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2011 Should Be All About Relationships

Robert T. Kiyosaki, the prolific author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, says:

“There’s only one rule of financial success:

Know the difference between a LIABILITY and an ASSET.”

The FOR IMPACT corollary is also very simple:

There is only one rule of funding success:

Know the difference between a TRANSACTION and a RELATIONSHIP!!!

Every FOR IMPACT organization in the world should be focused on RELATIONSHIPS! Read the following definition by Martha Rogers and Don Peppers, the gurus of One-to-One Enterprises; and FOCUS on EVERY WORD!



The Power of One… Snowflake

Take a few moments and read the following parable/story… Think about what YOU can do today and this year to change the world.

The Weight of a Snowflake

“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.

“Nothing more than nothing,” was the answer.

“In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story,” the coal-mouse said.

“I sat on the branch of a fir, close to its trunk, when it began to snow – not heavily, not in a raging blizzard – no, just like in a dream, without a wound and without any violence. Since I did not have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,742,952. When the 3,742,953rd dropped onto the branch, nothing more than nothing, as you say – the branch broke off.”

Having said that, the coal-mouse flew away.

The dove, since Noah’s time an authority on the matter, thought about the story for a while, and finally said to herself, “Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come to the world.”

What if you were the 3,742,953rd snowflake… and you didn’t ‘fall’ (Act)?

***Special Acknowledgement to Joe Jaworski for this story in his awesome book, SYNCHRONOCITY: An Inner Path of Leadership. I picked this book up in 1998 as a referral from Jeff Bernel, one of the great entrepreneurs of all time.


Today Is A Tabula Rasa for 2011

Today, everyone in the For Impact Community has a blank tablet/clean slate. What we do with 2011 is up to each one of us. Make this THE breakthrough year for yourself, your team and your organization!

One great way to start: Don’t begin this year and this week and this day by doing all the same ‘STUFF’ you did last year.

Before you get caught up in a bunch of Covey Quadrant III (Urgent, but Not Important) or even Quadrant I (Urgent and Important) activities… Take this week to work on QUADRANT II (IMPORTANT BUT NOT URGENT).

Write out your GOALS (Big, Hairy, Audacious or Otherwise). Map out your ACTION PLAN. Then, ACT (EXECUTE).

***If you need a little help with the whole ‘GOAL-SETTING’ thing… check out a few of Brian Tracy’s 50 books! Three of my favorites around GOALS are:

    1. GOALS!: (Duh?) How to Get Everything You Want – Faster than You Ever Thought Possible.
    2. SUCCESS IS A JOURNEY: Making Your Life A Grand Adventure.
    3. EAT THAT FROG!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.

Note: It’s January 3rd!!! (One of my favorite ‘numbers’)

Do 3 things today that will get you started on the right proverbial track for 2011!!


The Power of One on 1/1/11

As I write this on January 1st, 2011 (1/1/11), I wanted to start this New Year off with a message on THE POWER OF ONE.

“The cynic says, ‘One (wo)man can’t do anything’.
I say, ‘Only one (wo)man can do anything’.
All good ideas start with one (wo)man.
The creative, caring, believing person sends out waves of influence.
(S)he affects others who in turn affect others.”

John W. Gardner’s eponymous quote is a great way to start his New Year. (I added the ‘WO’ not to be politically correct but to reach an audience that probably has more potential to change the world than Gardner’s ‘MAN’!)

In 2011, how are you going to exercise your POWER OF ONE???

Special Note: Here are three great books with ‘ONE’ in their title!!!

    1. Becoming a Category of One: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison by Joe Calloway. Simple concept. Great strategic goal. What can you do this year for your organization to become a Category of One??? What would it mean to be the only one who does what you do?! What are your unique selling points? Your distinguishing characteristics? Your dramatic differences?
    *I first read this book on 13 September 2004 at sunset. I saw Chapter 6 around “The 3 Rules” and read that the “Heart of a Category of One performer is to keep it simple and make it clear”.
    2. The One Decision: Make the Single Choice That Will Lead to a Life of More by Judith Wright.
    In effect, Wright asks: What is the ONE DECISION that you could make that would lead to a life of purpose and meaning?
    The ONE DECISION is a personal commitment about HOW you’re going to live your life.
    Note: I found this book on the 22nd of March, 2007 in San Francisco.
    3. And finally, the POWER OF ONE. This book is one of my Top 3 books I have ever read. It’s by Bryce Courtenay. It’s set in South Africa. Deals with Apartheid. Boxing is metaphor for life and the story. I’ve probably given away 400 or 500 copies of this book to my Notre Dame boxers over the years. I even spoke with the author when I was in Sydney, Australia.
    Trust me on this one. It will be one of the best books you’ve ever read in your life.

A look at US philanthropy 100 years ago.

Via SundayMagazine.orgI came across the Jan 1, 1911 New York Times article recapping Philanthropy in 1910 (Visit the site and click on PDF to read the full article). It’s pretty interesting to read… tons of information – includes giving from the Rockefellers, JP Morgan, Carnegie.

Some other notes:

  • You can tell philanthropy as an ‘American Identify’ is young. The article references how much has happened since the civil war ‘just 50 years ago’. Furthermore, “America’s men and women do not build for themselves great mausoleums as did the Kings and Queens of old, thereby sacrificing human life and and using vast sums of money which forever after was unproductive. Instead they give of their possessions, both during their lifetime and after their death, that the people may help themselves to higher and nobler livers.”
  • We’re seeing a HUGE swell in fundraising for public education (today: 2010-11); it’s not new however. Note that Andrew Carnegie “gave $3M, distributed among ten cities, for the benefit of public school teachers“.
  • I tend to think of American philanthropy as originating around civic causes. Building the schools, hospitals, etc. I think this is what gave rise to the old-line capital campaign. Here we see several examples including several gifts to YMCA’s and hospitals.
  • The headline says $163M given for philanthropy but the articles notes this total only includes publicly declared gifts.
  • EVERY gift was for a domestic purpose. The article doesn’t profile any gifts that went to start or support projects in other countries.
  • Support vs. Solution: You notice a lot of gifts were for facilities or institutions to CARE for people that had disabilities or types of sickness. I didn’t really see any gifts that went toward finding solutions (ie research). Certainly, that’s a HUGE change in 100 years.

Bonus: I came across because I follow the blog creator (@ironicsans) through another of his creative sites:


Winter Solstice

Yesterday was the ‘shortest‘ day of the year. (Actually, same 24 hours as every other day… but shortest ‘daylight’.)

Earlier civilizations made a pretty big deal of the SOLSTICE. Today, it’s a footnote and I think the name on a car.

For me, it marks the beginning of a Holiday Season (time for family and renewal)… as well as the start of the days (daylight) getting longer.

I’m also reminded at least four times a year (solstices and equinoxes) of Leonardo da Vinci’s crazy, radical and game-changing statement:


Forty years before Nicholas Copernicus revolutionized the world view, Leonardo da Vinci said, “THE SUN DOES NOT MOVE.” Both Copernicus and da Vinci were born on a flat, unmoving planet in the center of the universe, around which the ‘SUN CIRCLED’.

A century after their deaths, that same planet was a rotating sphere orbiting around the sun somewhere in a universe too fast to even have a center! The church tried to suppress this as heresy. All of the best ‘THINKERS’ of the times thought this concept absurd.

The planet/solar system did not ‘CHANGE’, but the paradigm for understanding it had been turned inside out.

Best wishes from all of us at For Impact. May you all have this kind of breakthrough moment in 2011!!!


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/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 and company.)

Extracting this DNA — then putting it to words — it reads: THINK BIG. BUILD SIMPLE. ACT NOW!

This entrepreneur’s mantra is powerfully guiding in the work we do and the work you do every day.


  • Big VISION. How are you changing the world?
  • 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, solution at 30,000′!


  • Get your MESSAGE on a napkin!
  • Focus on your top 10 prospects to TRANSFORM your funding… TRANSFORM your organization
  • ONLY do that which is productive in your funding plan (and other areas of life/biz). Stop doing special events that aren’t special and that don’t raise money. Simplify.


  • Stamp DRAFT on everything and move.
  • 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 than I. 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 Tom shared with a gathering of 200 young social entrepreneurs earlier this year.


How to run a sales meeting using a sales dashboard

Here is a format we use for sales meetings – for example, a weekly review of activities from the sales team.

  1. Update on activity:

    • Number of visits

    • Number of asks

  2. Update on productivity

    • Number of commits / declines

    • $$ Committed

These metrics provide an objective dashboard that speaks volumes.

  • “What gets measured gets done.” – Tom Suddes

    It’s very easy to get sidetracked. Make it very clear (for yourself) and for your sales team that the first measurement will be number of times we got out of the office to go visit with people. Even without the perfect materials, we know (at For Impact) this will have a tremendous positive impact on your organization.

  • The dashboard creates accountability.

    Following on the first point, if you’re a manager you can set goals with your team around number of visits/asks. This ties back to accountability and performance.

  • The dashboard points to what’s working and what’s not

    Two months ago I was working with an organization that was making 15 visits per week. It was logging only a few commitments and declines. We were able to zero in on this and it turned out the staff wasn’t really asking. It was walking through the numbers and ‘hoping’ the prospect would select to give. We did another training session around ‘the last three feet’ and the numbers then improved.

    This is a pretty important point. You can deal with real issues as they arise – instead of planning and planning for months/years with no activity.

After the numbers we then review:

  • Status of Top Ten Prospects on the Master Prospect List
  • Specific Pending Strategies that need attention
  • Strategies for the Forthcoming week

The For Impact Relationship-Based Funding Model

Here is an updated version of the For Impact Funding Model.
Based on relationships… funding Today, Tomorrow and Forever.


Primer notes:

  • Impact Drives Income: Not about Annual Fund vs. Campaign Gifts. Those are internal silos. Instead it’s all about supporting your IMPACT – Today (current programs), Tomorrow (Special Projects – Multi Year Funding Opportunities) and Forever (Legacy Funding).

  • Commit to Sales: Sales is about relationships… it’s about engaging one-on-one. When you commit to sales you aren’t running an ‘annual campaign’ and then coming back later to run an ‘endowment campaign’. You’re sitting down with people (individuals/corporations/foundations) and saying, here all the ways to support!

The For Impact Funding Model
A Relationship-Based Funding Model

  • Today: This is cash to your CURRENT IMPACT / CURRENT PROGRAMS (read: operations). A big part of this strategy is the user of IMPACT CIRCLES – annual giving clubs with one level at $1K or $10K (depending upon size and scope of your operation).

  • Tomorrow: Multi-year funding opportunities tied to your biggest priorities or programs (often thought of as major gifts).

  • Forever: Legacy Giving (planned giving) and Transformational Giving opportunities. Use Legacy Giving to fund your endowment.

The Today/Tomorrow/Forever matches to your message for each type of giving. More than that, this model illustrates a COMPLETE funding model. This gives you the tool to maximize relationships at any given time:

  • If you’re asking an investor to help you with a special priority it ‘s important to illustrate (in your model) that you have a plan to fund ops!

  • You can ask long time annual supporters to ‘protect their investment’ via a Legacy Commitment.

  • TODAY/TOMORROW/FOREVER also matches up to giving out of cash flow, assets and estate.

  • You have THE TRIPLE ASK!!!!! This is an ask for TODAY/TOMORROW/FOREVER on one visit!

  • This creates a powerful engagement tool to use with your investors!

Action: Turn the model into a funding plan.

  • What does your membership (base of relationships) need to look like TODAY – in the IMPACT circle – to fund your GAP?

  • What kind of math do you need to fund all your priorities over the next 1000 days?

  • How many members are you looking for to FOUND your LEGACY SOCIETY? Have a goal. This is the simplest thing you can do to leverage planned giving and transform your funding over the long haul.

Dr. Oz’s Simple Message

Dr. Oz of Oprah fame and his partner Dr. Roizen have an article every month in Success magazine.

It always starts with the same opening paragraph (in bold type).

Our basic premise is: Your body is amazing; you get a do-over; it doesn’t take that long, and isn’t that hard if you know what to do.

I love it. Great reminder to reinforce and STAY ON MESSAGE. (Even if you are a little tired of seeing and reading your Message… your audience isn’t!)