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In the restaurant business to ’86’ something means NO MORE. They’re out of it.

I heard somewhere that this comes from an old New York City Steakhouse where the most popular steak on the menu was numbered 86… and always ran out.

You need to ’86’ a lot of things right now if you’re going to move forward.

Here’s a quick example of what needs to be 86, no more, abandon, sacred sows turned into hamburger, baggage to be left behind, etc.


Not-for-Profit. Charity. Tax-Exempt. Asking for Money. Fundraising. Mission Statements. Special Events. Volunteer Solicitations. Bored Boards. Trading Dollars. Cash to Endowment. Sustainability. Silos. Appointments. Begging. Traditional Campaigns. Feasibility Studies. Strategic Plans. Building Campaigns. Case Statements. Donors. Donations. Cultivation. Annual Funds. Transactions.

Attached is a great Visual of No More.


100 Beautiful New Projects Every Year

“Foundations always want to support a new program. We don’t have anything new so we are now getting denied.”

This thought was shared with me by the founder of a Foster Care Agency that places about 100 children into loving homes each year. She had just been denied funding. The reason – the foundation officer said – was that the foundation wanted to fund new projects (read: programs started from scratch).

I’m not sure foundations always want to support something new. I believe it SOUNDS like they do. I believe some foundations officers chase ‘new programs’ because the perceived upside FOR IMPACT is greater. However, it helps to keep this perspective. Foundations (most) and funders in general (all) want to have the biggest possible impact. What they usually see are hundreds of grant applications from organizations with the same message: WE NEED MONEY.

This is not an apologist post on behalf of foundations. It’s encouragement to this foster care agency to be stronger. To stand up for its impact.

If I were this foster care agency, I would be enraged. I would be disgusted with the foundation but also disgusted with myself for failing to communicate the impact. I would call the foundation and communicate the disgust. “I’ve failed you, I’ve failed us and most of all I’ve failed 100 families. Somehow it was communicated that we don’t have any new projects this year. WE HAVE 100 BEAUTIFUL NEW PROJECTS THIS YEAR!”


Two notes: (more…)


“People don’t want more messages; they want more INTERACTIONS.”

Another great quote from John Maeda, current President of RISD and author of one of my favorite books, The Laws of Simplicity.

He goes on to say, “There’s no perfect memo where you can press SEND and get connected, or a Facebook group you can join to be committed.”

In this case, I think he is using the word ‘messages’ as blogs, tweets, posts, email, etc.

*If you’re a follower of For Impact, you know how big we are on the whole ‘MESSAGE’ thing. In our world, this means articulating a clear, concise, compelling, convincing, consistent MESSAGE around the vision and the purpose of the organization.

Note: The key word in Maeda’s comment is around ‘INTERACTIONS‘.


And, of course, JUST ASK. JUST ASK. JUST ASK.


Stand… and Walk Together

“When you know where you’re standing and know where you want to stand, it’s time to walk there together.”

Great line from John Maeda, author of THE LAWS OF SIMPLICITY and currently the much challenged President of Rhode Island School of Design.

This quote reinforces our whole concept of ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ (vs. face-to-face or eyeball-to-eyeball).

If you know where you’re standing… and know where you want to stand… gather your best Champions and Investors and walk there together.

*Just thought of a great quote from some Zen dude.

“When standing, stand. When sitting, sit. But whatever, don’t wobble.”


How To Get Things Done

EVERYBODY can use this article in HBR to Get Things Done (or Out the Bottom of the Funnel).

Harvard Business Review talks of two of the world’s experts on productivity, David Allen and Tony Schwartz.

Allen’s 3 letters, GTD, is the list-driven system. Schwartz is not as ubiquitous as Allen, but comes at this from the energy/performance side. (Schwartz co-authored with Jim Loehr one of my favorite all-time books, The Power of Full Engagement.)

Together they provide the ‘yin/yang, left/right’ balance in a good dialogue about time, effectiveness and productivity.

Something to think about:

Last question: If people could take just one thing away from your work, what should it be?

Schwartz: Organizations need to recognize that human beings are basically organisms containing energy. And that energy is either being renewed or being dissipated over time. An organization has to realize that part of its responsibility, whether it wants it or not, is to ensure that people have full tanks of energy. This is one of the big variables that will determine which organizations thrive in the next 10 or 20 years.


Small Message. Big Impact.

Speaker and trainer Terri Sjodin specializes in helping professionals sharpen their presentation and sales kills.

In her new book coming out this summer, SMALL MESSAGE BIG IMPACT, she highlights the power of the proverbial ‘elevator speech’.

Her definition of the ‘modern’ elevator speech is simple: A brief message… communicated in 30 seconds to 3 minutes… whose sole purpose is to intrigue the listener… and obtain additional time (to present).

Read Success Magazine’s article 1 on 1 Targeted Talking Points for more.

Remember: If you can articulate your message clearly, compellingly, concisely, convincingly, cleanly, consistently (and any other ‘c’ word)… you can raise as much money as you need to fund your vision!!! (The whole point of Impact Drives Income.)


When Knocked Down… Get Up!

The only people who don’t ‘fail‘ (get ‘knocked down’)… are those who don’t try anything.

Peter Gruber, Chairman & CEO, of Mandalay Entertainment and Co-Owner of Golden State Warriors Basketball Team had a great article in Harvard Business Review’s recent edition on ‘FAILURE’.

Titled, Muhammad Ali taught me: Be active in your own rescue.

‘Be active in your own rescue’ is a fancy way to say, “When knocked down… get up!”

Gruber ends with the article with,

“Failure is an inevitable cul-de-sac on the road to success. Keep taking risks — and always get back up.”


‘Cultivate’ and ‘Hope’

Playing off my recent post on planting trees… now.

Old Line, Traditional ‘Planned Giving’ was all about CULTIVATION… and HOPE.

When I first started in Development at Notre Dame (horse, buggy, rotary phones), we had the most amazing guy who was responsible for ‘Planned Giving’. Frank’s job was to CULTIVATE (prime football tickets, dinners in Florida, etc.)… and then HOPED that when they passed away they would leave us something. (They usually did. Sometimes it even covered the cost of the tickets!)

Think about the results of what happens in the ‘New’ Model around Today | Tomorrow | Forever.

• The Triple Ask.
• Legacy Gifts.
• Combining Legacy (Estate) Gifts with Cash During Life.
• Etc.

Your choice. Plant trees now or ‘cultivate and hope’.

Special Note: One of the reasons Harvard’s Endowment is $30 Gazillion is because they started planting trees (getting Legacy/Planned Gifts) in the 1700’s.


Best Time to Plant Trees

“The best time to plant trees was 20 years ago. The next best time is NOW.”

A great line from a wonderful, young, smart woman who is leading a healthcare foundation. She shared this during a conference/coaching call last Friday, and it really stuck.

Nick and I spent time last week with 4 or 5 great organizations talking about our Holistic (Today Tomorrow Forever) Model… and the need to ‘plant trees now‘! (Especially Legacy Gifts).

*This quote should be in front of every Development Officer/Advancement Officer as motivation MAXIMIZE RELATIONSHIPS… at THIS GIVEN MOMENT. (Again, plant trees now!)


Return On Energy

Was just finishing up a revision of ON PROSPECTS and realized the power of the concept of Return On Energy (ROE). Here’s the visual that should help you understand this concept… and force you to rethink your current action and energy expenditure.


Focus On Your Strengths

This has become one of my most personal and driving maxims. Simple fact: People don’t change. Each one of has great strengths and corresponding weaknesses.

There’s a ton of powerful research and thinking on why we should not be trying to ‘fix’ our weaknesses… but rather focusing on our strengths! (This is particularly true when comes to finding and hiring good people.)

Here’s a wonderful story that makes this point better than anything I’ve ever heard or read. It’s taken from the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul book. It’s called ANIMAL SCHOOL.

Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world.” So they organized a school.

They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming, in fact better than his instructor; but he made only passing grades in flying and was poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make up work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He also developed ‘charley horses’ from overexertion and then got C in climbing and D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there. (!)

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well, run, climb, and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their child to a badger and joined the ground hogs and gophers to start a successful private school.

Note: In re-reading this, I just saw how strongly this parallels a lot of our education system.