Author Archives: Tom Suddes

Predisposition Happens Before, During and After the Visit

We are professionals – We do not make COLD CALLS!

Instead, we PREDISPOSE the prospect or potential investor before, during and after the visit. We predispose them to our phone call to set up the visit … we predispose to the visit/presentation itself … and yes, we even predispose to the follow-up!

Predisposition

The word PREDISPOSE means to make someone inclined, in advance, to a specific action or attitude. You need to be predisposing potential investors:

  • To expect your contact,
  • To look forward to visiting with you about your amazing organization,
  • About your goals for the visit and how much time you need,
  • About when to expect your follow up and what you will be communicating in your follow up.

Reminder: Predisposition is not the same as cultivation and the ball is always in your court!

 

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Order Your Visits Using MO-COs, LEAD-COs and CO-COs

We’re big on the need to have one Master Prospect List! A great MPL rates and ranks your entire pool of Qualified Prospects/Relationships in descending order or importance.  However, deciding who you’re going to see first is very different from simply starting at the top of your Master Prospect List and working your way down.

Instead, begin like Archimedes on his best day by trying to LEVERAGE your commitments – building on each visit and commitment as you move along.

Here’s a great way to think about ordering your visits: ‘MO-COs,’ ‘LEAD-COs’ and ‘CO-COs’.

MO-COs are MOMENTUM COMMITMENTS.

These commitments are not necessarily about magnitude or size but rather ‘COMMENSURATE’… ‘SURPRISE’… ‘STRETCH’ gifts. These are the ‘EARLY ADOPTERS’ who get it, buy in, and provide the MOMENTUM to get going. In Good To Great, Jim Collins’ would call these ‘FLYWHEEL’ commitments. In order to get a FLYWHEEL moving at the beginning, it takes a lot of energy. But once there is some MOMENTUM… the wheel flies!

LEAD-CO’s are LEADERSHIP COMMITMENTS.

LEADERSHIP can literally TRANSFORM the organization, the campaign or the project. These are ‘Top of the Pyramid’ lead gifts that prove that our best prospects and investors have stepped up and give everyone the confidence needed to make the campaign or project happen.

“LEADERS LEAD.” – Bob Werner 

Thanks to my friend Bob, a big time Mensch and Jewish philanthropic superstar, for the quote. I believe that success (or failure) is a direct result of LEADERS LEADING. If no one steps up as the INTERNAL leader, a campaign is doomed from the get go. If you can’t find at least one EXTERNAL leader or CHAMPION, it ain’t gonna happen either. (My preference is 3 CHAMPIONS.)

LEADERS LEAD. Boards, committees, staffs, constituents, stakeholders FOLLOW.

If leaders are not ENGAGED and PASSIONATE,  then it becomes ‘The Suddes Group Campaign’ or ‘The Executive Director’s Campaign’, etc. Tom Mucks, another successful former Suddes Group partner, says, simply: “Passion and commitment from LEADERSHIP will overcome all obstacles.”

CO-CO’S are CONNECTOR COMMITMENTS.

Going after some of your most important ‘CONNECTORS’ early on is a terrific strategy to not only get their financial commitment (which may or may not be significant) but also to generate REFERRALS and STRATEGY on getting visits with your best prospects.

SPECIAL NOTE ON REFERRALS AND 3º OF SEPARATION:

Remember you are only 3º away from any QUALIFIED PROSPECT!! (Forget Kevin Bacon and his 6º – It’s actually been determined that it’s 2.78 ‘moves’/connections between Bacon and all other actors.) CONNECTORS and other NATURAL PARTNERS allow you to be one or two CONTACTS away from your best prospects. This is very, very important! Realizing you are only 3º away from ANYBODY who is a QUALIFIED PROSPECT lets you use your NATURAL PARTNERS (Champions, Board Members, Key Volunteer Leaders, Current Investors) to get you there.

Extra Special Note: I am only 3º away from the Pope, the President and the Prime Minister of Israel. And, I’m only 2º away from the Dalai Lama! How? Because of my CONNECTIONS and RELATIONSHIPS, I can get to ‘someone’ who can get to ‘someone’ who can get to the Pope, the President and the Prime Minister.

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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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Hire When It Hurts

From the archives, but still relevant today – Read on for Tom’s thoughts on hiring.

Read a really terrific book called REWORK by the founders of 37 Signals. As are almost all of the books I really, really love, this is simply a collection of nuggets, loosely framed.

Three of the twelve nuggets from the chapter on HIRING really jumped out at me.

1. Hire when it hurts. “Don’t hire for pleasure; hire to kill pain.” I can’t tell you how many organizations I’ve been around that desperately want to hire a ‘Major Gift Officer‘ or more ‘Major Gift Officers’!

Nobody has prioritized their top prospects (Master Prospect List). Nobody in the organization has visited with their Top 10 or Top 20 or Top 33. There’s no Message, no Math, no Model.

Yet, we think hiring another development person/MGO is going to make some kind of difference. (more…)

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Get Rid Of Your Sacred Cows Forever

NOW is a great time to turn SACRED COWS into HAMBURGER! NOW is a great time to shed BAGGAGE which is holding us back and keeping us from making QUANTUM LEAPS!

Any time I am in front of a audience, I ask people to spend time writing down the SACRED COWS of both the Non Profit Industry (Third Sector, Fundraising, etc.) and of their particular Organization. I usually provide some ‘yeast‘ with things like:

  • “We need this event to raise awareness/friends.” Special events are not ‘special’ and not ‘events.’ ‘Donors’ hate to go. Staff hates to put them on. The ‘triple net‘ is a very poor return-on-energy and return-on-investment.
  • “Peers must solicit peers (for money).” Just the idea of the word ‘SOLICITATION’ (the implication of which I cannot go into in a PG-13 document), should be enough to make you give up on this 1950’s idea!
  • “Feasibility studies are mandatory.” Internal leaders enlist external consultants to do a feasibility study for justification, CYA, and backup. Consultant conversation with a prospect goes like this: “If XYZ nonprofit org were to do a hypothetical campaign with a hypothetical goal, how much hypothetical money would you hypothetically give to this hypothetical campaign?” (UGH!)

I find it fascinating that allowing people to talk about their SACRED COWS and the baggage that they are carrying around unleashes such an enthusiastic response.

I encourage you to go ahead and ‘vent‘ but then get on to talking about real issues that need to be dealt with and that are still happening because “It’s the way we’ve always done it.”

It’s always a great time to get your team together and talk about turning all those SACRED COWS into HAMBURGER and dumping all the BAGGAGE that we are carrying.

On my trip around the world, I saw those ‘sacred cows’ walking around the streets of India. I also learned that once these cows become too old or die, the carcasses are shipped across the border and turned into hamburger.

Along those same lines, a Hindu sage, Ramana Maharshi, asks: “Would you carry your luggage on your head while on board a train?” He says we are not lessening the burden of the train by keeping it on our head, but only straining ourselves unnecessarily.

Special Note: We do take a hard line on many things we consider to be OLD THINKING. The good news is that if we take something away, we’ll always give you a NEW way to think about it. Read more about Sacred Cows and Change here.

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Celebrate Your BirthDAY and Your BirthDATE

Happy Birthday to our youngest grandchild, EJ, who turns 6 today!  (I’m holding her in the photo below.)

Today is also my BirthDATE (March 19th is my birthDAY, thus today is my May birthDATE.)

Don’t forget to celebrate your birthDATE every month!

For the last 20 years, I have tried very, very hard to make my BIRTHDATE a special day every month.

I’ve been quietly trying to encourage everyone around me to CELEBRATE their own BIRTHDATE. And, not so quietly, I have challenged thousands of individuals at certain speaking engagements to do the same.

Here’s a great goal/challenge for 2016: Make your BIRTHDATE a special day for YOU!

Do something solo: Breakfast or coffee shop, with a journal or a book. A motorcycle or bike ride. A yoga class. Whatever.

Then, do something special with those you love: Spend a little time with the g-kids. Catch up with a sib or a child away from home. Have lunch with the ‘girls’ or a beverage with the ‘boys.’

I also use the 19th as the once a month review of my goals (lifetime, this year, upcoming 90 days, etc.) and to set Action Plan for next 30 days.

Most people laugh (hard) when I tell them to take their BIRTHDATE off. Yet, if we can’t set aside even one day every month for ourself… things are pretty screwed up.

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The Talent Spectrum

Almost everyone who is looking for a senior development person or MGO (Major Gift Officer) is thinking:

“It takes a lot of money to get an ‘experienced’ Major Gift Officer …”

OR

“I can’t pay the $80,000/$100,000 (or more) that we understand it takes to get this person.”

Bottom line:  You are NOT constrained by SALARY in your search for TALENT!

Think about this creative/contrarian idea of finding TALENT at both ends of the “Talent Spectrum.” My favorite place to be looking for talent on this spectrum is on the far left or the far right.  (And I’m not talking about political leanings!)

STAGE: 22-30 30-50 50-60 60-90+
‘BEST &

BRIGHTEST’

‘PRIME-EARNING YEARS’ ‘SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE’ ‘ELDERS-SAGES’
PROFILE:
  • Young
  • Passionate
  • Committed
  • Cause-Driven
  • Success-Driven
  • High Cost of Living
  • Family Priorities
  • Make A Difference
  • Seek Re-Potting
  • Great Coaches
  • Experience
  • Wisdom
  • Great Mentors
  • Untapped Resource
INVESTMENT:  CHEAP!  EXPENSIVE!!  REASONABLE.  FREE!!

Some thoughts on the ‘Spectrum:’

  • BEST & BRIGHTEST – Look on the ‘left’ end of the spectrum for incredibly passionate, excited, enthusiastic ‘BEST & BRIGHTEST!’  I would rather have two great, young, committed ‘Best & Brightest’ as Development Officers/ Major Gift Officers/Sales Staff … than an older, know everything, ‘experienced’ Development Officer. It costs the same, but I get double (triple) the coverage, usually with a much better attitude! 

    I look for ‘superstars.’ I love working with, coaching, mentoring the Best & Brightest. Look for young people who are unchallenged in their current job, bored, or just plain unhappy doing what they’re doing. Offer them an opportunity to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. 

    Seek ‘Best & Brightest’ if you’ve got a job that just requires a lot of energy, commitment, hard work, travel, etc. Don’t worry about lack of experience – think of it as no ‘baggage!’ Promise them an amazing experience, great contacts and ‘work’ days filled with challenges/meaning. 

    *Read Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, on why people work. The new generation wants to be involved in something with a PURPOSE, not just a PAYCHECK! Many young people can view their work at a great For Impact organization as an upgraded internship or even as a kind of volunteer/youth service commitment!

  • SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE – This group at the ‘right’ is a terrific RESOURCE.  Their families are raised and they are ready to get out of ‘rat race’, want new challenges and would love to use their experience and talent to help change the world! We love these ‘young in spirit,’ talented Eagles and Ducks coming from the for-profit world who are aligning a change in career with purpose.

    This group can bring a wealth of business experience, sales and financial expertise, and just plain productivity to their position/responsibilities. If it’s the ‘right fit,’ someone at this point in life can have a HUGE impact on your organization. They are looking to get ‘re-potted’ and ‘re-energized’ around something more than work, more than a job. Yes, they still need to earn income, but many have other sources, and just want to be treated fairly. Recruit them on the MESSAGE – not the MONEY!!!
  • ELDERS-SAGES – There is an abundance of TALENT sitting under this category – just waiting to be asked! ELDERS-SAGES are a HUGE untapped resource for the For Impact world!  Maybe not full-time, but these people bring so much wisdom, talent and life experience to the table, that they can have an amazing impact in only a few days a week or month.

    Look here to find wonderful, wise and (often) witty Board Members, mentors and even ‘unpaid staff.’ Elders-Sages can offer incredible TALENT for a very affordable investment, with a huge ROI. If asked, many of these ‘untapped resources will work for satisfaction/ fulfillment (vs. money!).  (I’ve know some absolutely unbelievable ‘$1.00/year’ staff that put ‘paid staff’ to shame!) 

    Here, you’ll find people who love your cause, vision and message … a have a lot to contribute … and ‘HUNGER for these OPPORTUNITIES!!!’ 

    Just ASK them if they are interested! Ask a great Board Member who fits this profile to join you as a full-time/part-time STAFF PERSON! If ‘60 is the new 50’ then 70 and 80 are the new 60! ‘Boomers’ (millions of us) aren’t ready to retire, play golf, sit around the house, etc. We/they want to make a difference.   And, it’s not about ‘money!’ They will help and even INVEST!

    See Marc Freedman’s book, The Big Shift for great stuff on ’boomers’ and ‘second careers’ at For Impact organizations.

“Only one in five Americans over 55 is currently on the job …. Older Americans are wealthier, healthier and living longer …. And there is ample evidence that they ‘HUNGER’ for OPPORTUNITIES … to contribute their experience and time in meaningful ways.”

America’s healthy aging population is the country’s only INCREASING NATURAL RESOURCE.”

-Marc Friedman (Prime Time)

  • PRIME EARNING YEARS – People ‘in the middle,’ God bless them, need a job!  Their focus is often on ‘the job,’ a paycheck, supporting their family. A focus on ‘heart,’ particularly the element of ‘taking a smaller salary for work you love,’ is much tougher when you’re responsible for a family.

Look at this ‘TALENT SPECTRUM’ as a way of creatively adding great staff and volunteer leaders. I’m not suggesting you overlook all of the wonderful, talented, committed people who are in their “prime-earning years.” But don’t get caught up in thinking this is the BEST OR ONLY place to look because you need someone with X years of development experience!

Bottom line: Best & Brightest, Elders-Sages, Success to Significance. All of these are wonderful places to SEARCH FOR TALENT.

HIRE FOR ATTITUDE. TRAIN FOR SKILL (at the For Impact Boot Camp.) No more expensive hiring mistakes!

 

 

 

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Sales Nugget: The Importance of Personal Goals

Tom has been receiving notes from around the world, people reaching out to share what he has taught them. One of the big themes has been the importance of Life Balance. With our own team, we call this “Integration” – Being able to integrate all the facets of your life to achieve happiness, fulfillment and overall health.

Here’s a great note from the archives – Tom talking about his mentor who introduced him to “personal goals” and “family first.”

It may seem a little weird to talk about “PERSONAL GOALS” when you’re dealing with SALES or SALES GOALS. Frank Sullivan, however, was all about writing out ALL of his goals and plans – personal, financial, business, health, etc.

Frank was literally the first person in my “business life” (and, actually, one of the very few people) that talked about his personal life and his family and his own goals – as they related to his business and sales goals.

Frank’s the one who first gave me the idea of solo time with the kids, which I turned into BIRTHDAY BREAKFAST, where we went over their favorite books, TV, friends, food – And, did their GOALS for the upcoming year! I tried to capture all these notes in one journal/green book (that I still have today.)

By the way, if you’ve never done ‘GOALS’ with a 3-year-old, you’ve really missed out!

Frank came down with Alzheimer’s at the end of his life, but, by then, he had impacted so many people and left a huge legacy. “Personal goals” and “family first” were his GIFT to me. I am forever grateful.

 

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Start Selling Your Impact

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Commit to SHARING THE STORY and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY!

STOP ASKING FOR MONEY.

Money is merely ‘worthless wampum’! No one likes asking their friends, much less strangers, for money. (The rare volunteer who really loves doing this should be treasured as a true gift, psychoanalyzed, and then cloned.)

Your conversations are not about asking for money. They are about changing the world. (Of course it requires resources to do that.)

START SELLING YOUR IMPACT!

PRESENT the OPPORTUNITY…

To help with your cause and your case.
To move from success to significance.
To make an impact and change the world.

Special Note: Ask any Board Member (or, for that matter, any of your staff) if they’d rather ‘Ask for Money’ or ‘Present Opportunities’ (to make an Impact.) You already know the answer.

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Take Massive Action

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!

A ‘Campaign’ is all about ACTION. The literal translation or definition of a ‘Campaign’ probably has its provenance with Napoleon and War. As any great general or military leader will tell you, success in war is about MASSIVE ACTION – NOW.

We’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of organizations screw around for years trying to figure out what to do, when to do it, where to hold the kickoff, etc. There are great organizations out there who, right now, are still debating the “impact of the economy and the recession,” or “somebody else has kicked off a campaign in our community” or “our donors are tired and maybe we should wait” and on and on. UGH!

CHALLENGE FOR THE DAY: What are the 3 ‘MASSIVE ACTIONS’ that you could take RIGHT NOW that would cause an EXPLOSIVE EXPONENTIAL JUMP or a QUANTUM LEAP for your organization?

WRITE THEM DOWN.

Then, GO DO ‘EM.

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DO THE WORK

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!

 

Steven PrePressfieldQuotessfield is one of my absolute favorite authors and thinkers. He’s written some fabulous historical fiction Tides of War and Gates of Fire, plus The Legend of Bagger Vance. My first copy of WAR OF ART is so full of notes, I can barely read his words!

DO THE WORK written in his usual powerful voice – challenges us to overcome RESISTANCE.

Please trust me on this: ‘DTW’ is required reading for entrepreneurial start-ups, ‘artists’, sales professionals and FOR IMPACT leaders.

Takes 30 minutes to read… but have notebook handy for nuggets/gems like these:

    1. To ‘ROCK & ROLL’, act on these 3 mantras:
      • Stay Primitive. Instinctual. Gut. Go for it.
      • Trust the Soup. Forget ‘control’. Put faith in the source, your muse, yourself.
      • Swing for the Seats. In For Impact Vocab: THINK BIG!
    2. ‘START AT END’. If you don’t know the ‘end‘… it’s hard to ‘start‘. Get your goals down and execute!
    3. START BEFORE YOU ARE READY. Great line! Stop researching, planning, thinking, worrying -JUST START!
    4. And, DON’T THINK. ACT! Overcome Resistance. Don’t procrastinate. Do it now.

DO THE WORK. START BEFORE YOU’RE READY. OVERCOME RESISTANCE.
WRAP IT. SHIP IT. DELIVER IT.

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Learn By Going

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!

Julia Cameron, one of my favorite writers/authors/thinkers, shares a terrific quote from poet Theodore Roethke that fits perfectly into our focus on ENGAGEMENT!

“I LEARN by going where I have to GO.” – Theodore Roethke

I believe it has meaning for us as INDIVIDUALS and as SALESPEOPLE.

You learn by going where you have to go – If you want to learn to sell, you need to get face-to-face with more people. If you want to learn to make an ask, then you’ve got to do just that – ASK. If you want to learn to surf or ski or box, then you must practice surfing, skiing, boxing.

Robin Williams told Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting that he had never “done” anything – He only read books. He hadn’t “smelled the paint in the Sistine Chapel, etc.”

I’m sure you get the point.

If we “learn by going” then we need to execute on our plan to VISIT with QUALIFIED PROSPECTS. As much as possible.

P.S. If Roethke is a little existential for you, listen to Brian Tracy, one of the world’s best sales trainers, writers and thinkers, when he summarizes all of sales training into this ‘SIMPLE’ challenge:

“Spend MORE TIME with BETTER PROSPECTS.”

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10,000 PUSH-UPS

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!

Let’s use this ‘Push-Up’ analogy to help reinforce ACTION.

If you commit to do 10,000 push-ups a year, the SIMPLEST and most SUCCESSFUL way to achieve that goal is to do 30 PUSH-UPS A DAY. (1 set, 3 sets of 10 or 2 push-ups an hour the 15 hours you’re awake.)

To reinforce this point even more, let’s say you wanted to do 1,000 x (your age) push-ups a year – The SIMPLE EXECUTION is 3 sets of (your age) a day…every day. (For example, if you’re 49, you would do 49 push up 3 times a day. This actually gets you more that 49,000 but you get my point.)

In this model, you can’t skip 3 days. You can’t wait until June to begin. You won’t hit your goal.

Just like with push ups, you can’t wait until November to make 100 visits (because you’ve only made 3 visits a month up until then.)

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The Goal of Predisposition

The goal of predisposition is simple: TO GET THE VISIT!

It is NOT to ‘sell on the phone’!

A really strong predisposition e-mail or letter makes the follow-up phone call very assumptive/presumptive! “I’m following up on the note that you received from (Natural Partner) and I’d like to see if you might be available next Tuesday morning? Or would Wednesday afternoon be better?”

This is not a spiel. It works.

Perseverance is key (as well as ‘practicing’ the words you will say) with your Best Prospects.

Typically, once you get through on the phone, there are three possible answers a potential investor may give you.

  1. YES.

    Awesome. Get date and time set. Follow-up with a note to confirm. Send any additional predisposition material for the actual visit itself.

  2. MAYBE.

    “What else could I do that might help you decide on getting together?”

    “I can meet you anywhere, anytime.”

    “Would it help if you spoke with (Natural Partner) to understand more about why they are engaged with us?”

    If the timing isn’t good, schedule a specific date to call back and follow through.

  3. NO.

    If this is the type of ‘no’ that means, “No time, but I still like your organization,” you could send them a President’s Circle invitation or a really strong follow-up letter, with a request. If it’s a ‘no’ that means, “No, I can’t really see this as a priority.” Or “I’m not in a position to help” then you would send a nice thank you and MOVE ON!

A quick reminder about perseverance with your most Qualified Prospects: You cannot mess up a contact to set up a visit if you are authentic!

  • “It’s really important that we meet with you.”

  • “Been trying hard to set this up because of urgency, importance, etc.”

  • “Sorry we have missed connecting so often, and I know I’m being really persistent. I just know how important it is for us to be sharing our story with more people like you.”

WHATEVER IT TAKES. I know. It’s an old and cheesy coaching cliché. However, if you take ‘perseverance’ and ‘attitude’ down to the ‘how’ – the answer is to do WHATEVER IT TAKES! Call back until they tell you not to call anymore. Stay in contact until you’ve got the visit set up. Call in all of your SUPPORT team. WHATEVER IT TAKES.

 

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Memorable Experiences as Powerful Predisposition

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: COMMIT TO BETTER PREDISPOSITION.

33Napkins-18-SpecialEvents

You’ve seen our rant on “No More Special Events.”  If not, I’ll summarize here: SPECIAL EVENTS ARE NOT ‘SPECIAL!’

They rarely generate income anywhere close to the corresponding staff and volunteer effort and time – Even though we’ve spent more that half the year selling tables, sponsoring golf holes or lining up silent auction items.

P.S. Not only do your volunteers and staff hate these Non-Special Events, so do all of the ‘INVITEES’ … who clearly don’t want to go to another ‘un-memorable, time-away-from their-family’ auction, gala, ‘fundraiser’!!!

Instead, MAKE EVERYTHING YOU DO A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE!

A ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is about your Vision, your Message, your Impact.

Every ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is an incredible PREDISPOSITION OPPORTUNITY.

A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE isn’t about the number of people in attendance, it’s about getting the best people in attendance. Instead of selling tables, think about getting the best 10 prospects you have in the room (preferably your room) and knock their socks off with the IMPACT.

 

 

 

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No More Cold Calls!

The word PREDISPOSE means exactly what it says. (Weird, huh?) We are literally (not figuratively) predisposing the person or persons, in advance, to our contact.

PREDISPOSITION is anything and everything we can do to make it not a cold call (because we are professionals who don’t make cold calls!)

Always PREDISPOSE the prospect/potential investor to (1) your phone call to set up the visit, (2) the visit/presentation itself and (3) the follow-up.


Note: Predisposition is not ‘cultivation’!

 

 

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The Perfect Predisposition

What is the absolute PERFECT PREDISPOSITION???

It’s bringing the Qualified Prospect or potential/current investor TO YOU!!!

Short. Sweet. Powerful. An idea that you can use immediately to significantly increase the level of investment from your top prospects. This idea is particularly relevant if you are in a ‘CAMPAIGN’ or trying to involve/engage your top prospects at the leadership gift level.

I’ll say it again: The absolute best PREDISPOSITION is to bring your BEST PROSPECTS to WHERE YOU DELIVER YOUR SERVICE!!!

This seems so natural and ‘commonsensical’. (That could be a new word.) Yet, to so many people we train and work with, this is a big revelation.

Don’t tell me you can’t get people to come and visit you. I didn’t say it was easy. I said it will significantly increase the magnitude of the commitment!

If they’re really and truly a great PROSPECT, then they need to SEE and FEEL and TOUCH what you do – the ‘HOME COURT ADVANTAGE’ is very powerful! (At Colleges and Universities we call this GTC: GET TO CAMPUS!)

Bringing your prospects/potential investors TO YOU – where you can control the environment, the flow, the tour/agenda – is one hundred times better than their office or home, and 1,000 times better than a restaurant.

IF “A PICTURE is worth a THOUSAND WORDS.”

THEN “A LIVE MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE is worth a MILLION words.”

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Use Predisposition and Perseverance to Get the Visit

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: COMMIT TO BETTER PREDISPOSITION.

Getting a visit is both an ATTITUDE and a SKILL. There’s a ‘SYSTEM’ to it.

Getting a visit is all about: PREDISPOSING … QUALIFIED PROSPECTS … to take your phone CALL … and ultimately VISIT with you. I’ve included action steps, strategies, and tips to help you make it happen.

We are professionals. We do not make COLD CALLS! We always PREDISPOSE the prospect/potential investor. We first predispose a potential investor to our phone call to set up the visit, and then we predispose to the visit/ presentation itself (and yes, we even predispose to the follow-up).

The word PREDISPOSE means to make someone inclined, in advance, to a specific action or attitude. You need to be literally (not figuratively) be predisposing potential investors to expect your contact and look forward to visiting with you about your amazing organization.

 

The Goal

 

The goal of predisposition is simple: GET THE VISIT! It is NOT to ‘sell on the phone’!

A really strong predisposition e-mail or letter makes the follow-up phone call very assumptive/ presumptive!

“I’m following up on the note that you received from (Natural Partner) and I’d like to see if you might be available next Tuesday morning? Or would Wednesday afternoon be better?”

Consider having someone else set up the visit! I know this is somewhat sacrilegious to many people, but I’ve found it to be the single most effective way to get visits. This is especially important if you are full-time Development Officer/Major Gift Officer/Chief Development Officer with a portfolio. You should be making presentations, not setting up visits.

In the predisposition note, the sender/Natural Partner closes with these very important words: “I have asked Mary Smith from our development team to follow-up with you to set up a visit.”

A phone call from your CEO/President’s Assistant is one of the absolute best ways to get a visit.

The easiest way for the Campaign/Foundation Team of a well-respected hospital to
get a visit with their top prospects is to do a simple predisposition email from the CEO, and then ask her wickedly competent and talented assistant does a follow-up phone call to set the visit. The assistant already knows knows all of the CEO’s relationships, and has great existing interaction with both the prospects and their assistants (gatekeepers).

 
(more…)

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Know Your Goal!

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Set your goals of ENGAGEMENT.

“PRODUCTIVITY is the act of bringing a company (organization or person) closer to its GOAL. Every ACTION that brings a company (organization or person) closer to its GOAL is PRODUCTIVE. Every ACTION that does NOT bring a company (organization or person) closer to its GOAL is not PRODUCTIVE.

What I’m telling you is…

PRODUCTIVITY IS MEANINGLESS UNLESS YOU KNOW YOUR GOAL.”

Eliyahu Goldratt is an Israeli physicist who has been described by Fortune magazine as a “guru to industry” and by Business Week as a “genius.

He wrote a self-published, underground best seller entitled The Goal (North River Press, 1984, Revised 1986 and 1992).

This may be one of the best ‘business books’ I’ve ever read. It’s not dense, text-heavy business gobbley gook with charts, tables and Venn diagrams.

It’s actually written as a fiction story. Jonah (the consultant) uses the Socratic method of asking questions of Alex (the manager) to completely turn around a faltering business/ manufacturing plant.

THE GOAL, on one hand, is complex, with terms like: throughput, bottleneck, the theory of constraints and the cloud theory.

At the same time, it is incredibly SIMPLE: KNOW YOUR GOAL!

IF PRODUCTIVITY is a function of understanding your GOAL… being able to define SUCCESS… being able to MEASURE your progress…

Then, THE CHALLENGE is to:

  • DEFINE SUCCESS.
  • SET SPECIFIC GOALS.
  • CREATE MEASUREMENTS.
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The GOAL of Every Development or Advancement Team

What really is the GOAL of any Development Office, Advancement Office, Development Officer, Hospital Foundation or College Foundation???

In my world, it’s to: WRITE A TRIPLE NET CHECK TO THE (BLUE) ORGANIZATION!

Our role in ‘development’ is to provide as much GREEN INCOME as possible to help SCALE and GROW the BLUE IMPACT!

It’s that simple.

What does ‘Triple Net’ mean? I borrowed it from the real estate industry, where it’s usually referencing a triple net lease. (Read more here: Triple Net)

For us, it means that ALL COST OF FUNDRAISING is deducted from the REVENUE generated by the Development Team (Green People)… therefore, resulting in a triple net (actual check) being ‘written’ to the organization. (Again, the Blue People.)

I don’t want to go too Jack Nicholson on you, but I do want to make this crystal clear.

  • This has nothing to do with the IRS, accounting, 990 AR’s or whatever.
  • This has nothing to do with CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education), AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals), CRFE, etc.
  • This has nothing to do with what you decide to ‘count’ or not ‘count’ relative to the cost of fundraising.

The only measure of success is determined by how much money (INCOME) you provide to your organization/institution to help them Save Lives, Change Lives, Transform Lives (IMPACT).

Put one more way, our job in ‘Development’ is to FUND THE VISION.

This is getting long, but it’s a really important topic to me at this moment. Here are 3 more BIG thoughts around this subject:

  • Everyone in our industry knows that the absolute best way to raise the most amount of money… at the least cost… is through ‘MAJOR GIFTS’. This is where we actually sit down, shoulder-to-shoulder, on a visit with a qualified prospect and make a great presentation and ultimately present the opportunity for them to help.

    The cost is a ‘nickle on a dollar’ while the ‘special events’, golf outings, mailings, etc. cost is ‘three quarters.’.

    I have to tell you that I have seen far too many Development Operations spending one dollar to raise one dollar in the last few years.

  • I can quickly show anyone reading this the way to raise $1M in the next year, and I will personally guarantee it!
    • Hire 10 Major Gift Officers, paying them each $100,000 a year to ensure good quality people.
    • Have them trained at our Boot Camp (on how to make a visit, how to present the opportunity, etc.)
    • They will each raise $100,000 in real money over the course of the year.

    There it is. They just raised $1M for your organization. When you look at that silly scenario, you realize that raising money is not the goal/measurement of a Development Office.

    In our world, a Development Officer should be doing a minimum of 10X and ideally 20X their respective ‘cost‘.

  • ‘Cost of Fundraising’ is not some fuzzy math issue. Again, it’s not how you decide to ‘count’. It’s actually a very easy and simple equation:
    R – AE = N³C

    Revenue – All Expenses = Net, Net, Net Cash. (To be shipped over in a Brink’s truck to the BLUE PEOPLE.)

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1,000 Day Action Plans

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Set your goals of ENGAGEMENT.

STOP STRATEGIC PLANNING.
When people talk to themselves, it’s called insanity. When organizations talk to themselves, it’s called Strategic Planning.

Most ‘Strategic Plans’ are an internal work of fiction usually prepared by left-brain, accountant-types who love outlines, charts, 5-year projections, etc. If you’re looking for an undecipherable, unimaginative, unread, super-thick binder to use as a bookend or a doorstop, then by all means, do a strategic plan!

Note: The old-line, old-school Case Statements worked in their time, but that time has passed. There’s no engagement, no sharing, no dialogue, no involvement, no support.
P.S. I feel the same way about no more ‘Business Plans,’ but I’ll save that rant for another day.

There is too much to do, too many lives to SAVE and IMPACT, to get caught up in ‘strategy.’ Instead…

 

START 1,000-DAY ACTION PLANS!

If you really, really, want to achieve your Vision, fulfill your Mission, live your Message: then prepare an Action Plan that will provide focus and direction for the next 1,000 Days (11 Quarters, 33 Months, almost 3 Years).

Your 1,000 Day Action Plan should include:

  • 90-Day Goals and Priorities
  • Monthly Checklists and Measurement
  • Timely Celebrations

This will engage your team and leaders in a focused manner.

P.S. Match this with a 1,000-Day Funding Plan and you will be well on your way to success.

Read more in Nick’s Note about the difference between Strategic Planning and Strategic Clarity.
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Set Your Goals for Engagement!

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Set your goals of ENGAGEMENT.

Set your 2016 Goals for Engagement now! These goals need to be SPECIFIC, WRITTEN and MEASURABLE.

Here are 3 Examples:

  • The ‘33 GIFTS’ Plan

    We will ENGAGE with our TOP 50 PROSPECTS in order to generate 33 COMMITMENTS, which will provide 90% of our funding needs!

    This will be a SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.

    E.g. We will generate $1 Million from:

    1 Gift of $200,000
    2 Gifts of $100,000
    4 Gifts of $50,000
    10 Gifts of $20,000
    16 Gifts of $10,000+
    33 Totaling $1 Million

    Note: Need $5M? Multiply the right column by 5. (Or 4 for $4M and so on.)

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  • The ‘Spartan 300’ Plan

    We will ENGAGE with our BEST 300 prospects (including our Top 33), which will generate buckets of money to Fund Our Vision.

    E.g. We have 3 members of our SALES TEAM, and we will collectively make 30 VISITS ENGAGEMENTS a month for 10 months (using August and December for R&R).

    We will use a 3x3x3 goal which challenges us to collectively make 3 visits a day, 3 days a week, 3 weeks out of the month.

    Note: If you have one member of your sales team, divide this goal accordingly: The ‘Spartan 100’ plan!

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  • The ‘1,000 ENGAGEMENT’ Plan

    As a larger For Impact organization with 6 committed Relationship Managers, we will make 1,000 VISITS/PRESENTATIONS this year.

    Each of our 6 Relationship Managers will have a Portfolio of 300 Qualified Prospects. Each of us will make 167 VISITS/PRESENTATIONS (ENGAGEMENTS) this year.

    We will average 15 QUALITY VISITS a month and do all of the appropriate preparation, predisposition and follow-up.

    We will do ‘DISCOVERY’ on every visit and with every prospect. We also commit to make the FULL PRESENTATION around the TRIPLE ASK for TODAY, TOMORROW and FOREVER (Annual Operations, Campaign Priorities and a Legacy/Planned Gift.)

    *20% of these 167 visits will become our TOP 33 gifts for each Relationship Manager.

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Where Do We Find NEW Prospects?

In our work with thousands of organizations, staff and volunteers, this is the most FREQUENTLY ASKED (BIG, BIG, BIG) QUESTION:

“WHERE DO WE FIND NEW PROSPECTS?”

MY ANSWER: THIS IS THE WRONG QUESTION!!!

It’s not about ‘NEW’ PROSPECTS, it’s about the BEST PROSPECTS!

Why look for ‘New’ Prospects when you haven’t MAXIMIZED RELATIONSHIPS with your BEST and most QUALIFIED PROSPECTS!

FUNDING YOUR VISION is usually about your TOP 33 INVESTORS and perhaps your BEST 300 QUALIFIED PROSPECTS. Many of these top prospects are most likely sitting right in front of you… right now! (Not literally, but pretty darn close.)

The reason many of you are looking for ‘NEW’ prospects is because you believe:

“Our Old Prospects are tired of giving.”

“We have gone to the well too many times.”

“We can’t go back to our best prospects for more money.”

“We are taking advantage of our current relationship with our top prospects.”

To this, I would add 3 other thoughts coming from your current top givers that I also believe are very fair:

“I want you to get other people involved besides me.”

“I want you to broaden the base of support.”

“I don’t want to be the only one funding this organization or this project.”

While ‘expanding your base’ and ‘bringing in new relationships’ is important to your organization, it’s not the ‘ANSWER’ to your funding challenges!!!

I’d like to challenge your thinking with this idea: LOOK IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!

Stop ‘searching the world’ for new prospects/ fresh money. Before you figure out how to get to Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or the Walton’s…look to your own CHAMPIONS who have the strongest interest in your Cause and your Case.

Here are 3 stories to reinforce this idea of ‘YOUR OWN BACKYARD’.

Russell H. Conwell wrote one of the most powerful and motivational classics of all time, Acres of Diamonds, published in 1921. Conwell actually gave his speech entitled “ACRES OF DIAMONDS” more than 5,000 times and earned enough in this effort to help found Temple University!
Here are summarized versions of 3 STORIES in the book that I hope will have a huge IMPACT on your thinking about ‘NEW’ PROSPECTS.

GOLD. In 1847, a man who owned a ranch in Northern California heard that gold had been discovered somewhere in Southern California. He sold his ranch to a Colonel Sutter, and then went south to search for gold and riches, never to return.

Colonel Sutter put a mill on that stream. One day, he discovered flakes of gold in the spill off. Sutter’s discovery, in 1849, started the CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH!

DIAMONDS. An old Persian farmer was desperate for riches. He sold his farm, collected his money, left his family and went off in into the garden to drink. As the camel put his nose in the shallow water of the garden brook, the new owner saw a flash of brilliance and reached in and pulled out a diamond (in the rough). This discovery became the famous diamond mine of GOLCONDA!

OIL. In Pennsylvania, another farmer sold his farm to take a job with his cousin, who was looking for coal oil in Canada. He, too, was searching for wealth… in other places.
According to the county records, the farmer sold his farm for $833.

The new owner found oil… on that same farm. That oil was eventually worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and this discovery became the PENNSYLVANIA OIL FIELDS!

I hope the moral in all of these stories are clear and evident.

Read more On Prospects in our For Impact Guidebook, Gold Diamonds and Oil.

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97/3: Focus on the Top

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Finalize your MASTER PROSPECT LIST.

97% of all your INCOME (SALES/REVENUE) will come from

3% of your PROSPECTS (Portfolio/Community/Family).

This is a fact. Don’t fight it. Deal with it.

97/3 just reinforces the need to find your BEST and most QUALIFIED prospects!

The whole ‘80/20’, Pareto the Italian Economist thing is soooooo 1980. (Actually, it was in the 18-somethings.)

A quick parable/metaphor to reinforce this concept.

Lions, Mice, and Antelope.
A lion can hunt, capture, kill, and eat a field mouse. But the ENERGY expended is greater than the caloric content of the mouse. If a lion spent her whole day hunting and eating field mice, she would slowly starve to death!

A lion cannot live on mice. Lions need antelope. Antelope are BIG. Antelope take more planning, persistence, speed, and strength to capture and kill. But, once killed, they provide a huge feast for a lion and her pride.

A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. She will die ‘chasing mice.’

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The Presentation Framework

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Create a simple, powerful PRESENTATION and ENGAGEMENT TOOL.

The are three key components to a great presentation: Engagement, Discovery and Authenticity.

1. ENGAGEMENT

Our goal on the visit is to get people ENGAGED – in a dialogue – about them, about you, and about the opportunity you both have to save, change, and impact lives.

2. DISCOVERY

Asking questions is the best way to do DISCOVERY. It is the best way to create ENGAGEMENT and an absolutely marvelous way to be able to PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY!

Here are 3 quick tips on how to be a great listener:

  • Focus. Actually sit up, and engage with your eyes and ears as you focus on exactly what the prospect is saying.
  • Get people to tell their story. This is even better than you sharing the story about impact. Let them tell you why they find meaning in your impact or organization. Nothing you say can trump their ‘WHY.’
  • Take notes. In my mind, this is a great way to show respect, show that you’re listening, and show that you care. The best thing about notes for me is that it helps me focus on listening, and then when the prospect is finished I can refer back to the notes and quotes.

    *It’s also a great way to capture as much of the visit as you can for the Memo for the Record, which, of course, you are going to complete as soon after the call as possible.

For even more, read the article 8 More Steps to Positive Listening Skills!

Then… ASK… LISTEN… ASK… LISTEN.


3. AUTHENTICITY

We like to tell our Boot Camp attendees, “If you’re authentic, you can’t screw it (the visit, the conversation, the ask) up!”

AUTHENTICITY means being REAL. HONEST. CANDID. SINCERE!

The people you’re with know right away whether you’re ‘selling snake oil’ or SINCERELY PRESENTING AN OPPORTUNITY that has VALUE to both the GIVER and the RECEIVER!

I read 30 years ago (in Denis Waitley’s Seeds of Greatness) that the word SINCERE means “without wax” (in Latin, sine = without, cera = wax.) Ancient sculptors would ‘fix’ any flaws or mistakes that they made in the marble by filling in the mistake with wax.

You can only be you. So go without the wax!

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On Altitude: For Visits and Presentations

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Create a simple, powerful PRESENTATION and ENGAGEMENT TOOL.

Here is a deeper explanation of the power of ALTITUDE in designing a presentation or on a visit:

  • Get ‘buy-in’ at the highest level. As you make the Case for Support, the prospect or potential investor needs to understand and acknowledge their acceptance of the VISION and PRIORITIES. Sometimes this is a “You had me at hello” moment. Other times, it may take the entire first visit to get them to understand and agree that this is an important CAUSE and CASE. Regardless, it doesn’t make any sense to talk about PRIORITIES or the PLAN or HOW THEY CAN HELP if they don’t ‘get it’ at the highest level!
  • No Dissent on Descent. There should be no ‘dissent’ on the descent! Think of this as the opposite of getting the ‘bends’. If a diver ascends too quickly, they get a case of the bends. It’s painful and many times life-threatening. During a presentation, the prospect can get the ‘reverse-bends’ if you descend too rapidly, “Hello. Thanks for seeing me. Here’s our campaign. Can you give $100,000?”
  • Always go (back) up. When in doubt ALWAYS GO BACK UP TO 30,000’! The Vision, The Message, The Purpose.
  • ‘Permission to Proceed.’ We have actually incorporated this specific terminology into every presentation. “It seems like you’re fully engaged with both our Mission and our Message. Would it be okay (permission to proceed) to go deeper and talk about our Strategic Priorities and our Plan to make all this happen?”
  • Altitude is not always top-down or hierarchical. You can ‘enter’ at any level. You can focus on any level. You can travel up and down and even side to side when you’re using an Engagement Tool.

 

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The Power of Engagement Tools

Part of our For Impact story has been the invention of THE ENGAGEMENT TOOL. This one-page presentation flow, at altitude, has become an absolutely indispensable part of our client and coaching success.

THE WHY

IF you’re out making VISITS and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY (which all of you
should be) – you need a SIMPLE, POWERFUL, ENGAGING PRESENTATION TOOL!!!

I can almost guarantee you don’t have one now because an Engagement Tool is not a PowerPoint, Campaign Brochure, 3-Ring Binder, or stuff from “National’s Marketing Department.”

An Engagement Tool is used to Present the Opportunity ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’.

As Tim Allen of Tool Time fame says, “The RIGHT TOOL for the RIGHT JOB.”

GREAT PRESENTATION TOOLS can:

Create a terrific FRAMEWORK for the FLOW of the VISIT,

GRAB PEOPLE’S ATTENTION,

FACILITATE important DIALOGUE,

Create ENGAGEMENT and INTERACTION,

COMMUNICATE STATS & STORIES, LOGIC & MAGIC, and much more!

THE WHAT

We organize our PRESENTATION TOOLS around “these 3 things”:

A NAPKIN

A FLOW SHEET

An ALTITUDE MAP

You can download an EXAMPLE of each one of these here.

THE HOW

Download / view the For Impact engagement tool.

See also: Guidebook – On Engagement | Guidebook – On Visual Engagement

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R.O.I.

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 – could be a one-person shop or 50 people in the college advancement division. 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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Everything’s a Math Problem

Looking back, I know that almost every successful campaign that we have run in the last 33+ years (500+ Campaigns) was successful because we:

  • Kept in SIMPLE.
  • Had Clear Goals, Numbers and ‘Math.’
  • Measured our Progress, Daily!

For example:

  • How much MONEY (Income) do we need? And over what period of time?
  • How many QUALIFIED PROSPECTS do we need to generate?
  • What does our FUNDING PYRAMID (Gift Chart, 97/3) look like?
  • How many COMMITMENTS do we need to make this happen?
  • How many VISITS do we need to make in a week? A month?
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The Only Presentation Tool You Need

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10
weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is SIMPLIFY YOUR MESSAGE.

Simplify your message so that it fits on a napkin.

It’s not easy. However, I believe that your ability to engage someone with your why, what and how is proportional to how clearly and cleanly you can communicate your message.

This is a really big deal!

When sitting down with someone new they should ‘get it’ in a matter of seconds. Too often we overwhelm people with power points, three-ring binders and slick brochures. I’ve made many ‘million dollar calls’ using ONLY a napkin. I believe it is the BEST and ONLY presentation tool you need.

At the thousands of training and speaking engagements I’ve done, I can spend three straight hours talking, listening, and responding to our Controlling Insight, on a napkin:

Every day, every training, every coaching just reinforces the power of this insight.

*Since I’ve presented this 1,000 times, give or take, and still get ‘juiced’ at the simplicity of this message – doesn’t hurt for you to see it again (and again, and forever, again.)

Just for kicks, see if you can identify these industry changing businesses from the napkins below. Or email with your own napkin – We’re happy to respond, add thoughts, etc.

 

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Start With The Why

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done! This week’s theme is SIMPLIFY YOUR MESSAGE.

Start with the Why is our number one For Impact Guiding Principle.

I came across a brilliant thinker, Simon Sinek, who has a great book, Start With Why, a powerful Ted Video, and an amazing story around the power of ‘WHY.’

The essence of his message:

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

He calls it the ‘Golden Circle’.

Mediocre organizations and leaders always sell ‘outside-in’: talking about WHAT, then HOW (features, benefits), and never even getting to the WHY.

Great leaders sell ‘inside-out’ – leading with the WHY.

Sinek’s Golden Circle is our ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK… with research!

Starting with Why has many implications in our For Impact world; here’s a few:

A vocabulary challenge to the sector. What prospects hear (often times) is “We need money to meet our annual funding goal” or “Buy a table at our gala.” These messages have no WHY, but what your prospects want to do is save, change and impact lives.

Selling happens at 30,000’. The number one question of every investor is, “Why do you exist?” If the person you are talking to doesn’t care about your WHY, it’s very hard to talk to her about the what and the how. Conversely, if your WHY is his number one priority, you can ask on the proverbial ‘first date.’

There are 1.5M nonprofits in the U.S. You must be able to talk about your raison d’etre (reason for existence); otherwise, you just ‘exist to exist.’

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NCIS. Gibbs Rule 28: ASK

Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS fame* has Rules. Here’s the one he used with Bishop.

“Rule 28: When you need help, ASK.”

Add this one to some of my favorite quotes about Asking:

“Ask and it shall be given.
Seek and you shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened to you.”

– The Bible

“If you don’t ASK, you don’t get.”
– Ghandi

“Just ASK.”
– Suddes

*Your pop culture reference for the day.

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10 Action Steps to Help You Engage in 2016

*Warning: It’s pretty easy to run down this list and blow off a number of these with a “We’ve already got this/done this” attitude. I encourage you to take a look at the resources we’ve provided below and create an Action Plan for 2016.

Here are 10 Action Steps, to help you ENGAGE:

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Set Your Goals for Engagement!

Set your 2016 Goals for Engagement now! These goals need to be SPECIFIC, WRITTEN and MEASURABLE.

Here are 3 Examples:

  • The ‘33 GIFTS’ Plan

    We will ENGAGE with our TOP 50 PROSPECTS in order to generate 33 COMMITMENTS, which will provide 90% of our funding needs!

    This will be a SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.

    E.g. We will generate $1 Million from:

    1 Gift of $200,000
    2 Gifts of $100,000
    4 Gifts of $50,000
    10 Gifts of $20,000
    16 Gifts of $10,000+
    33 Totaling $1 Million

    Note: Need $5M? Multiply the right column by 5. (Or 4 for $4M and so on.)

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  • The ‘Spartan 300’ Plan

    We will ENGAGE with our BEST 300 prospects (including our Top 33), which will generate buckets of money to Fund Our Vision.

    E.g. We have 3 members of our SALES TEAM, and we will collectively make 30 VISITS ENGAGEMENTS a month for 10 months (using August and December for R&R).

    We will use a 3x3x3 goal which challenges us to collectively make 3 visits a day, 3 days a week, 3 weeks out of the month.

    Note: If you have one member of your sales team, divide this goal accordingly: The ‘Spartan 100’ plan!

  •  

  • The ‘1,000 ENGAGEMENT’ Plan

    As a larger For Impact organization with 6 committed Relationship Managers, we will make 1,000 VISITS/PRESENTATIONS this year.

    Each of our 6 Relationship Managers will have a Portfolio of 300 Qualified Prospects. Each of us will make 167 VISITS/PRESENTATIONS (ENGAGEMENTS) this year.

    We will average 15 QUALITY VISITS a month and do all of the appropriate preparation, predisposition and follow-up.

    We will do ‘DISCOVERY’ on every visit and with every prospect. We also commit to make the FULL PRESENTATION around the TRIPLE ASK for TODAY, TOMORROW and FOREVER (Annual Operations, Campaign Priorities and a Legacy/Planned Gift.)

    *20% of these 167 visits will become our TOP 33 gifts for each Relationship Manager.

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The Last Investor

THE LAST INVESTOR: The Metaphor

WHAT IF you were down to your very LAST INVESTOR? (aka ‘DONOR’)

WHAT IF the FATE and FUTURE of your ORGANIZATION and CAUSE were entirely up to that one LAST INVESTOR?

Think about it:

IF you can communicate your IMPACT and MISSION. Convince them of your VISION. INVOLVE THEM in your LEADERSHIP PROCESS.

THEN they will MAXIMIZE their INVESTMENT and bring along OTHERS to COMMIT and INVEST.

HOWEVER, if they don’t ‘GET IT’ – they’re history. They’re gone.

If you can’t communicate your MESSAGE in a clear, concise and compelling fashion, then they will be polite, but still gone.

The proverbial BOTTOM LINE is simple:
 

If you are with THE LAST INVESTOR and
THEY DON’T INVEST
you are ‘OUT OF BUSINESS.’

CHALLENGE: How can you use this metaphor of The Last Investor to CHANGE the way you apply the IMPACT DRIVES INCOME insight and how you approach your best prospects?

Would you send your Last Investor a direct mail piece addressed ‘Dear Occupant?’

Would you call them (in the middle of dinner), ask for money, and then promise to follow-up with a form letter?

Would you ask them to buy a table at your (not) special event?

Would you ask them to be part of your Feasibility Study to find out if you need money?

Would you meet them at their office (or for lunch) rather than try to get them to see what you do and where you deliver your service? (Because it’s easier.)

Would you send them a 60-minute DVD and ask them to watch it? (And enclose a BRE)

You get the point.

Click here to read more including a powerful Parable about The Last Investor.

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What I Would Do If I Had $1M

My copy of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was published by Fawcett World Library, 1969.

Based on Napoleon Hill’s famed Laws of Success, Think and Grow Rich represents the distilled wisdom of distinguished men of great wealth and achievement. Andrew Carnegie’s magic formula for success was the direct inspiration for this book. Hill’s “secrets” are founded in universal law and principles.

Originally published in 1937, it has been characterized as one of the most influential books of all time in pointing the way to personal achievement.

W. Clement Stone wrote “more men and women have been motivated to achieve success because of reading Think and Grow Rich than any other book written by a living author.”

Following is a story Napoleon Hill uses to underscore a number of the key principles of Think and Grow Rich:

  • Definiteness of Purpose
  • Faith
  • Imagination
  • Desire
  • Persistence
  • Organized Planning to Achieve a Purpose

The following story is quoted from the book. The (parenthesis) are mine – Tom

While Dr. Frank W. Gunsaulus was going through college, he observed many defects in our educational system. These were defects that he believed he could correct if he were the head of a college. (His challenge!) He made up his mind to organize a new college in which he would carry out his ideas without being handicapped by orthodox methods of education. (Creativity, out of the box thinking, unorthodox!!!)

He needed a million dollars (Specificity) to put this project across. Where was he to lay his hands on so large a sum of money? That was the question that absorbed most of this ambitious young preacher’s thoughts. He turned it over and over in his mind until it became a consuming obsession with him. Dr. Gunsaulus recognized, as do all who succeed in life, that definiteness of purpose is the starting point. He also recognized that definiteness of purpose takes on animation, life, and power when backed by a burning desire to translate that purpose into material equivalent.

In his own words:

“For nearly two years, I had been thinking but I had done nothing but think! The time had come for action!

“I made up my mind then and there that I would get the necessary million dollars within a week. How? I was not concerned about that. The main thing of importance was the decision to get the money within a specific time, a strange feeling of assurance came over me — such as I had never before experienced. Something inside me seemed to say, “Why didn’t you reach that decision a long time ago? The money was waiting for you all the time!”

“Things began to happen in a hurry. I called the newspapers and announced that I would preach a sermon the following morning entitled ‘What I Would Do If I Had a Million Dollars’.

“I went to work on the sermon immediately. But I must tell you frankly, the task was not difficult because I had been preparing this sermon for almost two years.”

“Long before midnight, I finished writing the sermon. I went to bed and slept with a feeling of confidence, for I could see myself already in possession of a million dollars. (Visualization!)

“The next morning I rose early, went into the bathroom, read the sermon, and then knelt and asked that my sermon might come to the attention of someone who would supply the needed money. In my excitement, I walked out without my sermon and did not discover the oversight until I was in my pulpit and ready to begin delivering it.”

“It was too late to go back for my notes, and what a blessing that I couldn’t. Instead, my own subconscious mind yielded the material I needed. When I arose to begin my sermon, I closed my eyes and spoke with all my heart and soul of my dreams. I not only talked to my audience, but I fancied that I also talked to God. I told what I would with a million dollars if that amount were placed in my hands. I described the plan I had in mind for organizing a great educational institution, where young people would learn to do practical things, and at the same time, develop their minds. (The Ask!!!)

“When I finished and sat down, a man slowly arose form his seat about three rows from the rear and made his way toward the pulpit. I wondered what he was going to do. He came into the pulpit, extended his hand, and said, ‘Reverend, I liked your sermon. I believe you can do everything you said you would if you had a million dollars. To prove that I believe in you and your sermon, if you will come to my office tomorrow morning, (The Response!!!) I will give you the million dollars. My name is Philip D. Armour.”

Young Gunsaulus went to Mr. Armour’s office and the million dollars was presented to him. With the money, he founded the Armour Institute of Technology (now known as the Illinois Institute of Technology).

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Thanks – Giving and Gratitude

This is a special time and an obvious week of Gratitude and Thanksgiving.

Note: Every year I try to share a Thanksgiving message with our Tribe/Community. Some of this ‘recycled’ from previous years because of the timeless nature of these thoughts.

Three things to think about this Thanksgiving and Holiday Season:

  • “WEALTH IS AN ABUNDANCE OF THINGS WE VALUE.”

    For the first half of my life (30+ years), my understanding of wealth was the same as all my friends, business associates and the general public. ‘WEALTH’ meant you had a lot of money.
    Then I found this definition and it allowed me to become one of the ‘WEALTHIEST’ people in the world.
    Here’s a simple test of your ‘WEALTH.’ Write down a list of all the things that you truly VALUE. Then, put a ‘COST’ (an actual dollar figure) next to everything on the list.
    Most of you will look at the list and realize that the things that you truly VALUE end up COSTING NOTHING!

    Bob and Melinda Blanchard, in their wonderful entrepreneurial book Live What You Love, have a great line: “It only matters if it BREATHES.”

    My own VALUE LIST is filled with simple things that are alive … family time, adventures with the grandkids, health, friends, business partners, etc. … and, some that are not … a great book, a good cup of coffee, nature, the sun, the ocean, the mountains, a boxing workout, yoga and a ride on the Harley.

    Here’s the pretty obvious point: ‘WEALTH’, no matter how you define it, is not about ‘money.’ Money is just ‘worthless wampum’ in the grand scheme of life.

    Clearly, we need to provide ourselves and family with food, shelter, clothing, etc. But if the accumulation of money, a higher salary or how much you can put in your bank or your portfolio is your measurement for success or happiness … I’m guessing you’ll be doing that ‘camel through the eye of the needle’ thing at the end of your life.

    Robert Allen has a great quote, “If a man with many riches suddenly loses all of his money and then jumps out of a window, then, that man was never truly wealthy.”

    In an old ODE magazine (which has now been renamed the OPTIMIST), there was an entire issue around this idea of ‘money’. One of the best lines was a simple statement: “It’s not about MONEY. It’s what you DO with your money.”

    Special Note: I’m an entrepreneur. I’m all about financial freedom. I want to be able to take care of my family, travel, live on the farm and much more. I just don’t believe that money is the scorecard or measurement of wealth or success.

    The Thanksgiving and holiday season is a great opportunity to think of WEALTH as an ABUNDANCE OF THINGS THAT YOU VALUE… and enjoy your ‘WEALTH’.

  • GRATITUDE

    I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on this whole idea of ‘Gratitude’. Mindfulness. Meaning. Purpose. And more. It is particularly powerful in the mind-body relation, especially keeping some kind of gratitude journal.

    Take a little bit of time each day to remind yourself of the good things and the things for which you are most grateful.

  • “THE MORE YOU GIVE THE MORE YOU GET.”
    “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
    – Winston Churchill

    I’ve had the privilege of watching thousands of people experience serious ‘giving‘. I’ve also watched many of these people literally move from success to significance. While I don’t exactly understand how it works, I know that giving brings much more happiness than receiving.

    There’s a great line from a country song:

    “It’s not what you take with you … when you leave the world behind.”

    “It’s what you leave behind you … when you leave this world behind you.”

    I believe all of three of these thoughts help us make a life, not a living. There’s no better time of the year than now to share with others.

From all of us at For Impact and The Suddes Group, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and great holiday season.

Special Note: Every year I share these 3 stories that you may want to share with your children/grandchildren or family. THE HAPPY PRINCE is a great story/fable. THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD are seen through the eyes of a child. The third is a very powerful parable about giving called the SEA OF GALILEE.

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Human BE-ings, not Human DO-ings

Life and work are hectic. Here is a simple reminder to LIVE and BE.

We are human BE-ings, not human DO-ings.

Seems like we’re always encouraging you to Take Action, Just Ask, Just Visit, Just DO Something…

But, it’s also important to just BE:

BE present during your present–ations.

BE in the moment, with family, friends, associates.

BE yourself, authentic in every way.

BE an entrepreneur, at least in spirit.
 

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B.Y.O.E.

I was reading an article about #1 Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney – He’s a good, young coach full of pithy aphorisms.

I never thought I would be quoting a Clemson coach (!) but want to credit him with B.Y.O.E.

“B.Y.O.E. BRING YOUR OWN ENERGY.” Swinney

“B.Y.O.E. BRING YOUR OWN ENTHUSIASM.” Suddes

Think about this! If you don’t bring it, no one else will.

B.Y.O.E. at your board meetings.

B.Y.O.E. at all your visits and presentations.

B.Y.O.E. with your team/staff.

Again, if you don’t bring it, who will?

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No More Peer-to-Peer Solicitation

Here’s a simple question: Would Apple or Microsoft or Starbucks (or any other company) ask ‘VOLUNTEERS’ to do their ‘SALES’?

Just the idea of the word ‘SOLICITATION’ (the implication of which I cannot go into in a PG-13 document), should be enough to make you give up on this 1950’s “Peer-To-Peer Solicitation” model!

Instead, a PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION involves PROFESSIONAL STAFF engaged in CONVERSATION and DIALOGUE with a goal of MAXIMIZING THE RELATIONSHIP! It’s a PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE with PROFESSIONAL FOLLOW-UP.

Note: In the Old Model, a typical ‘ask’ by a peer (to a peer) goes “I have your (3 x 5) card. Can you give something? Just send it in.” WOW! Clear. Concise. Compelling. (NOT!)

Here are 7 pretty solid reasons not to use VOLUNTEERS to make SOLO SOLICITATIONS:

  • DESIRE, ENTHUSIASM, PERSISTENCE. How many of your volunteers really, really, really like to ask a friend for money? If presented as such, these volunteers lack key ingredients for sales success: ENTHUSIASM and PERSISTENCE. It is professional staff’s mission and responsibility to Present The Opportunity to Qualified Prospects.
  • TRADING DOLLARS. Every volunteer knows that whenever they ask one of their friends/peers for money, they will soon be asked back for that person’s favorite cause. This system of ‘trading dollars’ certainly does not allow for aggressively MAXIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS. Professional staff are objective, fair and committed to helping their prospective investor feel great about their commitment.
  • TIME. Volunteers basically have none. Their other business priorities and family obligations make it very difficult to fulfill volunteer duties. Professional staff, on the other hand, are focused and dedicated to Presenting The Opportunity to as many Qualified Prospects AS POSSIBLE.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY & FOLLOW-UP. With a volunteer, there isn’t any! “I saw so and so at a party, and I think they might do something.” Even if they make a visit or accompany on a visit, they will not think about following up and assuring their commitment. Professional staff do a memo for the record on every visit. They send a great follow-up letter summarizing the visit and the opportunity. They make a phone call on a specific date to determine the level of commitment and finalize the details with the investor.
  • TRAINING. Most volunteers have not been trained in how to make this kind of presentation. Many don’t understand sales, the sales process, presentation flow and framework. Even for our most incredible champions, very few have the time to become properly knowledgeable about the institution/organization and the investment opportunities available. Professional staff should be well trained. They know as much as they need to know about the organization. They are involved in ongoing professional and personal development. They understand that success is a combination of ATTITUDE and SKILL.
  • PREPARATION. Even with the best of volunteers, asking their assistant for directions on the way out the door is their idea of preparing for the call. Professional staff go over the Knowledge Base Worksheet, Relationship Strategy Checklist, the Visit Checklist, and have a goal for every visit.
  • THE VISIT ITSELF. Most volunteers begin with “How’s your family?” or “How’s your golf game?” Then move to “I got your 3×5 card.” “They want money.” “Do what you can.” When faced with a question, a challenge, or an objection, most volunteers retreat immediately. Great development and For Impact professionals know the Framework and Flow of the visit. They know how to ask questions and listen. They respond to investors’ feelings and react with creativity and flexibility. They deal with challenges and most importantly, they ask!
Special, Special Note: This is not a ‘bash the volunteer‘ list. Rather, it’s an attempt to help you re-think and re-invent the role of your VOLUNTEER LEADERS.

Volunteer Leaders, Board Members and Current Investors are all a huge part of the TEAM SELLING process. GREAT VOLUNTEER LEADERS and GREAT BOARD MEMBERS are literally worth their weight in gold. They should be used before, during and after the VISIT but, they should never be used ALONE!

*Interesting: The word ‘voluntary’ is defined as: ‘organ solo played in church before, during or after a service.’

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Thank You For Your Service

 

Today is the day to remember the sacrifice and contribution of all who served in the military.

Every day should be used to thank veterans for keeping our country free and safe.

If you have a chance, thank a military person today. Better yet, see if you can hire a recent veteran.

One-third of all ‘homeless’ are military vets. If you can help them through your local shelter, do so. If you don’t know where to help, I’d recommend supporting Chris Megison at Solutions for Change, a For Impact org leading the way in solving this problem.

While it’s a nice gesture to say to our current military, “Thank you for your service” … what really needs to be done is to help them with the TRANSITION from military to a career and family and a new life.

If you are in a position to do so … most are extremely talented, committed leaders … help them to begin their post-military life.

Many of these returning vets would make great TALENT in the For Impact world … as executives, teachers, program leaders, sales and development staff and much more.

Note: My dad was a Marine in World War II, serving in the Pacific and engaged in many of the ‘Battle Islands’. My brother Mike is a Marine (no ex-Marines), and flew helicopters during his time in service.

I spent my tour (after Notre Dame) as an Infantry Officer at Fort Benning, Georgia. (Missed Vietnam by one class of Infantry Officer Basic Course Graduates. Luck of the draw.) I went through Airborne and Pathfinder, jumped out of planes and helicopters, and was one of the few ROTC Graduates to become a Tactical Officer at O.C.S. (Officer Candidate School). From a leadership/lessons learned perspective, hard to match what Army Infantry provided. Still with me 45 years later.

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No More Meetings

LOSERS MEET. WINNERS DO.”

That’s James Carville’s typically blunt, hit you between the eyes, challenge.

He goes on to say that, “Absent a major peace negotiation, complicated merger or complex legal settlement, there’s no reason on earth to have a meeting last more 30 MINUTES.”

After 40+ years in the ‘business world’, I never want to attend another meeting in my life. I believe this is also true of every other meeting attendee (excluding the meeting planner or boss who is holding the meeting.)

I wish I had a magic alternative. I’d love to see more ‘GATHERINGS’ of the right people at the right time on the right subject – to brainstorm or reevaluate or correct the course. (Imagine what life would be like without ‘meetings’, but where you ‘GATHERED’ together in a fun, productive session with real results.)

Read Pixar’s Braintrust for another great option.

A meeting, by the way, is not a place to INFORM! If you want to share information, write it down and get it out in a one-pager. If you’re going to ‘gather’ for actionable results, then people need to be engaged and involved in the session – not listening to one person ramble with no purpose.

I’d also love to see more opportunities for CELEBRATIONS of accomplishments and success (rather than just ‘talking’ about what we’re going to do).

P.S. If you really, really want a PRODUCTIVE session, either STAND or go for a WALK!

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Bad Apple/Good Egg

“The damage done by one bad apple is far greater than the benefit done by one good egg. A lot of executives are afraid that if they weed out their bad apples, their organizations would lose some competitive toughness. This is not so.”

-Adam Grant, Professor, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School

Very interesting article on The Power of Generosity in the December 2015 issue of SUCCESS MAGAZINE.

It talks about the power of giving and references The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann, as well as Give and Take by Adam Grant.

Well worth the read for both personal development and fundraising/sales.

Remember, that we are all For Impact leaders and we need to help people feel great about investing in a powerful cause!

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Learn by Going

Julia Cameron, one of my favorite writers/authors/thinkers, shares a terrific quote from poet Theodore Roethke that fits perfectly into our focus on ENGAGEMENT!

“I LEARN by going where I have to GO.” – Theodore Roethke

“Where you have to GO” is on VISITS with QUALIFIED PROSPECTS.

P.S. If Roethke is a little existential for you, listen to Brian Tracy, one of the world’s best sales trainers, writers and thinkers, when he summarizes all of sales training into this ‘SIMPLE’ challenge:

“Spend MORE TIME with BETTER PROSPECTS.”

In Suddes-speak: ENGAGE!

*Julia’s THE ARTIST’S WAY is one of my favorite books and favorite gifts – Pick it up if you haven’t read!

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Kerry’s Wedding – A Memorable Experience

 
I rarely use this forum for personal updates, but had to share a very Memorable Experience with our For Impact family.

On September 6th, I got to walk my beautiful, talented and fun daughter Kerry down the aisle at Eagle Creek. Many of you have worked with Kerry over the years. She went with me to sign up our first TSG client, Fenwick High School, when she was 7! She helped train our first big national client, ACS, right out of college. She has worked closely with Nick and me as we’ve grown the For Impact brand internationally and online.

I was proud to walk with her … but even more proud of all she’s accomplished. She is a great daughter, sister, aunt, friend and coach.

She and her new husband, Chris, have known each other since high school, but just recently figured out that they were more than ‘just friends.’ Chris has lived in Jackson Hole since ‘99 and is an avid cyclist and skier. Kerry relocated there last year and has a nice little FI office close to the town square – For Impact Jackson Hole!

Thought you might enjoy some pictures. Wedding was non-traditional (I know. Surprise, surprise.) It was a truly memorable experience – Mechanical Bull, Food Trucks, Hot Air Balloon rides and Funnel Cakes!

 

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Res Ipsa Loquitur

From the archives, three great nuggets from Tom about facing your/your organization’s reality in order to move forward.

  • RES IPSA LOQUITUR. THE THING SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. This is some kind of Latin legal term. Loosely translated by me, it also means IT IS WHAT IT IS.
    • You’d like to have endowment to cover your entire operating budget. It ain’t going to happen. Ever.

      Instead, use a Leadership Circle membership goal as it relates to the Opportunity to Save, Change and Impact Lives, “When we have 30 members in our Leadership Society (@$10,000+ per year) it allows us to innovate new programs and provide core support to existing impact. It also allows us to move quickly when needed – To save and change more lives.”

    • You have a member of your staff or team that needs to get off the bus (they aren’t coachable and aren’t going to change.) It’s as much in their interest as yours. IT IS WHAT IT IS until you decide to make a change. (See Nick’s recent post on the ‘No Eeyore’ Rule.)
  • FACE THE BRUTAL FACTS. My friend Jeff Bernel, who headed up the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, told this to me very directly one day at lunch. I’ve never forgotten it.
    • You need more money. You expect that to happen by doing the same thing you’ve been doing. It won’t.
    • DO THE MATH. Do the ‘BLUE’ Math around your Impact. Do the ‘RED’ Math around your Staff, People and Operations. And Do the ‘GREEN’ Math around your Income, Funding Plan, Giving Pyramid, etc.

      You need to know where you stand now and what you need in the future. For example:

      • Your Tuition is T. The Cost of Education is C. T – C = G. The GAP. Know it. Sell it.
      • DO THE MATH!!
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Use Oscillation To Increase Performance

We’re re-publishing some lessons from Tom’s For Impact Campaign Manifesto: Take a Quantum Leap

Lesson: OSCILLATION.

It’s not just a big word. Taking a Quantum Leap is a lot like doing ‘WIND SPRINTS,’ a particular form of training that mixes INTENSE EFFORT with RECUPERATION TIME.

Jim Loehr, über-coach of world-class athletes (and now corporate leaders), makes a big deal of ‘OSCILLATION.’ Here’s a great personal mantra, from the cover of Loehr’s terrific book, The Power of Full Engagement:

“MANAGE your ENERGY, not your TIME.”

Julia Cameron also talks about it in musical terms: ‘REST,’ which is the SPACE between the NOTES. Whatever you call it, a Quantum Leap requires BLITZES, BURSTS and BACKING OFF, in order to recuperate, in order to attack.

Perhaps the best analogy for me is a boxing match (which I happen to know a little bit about.) You fight a two-minute round. Get a one minute rest. Fight a two-minute round. Get a one-minute rest. Within the round, you’re on offense and defense. You’re moving, hitting, defending, resting (while moving), etc.

Special Note: For 35 years, Colorado College has used this idea in what they call the ’BLOCK PLAN.’ One Class. 3 Weeks. Time Off. Next Class. 3 Weeks. Time Off. OSCILLATION works. Use it.

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Change Your Attitude. Change The World.

We’re re-publishing some lessons from Tom’s For Impact Campaign Manifesto: Take a Quantum Leap

Lesson: CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE. CHANGE THE WORLD.

I will re-state this, beat you up with this, never let up on this: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!
Here are 3 IDEAS TO HELP YOUR ATTITUDE with PROSPECTS/POTENTIAL INVESTORS:

1. ALWAYS ASSUME THE BEST. TELL YOURSELF: “TIMING is PERFECT…”

“They just INHERITED a large fortune…”
“Their BUSINESS is booming…”
And, of course, “They love our CAUSE and our CASE!!!”

2. DON’T MAKE THE DECISION FOR YOUR PROSPECTIVE INVESTOR! (Especially before you even get there!)

“They’re burnt out…”
“They’ve got 3 kids in college…”
“They’re still paying on an OLD pledge…”
“I’m not SURE they can do $10,000 (or $100,000…)” etc.

It’s not important whether ‘YOU’ are ‘SURE.’ IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY! Give THEM a chance to say “YES!”

3. KNOCK THEM OFF THEIR CHAIR.

Get (a few of) them to FALL OFF THEIR CHAIR…
in SHOCK…
at the MAGNITUDE of YOUR PRESENTATION.

“Wow!! I had no idea you were having this kind of impact!”
“I’ve never had someone sell me with such passion!”
“This is a REALLY BIG DEAL!”

(If you have NOT caused someone lately to be SHOCKED at the SIZE of the OPPORTUNITY, You’re not THINKING BIG ENOUGH!)

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Engage. Then Plan.

We’re re-publishing some lessons from Tom’s For Impact Campaign Manifesto: Take a Quantum Leap.

Lesson: Engage. Then Plan.

Andy Groves said it. You need to LIVE it! It seems counterintuitive because obviously you need a very simple Funding Plan. But, you also need to ENGAGE. TAKE ACTION. GO VISIT.

Your ‘PLAN’ will get better and better as you’re actually out DOING IT!

“Every PLAN looks great until the first contact with the enemy.” Sun Tzu

“Every fighter has a PLAN … until he gets hit.” Leon Spinks

“We have a STRATEGIC PLAN. It’s called ‘DOING THINGS’.” Herb Kelleher

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The Ball Is Always In Your Court

Want a great way to CLOSE MORE GIFTS? FOLLOW UP!

Just last week we had all of our coaches together for a few days at Eagle Creek and we spent several hours on FOLLOW-UP.

In the For Impact world, there are three parts of a great ASK:

PREDISPOSITION → PRESENTATION → FOLLOW-UP

Many times the third piece is either completely dropped or mostly an afterthought, “I met with them. I’ll wait for them to get back with me.” UGH! This could be the worst mistake of any VISIT/ASK.

Going through the effort to Get a Visit… Share the Story… Present the Opportunity… and then NOT following up is not only wrong – it’s disrespectful! When it comes to Follow-Up, the ball is always in your court.

I believe FOLLOW-UP needs to be given as much (if not more) attention than the first two parts of an ask. At the very least, these are three equal parts. I don’t have exact numbers, but I can confidently say that most of my asks are CLOSED in the third act.

There is nothing worse than having an ask pend into oblivion. Use the FOLLOW-UP to maintain control of the relationship:

“Could I check in with you next Friday?”
“Can we talk after your visit with your financial planner?”
“We have a Board Meeting in two weeks and I would love to be able to share your commitment with the Board.”

*It’s probably impossible to misquote or butcher one of Yogi Berra’s malapropisms, but here goes:

“Half of the game is presentation. The other 90% is follow-up.”

A quick nugget on Follow Up: Practice the 36-HOUR RULE.

Complete all follow-up (with your organization, with your prospect and with yourself) within 36 hours of the visit. 80% well done follow up (in 36 hours) beats 90% – 100% perfect (in 3 weeks). The more time elapsed, the less you remember and the less they feel!

Read, download, print or share more great nuggets from Tom’s Guidebook: On Follow Up
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Act or Ask.

This week, we’re re-publishing some lessons from Tom’s For Impact Campaign Manifesto: Take a Quantum Leap

Lesson: ACT or ASK.

Make this a big part of your TEAM CULTURE. A BIG, BIG part of the culture.

Everyone on the team needs to know how to either ACT or ASK!

If you know what to do, DO IT.
If you think you know what to do, DO IT.
If you aren’t clear, ASK for clarity… and then DO IT.

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Speed Doesn’t Kill

This week, we’re re-publishing some lessons from Tom’s For Impact Campaign Manifesto: Take a Quantum Leap and asking our Coaches to apply to real world scenarios.

Lesson: SPEED DOESN‘T KILL.

As Mario Andretti said, “If you feel like you’re still in control, you’re not going FAST enough.”

A Quantum Leap is about SPEED. MOMENTUM. MASSIVE ACTION. A SENSE OF URGENCY.

IF there is NO INTERNAL ‘SENSE OF URGENCY’ (SPEED)… there will be no EXTERNAL ‘SENSE OF URGENCY.’

Why would an investor make a decision NOW to make a really big IMPACT on your organization, when there is no sense of urgency on the organization’s part?

I know. You’re thinking that you actually need to ‘slow down,’ ‘do better planning,’ ‘get all your ducks in a row,’ etc., etc. You’re wrong.

From our For Impact Coach, Robb Pike:

One of the biggest shifts I have seen in our clients comes when they OWN a SENSE OF URGENCY. Some examples of SPEED from the field:

“Not long ago I would wait months for a prospect to respond to me. When I realized the longer I waited the less people would get help I started following up quickly and regularly. Emails, phone call, and even a text or two. Sometimes I would ask ‘Am I being too persistent?’ What I found was almost everyone would actually thank me for my persistence and commitment. A couple actually gave more because they felt our organization was more committed to our work than others just because I never stopped.”

“We work in 90 day sprints now. We move fast and focused. Two years ago we would barely make our numbers (if we did) by the end of the fiscal year. Now we are in a 90 day sprint to close NEXT fiscal year and we are still in this fiscal year.”

“I love the ‘Just Visit’ strategy. We used to spend months with research, inviting people to events, and sharing marketing materials in hopes they would want to know more. Now, if we want to talk to them we move quickly to ‘Just Visit.’ Our work is too important to wait for the perfect moment.”

If you don’t own an SENSE OF URGENCY around your IMPACT, then who will? If you know the impact of your work, you know that saving/changing/impacting lives can’t wait. If you don’t have a sense of urgency no one will.

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SUCCESS. If You Can’t Define It, How Will You Know When You Make It?

SUCCESS. Everybody wants it. Few people can define it.

If you can’t define it, how will you know when you make it?

I’ve asked these questions of thousands of people over the years:

“How many of you want to be a success?” All hands go up.

“What does it mean for you to be a success?” Blank stares.*

(*It’s like, “Who wants to be a millionaire?” “Yeah! I do! I do!” “WHY?” “Huh?”)

SUCCESS. If you can’t define* it, if you can’t measure it, how will you know when you achieve it?

*When I say ‘define’ I mean in writing, clear, concise, compelling.

The dictionary definition of success is the “attainment of wealth, position, honors or the like.BULL HONKY!

This implies that most believe SUCCESS has something to do with finance, money and material goods, like houses or cars. The older you get, the more you know that it’s actually the complete opposite. In fact, in all of my readings, most of the philosophers and thinkers never tie SUCCESS to money. It’s always about value, significance, fulfillment and impact.

For example:

“Try not to be a SUCCESS, but rather to be of VALUE.” Albert Einstein

“Many people have come to a point in their life when they want to move from SUCCESS to SIGNIFICANCE.” Peter Drucker

“Our focus should be on FULFILLMENT, not SUCCESS.” Victor Frankl

And, of course, there’s Maslov and his ubiquitous pyramid who says our highest needs is SELF-ACTUALIZATION, after we’ve done the whole ‘food, shelter thing’.

Mark Cuban, billionaire, blogger and owner of the Dallas Mavericks says, “SUCCESS isn’t about how much money I have in the bank. It’s how big a smile I have on my face when I wake up.”

Mark Cuban, billionaire, blogger and owner of the Dallas Mavericks says, “SUCCESS isn’t about how much money I have in the bank. It’s how big a smile I have on my face when I wake up.”

One of my favorite definitions of SUCCESS is also around WAKING UP. It comes straight from the iconic legend of my youth, Bob Dylan.

SUCCESS IS WAKING UP EVERY MORNING… AND DOING WHAT I WANT TO DO.

In six words, DO WHAT I WANT TO DO.

Sometimes, just waking up every morning is good way to define success. ☺ My own six-word personal message/EIA (Eulogy In Advance) would be: “He Lived. Loved. Laughed. Learned. Left Legacy.”

While I won’t attempt to help you define your PERSONAL SUCCESS, I can share some thoughts on SUCCESS from some really smart people.

In 1936, Napoleon Hill wrote Think & Grow Rich, which has become one of the all time classics in the personal development field. He also wrote The Laws of Success. Mine is 3” thick with a bright red cover. Hill’s copyright is 1937. My first reading (inscribed inside the cover) was 40 years after that on the 25th of May 1977.

Here’s Napoleon Hill’s definition of success:

SUCCESS is the attainment of your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM
without violating the rights of other people.

Obviously, in order to achieve Hill’s SUCCESS, you’d need to know exactly what your DCA is!

Earl Nightingale, the actual father/founder of the personal development industry, wrote the all time classic motivational and inspirational book entitled The Strangest Secret. Recorded in 1956 for a small group of salespeople, The Strangest Secret went on to become one of the all time best selling records. It is also captured in 19 small pages – THE STRANGEST SECRET is really not that strange and it’s not a secret: YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT. That’s the whole message.

Earl lays it out like this:

SUCCESS is the progressive realization of a WORTHY IDEAL.

Again, it would be hard to meet Earl’s definition if you weren’t sure what your ‘WORTHY IDEAL’ was!

Based on these two brilliant thinkers’ idea of SUCCESS means that you need to be able to define your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM or WORTHY IDEAL.

One of my absolute favorite coaches (based on philosophy attitude, demeanor) is John Wooden. He was named the Best Coach of All Time. Coach Wooden says, “SUCCESS is about peace of mind… knowing that you did the ABSOLUTE BEST you could do WITH WHAT YOU HAD.”

Harvey Cook wrote a great book, Scientific Success, in which he supported Coach Wooden – “My definition of SUCCESS is being the best you’re capable of being, based on who you are.”

And then there’s Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of
children, to earn the respect of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he offers these five steps for SUCCESS*:

  • Find MEANING and INSPIRATION in your work.
  • Work HARD.
  • Discover the relationship between EFFORT and REWARD.
  • Seek out COMPLEX WORK to avoid boredom and repetition. (MIHALY’S FLOW)
  • Be AUTONOMOUS and CONTROL YOUR OWN DESTINY as much as possible.

*He notes that talent and IQ don’t matter as much as we think they do (vis-à-vis SUCCESS). Awesome. That means I’ve still got a chance.

Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Success Formula:

  • Clearly decide what you are absolutely committing to.
  • Take massive action (not just action).
  • Notice what’s working or not and then change course or change approach until you get what you want.

We have put together a PDF poster with quotes on SUCCESS.

Use one of these definitions or create your own!

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Turn ‘Dog Days’ Into Great Thinking and Planning Time

An earlier version of this post was originally published August 13, 2009.

I’m struck by how August is viewed as such a down month, dog days of summer, no productivity, nobody around, nothing happening.

The fact is, it’s a TERRIFIC time to THINK… REFLECT… PLAN.

After Labor Day, the kids are back in school, there’s more focus on business and work, etc.

WHAT IF… you use these next few weeks to commit (to yourself) that you’re going to make some ‘BIG STUFF’ happen in September, October and November?

WHAT IF… you took some time during these next few weeks to:

  • THINK BIG! Set some really Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Commit to stay at 30,000′. Take Quantum Leaps. Cast a Vision.

    Special Note: One great way to get in the right frame of mind for this activity is to read some powerful ‘THINK BIG’ books. Here’s a couple of quick examples:

    • Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl. It’s said to be one of the ten best books ever written. If you’re looking for a great life philosophy read that applies to just about everything, Frankl’s book about Nazi war camps, attitude, purpose, etc. is a must read.
    • Think & Grow Rich. Supposedly, more people have pointed to this book as their turning point in their lives (me included) than any other book besides the Bible. DCA (Definite Chief Aim). Mastermind Group. Purpose. So much more.

      *If you really want to go deep here. Grab Napoleon Hill’s Law of Success. Mine is 3” thick with a bright red cover. Hill’s copyright is 1937. My first reading (inscribed inside the cover) was 40 years after that on the 25th of May, 1977.

    • The Magic of Thinking Big. David Schwartz classic. Just reinforces the whole concept that it’s actually so much easier to do BIG STUFF than it is a bunch of small, mediocre stuff. MAGIC is just a great reminder of this concept.
  •  

  • “FIRST WITH THE HEAD. THEN WITH THE HEART.” This is my favorite line from one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. It’s kind of the paradox to Andy Grove’s “Engage, Then Plan.”

    I actually think August is a terrific time to PLAN (First with the Head)… so that you can ENGAGE/EXECUTE/ACT (Then with the Heart). This morning I just finished putting together a 90-Day Action Plan for September, October and November. I know WHAT I need to get done (at the highest level). I know WHY I need to do it and how it fits into life goals, business goals, etc. And I know HOW I can get it done.

    Now all I’ve get to do is actually DO it.*

    *I created a separate Journal this morning just for this Action Plan. WRITE IT DOWN. IT WILL HAPPEN.

  •  

  • HAVE FUN! The word ‘RECREATE’ can be broken into RE-CREATE. One way to RE-CREATE is to RECREATE! You’re much more creative when you take time off to get away from the fires, the mundane, the cacophony of mindless babbling at work. If you go to the beach or the mountains or even a local coffee shop… it’s a great opportunity to THINK. To PLAN. To CREATE.

    We need to have more FUN! Practice NEOTONY. The dictionary says this is ‘juvenilism’ but I think of the word more about ACTING LIKE A CHILD. Be curious. Have fun. Ask questions. If you want a special book on this, check out Serious Play by Michael Schrage.

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All You Need is Love

My good friend Teju, Co-Founder and CEO of the Unreasonable Institute recently spoke at a TEDx in Denver.

He is a great storyteller … and has a clear message (tied to Just Ask).

It’s entertaining and actionable. Enjoy.
 

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Charles Schultz Philosophy on Life

Former Notre Dame Women’s Boxing Captain, and my good friend, Brittany Crawford, sent me this 10 years ago.
Well worth the read.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. You don’t have to actually answer the questions. Just read it straight through, and you’ll get the point.

  • Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  • Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  • Name the last five winners of the Miss America.
  • Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
  • Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
  • Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?  

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

  • List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
  • Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
  • Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
  • Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
  • Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?  

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that CARE (that IMPACT you).

Pass this on to those people who have made a difference in your life.

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.”
– Charles Schultz

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No More Endowment

STOP ENDOWMENT.

This is an issue that I believe impacts all FOR IMPACT ORGANIZATIONS. We’re caught up in an endowment arms race. We’re communicating that “We need ENDOWMENT now to build and preserve ENDOWMENT for future generations.”

START SAVING, CHANGING, IMPACTING LIVES!

 
ENDOWMENT, in and of itself, is NOT the goal! The goal is and always should be around Saving Lives, Changing Lives, Impacting Lives, etc.

And if that doesn’t get your attention, how about: No More Cash For Endowment.

Cash is a very, very expensive and difficult way to increase endowment. Very few investors want to give you their money so that you can invest it, generate an average 5% return, and then use that interest to fund an important priority. Plus, many of these investors are making five-year commitments/payments and would have to ‘wait’ to see the results and actual use of the funds.

Here’s a pretty simple way to look at it: a 5% IMPACT vs. a 100% IMPACT.

 

Money to endowment (5%)

OR

Money to fund people, programs, and places that help deliver your IMPACT – now (100%)

 

Note: As a serial entrepreneur and someone who works with a lot of business and social entrepreneurs, I would ask this question: Would a great business or business model (one that is growing and scaling their IMPACT) take revenue (cash), put it in the bank, and then try to fund their growth from their INTEREST INCOME?!!!

What every truly successful entrepreneur would do: They’d go to a bank, or to angels, or to the market, and BORROW MONEY (not put money in) so that they can LEVERAGE every dollar in order to GROW and SCALE their IMPACT RIGHT NOW!

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Team Selling

These 3 Concentric Circles represent a great way to look at your organization’s TALENT and how it might be most effectively used.

The Blue-Red-Green Team is a great visual that helps with roles and responsibilities within the Sales Process.

  • Use your ‘Blue’ Team to help with predisposition, open doors, and even set up the visit. Blue Team represents best example of ‘3 Degrees of Separation’ (Kevin Bacon/6 Degrees is actually less than 3 moves (2.78) from any other actor).
  • Note: In many cases, you are only 1 person removed from who you want to see. This is especially true in Ireland and North Dakota.
  • Blue Team can be engaged before the visit or after the visit.
  • Blue Team can be on the visit but never leading the visit. There can only be one leader and it must be a Green Team member.
  • Blue Team never goes alone/solo on a visit!
  • Note: We don’t do ‘peer-to-peer’ solicitation which is just ‘trading dollars’. So, there is always a professional staff person engaged on visit.
  • Green Team is always the R.M. (Relationship Manager). No exceptions to this.
  • Red Team can help with visits, especially with phone follow-up and call backs.

This visual provided a real eureka moment for a College Sales Team: Deans can help get the visit, but the Deans don’t have to be on every visit. And they (as the Green Team) don’t have to set up every visit themselves.

Note: This framework works for a Business Sales Team as well. Share it with your Board as a nugget they might find helpful.
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Ask…Listen…Ask…Listen

In our trainings (see link below for upcoming engagements), we do a card trick to demonstrate the greatest sales tip ever:

ASK a question… LISTEN to the answer… ASK another question (based on the previous response)… LISTEN to the answer.

Asking questions is the best way to do DISCOVERY, the best way to create ENGAGEMENT, and an absolutely marvelous way to be able to PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY!

Here are 3 quick tips on how to be a great listener:

  • Get people to tell their story. Most people love to talk about themselves and share their stories with you. This is a perfect fit with out IMPACT –> INCOME | SHARE THE STORY –> PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY. (It’s not just you who should share the story… but they should also share their story with you.)
  • Take notes. In my mind, this is a great way to show respect, show that you’re listening, and show that you care. The best thing about notes for me is that it helps me focus on listening, and then when the prospect is finished I can refer back to the notes and quotes.
    *It’s also a great way to capture as much of the visit as you can for the Memo for the Record, which, of course, you are going to complete as soon after the call as possible.
  • Totally focus. Actually sit up and engage with your eyes and ears as you focus on exactly what the prospect is saying.

Download our For Impact Guide to Power Questions and Transition Questions. Then:

ASK… LISTEN… ASK… LISTEN.
Note: Read the article ‘Are You Listening?’ in Selling Power for 8 more positive listening skills, and another FI blog on Asking the Right Types of Questions.

To see the card trick live, come to our Boot Camp!

Tuesday, April 28 – Wednesday, April 29 2015
Ostrander, OH
Wednesday, June 17 – Thursday, June 18, 2015
Ostrander, OH
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Don’t Skip the Open!

Brian Tracy, one of the best sales trainers in the world, says that 50% of salespeople don’t ask for the sale. Jack Canfield, of mega-phenom Chicken Soup fame puts the number at 60%.

As the old (and only?) song by the Monkees goes, “I’m a believer” when it comes to the importance of closing. (More on that tomorrow.)

With that said, I am convinced that the OPEN, not the CLOSE, makes the SALE.

If sales is defined as the forging of a human connection, then skipping the open means skipping the human connection!

In our For Impact Presentation Flow, the open is comprised of three elements:

You.

If you don’t tell/own your story, this is the story that will be told for you:

I’m Nick. As you can see from my title, I’m a major gifts officer and so I’m coming to talk to you about money.

Instead, talk about: Who are you? How did you get here? What makes you passionate about this work?

An open also puts you in the driver’s seat for managing the flow of dialogue:

I’m looking forward to our conversation, would it be okay if I share a little about myself to start?

This works whether you are brand new or the founder of the organization – the prospect just needs to know you as a human being.

Them.

Knowing as much as you can about your prospect is great preparation for a visit. But you need to hear the prospect talk about themselves, in their own words:

I can google you (and did) but it would be even better to hear you tell your story.

P.S. When a person’s eyes glaze over, it’s because there is no engagement. Getting them talking early and often will set a tone for dialogue and engagement (vs. monologue/boredom, followed by a ‘pitch.’)

Us.

No matter the order you do these, this is simply the time to talk about what or who brought you together:

I’m so happy that (Board Member/Champion) made this introduction. As I said in my note, I’m really excited to share our story/vision and talk to you about how you can help us make it happen.

or

I know that (Board Member/Champion) thought it was important for us to meet. Could you tell me what you already know about our organization (or our impact)?

In summary:

Do an OPEN!

It’s a VISIT, not an appointment. Talk about yourself and ask about the prospect. Then you can move to the purpose of the visit.

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1,000 Day Action Plans

STOP STRATEGIC PLANNING.
When people talk to themselves, it’s called insanity. When organizations talk to themselves, it’s called Strategic Planning.

Most ‘Strategic Plans’ are an internal work of fiction usually prepared by left-brain, accountant-types who love outlines, charts, 5-year projections, etc. If you’re looking for an undecipherable, unimaginative, unread, super-thick binder to use as a bookend or a doorstop, then by all means, do a strategic plan!

Note: The old-line, old-school Case Statements worked in their time, but that time has passed. There’s no engagement, no sharing, no dialogue, no involvement, no support.
P.S. I feel the same way about no more ‘Business Plans,’ but I’ll save that rant for another day.

There is too much to do, too many lives to SAVE and IMPACT, to get caught up in ‘strategy.’ Instead…

 

START 1,000-DAY ACTION PLANS!

If you really, really, want to achieve your Vision, fulfill your Mission, live your Message: then prepare an Action Plan that will provide focus and direction for the next 1,000 Days (11 Quarters, 33 Months, almost 3 Years).

Your 1,000 Day Action Plan should include:

  • 90-Day Goals and Priorities
  • Monthly Checklists and Measurement
  • Timely Celebrations

This will engage your team and leaders in a focused manner.

P.S. Match this with a 1,000-Day Funding Plan and you will be well on your way to success.

Read more in Nick’s Note about the difference between Strategic Planning and Strategic Clarity.
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Define Your Ideal Prospect

I’m absolutely stunned, amazed and flabbergasted that so very few organizations and sales teams actually take the time to define their ‘IDEAL PROSPECT’! (This is just as true in the ‘FOR PROFIT’ world as it is in the ‘NOT FOR PROFIT’ sector.)

The IDEAL PROFILE is one of the most powerful TOOLS that we use during our IDENTIFICATION PROCESS.

Don’t blow by this one. It has created many, many ‘MILLION DOLLAR’ prospects and INVESTORS.

 
Here’s the concept:

If you can actually come up with a PROFILE of your BEST PROSPECT/ INVESTOR then you simply have to MATCH this IDEAL PROFILE with REAL PEOPLE!

In essence, this IDEAL PROFILE would be a simple ‘list’ of absolute best characteristics of your PERFECT (IDEAL) PROSPECT that should include examples of how we know the following:

Unlimited Capacity (Or Capacity to Make a ‘Major Gift’)
ex. Have multiple homes in expensive zip codes, Recently sold a business, Could drive a Ferrari, but drives a Tesla, etc.

Relationship To The Cause (Kids, Education, Health Care, Cancer, Workforce Development, Disadvantaged Populations, Etc.)
ex. A Cancer Survivor or Spouse/Loved One of a Survivor

Geographically Connected
ex. Someone who may not live in your Community, but who has strong roots or ties

Interest/Connection To The Priorities, Programs Or Projects

Philanthropic
ex. Has given significantly to other organizations, especially those working on the same cause

Note: You can come up with more than one ‘ideal’ profile. For example, for a Campaign, for a transformational gift, for a legacy commitment, for President’s circle etc.

(more…)

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Commit to Sales

If you’ve ever been heard me speak, you’ve heard me say:

You’re in Sales, get over it.

I’ve made a commitment to help more organizations and development professional embrace SALES.

In ALL of our work with clients, speaking, training, etc. this part of our message is always the same:

NOTHING HAPPENS UNLESS YOU’RE OUT SELLING – YOUR VISION. YOUR IMPACT. YOUR MESSAGE. YOUR IDEAS. YOUR RETURN ON INVESTMENT.

We have worked with some really impactful organizations that, like many of you, came late to the idea that:

“God gives every bird food. He just doesn’t throw it into the nest!”

All of you are deeply committed to your CAUSE and your ORGANIZATION.

Yet, none of you have been ‘TRAINED IN SALES!’

(You’re not alone. Even the Nation’s business schools provide no SALES TRAINING. Yet, in this ‘FOR PROFIT WORLD,’ SALES drives [almost] every company. Without it, all products and services remain ‘on the shelf.’)

I’ve spent my whole adult life in SALES, much of it selling ‘INTANGIBLES’ (large gifts/commitments for great causes and cases).

We are often with some amazing people who are changing the world, but don’t like the idea of “sales.” Nick quotes a great line from an author named Bob Burg that works really, really well for these people.

Burg says, “Selling – at its core – is not a business transaction. It is first and foremost the forging of a human connection.

We are out ‘PRACTICING’ forging human connections every day.

Here are three really big things that may help you on your next VISIT/’SALES CALL:’

  • DISCOVERY
  • SHARE THE STORY PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY
  • AUTHENTICITY

ACTION:

  • Write this on a little card.
  • Look at this every time you go to visit/meet with a Qualified Prospect or Potential Investor.

1. DISCOVERY.

Where’s the best place to find out ANYTHING you want to know about your INVESTOR/PROSPECT??? FROM THEM! Remember: SELLING IS NOT TELLING! ASK QUESTIONS. More importantly, LISTEN TO ANSWERS!

Here are three great questions to help you with your DISCOVERY.

  • WHY are you engaged/involved with us?
  • Which of these three things (buckets) is most important to you?
  • Can you help us Fund this Vision?

2. SHARE THE STORY ➡ PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.

SHARE THE STORY is exactly that. SHARE. THE. STORY. Everybody in the organization can share THEIR ‘story.’ You must also be able to capture the ‘STORY’ of your organization, your cause or your vision.

Then, PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY. This is NOT about ASKING PEOPLE FOR MONEY!!!

  • It’s about PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY for them to make an IMPACT!
  • To move from SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE!
  • To SAVE LIVES. To CHANGE LIVES. To CHANGE THE WORLD!

Special Note: Ask your Board Members or Volunteer Leaders whether they’d rather go out and ‘ASK THEIR FRIENDS FOR MONEY’ …or SHARE THE STORY and PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.

3. AUTHENTICITY.

First, this is about being YOURSELF! If you just started with the organization, say so; and then explain why you made that decision. If you spent 10 or 15 years working with your organization, explain WHY you devoted that kind of commitment to this cause. Additionally, AUTHENTICITY is about total candor. Sometimes even BRUTAL HONESTY. (“You’re one of our top investors. You helped us build this plan and we know you want to see it succeed. Can you take the LEAD?”) A great line that is about as AUTHENTIC as you can get. “I have one goal with you today: to have your jaw drop at the unbelievable impact that this organization is having on children. That’s it.”

For those of you out VISITING and PRESENTING … I hope you can use these simple but powerful reminders.

For the rest of you …

Get out of the office. (GO PRESENT OPPORTUNITIES.)

Stop doing research. (DO DISCOVERY … ON THE VISIT.)

Stop doing proposals and grant writing. (GO SHARE THE STORY AND PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.)

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Start With The Why

Start with the Why is our number one For Impact Guiding Principle.

I came across a brilliant thinker, Simon Sinek, who has a great book, Start With Why, a powerful Ted Video, and an amazing story around the power of ‘WHY.’

The essence of his message:

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

He calls it the ‘Golden Circle’.

Mediocre organizations and leaders always sell ‘outside-in’: talking about WHAT, then HOW (features, benefits), and never even getting to the WHY.

Great leaders sell ‘inside-out’ – leading with the WHY.

Sinek’s Golden Circle is our ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK… with research!

Starting with Why has many implications in our For Impact world; here’s a few:

A vocabulary challenge to the sector. What prospects hear (often times) is “We need money to meet our annual funding goal” or “Buy a table at our gala.” These messages have no WHY, but what your prospects want to do is save, change and impact lives.

Selling happens at 30,000’. The number one question of every investor is, “Why do you exist?” If the person you are talking to doesn’t care about your WHY, it’s very hard to talk to her about the what and the how. Conversely, if your WHY is his number one priority, you can ask on the proverbial ‘first date.’

There are 1.5M nonprofits in the U.S. You must be able to talk about your raison d’etre (reason for existence); otherwise, you just ‘exist to exist.’

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No More ‘Asking for Money’

STOP ASKING FOR MONEY.

Money is merely ‘worthless wampum’! No one likes asking their friends, much less strangers, for money. (The rare volunteer who really loves doing this should be treasured as a true gift, psychoanalyzed, and then cloned.)

Your conversations are not about asking for money. They are about changing the world. (Of course it requires resources to do that.)

 

START SELLING YOUR IMPACT!

PRESENT the OPPORTUNITY…

To help with your cause and your case.
To move from success to significance.
To make an impact and change the world.

 

Special Note: Ask any Board Member (or, for that matter, any of your staff ) if they’d rather ‘Ask for Money’ or ‘Present Opportunities’ (to make an Impact.)

This, by the way, is a rhetorical question. You already know the answer.

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Breaking News … IRS Eliminates 501c(3) Not-For-Profit Designation!!!

IRS Eliminates 501c(3) Not-For-Profit Designation!!!

The Internal Revenue Service has abolished their 1913 law that permits organizations to designate themselves as NOT-FOR-PROFITS.

“This designation is contrary to all other industries, as it is the only one defined in the negative. In our usual show of logic and common sense, the IRS has eliminated this designation in the hopes that all ‘charities’ and ‘tax-exempt’ organizations will now focus on their IMPACT.” — An IRS Agent (who asked not to be identified)

 
Feds Make Doing Special Events (for Fundraising Purposes) a Felony!

The Federal Government has ruled that there will be no more golf outings, galas and other special events that are not special and not events. *Signature Events and Memorable Experiences will still be allowed and encouraged.

“This was the only way we could eliminate all of the events that were sucking up our time and energy and resources … with no real impact on our impact. Now I can blame the government when I tell our volunteers that we will no longer be holding Mostaccioli dinners or selling holes and tables for the golf outing.” — 1,840 Development Officers

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Stop Fundraising and Start Selling Your Impact

STOP FUNDRAISING.

STOP talking, thinking, acting as a fundraiser, focused on fundraising. And don’t even go there with its cutesy cousin, ‘friendraising’. (See No More Cultivation.)

“Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be… fundraisers.”

She’d rather see you be a cowboy. Fundraising has a reputation slightly south of used car sales. Why even go there?

START SELLING YOUR IMPACT!

Remember, the big epiphany goes like this:

IMPACT DRIVES INCOME … Not the other way around.

The SIZE & SCOPE of your IMPACT
DETERMINES
the SIZE & SCOPE of your INCOME.

Don’t be normal. Define your purpose. Get a plan. Do it with enthusIASM. (I Am Sold Myself.)

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The Presentation Framework

The are three key components to a great presentation: Engagement, Discovery and Authenticity.

1. ENGAGEMENT

The ‘green’ ENGAGEMENT word is there to remind all of us that our goal on the visit is to get people ENGAGED – in a dialogue, about them, about you, and about the opportunity you both have to save, change, and impact lives.

2. DISCOVERY

Asking questions is the best way to do DISCOVERY. It is the best way to create ENGAGEMENT and an absolutely marvelous way to be able to PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY!

Here are 3 quick tips on how to be a great listener:

  • Focus. Actually sit up, and engage with your eyes and ears as you focus on exactly what the prospect is saying.
  • Get people to tell their story. This is even better than you sharing the story about impact. Let them tell you why they find meaning in your impact or organization. Nothing you say can trump their ‘WHY.’
  • Take notes. In my mind, this is a great way to show respect, show that you’re listening, and show that you care. The best thing about notes for me is that it helps me focus on listening, and then when the prospect is finished I can refer back to the notes and quotes.

    *It’s also a great way to capture as much of the visit as you can for the Memo for the Record, which, of course, you are going to complete as soon after the call as possible.

For even more, read the article 8 More Steps to Positive Listening Skills!

Then… ASK… LISTEN… ASK… LISTEN.

3. AUTHENTICITY

We like to tell our Boot Camp attendees, “If you’re authentic, you can’t screw it (the visit, the conversation, the ask) up!”

AUTHENTICITY means being REAL. HONEST. CANDID.

Simply put, it’s being SINCERE!

The people you’re with know right away whether you’re ‘selling snake oil’ or SINCERELY PRESENTING AN OPPORTUNITY that has VALUE to both the GIVER and the RECEIVER!

I read 30 years ago (in Denis Waitley’s Seeds of Greatness) that the word SINCERE means “without wax” (in Latin, sine = without, cera = wax). Ancient sculptors would ‘fix’ any flaws or mistakes that they made in the marble by filling in the mistake with wax.

You can only be you. So go without the wax!

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Use Predisposition and Perseverance to Get the Visit

Getting a visit is both an ATTITUDE and a SKILL. There’s a ‘SYSTEM’ to it.

Getting a visit is all about: PREDISPOSING … QUALIFIED PROSPECTS … to take your phone CALL … and ultimately VISIT with you. I’ve included action steps, strategies, and tips to help you make it happen.

We are professionals. We do not make COLD CALLS! We always PREDISPOSE the prospect/potential investor. We first predispose a potential investor to our phone call to set up the visit, and then we predispose to the visit/ presentation itself (and yes, we even predispose to the follow-up).

The word PREDISPOSE means to make someone inclined, in advance, to a specific action or attitude. You need to be literally (not figuratively) be predisposing potential investors to expect your contact and look forward to visiting with you about your amazing organization.

 

The Goal

 

The goal of predisposition is simple: GET THE VISIT! It is NOT to ‘sell on the phone’!

A really strong predisposition e-mail or letter makes the follow-up phone call very assumptive/ presumptive!

“I’m following up on the note that you received from (Natural Partner) and I’d like to see if you might be available next Tuesday morning? Or would Wednesday afternoon be better?”

Consider having someone else set up the visit! I know this is somewhat sacrilegious to many people, but I’ve found it to be the single most effective way to get visits. This is especially important if you are full-time Development Officer/Major Gift Officer/Chief Development Officer with a portfolio. You should be making presentations, not setting up visits.

In the predisposition note, the sender/Natural Partner closes with these very important words: “I have asked Mary Smith from our development team to follow-up with you to set up a visit.”

A phone call from your CEO/President’s Assistant is one of the absolute best ways to get a visit.

The easiest way for the Campaign/Foundation Team of a well-respected hospital to
get a visit with their top prospects is to do a simple predisposition email from the CEO, and then ask her wickedly competent and talented assistant does a follow-up phone call to set the visit. The assistant already knows knows all of the CEO’s relationships, and has great existing interaction with both the prospects and their assistants (gatekeepers).

 
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Maximize Relationships at This Given Moment

STOP CULTIVATING.

This is one of my favorite ‘soap box’ platforms. As a gardener and faux-farmer, I know ‘cultivation’ is when you spread manure on plants!

Think about it from the other side for a second. No one wants to be CULTIVATED.

They either get your Message and Impact or they don’t. They want to support your Cause and your Case or they don’t. Your Qualified Prospects/Investors truly do want to help, but they don’t want to have a multitude of meetings before they’re even told what it is that you actually WANT from them.

START MAXIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS … AT THIS GIVEN MOMENT!

Many of you are waiting for the ‘perfect time’ to make your ‘BIG’ request. The ‘perfect time’ to MAXIMIZE a RELATIONSHIP is always NOW… AT THIS GIVEN MOMENT!

MAXIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS could be an invitation to join a Leadership Group, President’s Circle, Impact Circle, etc. It could be Presenting an Opportunity to Leave a Legacy Gift. Or, it may be ‘THE’ moment … for ‘THE’ Gift … that truly TRANSFORMS your organization.

Remember: You’re in SALES. Get over it. Go ‘sell’ your Vision, your Ideas, your Priorities, Projects and Programs. Now.

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No More Feasibility Studies

STOP FEASIBILITY STUDIES.

Having watched hundreds (maybe even thousands) of nonprofits do feasibility studies, I still don’t get it!

  • Internal staff get together and agree they need more money.
  • An internal group decides to do a campaign to raise more money.
  • Internal leaders enlist external consultants to do a feasibility study for justification, CYA, and backup.
Consultant conversation with a prospect goes like this: “If XYZ nonprofit org were to do a hypothetical campaign with a hypothetical goal, how much hypothetical money would you hypothetically give to this hypothetical campaign?” (UGH!)

 

START LEADERSHIP CONSENSUS BUILDING.

INVOLVEMENT begets INVESTMENT!!

Instead of feasibility, think ‘Leadership Consensus Building.’ Get your TOP STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED in BUILDING the PLAN – for both IMPACT and INCOME!!!

This OWNERSHIP will translate into a HUGE RETURN on the time, energy and resources you INVEST in this process.

I’ve chosen these 3 words carefully, and have used this process effectively for the last 20 years:

  • LEADERSHIP. It is what it is. It is what it says. Engage your best leaders in this process of message clarification, prioritization, and funding planning.
  • CONSENSUS. Consensus is about the right decision, NOT (necessarily) about unanimous agreement on a politically correct, watered-down, something–for–everyone plan. Consensus (on Purpose/ Priorities/Plan) creates commitment, generates momentum, and forces engagement (vs. passive participation).
  • BUILDING. This is the kicker. This is the action word that makes this idea worth millions!!! You must provide a framework to let your stakeholders help BUILD THE PLAN!!!

This approach also serves as ‘THE’ most powerful form of PREDISPOSITION, since it answers one of the 3 most Frequently Asked Questions, “WHO DECIDED WHERE THE MONEY GOES?” with an emphatic, “YOU DID!”

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Start Creating Memorable Experiences

STOP SPECIAL EVENTS.

ALERT: SPECIAL EVENTS ARE NOT ‘SPECIAL!’

And, they’re not ‘EVENTS!’ They rarely generate income anywhere close to the corresponding staff and volunteer effort and time. If you really think anyone in your organization wants to work for ‘EVENTS-R-US’ or do one more ‘GOLF OUTING’, ‘STAR BAZAAR’ or BINGO, you need to get out of your office (and out of your dream world!) and talk to your stakeholders!

P.S. Not only do your volunteers and staff hate these Non-Special Events, so do all of the ‘INVITEES’ … who clearly don’t want to go to another ‘un-memorable, time-away-from their-family’ auction, gala, ‘fundraiser’!!!

START CREATING MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES!

MAKE EVERYTHING YOU DO A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE!

They’re more IMPACTFUL. More FUN. More PRODUCTIVE. A ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is about your Vision, your Message, your Impact. It’s not about raising money, selling tables, golf holes or silent bids. Every ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is an incredible PREDISPOSITION OPPORTUNITY to create the perfect FOLLOW-UP. (Something that never happens after a Non-Special Event.)

Nota Bene: If you don’t know the ‘difference’ between a ‘Special Event’ and a ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ , think about the difference between a one-ring, carnival CIRCUS with two clowns, an elephant, some monkeys and an old lion … and CIRQUE DU SOLEIL!!! Enough said.

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Engage, Mav, Engage!

In our world, (just so there is no confusion):

ENGAGE means VISIT.
SHOULDER TO SHOULDER.
OUT OF YOUR OFFICE.
With your BEST INVESTORS,
RELATIONSHIPS
and PROSPECTS.

 
Andy Grove, of Intel fame, has a 3 word battle cry that changes everything,

“ENGAGE. THEN PLAN.”

Newton’s Law states,

“A body in motion tends to stay in motion.
A body at rest tends to stay at rest.”

I’m no physics major, but I get this: ENGAGE means GET IN MOTION!!!

You can hide under your desk because of the economy, fear, call reluctance, whatever.

OR, you can buy into our IMPACT DRIVES INCOME insight and epiphany:

More VISITS (with Best Prospects) means…
More PRESENTATIONS (to Share the Story/Present the Opportunity) means…
More MONEY (to Fund the Vision) means…
More INCOME means…
Much more IMPACT.

Go Forth and ENGAGE!

Read more in our For Impact Guidebook: On Engagement

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The Funding Role of the Board: Champion, Invite, Invest

Every single Board that we have worked with, without exception, has a very fuzzy and ill-defined ROLE for their Board vis-à-vis INCOME.

One of the very best Executive Directors I’ve ever worked with actually told me that her Board’s ‘funding strategy’ was to buy LOTTERY TICKETS! It would be funny . . . if it wasn’t true.

Here’s what the ROLE of the Board should be in an IMPACT -> INCOME culture:

  • CHAMPION… the CAUSE and the CASE.
  • INVITE… others to get INVOLVED and ENGAGED.
  • INVEST… with a COMMENSURATE COMMITMENT (to help FUND THE VISION).

Specific Board Members are also a critical part of your SALES TEAM! They can help get the visit, predispose the visit, possibly join you on the visit, and definitely help follow-up after the visit.

Some thoughts to help you and your Board better understand these 3 big words.

  • CHAMPION. The power of this word is that everyone can and should know what it means to CHAMPION your organization, your CAUSE, and your CASE. When you present these 3 roles to your Board, if there are any Board Members who are reluctant to CHAMPION your organization, they need to be removed immediately. (Call security and have them escorted from the building.)
  • INVITE. Your Board Members and Champions need the opportunity to INVITE others to become INVOLVED and ENGAGED in your Impact. Just imagine if you went to your Board and said, “We do not want you asking people for money! We need you to INVITE a qualified prospect to a tour or memorable experience.” This is 100 times better than asking them for names!

    One of the best ways we’ve found to execute on this role is with specific membership opportunities. Let them INVITE prospects to join the President’s Circle or a Legacy Society. Then they get MEMBERS… not MONEY!

  • INVEST. The ‘COMMENSURATE’ word changes everything! Every single Board Member/Champion should make an investment (in time, energy, money) that is COMMENSURATE with their relationship, capacity, and involvement with your organization.

Special Note: ‘INVEST’ has nothing to do with Board Members ‘giving or getting $10,000’. Nothing to do with ‘time, treasure and talents’ from the 1950’s.

A $250 gift from one Board Member could be both commensurate and sacrificial. A $1 Million gift from another Board Member could be neither commensurate or anywhere near a sacrifice.

This COMMENSURATE strategy allows you to take a Board Member who is a $10,000 (commensurate) investor on a visit to present the opportunity to a $1 Million investor.

We realize (from a lot of comments and feedback from our For Impact audience) that many Board Members have been told very specifically that they did not have to give money to be on the Board. We still strongly believe that you should have this discussion with your Board around their ROLE, including the ‘INVEST with a COMMENSURATE COMMITMENT’ point.

Why? Because it’s all about the IMPACT. If they believe (CHAMPION), they should both INVITE and INVEST.

The following is a direct quote from a ‘feasibility study’ conducted by a very old and well-respected consulting firm (with our caps):

The Board must feel charged with the BURDEN of the fundraising campaign‘s success.

Trustees are expected to give SACRIFICIALLY.

BURDEN. SACRIFICE. Is it no wonder that your Board Members are not enthusiastically and passionately engaged in your fundraising and your campaigns?

Read more about The Role of the Board in our Guidebook: On Boards.

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The Altitude Framework

The For Impact ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK is one of our most referenced and utilized tools (by our team, our coaches and our clients) – TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF THEIR GAME!

We use Altitude to order thinking, communications, and storylines. We use it to develop Engagement Tools. And, we use it to think through the Flow of a Visit.

The Altitude Framework works great for Presentations, Agendas, Meetings, Speaking, Strategic Plans and Action Plans.

It’s also a great Framework to respond to questions. “At what altitude is the best or most appropriate response?” And, it’s a powerful coaching model. “Let’s talk about this issue at this particular altitude.”

We have color coded our Altitude Framework (Blue, Red, Green) to lay out our content, our guides and our books. And, it allows us to talk shorthand and reach decisions ten times faster than a normal process.

One of the reasons that this framing device has been so popular is its obvious simplicity. Everyone can understand the hierarchy of WHY, WHAT and HOW and they intuitively get the connection between VISION, STRATEGY and EXECUTION. Following are some ways to help you understand and apply ALTITUDE. (more…)

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Triple Net

I learned about the TRIPLE NET concept during my days as a real estate broker and playing real-life ‘monopoly’ purchasing houses and commercial buildings.

In simple terms, the real Triple Net lease means that the tenant is responsible for all of the costs relating to the asset being leased. Usually this means that in addition to the rent, the tenant is required to pay for real estate taxes, insurance, and property maintenance.

In the For Impact world, I use this Triple-Net concept to explain the true value of any fundraising activity.

For example, everyone talks about how much money they generated at their (not) special event. “We sold ‘x’ tables/tickets, etc.” The number stated is almost always revenue.

  • Net Revenue would be total money generated minus actual cost of the event (food, etc.)
  • Net, Net Revenue would then subtract the cost of labor/staff who worked on the event (often two or three people for six months or a year).
  • Triple Net would then also deduct the cost of volunteer time and energy.

Note: Depending on how you want to play this game, there could be one more net, which would be the opportunity cost if staff or volunteers have been working on major gifts or top prospects.

Many smaller events that generate $5,000 or $10,000 in (single) net (revenue minus actual cost) end up having 1,000 women/man hours of volunteer time which comes out to $5 or $10 an hour. Ugh!

Try the Triple-Net math with your fundraising activities:

Is the Net-Net-Net really worth the effort?
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Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?

 

I absolutely love catchphrases. When used as part of our language and culture, they become a great ‘shorthand’ to make a point or to provide direction.

You will notice these catchphrases throughout the For Impact thinking and writing:

Shoulder-to-shoulder. Right people on the bus. Don’t make decisions for your prospects. Hope is not a strategy. Think … and grow rich. (Even) Just Ask.

I came across this great catchphrase/book/YouTube hit recently:

WILL IT MAKE THE BOAT GO FASTER?

Simple backstory: Ben Hunt-Davis wrote a book capturing Great Britain’s almost- miraculous win at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. (Here’s a great six-minute clip of the race.)

Hunt-Davis now gives talks all around Europe about how their crew could have kept doing the ‘same old thing’, and continue to come in well behind all the other international crews.

They came up with a simple mantra/question: WILL IT MAKE THE BOAT GO FASTER?

For them, that applied to everything they did. For example:

If we spent an extra hour on the rowing machine … will it make the boat go faster? Obvious answer: Yes.

If we go to the pub tonight … will it make the boat go faster?
Obvious answer: No.

I don’t want you to overthink this. The beauty of a catchphrase is in its simplicity.

You can decide whatever your ‘boat’ is. (A goal, a project, revenue/income, whatever.)

Then, decide on what ‘faster’ equates to. (More successful, etc.)

Then, simply ask yourself every day:

WILL IT MAKE OUR (BOAT) GO (FASTER)?
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Return on Energy (R.O.E.)

Earlier this week we reminded you of our thoughts on a VOCABULARY CHANGE for the sector. Two big shifts are from ‘donor’ and ‘donation’ to ‘investor’ and ‘investment.’

And, obviously, you would know what every INVESTOR wants from their investment: A RETURN (ROI).

As a For Impact Leader or Social Entrepreneur, you know that you can DELIVER on that RETURN with your Impact, giving your prospects the chance to save and change lives.

There is another return that we use quite often that seems to really grab people’s attention:
 

RETURN ON ENERGY

 
What (exactly) is your RETURN on ENERGY? (In this case, ‘ENERGY’ means both physical and mental TIME and FOCUS.)

Is the end result worth the ENERGY?

Are you working on your Top 3% or still expending a lot of (wasted) ENERGY at the bottom?

This seems to be especially big for organizations trapped in a transaction-based system of special events (life-sucking, volunteer-draining) with often and incredibly low RETURN ON ENERGY:
 

 
If that describes your organization, then think about this rhetorical question:

What would happen if you did away with one event?

And then, you focused all that energy (time, urgency, people, resources) on building a great relationship with one or two prospects who could invest $1Million in your vision?

 

 

Remember:

Special Events As Fundraisers: They’re not special and they raise minimum net dollars for your impact.

Major Gifts: Raise the most money at the least cost.

97/3: 97% of the money/investments comes from 3% of your family: focus on the 3%.

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97/3: Focus on the Top!

97% of all your INCOME (SALES/REVENUE) will come from

3% of your PROSPECTS (Portfolio/Community/Family).

This is a fact. Don’t fight it. Deal with it.

97/3 just reinforces the need to find your BEST and most QUALIFIED prospects!

The whole ‘80/20’, Pareto the Italian Economist thing is soooooo 1980. (Actually, it was in the 18-somethings.)

A quick parable/metaphor to reinforce this concept.

Lions, Mice, and Antelope.
A lion can hunt, capture, kill, and eat a field mouse. But the ENERGY expended is greater than the caloric content of the mouse. If a lion spent her whole day hunting and eating field mice, she would slowly starve to death!

A lion cannot live on mice. Lions need antelope. Antelope are BIG. Antelope take more planning, persistence, speed, and strength to capture and kill. But, once killed, they provide a huge feast for a lion and her pride.

A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. She will die ‘chasing mice.’

BIG IDEA: The Master Prospect List (MPL)

 

The MPL is one of the biggest ideas in our sales and prospecting process. It’s a system of:

rating and ranking,
your best and most Qualified Prospects,
in descending order of importance.

PRIORITIZATION is the centerpiece of our prospect system: the MPL is not a random group of names nor an alphabetical list!

The MPL ranks ALL of your prospects, not just ‘individuals’.

Here are 3 ways to execute:

  • RATE & RANK Your Prospects. (MPL)
  • Assign a RELATIONSHIP MANAGER. (Portfolio)
  • Identify NATURAL PARTNERS. (Visits)
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Change Your Vocabulary

Tom Peters says, WORDS ARE IMPORTANT.

Jim Collins says,

“We need a NEW LANGUAGE. The critical distinction is not between business and social, but between GREAT and GOOD. (We need to) jointly embrace a LANGUAGE OF GREATNESS.”

And, I say, CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY!

 
 

I believe that if you CHANGE the way you TALK…

you can CHANGE the way you ACT!

 

It’s not just a personal belief: there is compelling science around the psychology of CHANGE that includes tremendous work on this whole idea of NEUROLINGUISTICS and how we FRAME things. Pioneering researchers on cognitive science and linguistics have pointed to the paramount importance of something called ‘FRAMING’.

George Lakoff, Professor at University of California Berkeley, defines ‘FRAMES’ as the mental structures that shape the way we see the world. He says that ‘FRAMES’ are part of our “cognitive unconscious;” but the way that we know our current frames or new frames springs from LANGUAGE.

I want to strongly encourage you to CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY. CHANGE the way you TALK …To dramatically CHANGE the way you ACT.

My hope is that the following OLD WORDS/NEW WORDS will help you ‘TALK THE WALK’… to make it easier to ‘WALK THE TALK!

(more…)

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Be For Impact

BE FOR IMPACT is a 50,000’ conversation, an imperative, and a challenge.

Finding PURPOSE is a journey. BEING FOR IMPACT is a decision.

We have learned that you either get BE FOR IMPACT right away or you don’t. If you do, I hope the following helps you decide to ACT on this challenge:

BE FOR IMPACT is the ‘other Golden Rule’. You can think about BEING FOR IMPACT in the same way that you think about ‘DO UNTO OTHERS’.

BE FOR IMPACT is all about the WHY. (Why do we exist? To have an impact. To leave a legacy. Why do we get up in the morning? Why do we go to work? Why, why, why?)

BE FOR IMPACT is the holy grail, so to speak, of organizations, businesses and people. Any truly great or successful company or Third Sector organization is driven by their IMPACT.

BE FOR IMPACT, again, is a conscious decision, an intent. It’s a commitment that just takes a moment to make and a lifetime to deliver.

BE FOR IMPACT is timeless. Andrew Carnegie. Napoleon Hill. Earl Nightingale. Og Mandino. Rick Warren. And I’m sure somewhere Aristotle and Plato, using some Greek words, laid out the idea of IMPACT.

BE FOR IMPACT is about a legacy. The people who have left the largest legacies have always had the greatest impact. (They’re not the ones who left the most money.)

*THE DASH. My good friend and brilliant thinker, Jim Mahoney, is founder and president of Battelle for Kids. Jim says the DASH is your impact. On your tombstone, the DASH between the year you were born and the year you died symbolizes your IMPACT/ LEGACY. You have the opportunity to write/define your DASH. (I call this your EIA, your Eulogy In Advance.)

BE FOR IMPACT is about value and service and purpose and meaning. Oprah Winfrey recently delivered a commencement speech to Harvard graduates with this message:

After interviewing over 35,000 people, there is a universal truth: Every one of those people craved affirmation.

In her words, it was always, “How did I do?” It doesn’t take much to change that to “Did what I do matter?” “Did it make a difference?” “Have I had an impact?”

BE FOR IMPACT can also be a job description! Every organization is looking for people who want to wake up in the morning and have an impact. Provide value.

*What if this was part of the Ideal Profile you were seeking to any important role in your company, your organization or your team. “Do you want to have an IMPACT?” “What kind of IMPACT do you want to have?”

BE FOR IMPACT would seem to be a huge part of the ‘work-life balance’ conundrum. Certainly, the question of IMPACT transcends work, career, and money. It represents IMPACT on your family, your friends, your community and much more.

In Closing:

BE FOR IMPACT is the way you can change THE world or change YOUR world. It’s a great way to “make a dent in the universe” as Steve Jobs used to say. Gandhi added, “BE the change you want to see in the world.”

We are human BEings, not human DOing.

In 1623, Billy Shakespeare wrote the opening soliloquy in Hamlet, questioning the whole meaning of life. “To BE or not to BE … that is the question.”

In the 21st century, that might be asked in a different way. “To BE FOR IMPACT or not to BE FOR IMPACT … that is the question.”

Only you can answer it.

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No More Not-For-Profit

Why do we define ourselves in the negative? It makes no sense.

Does your organization exist to not make any money?

Or, does it exist to save lives, change lives and impact lives?

Anyone who has barely even touched the surface of our For Impact thinking knows that right under our Controlling Insight of IMPACT drives INCOME (not the other way around) is the idea that this is NOT about not-for-profit, 501c3, tax-exempt, charity, etc.

We are the only industry/sector which defines itself in the NEGATIVE! (It is the equivalent of Starbucks calling themselves a ‘Not-tea’ company or Southwest saying “We’re in the ‘not-train’ business.”)

Stop defining yourself by what you’re not.

Start defining yourself by what you are for: IMPACT.
 

More than a shift in language we need a different way of being.

This shift is about attitude. It’s about your purpose (the WHY). It’s about re-thinking an entire sector (or two).

In 1950, Earl Nightingale wrote The Strangest Secret. The secret (common to many beliefs, all sectors, and all definitions of success): We become what we think about.

What becomes of us when our entire thinking is about ‘nonprofit’?
What if we think, instead, about changing the world?

 

The For Impact Movement

We’ve been sharing this message for the last 15 years and living it for longer than that. The past few years has given rise to an incredible conversation around this VOCABULARY and CHANGE.
 

Think not and be not about:

Charity, 501c3.

Tin Cups or Begging.

Not-for-profit OR for-profit.

Think about and be about:

An organization that is Changing the World.

Selling your Vision.

For Impact!

 

Note: Here is some great thinking from Peter Drucker:

Every organization has to abandon almost everything it does.

No ‘some’ orgs… need to ‘tweak’… some ‘things.’ What if you abandoned:

Direct mail. Lengthy Case Statements. Feasibility Studies. Volunteer Solicitations. Survival Pitches. Small thinking. Cultivation. Special events (that aren’t special and don’t raise money). Letters that read “We are a 501(c)3” (who cares?). Committee Reports. Etc.
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Impact Drives Income. (Not the Other Way Around.)

Putting an ‘idea on the back of a napkin’ is pretty important to us. The ‘napkin’ is the most powerful device or metaphor for SIMPLICITY that we’ve come across.

That old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true, and in this case, the visual represents everything we have learned and believe after 30 years in the field.

 

 

Our entire MESSAGE and POINT OF VIEW can be summarized with these 3 color-coded words: IMPACT DRIVES INCOME. Even simpler: 2 words and an arrow on a napkin!!

The implications of this idea are everything to us.

It is not about fundraising, development, soliciting people for money, or anything else you do under the guise of raising money. Instead:

Impact Demands, Drives, Determines Income.

The SIZE and SCOPE of your Impact Determines the SIZE and SCOPE of your INCOME. (Not the other way around.)

It’s ALL about your IMPACT. How are your saving, changing or impacting lives?

If you can convey your VISION, IMPACT or PURPOSE and do so CLEARLY, CONCISELY, COMPELLINGLY…

To someone who wants to do just that…
Then, YOU GET MORE MONEY!!!
Then, MORE MONEY EQUALS MORE, GREATER IMPACT.

Little bit of Lion King ‘Circle of Life’ going on here, but whatever it takes to make the point! The more IMPACT you have – the more INCOME you can have – the more IMPACT you will have.

Action: Put these words, this visual, this napkin everywhere:

Share it with your Board.

Begin every staff meeting with it.

Even use it on presentations.

It’s a great REMINDER to start every conversation with WHY you do what you do.

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3/3 kicks off 33 days of For Impact Ideas on a Napkin

Today is 3/3 and if you know us, you know that 3 is our favorite number! So, today, we’re kicking off 33 days of For Impact Ideas on a Napkin.

We’re starting with (of course) The Rule of Three.

The Rule of 3

The Rule of 3 is a magical rule for SIMPLICITY.

As human beings, we’re wired to understand, internalize, and remember threes. Politicians know this, as does the media. Neuroscience tells us that the brain actually finds harmony in threes.

One is lonely (no choice.)

Two creates an either/or conflict. (Sophie’s Choice, anyone?)

Not only is Three just right (thank you, Goldilocks) but anything more than three is too complex!

Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less tells us stories of engagement DECREASING proportionate to MORE choice.

Look around:

Three-Act Plays. The first act sets up the story, the second act creates conflict, and the third act is the resolution.

The Holy Trinity.

Pyramids. An ancient symbol for strength.

Think BIG! Build SIMPLE! Act NOW! (Can you feel the cadence?!?!)

Today. Tomorrow. Forever.

You can use the Rule of 3 to simplify EVERYTHING you do and how you communicate:

If there are 20 points you want to make about why you exist, you need to frame them up under 3 storylines.

If you have 7 programs, you need to package those into 3 funding priorities, such as:

People, Programs, Places.
Students, Teachers, Campus.
Read-Aloud Programs, Family Literacy, Teen Intervention.

If someone asks you a complex question, you can respond by saying, “I can answer that with these 3 things…”

If someone asks you, “How can I help?”, you can answer by saying, “We ask everyone for 3 things:

To be a Champion for our cause,
To Invite others to be engaged,
and to make an Investment in our Impact.
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169 Million Days …

169 Million Days ..

According to Quartz, last year, Americans left 169 million paid vacation days on the table … saying they were too busy to use them!!! That was PAID VACATION DAYS.

I’ve been reading a lot of stuff in the last few months about work-life balance/integration, happiness, purpose, etc.

The Gallup organization continually confirms that taking time away from the job/work/calling is very, very important …  to do a better job!

In the For Impact world, you need to regenerate, renew, recover. Taking time off is essential to that recovery. (Look up thoughts on oscillation by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.)

Here are also some thoughts from Gallup on Taking Regular Vacations May Help Boost Americans Well-Being.

Some startling stats to get your attention:

  • 169 million paid vacation days left on the table!
  • 41% of Americans didn’t take any vacation days in 2014!
  • Nearly half of Americans didn’t take a single day off in December of 2014!

Don’t be one of these ‘stats’ in 2015!

Note:  Maybe the best way for the Tribe to deal with this is around vocabulary. Just don’t use the word VACATION. (It sounds like you’re in Hawaii playing golf while the world is imploding.)

Use as many R-words as you can … Recover, Regenerate, Renew, Relax, Rest, Reminder (of Life), etc.

Suddes Family Vacation 2014

A Suddes Family Memorable Experience in Jackson Hole, WY
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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We look forward to adding even more value to your personal and professional lives in 2015.

Here’s a great quote that my good friend Christopher picked up from our writing last year, and shared with his family:

“WEALTH IS AN ABUNDANCE OF THINGS WE VALUE.”

Think about this: Everything we truly value … doesn’t really ‘cost’ a lot of money.

As you look to the New Year, I encourage you to reflect on GRATITUDE (vs. what’s wrong) … MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES (vs. materialistic stuff)…..and INTEGRATION (vs. work-life balance)

From all of us at For Impact | The Suddes Group … wishing you a productive, joyful and IMPACTFUL 2015.

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Today is Fire

Yesterday is ashes.
Tomorrow is wood.
Today is fire.
       
Eskimo Proverb

Here’s a gold nugget as you look to making 2015 a special year.

‘Tending the Fire’ is an interesting analogy for working on our ‘life’ in 2015.

THE FOUR FIRES

(Adapted from Ayurveda, with attribution and thanks to Shiva Rea in MANTRA: YOGA & HEALTH magazine.)

DIM FIRE (MANDA AGNI) can manifest as a lack of hunger for life, disconnection, low energy, and lethargy and is balanced by life practices which revitalize, rekindle, and nourish without depleting vital energy.

EXCESSIVE FIRE (TIKSHNA AGNI) manifests as insatiable hunger and a reactive nervous system – rarely satisfied, sharp, intense, ego-driven, and out of balance. Excessive fire is balanced by slowing down, relaxing, and bringing more meditative life activities and yoga practices into one’s life

WAVERING FIRE (VISHAMA AGNI) affects our ability to experience life without stress as the wavering fire expends energy through an irregular flow, erratic energy, and inability to sustain transformation. Balance the fire through grounding, few activities, and greater quality of presence.

BALANCED FIRE (SAMA AGNI) brings you into your authentic energy flow, vitality, inspiration, clarity, longevity, and passion – sustaining evolution in all forms.

“There is nothing like the new–year fire to help us wake up and not be afraid to get real about what we want to change and what we want to live for.”
Shiva Rea

A Thought for 2015: SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE … WITH FIRE.

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Man’s Search For Meaning

This is the book that almost every ‘personal development expert’ puts on their list of top 10 books.  As the year ends, and we look towards 2015 and beyond … this is one of those books that reinforces everything we are thinking (and hoping) on Purpose, Meaning and Impact.

Thanks (again!) to Shane Parrish at Farnam Street for find this unbelievable clip from 1972 of Viktor Frankl delivering a powerful message about the most important gift we can give others.

“If we take man as he is, we make him worse, but if we take him as he should be, we make him capable of becoming what he can be.”

Here’s the clip.  Take 4 minutes and 22 seconds out of your life to hear Viktor Frankl in person talk about Purpose and Meaning.

***1972!  He makes a big deal of 16% of the American youth want to “make a lot of money”78% are searching Meaning and Purpose.  Those are the same kind of numbers that are thrown around today.

“Everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms –
to chose one’s ATTITUDE in any given set of circumstances, to chose one’s way.”

– Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning
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Thanks – Giving and Gratitude

This is a special time and an obvious week of Gratitude and Thanksgiving.

Note: Every year I try to share a Thanksgiving message with our Tribe/Community. Some of this ‘re-cycled’ from previous years because of the timeless nature of these thoughts.

Three things to think about this Thanksgiving and in the Holiday Season.

    1. “WEALTH IS AN ABUNDANCE OF THINGS WE VALUE.”
    For the first half of my life (30+ years), my understanding of wealth was the same as all my friends, business associates and the general public. ‘WEALTH’ meant you had a lot of money.
    Then I found this definition… and it allowed me to become one of the ‘WEALTHIEST’ people in the world.
    Here’s a simple test of your ‘WEALTH’. Write down a list of all the things that you truly VALUE. Then, put a ‘COST’ (an actual dollar figure) next to everything on the list.
    Most of you will look at the list and realize that the things that we truly VALUE… end up COSTING NOTHING!
    Bob and Melinda Blanchard, in their wonderful entrepreneurial book LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE, have a great line: “It only matters if it BREATHES.”
    My own VALUE LIST is filled with simple things that are alive … family time, adventures with the grandkids, health, friends, business partners, etc. … and, some that are not … a great book, a good cup of coffee, nature, the sun, the ocean, the mountains, a boxing workout, yoga and a ride on the Harley.
    Here’s the pretty obvious point: ‘WEALTH’, no matter how you define it, is not about ‘money’. Money is just ‘worthless wampum’ in the grand scheme of life.
    Clearly, we need to provide ourselves and family with food, shelter, clothing, etc. But if the accumulation of money, a higher salary or how much you can put in your bank or your portfolio is your measurement for success or happiness … I’m guessing you’ll be doing that ‘camel through the eye of the needle’ thing at the end of your life.
    Robert Allen has a great quote, “If a man with many riches suddenly loses all of his money and then jumps out of a window… then, that man was never truly wealthy.”
    In an old ODE magazine (which has now been renamed the OPTIMIST), there was an entire issue around this idea of ‘money’. One of the best lines was a simple statement: “It’s not about MONEY. It’s what you DO with your money.”
    Special Note: I’m an entrepreneur. I’m all about financial freedom. I want to be able to take care of my family, travel, live on the farm and much more. I just don’t believe that money is the scorecard or measurement of wealth or success.
    The Thanksgiving and holiday season is a great opportunity to think of WEALTH as an ABUNDANCE OF THINGS THAT YOU VALUE… and enjoy your ‘WEALTH’.
    2. GRATITUDE.
    I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on this whole idea of  ‘Gratitude’.  Mindfulness.  Meaning.  Purpose.  And more.  It is particularly powerful in the mind-body relation, especially keeping some kind of gratitude journal.
    Take a little bit of time each day to remind yourself of the good things and the things for which you are most grateful.
    3. THE MORE YOU GIVE THE MORE YOU GET.” 
    “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
    I’ve had the privilege of watching thousands of people experience serious ‘giving‘. I’ve also watched many of these people literally move from success to significance. While I don’t exactly understand how it works, I know that giving brings much more happiness than receiving.
    There’s a great line from a country song:
    “It’s not what you take with you … when you leave the world behind.”
    “It’s what you leave behind you … when you leave this world behind you.”

I believe all of three of these thoughts help us make a life, not a living.

There’s no better time of the year than now to share with others.

Katniss, our miniature Highland cow wants you to eat more turkey. From the rest of us at For Impact and The Suddes Group and Eagle Creek, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and great holiday season.

Special Note: Every year I share these 3 stories that you may want to share with your children or grandchildren or family. THE HAPPY PRINCE is a great story/fable. THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD are seen through the eyes of a child. The third is a very powerful parable about giving called the SEA OF GALILEE.

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Thank You for Your Service

LtSuddes
Yesterday was a special day to honor our military past and present.

Every day should be used to thank veterans for keeping our country free and safe.

My dad was a Marine who fought through all the islands in the Pacific in World War II. My brother Mike flew helicopters for the Marines for five years. (He once got a ticket for landing a helicopter in Yellowstone National Park!)

I spent two amazing years after Notre Dame in the U.S. Army, Infantry, Airborne and Pathfinder. Phenomenal leadership experience at 22 years old. (I was pretty ‘gungho’, which is a military word for excited to serve.  Thankfully, in restrospect, I was the first class out of Fort Benning to NOT go to Vietnam.)

Note on Gratitude: We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our veterans and current military. I have a lot of Notre Dame boxers who have served and are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East. I think of them often.

While it’s a nice gesture to say to our current military, “Thank you for your service” … what really needs to be done is to help them with the TRANSITION from military to a career and family and a new life.

If you are in a position to do so … most are extremely talented, committed leaders … help them to begin their post-military life.

Special Note: Many of these returning vets would make great TALENT in the For Impact world … as executives, teachers, program leaders, sales and development staff and much more.

*Check out Howard Schultz’ new book FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY.  A lot of ‘good stuff’ on why we undervalue the potential and contributions to our communities.

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What Matters Most

THIS IS YOUR LIFE. DO WHAT YOU LOVE, AND DO IT OFTEN.

In case you haven’t seen the Holstee Manifesto, here it is … and here’s link to their site.
 
holstee1

We have the same kind of thing  on for entrepreneurs (How To Be A Social Entrepreneur) that you also might find interesting.
 
fi_socialentrepreneur_poster_012214

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Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling

A quick follow-up on Nick’s post regarding our commitment to STORY … TALENT … and SALES.

For some reason, this topic is covered by Harvard Business Review. Just seemed to be more powerful than TMZ or the New York Post.

WHY YOUR BRAIN LOVES GOOD STORYTELLING should give you all the ‘backup’ you need to commit time and focus to your STORY.

Filled with words like oxytocin, neurobiology and transcendent purpose … Paul J. Zak also talks about James Bond, Joseph Campbell and Spartan 300. Here’s one great line:  BEGIN EVERY PRESENTATION WITH COMPELLING, HUMAN-SKILL STORY.

Note:  I’m extremely proud of how we are able to help organizations and people TELL THEIR STORY. We’ve learned, after 30+ years, how important that STORY is to SALES and FUNDING.

SHARE THE STORY — PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY — FUND THE VISION.

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The Keys to Happiness

*Quick shout out to Shane Parrish at Farnam Street.

The HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE by Shawn Achor talks about THE KEYS TO HAPPINESS.

At 30,000′: Success doesn’t make us happy.  Happiness makes us a success.

“When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.”

Here’s a shorthand of some of Achor’s thoughts on becoming happier.

  • Meditate. “Research shows that regular meditation can permanently re-wire the brain to raise levels of happiness, lower stress and even improve immune function.”
  • Do something nice for someone.
  • Invest in your social relationships.
  • Get outside.
  • Spend money on experiences not stuff.

Check out the article and the book.

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