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NO “agony of wishing in your heart”.

I forgot to put the full Tagore quote in a post from a week ago.  If you remember, Rabindranath Tagore was the Poet Laureate of Bangledesh … and Bangledesh (formerly Bengal) has been where Holy Cross Fathers/Missionaries have worked since 1835.  It’s also where all of the proceeds from the Bengal Bouts (Notre Dame’s Boxing Tournament) goes.

I think this is a great quote to end the week and start the weekend.

“The song that I came to sing remains unsung to this day. I have spent my days in stringing and unstringing my instrument. The time has not come true; the words have not been rightly set. Only there is the AGONY of WISHING in my heart.”

Let there be no “agony of wishing in your heart“.

Make Each Day Count.


The Last of Human Freedoms

“When all the familiar goals in life are snatched away … what alone remains is the last of human freedoms: the ability to choose one’s ATTITUDE in a given set of circumstances.”  – Viktor Frankl

My wonderful niece, Caitlin, just sent me a note referencing MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING.

Man's Search for Meaningmsm_date

This book has been labeled “one of the 10 most influential books in America” by the Library of Congress. My copy is dated April 1996/Trip Around the World.

Viktor E. Frankl was imprisoned in concentration camps for three years during World War II.  The inside flap states that Frankl began to wonder why some of his fellow prisoners were able not only to survive the horrifying conditions, but to grow in the process.

His conclusion — that the most basic human motivation is the will to meaning — which became the basis of his groundbreaking psychological theory, logotherapy.

At FOR IMPACT, we’re always pursuing the idea of purpose and meaning.  This is one of the greatest books of all time that reinforces that ‘search’.

Frankl was very fond of quoting Nietzsche,

“He who has a WHY to live can bear with almost any HOW.”

Just another reason to always start with the WHY.

Reflections on Memorial Day

My dad was a Marine Sergeant in the Pacific in World War II.  Quadalcanal, Iwo Jima and more.  My hero.

My brother Mike was a Marine.  Officer Candidate School then Aviation School then flew helicopters.  Also my hero.

Once got a ‘ticket’ for illegally ‘parking’ (landing) in Yosemite National Park with a helicopter full of Marines.

I can’t count the number of my Notre Dame boxers who have served their country … in all branches of the service … in the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan.

I went through the Army ROTC program at Notre Dame in the late 60’s.  Not a ‘fun’ time to be in the military on most campuses, but Notre Dame handled it as well or better than anyone.

Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and sent to Fort Benning, Goergia, for Infantry Officer Basic School.  Also squeezed in three weeks of Airborne School, three weeks of expanded Leadership Training, and five weeks of Pathfinder School.

Life/fate is weird.  Every 2nd Lieutenant who graduated from Infantry School at Benning in the five years previous to my class went directly to Vietnam.  Ours did not.  I went on to serve as a Tactical Officer in the Officer Candidate School at Benning for two years.  Then decided to try to go back to Notre Dame to be the Boxing Coach.

It’s been 40 years.  Most of you would not have been present or actually remember the treatment of our soldiers returning from Vietnam.  A ‘political war’ in a country that was largely ‘anti-war’.

Today, we give a standing ovation to a designated military person at the beginning of every Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game.  We applaud veterans in uniform when they walk through airports.  We give up our first class seats so that they may have a more comfortable ride home to their loved ones. (more…)

Stringing and Unstringing Your Instrument

Just got email from Garrity and the gang of Notre Dame boxers heading to Bangladesh to work in the villages with the Holy Cross Missionaries.

Reminded me of one of my very favorite quotes/poems from Rabindranath Tagore, Poet Laureate of Bangledesh.




“Life is a torch … you fuel it as best you can,
and then you pass it on.”

-George Bernard Shaw

In Ireland and saw a bust of George Bernard Shaw, which reminded me of one of my favorite quotes.

Lot of powerful ideas presented in 17 words: LIFE, TORCH, SHINE, FUEL, LEGACY, etc.

Make Each Day Count.

Make Each Day Count

” You can count the days  … or make each day count.”

I think I first read this 20 years ago on a Banana Republic postcard.

MAKE EACH DAY COUNT is really just a daily mantra/reminder to BE FOR IMPACT.

Special note: CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTH DATE.  The 19th of every month is my BIRTH DATE.  For the second May 19th in a row, I am celebrating in Ireland!  Special day and special trip because my travel companion is my grandson Keegan (12)! And I get to work with our brilliant Partner in IE , Georgina … on a project to completely change the way to tell the Story of this amazing country.


Quote of the Day

without regard to resources currently controlled.”

-Howard Stevens, Harvard Business School

Every For Impact leader should think and act like an entrepreneur.  Actually, everyone would be better off, I believe, with an entrepreneur’s attitude.

10 More Great Quotes on Entrepreneurship.


Quote of the Day

I love quotes. I love the way they tend to capture a big thought or idea in a few words … that are memorable.

There are a lot of websites that provide you a quote of the day. We are adding a quote of the day to to both support the blog and thought leadership, as well to help you THINK. Here are the first set of quotes.

“To hear is to forget.
To see is to remember.
To DO is to KNOW.”

– A Zen Proverb

“To KNOW and not to DO is not to KNOW.”
– 3rd Century Motivational Speaker

“The way to learn to DO things is to DO things.”

– Henry Ford

“I learn by going where I have to go.”
– Theodore Roethke



I thought I would paraphrase The Bard’s 450th birthday.

Shakespeare’s classic quote “To be or not to be … that is the question” becomes a different challenge when you add the words “FOR IMPACT”.

We are human BE-ings. To add incredible meaning and significance to your life: BE FOR IMPACT.

2014 Sales Boot Camp: ‘Early Bird’ Opportunity

Join us on June 17th and 18th at Eagle Creek (our beautiful 50-acre headquarters) to explore the For Impact Point of View and Sales Process.

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

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

Sales Boot Camp is a high-energy, two-day session focused on:

  • 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

We’re extending our Early Bird pricing – Register before May 9th to take advantage!


We work with some of the best Chief Development Officers/Vice Presidents of Advancement in the country. I am not exaggerating when I say that every single one of them struggles with priorities and focus and time.

I sketched out THE 3 HATS for the Chief Development Officer of a health care foundation last week. Seemed to create great clarity to his roles. I thought I’d share.

Here is the framework and visual for THE 3 HATS … ROLES of a Chief Development Officer in a For Impact organization. I believe this works for ‘smaller shops’, as well as large national organizations or universities/colleges.



Click here to download a copy of THE 3 HATS.

The color code is obviously tied to our IMPACT drives INCOME

  • The Blue Hat. Should be worn as a valued member of the Senior Leadership Team of the organization! The CDO/VP of Advancement should have a ‘seat at the table’. They should be engaged with strategy, the role of philanthropy in any vision or project and contribute their talent and experience to the President and Senior Team.
    The Challenge: Balancing the ‘seat at the table’ with being drug into every meeting and serving on a multitude of committees and getting caught up in Quadrant III and IV activities (Urgent, Not Important. Not Urgent, Not Important.)
    Just say ‘NO’!
  • The Red Hat. The primary reason for being hired (most likely) was to ‘manage’ development. Should be the Senior Leader/Team Leader of Development and Advancement, with responsibility for the entire division/department or foundation. Also must take prominent leadership role with the Sales Team!
    The Challenge: Micromanaging. Personnel/bus issues. Caught up in a never-ending series of ‘meetings to discuss meetings’, etc.
    This ‘hat’ demands a rigor and discipline to do only those things that move the division/department towards its goals. Also demands having the right TALENT to support the CDO’s responsibilities.
  • The Green Hat. Must be the Chief Fundraiser/Chief Income Raiser!
    In the For Impact world, I believe this role is a very important part of the Ideal Profile of a CDO. You must have a portfolio of good prospects … and lead by example around the system, visits, follow-up, results.
    The Challenge: At the end of the day or the end of the week or the end of the month … EVERYTHING ELSE has superseded the role of actually make sure we are generating INCOME … to fund the Vision/Impact.
    The simplest way I have found to deal with this is to put on your Green Hat FIRST! Set aside hours or days that are devoted to SALES! VISITS! PRESENTATIONS! ASKS!

I believe these 3 HATS provide a great metaphor to help you set priorities and, most importantly, focus on what’s important. If you were to actually break down your week or month, you might be surprised at the percentage of time you spend wearing these different hats.

As the Old Guy/Coach … I believe the CDO and Vice President should have at least an equal balance between the 3 hats (1/3, 1/3, 1/3). Better yet, for me, I would strive for 50% Green Hat … 20% Blue Hat … and 30% Red Hat.

Providence of the 3 Hats. Check out my first 3 HAT scrawl for Steve Elder at Colorado College in May of 2004. Steve still has this framed on his desk!

ROI, Part 2

My friend and TSG Senior Partner, Jeff Strine, pointed out a glaring fault in my ROI thinking.

Jeff is a recovering banker. In the financial world, Return-On-Investment means NET. Jeff says it’s sometimes called NET CONTRIBUTION, which makes sense in our world as well.

Here’s Jeff’s example:

  • Gross Revenue: $2M
    Revenues Generated = 2X
  • Investment/Expenses: $1M
    Cost of Raising $1 = 50%
  • Net Return: $1M
    ROI = 1X … not the 2X I used.

I didn’t want Jeff to think I’m a financial moron, but I’m guessing that the net return of $1M or 1X would be a 100% ROI.

My bottom line: Your NET RETURN/ROI should be WAY MORE than your INVESTMENT/EXPENSES.

3X. 4X. 5X.