Daily Nuggets

Section Index

  1. Don’t Make a Funder Work Hard to Understand What You Do
  2. Turn ‘Dog Days’ Into Great Thinking and Planning Time
  3. Additional 2015 Boot Camp Dates Added
  4. 9 Big Board Questions
  5. Video Nugget: Selling at 30,000 Feet
  6. An Organization Must be Constantly Led Uphill or it Rolls Backward
  7. Video Nugget: Using Altitude to Develop your Presentation
  8. All You Need is Love
  9. Colorado Boot Camp: ‘Early Bird’ Opportunity
  10. Charles Schultz Philosophy on Life
  11. The Campaign as an Opportunity for Organizational Culture Change
  12. The For Impact Guidebook On Quantum Leap Campaigns
  13. Campaign Week (our version of Shark Week)
  14. Optimism and Confidence
  15. Video Nugget: Use Altitude for Engagement, Organizational Development and Communication
  16. Summer of Health
  17. Meaning Before Details
  18. Video Nugget: Introduction to the Altitude Framework
  19. The Power of Context
  20. What Does ‘An Ask’ Look Like? A Checklist.
  21. Funding Frameworks – Illustrated
  22. Intern Reading List
  23. The Symbolism of Colors – Blue, Red, Green
  24. How to use an Engagement Tool
  25. A Framework that Works for Every Visit…. ever.
  26. What is an Engagement Tool?
  27. No More Endowment
  28. Team Selling
  29. Ask…Listen…Ask…Listen
  30. The Clueless Close
  31. Don’t Skip the Open!
  32. 1,000 Day Action Plans
  33. Do the Math to Simplify Your Funding Story
  34. Define Your Ideal Prospect
  35. Commit to Sales
  36. Start With The Why
  37. No More ‘Asking for Money’
  38. Breaking News … IRS Eliminates 501c(3) Not-For-Profit Designation!!!
  39. Stop Fundraising and Start Selling Your Impact
  40. The Presentation Framework
  41. You Need to Find a Way to Boot Camp – And Here’s Why
  42. Use Predisposition and Perseverance to Get the Visit
  43. Maximize Relationships at This Given Moment
  44. No More Feasibility Studies
  45. Start Creating Memorable Experiences
  46. Engage, Mav, Engage!
  47. Spend More Time with Better Prospects
  48. The Funding Role of the Board: Champion, Invite, Invest
  49. Celebrate your Birth DATE!
  50. The Entrepreneur’s Mantra: Think Big, Build Simple, Act Now
  51. The Altitude Framework
  52. Triple Net
  53. Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?
  54. Share the Story… Present the Opportunity
  55. Return on Energy (R.O.E.)
  56. 2:1 Rule for Deliberate Dialogue
  57. 97/3: Focus on the Top!
  58. Change Your Vocabulary
  59. Just Ask
  60. Be For Impact
  61. No More Not-For-Profit
  62. Impact Drives Income. (Not the Other Way Around.)
  63. 3/3 kicks off 33 days of For Impact Ideas on a Napkin
  64. A Campaign Is…
  65. April 2015 Boot Camp: ‘Early Bird’ Opportunity
  66. Talent Posting :: Water for People – Head of Business Development
  67. 169 Million Days …
  68. Happy New Year!
  69. Year End Thinking. 100 Memories.
  70. Today is Fire
  71. Prioritizing
  72. For Impact Reading: Being Mortal
  73. Man’s Search For Meaning
  74. Thanks – Giving and Gratitude
  75. Welcome to the new ForImpact.org!
  76. Thank You for Your Service
  77. Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling
  78. The Keys to Happiness
  79. Top Challenges for Organizations
  80. Find Your Mission
  81. A Leader’s Job is to Bear Pain … Not Inflict It
  82. Balance vs. Integration
  83. Just Engage
  84. How To Make Your Story Awesome
  85. Our Programs
  86. Only 9.1% of Sales Meetings Result in a Sale!

Don’t Make a Funder Work Hard to Understand What You Do

I was on a coaching call yesterday with a fantastic Development Director. We’re about a month out from a very productive message building session with senior team, program staff and a few board members. During the session, the big a-ha was “We’ve always thought that what we do is too complicated to explain to people but it doesn’t have to be!” Today, the DD finds herself back in a place where the team (with the best of intention) is still tweaking words on the Engagement Tool.

There a many reminders for the team here:

Don’t make a funder WORK HARD to understand what you do and why you do it. (read more here.) Ask questions and listen. What they say is more important than what you say.

Start with Why. Don’t skip this even if you think they know – especially with existing funders. “Why has this impact been meaningful to you?” or “Why have you been funding us for the last 5 years?”

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. The person you are with won’t always understand every detail about every program you do and that is okay. Use the Rule of 3 for communication and clarity.

Engage and then plan. You will learn more from a prospect about what words are working than you will trying to get consensus within the team. Get out of the office and test the message. It will result in real conversation and real dollars.

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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.
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  • “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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Additional 2015 Boot Camp Dates Added

Our September Boot Camp has sold out and so we are adding additional dates this year! (Early Bird Pricing available through the end of August.)

Join us on October 20-21 at Eagle Creek – our beautiful 50-acre retreat center.

 

 

The For Impact Boot Camp is focused on frameworks and skill building – You will leave with the knowledge you need to simplify your message and funding rationale, and take your organization to the next level.

This high-energy, day-and-a-half session covers topics like:

  • How to execute against a sales process (for major gifts, campaign gifts, transformational gifts, etc.)
  • How to build and maximize relationships
  • How to build and lead an effective team
  • How to ask, close, and follow-up

The Boot Camp is perfect for organizational alums, new hires, or anyone looking to hone individual skills – both personal and professional!

We’ve extending our Early Bird pricing – Register before August 31st to take advantage of this offer! Discounts are also available for Alumni Organizations and teams with 4 or more participants.

 

For More Information, FAQs and Registration:
For Impact Funding Boot Camp
Tuesday, October 20 – Wednesday, October 21 2015
Ostrander, OH
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9 Big Board Questions

I’ve been a part of dozens of board retreats, meetings, and planning sessions as a leader, observer, and participant. A traditional strategic planning session lays out goals and actions but often fails to address some really big driving questions.

WHAT IF we asked these questions:

  • What is our purpose or raison d’être? This is different from mission – which should be the same thing but usually ends up being more about ‘place in the world’ than purpose. Raison d’être literally means REASON FOR EXISTENCE. It’s the WHY question. If you can’t answer WHY, then WHAT and HOW are irrelevant.
  • How can we (intentionally) go out of business? In either the short term (1000 days) or long term (50+ years)? If you exist to change lives, save lives, or transform lives, then how often do we re-examine our activities and ask, “Can we find a SOLUTION?” I started to qualify this question – to say that it might not apply to some organizations, such as schools. Then I withdrew my qualification. Ask it anyway; see where the conversation takes you. Education is changing.
  • What would you do with $10M or $100M? Or pick a number that is a factor of 10x higher than anything you’re thinking about now. I once attended a retreat as a board member for Road of Life Cancer Prevention for Kids. With $100M, one board member said she would get laws changed to make health education mandatory at an earlier age and another said we should invest in longitudinal studies to understand how health prevention impacts kids. Those are two very different priorities and we weren’t doing either at that time. Ultimately, the question helped to build consensus around focusing on EDUCATION. Until the question was asked, every debate was about incremental tactics. Not Vision or even, I would argue, Strategy.
  • What Strategic Partnerships can we pursue? You have finance committees, development committees, marketing committees, campaign committees. If anything, I would like to see a partnership committee. Better yet, just a commitment to partnerships as a core priority of the organization. I haven’t seen the numbers in a while, but there are somewhere in excess of 2 million nonprofits and many more socially focused businesses (all For Impact). Current structures and strategic planning questions focus on bloat, not partnerships. We’re all trying to make a difference, so let’s make a commitment (financial resources) to exploring this full time.
  • How can we scale our Impact? Simple and open-ended, but not asked enough.
  • What are we best in the world at? Jim Collins has made this conversation prevalent (revisiting the Hedgehog Concept). It’s ultimately a question of priorities and focus. Consider finding the one thing you do very well and FOCUS on that. I can’t tell you how important this discussion is for your staff. It helps them make decisions about grants, programs, staffing, etc. Equally important is identifying those things that you’re not good at. I am a big Marcus Buckingham believer and his philosophy of focusing on your strengths.
  • Should we grow ‘wider’ or ‘deeper’? This is a scope of services question. Ultimately a lot of ‘strategic planning’ comes down to this question. Do we add more depth to our current programs (make them longer, more available, etc)? Or, do we expand our scope of services (diverse offerings, expanded continuum, etc.)? Refer back to question six to help you frame this debate.
  • How much money do we need to achieve our vision? What usually happens: we spend time tweaking funding goals based on last year’s results. It would be of huge value, to everyone, if we knew how much money we really needed to accomplish our Vision (either annually or over time via a campaign initiative).

    This question is often asked in preparation for a campaign, but not usually asked in relation to the operational/annual budget. Instead, we set a number and then allocate it (through the budget) – every year. Why not ask the question?

  • What is our business model? What business are we in? I think this goes along with several other questions and relates to strengths, focus, and priorities. It also adds clarity and could even become part of your message.

I think these questions would also SOLVE a lot of the problems I hear about every day:

  • Board Engagement/Staff Communication: It works both ways.
  • Board Meetings: If we’re on board about the big stuff it raises the level of the conversation. I think a lot of the comments I hear about board members being too detail-focused or staff members seeming unfocused is resolved when we can communicate about and focus on the big picture.
  • The Proverbial Rat Race: Incremental thinking gets incremental results (sometimes).

Download: Board Strategic Framework for Funding

Download: Board Role & Altitude (cards)

Download ‘On Board(s)’ Guidebook

Listen to ‘On Board(s) – A Guide for Greater Board Engagement’ Teleseminar (Tom Suddes)

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An Organization Must be Constantly Led Uphill or it Rolls Backward

4-Star General Stanley McChrystal was responsible for reshaping counterterrorism warfare from 2003 to 2008. In the introduction to his book, Team of Teams, he makes this powerful observation:

“An organization is no more enduring than the physical conditioning that keeps a soldier fit. An organization must be constantly led, or, if necessary, pushed uphill toward what it must be. Stop pushing and it doesn’t continue, or even rest in place; it rolls backward.

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Video Nugget: Using Altitude to Develop your Presentation

Previous video in this sequence:
Using Altitude for Engagement, Organizational Development and Communication

In this video we cover using Altitude to develop your Presentation:

  • Lay out a Vision at 30,000’
  • Focus on clear Priorities over the next 1,000 Days
  • Answer “How you can help” with a Funding Plan

Check back tomorrow for more on developing your Funding Rationale.

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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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Colorado Boot Camp: ‘Early Bird’ Opportunity

Join us on September 15-16, 2015 in Larkspur, CO (halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs/ 60 miles south of the Denver Airport) for our For Impact Boot Camp.

This high-energy, two-day session explores the For Impact Point of View and Sales Process. And it is the best resource we can recommend for you and your team.

Boot Camp is focused on frameworks and skill building. You will leave with the knowledge you need to simplify your message and funding rationale and take your organization to the next level.

This opportunity is perfect for organizational alums, new hires, or anyone looking to hone their individual skills – both personal and professional!

Boot Camp will focus on topics like:

  • How to execute against a sales process (for major gifts, campaign gifts, transformational gifts, etc.)
  • How to build and maximize relationships
  • How to build and lead an effective team
  • How to ask, close, and follow-up

Take advantage of Early Bird pricing until this Friday, July 24th at Midnight.
More Information and Registration Here.

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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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The Campaign as an Opportunity for Organizational Culture Change

Changing a culture is very challenging. In the best cases, it is very slow.

Observing and working with thousands of organizations and companies I’m convinced culture change only comes about because of a dramatic event and/or extraordinary leadership.

More than a funding goal, the ‘campaign initiative’ can be an organizational event to declare a culture change.. and it gives a framework for leadership to tell a new story.

In fact, when we assemble a team for a major campaign effort we carve out time (off-site) with the team to envision success, draft the plan and DECLARE THE CULTURE.

Special note: Part of the exercise in declaring a culture is identifying sacred cows (and getting rid of them) as well as developing new language.

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The For Impact Guidebook On Quantum Leap Campaigns

Campaign Week: Day 1.

(Reminder, we’re hosting campaign teleseminars this week.)

This guidebook is designed to CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT CAMPAIGNS.

No more of these…

Instead…

Think BIG. Build SIMPLE. Act NOW.
It’s about the STORY! It’s about SPEED. SIMPLICITY. and SALES.
It’s about LEADERSHIP… TALENT… and a FOCUS on your BEST prospects.
It’s about choosing the DESIGN of your organization, team and impact… then making that QUANTUM LEAP.
Read ‘The For Impact Guidebook On Quantum Leap Campaigns’.

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Campaign Week (our version of Shark Week)

Campaign Week Header Image

Every year we do our version of Shark Week. Instead of sharks we focus on CAMPAIGNS.

Next week is CAMPAIGN WEEK!

We will focus our writing, publishing and education on campaigns.

Here are four teleseminars we will be hosting. They’re free for the first 50 registrants.
 

Teleseminar: For Impact 101- Changing the Funding Game (INTRO)
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM (EDT)
Teleseminar: Designing a Campaign
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM (EDT)
Teleseminar: Building a Sales Culture – On Talent and Teams
Thursday, July 16, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM (EDT)
Teleseminar: The Language of the Ask, The Close and The Follow-up
Friday, July 17, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 1:45 PM (EDT)
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Optimism and Confidence

This one’s a book recommendation and a commentary.

Book Recommendation: How Champions Think by Bob Rotella.

Some of the most important qualities in a great sales/major gifts person include:

  • Empathy
  • Optimism
  • Confidence
  • Engagement (Ability to ENGAGE)

 
It’s difficult for me to rank these. They’re all important.

How Champions Think gives you and me a way of approaching optimism and confidence as dynamic traits we can control. We DECIDE to be optimistic and CHOOSE to believe in ourselves.

  • On Optimism.

    “People aren’t born optimistic or pessimistic. Optimism is an attitude that people can choose to have.”

    • “Optimism doesn’t guarantee anything in sports [and life]. It just improves your chances.”
    • “Optimism is often an act of faith, a belief in something that cannot be proven.”
    • Rotella says that top athletes either consciously or unconsciously find ways to become and stay optimistic.
  • On Self-Confidence.

    “People tend to become what they think about themselves.” – William James

    “There is enormous wisdom in that sentence. And there’s enormous hope. James was wise enough to see that we are each the biggest influence on our own destiny. More importantly, he understood that we each have the power to construct our own self-image and that the self-image we construct will very likely determine what we become in life.”

The valuable thing about this book is that it gives us a peek into the minds of Lebron James, Ben Hogan and other champions. You see the importance of confidence but more importantly, you see how these are decisions that add up to construct one’s being.

Having coached and trained over 1000 sales people and leaders I believe in everything Rotella is saying. Optimism and confidence are found in different ways but fundamentally they are choices.

Implications for For Impact Leaders:

  • Hire for optimism and confidence… And always reinforce these traits. Believing in your team is one of the most important things you can do as a leader.
  • Remove (sales) team members that cannot be mentored toward optimism and confidence. We must guard against anything that takes these dynamic traits in the wrong direction.
  • Renew YOUR optimism and confidence. It’s a decision! But this one falls under ‘simple, not easy’. Work on finding ways to become and stay optimistic. Set the tone and the story for the team.
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Video Nugget: Use Altitude for Engagement, Organizational Development and Communication

Previous video in this sequence: Introduction to Altitude Framework.

In this video we cover three ways to leverage the Altitude Framework.

  • For engagement. People will engage at the altitude of your choosing.
  • For organizational development. Start with WHY and answer the question, “To what end?”
  • For communication. Use the metaphor to effectively communicate with your team ‘at altitude’.
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Summer of Health

In the spring of 2014, The Suddes Group team members encountered several health setbacks, ranging from physical injuries to the emotional / mental toll of losing family members. As a team, we decided to commit the summer to health and healing. On June 21, the Summer Solstice we started our SUMMER OF HEALTH.

This really simple concept defined our TEAM STORY for the summer.

We read books… took cooking classes… held each other accountable to fitness goals... rehabbed old injuries… There was an open and ongoing conversation about managing energy, finding flow, and the process of mental renewal.

The Summer of Health had many expected benefits, but also a few that we didn’t even see coming:

  • We went wayyyy beyond diet and fitness. The team conversation shaped around vitality, balance and meaning!!!
  • Team members involved families. This seems obvious in hindsight, but everyone reported having family members who also lost weight, gained energy, and transformed their health. As one team member shared with me, “We took the time to learn how to cook and prepare healthy food as a family, and this is a value that will be passed on to our kids!” (THAT’S IMPACT!)
  • We had an impact on broader social circles and extended families. Our team members became incidental health leaders and coaches. Let me tell you, there is nothing more fulfilling than helping a family member find health!
  • I think it had a permanent impression on our culture. Since last summer we’ve observed an awareness of energy and work-life integration.

The team journey was so powerful that we’re making it again. Hopefully a few of you will make a commitment to a SUMMER OF HEALTH too.

Obviously, this is something you can do yourself, but I would encourage you to do this with your team or with some friends.

Write to me at nick@forimpact.org. Tell me about your INDIVIDUAL or TEAM commitment to a SUMMER OF HEALTH. I will include you on notes we share with our team about focus, renewal and vitality. I’ll also send out some of the books below to a few randomly selected people.

Here are a few of the books we shared last summer:

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Meaning Before Details

I’m preparing for our flagship experience, The For Impact Boot Camp. Part of the ritual includes re-reading some clippings and materials — including a chapter on the subject of ATTENTION from Brain Rules. John Medina goes into the neuroscience of how we pay attention, engage and learn.

Here’s a powerful nugget from that reading:

The brain processes meaning before details. Providing the gist, the core concept, first [is] like giving a thirsty person a tall glass of water. And the brain likes hierarchy. Starting with general concepts naturally leads to explaining information in a hierarchical fashion. You have to do the general idea first. And then you will see [a] 40% increase in understanding.”

This nugget (and the science explained in the book) helps to explain why the Altitude Framework is such a powerful communication framework. The Altitude Framework along with the Engagement Tool provide a visual orientation and hierarchy… moving from meaning to details.

This is also a great reminder that one of the most powerful questions we can ask someone is their WHY…. It creates full engagement around the THEIR meaning. If you can then attach every detail of the conversation to their WHY then you will have full attention.

In an educational setting (like Boot Camp) this becomes an important teaching principle. Give ONE concept and use a lot of details to support ONE idea. We then support with a story because stories are rich with meaning.

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The Power of Context

I’m not sure we give enough credit or thought to the power of context… the situation, atmosphere or circumstances that shape events and communication.

Context gives (EVERYTHING) its form and meaning.

“The room is EIGHTY PERCENT of the context for the comedy!” – Jerry Seinfeld.

Wow!

Think about CONTEXT (in these contexts!)

  • CONTEXT-setting! The job of the LEADER.

    “The CEO must set the context within which every employee operates. The context gives meaning to specific work that people do, aligns interests, enables decision making, and provides motivation.” – Ben Horowitz in The Hard Thing about Hard Things

    Set the CONTEXT!

  • CONTEXT for TALENT!

    McKinsey identified the number one challenge with hiring and leadership development to be OVERLOOKING CONTEXT. “A brilliant leader in one situation does not necessarily perform well in another.” (McKinsey Quarterly. Jan 2014)

  • CONTEXT for the ASK!

    (This one needs a book, not a bullet point!)

    Think about how we PREDISPOSE to set and control the CONTEXT for the conversation. What do we need to send ahead of time? The experience! Who needs to be there! Where will we have the visit?

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What Does ‘An Ask’ Look Like? A Checklist.

In the For Impact world A REAL ASK satisfies this checklist:

  • We were WITH a prospect – physically.

    See Just Visit. There are exceptions to this but 19 times out of 20 the ask is done in person so that there is engagement and dialogue.

  • We asked the prospect for specific help with a specific project, program or level of support.

    In doing so the dollar figure was clear. Example: “John, we need your help, would it be possible for you to underwrite this project for $20,000?”

    It wasn’t open-ended, we didn’t ask, “Could you give whatever you can give?”

    Also, in being specific, the funding rationale wasn’t for ‘unrestricted’ or ‘operations’… those aren’t specific (see: Have a Funding Rationale)

  • The ask was a dialogue – a back and forth with questions and listening — so that we could ensure that we were maximizing the relationship at this given moment.

    Read: The Ask as a Dialogue to help with this concept.

  • We will expect a YES or a NO – and will follow-up accordingly.

    Thinking about how to get to a YES or NO ensures you have covered appropriate mechanics and you can continue within a sales process. Otherwise, there is a risk of pending into oblivion or unclear follow-up.

Without the definition provided by this checklist we often find:

  • A visit is scored as an ask.
  • There is no real ask – but rather a suggestion that it would be great to have the prospect’s help.
  • Some psychological shift whereby the salesperson only asks AFTER the prospect says he or she would like to make a gift. That’s not an ask. The relationship certainly wasn’t maximized and it’s an incredibly low return-on-energy methodology.
  • The salesperson raises money without asking. This is similar to point above. To be clear, just showing up DOES yield funding – this is our point behind JUST VISIT!

    But, in terms of measurement this is harder to spot (and therefore coach around), and usually shows up because a sales person will report the following:

    • 25 visits
    • 20 asks
    • 3 commits
    • 0 declines

    If you follow this ask checklist, you SHOULD get a ‘no’ from time-to-time.

  • There was a request for help, but there was no funding rationale or dialogue. We see this with a lot of organizations that ARE raising money. They’re out visiting, they’re asking the prospect to help but they’re not maximizing the relationship. (Not the worst problem in the world – but usually leaving tons of money on the table).

Some reminders:

  • We’re pushing for everyone to be more assertive. That doesn’t mean you always have to ask for funding on the first visit. There are certainly many times where it’s a discovery or predisposition visit (but never 4-5 ‘cultivation’ visits before we ask).
  • Kerry was with a client last week and they visited with a high capacity prospect for a first time discovery visit. There was no ask, however Kerry did ask for permission to make the ask. She closed the visit by saying to the prospect, “Today we wanted to share the vision and see if we could get you on board with our story. As we move along would it be okay to talk to you about supporting that vision?”
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Funding Frameworks – Illustrated

In this video we illustrate a few funding frameworks inside of our sample engagement tool.

Reminder: You don’t need to use EVERY framework in your engagement tool. Simplicity is the goal!

Here are some links to support this video nugget.

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Intern Reading List

As summer approaches we are brushing up the directed readings list for our For Impact Summer Internship. This is the version of the list / books we will share this year.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The point of this book is in the title. The book is an invitation to THINK your way through life.

The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightengale

The first two books on this list are timeless classics. The Strangest Secret is… You become what you think about. This is true for individuals. I believe it’s equally true for teams and organizations.

Give and Take by Adam Grant

I don’t know how this book didn’t up with even MORE acclaim! Published in 2013 it was my most distributed book of that year. Adam Grant draws on research and real-world stories to illustrate and backstop the notion that helping others is actually the key to success. For anyone in our sector, especially, this is ‘wind in the sails’.

The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin

Remember ‘Searching for Bobby Fisher’? The author of this book is Josh Waitzkin, the former child phenom chess champion and subject of the film. This book is about building your craft, learning (period) and the life-as-a-journey pathway toward fulfillment, excellence and mastery.

The One Thing You Need to Know: … About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success by Marcus Buckingham

Focus on strengths (not weaknesses). In life, business, marriage!!! and more. If you can pick up this ONE tip it’s a huuuuggeeee lever for success.

The Power of Story by Jim Loehr

Everything is is a story. Nothing more. Nothing less. We have the ability to control that story. This is a book about the narrative machine that is the mind and the energy stories consume or create.

Eat. Move. Sleep. by Tom Rath

We’ve read dozens (maybe hundreds) of books, journal articles and other publications about health and wellness. Tom Rath does a great job hitting the recurrent (and really very simple) themes. At The Suddes Group we think of health & vitality as the first wealth. Anything we can do to promote that with our interns, our team, our clients or the broader FI community is really important!

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How to use an Engagement Tool

In this video I share three quick tips around how to use an Engagement Tool.
(Download the sample Engagement Tool PDF.)

I suspect we will film many more videos around this topic. I could offer 50 examples / tips.

In this video we cover three things:

  • The engagement tool is not the presentation.

    It’s a tool. It’s not meant to be used (necessarily) in a linear and ‘unabridged’ monologue / delivery.

    In order to illustrate how little we ACTUALLY need to support a conversation we use a placemat drill in some of our trainings. Try walking through your story and an ask using a blank piece of paper or a placemat. Draw on it as you communicate. When you finish, you will be surprised to see that you made your complete presentation using only 5-6 words, a terrible picture and a lot of scribbles.

  • No prose paragraphs!

    Only prompts or framing devices are placed on the tool, as well as figures or words that CREATE engagement.

  • Use the whitespace, listen and write to create engagement.

    The best message in the world begins in the prospect’s head. Use THEIR words (when you can). This isn’t a sales device, it’s a relationship and communication device!

    Note: stay away from dark back grounds or gloss on the paper. Go with white space so you can write!

  • See also: What is an Engagement Tool?

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A Framework that Works for Every Visit…. ever.

Having made 2,000+ visits I can share that only three went EXACTLY as scripted.

However, in all of those visits I cannot think of ONE time in which the Presentation Framework was not totally valid.

 

On every single visit these three things are really important.

Authenticity. Authenticity makes you and immediate sales expert.

I’ve found — through our workshops and trainings — that I need to be very dramatic about this. Here, I might even say BRUTALLY authentic.

One time I made a visit on behalf of a monastery. There were 33 monks praying for the visit. That made me nervous. I started the visit off by saying, “I do this all the time but I have to tell you, I’m nervous. Right now there are 33 monks praying for our conversation!”

Or, if you’ve been on the job for two weeks get out an make visits. You can be totally authentic, “I’ve only been on the job for two weeks, you probably know more about this organization than I do!”

Discovery. By discovery I mean the process of asking questions and… LISTENING. Most people don’t do the first part and when they do, they forget about the second part!

2,000+ visits and I can’t recall one time when asking questions and listening was not important. WOW!

Engagement. Engagement is a dynamic with a relationship which holds attention, heightens interest and motivates action. (My definition.)

We’re in the process of posting some Daily Nugget videos to illustrate ENGAGEMENT.

Think:

  • Visual
  • Simple
  • (Again) Asking questions / Listening

We tend to put a lot of preparation on what we want to SAY but almost no preparation into how we will create engagement and what discovery questions we will ask.

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What is an Engagement Tool?

Most organizations and sales teams don’t have ENGAGEMENT tools. They have brochures, binders, or pitch decks. What are you using to DRIVE engagement on a visit?

Is is simple? Visual? Does it SUPPORT the conversation or constrict the conversation?

In a later video we will show you ways to use an engagement tool.

Download / view the For Impact engagement tool.
See also: Guidebook – On Engagement | Guidebook – On Visual Engagement

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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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The Clueless Close

Of all the closes we cover, the Clueless Close has resulted in more gifts for our coaching and
training alumni than all the other closes combined.

It represents the EASIEST way to ask, especially if you have no idea what to ask for or you have some fear and need a go-to line to make the close.

Use the Clueless Close for visits where:

  • You have great timing, but your lack of information lowers confidence; or
  • You have a qualified prospect on a first visit.
In its simplest form, the Clueless Close is one question:

Where do you see yourself?

One great way to do this is with an engagement tool that includes a funding plan or
traditional campaign pyramid (examples below).

Goal: 500 Families @ $1000/Family
1 @ 100 Families
2 @ 50 Families
4 @ 25 Families
10@ 10 Families
20 @ 5 Families

Hospice House: $5.0M
1 @ $1M
2 @ $500K
4 @ $250K
10 @ $100K
20 @ $50K

Example 1:

After you’ve walked through the vision and funding priorities, you come to the
funding plan and ask:

Based on everything we’ve talked about, I would love to ask you about being part of this plan. Mrs. X, I’m not really sure where to go. I don’t know much about your capacity but you’ve indicated you would ‘like to make a really big difference’.

We have several funders on board with us [checking off – with a pen – committed gifts]. I
would like to go this route and ask you, where do you see yourself?

(You can let the prospect think about it and respond. As with any question, it’s critical that
you LISTEN to the answer and PROCESS the response.)

The prospect responded by saying “I think I could only do this [pointing to $50,000] this year.” Key words: THIS. YEAR.

Important note: Obviously you can’t use the Clueless Close when you’re with your top prospects. If you know you NEED to ask for $1M or you NEED to ask for project funding (tied to a specific number) you can’t afford to be clueless. Use the Clueless Close with first time funders when your funding plan is not dependent upon a specific commitment.
Be prepared for the answer.

Example 2:

On a different visit for the project, I tried to ask the same question, but that prospect started laughing before I even finished. “Nick, I’m not on your chart.”

I paused and said: Could you tell me more about what that means?

He responded, “My wife and I are committed to seven big projects right now.”

Key Words: RIGHT. NOW. These are big community philanthropists in the middle of some huge funding commitments. He was telling me that though he loved our project, it couldn’t be one of his top projects right now.

At the end of that visit, he committed to $10K. The goal of every visit is to maximize the relationship at this given moment. In this case, there was a lot of potential for the future as he and his wife finished up with other projects, and I now had more information about capacity than I had before.

The Takeaway: The Clueless Close is a great way to ask when you don’t know what to ask for. And you will no longer be ‘clueless’ after this close.

Click here to download audio on on the Clueless Close + 19 more Closes.

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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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Do the Math to Simplify Your Funding Story

Doing the Math means owning and internalizing an understanding of your numbers. Your numbers tell an important part of your story.

Doing the Math also means taking the time to simplify the numbers in a way that others – Your board, your prospects and your staff – can understand.

In our For Impact World you must:

DO THE ‘BLUE‘ MATH around your Cause and Case and Impact. i.e. How many people/families/students/patients/kids do you impact? Or how many people/families/students/patients/kids NEED this impact?

DO THE ‘RED’ MATH around your Staff, People and Operations.
i.e., What are the people or operational costs associated with delivering your current or desired impact?

And DO THE ‘GREEN’ MATH around your Income, Funding Plan, Goals, etc.
i.e, What is your total need for the year or next 1,000 days based on the BLUE and RED and how will you get there?

Note: Here is a list of questions you can ask your CFO or CEO to get the information you need for math.

Next, use this Math to frame your Funding Rationales. Funding Rationales help to answer your Prospect’s question, “What do you need from me?” and help you get ‘numbers on the table’ tied to a Person, a Program, a Project or a Funding Plan. For example:

A unit of Impact.

One of the simplest ways to do your math is around a Unit of Impact – A Person, A Student, A Family, A Village, A Patient – You get the idea. Quick math:

You can use this math to ask a prospect, “Can you help us by underwriting 10 students this year?” or “How many students would you like to underwrite this year?”

Your Gap, or even better, the cost of EXTRAORDINARY Impact.

Gap math is a common way to do your math and simplify a funding rationale.

 

 

I recently worked with a fantastic Hospice organization who refuses to talk about the gap and instead asks prospects to fund Extraordinary Care for every family. This Hospice has (fluctuating) revenues from reimbursements, but they don’t cover everything. This is where philanthropy comes in – For $1000 you can underwrite Extraordinary Care for one of the 3000 families they serve each year.

The true cost of programs.

This is a big one. Organizations frequently underestimate the true cost to deliver a program, which is essential to a funding rationale. Knowing the real numbers boosts confidence in the ask and helps the funder buy in. You can ask someone to underwrite part or all of the program.

Along with the previous point, you can do the math to tie programming costs to impact in multiple ways. Here’s a clean and simple example to illustrate the concept using the example above. The Read Aloud Program impacts 1600 Kindergarteners and their families (80 classrooms/20 students per class at 40 schools.) You can do the math to create simple funding rationales:

$80,000 to underwrite the program for one year, or;
$2,000 per school, or;
$1,000 per class, or;
$50 per student.

Funding a Project or Priority.

This is commonly used with a ‘campaign mindset’ – projects or priorities that have a larger funding goal than some of the examples above. Casting a vision, packaging up three year Priorities or Projects and then understanding a dollar amount/funding rationale for each.

For example, “As we discussed, our vision is to be there for every family who needs Hospice Care in this community. Part of achieving that plan is to secure a Hospice House where we can care for people who can no longer stay at home, or have no home. Can we talk to you about being part of this plan?”

or

“We’ve put together a plan to scale and innovate in our three core areas – Family Literacy, Read Aloud Programs and Teen Services – that would require $1.3M of the next 1,000 days. Here’s what we would use the funds for – 1000 Families in Literacy Program, increase 1:1 teen Mentoring by 30%, excellent data and evaluation, 5-10 new school relationships…”

(more…)

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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

(more…)

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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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You Need to Find a Way to Boot Camp – And Here’s Why

You (or your new hire, board member, development director) need to find a way to get to Boot Camp. And here’s why:

It will change everything for you and your organization. The reason Boot Camp has such a huge impact on organizations is because we’re not just trying to make you a better charity or increase your annual fund by 10% – we’re teaching you how to be something completely different, to think bigger, and get bigger funding results.

It’s not a normal training. Boot Camp is chock-full of practical stuff. You’re building tools, developing strategy, and doing/thinking the entire time! Don’t expect two days of lecture and power points (you will be very disappointed). [Yes, you will have to do one practice visit and many ‘rehearsals’ at Boot Camp. A little trust on this one? It’s way better to learn here than with your best prospect.]

Results. You don’t want training; we know that. What you want is money, to get out of the rat race, to learn ‘the secret’. Boot Camp is designed to be both a stepping stone for transformation and a way to generate money for your organization in the next 100 days.

It works. We are out there every week and we will share lots of stories from the field to reinforce our points. Boot Camp drills (and drills) on fundamentals for your organization and for each individual who attends. Tom started Boot Camp as an alternative to ‘consulting’ and to create a tool with incredible value. He wanted to scale our impact by giving everyone an accelerated way to get different results, based on 30 years in-the-field.

It doesn’t cost any money. If you say it’s not in the budget, then you’re right. But if you want to think like an entrepreneur, then this is the place for you. Reallocate money and then use the ROI to provide budget relief wherever needed. UNDERWRITE this as a SOLUTION. Some suggestions from recent attendees:

Use money from a ‘marketing budget’.

Have someone ‘underwrite the training’ – as a guaranteed investment.

Put the training on a credit card and pay it off in 30 days with new gifts. (I love this one.)

Boot Camp is the best resource we can recommend. This solution helps everyone who attends.

We’ve extended our Early Bird pricing for April camp until this Thursday, April 2.

More info and registration here.

We also have a session in June (more here).

(more…)

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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).

 
(more…)

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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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Celebrate your Birth DATE!

Today is our Founder, C.S.O. (Chief Spirit Officer), and resident Old Guy’s birthday!

For 40 years (or more) Tom has encouraged every young person, old person, fundraising professional, social entrepreneur, etc., that he has come across to adopt one very effective habit for success and life balance. Tom uses his birth date (the 19th of every month) as a reminder to get some solo time – write goals, reflect on goals, celebrate – just take that one day a month to focus on yourself and you will be more effective in all areas of life.

In his honor, were are sharing some of Tom’s most inspirational words about why you should celebrate your Birthday and your Birth Date! Share this idea on social media and (1) tell us how you celebrate your birth date and (2) leave a birthday message for Tom.

Here’s a great goal/challenge: Make your BIRTH DATE 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. Something… Alone.)
  • 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’.)
  • Do some serious journaling.
  • Do a monthly review of your goals (lifetime, this year, upcoming 90 days, etc.) and to set an Action Plan for next 30 days.
  • Take your BIRTH DATE ‘off’ – Whatever that means to you. Yes, most people will laugh or scoff at this suggestion, but if you can’t set aside even one day for yourself, once a month… things are pretty screwed up. (Note: If you can’t take your Birth Date ‘off’, surely you can take your actual BIRTHDAY off!)

Big Idea: Spend one on one time with your kids on their Birthdays! When my 5 kids were growing up, we would do special Birthday Breakfasts where we would write down goals, best friends, favorite books and movies, etc. I still have all of their thoughts captured in a special ‘Green Book’. It’s great to look back at ‘goals‘ from a 5 or 10 or 17 year old.

Note: You’re seeing a special sneak peek of our very own For Impact Font, ‘OG’, on the napkin above. Our phenomenal designer, Matt, has painstakingly scanned and cleaned up an entire alphabet, taken from Tom’s actual journals over the past 40 years. We’ll be rolling this font out in the coming months but wanted to share our excitement with a preview for our Tribe!
 

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The Entrepreneur’s Mantra: Think Big, Build Simple, Act Now

For Impact is a team of entrepreneurs. I sold my first company at the age of 20. Tom, a serial entrepreneur, has founded 19 different companies. Just about everyone else has experience in starting or building companies and scaling ideas.

What brings our team together is this experience plus a common passion to use this DNA for Impact. (And, there we have a nice little reference to our raison d’être.) Extracting this DNA — then putting it into words — it reads:

 

This mantra is so important to us, that we’ve also made it one of our 9 Guiding Principles.

THINK BIG.

  • Think Big with your VISION. How are you changing the world or your world?
  • Think Big with your ASKS. You can’t get $1M if you can’t communicate what you would do with $1M!
  • Think at a higher level. Get up out of the weeds and see the problem, opportunity, team and solution at 30,000’!

BUILD SIMPLE.

  • Get your MESSAGE on a napkin!
  • Simplify what you do using the Rule of 3.
  • Focus on 10 prospects who could TRANSFORM your funding … and TRANSFORM your organization.
  • ONLY do that which is productive in your funding plan (Stop doing special events that aren’t special and that don’t raise money.)

ACT NOW.

  • Stamp DRAFT on everything and go visit!
  • No committees. “Engage, then plan!”
  • Just Visit. Just ASK. Ten steps forward and two steps back is still eight steps forward.

Tom brings a more powerful voice to the ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT. Not only has he done the 19 companies, but he’s traveled the world visiting with and mentoring social entrepreneurs. Here is a one-pager on TB/BS/AN from Tom.

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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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2:1 Rule for Deliberate Dialogue

I was recently coaching a brilliant scientist. She is world-renowned for her research and was having no problem getting visits. I joined her on a visit.

Despite our plan, she spoke for 20 solid minutes before giving the prospect a chance to engage in some form of dialogue.

Everything she said was good. The only challenge is that it was shutting out the other person. We were – most certainly – skipping right past a host of connections.

On every visit, the prospects were wow’d but not maximized.

To change this, we started to focus on the practice of creating DELIBERATE DIALOGUE.

Deliberate dialogue is the act of intentionally
stopping to create dialogue.

For my scientist friend, we had to be even more specific. The coaching was this:

For every two minutes of ‘presenting’, you should STOP and ask a quick question.

We called this the 2:1 RULE using DELIBERATE DIALOGUE.

This is about INTENTIONALITY!!!

Some people do this very effectively:

I’ve been talking for a few minutes so I want to stop and then see if this is making sense.

Or simply: Does this make sense?

Or, you can set it up: I will talk for a few minutes and pause to see if we’re tracking.

It doesn’t have to be scripted. Most of the time the ‘talker’ just needs to stop long enough for the other person to jump in.

If you’re struggling to ENGAGE with someone else, or
If YOU end up doing all the talking,
be DELIBERATE in creating dialogue.

The benefits are numerous:

  • If you’ve lost them, then it’s not by much.
  • If there is an on-ramp for the other person, it lets him or her catch it.
  • You can listen when the other person is talking.
  • When we talk, we become fully engaged. (So let the other person talk.)
  • Feedback. Simple.

For the scientist, it was a game-changer.

Note: We’re in the midst of 33 days of our ‘best of’ For Impact Ideas on a Napkin. Check the blog daily for some great reminders.

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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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Just Ask

Just Ask is the ACTION part of the For Impact Point of View.

Through The Suddes Group, we’ve raised a $1B. A big reason for this – WE ASKED.

 

 

This napkin has just two words. Please note that it does not say:

Ask…
…when timing is perfect.

…when you know exactly what to ask for.

…after you’ve visited with the prospect nine times.

…when you’re entire board is on board.

…when those butterflies in your stomach are finally gone.

…when you have the perfect message.

…when you have the perfect materials.

It says, Just Ask!

Timing will never be perfect.

The only way you’ll know what to ask for is by asking (and getting a response).

Cultivation is for people who can’t communicate. You are in the business of saving, changing, and impacting lives; if you’re with someone who wants to do just that, you can ask on the first visit.

I still feel like I want to puke before a big ask.

The only way to truly test a message is to ask.

You don’t need perfect materials – You need a tool to help you engage in a conversation.

Just Ask is all about action.

It’s permission to move. Nothing happens until you ask!

Until you ask, (one-on-one) the message is not personal.

Until you ask, people don’t know how they can help.

Until you ask, the prospect doesn’t guide you through what else is needed (from the you, from the org or from the plan) to make a commitment.

Until you ask, a prospect can’t say YES!

Just Ask!
Always Ask.
This is 90% of everything you need to know about raising money.
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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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A Campaign Is…

Several times each month I visit with boards and leaders. These thoughts represent a lot of the conversations I’ve been having on the subject of “campaigns”.

“What is a campaign?”

I often engage a board with this question. The word-association is something about which we should to be mindful.

  • “Committees!”
  • “Asking our friends for money!”
  • “Kickoff events!”

If the ‘capital campaign’ had a brand, it would be a bad one.

So, the first thing I often do is take control of the word.

A campaign is…

  • A time when we (The Suddes Group) see organizations getting very serious about building and maximizing relationships. This begs a question, “When would we NOT want to be building and maximizing relationships?

    This is all. it. is. By this definition we should ALWAYS be in a campaign.

  • A defined initiative with a goal and a plan.

    The first notion of a campaign I can find goes back to the Roman days: targeted initiatives with an objective and a plan (and then a celebration).

  • A story!

    The campaign is a time for us to tell our story! And, in fact, the campaign itself is a story. What’s the story we want to be telling about the next chapter in our impact?

    The story is not about ‘a capital campaign’ or ‘a building’. Those are traditional capital campaigns. Instead, what if we built a focused story around what we want to accomplish in the next 1000 days? Some examples:

    • “We want to be there when people need us!”
    • “Advancing care for vulnerable populations.”
    • “Scaling our impact on a national level.”

      Each of these defined very successful campaign initiatives. They provided the focused narrative for our 1,000 day WHY/WHAT/HOW.

  • A catalyst.

    For telling our story. For engaging others. For change. For results. For impact.

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April 2015 Boot Camp: ‘Early Bird’ Opportunity

Want to explore the For Impact Point of View and Sales Process in person?

Join us for our For Impact Funding Boot Camp on April 28-29 at Eagle Creek – our beautiful 50-acre retreat center.

The For Impact Boot Camp is focused on frameworks and skill building – You will leave with the knowledge you need to simplify your message and funding rationale, and take your organization to the next level.

This high-energy, day-and-a-half session covers topics like:

  • How to execute against a sales process (for major gifts, campaign gifts, transformational gifts, etc.)
  • How to build and maximize relationships
  • How to build and lead an effective team
  • How to ask, close, and follow-up

The Boot Camp is perfect for organizational alums, new hires, or anyone looking to hone individual skills – both personal and professional!

We’ve extending our Early Bird pricing – Register before February 27th to take advantage of this offer! Discounts are also available for Alumni Organizations and teams with 4 or more participants.


For More Information, FAQs and Registration:
For Impact Funding Boot Camp

Tuesday, April 28 – Wednesday, April 29 2015
Ostrander, OH
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Talent Posting :: Water for People – Head of Business Development

Finding the right talent is one of the top challenges facing organizations. Over the past two years we’ve been quietly launching For Impact Talent, a division of The Suddes Group that works with our clients and alumni to find and train the right talent — to lead, sell or support around a true sales model and For Impact Point of View. Periodically, we will share these postings with our readership. Sometime this year we will also launch a talent center to source talent through forimpact.org.

We’re currently working with Water for People, in Denver, to find the right person to lead their sales team in providing clean water for Everyone, Forever.

We’d love your help in spreading the word about this opportunity. The ideal profile for the Head of Business Development role is someone who:

  • has fearlessly led (and coached) teams through transition;
  • is a strategic leader and a rock; and
  • loves sales – and wants to take a best-in-class team to the next level.

Who do you know who fits this description? Contact our Director of Talent, Jessica Gemm, and let us know!

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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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Year End Thinking. 100 Memories.

I sent this out last New Year’s Eve – had a great response – so I’m sending this idea again. Every year-end I make a list of my top 100 memories from the year. These could be events, moments, firsts, lasts, etc. etc.

It’s a great way to reflect on the year and prepare for the next.

I got this idea from Michael Gelb’s How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. He says one of Leo’s brainstorming exercises was to come up with 100 big questions about life, the universe, etc. The idea is that the first 30 will be easy. The next 30 will be cool and the remaining questions will be profound, insightful and guiding. You will see telling themes emerge.

The same is true of the 100 memories list. After you get past obvious moments like weddings and births the really telling memories start to emerge.

You can do this solo, with your team or family. And, it will probably take you a few hours. If you don’t have time for that, just do a top 30 – still great to capture at least those memories!

I won’t bore you with my list except to say that many of my memories come from meeting so many of you on the road … so many smart, passionate and inspiring stories of people changing the world.

If you’re up to it, I would love to hear about some of the adventures/memories/reflections you’ve had from the past year. We have some pretty ‘crazy’ (cool) social entrepreneurs reading this blog. What’s on your list?

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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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Prioritizing

Setting clear priorities!

It’s at the guts of great strategy and missing from bad strategy. It’s one of the most important functions of a leader or manager (to help declare and clarify).

Simple. Not easy!

Here are two powerful nuggets about prioritizing.

And

“One of the most useful findings in recent neuroscience could be summed up as:
The decision-making network in our brain doesn’t prioritize.”

– Daniel Levitin, The Organized Mind.

(If you’re intrigued by time-management, story or neuroscience… read The Organized Mind! One of my WOW books from 2014.)

The insight is not new but the science is confirming. We should mindful and routine about the practice of prioritizing; our wiring requires this!

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For Impact Reading: Being Mortal

Atul Gawande - Being Mortal

I’ve made Atul Gawande’s ‘Being Mortal’ required reading for our For Impact coaches.

Typically we share books with our team that relate to health/vitality, personal development, story, design/innovation, coaching/leading and sales. This book gets some of the highest marks I could offer in the first three categories.

Atul Gawande is a surgeon, contributing writer to New Yorker, and the best-selling author of ‘Better’ and ‘Checklist Manifesto’ (a book that’s as much about changing culture in health care as it is about checklists).

I resisted ‘Being Mortal’ because I thought it would be tough and depressing. After seeing the book appear on EVERY year-end ‘best of’ list, I downloaded it and couldn’t put the book down.

  • Everyone on our team has dealt with or is dealing with figuring out how to care for a parent / grandparent.
  • Atul Gawande offers a simple history of healthcare in the states (Chapter 3).
  • We all age. (This is the most certain bullet points I’ve ever composed.)
  • This is, in many ways, an ultimate book about STORY and WHY. The story of family, the story of medicine, the story of living, the story of YOU.
  • This book will be something everyone in healthcare ends up reading. (About 20% of our work is in health / healthcare.)

The book explores a change in perspective through some gripping storytelling. So I think the book has importance not only because of my points above, but also because it relates to the work we do actively trying to change the dominant perspective of the ‘not-for-profit’ sector.
 

Gawande writes:“The problem with medicine and the institutions it has spawned for the care of the sick and the old is not that they have had an incorrect view of what makes life significant. The problem is that they have had almost no view at all…”

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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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Welcome to the new ForImpact.org!

We’ve relaunched our website. Our most important goal in doing this was to make useful content easier to find.

We’ve organized the content so it’s easy to get what you want, when you want it, by applying this framework:

The old website was designed to be a river of daily nuggets. This new version will still publish daily nuggets, but our timeless content is organized around For Impact subject areas (like our point-of-view, organizational development, team development, and fund development), and by type of resource (guidebooks, videos, audio, etc.).

We encourage you to start with our P.O.V. and then explore the content – start reading from the beginning, or jump right to an area where you could use some help or inspiration.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, just ask.

Note: If you’re a current client or recent alum (of either coaching/training or a live experience), you will be receiving a link to re-register for one year of access to the ‘virtual coaching’ areas in our new site.

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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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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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Top Challenges for Organizations

Small or young organizations (for profit / nonprofit alike) often identify FUNDING as their top challenge – until the organization really figures out a working funding model (or business model).

At that point, a top challenge becomes the RIGHT PEOPLE. The limiting factor to more IMPACT/INCOME is finding the right people!

(Of course, there are many challenges but these are the two constants in our work with hundreds of organizations.)

To those two, I would add a third top-challenge, self-identified by large organizations and that’s COMMUNICATION.

There are some intentional parallels:

Impact
Drives
Income
Communication
People
Funding


The Suddes Group has really focused on helping the sector around these three challenges, developing solutions in these areas:

  • STORY. Hopefully it’s obvious that we’re all about STORY. The organization’s story guides strategy, talent, sales, and much more. Having the right story frames and simplifies communication.
  • TALENT. Helping organizations find the right talent. It’s interesting, we used to stay away from helping with hiring / search, instead focusing on the sales process. But we’ve learned that very few people are really thinking about a sales model and finding the right talent to lead / sell / support. We help organizations find the right people! It’s all about For Impact Talent!
    Note: To that end, we’re going to start posting positions at ForImpact.org.
    To learn more about FI Talent Solutions contact Jessica Gemm.
  • SALES. Helping organizations commit to sales…. the sales process… sales model… sales culture… to build and maximize relationships. We started in 1983 by providing sales-based campaign solutions. We WERE (and in many cases still are) the organization’s sales team. Today, we provide training and coaching to organizations throughout the US and the world in order to build their own (ongoing) sales cultures.
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Find Your Mission

The idea of ‘synchronicity‘ and ‘flow‘ just seem to get reinforced every day. Last week, Nick led an unbelievable day around STORY and MEANING and PURPOSE.

FAST COMPANY, November 2014 arrived after that with the cover and primary theme/article on FIND YOUR MISSION.

The article was written Robert Safian who is also editor at Fast Company. (This really smart guy was also editor at Fortune and Money and now Fast Company.)

I had just written a quick thought/blog on Work-Life Balance vs. Integration and then I read this quote from the Editor, “I’ve tried to provide a philosophy on practical framework for managing your choices. Life and business can’t be separated anymore (maybe they never really could). Today we all need to appreciate the layered sophisticated interaction (my bold) between the personal and professional in order to make the most of both.”

The article, Find Your Mission, ends up being about an organization and a person figuring out what really is at the core of their being.

It’s a long article but well worth the read.

***One reason this article resonates so much is that it basically provides tremendous reinforcement of our Controlling Insight: IMPACT drives INCOMENot the other way around. He says it this way, “The more companies like Apple and Chipolte focus on something beyond money, the more money they make.”

Oh, yeah.

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A Leader’s Job is to Bear Pain … Not Inflict It

I came across some old notes (1998) on Robert Greenleaf’s seminal book, SERVANT LEADERSHIP. As with many great books, the message is in the title/on the cover.

Greenleaf suggests a domain of leadership grounded in a state of being, not doing. He goes on to say “The first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to SERVE … and being a leader has to do with the relationship between the leader and the led.”

SERVANT LEADERSHIP is a small pamphlet (only 37 pages long), but powerful.

“The essence of leadership is the desire to serve one another and to serve something beyond ourselves, a higher purpose.” – Robert Greenleaf

Note: Somehow, the idea of a leader’s job being to bear painnot inflict it … came from SERVANT LEADERSHIP and one of my all-time favorite books, ONCE AN EAGLE, by Anton Myrer, an amazing book on ‘leadership’ as seen through the eyes of an army leader who rises from the ranks of Private in WWI to General in Vietnam.

As a leader, a parent or a coach … the idea of ‘servant’ and ‘serving’ seem to be more about bearing pain than inflicting it.

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Balance vs. Integration

At a company meeting last March 1st (at Notre Dame), I had a chance to talk with the team about the whole Work-Life Balance thing.

To me, it has always been way more about INTEGRATION … rather than BALANCE.

For me, it was always about the entrepreneurial adventure and the integration of family and boxing and travel and good health.

Stew Friedman, who is a Wharton School Professor, has just come out with a new book called LEADING THE LIFE YOU WANT: SKILLS FOR INTEGRATING WORK AND LIFE.

I saw this post at Forbes from Dorie Clark and am just starting the book.

Two great teaser quotes:

“The people who are most successful in terms of having a significant IMPACT on the world are those who embrace others parts of their lives, rather than forsake them.”

“That was the big motivating idea: to cut through the common wisdom that you have to give up everything in order to be successful.”

I fought the work-life balance thing for a long time. ‘Balance‘ time with family, work, travel, working out, six weeks at Notre Dame, etc.

It finally dawned on me that having family members work with you in business, taking grandkids with you on trips, taking a mini-sabbatical at Notre Dame to coach allowed great time for writing and thinking, etc. or way more about INTEGRATION. Friedman talks about the term ‘work-life balance’ needs to be overhauled and the implication that we can (or should) appropriately balance our personal and professional lives all the time is faulty.

It’s probably worth ordering the book just to get the thinking behind this pretty big idea.

One last quote:

“The people who are most successful are those who figure out ways of bringing the different pieces together in ways that are mutually reinforcing.”

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Just Engage

30 years ago, I tried to create THE IDEAL DEVELOPMENT OFFICE (IDO) for Catholic secondary schools. That subsequently morphed into a Major Gift Process and then into a Funding Roadmap … which is probably in its 10th (?), 30th (?) iteration.

Here is the latest change … and it is not made without a great deal of thought and input.

We are changing Green #2 from JUST VISIT … to JUST ENGAGE.

While JUST VISIT is a specific part of ENGAGEMENT… it is a lower hierarchy.

JUST ENGAGE reinforces at the highest level the importance of ENGAGEMENT, MAXIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS, VISITS, DIALOGUE, CONVERSATION, and more.

fi_funding_roadmap_100614click to download a copy

If you have not seen ON ENGAGEMENT (or maybe just haven’t read it in a while), now is a really good time to review.

On Engagement

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How To Make Your Story Awesome

I’ve heard it said that culture eats strategy for breakfast.

I buy that.

If that’s the case then I’m convinced STORY eats strategy for lunch, dinner and all the little snacks in between.

We’re preparing two important resources for our followers and alums.


Teleseminar on Thursday, August 21: How to Make Your Story Awesome
1ET. Free for the first 95 to register.  Info & Registration.

Storytelling Boot Camp on Thursday, October 9
Eagle Creek (our HQ in Columbus, OH).  Info & Registration.

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Our Programs

Live Experiences

Our Live Experiences package and deliver practical and proven frameworks to help you tell your story, develop your team and transform funding results. Our aim is to make each speaking engagement, workshop or boot camp customized for attendees and full of usable takeaways.

What to expect at a For Impact Experience:

  • The opposite of what you’ve come to dread from funding conferences and workshops.
  • Simple, usable stuff that you can use, whether you’re a senior leader, development staff or volunteer leader.
  • Some polarizing thinking and also some napkins but what we hope you’ll take away is simple.
  • Value that goes beyond funding. We’re life entrepreneurs. While we want to create value in the form of funding results there is a huge personal development theme to everything we do.
  • Not power point.
  • But, still lots of visuals.
  • Energy. Not in a ‘rah-rah’ way but in a ‘we-know-you-wear-52-hats-we’ve-been-there-we’ve-got-your-back’ way;
    … with authenticity.
  • 1:1 Coaching and Follow-up. Except for very large speaking engagements we try to offer a measure of 1:1 through our live experiences or afterwards to help you apply the frameworks.

Overview:

Our capstone experience is the For Impact Boot Camp at our headquarters. For attendees it builds a solid foundation around the For Impact point of view and frameworks including:

  • how to simplify message
  • how to engage others with your story
  • how to build a solid funding model
  • read more

To learn about the For impact Boot Camp or about how to bring For Impact workshop, speaking or custom training to your team/conference contact Kerry Suddes, Director of Live Experiences (kerry@forimpact.org or 614-554-7525).

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