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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

The World’s Greatest Philanthropist


I love Bill and Melinda Gates. This has nothing to do with Microsoft… but everything to do with their commitment to literally change the world.

Philanthropy is Greek for ‘friend of mankind’, and nobody are bigger friends of mankind than Bill and Melinda.

Jeff Raikes was named CEO of the Gates Foundation within the last year. There is a terrific article/interview in Stanford Social Innovation Review that you need to read if you’re in the Third Sector… and have any interest in fundraising, development, philanthropy and philanthropists, and funding your vision.

Special Note: Talks about how much he really likes his “Impact Planning and Improvement Group”. It’s all about the IMPACT!

Read Now: Rules of Thumb by Alan Weber


Tom and I recommend a ton of books. However, note this as an über-recommendation. Alan Weber’s Rules of Thumb – 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Yourself is the best book for entrepreneurs I’ve read in five years… hands down.

Usually you read a business book and you can boil it down to a few juicy nuggets or takeaways with a lot of filler and fluff and the token story about Southwest Airlines or Dell. I’ve been chewing on every sentence in this book. The last time I remember doing that was when I first read Marcus Buckingham and before that, my first encounters with Peter Drucker.

I wish I could/did write this book. It’s awesome. Some randomly picked nuggets:

  • “If you’re a leader, your people need three things: clarity about purpose, honesty about values, and focus on metrics.”
  • Rule #5: Change is a Math Formula. “Change happens when the cost of the status quo is greater than the risk of change: C(SQ)>R(C).”
  • Rule #10: A Good Question Beats a Good Answer.
  • Rule #20: Speed = Strategy
  • Know the difference between text and subtext [extended discussion about].
  • “Numbers, charts, and graphs appear to be specific, but without verbs it’s hard to know what the numbers actually mean. The numbers may look “hard,” but they’re actually soft. Stories may appear “soft,” but the verbs make them hard.”
  • “When in doubt, leave it out. Less is more and more is too much.”
  • Rule #36: Message to Entrepreneurs – Managing your Emotional Flow is more Critical than Managing your Cash Flow.
  • “If you don’t ask, don’t expect the investor to make the pitch for you.”

I’ve put through a bulk order for this book with Amazon. Will be giving away many copies… leave a comment below (first three to do so) and I’ll mail a copy to you.

Forget “Shrink It & Pink It”


Great article in this month’s Fast Company MASTER OF DESIGN. Great article about helping companies with the $2 TRILLION FEMALE MARKET.

That $2 Trillion is not just to buy “pink stuff”, home products or groceries or whatever.

If you include the whole idea of Women and Philanthropy, the number is probably closer to $30 to $50 to $100 Trillion!

Femme Den, an internal collective at a firm called Smart Design, offers five tenets of designing for women.

Three of those five are worth passing onto you. For more on the story, go to www.fastcompany.com.

    Tenet #1: EMPHASIZE BENEFITS over features. (This is all about emotion, impact, relationships… not the building, the details, etc.)

    Tenet #3: CRAFT A COHESIVE STORY. Here’s the direct quote: “Design the whole experience with (them) in mind.” (STORY for women is very, very important. And, designing the EXPERIENCE for them is equally important.)

    Tenet #5: REMEMBER HER LIFE STAGES. In the Femme Den’s words, “Are you designing for a 25-year-old or a 65-year-old?”

Just part of my ongoing attempt to remind us of the power of WOMEN RULE.

The Power of the Purse


After I did this week’s WOW email on WOMEN RULE, I came across an article from Sunday, August 23rd, New York Times entitled THE POWER OF THE PURSE.

Read it and weep.
(Because we in this Third Sector are still just talking about making our brochures ‘PINK’… instead of having meaningful dialogue and conversation with women investors who want to make an IMPACT.)

Create and Own Your Own Reality


Last week Amazon announced the purchase of Zappos.com for $850M.

Zappos.com CEO, Tony Hsieh, has been making the rounds for months as the leader of the newest darling company. I really enjoy his outlook and admire his achievement. Following the Amazon announcement he posted this tweet:

The biggest (and hardest) lesson I’ve learned in life is that the external world is just a reflection of the world within.

Pretty profound.

Posted above my computer: In the absence of utter clarity, create your own reality.

Tony pushes that a step further. (Always) create your own reality. Own your own reality. And… he’s absolutely right!

PS – A first. Blogging about a tweet. We’re @forimpact

‘Experts’ Predict Decline in MegaGifts


*Note: This is a RANT. A rather long one. IF you believe, as I do, that this entire ‘game’ is about ATTITUDE… you need to read this.

I’ve been working with a number of great colleges that are in Aggressive, Transformative and ‘Think Big’ FUNDING INITIATIVES.

One of them shared with me the Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled COLLEGES WILL SEE A DECLINE IN MEGAGIFTS, EXPERTS PREDICT.

Just in case you saw this or heard about it… or are using this thinking as your own ‘EXCUSE’ for not asking for transformative leadership gifts… here’s my ‘take’/response.

In my humble opinion, the entire article (and this type of THINKING) was a CROCK!

Here are some of the things that I found amazing, absurd, and absolutely wrong: (more…)

Step 2: Survive Long Enough to Get Lucky


(This was taken from an article in Ode magazine and excerpt from Mission, Inc.: The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Enterprise by Kevin Lynch and Julius Walls Jr.)

“The job of the social entrepreneur is to make sure your enterprise lives to fight another day. Do this enough days in a row, with the power of your social purpose and your commitment to changing the world and your break will come.”

Here’s a terrific thought that should help every (SOCIAL) entrepreneur: “If you take seriously the survive to get lucky mantra, then you shouldn’t presume for a moment that the (social) enterprise you are starting or running today will resemble in any way the one that is going to be creating social change five or ten years from now.”

I have seen that hundreds of times. I’ve seen it with the incredible success story of the three Notre Dame entrepreneurs (who happen to be ‘social’) with their company Better World Books. I’m watching it every week with Ben, Brian and GlobeFunder, Inc. I see it in Chris at Solutions for Change, Dan and Felicia with their Montessori School and even the social enterprise of all social enterprises, Goodwill.

The authors say to remember that you’re dealing with two variables: the needs of the world you’re seeking to change and the dynamics of the industry in which your enterprise is competing.

SURVIVE LONG ENOUGH TO GET LUCKY.

Social Entrepreneurs: A Pleonasm


I love skimming an eclectic mix of magazines for relevant FOR IMPACT thinking. I particularly love Letters from the Editor.

This month’s (March 2009) ODE Magazine (Tagline: For Intelligent Optimists) has a particularly compelling insight from Jurriaan Kamp. Kamp’s title is APPLES & ENTREPRENEURS.

What do the terms “ORGANIC APPLES” and “SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS” have in common?

Kamp says both are pleonasms. (I had to look it up. It means unnecessary repetition.)

“What’s an apple that grows without chemicals? It’s just an apple. If any kind of apple needs a modifier, it’s that kind that isn’t grown organically. Those we should call ‘chemical apples’.”

He echoes Peters, Collins, Drucker, Suddes and Fellers with this great line: “LANGUAGE IS IMPORTANT.” (See CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY for more on this.)

He says the current definition of ‘SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS’ is primarily concerned with the CONTRIBUTION (product or service) they make to SOCIETY.

Kamp’s huge point, and very well taken, is that ALL entrepreneurs are really SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS. As he says, “What other reason could there be to start an enterprise other than to make a useful contribution to society?”

“Doing good shouldn’t be a special ‘enlightened business’ category. Shouldn’t we always try to do good? Shouldn’t we always strive to make things work for people around us?”

“After all, that is – to honor Adam Smith – in our best self-interest, since nothing is more fulfilling than knowing we’re making a positive difference in someone’s life.”

From Kamp (and Suddes):

Entrepreneurs should be entrepreneurs. And apples should be apples.

P.S. I’ve taken the liberty of attaching the entire letter. It’s that good. There is also a solid contribution to this whole SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR conversation and a great article on Page 36, NEVER LET A CRISIS GO TO WASTE.

The Blue Sweater


Synchronicity. Karma. Serendipity.

I’m doing some work with the Goodwill Industries in Denver. They’ve become one of my “favorite” For Impact organizations for a number of reasons. They were a ‘social enterprise’ 100 years before it became fashionable. They make money in their Retail Operation, and use it for incredibly impactful programs around Employment, Education and Empowerment. And, they’re all about the Power of Work.

I was skimming the online journal of McKinsey (The McKinsey Quarterly) and came across an article by Acumen Fund founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz. She shared some stories in what was called ‘social-sector entrepreneurship’ in an excerpt from her new book, THE BLUE SWEATER.

The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World tells the story of her work as an entrepreneur in the social sector.

As she tells it, as a child in the 1970’s she had given the charity, (which anyone reading this knows is not one of my favorite words and certainly doesn’t apply to Goodwill Industries) Goodwill Industries an old, blue sweater. Then, in 1987, she was jogging through Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, and thought she saw a boy wearing it. She was right. It still had her name on the tag.
(more…)

Remain Aggressive (via 2-Speed)


I don’t read a lot of ‘fundraising blogs’. Most of my blog list includes sifting through entrepreneurs, business builders, innovators and designers…

Brad Feld is a fun funder/tech entrepreneur/cool guy in Colorado to read @ feld.com. He directed me to 2-Speed (Will Herman) and this post: Remain Aggressive. You need to read this post – it’s strong enough to balance out a lot of the other ‘negativity’ out there around ‘this economy’.

Some bullet points:

  • Play offense, not defense. Not a time to batten down the hatches – successful companies move fast and innovate (especially in these times).
  • “You can’t save yourself to success.”
  • Make sure you respond instead of react, you never panic.
  • “You have to assume that nothing is coming to you – people, business or new ideas – you have to aggressively go out and hunt down everything that will move your company forward.” — See Tom’s entire message about the economy – Now More than Ever we need to be out, making visits, on the offensive, building and maximizing relationships. See my post last week about HOW to respond.
  • “think” (that’s all I need to excerpt of that line)

Read full blog post.