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An Opportunity for the Sector to Demonstrate Independence, Enterprise, Excellence and IMPACT!!!!

Received this from Vicky B., an amazing change agent and For Impact leader in Ireland. It’s an article by Kevin Carey, Chair of RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People).

He must know ‘For Impact’ is working in Ireland!!!

Read this article for a great take on the Irish 3rd Sector… and the U.S. as well!

Three great quotes:

  1. He also said charities might want to stop using the word ‘charity’ to describe themselves. “We are going to have to think of ourselves more as product developers, wholesalers and retailers, and less as campaigners and contractors,” Carey said. “Instead of seeing a problem and campaigning for somebody else to solve it, we need to solve it in parallel with a market analysis of how we can sell the SOLUTION.” (My caps.)
  2. In future, charities will have to become more transparent about the way they spend money and what impact they have.
  3. Trustees will also need to become much more willing to seriously consider all merger and acquisition options, and to stop putting the survival of their institution ahead of the needs of beneficiaries.



Do What You Know You Need To Do

My amazing daughter and partner Kerry Suddes is in the field almost every day. Last night we were going over some of the really great clients she’s working with around the country. She was sharing how we are engaged to help the organization with funding… but almost always end up working on Organizational Development and Team Development.

A big part of Kerry’s background and experience (which is why she’s so good at this) has been Leadership Development and Team Development. She has run hundreds of programs for companies and organizations at our Eagle Creek Leadership & Challenge Center and around the country.

Kerry inspires me every time she comes back and shares how she (and we) are helping organizations with much more than their funding.

Here’s my take on this.

Face the brutal facts. Every organization has some kind of ‘BUS’ issues. (People issues.) In almost every case, the leadership knows what it needs to do. For some reason, they just don’t do it. I was reminded in my conversation with Kerry how hard it has been for me personally and for almost all the organizations with whom I’ve worked to make those hard decisions around personnel. What I’ve learned is that everyone knows the situation, including the people who need to move on. It is in everybody’s best interest to make that happen.

If your salesperson isn’t selling. If your development director is not developing. If your chief fundraiser is not fundraising. If your new major gift officer is not making visits. If you’ve got people from the ‘old bus’ that were comfortable when it was heading in one direction, and now you’ve got a ‘new bus’ heading in a new direction

Do what you know you need to do.


For Impact Guiding Principles

Tom and I were together this week (a rare event with our respective travel schedules) and we were talking about how the training, the frameworks, the work we’re doing in the field to transform organizations is all principle-based. We’ve literally tested and refined this with over 5000 organizations of all sizes from all over the world.

With that in mind, it’s worth revisiting some of the GUIDING PRINCIPLES.

At the highest level – we can summarize the transformation we’re driving and they key to funding results with this perspective:


It’s all about your impact. It’s not about asking for money. It’s about being believing, emoting, communicating how it is that you’re going to change lives, save lives and impact lives. When you do that – it’s a game changer. (Almost) everyone wants to have an impact and (almost) no one likes asking for money. Thinking in terms of the impact means:

  • It makes no sense to cultivate someone for six visits before asking. As Mike, a client on the west coast noted, “This mindset allows you to be so much more direct!”
  • We would rethink nearly all of our funding activities. People don’t give to special events or to the annual fund. They give to programs, patients, students, etc.
  • You can’t screw up an ask if you’re authentic (simply an intermediary to change/save lives) and you let the funding rationale drive the ask.

From this, we then offer some guiding principles. As principles, they’re applicable to EVERY organization reading this.

  1. Be For Impact.
  2. Change Your Vocabulary.
  3. Think Big.
  4. Build Simple.
  5. Act Now. (together 3-5 make up the Entrepreneurial Mantra)
  6. Focus on Relationships.
  7. Do the Math.
  8. Commit to Sales.
  9. Just Ask.



Coach Around Results

Nick, Kerry and I were going over our coaching clients yesterday and Nick made one of his typically ‘brilliant’ observations. He said that coaching around activities (our process, systems, etc.) is a good thing… but the real key to success is COACHING AROUND RESULTS.

Everybody usually has good intentions. However, no matter how strong the intent, many people just don’t ACT (EXECUTE) even though they know it’s the right thing to do.

Taking that to the next level, though, means that working on your Story… Simplifying your Message… Building your Case for Support… Designing a Great Presentation… doing your Master Prospect List… Engaging Your Leadership… Making Visits…

All of that is meaningless if you’re not getting the RESULTS. (In this case, we’re talking about money. The INCOME necessary to Fund your Vision and Scale & Grow your IMPACT.)

Don’t confuse ACTION with RESULTS.


Take Responsibility For The Energy You Bring Into This Space

Last night I watched Oprah’s last show (along with probably 300 or 400 other people).

It was very different than what I expected. No guests. No surprises.

Really was a monologue/soliloquy/motivational talk.

I should have taken notes, but three or four of her themes over the last 25 years were reinforced very simply.

“Live your best life.”

“Everybody has a calling.”
(Figure out what it is and then get doing it.)

“Use your life to serve the world.”

However, one of the most powerful, mini-segments was on ENERGY. She talked about how important energy was in her life and in everyone’s life. Energy translates into passion and enthusiasm and love for what you do. The big ‘O‘ looked at the gazillion people watching this show and said, “You are responsible for your own ENERGY.”

I didn’t catch the doctor/brain surgeon’s name that was part of this storyline on energy. I just remember that after an accident left her ‘left brain’ shut down and her ‘right brain’ extremely sensitive to ‘feeling’ her doctors’ or her visitors’ energy when they came to meet her.

She gave Oprah a sign/message that hangs in Oprah’s dressing room.

Take responsibility for the ENERGY you bring into this space.


We all love it when people bring positive energy into our space. We also know how draining it is when people bring negative energy into our space.

Oprah is old enough, wise enough and strong enough to say to people, “Don’t go bringing negative energy into my space.”

We should all be this wise and strong.

Special Note:
In case you missed Monday’s and Tuesday’s ‘Love Fest’ at the United Center… you didn’t get to see one of the most powerful displays of the IMPACT of PHILANTHROPY you would ever witness. Oprah Winfrey Scholarships for Black Males at Morehouse State College in Atlanta. 400 recipients paraded into the United Center with all the lights off and each one of them holding an (electric) candle filing past Oprah and coming together on the stage. In our world, that was one huge MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE!!! It brought Oprah to tears, scholar recipients to tears, most everyone in the audience, and I’m thinking a lot of viewers.


The Bystander Effect and Philanthropy

Malcolm Gladwell explores the Bystander Effect in The Tipping Point. He recounts the 1964 New York (Queens) stabbing death of Kitty Genovese. Reportedly, dozens of witnesses heard Ms. Genovese and her cries for help; however, no one called the police.

The story is used to paint a picture of a phenomenon called the Bystander Effect – which has been well studied since. The Bystander Effect is one in which as more people are present at a scene of distress the responsibility for action becomes proportionally diffused.

38 people heard Genovese cry for help. Each knew others heard the cries. They were loud, in the middle of a big city. Each person assumed that someone else was making a call to police. So no one called the police.

Apply our understanding of the Bystander Effect to special events. Have you been to a special event where people are crying, overwhelmed by the impact of the organization? What’s the average gift size?

Alternatively, we know that if we simply change the context and visit with our best people one-on-one the responsibility does not become diffused. The action – whether it be financial or other is increased ten-fold (at least).

There is a world of difference between a plea for help to a group and a similar request to an individual (or individual corporation/foundation).

Understanding the Bystander Effect has changed CPR training. You used to shout, “Someone go call 911!” Now you’re instructed to point at a person and say, “YOU – go call 911!”

If we need to direct the request for a simple phone call – to save a life – stands to reason that it would go the same way for philanthropy.


Energy (and SUCCESS)

I just can’t let this ‘ENERGY‘ thing go. Here are some great articles in the June Issue of Success Magazine that should be required reading… if you have any interest in having more energy, being healthier, being more successful, enjoying life more, etc.

  • Energy Fact & Fiction by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen. Learn more about your energy, passion for life, circadian rhythm, morning people and night people and more.
  • Man in Motion. Learn how Stanley is an incredibly energetic and focused 88-year-old superhero.
  • On Your Mark Get Set – Recharge.. Great energy and performance advice from renowned expert Tony Schwartz. Included are 32 power-boosting ideas to energize your life.

The ROE Issue

This month’s issue of one of my favorite magazines, SUCCESS, is all about the theme of ENERGY.

Darren Hardy, publisher, leads off with this powerful thought:

ENERGY – what many call the essence of life. Physicists say everything is made up ENERGY. ENERGY is our life force and vitality. What you eat and drink either feeds, frees and bolsters your energy… or it dampens, hinders and stifles that energy.”

Your lifestyle – how you move and rest – either circulates, awakens and replenishes that ENERGY… or it burdens, depresses and quells it.”

Pick up this June 2011 issue as soon as you can. Better yet, subscribe.

BTW: ROE is Return On Energy.

I can’t close this thought without sharing, again, one of my own driving mantras from two of my authors/thinkers, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, from their book POWER OF FULL ENGAGEMENT.

“Manage your ENERGY, not your time.”

“What is a man without energy? Nothing at all.” Mark Twain


Sales = Attitude

“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.” W. Clement Stone

If you are in ‘SALES’ (and who isn’t), you need to make this powerful quote your daily mantra.

Reading W. Clement Stone (which led me to Og Mandino, Napoleon Hill, et al.) was one of my earliest introductions to success, personal development, goals, etc.

This “frames” so many things if you think about it, including:

  • Attitude is Everything
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophesy
  • What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
  • Don’t make decisions for your prospects. (They can’t give. They can’t buy.)

*I have ‘sold’ a lot of stuff based on a strong believe/attitude that it was the absolute best solution/opportunity/benefit to the personal organization being ‘sold’.


In Defense of Raising Money

One of my good friends and certainly one of the brightest and most talented social entrepreneurs in the world is Daniela Papi. She runs Pepy Ride.

She sent me a great piece called In Defense of Raising Money: A Manifesto for Nonprofit CEOs by Sasha Dichter.

I just noticed it was written in October of 2008 but it is a powerful voice that, while not using our For Impact language, supports so many of our concepts.

The closing line, “I’d rather be an evangelist, a storyteller, an educator, a translator, a table-pounder, a guy on his soap box, a woman with a megaphone, a candidate for change. I want to talk to as many people as I can about my ideas and capture their imagination about the change I hope to see in the world.” WOW!




Went from Dublin, Ohio, USA to Dublin, Ireland last night (all night).

With my good friends from Business to Arts: Stuart, Rowena and Andrew… and some new friends at The Atlantic Philanthropies, The One Foundation and Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.

ACH DÍREACH CUIR CEIST is Gaelic for JUST ASK. However, it’s Ireland, therefore, more subtlety, words, etc. The translation is, “But only ask the question”.

We are working for the next three days on ways to scale and grow the IMPACT of organizations in Ireland, increase the size and scale of philanthropy in Ireland, and help us the agenda to train and coach some wonderful organizations.

*My reminder to self on the airplane: As always, at the highest level, it’s simply about:


Whether you’re in the United States or Ireland or any other part of the world.