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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…)

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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?
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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)?
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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%.

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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.

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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)
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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…)

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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.
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Be For Impact

BE FOR IMPACT is a 50,000’ conversation, an imperative, and a challenge.

Finding PURPOSE is a journey. BEING FOR IMPACT is a decision.

We have learned that you either get BE FOR IMPACT right away or you don’t. If you do, I hope the following helps you decide to ACT on this challenge:

BE FOR IMPACT is the ‘other Golden Rule’. You can think about BEING FOR IMPACT in the same way that you think about ‘DO UNTO OTHERS’.

BE FOR IMPACT is all about the WHY. (Why do we exist? To have an impact. To leave a legacy. Why do we get up in the morning? Why do we go to work? Why, why, why?)

BE FOR IMPACT is the holy grail, so to speak, of organizations, businesses and people. Any truly great or successful company or Third Sector organization is driven by their IMPACT.

BE FOR IMPACT, again, is a conscious decision, an intent. It’s a commitment that just takes a moment to make and a lifetime to deliver.

BE FOR IMPACT is timeless. Andrew Carnegie. Napoleon Hill. Earl Nightingale. Og Mandino. Rick Warren. And I’m sure somewhere Aristotle and Plato, using some Greek words, laid out the idea of IMPACT.

BE FOR IMPACT is about a legacy. The people who have left the largest legacies have always had the greatest impact. (They’re not the ones who left the most money.)

*THE DASH. My good friend and brilliant thinker, Jim Mahoney, is founder and president of Battelle for Kids. Jim says the DASH is your impact. On your tombstone, the DASH between the year you were born and the year you died symbolizes your IMPACT/ LEGACY. You have the opportunity to write/define your DASH. (I call this your EIA, your Eulogy In Advance.)

BE FOR IMPACT is about value and service and purpose and meaning. Oprah Winfrey recently delivered a commencement speech to Harvard graduates with this message:

After interviewing over 35,000 people, there is a universal truth: Every one of those people craved affirmation.

In her words, it was always, “How did I do?” It doesn’t take much to change that to “Did what I do matter?” “Did it make a difference?” “Have I had an impact?”

BE FOR IMPACT can also be a job description! Every organization is looking for people who want to wake up in the morning and have an impact. Provide value.

*What if this was part of the Ideal Profile you were seeking to any important role in your company, your organization or your team. “Do you want to have an IMPACT?” “What kind of IMPACT do you want to have?”

BE FOR IMPACT would seem to be a huge part of the ‘work-life balance’ conundrum. Certainly, the question of IMPACT transcends work, career, and money. It represents IMPACT on your family, your friends, your community and much more.

In Closing:

BE FOR IMPACT is the way you can change THE world or change YOUR world. It’s a great way to “make a dent in the universe” as Steve Jobs used to say. Gandhi added, “BE the change you want to see in the world.”

We are human BEings, not human DOing.

In 1623, Billy Shakespeare wrote the opening soliloquy in Hamlet, questioning the whole meaning of life. “To BE or not to BE … that is the question.”

In the 21st century, that might be asked in a different way. “To BE FOR IMPACT or not to BE FOR IMPACT … that is the question.”

Only you can answer it.

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No More Not-For-Profit

Why do we define ourselves in the negative? It makes no sense.

Does your organization exist to not make any money?

Or, does it exist to save lives, change lives and impact lives?

Anyone who has barely even touched the surface of our For Impact thinking knows that right under our Controlling Insight of IMPACT drives INCOME (not the other way around) is the idea that this is NOT about not-for-profit, 501c3, tax-exempt, charity, etc.

We are the only industry/sector which defines itself in the NEGATIVE! (It is the equivalent of Starbucks calling themselves a ‘Not-tea’ company or Southwest saying “We’re in the ‘not-train’ business.”)

Stop defining yourself by what you’re not.

Start defining yourself by what you are for: IMPACT.
 

More than a shift in language we need a different way of being.

This shift is about attitude. It’s about your purpose (the WHY). It’s about re-thinking an entire sector (or two).

In 1950, Earl Nightingale wrote The Strangest Secret. The secret (common to many beliefs, all sectors, and all definitions of success): We become what we think about.

What becomes of us when our entire thinking is about ‘nonprofit’?
What if we think, instead, about changing the world?

 

The For Impact Movement

We’ve been sharing this message for the last 15 years and living it for longer than that. The past few years has given rise to an incredible conversation around this VOCABULARY and CHANGE.
 

Think not and be not about:

Charity, 501c3.

Tin Cups or Begging.

Not-for-profit OR for-profit.

Think about and be about:

An organization that is Changing the World.

Selling your Vision.

For Impact!

 

Note: Here is some great thinking from Peter Drucker:

Every organization has to abandon almost everything it does.

No ‘some’ orgs… need to ‘tweak’… some ‘things.’ What if you abandoned:

Direct mail. Lengthy Case Statements. Feasibility Studies. Volunteer Solicitations. Survival Pitches. Small thinking. Cultivation. Special events (that aren’t special and don’t raise money). Letters that read “We are a 501(c)3” (who cares?). Committee Reports. Etc.
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Impact Drives Income. (Not the Other Way Around.)

Putting an ‘idea on the back of a napkin’ is pretty important to us. The ‘napkin’ is the most powerful device or metaphor for SIMPLICITY that we’ve come across.

That old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true, and in this case, the visual represents everything we have learned and believe after 30 years in the field.

 

 

Our entire MESSAGE and POINT OF VIEW can be summarized with these 3 color-coded words: IMPACT DRIVES INCOME. Even simpler: 2 words and an arrow on a napkin!!

The implications of this idea are everything to us.

It is not about fundraising, development, soliciting people for money, or anything else you do under the guise of raising money. Instead:

Impact Demands, Drives, Determines Income.

The SIZE and SCOPE of your Impact Determines the SIZE and SCOPE of your INCOME. (Not the other way around.)

It’s ALL about your IMPACT. How are your saving, changing or impacting lives?

If you can convey your VISION, IMPACT or PURPOSE and do so CLEARLY, CONCISELY, COMPELLINGLY…

To someone who wants to do just that…
Then, YOU GET MORE MONEY!!!
Then, MORE MONEY EQUALS MORE, GREATER IMPACT.

Little bit of Lion King ‘Circle of Life’ going on here, but whatever it takes to make the point! The more IMPACT you have – the more INCOME you can have – the more IMPACT you will have.

Action: Put these words, this visual, this napkin everywhere:

Share it with your Board.

Begin every staff meeting with it.

Even use it on presentations.

It’s a great REMINDER to start every conversation with WHY you do what you do.

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