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Take A Quantum Leap (Audio)

We’re reposting some of OG’s greatest hits – Here he is with the companion audio to the Campaign Manifesto: Take a Quantum Leap. If you know us well you’ve heard the first 5-10 minutes of intro – Feel free to scoot past!


(Recorded by Tom Suddes)
Right click and save for listening offline.

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The ‘Old Guy’ Riffing on Campaigns, Lesson From the Field, Our Model and more

We’re reposting some of OG’s greatest hits – Here he is riffing on Campaigns, Lessons and the Model. Some great stories “from 30 years in the field” and the beginnings of Be For Impact, Impact Drives Income, Just Ask and more.

Download the audio file (right-click, “save as”)


(Recorded by Tom Suddes)

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Live Like O.G.: A Note on Tom’s Health

 

Nick and I wanted to share with our For Impact Community an update on Tom’s health. Tom was diagnosed with ALS in May of 2014. Those familiar with this disease know that it is progressive and degenerative, attacking nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Tom is not able to use his voice and body in the way that we are all familiar with – jumping on podiums or doing 1,000s of push ups with the boxers at Notre Dame – but his spirits are good!

Our Founder & Chief Spirit Officer – affectionately known as O.G. (The Old Guy) – is no longer able to be involved in the day to day operation of the For Impact mission, but he continues to challenge us, support us, and inspire us.

I search for meaning in all of this (often) and take comfort in knowing that ALS does not define my dad’s life. To “Live Like O.G.” is an aspiration and a reminder for us all:

O.G. thinks anything is possible.
O.G. lives life fully. Every day.
O.G. is generous – with his spirit, his time, his energy, his resources, his counsel, his adventurousness – beyond any person I have ever met.
O.G. invests more in experiences and people than material possessions.
In O.G.’s world, there are no problems. Only solutions.
The word “no” is not in O.G.’s vocabulary.
He (along with my mom) is supportive, encouraging, down to earth, creative and fun.

O.G.’s positivity is infectious and he embodies every motivational phrase he’s ever said or written:

Life’s a Journey. Enjoy the Present. Make a Life, Not A Living.
Wealth is an Abundance of Things we Value. You can’t take it with you.
Say yes! Focus on your strengths. Live to Give. Give to Live.
Don’t wait. There is no such thing as the “perfect” time to start something.
Be the Change. Live. Love. Laugh. Learn. Leave a Legacy.

Tom has been a Champion for the For Impact Sector for over 40 years. He has devoted his life to motivating and coaching thousands of Development Professionals. Along the way, he has helped to transform the language and attitude of GIVING. We have begun to reflect his living legacy here at forimpact.org. You’ll notice some big changes in the next month, including the most comprehensive For Impact Learning Library to date.

Share your O.G. Story

Recently, Tom was honored by the University of Notre Dame, where he has been the Boxing Coach since the mid 1970s. Hundreds of the men and women he has coached showed up to sit with him and share their stories of how he has impacted their lives. (Read more here: Longtime Notre Dame boxing coach, ref honored)

If you are one of the many that Tom has inspired, now is your chance to let him know.

Take a few minutes and tell us how Tom/O.G./Coach has influenced you using one of these themes (or a theme of your own):

#LiveLikeOG
#GiveLikeOG
#BeForImpact
#OGMadeMeDoIt

Send your stories to wow@forimpact.org and (with permission) we will share at FI.org in the coming weeks and months. Include your name and address and we’ll send you some “Live Like O.G.” swag.

Thank you for reading. Tom, Nick, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Note: “Live Like OG” t-shirts are available. All designs can be tweaked to your liking by choosing ‘change style.’

https://vimeo.com/157037710

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Number of Asks: The ONE Lever

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explores the formation of organizational habits. (You can read this quick summary by BusinessWeek.) One case study examines Alcoa’s remarkable business turn-around in the 80’s/90’s. CEO Paul O’Neill focused the cultural energy (and habits) around safety–more specifically, around the number of safety violations.

We call this the ONE LEVER. Meaning, to maximize team cohesion and culture change you need to focus energy on ONE LEVER at a time to create organizational change.

What will that lever be? Be specific. Be clear.

The Orlando Magic focus on ‘butts in seats’.
FedEx focuses on number of packages that don’t arrive when promised (aiming for zero).

Just about everyone reading this is seeking some form or another of improved funding results.

Call it a culture of philanthropy.
Call it a sales culture.
Call it greater revenue for impact.
Call it funding the vision.

When you’re bringing your team along there is so much ‘other stuff’ that can obscure progress. Events, predisposition activities, reporting, deadlines, board meetings.

As it relates to INCOME DEVELOPMENT the ONE LEVER is – in most every case – the NUMBER OF ASKS.

This is what we emphasize, design-around, message, measure, reinforce.

Obviously a funding goal is pretty important. However that is a RESULT of this measurable activity. Similarly, Alcoa’s leap in quality (and then profits) was a RESULT of increased safety.

One lever: Number of Asks. Preach it. Measure it. It will be transformational. I promise.

Note: It’s not uncommon to see an organization (of any size) with fewer than 10 real-asks per quarter. In fact, it’s a safe bet that by our definition most are at ZERO.

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What Does An ‘Ask’ Look Like? A Checklist.

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.

In the For Impact world A REAL ASK satisfies this checklist:

  • We were WITH a prospect – physically.
    See Just Visit. There are exceptions to this but 19 times out of 20 the ask is done in person so that there is engagement and dialogue.
  • We asked the prospect for specific help with a specific project, program or level of support.
    In doing so the dollar figure was clear. Example: “John, we need your help, would it be possible for you to underwrite this project for $20,000?”It wasn’t open-ended, we didn’t ask, “Could you give whatever you can give?”

    Also, in being specific, the funding rationale wasn’t for ‘unrestricted’ or ‘operations’ – those aren’t specific. (See: Have a Funding Rationale)

  • The ask was a dialogue – a back and forth with questions and listening — so that we could ensure that we were maximizing the relationship at this given moment.
    Read: The Ask as a Dialogue to help with this concept.
  • We will expect a YES or a NO – and will follow-up accordingly.
    Thinking about how to get to a YES or NO ensures you have covered appropriate mechanics and you can continue within a sales process. Otherwise, there is a risk of pending into oblivion or unclear follow-up.

Without the definition provided by this checklist we often find:

  • A visit is scored as an ask.
  • There is no real ask – but rather a suggestion that it would be great to have the prospect’s help.
  • Some psychological shift whereby the salesperson only asks AFTER the prospect says he or she would like to make a gift. That’s not an ask. The relationship certainly wasn’t maximized and it’s an incredibly low return-on-energy methodology.
  • The salesperson raises money without asking. This is similar to point above. To be clear, just showing up DOES yield funding – this is our point behind JUST VISIT!But, in terms of measurement this is harder to spot (and therefore coach around), and usually shows up because a sales person will report the following:
    • 25 visits
    • 20 asks
    • 3 commits
    • 0 declines

    If you follow this ask checklist, you SHOULD get a ‘no’ from time-to-time.

  • There was a request for help, but there was no funding rationale or dialogue. We see this with a lot of organizations that ARE raising money. They’re out visiting, they’re asking the prospect to help but they’re not maximizing the relationship. (Not the worst problem in the world – but usually leaving tons of money on the table).

Some reminders:

  • We’re pushing for everyone to be more assertive. That doesn’t mean you always have to ask for funding on the first visit. There are certainly many times where it’s a discovery or predisposition visit (but never 4-5 ‘cultivation’ visits before we ask).
  • Kerry was with a client last week and they visited with a high capacity prospect for a first time discovery visit. There was no ask, however Kerry did ask for permission to make the ask. She closed the visit by saying to the prospect, “Today we wanted to share the vision and see if we could get you on board with our story. As we move along would it be okay to talk to you about supporting that vision?”
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Change Agents Almost Always Under Communicate the Vision

As a leader the vision makes the most sense to you because it lives in your head.  You probably have the most complete view of the operation, you spend the most time thinking about the vision, and feel like you’re constantly communicating that vision.

And yet, that vision is likely under communicated! Here is a great excerpt from Adam Grant’s Originals about how change agents under communicate their vision:

“When Harvard professor John Kotter studied change agents years ago, he found that they typically under communicated their visions by a factor of ten. On average, they spoke about the direction of the change ten times less often than their stakeholders needed to hear it. In one three-month period, employees might be exposed to 2.3 million words and numbers. On average during that period, the vision for change was expressed in only 13,400 words and numbers: a 30-minute speech, an hour-long meeting, a briefing, and a memo. Since more than 99 percent of the communication that employees encounter during those three months does not concern the vision, how can they be expected to understand it, let alone internalize it? The change agents don’t realize this, because they’re up to their ears in information about their vision.”

The vision for you is a full-length motion picture in which you’re the writer, producer, director — surely worth millions of words.  But likely, for the rest of your team, the vision is a word-cloud they heard on Tuesday.

In a nutshell: The vision can’t be over-communicated!

 

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Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.

 

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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A Sale Happens On Every Visit

Zig Ziglar, one of the greatest sales trainers of all time, said that a sale is made on every visit. Either you sell the prospect on all the reasons why s/he should buy or s/he sells you on all the reasons why s/he should not.  Period. 

My contention is that if you don’t decide to be one side of that either/or then you will almost always let the sale happen TO YOU. You will almost always be sold on reasons why the person cannot give what you had hoped for or what you need to deliver on the plan.

Remember: Hope is not a strategy.

So, decide. Don’t hope.

Years ago, when Tiger Woods was in his prime, he remarked that he does not putt the ball until he has decided it will go in the hole – Until he has that level of certainty, confidence and visualization.

This is the level of conviction you need to bring to every VISIT.

Of course, every putt does not fall and every ‘ask’ does not close.  But, you can’t go into a visit ‘hoping’.  You need to decide the commitment is a foregone conclusion.

As a mentee of Tom Suddes’ for years, I watched and learned the hard work that went into making a great case. Tom would not go into make a visit or presentation until he was able to wrap his mind around the emotion + logic of the case so completely that he thought, “Why would someone NOT make this investment?”

There is an old sales maxim: I am sold myself.  Certainly you don’t visit until YOU are sold.  That work is upon us as sales people to own that conviction.  It’s not up to a manager or a CEO.  It is OUR responsibility to do the work to be totally sold. 

I don’t want to hide this from you – Arriving at that level of conviction, preparation and DECISION is hard work.

For those that still have an aversion to the word ‘sales’ – Get over it.  This isn’t about used cars. It’s about making your case and engaging in such a compelling way that people understand what it will take to save lives, change lives and impact lives. This makes Zig’s challenge perhaps MORE important in the world of philanthropy.

We live in a great world. People are generous. You are doing good work.  

I believe 80% of the time gifts are not maximized because a generous person said he or she would commit $10K and we did not sell them on the true need (e.g. $100K) to deliver the impact. Instead, we were sold on all the reasons why they could not make the larger commitment.

 

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Start Selling Your Impact

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Commit to SHARING THE STORY and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY!

STOP ASKING FOR MONEY.

Money is merely ‘worthless wampum’! No one likes asking their friends, much less strangers, for money. (The rare volunteer who really loves doing this should be treasured as a true gift, psychoanalyzed, and then cloned.)

Your conversations are not about asking for money. They are about changing the world. (Of course it requires resources to do that.)

START SELLING YOUR IMPACT!

PRESENT the OPPORTUNITY…

To help with your cause and your case.
To move from success to significance.
To make an impact and change the world.

Special Note: Ask any Board Member (or, for that matter, any of your staff) if they’d rather ‘Ask for Money’ or ‘Present Opportunities’ (to make an Impact.) You already know the answer.

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Stop Cultivating and Start Communicating

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Commit to SHARING THE STORY and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY!

 

Why do we cultivate people?

As Tom always reminds me, “Cultivation is that thing you do with plants and manure.”

We really, truly don’t understand ‘cultivation.’ We are in the business of saving, changing, and impacting lives. If you can help people understand your impact and they want to help then they don’t need cultivation -They need to be asked!

Here’s a simple story to emphasize the point. Imagine that you and your prospect were walking around a lake and came upon a drowning child. What would that prospect do? It’s likely she would jump in, fully clothed, committed to saving the life of the child. And so would you. Try to imagine this same scenario where you would first try to spend years getting this person interested in saving children (read: cultivation.)

So, if you’re actually saving or changing lives then you can’t really argue that cultivation is needed. The issue at hand is much more about communication. That is, how you communicate your impact in such a way that is clear, concise and compelling. So clear, in fact, the prospect jumps on board (read: into the lake) to make a major investment in your impact.

If you can communicate the impact, the income will follow. If you can communicate the impact, you can ask for any amount of money on the first (sometimes second) visit. The challenge, again, is that we struggle with our message. Or, we might even have the message, but we’re not out visiting with people, one-on-one, to share the message and present the opportunity for them to help (or save the child.)

Your job is to communicate the impact, not spread manure. It’s blunt but we want to motivate you to action with this idea. You’re doing great things – so present the opportunity for someone to help now.

P.S. If you think this example is too simplistic or unrealistic, please know that this same example is what set into motion the greatest philanthropist of our era – We’ve altered the lake example somewhat but borrowed it from noted philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer who wrote an amazing article in the New York Times, “What Should a Billionaire Give – and What Should You?” In that article he also explains Bill Gates’ moment of clarity around impact that moved him to action.

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Take Massive Action

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!

A ‘Campaign’ is all about ACTION. The literal translation or definition of a ‘Campaign’ probably has its provenance with Napoleon and War. As any great general or military leader will tell you, success in war is about MASSIVE ACTION – NOW.

We’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of organizations screw around for years trying to figure out what to do, when to do it, where to hold the kickoff, etc. There are great organizations out there who, right now, are still debating the “impact of the economy and the recession,” or “somebody else has kicked off a campaign in our community” or “our donors are tired and maybe we should wait” and on and on. UGH!

CHALLENGE FOR THE DAY: What are the 3 ‘MASSIVE ACTIONS’ that you could take RIGHT NOW that would cause an EXPLOSIVE EXPONENTIAL JUMP or a QUANTUM LEAP for your organization?

WRITE THEM DOWN.

Then, GO DO ‘EM.

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