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Creativity … Eat, Move, Sleep … To Be Superman

I’m reading 3 great books that I wanted to share with the For Impact community. Choose one, two or all three. I promise they’re well worth the time and energy.


    I first saw this in an article in Fast Company in April, which highlights my favorite takeaway from the book: THE BRAINTRUST! My guarantee: If you read what Pixar/Disney does at these BRAINTRUSTS … you will never have another ‘regular meeting‘ again!
    2. Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes. Recommendation from my great friend and business partner Nick Fellers. Tom Rath is best-selling author (How Full Is Your Bucket?, Strengths Finder 2.0, etc.) and senior scientist and advisor to Gallop. He has been managing a serious illness for more than 20 years. That alone gives his writing huge credibility. EAT MOVE SLEEP leaps into the circle of my favorite books that capture the entire message in the title and on the cover! The book is filled with nuggets that will help anybody make much better decisions in these 3 interconnected areas.This book can be skimmed, opened up to any page and nugget, and has a terrific table of contents with 30 themes that will allow you to pick and choose where you want to go.
    Note: If you have any interest in your own health and well being … this is a great place to start this summer.
    3. The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance. Nick Fellers and I recommend and give each other books 2 or 3 times a week. This is another one of his discoveries that will blow your mind. Just the tagline alone should get your attention! ‘Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance’. Kotler does this by drawing on a decade of research and reporting with dozens of the top action and adventure sports athletes like Big Wave Legend Laird Hamilton, Big Mountain Snowboarder Jeremy Jones and many others.The bottom line for me is the book represents the amazing possibilities of finding FLOW.
    Kotler starts with the Godfather of Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, former Chairman of the University of Chicago Department of Psychology and author of a number of great books on FLOW. Here is a great TED Talk on FLOW by M.C.
    (I bought both the book FLOW and the book CREATIVITY: THE FLOW OF PSYCHOLOGY OF DISCOVERY AND INVENTION by Csikszentmihalyi in August of 1996 in Portland at the iconic bookstore Powells. I’ve been trying to find ‘FLOW‘ ever since. Mostly hard to do, but when it happens … WOW!)
    Kotler’s stories about big wave surfers, free climbers, wing suits diving off of buildings in New York City are absolutely fascinating. Almost every story is about amazing athletes who must find FLOW … or DIE.
    This massive acceleration in performance have occurred within the world of action and adventure sports … and Kotler highlights the characteristics necessary for this kind of peak performance. Again, if you are interested at all in maxing out your potential and changing the world … this is a ‘super‘ read.

Holistic Funding Model

  • What projects or special campaigns do you have and/or want to have?
    Total $____________
  • What are your goals for endowment or legacy gifts?
    Total $____________
  • What is your annual operating budget?
    Total $____________
  • Are there any other costs or fundraising goals that have not been accounted for above?
    Total $____________
  • Do you currently have an annual giving circle? If so, how what is the total income?
    Total $____________

    Does this total match the total from question 3.?
    If you do not currently have an annual giving circle, take the total from question 3
    and divide by 10, 20, 50, 100 until you get an amount you are comfortable with.

  • Fill in the funding model. (LINK TO FUNDING MODEL DOWNLOAD)

Maximize Relationships

  • Get out of the _______________ business

    Start ____________ _______________ at this given ___________.

  • Definition of ‘Relationship’
    • _________________ ______________
    • _________________ ______________
    • _________________ ______________ to the _________________
  • Who is your most important current investor?
    What 3 things can you start doing immediately to build and maximize your relationship with them, based on this definition.

Change Your Vocabulary

“Words Are Important” – Tom Peters

If you change the way you talk, it changes the way you think, and it changes the way you act.

1. Take the Vocabulary ‘test’ (VOCAB WORKSHEET) Answers
2. Make this pledge to yourself:

“I pledge to start thinking about the lives I am saving, changing, and impacting and agree to incorporate these new words in conversation with my friends, co-workers, and potential investors because I understand that words are important and reflect my thoughts and attitudes.”

Think Big, Build Simple, Act Now

  • Think Big
    People want to hear about ____________.
  • Build Simple
    Write Your mission statement.
    Circle The 3 most important words in your mission statement.
    Can you remember these three words easily? Can you easily use them as talking points?
  • Act Now
    Sit down with a co-worker, volunteer, or friend of the organization.
    Take a minute for each word and share what that word means to you personally
    and in the context of the organization.

What did you talk about? Where there any interesting insights that came out of that discussion?


An Ask on the First Visit

In an unscripted scenario, Tom conducts an Ask On the First Visit to demonstrate the flow of the For Impact coaching principles and strategies.


The client is a high-capacity Catholic prospect that is highly involved with his Parish. Other than this, Tom knows very little about the client and his connection with the organization.






Key Learning Points:

  • Be intentionally time considerate throughout the visit (i.e., say ‘Thanks for your time today’)
  • Sit shoulder-to-shoulder rather than face-to-face – it creates a “team” mentality
  • Taking notes is mandatory!
  • Ask LOTS of questions and listen to the answer. Get the client involved and engaged by creating questions. (i.e. How many children do you have? Grandchildren?)
  • Use the altitude framework, focus on the impact – Purpose, Priorities, Plan
  • Let the client go where he wants to go (i.e. Which one of our priorities grabs ahold of you and makes a connection?)
  • Roadmap: Predisposition, Presentation, Follow-Up
  • Engagement tool: not all of the tool is needed

Key Language and Phrases:

  • I wanted to share a couple of things with you
  • Let me show you cleanly and simply
  • We need more involvement from smart and engaged leaders in the community
  • We need handful of founding members to help create momentum with this project
  • I think it is important for you to be in this area/we need you in this area. Is that something you could do?
  • I know you have the capacity, is it a possibility?
  • Wrap up and give a direct action plan for following up


Community Leadership Role Play

  • Nick demonstrates how to share the vision and offer the opportunity for help.


    Nick has just met with a prominent community leader on behalf of Circles, a new organization whose mission is to stop the cycle of poverty.

    Key Learning Points:

    • Predisposition – send an email ahead of time i.e. I’m really excited to sit down with you tomorrow, here are some materials for you to look at, I’d like to get your feedback and input and talk about how you can help.
    • The people you meet with are great people, they might not say yes, but they want you to succeed.
    • Mentally, the visit is shoulder-to-shoulder – “We have to do this together!”
    • Ask questions! i.e. Does that make sense? What do you think about this?
    • Start with them where they are – Give them permission to be skeptical if they need to be.
    • Engage, Then Plan – i.e. Based on my math, I made a determination that it would be worth my time to get 10 people on board.
    • Listen and Always Take notes! Write down specific words they say and turn their words into the message.
    • “Forget about the money, I actually believe that our program and impact cannot be as successful without you.”
    • Follow-up immediately after the visit.
  • These 3 Things …

    Nick is leading a session at Eagle Creek today and tomorrow with 50 wonderful people representing some amazing organizations.

    Even after all these years, it still astounds me at the power of Nick’s opening around These 3 Things:

    1. IMPACT DRIVES INCOME.  (Not the other way around).
    2. BE FOR IMPACT!  (Your Organization.   Your Team.  Yourself.)
    3. JUST ASK.  (Don’t wait for a Perfect Message, Perfect Priorities, Perfect Pitch.)

    We’ve learned from doing a lot of these sessions that CHANGE takes 3 minutes and then 3 months or 3 years.

    You can grasp the power of These 3 Things in 3 minutes.

    How you apply it is up to you.


    On Board(s) – A Guide for Greater Board Engagement

    ‘How do we engage the board?’ This is one of the top questions we receive. This teleseminar is a direct answer to that question. Tom will do what he does best: CHALLENGE (status quo), LEAD and SIMPLY. I know Tom’s going to challenge assumptions you have about the board/staff dynamic. Then he’s going to share some of the thinking we’ve been employing in the field, and finish with concrete frameworks (TOOLS) you can use for greater leadership. He will be speaking to board and senior staff.
    Included in this seminar:

    • A change in perspective. “A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.” – Alan Kay
    • How to change the dynamics of the board/staff.
    • How to get leaders ‘on board’ vs. ‘on the board’.
    • How to leverage a NEW leadership model.
    • How to identify the right leaders and champions.
    • 3 Key Frameworks (TOOLS) for leaders and leadership engagement.
    here; to download file for listening offline.

    Message to Garcia

    I was reading an article from New York Times about Jeb Bush.  Politics aside, it was a very interesting article about his “bookishness and pragmatism”.   A voracious reader, the article talked about all the different, almost Gates-like, diversity in what he reads.

    The article mentioned that while he was Florida’s Governor (1999 to 2007), new employees would find a copy of a treasured Bush book on the desk:  A MESSAGE TO GARCIA.

    I love this story!  I actually have a small pamphlet printed in 1918 that highlights this 1899 essay.


    I am paraphrasing Hubbard’s story… but I think you will get the point.

    THE STORY: When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the insurgents… a General Garcia. He was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba – no one knew where. Mail or telegraph could not reach him… and the President had to secure his cooperation quickly.

    Somebody told the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of ROWAN who will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

    Andrew S. Rowan, West Point Class of 1881 was a First Lieutenant in the 19th Infantry, U.S.A. (Yes!) Because he knew the topography of Cuba, was familiar with Spanish, and had shown himself to be a brave and prudent solider, Lieutenant Rowan was selected for this mission.

    In short, he took the letter, sealed it in an oilskin pouch, strapped it over his heart and crossed from Jamaica to the southern coast of Cuba in a sailboat. He disappeared into the jungle, made his way inland to Garcia’s camp… and DELIVERED THE MESSAGE!!!

    In Hubbard’s words: “The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia. Rowan took the letter and did not ask, ‘Where is he at?’ By the eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and his statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book learning young men need nor instruction about this and that but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; and do that thing – ‘CARRY A MESSAGE TO GARCIA!’” (more…)


    No More Volunteer Solicitation



    Here’s a simple question: Would Apple or Microsoft or IBM (or your own favorite company) ask ‘VOLUNTEERS’ to do their ‘SALES’???

    Just the idea of the word ‘SOLICITATION’ (the implication of which I cannot go into in a PG-13 document), should be enough to make you give up on this 1950’s “Peer-To-Peer Solicitation” model!

    Note: In this Traditional Model, a typical ‘ask’ by a peer (to a peer) goes “I have your (3 x 5) card. Can you give something? Just send it in.” WOW! Clear. Concise. Compelling. NOT!


    Here are 7 pretty solid reasons not to use VOLUNTEERS to make SOLO SOLICITATIONS:

    • DESIRE, ENTHUSIASM, PERSISTENCE. How many of your ‘volunteers’ really, really, really like to ask a friend for money? If presented as such, these volunteers lack key ingredients for sales success: ENTHUSIASM and PERSISTENCE.It is professional staff’s mission and responsibility to Present The Opportunity to Qualified Prospects.
    • TRADING DOLLARS. Every ‘VOLUNTEER’ knows that whenever they ask one of their friends/peers for money… they will soon be asked back for that prospect’s favorite cause. This system of ‘trading dollars’ certainly does not allow for aggressively MAXIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS.Professional staff are objective, fair and committed to helping their prospective investor feel great about their commitment.
    • TIME. Volunteers basically have none. Their other business priorities and family obligations make it very difficult to fulfill ‘volunteer’ duties.Professional staff, on the other hand, are focused and dedicated to Presenting The Opportunity to as many Qualified Prospects AS POSSIBLE.
    • ACCOUNTABILITY & FOLLOW-UP. With a ‘volunteer’, there isn’t any! “I saw so and so at a party, and I think they might do something.” Even if they make a visit or accompany on a visit, they will not think about following up and assuring their commitment.Professional staff do a memo for the record on every visit. They send a great follow-up letter summarizing the visit and the opportunity. They make a phone call on a specific date to determine the level of commitment and finalize the details with the investor.
    • TRAINING. Most ‘volunteers’ have not been ‘trained’ in how to make this kind of presentation. Many don’t even understand ‘sales’, the sales process, presentation flow and framework. Even for our most incredible champions, very few have the time to become properly knowledgeable about the institution/organization and the investment opportunities available.Professional staff should be well trained. They know as much as they need to know about the organization. They are involved in ongoing professional and personal development. They understand that success is a combination of ATTITUDE and SKILL.
    • PREPARATION. Even with the best of ‘volunteers’ … asking their secretary for directions on the way out the door is their idea of preparing for the call.Professional staff go over the Strategy Checklist, the Presentation Checklist, and have researched and know the basic information for every visit.
    • THE VISIT ITSELF. Most volunteers begin with “How’s your family?” or “How’s your golf game?”, then move to “I got your 3×5 card.” “They want money.” “Do what you can.” When faced with a question, a challenge, or an objection, most volunteers retreat immediately.Great development and For Impact professionals know the Framework and Flow of the visit. They know how to ask questions and listen. They respond to investors’ feelings and react with creativity and flexibility. They deal with challenges and realize that true selling begins after you hear a “No”.

      Special, Special Note: This is not a ‘bash the volunteer‘ list. Rather, it’s an attempt to help you re-think and re-invent the role of your VOLUNTEER LEADERS.

      Volunteer Leaders, Board Members and Current Investors are all a huge part of the TEAM SELLING process. GREAT VOLUNTEER LEADERS and GREAT BOARD MEMBERS are literally worth their weight in gold (and at today’s prices, that’s a big deal!). They should be used before and on and after the VISIT but, they should never be used ALONE!
      *Interesting: The word voluntaries is defined as an ‘organ solo played in church before, during or after a service’.


    For what it’s worth: In the Army, the very first thing we were told was “Don’t VOLUNTEER for anything!” Farmers used the term ‘VOLUNTEER’ to label ‘RANDOM’ stalks of corn that pop up where not expected and not wanted.

    A big part of me wants to challenge almost everything about the way we deal with ‘VOLUNTEERS’.

    • When these people ‘volunteer’… we treat them as ‘volunteers’ (“They’re just volunteers.” “Good people but they don’t have a clue”, etc.)
    • Most volunteers treat themselves as ‘volunteers’. (“This is a nonprofit.” “I’m just a volunteer”, etc.)

    The definition of the word volunteer is “person who undertakes some service of his own free will; offers oneself willingly; or chooses to serve”. This is a good thing! However, I’d love to change our vocabulary. So, unless you’re the University of Tennessee (the Volunteers or the VOLS), you should stop thinking ‘volunteers’ … and start thinking about champions and passionate advocates who want to help you make an IMPACT and want to move from SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE.