORK, you know that it’s also about DISCOVERY and it’s about AUTHENTICITY.

If they say to you, “This isn’t a good time. I did have money in the market. I’m uncomfortable. My spouse is uncomfortable. I don’t feel like we can make a gift at this time.” You’ve got to say to them, “Of course, I understand that.”

However, it doesn’t change the fact that your institution has been there since 1842 or 1874. It doesn’t change the fact of the NEED and, being very AUTHENTIC with them, you’ve got to say to them again, “Of course, I understand that.” And you empathize with it. But as they know, things are going to change. If it doesn’t, we’re all in trouble anyway. You’ve got to talk again about the vision and about the future and you basically have to look them in the eye and say, “I know, because this is what you said, that this is something that you want to do. You’re just saying to me that the timing to do it is not very good at this moment. Is that right?” And, for the most part they’re going to “Yes”.

Then you’ve got to encourage them to keep the faith and let them know if there is anything you can do to help them that you will and that at some point when things do get better you’ll be back. You can even set that time right now. “Would it be okay to contact in another 30 days when we see how this is all going to play out?” “Could I get with you the first of the year?” “Can you go home and talk with your spouse?” (“And, shame on me for not having her or him with us right now.”)

Again, Nick, I think the answer to that question is: I’m counting on the wonderful competency and professionalism of the people that are out there. You just have to be authentic and you have to empathetic and yet you still have to reinforce that you (the organization) are going to be there and that the need is still there. Do you think that helps or would you suggest another way?

TJS: Please challenge us. I’ve had people say to me, “Tom, you’re so full of it right now. There’s no way I’m going out and talk to people and ‘ask them for money’. I’m just not.” Well, there’s nothing I can do about that, Nick. But you and I have both been out there. We’re out there now. We’ve got people that are out there. I just want to remind people: If you’re Colorado College and your aspiration is to Provide the Finest Liberal Arts Education in the Country… If you’re the American Cancer Society and you’re message is to Save Lives, Reduce the Incidence of Cancer and Impact the Quality of Life… If you’re the YMCA and your message is We Build Strong Kids, Strong Families and Strong Communities… If you’re with the right prospect, what is somebody going to say to that?

NJF: I’m going to combine two questions that came in and set you up. I think I’m pretty confident I know where you’ll go with this.

One question came in. It was about an organization and their board. They have their big annual event every November. The board is getting together right now and talking about maybe moving that to March because of “the economy”. The second question to tie into all this is “What if we don’t have people that are in the habit of giving us those big gifts? Is now a good time to start that?” Tom, before I have you riff on that… you mentioned that Junior Achievement visit I did. That’s an organization that has never been out visiting with anybody. Never. Only do events. The banker I met with, the first time we’ve been with them, didn’t know much about the organization and we ended up doing a six-figure ask and that was Monday.

TJS: But, Nick, he bought because you had that wonderful message. Kids. Entrepreneurism. You’ve got this terrific message so you could go out there and do that. So you know what’s going to be my answer to the second part of that question.

I actually think there has never been a better time to be out. As I said earlier, what a great opportunity to change the way you think, change the way you operate and change the way you fund. If you’ve never been out asking for “big gifts” or asking those large investors for transformational gifts, then now is the time. You can be so authentic with them. Right, Nick? You can look them in the eye and say, “You know what? For a lot of the people that have supported us over time at smaller levels, this is a tough time right now. You’re one of a handful of people that can make a difference in this organization.” I think it’s a great time to go out and change that. What do you wait for? If you’re waiting for Suddes and Fellers to tell you that next March is going to be the perfect time. Like next March, things will be way better. Nobody knows that. Who knows? All I know is that next March, you’ll still have a need and you’ll still be making an impact. So let’s deal with the first question.

I’m death on Special Events. They’re not special and they’re not events. If I’m on your board or I’m you and I’m looking at my big November Special Event Auction, Gala, whatever and I’m saying, “Oh my gosh, it’s such a bad time. Nobody will show up.” The reason nobody is going to show up is because nobody wants to go to an event.

Now, here’s a positive way to handle that. I would leave the thing in November. There’s no way I’d move it to March because you still need it. Here’s what I would do though. I wouldn’t do a special event that’s not special and not an event. I would create a Memorable Experience in November. A Memorable Experience. I wouldn’t have any of it tied to “fundraising”. I would not even pretend that it was a fundraiser. It would be a Memorable Experience and that Memorable Experience would convey the unbelievable impact that you have as an organization; and then I would do the follow-up after that Memorable Experience with the best prospects that were there. I’d follow-up with everybody in one way or another. But it sure wouldn’t be about selling tables or tickets. It sure wouldn’t be about silent auction bids. I would treat that Memorable Experience as a predisposition to be able to sit down with some incredible prospects that were at that Memorable Experience. And then I think you can raise $500,000 or $1M from those best people instead of $100,000 which really isn’t triple net money anyway when you subtract the cost of the staff time, the return-on-energy and the volunteer time that it takes to put on one of those supposedly Special Events.

I was just with Matt and Dan in South Bend. They run one of the most incredible social entrepreneurial organizations, one of the most impactful organizations in the world, I think. Matt took this idea a few months ago and had a golf outing. They didn’t do a golf outing as a fundraiser and they didn’t sell sponsorships for the holes. They did a golf outing as a Memorable Experience, did the dinner, brought the people they served in and ended up raising more money (three or four times more money…I forget how many times the amount of money that they had raised at the golf outing) by simply treating that as an experience and getting people there and then sharing the message and then doing the follow-up.

Fire the next question on me.

NJF: The next question is again a combination of a couple and I’ve received this by phone. I’m going to set you up Tom. If you were standing before someone’s board right now… because a lot of people are saying, “What are do we say to our board?” … We’ve got board members on here that are chairs saying, “How do we advise our organization in this time?” And specifically, Tom, two questions… both the same question: If we’re thinking about a campaign or getting ready to launch a big initiative, what do we say to the board around this? The thing that we see is inaction. People just don’t know how to process what is going on. Imagine you were standing before a board right now and maybe the one that you and I have been talking about next week looking at $100M Campaign, what do you say to them?

TJS: Thank you for teeing that up. I forgot about that. We’re going to California next week to talk to a board about $100M Initiative. I hate to be such a smart aleck on this, I think that you and I are going to say to them the same thing that I just said in the last 30 minutes. Has the impact changed? Has the need changed? Have the purpose and priorities of the organization changed? Has the message changed just because the markets crashed, because a bunch of idiots at Lehman Bros. went out of business, because Washington Mutual made way too many sub-prime loans and now that had to get bought up at two cents on the dollar or AIG gets whatever? How does any of that have any impact on the fact of this incredible school we’re going to speak with? There are kids in the school right now. They are kids coming to that school. What is any of this going on right now have to do with the need? And my answer to that board is going to be absolutely nothing.

So, that doesn’t mean that some of their best prospects haven’t been impacted. Weren’t we talking just last night about a prep school on the East Coach whose finished a campaign and a lot of their pledges are by people who used to work on the street? Used to work is the key thing. They used to work on the street. They used to work for Merrill Lynch. They used to work for Lehman Bros. They can’t pay those pledges right now. So, I’m not some Pollyanna here with rose-colored glasses on saying, “This has NO impact on fundraising.” But what I would say to that board is the same thing that you and I are going to say next week and the same thing we’ve been saying for the last five years. What are the fundamentals here? The fundamentals are that Impact Drives Income. The fundamentals are that you need to be talking about your message. The fundamentals are that we need to be out presenting our message. Too many people are still sitting around in their office. It has nothing to do with the last two weeks. It’s been for a year because they’re not sure they can do this “campaign”. They don’t even know what their goal is. They want to pick a number. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

NJF: And only because, again, we’ve got people who are immediately going to take this back and answer some questions for clarity… You’d punch me, Mr. Boxing Coach, if I ask this but here’s the question: Tom, based on your experience, would we be better off to wait just two months? I understand we should be out now but should we wait just until this passes?

TJS: No. Because it’s not relevant. If I were to answer yes to that… like wait two months, I would be so unauthentic and it would contradict everything I’ve just said for the last 42 minutes. I want to speak directly to that person. Remember, my third challenge is to think about the future, prepare for the future, talk about the future. Get out now. It doesn’t mean you have to have everything wrapped up right now. It doesn’t mean you have to start off by acknowledging some of this. Although, here’s a little tip. It’s not up to you to bring up the economy. It’s not up to you to start your presentation during your opening with, “Oh my gosh, can you believe what happened?” And, it’s not up to you to say, “Can you believe that didn’t pass or did pass?” Your job is to present your message and if they bring that up, you’ve got to deal with it. Again, being very brutally frank, there is no value in waiting two months. You need to be out next week with your best people. You need to be doing your Leadership Consensus Building right now. You need to be prepared. I’m assuming that person, like I am, is saying that things are going to be better in two months. But don’t wait the two months. Go out right now.

NJF: I was doing the whole blog moderation and everything else. I don’t think you told the Orange County story.

TJS: I mentioned Orange County earlier. When we started that campaign, we literally went out and made our first visit the day after Orange County declared bankruptcy because of a bunch of bad financial decisions.

NJF: Tom, you can’t see this because you’re doing the phone thing. We actually have some people that are weighing in online with success stories from the last week. I think that’s great.

TJS: I think that’s perfect, Nick. It reinforces what you’re doing. It reinforces your success stories and my success stories, so to speak. It reinforces what is going on at Ohio Wesleyan University and Colorado College. It reinforces what you’re doing at The Oaks or at LaSalle. It reinforces the coaching that we’re doing. Please, if you’re still listening right now, weigh in on that. I’m going to remind you that if you’re not out there making visits, then you really can’t weigh in on how bad things are. That’s just not fair. The only way you can weigh in on that is if you’re actually out there doing this.

Nick, before I forget this, I want to close again with the whole idea of perspective and experience. I just know… I can guarantee you this one thing. Just get out there (and I have been out there during the worst of times and during the best of times). I’ve screwed up presentations in the best of times. And I’ve made great presentations in the worst of times. The fact is that if you’re with people who believe in what you do and if you believe in what you do, then the time is NOW.

NJF: I would say that is my perspective on this too. I’ve been fielding phone calls and talking to everybody, Tom. I really don’t think anybody is out visiting right now. If I could make a general statement, and I have been out in the field doing the visits, the visits are also easier to get right now because no one is doing anything.

NJF: We’ve got all this online at ForImpact.org. We’re going to put this audio up there. Give us a couple of days and we’ll get a transcript up there. A lot of questions we couldn’t answer in here but Tom and I are going to go back and forth online. I’ll also put a link up there for the next two hours that allows you to get the Campaign Book for free, along with the audio. People have referenced a few things there. I want to say thanks and I’ll give it to you, Tom, for a comment and a close.

TJS: Nick, I’m just going to play off your last thing. To the people that are listening to this right now, you have such a huge advantage because you’re going to take advantage of the opportunity and when you go out there, you won’t be taking a ticket in the lobby or getting in line with all the people that are asking for money. This is actually pretty good for you because everybody else is going to hide in their office and you’re going to be out there.

I heard a story yesterday on the radio riding back from Notre Dame and the story basically said that a small business person called in and said, “This is all a bunch of garbage. I went and met with my banker. I asked my banker for money. My banker said ‘Sure, here’s the money’. And then I asked my banker what was going on and the banker said, ‘We’ve got a lot of money. We just don’t have anybody coming in asking for it’.” This reinforces Just Ask. But then I tested that with my banker, and the fact is that “the banks actually do have money”. Maybe not the biggies that are fighting all this stuff. I think the analogy here is that people still do have money. They still have the ability to help you. They’re not all invested in Lehman and the bad parts of the market. Some parts of this economy are doing really well and I’m going to encourage you as I close out… this is my motivational/inspirational encouragement: Get out NOW. Take advantage of this opportunity. Sit down with your best people and just have a conversation and your entire organization will be transformed and changed. You’ve just got to trust me on that.

I hope this helped. I’d love to get some feedback from you. Please feel free to challenge me on anything I’ve said and I’ll respond to you directly. But I hope overall that this has helped and I actually hope that you’ll share this (the audio, the text) with your board and as many people as you can. Perhaps even with some of your top investors…