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Fearless, Ruthless, Fearless

A quick nugget on Prospects from on of our For Impact Coaches, Robb.

In the For Impact process to Qualify Prospects you do these three things:

  • Identify
  • Prioritize
  • Strategize

In that order.

Robb adds the attitude needed in each of these steps: FEARLESS, RUTHLESS, FEARLESS.

  • When Identifying prospects: BE FEARLESS.
    Don’t make decisions for the prospect. Be inclusive.
  • When Prioritizing prospects: BE RUTHLESS.
    After you have a list of prospects be very discerning about your focus and priorities. You MUST prioritize. The priority of the prospects (your Master Prospect List) drives your attention – On whom will you place your focus, time and energy?
  • When Strategizing prospects: BE FEARLESS.
    Again, don’t make decisions for the prospect. Let’s make the best case, let’s do whatever it takes to be in front of the prospect and present the opportunity!

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


Change Your Perspective, Change Your I.Q.

If you’ve ever been to a For Impact training of any kind, you’ve experienced the infamous “Rope Trick.”


We pair participants up and “handcuff” them together with ropes. The goal is to solve this problem at least once – to completely free yourself from your partner without your rope ever leaving your wrists at any time. You can imagine the hilarity that ensues, but there is a point!

Many people repeat the same funky dance moves over and over yet end up back in the same spot – Still handcuffed together.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
– Albert Einstein

Solving this problem requires that you change your perspective.

Alan Keys, a pioneer of computer science, says:

“A change in perspective is worth 80 I.Q. points.”

Being For Impact is all about a change in perspective. Change can be scary, so in our approach we always GIVE you something valuable/simple in exCHANGE for the ‘old way’ of thinking. And if old Alan is right, these changes will also increase your I.Q. 🙂

Think about some of the ‘insane’ behaviors you/your organization are still doing – Special Events, Feasibility Studies, Cultivation, Transactions, etc – And, if you haven’t already, I recommend that you read or share the For Impact Guidebook: Change (The) Rules!

(P.S. If you want the solution to the Rope Trick – Email me and I’ll send you video solution.)


Kerry’s Wedding – A Memorable Experience

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

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

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

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

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



1x 10x 50x

If a Qualified Prospect is giving you $50 (let’s call this ‘1x’) in response to a mail campaign, any sort of an event or even ‘totally unsolicited’ then he or she would likely give 10x in response to a one-on-one, personal visit. And 50x if the visit includes a dialogue around the funding plan and an ask.

This is not scientific, but far from arbitrary, as way of thinking about:

  • The potential of your existing relationships (if we visit!), and,
  • Why we need to be doing more visits!

We often hear “we need more prospects” but often find that existing relationships are not being maximized and in some cases, not even being spoken to! Think about this:

  • 1x is clearly emotional. I’ve seen a lot of people cry at events, but the giving is still impersonal and ‘charitable’ in nature.
  • Sitting with someone one-one-one (or 2-1) allows you to listen and respond. It makes the ask personal and seems to trigger another level of discernment in giving – increasing a commitment to an organization ten fold (10x).
  • To get the big, big gifts (50x) we need to walk our Qualified Prospects through a funding plan and have a dialogue around the ask. These conversations are much more strategic.

I often share a story of a school that threw a large gala where they asked everyone to “prayerfully consider giving at a level that was significant.” The school was frustrated – They had a $1M prospect giving $10K and $100K prospects giving $2K.

As much as the prospects liked the school they had no context for how much money to consider. They had no way of guessing that $1M might be the linchpin for the campaign and there was no discussion that gave the committed families and supporters a framework to think bigger.

To put it simply, in this case and many others, you need to tell them what to pray for!

This school went back to each supporter with a complete funding plan. The $1M dollar ask, for example, was a discussion around WHY they needed $1M and what it would enable the school to do (students/faculty/campus, leverage, leadership, timing, etc). The prospects had context in which to consider the ask and many of them increased their gifts by five times and some by 20 or 30 times!

I’ve met with billionaires and many, many millionaires. Trust me, nobody has disposable income. Nobody is going to guess that a $1Million will help. $10K or $50K is a lot to anyone! It’s not until we show up that we can get 10X. It’s not until we dialogue about 50X that we can get 50X. (Read more about The Bystander Effect and Philanthropy here.)

In closing, consider asking yourself a few questions: Is it easier for you to visit with every current funder and ASK (10X) or to get ten new prospects to give? From there, is it easier to get your best prospects to 50X or to get 5-10 more visits?


Three (daily) self-coaching questions for Sales People

It’s really easy to lose the day, the week, the month or the year putting out fires.

I’d like to offer you a way to design yourself around RESULTS instead just responding to what is in front of you. You can get better Return On Energy (R.O.E.) by self-coaching through these three questions every morning before email – over a good cup of coffee:

  • What are my next actions to line up visits?
  • What can I do to bring in dollars (to fund the impact) today?
  • What am I doing to advance the ball with my top 10 prospects?

Q: What are my next action items to line up visits?

Visits and asks – advancing and maximizing relationships – is the lifeblood of philanthropy. If ‘dollars raised’ is a productivity output, then this is the measurement that gets you there. Are you scheduling visits this week or next? If not, there will be no new funds to show in 6-8 weeks (plus or minus).

Q: What can I do to bring in dollars (to fund our impact) TODAY?
A: CLOSE existing asks.

I don’t care about adding more or new prospects if we’re not doing follow-up with existing and previous relationships – i.e., if we’re not closing. Adding more to a bad process does nothing. Trust me, it’s much easier to ‘close’ that visit from three weeks/months/years ago than it is to open a new door.

Q: What am I doing to advance the ball with my Top 10 prospects?
A: Set Goals. Engage Natural Partners. Get the Visit. Hit a HOMERUN.

This one is all about the S.F.P. – Self Fulfilling Prophecy. Focus on your top 10 – a little bit – each day. Most people look at the number one prospect and think, “Well, that’s a long way off” or “We don’t know them.” Then they open their email and respond to all the urgent but not important requests. This becomes a routine. Over time we never define the action steps that get us a visit with our top 10. The funds (potential and real) from those prospects can never be made up, nor can the leadership and connections.

Special Note: We had an attendee who raised a question at this week’s Boot Camp, “I’m a one person development shop working on a $5M goal. Should I be doing newsletters?” Using the self coaching model it’s very apparent that the answer is NO. As a Sales Person, your best R.O.E. is:

Setting Up and Executing Visits.
Close existing ASKS.
Advance and Maximize your Top 10… A.S.A.P.


The Bystander Effect and Philanthropy

Malcolm Gladwell explores the Bystander Effect in The Tipping Point. He recounts the 1964 New York (Queens) stabbing death of Kitty Genovese. Reportedly, dozens of witnesses heard Ms. Genovese and her cries for help; however, no one called the police.

The story is used to paint a picture of a phenomenon called the Bystander Effect – which has been well studied since. The Bystander Effect is one in which as more people are present at a scene of distress the responsibility for action becomes proportionally diffused.
38 people heard Genovese cry for help. Each knew others heard the cries. They were loud, in the middle of a big city. Each person assumed that someone else was making a call to police. So no one called the police.

This specific story has been debated since, but the point still stands. Take CPR Training for example – You used to shout, “Someone go call 911!” Now you’re instructed to point at a person and say, “YOU – go call 911!” If we need to direct the request for a simple phone call – to save a life – it stands to reason that it would go the same way for philanthropy.

Apply this to special events. Have you been to a special event where people are crying, overwhelmed by the impact of the organization? What’s the average gift size?

Alternatively, we know that if we simply change the context and visit with our best people one-on-one and JUST ASK, the responsibility cannot become diffused. When you make a specific request, face-to-face, the action is increased ten-fold (at least).

There is a world of difference between a plea for help to a group and a specific ask to an individual (or individual corporation/foundation).


For Impact Reading: Resilience

Eric Greitens (a former Navy Seal, a humanitarian, a boxer, a Ph.D.) compiled this book from letters he wrote to a friend facing enormous hardship, pain and suffering – and the virtue of Resilience as part of the human experience.

He draws on ancient wisdom to make many of his points and one paragraph really struck me as it relates to our For Impact teachings and philosophies:

“I can’t speak for Aeschylus, Epictetus or Aristotle. But I am convinced of this: they would have hated having their wisdom confined to classrooms and textbooks. This is wisdom about how to live. And it’s your property as much as anyone’s. Take it. Use it.”

We are having our fourth and final Boot Camp of the year at Eagle Creek today. Nick kicked the session off with a great quote from the book. (Nick quoting Eric quoting Greek Philosophers about the importance of Practice.)

“The most important things in life are learned only once, but must be reminded often.”

That big reminder that we give at camp? Your Sales Practice will never, ever, ever be perfect. And sometimes it will be hard. But you must get out the door and do it. Live it. You are capable of resilience.

Use visits (and asks) as a way to understand, to connect, to process many of the important things you already know.

Note: Read more thoughts from Tom on Practice.


Res Ipsa Loquitur

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Taking Great Notes

The Memo for the Record is an important mechanic in our sales process. (See last week’s post on the importance of Follow-Up.)

“Nothing so much assists learning as writing down what we wish to remember.” Cicero

I’m constantly amazed at how often salespeople don’t take notes! A great Memo for the Record is composed directly from your notes – Notes you took on the visit.

A great Memo for the Record should:

  • Record what happened on the visit. Someone on your team should be able to pick-up the memo and continue the conversation.
  • Use quotes. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!! The best message in the world is the one that comes from the prospect’s mouth. Capture words and exact phrases used by the prospect(s); put them in quotes.
    • Bad: Prospect seemed to like our program.
    • Good: “The after-school program is a huge priority for me.”

    This will:

    • Help you LISTEN. Read Vocabulary Wars.
    • Help others on your team LISTEN (even though they weren’t there).
    • Make life so much easier when you pull out the call report in six months.
  • Use bullets. Easier to read. Easier (faster) for you to download.
  • Be as long as needed, but completed within 36 hours of visit. This memo should capture all the key points that you would need to remember in six months, but shouldn’t take you all afternoon to compose.
  • Include follow up for you, your organization and the prospect. I would encourage you to dictate these notes IMMEDIATELY following the visit. Don’t wait. (I carry a dictation device and transcribe the call memo in my car – minutes after the visit.)

I’ve altered a real call memo and included training notes to help you learn: Download sample call memo. You can also download a call-memo-template to help you get your notes organized, quickly.


Use Oscillation To Increase Performance

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


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

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

“MANAGE your ENERGY, not your TIME.”

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

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

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


Change Your Attitude. Change The World.

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


I will re-state this, beat you up with this, never let up on this: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!


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

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

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

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


Get (a few of) them to FALL OFF THEIR CHAIR…

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

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