For Impact | The Suddes Group We Help You Tell Your Story and Fund Your Vision
For Impact | The Suddes Group

Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

The 4-Hour Workweek for Fundraisers

What would you do if you could only spend 4 Hours each week on bringing in money for your organization?

One of my favorite reads right now and personal recommendations is The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. It speaks to me about designing a life over designing work and designing work around life. You should read the book for Tim’s life outlook alone and the thinking that leads to a 4-Hour workweek.

The social sector is crammed with people that came into their jobs fueled by passion and fast-tracking to burnout as they find themselves doing so many things, for so little pay and so far from their passion for 60-80 hours per week. Even ‘dedicated development people’, they spend most of their time dealing with event prep, mailers, meetings, research, etc.

The 4-Hour work week is about maximizing your return-on-energy.

One of things Tim had to do was fire 80% of his non-productive clients. He them employed Pareto’s rule to every aspect of his business.

What if we eliminated 80% of our nonproductive [funding] activities? Go even further… what if we eliminated 97% of our nonproductive funding activities and focused ONLY on the top 3% of the prospects that really transform the org?

What if we eliminated two (or three or four) not-so-special events and took all that time, energy and effort focusing on one (or two or three or four) prospects that could invest $1Million to the cause?

Whether a start-up, a large university or entrepreneurial org focusing on boosting programming dollars, every organization we’ve ever worked with has been completely transformed as a result of focusing on and maximizing the relationships with its top 10 prospects. This is a ‘simple not easy’ concept. It’s much easier however, than working 80 hours per week and spinning the hamster wheel.

Most of the funding activities we’re doing are not productive. Nix them. Focus on the top-of-the-pyramid always. Find more time for your passion in life and business. Find more time for your business to focus on its business – rather than the next event, report, activity, etc.

Want Inspiring, Creative and Big Ideas?

Over the holiday break I was turned on to and tedtalks video podcasting through iTunes (same content different channels).

TED is an annual and exclusive conference held annually in Monterey , California . It brings together brilliant thinkers in the areas of technology, entertainment and design. Some are well-known, others are not but they’re all amazing. Each presenter gets a limited timeframe – 18 mins, for example – in which to share an idea.

This content ranks among the best I’ve found on iTunes or the web – hands down.

I’ve been downloading the videos to my iPod for some ‘thinking’ while I run. This morning I listened to Ken Robinson, ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’. He communicated the importance of creativity as a discipline in our schools. He was phenomenal in this thinking and communication – as are most presenters at TED.

Challenge to Change

Note: I’m working with an incredible FOR IMPACT organization in San Diego called Father Joe’s Villages. They SAVE LIVES … INSPIRE LIVES … CHANGE LIVES … every day.

One of the key elements of their national model is a program called ‘CHALLENGE TO CHANGE‘ … where they work with those in need to help CHANGE the way they think, feel and act.


Every one of us is looking to make some kind of ‘CHANGE’ in their own personal life, our organizations, our relationships … or in the World.

This is the year.

To get you started, I would remind you of one of my absolute favorite quotes from one of my favorite people, Tim Kight:

“We are perfectly designed to get the results we are getting.”

Tim not only uses that in the ORGANIZATIONAL work that he does, but in his PERSONAL BEST seminars.

What does this really mean? Exactly what it says.
If you want different results, you need a different ‘design’.

Change or Die.

Alan Deutschman just expanded his provocative and challenging Fast Company cover story (May 2005) into a full-length book: Change or Die. I just finished it, and would strongly recommend this as a terrific place to get started on your 2007 CHALLENGE TO CHANGE.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • When given the real choice of LIFE or DEATH, the scientifically studied odds are 9 to 1AGAINST change!
  • Deutschman, on the other hand, says “People can change the deep-rooted patterns of how they think, feel and act.”
  • However, we need to replace the three misconceptions about change. (‘FACTS’, ‘FEAR’ and ‘FORCE’) with what he calls the Three Keys to Change: RELATEREPEATREFRAME (which create new hope, new skills and new thinking).

Nick and I are going to be writing about this concept of CHALLENGE TO CHANGE over the next few weeks. We don’t want this to be the standard’ NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION’, which merely fills up every athletic club in America from January 1st until January 11th; and then they’re back to normal.

Bertram Russell, the philosopher and political pundit, said:

“CHANGE is one thing. PROGRESS is another.”

Don’t just CHANGE TO CHANGE. We all want to make PROGRESS in our personal lives, our relationships, our organization and our teams.

Watch for more …

CEOs and Development

Case Currents published this great article 10 years ago for senior staff and administrators. In a nutshell, here it is:

There are 12 qualities that make a nonprofit Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Executive Director a GREAT partner in the Fundraising/Development Department.

  1. Vision and Leadership.
    A nonprofit CEO should have:
    • A well-articulated vision of where the institution can go
    • Goals to achieve the vision
    • A credible strategic plan for meeting the goals
    Good leadership and good management of resources will inspire prospects to invest.
  2. Commitment to the Institution. A CEO should truly believe in the institution’s mission.
  3. Commitment to Development. The CEO should make fundraising a personal and institutional priority. Development should organize, develop a strategy and keep the fundraising program on track.
  4. Integrity and Honesty. Moral fiber is essential in a CEO. The consistency (or inconsistency) of responses to issues, questions, and problems will show up over time.
  5. Perseverance and Patience. Virtually every major “Ask” follows many years of cultivation. The CEO should be prepared to spend long periods of time in pursuit of a gift.
  6. Optimism. The ideal CEO believes success is possible and keeps perspective–and hope–when minor setbacks occur. Fundraising requires a positive outlook and a long view.
  7. Communication Skills. All CEO’s should learn how to speak effectively to large groups, small groups, a TV camera, and individual constituents. Being a good listener is also critical.
  8. Energy and Pacing. CEOs should work with their staff to pace themselves and handle their schedules wisely because of all the extra events, meetings, and calls after normal working hours.
  9. Openness to Advice. A CEO and Chief Development Officer CDO should be a team with complementary strengths. They should be able to share advice and ideas often and easily.
  10. A Sense of Humor. A CEO can relieve everyone’s tensions by seeing the humor in situations that go awry.
  11. Creativity. When the original plan for a solicitation falls flat, a creative CEO can keep the door open for another proposal.
  12. Understands “who should” and “how to” ask for money. Sometimes a CEO will make “the ask,” and other times a volunteer will be the primary solicitor, while the CEO supports the ask. Good CEO’s understand this duality.

A CEO should also:

  • Make the CDO a part of the policy team.
  • Trust the CDO and delegate authority.
  • Provide adequate resources.
  • Handle differences in private.
  • Support and encourage the staff.
  • Offer candid and constructive criticism.
  • Make decisions in a timely fashion.

Good to Great: Another View

Special Offer: I’ve never done this before, but I will personally guarantee the ‘IMPACT’ of this book.

Not only will I buy it back from you if you don’t find the VALUE; I’ll send you a $100 ‘CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION’ (if you get my meaning) if you send me back this book and tell me it didn’t have an ‘IMPACT’ on your FOR IMPACT ORGANIZATION.

Since I’ve spent my entire life in this sector, I would like to respectfully offer another view of some of Jim Collins’ thoughts and comments. (It’s certainly not because he is ‘WRONG’, but rather, I think, because his primary FOCUS has been in the world of BUSINESS.)

  • 18‘: Any GOOD TO GREAT measurement that is primarily based on 18 LARGE PUBLICLY HELD COMPANIES does not always produce the results that can be of value to smaller entrepreneurial organizations.In our world, if I were to use the COUNCIL OF 18 (interesting that they’re both 18!) as the model for a GREAT FOR IMPACT ORGANIZATION … it would be a joke. Most of these ’18’ are huge bureaucratic, command and control, impact-less organizations. They can’t CHANGE. They can’t let go of sacred cows or baggage. And, they’re getting their lunch handed to them by smaller, nimbler mavericks and social entrepreneurs.
  • The term ‘SOCIAL SECTOR’ is too narrow a term. It doesn’t imply education, healthcare, art, etc. Obviously, I’d love to call this entire sector the FOR IMPACT SECTOR. At the very least, we ought to go with the ‘3rd SECTOR’, which acknowledges that there is a PUBLIC and a PRIVATE and a NON-PUBLIC/NON-PRIVATE/’NONPROFIT’.
  • SOCIAL SECTOR ‘CONSTRAINTS’. I really think these are more about ‘BAGGAGE’ and ‘BOXES’ and ‘SACRED COWS’ than they are true CONSTRAINTS.This is particularly important relative to (TALENT) STAFFING CONSTRAINTS’. Getting the ‘right people on the bus‘ is still paramount, as is ‘getting the wrong people off the bus‘ and the ‘right people in the right seats‘.I have never found ‘SALARIES’ at great ‘NONPROFITS’ as any kind of true CONSTRAINT. In fact, the CAUSE usually allows for an offset. My take on this is summarized in TALENT SPECTRUM, and supported by just about everybody who writes about ‘BOOMERS’, ‘GEEZERS’, and moving from ‘SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE’.
  • 3 CIRCLES/ECONOMIC ENGINE/MONEY. Of everything that Collins wrote, I found this to be the most disheartening.His 3 CIRCLES (Passion, Best in the World, Economic Engine) are perhaps the most powerful visual, framework and guiding principle for ANYONE and ANY ORGANIZATION.Anybody who ‘rebelled’ against the ‘3rd Circle’ (Economic Engine) terribly misunderstood Collins’ point (and my point).

    In my world, it’s all about IMPACT DRIVES INCOME. Which is also translated into Covey’s “No Money. No Mission.” And my corollary, which is “No Mission. No Money.

    Pastor Morgan was way off base when he talked about the ‘root of all evil‘.

    I have never been with any For Impact Leader, Social Entrepreneur or Board Member or Volunteer Leader who doesn’t understand the concept of:

  • SUSTAINABILITY. This section also brought up the ‘SUSTAINABILITY’ word. (This goes back to one of the premises/basic concepts in BUILT TO LAST.)A big, big part of me tries to help For Impact Organizations come up with a great SOLUTION … delivered with great DISCIPLINE … and then, basically try to put itself OUT OF BUSINESS! The organization may disappear but the SOLUTION remains. (A great example of this is Rotary and its incredible impact upon POLIO.)

The Power Of Opposite Thinking

As always, I read my Inc. magazine cover to cover as soon as it came.

Adam Hanft (Grist at always has some “good stuff” on the last page of Inc. magazine every month.

THE POWER OF OPPOSITE THINKING is producing “whiplash inducing reversals (that) seem to be occurring on a near daily basis” . Long held positions are being reconsidered with game-changing agility. “That’s a healthy trend for business and the culture at large.”

Hanft gives a number of powerful examples including Microsoft making software compatible with Linux, major television networks subverting their own business model and selling program through the web and on iPods, and IBM selling its computer business to the Chinese company, Lenovo.

A terrific part of his column begins with this question: “When was the last time you considered the impossible?”

Then, this line that every For Impact leader and social entrepreneur needs to hear.

“Think about the ONE and probably HEART STOPPING STRATEGIC TURN you can make in your business (organization) …”

He has a different ending. I would simply say: MAKE IT/TAKE IT … (THE HEART STOPPING STRATEGIC TURN).

Are you unique to this planet

Good to Great and the Social Sector
I’ve had Jim Collins’ ‘monograph’ in my bag for two weeks and finally had time to read and digest on a plane yesterday. It will only take you twenty minutes to read but the words deserve much more time to digest – great stuff.

We need to write more extensively about Collins’ add-on to Good to Great but I wanted to post one tiny little line that’s been stuck in my head for the past day.

Collins writes that one of outputs of a great organization is that it makes a distinct impact. More specifically,

“… it touches and does its work with such unadulterated excellence that if it were to disappear, it would leave a hole that could not be easily filled by any other institution on the planet.

So … digest that one for a while. That’s really BIG THINKING and I love it.