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Sales Attitude: How to think about December

“Should we plan on doing fewer visits with prospects this month, because of the holidays?”


“Should we keep pushing because people give at year’s end?”

We get a lot of questions about this every year. Our coaching advice:

Keep working your list. It’s a great time to be engaging (1:1) with your prospects/relationships.

  • If they can’t meet due to the holidays you can setup a time to connect in early January. Better to do that now than to come back to the office and call – at which time everyone would say, “I’m just getting re-oriented from the holidays… let’s wait a few weeks.”

  • Speaking from my own experience, for every person or family that can’t meet now, there is another for whom there will be no better time to meet. Some of my best visits + asks have been in December.

Whatever you do… don’t make excuses for not making visits.



Re-Charge Yourself

People are much like ‘cordless devices’. They need to be continually RE-CHARGED.

*This nugget emanates from a thought in John Maeda’s wonderful book, THE LAWS OF SIMPLICITY.

How are you RE-CHARGING yourself… on a continuous basis?

3 Quick Suggestions. We RE-CHARGE by:

    1. WHAT we READ.
    2. WHO we ‘HANG AROUND’.
    3. WHERE we spend our TIME.

“Renew THYSELF DAILY. Do it again. And again. And forever again.” Thoreau


“Productivity is meaningless unless you know your Goal.”

“PRODUCTIVITY is the act of bringing a company (organization or person) closer to its GOAL.”

“Every ACTION that brings a company (organization or person) closer to its GOAL is PRODUCTIVE.”

“Every ACTION that does NOT bring a company (organization or person) closer to its GOAL is not PRODUCTIVE.”

“What I’m telling you is…

Eliyahu Goldratt is an Israeli physicist who has been described by Fortune magazine as a “guru to industry” and by Business Week as a “genius”.

He wrote a self-published, underground best seller entitled THE GOAL (North River Press, 1984, Revised 1986 and 1992).

This may be one of the best ‘business books’ I’ve ever read. It’s not dense, text-heavy business gobbley gook with charts, tables and Venn diagrams.

It’s actually written as a fiction story. Jonah (the consultant) uses the Socratic method of asking questions of Alex (the manager) to completely turn around a faltering business/ manufacturing plant. (more…)


Wealth Is An Abundance Of Things That We Value

Thanksgiving Week is a great opportunity to spend time (and energy) on yourself and your family. *Very little productive ‘business’ or ‘work’ gets done anyway.

I have (admittedly) recycled some Thanksgiving thoughts from the last few years, and added a few more.

Here are 3 things to think about this Thanksgiving:

    1. “WEALTH IS AN ABUNDANCE OF THINGS THAT WE VALUE.” I love this definition… because I’m truly ‘wealthy‘.
    Try this. Write down a list of all the things that you truly VALUE… and then put a ‘COST’ (an actual dollar figure) next to everything on the list.
    Most people look at their lists and realize that the things they truly VALUE end up COSTING NOTHING! My VALUE LIST is filled with very simple things like family time, adventures with the grandkids, health, friends, all the ‘good stuff’.
    Besides these things that are alive… there is also wonderful value in a great book, a good cup of coffee, nature, the sun, the ocean, the mountains, yoga, physical workouts, etc.
    There’s a great quote on the bottom of a picture from one of my first athletic clubs that said, “Good HEALTH is the greatest WEALTH.” A lot of truth/value in that.
    A gentle reminder: WEALTH, no matter how you define it, should not be ‘A LOT OF MONEY’. Money is worthless wampum.
    ODE magazine had an entire issue around the idea of ‘MONEY’. One of the best lines was a simple statement: “It’s not about MONEY. It’s what you DO with your money!”
    Note: I’m an entrepreneur. I’m all about ‘financial freedom’. I want to be able to take care of my family, travel, live on the farm, and much more. At the same time, money has become a kind of scorecard or measurement with very little relative VALUE to happiness in the grand scheme of life.
    2. “ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.” Almost every book I’ve ever read on personal development has reinforced that ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. My good friend Tim Kight calls this the ‘R’ FACTOR. His brilliant equation is E + R = O.
    Event + Response = Outcome.
    Event does not equal the outcome. It’s our RESPONSE (which is almost always a function of our ATITTUDE) that creates the outcome. We are surrounded by relative comfort and certain freedom. Few of us have to worry about struggling each day to meet our basic needs (which is a daily struggle for most of the people in the world). Many people focus on what they see as a lengthy list of negatives, complaints, faults, cynicism. We need to respond with our antidote of GRATITUDE.
    ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE alters the way we see others and ourselves. It inspires us. It builds and supports lasting relationships.
    Take a moment every day to write or think about the many, many things for which we are most grateful. (Julia Cameron calls them money pages.) Family. Friends. Freedom. Maslov’s Food, Shelter, Clothing. Greatest country in the world. (And when you’re my age, the fact that you’re alive and breathing vs. the alternative.)
    Note: This is also a great way to think about the whole idea of ABUNDANCE MENTALITY.
    3. “THE MORE YOU GIVE THE MORE YOU GET.” I’ve watched thousands of people experience this ‘giving thing‘. While I still don’t understand exactly how it works, I know that the more we do give, the more we get.
    Thanksgiving and the holidays is a terrific opportunity to SHARE with others. You can even take your children and grandchildren as you GIVE of your time or money or material goods to help feed, clothe or shelter the homeless, help the elderly or make some difference in a child or family’s life.

Special Note: Every Thanksgiving, I share these 3 stories that you may want to share with your children or grandchildren or family. One is THE HAPPY PRINCE. Second is the SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, as seen through the eyes of a child. Third is a very powerful parable about giving titled the SEA OF GALILEE.

From all of us at For Impact and The Suddes Group, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. (We’re grateful and appreciative of what you do every day to CHANGE THE WORLD and to MAKE AN IMPACT.)


What a lack of awareness (or a lot of awareness) means to your funding and how to fix it.

We begin each Board Experience by asking each participant to share what he or she perceives to be the biggest funding obstacle. We also ask each person to single out the greatest asset we have to leverage or opportunity to transform funding.

Quite often someone will bring up ‘awareness’ as a challenge.

One person might say, “I think we don’t have enough awareness in the community.. This is our problem. I think we should build awareness?”

Another person might say, “We’re so visible and successful that everything things we don’t need any help. How do we change that?” (Note: I received two of these emails this am.)

Awareness translates into awareness. Not sustained revenue from relationships. We’ve had several clients that have been on Oprah –which, as you might know, equals some awareness. They get a BIG HIT, though this usually comes more in the form of traffic that crashes a website than funding revenues. We’ve also worked with some of the biggest social/nonprofit brands you can think of.

The real (funding) challenge is not awareness. It’s that we’re not making any visits. The jump in revenue comes from making 1:1 visits, sharing your story and presenting the opportunity (read: ASKING around the impact) for someone to make an investment that will change lives, save lives or impact lives.

Lack awareness? Find and visit with the best 10, 20, 30 prospects to share your story (making them aware of the incredible things you’re doing) and presenting the opportunity to help.

Have a lot of awareness? Find and visit with your best 10, 20, 30 prospects to share your story (making them aware of how much more you COULD be doing) and then presenting the opportunity to help.


Kiva on Groupon – Do The Math

I was reluctant to post this. Reluctant because organizations trend to fall back on MORE marketing instead of picking up the phone to schedule a visit.

Just appreciate this one for the creative MATH.

I got a Groupon notice this morning about Kiva. I could “Save $10 on a $25 Microloan Gift or Credit to Help Global Entrepreneurs through

My immediate reaction was to think it was absurd. People should be doing this HELP. Not to save money.

Then I did the math.

  • Groupon only lets you buy ONE credit and it’s only selling 500 credits.

  • On top of that, if you buy the credit (as I did) you have to go to the website and redeem. Not everyone will do this – in which case you’re puchase is converted to a straight up donation.

  • Worst case scenario, Groupon is out $5000 ($10 per credit times 500 purchases).

  • The credits sold out in no time. Groupon just BOUGHT 500 lenders for $5K and a lot of marketing to boot.

That’s pretty great math.


I Never Know What To Ask For Until After I Ask

On Monday led the Washington DC For Impact Experience (think: workshop, but way better).

Most organizations in the room were new to the concept of sitting down with someone and making a 1-on-1 visit and ask (a ‘targeted solicitation’ – as one attendee put it). When you’re new there can be fear of the unknown that translates into reluctance. You’re not sure what to ask for – for one thing.

I never know what to ask for until AFTER I ask. It took many asks – and mentorship from Tom – for me to understand that you’ll never know what to ask for. It will always be unknown — until you ask. Hopefully all of us at For Impact can pass this lesson on to you. This insight was a big epiphany for several attendees just as it was for me.

Sometimes the ask is for too much and sometimes too little but you know this because you asked. While most development officers or executive directors are huddled in their office trying to do more research you can go out and have a REAL conversation… build a REAL relationship and make a REAL ask. Because you’re building a relationship, this will lead to several more requests and investments over the next 3, 6, 9 months and following years…. while other organizations will LITERALLY take YEARS to figure out exactly what to ask for (which will never happen).


The Definition of Social Entrepreneurism


There is a lot of discussion around the definition of Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise.

My favorite is Drucker because, at the highest level, it’s about changing the performance capacity of society.

Here are some other definitions and quotes to help motivate and inspire you as go about changing the world. Print it. Post it. Ponder it. (Then DO SOMETHING!)

Special Note: An entrepreneur is an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur. Jurriaan Kamp, Editor of ODE Magazine, called ‘SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS’ a pleonasm, much like ‘ORGANIC APPLES’. (I had to look it up, too. It means unnecessary repetition.) He goes on to say that ALL entrepreneurs are really SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS. “What other reason could there be to start an enterprise other than to make a useful contribution to society?”

For More


Social Entrepreneurship Revisited

I’ve been working on my ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT collection and found a great article by Paul Light from the Summer 2009 Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Paul Light is a professor at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, author of Search for Social Entrepreneurship and a terrific thinker and researcher in this space.

In this article, he has a very concise overview of Social Entrepreneurship, including some new insights around four assumptions that he initially rejected but now accepts.

    1. Social entrepreneurs are not like other high achievers.
    2. Socially entrepreneurial ideas are big.
    3. Opportunities for grand change come in waves
    4. Socially entrepreneurial organizations are built to change.

Check out this article, which includes some great nuggets around unshakable optimism, grand impacts (!), ultimate impacts (!), social enterprises that are relatively flat and singularly focused on the idea of change, and much more.


Struggle to Success to Significance

Why do I believe that entrepreneurs (with financial capacity) are the very best prospects and potential investors for your For Impact org???

It has to do with the 3rd ‘S’’ word added to Peter Drucker’s great definition of a social movement.

Struggle to Success to Significance.

Drucker coined the Success to Significance part, which in and of itself, is a huge deal.

I added Struggle. Every entrepreneur has faced adversity while tackling opportunity. They’ve struggled to turn ideas into reality… struggled to meet payroll… struggled to generate revenue, sales and growth… struggled to balance life and work… and much more.

This ‘Struggle’, I believe, has left most of them with a very strong sense of gratitude and appreciation. It has created a desire to give back.

That’s why makes these entrepreneurs such great prospects.



3 Sentences

I just received this blog from an amazing young, talented Social Entrepreneur. In her own words, it describes how SIMPLICITY can make a HUGE difference in a presentation.

Upon hearing your presentation at StartingBloc, I prepared a document that describes my start-up in 3 sentences. A simple, concise message explaining the how, what, and why.

Today I had a meeting with a nonprofit lawyer who tore gaping wounds into my business model, revealing all the ways that my start-up is a legal nightmare. I sat in quiet horror, listening to his criticism.

After he finished his diatribe, there was a pause. And I slipped him the paper. Just 3 sentences. He read them. He re-read them. Then he took a deep breath, and agreed to take me on pro-bono!!! This is the top nonprofit lawyer in XXX! Not only is he going to help me incorporate and will develop the documents I need to be legally protected after we launch, but he is also going to use his contacts to expedite the process so that I have 501(c)3 status within 4 weeks!!! And he is going to put me in touch with his friends who run foundations!!! And he will help us get media coverage when we launch!!!

It’s a life-changing development, because otherwise, I’m certain that my organization would go down in legal flames. But now I’m taken care of! Thank you thank you thank you. I know it was the simple message that sold him. :)

Just re-read the last sentence.

Kudos/accolades/applause to M. for actually doing something with an idea for the presentation.


The Unlived Life Is Not Worth Examining

We’ve all read and heard from those ancient Greek guys proclaiming “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

As a modern-day ‘Old Guy’, I think they had it backwards. For me,


You can sit around contemplating your navel… or you can make stuff happen, screw up, succeed, etc.

You can ponder the meaning of life… or you can give life meaning.

Note: Here’s a great quote from a plaque in my workroom given to me by a very close friend:

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming, “WOO HOO, what a ride!”