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The Funding Role of the Board: Champion, Invite, Invest

Every single Board that we have worked with, without exception, has a very fuzzy and ill-defined ROLE for their Board vis-à-vis INCOME.

One of the very best Executive Directors I’ve ever worked with actually told me that her Board’s ‘funding strategy’ was to buy LOTTERY TICKETS! It would be funny . . . if it wasn’t true.

Here’s what the ROLE of the Board should be in an IMPACT -> INCOME culture:

  • CHAMPION… the CAUSE and the CASE.
  • INVITE… others to get INVOLVED and ENGAGED.
  • INVEST… with a COMMENSURATE COMMITMENT (to help FUND THE VISION).

Specific Board Members are also a critical part of your SALES TEAM! They can help get the visit, predispose the visit, possibly join you on the visit, and definitely help follow-up after the visit.

Some thoughts to help you and your Board better understand these 3 big words.

  • CHAMPION. The power of this word is that everyone can and should know what it means to CHAMPION your organization, your CAUSE, and your CASE. When you present these 3 roles to your Board, if there are any Board Members who are reluctant to CHAMPION your organization, they need to be removed immediately. (Call security and have them escorted from the building.)
  • INVITE. Your Board Members and Champions need the opportunity to INVITE others to become INVOLVED and ENGAGED in your Impact. Just imagine if you went to your Board and said, “We do not want you asking people for money! We need you to INVITE a qualified prospect to a tour or memorable experience.” This is 100 times better than asking them for names!

    One of the best ways we’ve found to execute on this role is with specific membership opportunities. Let them INVITE prospects to join the President’s Circle or a Legacy Society. Then they get MEMBERS… not MONEY!

  • INVEST. The ‘COMMENSURATE’ word changes everything! Every single Board Member/Champion should make an investment (in time, energy, money) that is COMMENSURATE with their relationship, capacity, and involvement with your organization.

Special Note: ‘INVEST’ has nothing to do with Board Members ‘giving or getting $10,000’. Nothing to do with ‘time, treasure and talents’ from the 1950’s.

A $250 gift from one Board Member could be both commensurate and sacrificial. A $1 Million gift from another Board Member could be neither commensurate or anywhere near a sacrifice.

This COMMENSURATE strategy allows you to take a Board Member who is a $10,000 (commensurate) investor on a visit to present the opportunity to a $1 Million investor.

We realize (from a lot of comments and feedback from our For Impact audience) that many Board Members have been told very specifically that they did not have to give money to be on the Board. We still strongly believe that you should have this discussion with your Board around their ROLE, including the ‘INVEST with a COMMENSURATE COMMITMENT’ point.

Why? Because it’s all about the IMPACT. If they believe (CHAMPION), they should both INVITE and INVEST.

The following is a direct quote from a ‘feasibility study’ conducted by a very old and well-respected consulting firm (with our caps):

The Board must feel charged with the BURDEN of the fundraising campaign‘s success.

Trustees are expected to give SACRIFICIALLY.

BURDEN. SACRIFICE. Is it no wonder that your Board Members are not enthusiastically and passionately engaged in your fundraising and your campaigns?

Read more about The Role of the Board in our Guidebook: On Boards.

Celebrate your Birth DATE!

Today is our Founder, C.S.O. (Chief Spirit Officer), and resident Old Guy’s birthday!

For 40 years (or more) Tom has encouraged every young person, old person, fundraising professional, social entrepreneur, etc., that he has come across to adopt one very effective habit for success and life balance. Tom uses his birth date (the 19th of every month) as a reminder to get some solo time – write goals, reflect on goals, celebrate – just take that one day a month to focus on yourself and you will be more effective in all areas of life.

In his honor, were are sharing some of Tom’s most inspirational words about why you should celebrate your Birthday and your Birth Date! Share this idea on social media and (1) tell us how you celebrate your birth date and (2) leave a birthday message for Tom.

Here’s a great goal/challenge: Make your BIRTH DATE a special day for YOU!

  • Do something solo. (Breakfast or coffee shop, with a journal or a book. A motorcycle or bike ride. A yoga class. Something… Alone.)
  • Then, do something special with those you love. (Spend a little time with the g-kids. Catch up with a sib or a child away from home. Have lunch with the ‘girls’ or a beverage with the ‘boys’.)
  • Do some serious journaling.
  • Do a monthly review of your goals (lifetime, this year, upcoming 90 days, etc.) and to set an Action Plan for next 30 days.
  • Take your BIRTH DATE ‘off’ – Whatever that means to you. Yes, most people will laugh or scoff at this suggestion, but if you can’t set aside even one day for yourself, once a month… things are pretty screwed up. (Note: If you can’t take your Birth Date ‘off’, surely you can take your actual BIRTHDAY off!)

Big Idea: Spend one on one time with your kids on their Birthdays! When my 5 kids were growing up, we would do special Birthday Breakfasts where we would write down goals, best friends, favorite books and movies, etc. I still have all of their thoughts captured in a special ‘Green Book’. It’s great to look back at ‘goals‘ from a 5 or 10 or 17 year old.

Note: You’re seeing a special sneak peek of our very own For Impact Font, ‘OG’, on the napkin above. Our phenomenal designer, Matt, has painstakingly scanned and cleaned up an entire alphabet, taken from Tom’s actual journals over the past 40 years. We’ll be rolling this font out in the coming months but wanted to share our excitement with a preview for our Tribe!
 

The Entrepreneur’s Mantra: Think Big, Build Simple, Act Now

For Impact is a team of entrepreneurs. I sold my first company at the age of 20. Tom, a serial entrepreneur, has founded 19 different companies. Just about everyone else has experience in starting or building companies and scaling ideas.

What brings our team together is this experience plus a common passion to use this DNA for Impact. (And, there we have a nice little reference to our raison d’être.) Extracting this DNA — then putting it into words — it reads:

 

This mantra is so important to us, that we’ve also made it one of our 9 Guiding Principles.

THINK BIG.

  • Think Big with your VISION. How are you changing the world or your world?
  • Think Big with your ASKS. You can’t get $1M if you can’t communicate what you would do with $1M!
  • Think at a higher level. Get up out of the weeds and see the problem, opportunity, team and solution at 30,000’!

BUILD SIMPLE.

  • Get your MESSAGE on a napkin!
  • Simplify what you do using the Rule of 3.
  • Focus on 10 prospects who could TRANSFORM your funding … and TRANSFORM your organization.
  • ONLY do that which is productive in your funding plan (Stop doing special events that aren’t special and that don’t raise money.)

ACT NOW.

  • Stamp DRAFT on everything and go visit!
  • No committees. “Engage, then plan!”
  • Just Visit. Just ASK. Ten steps forward and two steps back is still eight steps forward.

Tom brings a more powerful voice to the ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT. Not only has he done the 19 companies, but he’s traveled the world visiting with and mentoring social entrepreneurs. Here is a one-pager on TB/BS/AN from Tom.

The Altitude Framework

The For Impact ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK is one of our most referenced and utilized tools (by our team, our coaches and our clients) – TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF THEIR GAME!

We use Altitude to order thinking, communications, and storylines. We use it to develop Engagement Tools. And, we use it to think through the Flow of a Visit.

The Altitude Framework works great for Presentations, Agendas, Meetings, Speaking, Strategic Plans and Action Plans.

It’s also a great Framework to respond to questions. “At what altitude is the best or most appropriate response?” And, it’s a powerful coaching model. “Let’s talk about this issue at this particular altitude.”

We have color coded our Altitude Framework (Blue, Red, Green) to lay out our content, our guides and our books. And, it allows us to talk shorthand and reach decisions ten times faster than a normal process.

One of the reasons that this framing device has been so popular is its obvious simplicity. Everyone can understand the hierarchy of WHY, WHAT and HOW and they intuitively get the connection between VISION, STRATEGY and EXECUTION. Following are some ways to help you understand and apply ALTITUDE. (more…)

Triple Net

I learned about the TRIPLE NET concept during my days as a real estate broker and playing real-life ‘monopoly’ purchasing houses and commercial buildings.

In simple terms, the real Triple Net lease means that the tenant is responsible for all of the costs relating to the asset being leased. Usually this means that in addition to the rent, the tenant is required to pay for real estate taxes, insurance, and property maintenance.

In the For Impact world, I use this Triple-Net concept to explain the true value of any fundraising activity.

For example, everyone talks about how much money they generated at their (not) special event. “We sold ‘x’ tables/tickets, etc.” The number stated is almost always revenue.

  • Net Revenue would be total money generated minus actual cost of the event (food, etc.)
  • Net, Net Revenue would then subtract the cost of labor/staff who worked on the event (often two or three people for six months or a year).
  • Triple Net would then also deduct the cost of volunteer time and energy.

Note: Depending on how you want to play this game, there could be one more net, which would be the opportunity cost if staff or volunteers have been working on major gifts or top prospects.

Many smaller events that generate $5,000 or $10,000 in (single) net (revenue minus actual cost) end up having 1,000 women/man hours of volunteer time which comes out to $5 or $10 an hour. Ugh!

Try the Triple-Net math with your fundraising activities:

Is the Net-Net-Net really worth the effort?

Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?

 

I absolutely love catchphrases. When used as part of our language and culture, they become a great ‘shorthand’ to make a point or to provide direction.

You will notice these catchphrases throughout the For Impact thinking and writing:

Shoulder-to-shoulder. Right people on the bus. Don’t make decisions for your prospects. Hope is not a strategy. Think … and grow rich. (Even) Just Ask.

I came across this great catchphrase/book/YouTube hit recently:

WILL IT MAKE THE BOAT GO FASTER?

Simple backstory: Ben Hunt-Davis wrote a book capturing Great Britain’s almost- miraculous win at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. (Here’s a great six-minute clip of the race.)

Hunt-Davis now gives talks all around Europe about how their crew could have kept doing the ‘same old thing’, and continue to come in well behind all the other international crews.

They came up with a simple mantra/question: WILL IT MAKE THE BOAT GO FASTER?

For them, that applied to everything they did. For example:

If we spent an extra hour on the rowing machine … will it make the boat go faster? Obvious answer: Yes.

If we go to the pub tonight … will it make the boat go faster?
Obvious answer: No.

I don’t want you to overthink this. The beauty of a catchphrase is in its simplicity.

You can decide whatever your ‘boat’ is. (A goal, a project, revenue/income, whatever.)

Then, decide on what ‘faster’ equates to. (More successful, etc.)

Then, simply ask yourself every day:

WILL IT MAKE OUR (BOAT) GO (FASTER)?

Return on Energy (R.O.E.)

Earlier this week we reminded you of our thoughts on a VOCABULARY CHANGE for the sector. Two big shifts are from ‘donor’ and ‘donation’ to ‘investor’ and ‘investment.’

And, obviously, you would know what every INVESTOR wants from their investment: A RETURN (ROI).

As a For Impact Leader or Social Entrepreneur, you know that you can DELIVER on that RETURN with your Impact, giving your prospects the chance to save and change lives.

There is another return that we use quite often that seems to really grab people’s attention:
 

RETURN ON ENERGY

 
What (exactly) is your RETURN on ENERGY? (In this case, ‘ENERGY’ means both physical and mental TIME and FOCUS.)

Is the end result worth the ENERGY?

Are you working on your Top 3% or still expending a lot of (wasted) ENERGY at the bottom?

This seems to be especially big for organizations trapped in a transaction-based system of special events (life-sucking, volunteer-draining) with often and incredibly low RETURN ON ENERGY:
 

 
If that describes your organization, then think about this rhetorical question:

What would happen if you did away with one event?

And then, you focused all that energy (time, urgency, people, resources) on building a great relationship with one or two prospects who could invest $1Million in your vision?

 

 

Remember:

Special Events As Fundraisers: They’re not special and they raise minimum net dollars for your impact.

Major Gifts: Raise the most money at the least cost.

97/3: 97% of the money/investments comes from 3% of your family: focus on the 3%.

2:1 Rule for Deliberate Dialogue

I was recently coaching a brilliant scientist. She is world-renowned for her research and was having no problem getting visits. I joined her on a visit.

Despite our plan, she spoke for 20 solid minutes before giving the prospect a chance to engage in some form of dialogue.

Everything she said was good. The only challenge is that it was shutting out the other person. We were – most certainly – skipping right past a host of connections.

On every visit, the prospects were wow’d but not maximized.

To change this, we started to focus on the practice of creating DELIBERATE DIALOGUE.

Deliberate dialogue is the act of intentionally
stopping to create dialogue.

For my scientist friend, we had to be even more specific. The coaching was this:

For every two minutes of ‘presenting’, you should STOP and ask a quick question.

We called this the 2:1 RULE using DELIBERATE DIALOGUE.

This is about INTENTIONALITY!!!

Some people do this very effectively:

I’ve been talking for a few minutes so I want to stop and then see if this is making sense.

Or simply: Does this make sense?

Or, you can set it up: I will talk for a few minutes and pause to see if we’re tracking.

It doesn’t have to be scripted. Most of the time the ‘talker’ just needs to stop long enough for the other person to jump in.

If you’re struggling to ENGAGE with someone else, or
If YOU end up doing all the talking,
be DELIBERATE in creating dialogue.

The benefits are numerous:

  • If you’ve lost them, then it’s not by much.
  • If there is an on-ramp for the other person, it lets him or her catch it.
  • You can listen when the other person is talking.
  • When we talk, we become fully engaged. (So let the other person talk.)
  • Feedback. Simple.

For the scientist, it was a game-changer.

Note: We’re in the midst of 33 days of our ‘best of’ For Impact Ideas on a Napkin. Check the blog daily for some great reminders.

97/3: Focus on the Top!

97% of all your INCOME (SALES/REVENUE) will come from

3% of your PROSPECTS (Portfolio/Community/Family).

This is a fact. Don’t fight it. Deal with it.

97/3 just reinforces the need to find your BEST and most QUALIFIED prospects!

The whole ‘80/20’, Pareto the Italian Economist thing is soooooo 1980. (Actually, it was in the 18-somethings.)

A quick parable/metaphor to reinforce this concept.

Lions, Mice, and Antelope.
A lion can hunt, capture, kill, and eat a field mouse. But the ENERGY expended is greater than the caloric content of the mouse. If a lion spent her whole day hunting and eating field mice, she would slowly starve to death!

A lion cannot live on mice. Lions need antelope. Antelope are BIG. Antelope take more planning, persistence, speed, and strength to capture and kill. But, once killed, they provide a huge feast for a lion and her pride.

A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. She will die ‘chasing mice.’

BIG IDEA: The Master Prospect List (MPL)

 

The MPL is one of the biggest ideas in our sales and prospecting process. It’s a system of:

rating and ranking,
your best and most Qualified Prospects,
in descending order of importance.

PRIORITIZATION is the centerpiece of our prospect system: the MPL is not a random group of names nor an alphabetical list!

The MPL ranks ALL of your prospects, not just ‘individuals’.

Here are 3 ways to execute:

  • RATE & RANK Your Prospects. (MPL)
  • Assign a RELATIONSHIP MANAGER. (Portfolio)
  • Identify NATURAL PARTNERS. (Visits)

Change Your Vocabulary

Tom Peters says, WORDS ARE IMPORTANT.

Jim Collins says,

“We need a NEW LANGUAGE. The critical distinction is not between business and social, but between GREAT and GOOD. (We need to) jointly embrace a LANGUAGE OF GREATNESS.”

And, I say, CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY!

 
 

I believe that if you CHANGE the way you TALK…

you can CHANGE the way you ACT!

 

It’s not just a personal belief: there is compelling science around the psychology of CHANGE that includes tremendous work on this whole idea of NEUROLINGUISTICS and how we FRAME things. Pioneering researchers on cognitive science and linguistics have pointed to the paramount importance of something called ‘FRAMING’.

George Lakoff, Professor at University of California Berkeley, defines ‘FRAMES’ as the mental structures that shape the way we see the world. He says that ‘FRAMES’ are part of our “cognitive unconscious;” but the way that we know our current frames or new frames springs from LANGUAGE.

I want to strongly encourage you to CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY. CHANGE the way you TALK …To dramatically CHANGE the way you ACT.

My hope is that the following OLD WORDS/NEW WORDS will help you ‘TALK THE WALK’… to make it easier to ‘WALK THE TALK!

(more…)

Just Ask

Just Ask is the ACTION part of the For Impact Point of View.

Through The Suddes Group, we’ve raised a $1B. A big reason for this – WE ASKED.

 

 

This napkin has just two words. Please note that it does not say:

Ask…
…when timing is perfect.

…when you know exactly what to ask for.

…after you’ve visited with the prospect nine times.

…when you’re entire board is on board.

…when those butterflies in your stomach are finally gone.

…when you have the perfect message.

…when you have the perfect materials.

It says, Just Ask!

Timing will never be perfect.

The only way you’ll know what to ask for is by asking (and getting a response).

Cultivation is for people who can’t communicate. You are in the business of saving, changing, and impacting lives; if you’re with someone who wants to do just that, you can ask on the first visit.

I still feel like I want to puke before a big ask.

The only way to truly test a message is to ask.

You don’t need perfect materials – You need a tool to help you engage in a conversation.

Just Ask is all about action.

It’s permission to move. Nothing happens until you ask!

Until you ask, (one-on-one) the message is not personal.

Until you ask, people don’t know how they can help.

Until you ask, the prospect doesn’t guide you through what else is needed (from the you, from the org or from the plan) to make a commitment.

Until you ask, a prospect can’t say YES!

Just Ask!
Always Ask.
This is 90% of everything you need to know about raising money.