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1,000 Push-ups

I’m up at Notre Dame for annual “mini-sabbatical” to coach the boxers. We work out every day from about 3:30 to 6:30. Last Friday we did 1,000 push-ups (along with 1,000 sit-ups and 1,000 jumping jacks) in a little over an hour.

HOW??? Same way you accomplish any GOAL: You break it down into manageable objectives, and just DO IT.

You ask HOW I DID THE MATH.

  • I wanted to do about 250 push-ups every 15 minutes.
  • Basically, if you do 44 PUSH-UPS, 43 PUSH-UPS, 42 PUSH-UPS … and on down to ONE PUSH-UP … it gets you 990 PUSH-UPS. That’s what we did.
  • We started out with two sets of 83 PUSH-UPS in honor of our long-time trainer’s Zimmy’s birthday.

Note: Our goal, as always, is to do 10,000 push-ups during our training session. This year we’re doing it over 30 days. The obvious MATH equals 333 push-ups a day, which we do during practice.

Special, Special Note: As I told the boxers last Friday, none of us would be able to wash our hair that night … because we wouldn’t be able to lift our arms up above our shoulders. I gave them a little tip from past experience: Squirt the shampoo on the shower wall and rub your head against it.

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Motorolla makes WHOA products

Kevin Maney writes every Tuesday in USA Today.

on technology. Last week he talked about how the heck Motorola got so COOL.

My favorite part of the story was the new CEO, Ed Zander (former President at Sun Microsystems) saying that somebody had to tell Motorola employees it was okay to TAKE CHANCES again. Initially, this came from Zander, but Maney said it was best articulated by Chief Marketing Officer, Geoffrey Frost (who joined Motorola from Nike).

Zander says that Geoffrey Frost came in and said, LET’S BUILD WOW PRODUCTS. That then became the internal mantra that goaded the engineers to come up with things like their new RAZR phone.

Maney says Frost had ratcheted
up this inventive fervor by saying that WOW products weren’t enough and that Motorola had to take it to WHOA products.

WOW(!) PRODUCTS (SERVICES)… WHOA(!) PRODUCTS (SERVICES).

What are you building in your FOR IMPACT organization that causes a WOW
or a WHOA?!!!

P.S. Geoffrey Frost died of a heart attack last November at age 56. I’m 56.
Hope that someone will remember me with WOW ideas or WHOA ideas.

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No More Mission Statements

vs. CLEAR, CONCISE, COMPELLING MESSAGES!!!

THAT GRAB YOUR ATTENTION!!!

(Everyone gets 3,000 marketing ‘messages’ a day; 1,000,000 a year!)
“STAY ON MESSAGE!!!”

(One, and only? Lesson from world of politics!)



A customer can say “NO” because the offer doesn’t apply to them;

but NEVER because they didn’t UNDERSTAND IT!!!

Doug Hall, Jumpstart Your Brain


In our world, that means someone can say, “not now” or “not a priority” for legitimate reasons, but never because they didn’t UNDERSTAND the VISION/MISSION/ MESSAGE!!!

SIMPLICITY BREVITY CLARITY


“WE CAN’T POSSIBLY DO WHAT YOU’RE SUGGESTING, TOM. WE ARE JUST ‘TOO BIG’, ‘TOO IMPORTANT, TOO COMPLEX’.”
“OH, YEAH?”

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

(One Nation . Indivisible .

with Liberty & Justice for All; 9 Words)

276 WORDS!!!
WASHINGTON’S INAUGURAL SPEECH:

(Our 1st President!)

134 WORDS!!!
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

LIFE, LIBERTY & the Pursuit of HAPPINESS

3 BIG WORDS!!!
EINSTEIN’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY

Energy = MC²

3 PAGES!!!

3 LETTERS

Note on Einstein: 3 PAGES!!! 3 LETTERS!!!


*It takes us 3 pages just to “introduce” our organization as a preface to a 30-page proposal or grant request!!! (for $10,000!!!)
TAGLINES . BATTLE CRIES . AHA!!!
“We’ll put a man on the moon before THE end of decade.”
“I have a dream.”
“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
“He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.”
“1,000 Points of Light.”
“Just Do It.”
“Like a Rock.”
“Live to Ride. Ride to Live.”
Bottom line: WHAT’S your MESSAGE???
P.S. There are 130 words since Simplicity, Brevity, Clarity.
Note: Please send me more messages, taglines, battle cries that MOVE you or your organization.

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Think Talent… Not Background

I recently spoke with one of my favorite people in Development. She’s in the Northwest, responsible for PRINCIPLE (Major) GIFTS, and is very committed, competent, and caring … along with absolutely passionate about her “CAUSE”.

They’ve been without a Vice President for Development for a year. They’ve hired an executive search firm, placed ads in the Chronicle , etc. Can’t get anyone.

This is a great organization, and it would be a great “POSITION”.

HERE’S THE CHALLENGE:

EVERY ‘NONPROFIT’ in the world is looking for a Vice President for Development … a Director of Development … Major Gift Officers … Senior-Level Development Staff!!!

Note: I said “EVERY”. I meant that. Look at the back of any Chronicle of Philanthropy . There are 23 pages of ads with more than 150 “openings”… ALL looking for the same person(s)!!!

The SOLUTION to this CHALLENGE is NOT in trying to WOO “Senior Development People” from their current jobs …with MORE MONEY and perhaps a DIFFERENT TITLE!

You’ve got to CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK!!!

I suggested to my friend that she is in a city with incredible BUSINESS and ENTREPRENEURIAL TALENT . They need to look at those wonderful individuals who are ready to move from ‘SUCCESS to SIGNIFICANCE’ … bringing with them great experience, a proven skill set and a great ATTITUDE!

I believe there are many, many more talented individuals with SALES, ENTREPRENEURIAL and BUSINESS EXPERIENCE available to the For Impact world … than there are available “Experienced Fundraising/Development Officers”!!!

Remember: HIRE FOR ATTITUDE . TRAIN FOR SKILL.

Don’t want to ramble here, so I’ll make some “bullet points” to support this thought.

  • Ideal Profile. Create the IDEAL PROFILE for the position you’re looking for. Use a “HEAD … HEART … HAND” Model (Intelligence, Passion and Skill).*The Ideal Profile for this great For Impact Organization would be somebody who is already been touched or directly involved with the CAUSE, already LED a sales team or a company, understands vision, goals, success, etc. … someone who just “GETS IT”.
  • Talent Spectrum. Look at both ends of this spectrum. In this case, they are looking at the right side for the right fit .
  • Hollywood Talent Agencies. They hire for the role and the project . Every movie is a project. People come together. Do their best work. Disband.

*I think you could get incredible TALENT with the idea that someone would come in for 1,000 days (not quite 3 years) and make a HUGE IMPACT !

No disrespect intended, but most “experienced Development Officers” have experienced one year of fundraising 15 or 20 times. They also bring a huge amount of “BAGGAGE”, mostly tied to a MODEL that worked in the 1950’s and 1960’s … and never really changed in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

BOTTOM LINE: You can’t just “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX”.

You’ve literally got to say, “WHAT BOX?”

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We Get What We Measure

“We almost always get what we measure.”

This is particularly true in nonprofit organizations, although I believe it is just as prevalent in the for-profit world.

A simple question:
How do we train, measure and reward our Development Staff, be they Income Development, DOD’s, Major Gift Officers, Planned Gift Officers, or whatever the title?

For most organizations, the measurement is activity (busy work). I have actually worked with large and very successful nonprofit organizations whose “measurement,” and I’m talking about actual evaluations, were based upon number of phone calls … number of letters sent out … number of “moves.”

Specific and personal: We just had a great young potential development superstar say, “I can’t find the time to do Major Gifts because I am measured on the number of grant proposals that I submit!”

So, what’s the answer? IF … the goal of the For Impact Development Operation is to write a net, net, net (triple net) check to the organization (to fund the vision)…

THEN … the goal and measurement of the development staff should be tied directly to that net, net, net check! If you’re a volunteer leader or senior staff/administrative leader of a nonprofit organization, you should expect results from your development team. However, you cannot give them the old “pat on the back” and “go get money” Knute Rockne half-time locker room speech!

Your Development Staff should be measured on three things:

  1. Total net dollars raised
  2. Number of quality ASKS
  3. Number of one-on-one visits

We use these GREEN SHEETS to MEASURE sales activity/productivity. Feel free to reproduce/use/expand.

To succinctly summarize and re-emphasize the point: Your development team needs to be working directly and specifically on things that raise the most amount of money at the lowest cost!

That’s how they should be trained. That’s how they should be measured. And that’s how they should be rewarded!

Special Note: Og Mandino has a wonderful message in the Spellbinder’s Gift about busy work. In Step 6 of Patrick Donne’s Send the Instructions for Your New Life, Og through his character states very clearly: Never hide behind busy work.

“It just takes just as much energy to fail as it does to succeed. You must constantly guard against the trap of falling into a routine of remaining busy with unimportant chores that will provide you with an excuse to avoid meaningful challenges or opportunities that could change your life for the better. Your hours are your most precious possession. This day is all you have. Waste not a minute. Never hide behind your busy work!

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You are what you think about

WOW! Here’s one of the most profound “THOUGHTS” (pun intended) ever recorded:
“YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT.”

Earl Nightingale is literally the father of PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. THE STRANGEST SECRET was literally the seed from which this personal development industry grew.

Written in 1956, when Earl was 35 years old, he recorded this short message for a small group of salesmen one Saturday morning. The message had such a positive impact that everyone wanted copies to share with their friends and family. Earl Nightingale arranged with Columbia Records to duplicate this record and ultimately received a Gold Record for sale of a million copies. (This is in the 1950’s!)

I started to summarize this book but that’s very unfair. Just order your copy right now. It’s 19 small pages (the book) and takes only 30 minutes to listen to (the audio).

To whet your appetite:

“Men simply don’t think.”

“We become what we think about.”

“Success equals the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

“Instead of competing, all we have to do is create.”

“Impact = Income!” (I swear it’s in there!) He calls it the Law of Mutual Exchange.

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The Magic of Thinking Big

“BIG” is not about the size of your organization, the number of employees or the thickness of your rules and regulations.

“BIG” is about the SCOPE OF YOUR VISION …

  • It’s the SIZE of your BHAGs (your BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOALS).
  • It’s BUILDING CATHEDRALS.
  • It’s stakeholders investing in your impact, your quantum leaps, your dreams.

Your ability to THINK BIG is the ONLY way to CHANGE THE WORLD!!!

I WISH … I could have every For Impact organization leader wake up in the morning and understand the POWER of THINK BIG!

THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG. This is not only a great book by David Schwartz, it’s a great For Impact MANTRA! That “MAGIC” comes from your VISION (TJS definitions).

WHAT IF you could RE-IMAGINE:

A WORLD without … HATE

A WORLD without … CANCER

A WORLD without … HOMELESSNESS

A WORLD without … DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

A WORLD without … POVERTY

A WORLD without … ILLITERACY

A WORLD without … DEPENDENCY

A WORLD without … AIDS

A WORLD without … [YOUR IMPACT]

From your BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals), this is a wonderful Jim Collins’ “catchphrase” that has found its way into the business vernacular. It needs to be part of our For Impact vocabulary as well. Remember, it’s a Big Hairy Audacious Goal not a SBUG (small bald unaudacious goal)!

Many times I’m with organizations who think they have a BHAG. When asked if they are likely or almost guaranteed to reach them, they answer yes. That is NOT a BHAG!

It’s about TRANSFORMATION.

It’s about QUANTUM LEAPS, which is a term taken from the vocabulary of QUANTUM PHYSICS (described as the most powerful science ever conceived by human beings). A quantum leap, by definition, is rather ASTOUNDING and UNCONVENTIONAL.

A quantum leap almost always includes a leap of faith. You must believe.

How would you make QUANTUM LEAPS in both your IMPACT and your INCOME?

In many ways, this principle of THINK BIG is pretty self-explanatory.

A lot of people respond:

“We already think big. We need help with our fundraising.”

My response is always the same:

“THINK EVEN BIGGER.”

I have just been involved with too many organizations that have embraced this concept of THINK BIG … and, as a result, are changing just about everything they do!

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Planned Giving Training in Three Bullet Points

I want to sound off on planned giving. Nobody is doing enough of it. It always seems like it’s some ‘elusive field’. Like we are ‘waiting to get trained in that area’ or whatever. I want to make this as simple as possible.

Planned giving is just a sale (or another form of a major gift) to a person that wants to help your organization. It is a just a means or a vehicle. Your job is to present the prospect with a wonderful opportunity to change lives, save lives or impact lives.

There are hundreds (probably thousands) of ways to do a planned gift. YOU do not need to know how to do them. Leave that to an insurance agent, a lawyer, a financial planner, etc.

Here is the training … ready?

There are three forms of a planned gift:

  1. Assignment of a life insurance policy.
  2. Bequest (will).
  3. Other

If the prospect wants to assign life insurance he/she can call his or her agent. A simple bequest can be a codicil to a will (just google it). Other includes all those ‘other’ complicated financial arrangements (including gift annuities) that we can pass off to an expert.

Most smaller planned gifts will either involve life insurance or a very simple bequest.

I DON’T believe I’m over simplifying. Your goal is to maximize every relationship at any given time. If you’re meeting with a prospect about a project need today you can also talk about providing TOMORROW in the form of a legacy or planned gift.

My point is that this should be simple and we should be asking nearly everyone for a planned gift commitment. Too often, I believe, individuals and organizations ‘wait’ until they have the necessary training or ‘organizational capacity’. If you get training you will get a thick binder that will sit on the shelf with tons of terms and if you wait you will leave tons of opportunities on the table.

Keep it simple …

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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.

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Extra Mile

Read something over the holiday from HR Consultant Towers Perrin.

They surveyed 85,000 workers (at large and mid-size companies) in 16 countries.

THE RESULTS:

  • 14% (!) of workers are FULLY ENGAGED on the job (willing to go the extra mile for their employers, doing more than their job description requires, etc.).
  • 62% (!!) are MODERATELY ENGAGED.
  • 24% (!!!!) (the remainder) are DISENGAGED!

The leader of the Towers Perrin practice in the Chicago office said that “ENGAGEMENT requires a worker’s HEART as well as MIND. It involves not just an EMOTIONAL attachment to the company but also a RATIONALE way to channel those emotions to elevate a company’s performance.”

They went on to say that “ENGAGEMENT levels vary from industry to industry, but the most striking variance involves NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS.”

“THE WORKERS TEND TO BE MORE COMMITTED THAN EMPLOYEES AT FOR-PROFIT CONCERNS BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE IN THEIR EMPLOYER’S MISSION.”

DUH?!

In the For Impact world, we already know this. We didn’t need a survey. Our PEOPLE/TALENT are, for the most part, deeply committed … which is why we can achieve so much, with so little.

P.S. If yours aren’t (ENGAGED/COMMITTED), you need to do something about your “BUS”.

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Good Work Attracts Good Money

Just finally got around to skimming my December 8, 2005 issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. (What a great job they do of covering our “world” as opposed to that rag NPT.)

Steve Mayer heads the Effective Communities Project in Minneapolis. Never met him, but LOVED HIS MESSAGE!!!

Main thrust was towards “COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONS”.

You’d think they would be interested in the “COMMUNITY“. Instead, Mayer comments, “They have a different purpose: To Build & Manage Big Endowments.”

I feel the same way about a lot of the larger nonprofit organizations, universities, etc. It’s an ENDOWMENT WAR. You’ve heard my shtick on that.

If you get a chance to read this message from Mayer, it’s worth looking at.

Of course, his title “GOOD WORK ATTRACTS GOOD MONEY” is pretty consistent with our For Impact Epiphany:

IMPACT DRIVES INCOME.

P.S. Get some really good thoughts around “innovative thinking” for Community Foundations. Check it out.

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The Most Important Question

This is a quick one to share – let you ponder and add your thoughts.

When meeting with a new prospect or a group or even someone very familiar with your organization, what is the Single Most Important Question you should ask to start things off?

How about this one:

“What do you know about our organization?”

Or, if the person has long been associated/involved with your organization:

“What do you know about this project?”

Or, more broadly:

“What do you know about [insert your cause here]?”

Listening to the answer will do wonders for your ability to have a productive visit. The answer to this singular, one important question could:

  • Save a lot of time (you don’t want to repeat things he/she already knows)
  • Get out misunderstandings (if the prospect has the wrong idea about your org, you can address these points)

Presumably you know where you would like to be at the end of the visit (the goals).
Wouldn’t you like to know where you are at the beginning of the visit?

Two quick stories to share with you to make my point (one good, one bad) and then you get more thoughts/ideas online:

First, the bad (DID NOT ask the Most Important Question):

Three years ago we were helping a domestic violence shelter. They were trying to work with the community to locate new space so that they could increase the number of families that they served.

The prospect was a successful female entrepreneur. In the first meeting it was just she and I (male – single).

We had a great dialogue, hit it off, made our connections and I asked a lot of questions … Just not the single most important question.

I was sharing a number of astounding statistics about domestic violence – one of which is that one out of four women are victims of domestic violence.

She stopped me there …

“Nick, I know all this … I’m the one of those four.”

GULP. Who was I to be ‘informing’ her about the problem?

She was willing to share this information. I should’ve asked the most important question: What do you know about Domestic Violence?

For another organization (DID ask the Most Important Question):

A board member and I were visiting with someone that the staff had identified as a great prospect and friend of the organization. I had a thick folder full of information (thanks to all the ‘prospect research data services’, Google and staff interviews).

After we got to know each other on the visit I asked most important question:

Q. “Can you just share with us what you know about XYZ org?”

A. “Just about everything – I think. I was one of the three founders fifteen years ago.”

We had no idea this woman founded the organization. The staff had no idea. The board had no idea. Needless to say, it completely changed the nature of visit and we moved immediately to an exciting dialogue about HOW we were going to make the vision for the current project a reality.

Next time you’re on a visit don’t forget to ask The Most Important Question.

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